Six Articles to Read

This week I am sharing some articles written by other Christians which I hope you might find helpful. I have included an extract from the article beneath each link to give an indication of the content of each one.

9 Practical Tips for Bible Reading

George Sinclair starts this article off by saying “You will never have enough time to read the Bible. If you wait until you have enough time to read the Bible, you will rarely read the Bible. The world, the flesh and the devil will help fill your day. This means that you have to choose to take time. You will have to sacrifice doing something else so you have time to read God’s word and pray to Him. You need to pray that the Lord will help you set time aside so you can spend time with Him. Here are some pointers.”

Why churches must never require Covid passports

Jesus did not put requirements on coming into his presence, and neither should we, argues Rev Dr Matthew Roberts, one of over 1,000 church leaders to have signed an open letter to parliament in opposition to vaccine passports 

Our Lord Jesus, for obvious reasons, never met anyone with Covid. But he did meet numerous people with another infectious disease, and one that was arguably much worse. Leprosy was, with good reason, feared by the people of Jesus’ day. It attacked the skin and living flesh, causing hideous wounds and often death, though not without years of suffering first. It also brought social isolation of the most miserable sort. To be a leper was to be cut off from society; God’s law required it.

Why should I read John Stott?

Chris Wright asks the question and supplies the answer: “Why should anyone in the 21st century read books by someone whose prime years of global evangelical leadership were fifty years ago in the 20th?  The answer could be summarized in three words that we use in Langham Preaching to identify what is required in good biblical preaching: Faithfulness, Relevance, and Clarity.”

A Royal Funeral with a message for everyone

Murray Campbell shares some thoughts on the recent funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh.

“As we viewed the royal funeral from our sofa, absorbing the sight of the ceremonial and the personal, the figure of a Queen in mourning and the sound of stunningly beautiful music, the common face death struck a note.”

It’s Far Too Easy To Buy A Tiger

Tim Challies says “We do hear about people who welcome big cats into their homes and we all have a pretty good idea of how such stories are likely to end. While we would be surprised to hear of a man being killed by his pet hamster or pet budgie, we are not at all surprised to hear of a man being mauled by his pet tiger. Why are we not surprised? Precisely because it’s a tiger!”

The Sweet Grief of Repentance

Greg Moore recalls “I can still see the moment clearly in my mind. At a Christian conference, a friend whom I had been studying the Bible with that semester shared with our group that he was ready to follow Jesus. He broke down in tears. We were football players. We didn’t cry. I honestly couldn’t believe it. He not only accepted my invitation to attend the conference, but he even repented of sin and believed upon Christ for the forgiveness of sins. I sat watching it unfold in absolute awe.”

National Day of Reflection

On Tuesday 23 March 2021 the UK had a national day of reflection to remember all those who had died in the pandemic. This date was chosen as it marked the anniversary of the announcement of our first Covid lockdown.

We had an online service last night at our church as part of the national day of reflection. During the service our vicar read some scriptures to us which I felt would be good to share this week. Hopefully you will find these verses helpful:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (
Psalm 23)

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (1Peter 5:7)

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.
” (Psalm 46:10)

Encouraging Articles January 2021

As we come to the end of the first month of 2021 this has certainly been a difficult and tough month for many people. At the beginning of January the UK entered its third national lockdown. We have seen a new variant of coronavirus emerge with the challenges that this brings. Sadly the number of deaths continues to rise and over 100,000 have now died from the virus in the UK.

The NHS are under significant pressure in different parts of the country as they battle to help those affected by coronavirus.

On a positive notice, it has been good to see the vaccine being rolled out and hopefully that will aid in the struggle against this virus.

If we are being honest it can be quite discouraging looking back over January. Therefore I thought it would be good to share some links below to articles written by other Christians, that I have read this month and found helpful. I have included an extract from the article beneath each link to give an indication of the content of each one.

Are COVID-19 vaccines made from aborted babies? What is HEK293?

Adrian Warnock has written a very comprehensive piece on the Covid-19 vaccines and starts by saying: “Some Christians do have genuine concerns about vaccination which I will address in this article. I wish to appeal to believers to consider carefully these matters rather than reflexly reject the COVID-19 vaccines.”

3 ideas for living well in 2021

Chris Goswami gives us 3 ideas for living well in 2021 and says “As we enter what we hope is a less exciting year than the last one, few of us now doubt that we are living in historic times. You may have heard Uncle Albert’s signature line in the comedy Only Fools and Horses: “……during the war …..”. He sits in the corner and says it a lot, and it gets met with a chorus of sarcasm from Rodney and Dell Boy. Well I wonder if we will end up in our old age quipping “during the virus …..” only to be met with a chorus of “grandad you tell us that story EVERY WEEK!” I don’t know, but “the virus” is the defining narrative of our age, the story we will retell for years to come, a period of history on which school examination questions will be set.”

OK Christians, Time to Do Your Job

Jeff Weddle reminds us that it is time for Christians to do their job and says “In our current state of rancour, arguing, shouting, rioting, and clamouring, I have an idea: how about we listen to what the Bible says a follower of Christ should do and quit following the world’s example.

If we did, we would shine like lights in the world. The good news is that what we’re told to do sounds very refreshing and lovely right about now!”

Is Sin Inevitable in the Christian Life?

Randy Alcorn asks if sin is inevitable in the Christian life. “One common Christian misunderstanding today is that grace and salvation in Jesus means God has lowered His standards, as compared to the Old Testament law. That’s simply not true. God has raised His standards for the Christian life—but He has empowered us to live that Christian life through our relationship with Him and His indwelling Holy Spirit. His grace teaches us to say “no” to ungodliness (Titus 2:12).”

Tempted and Unarmed

Garrett Kell reminds us why we need the armour of God. “It was the boy’s first day of junior high. All was going well until three older kids took his lunch, ruffled his hair, and stuffed him in a locker. They snarled at his squeals and high-fived one another as they walked away. What the bullies didn’t know, though, was that the kid in the locker was the little brother of the football team’s starting middle linebacker.

After lunch, the boy told his brother what happened. His brother looked him in the eyes. “Let’s go.” As the boy came to his locker, the bullies were waiting for him, grinning. But he hadn’t come alone this time. He came in the strength of his older brother. That was the last day they messed with him.”

Five Articles to Read

Over the last few days I have come across these five articles which you may find interesting to read:

Radical Commitment

This is part of the Word for Today series from United Christian Broadcasters. The article challenges us to radical commitment to Christ in the following areas of our life: at work, at church and in our relationship with Him.

Jesus is not a republican or a democrat

Adrian Warnock starts this important hard-hitting article with the words:

For the sake of the global cause of Christ may I just appeal to my US Evangelical brothers and sisters, PLEASE do not claim that Christians can only follow one political tribe. I shouldn’t have to say this.”

How Perfectionism Makes You a Spiritual Quitter

Melissa Edgington says some words that we all need to hear:

it has taken me 43 years to begin to learn that there is a happy, spiritually-nourishing medium between praying for an hour a day and not praying at all. Between reading five chapters in my Bible and not reading a single word. Spiritual disciplines don’t have to be feast or famine, and they shouldn’t be. I don’t have to perfectly execute a plan in order to be growing in Christ, learning from His word, communing with Him daily, learning more about who He is and who He wants me to be.

What Are We Arguing About?

Kevin DeYoung tells us that:

My overarching point is this: we need to be clearer as Christians about where our disagreements lie.

The Christian and the State

Paul Carter addresses a subject that has become more of an issue to many this year as we have seen various restrictions introduced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic:

To be a Christian is to belong simultaneously to two different kingdoms. If you are a child of God through faith in Christ then you are a citizen of the here and coming Kingdom of God and you are subject to various lesser but legitimate human authorities. How does that work out in practice? What if the demands of the one run contrary to the demands of the other?”

The Last 4 Months of 2020

Yesterday was the 1st September and we are in the last 4 months of 2020. Summer is now over and autumn has started. The temperatures will start to become cooler and the days will continue to get shorter.

Normally at this time of year there is the expectation of new beginnings as the new academic year starts. Young people will be changing school years, joining new schools and going onto further and higher education.

In our churches September usually sees the reopening of the various groups that have had a break during the summer holidays.

However, this year has been very different due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year as we face the last 4 months of 2020 there are many concerns including:

Will there be a second wave of coronavirus?

Will the schools be able to return successfully?

Will unemployment increase when the government furlough scheme finishes?

Will there be cuts in government expenditure or increases in taxation to pay for the cost of the lockdown?

When will people be able to go on foreign holidays again without worrying about having to quarantine on their return to the UK?

When will churches be allowed to meet and worship without restricted numbers? When will we be allowed to sing in churches again?

In the midst of all these concerns it is very easy to be discouraged. However the following words that Paul wrote to the church in Philippi are ones that I personally find very encouraging. The amazing thing is that Paul wrote these incredible words whilst in prison!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)

Yes things may not be great at the moment, but let us focus on these words and ask God to renew our hope in the truth of what Paul wrote here.


Lessons from the Church’s Responses to the Spanish Flu of 1918-1919

Whilst reading the numerous media articles on the coronavirus pandemic one thing I have come across is a comparison of it with the Spanish Flu outbreak between 1918-20. I must confess that I did not really know anything about Spanish Flu previously. According to Wikipedia the dead toll was estimated to be between 17 million and 50 million, a staggering number.

A good question to ask ourselves in 2020 is: are there any lessons that the church can learn from their response to the Spanish Flu outbreak that would be useful for the current situation we face with coronavirus?

Well according to the Think Theology blog the answer to that question is yes! In a very interesting article written by Kristine Nethers entitled: We’ve Been Here Before: Lessons from the Church’s Responses to the Spanish Flu of 1918-19, she lists 12 similarities and 5 things we can learn from the church’s response 100 years ago.

This is a very good article which I recommend.

Praying for our Leaders

We are currently living in very unusual times at the moment. It must be a challenging time to be a world leader as they are having to make very difficult and tough decisions. I would really not want to be a member of government, as they try to tackle the coronavirus outbreak and limit it’s effect on people. They have a huge responsibility on their shoulders. They need certainly need wisdom!

In that in mind I’m reminded of Paul’s instructions to Timothy:

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour” (1 Tim 2:1-3)

We must not forget to pray for them. It’s easy to criticise our governments. When thinking of the UK government, some will say that they have been slow in introducing the measures that were announced last Monday. However, others will say that they have overreacted and gone too far with the restrictions! Whether they have gone too far or not gone far enough we should pray for them. They need our prayers!

Don’t forget though that whilst it is right to pray for leaders our ultimate faith and trust must be in God and not humans.

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” (Psalm 118:8)

Overwhelming Situations

Sometimes when I watch the news I listen to a story that I find difficult to comprehend. I feel that although I hear the words they do not sink in and I cannot really grasp what I am hearing. This could be when the reporter speaks of a horrific murder or perhaps about some awful war crimes that have been committed. I have also experienced this too when I have received some sudden unexpected bad news. Not surprisingly this is how I am feeling about coronavirus.

I find myself regularly checking the BBC website to discover the latest news. I read about many people catching coronavirus and some sadly dying from it. Numerous countries around the world are moving into lockdown banning various normal activities such as going out socially. I’m struggling to comprehend all that is happening and I suspect others are too.

Last Sunday the following happened at my church:

• We had to wash our hands as soon as we arrived at the building.

• We were not allowed to shake hands or hug anyone. Therefore when we shared the peace we had to stay in our seats and just nod at the other people in the congregation!

• No bibles were allowed to be given out (these are normally handed out when we arrive at church).

• Our kitchen was closed so we were unable to have any drinks after the service.

• We were not allowed to receive the wine during communion. It was just the bread. Our vicar was the only one allowed to drink the wine.

The above practices were as per instructions issued by the Church of England so if you worship in an Anglican church you too would have experienced this.

It looks increasingly likely that we will soon not be meeting for Sunday worship or even midweek housegroups, especially after the Prime Minister announced last Monday that “everyone should avoid social contact with others”.

What do we do when we face such overwhelming situations such as coronavirus? Psalm 61:2 tells us:

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (KJV)

I cannot think of anything else to suggest. The only hope we have in these strange and troubling times is to cry out to God: “Lord have mercy on us!”

The Christian response to coronavirus

There has been one subject dominating the news for the last few weeks: coronavirus. In fact the majority of the news on television seems to be about this. Some might originally have argued that the whole thing was being exaggerated by the media, whilst others would have the opposite viewpoint. What should be the Christian response to coronavirus?

I came across some blog posts and website articles on coronavirus and thought it might be interesting to post links to them as they are worth reading as we ponder this matter. (UPDATE – I will continue to add to the links below as I find more articles that I feel will be of interest to others)

The first link is an article looking at the Cholera Outbreak of 1854 and how Spurgeon responded to this. This can be useful in thinking how we should respond to coronavirus. To summarise Spurgeon’s response was:

1. Prioritize local ministry
2. Adjust as needed, but continued meeting if possible
3. Visit the sick
4. Be open to new evangelistic opportunities
5. Entrust your life to God

The second one is an interview Adrian Warnock did with Richard Johnston, the founder of

Adrian writes that coronavirus is just the latest trigger for anxiety. Christian Mindfulness is one tool we can use to help us cope when things seem too much to handle.

The next one is an interview that Tim Challies did with Pastor Andrea Artioli who pastors a church in Mantua, Italy. His church has been instructed by the local authorities that it cannot meet for at least the next two weeks.

This is an interesting interview as Italy is currently the country in Europe which has had the biggest outbreak of coronavirus.

The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME) is a Christian charity which aims to rebuild lives and restore hope in the Middle East.

On their website they have an article called Imagine having no health care at this time in which they advise us of their urgent prayers requests which are:

• Please pray that we will be able to keep supporting all those who rely on us during the Coronavirus outbreak.
• Pray for all the FRRME Staff; in the UK and especially in the Middle East, including Abdulrahman, our Iraq Programme Manager and Helena our Jordan Country Director. Pray for God’s protection over them.
• Please pray for Father Faez, the congregation of  St George’s Baghdad and all those who attend the St George’s Clinic. Pray that God will protect and support them in this worrying time.
• Pray for the refugees who use the Olive Tree Centre in Madaba, Jordan and all those who attend our partner churches. – That they will have access to accurate information about the situation.
• Pray for the refugees who use the Olive Tree Centre in Madaba, Jordan and all those who attend our partner churches. – That they will have access to accurate information about the situation.
• Pray that sufficient funds come in so that we might meet the urgent needs of the vulnerable in Iraq and Jordan
• Please pray for our government and others around the world. May God guide and support them as they seek to contain the outbreak and reassure the population.
• Please pray for the scientists who are working to produce a vaccine.

Hopefully these website and blogs postings will help us to look at this matter differently to the mainstream media and in a way that is appropriate of our Christian faith. I trust too that it will guide us in our praying.

Wash Your Hands!

Wash your hands! This is the advice that the NHS and the government are giving us as the best methods of not catching coronavirus. They recommend that we frequently wash our hands, ideally for about 20 seconds per wash. Additionally, we should use a tissue or our sleeve to catch a cough or sneeze, and avoid touching our eyes, nose and mouth if our hands are not clean.

When I was a child my parents taught me to wash my hands before I had a meal. If I’m being honest that is a habit that I had neglected somewhat, but I have now reintroduced it. Another important thing they installed in me was washing my hands after I had used the toilet. That is one habit I have never stopped doing. And it does irritate me whenever I use a public toilet, if I see anyone leave without washing their hands!

In recent days I am trying to be more conscious of following the NHS advice and doing what I can to maintain a good level of hygiene. One thing I have realised is that during the day, whether consciously or subconsciously, I found myself touching my face. I have suddenly become very aware of this and am trying to exercise self-disciple and avoid doing this. It’s so easy just to rub your eyes or scratch your ear without realising what you are doing. However, we have been told not to do this.

The advice that the NHS have issued about washing our hands may sound like something that you would tell a child. It’s really basic and simple advice. Surely as adults we do not need to be told this? Yet as I think about this I believe that we do. Although we cannot see germs they are real and we need to keep clean.

Although the advice about washing your hands is being spoken of here in relation to coronavirus, it is also a lesson that can be applied spiritually too. Just as we need to clean ourselves from dirt and germs physically we also need to do the same spiritually. If we do not then we find ourselves contaminated with the effect of our sin. What is the solution? The first letter that John wrote contains the words:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:7-9)

This is the advice that we need to follow if we wish to be clean before God.