Old Maggie lived on the shores of Lochiel on a croft along with a few hens, a few sheep and a cow named Daisy.

Maggie did bed and breakfast in the summer months to help with the expenses. She was a Christian and went to Church every Sunday if she could. The church building was used every Sunday by four different denominations. She loved the fourth Sunday service the best when her own
minister, a young man who was very sincere and a great believer in the power of prayer took the service.

One day her cow, Daisy, took ill and she was greatly troubled and sent for the minister.

The minister’s wife said that he would come to her as soon as he possibly could. He caught the 1.30pm train and then walked three miles to her croft. After a cup of tea and a chat Maggie asked him would he come to see Daisy and pray for her. He wasn’t to keen to pray for a cow but felt he could do no other. The minister put his hand on Daisy’s head and said, ‘you poor old beast, you do look bad, your poor old missus is so sad to
see you like this, so may the good Lord spare you to her for a good while yet’ Daisy recovered and Maggie sang the praises of her minister and of the power of prayer for a long time afterwards.

One Sunday later her minister was ill with an abscess in his throat. Maggie was so worried that she phoned the Manse to see if she could visit the minister. Next morning she did all her jobs quickly and did some baking. She hung an old tyre over the gate to indicate to any passing neighbour that she wanted a lift into town.

With her bag packed with eggs, a pot of jam, and her own baking, she put on her coat and hat and sat down waiting for a lift. At last she heard a motor horn honking at her gate so she got a lift into town.

At the door of the Manse she was welcomed by the minister’s wife and given a cup of tea, then she was taken in to see the minister. Very
solemnly she put her hand on the minister’s head and said ‘you poor old beast you look so bad, your poor old missus is so sad to see you like this, so may the good Lord spare you to her for a good while yet’. Amen.

The minister and his wife laughed so much that the abscess burst and the crisis was over for him, and it was the result of old
Maggie’s prayer – SIMPLE CHILDLIKE FAITH.

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

The Snake

There is a story told of a man who was out in the forests of South America, when he saw a bird chirping and fluttering in great distress.

He soon saw why. Creeping along the branch of the tree towards her nest was a great venomous snake, intent on taking her fledglings, who were still helpless in the nest.    Suddenly the bird flew away, and the man thought she had abandoned her chicks.

But no, a few moments later she was back, with a small twig covered in leaves in her mouth. The bird placed this twig over her babies in the nest, and flew to a branch nearby, to watch for the snake’s arrival.

Sure enough,  the snake glided along the branch, and paused in front of the nest. It reared its sleek head, eyes glittering, its tongue darting here and there, ready to strike. Suddenly its tongue came into contact with the twig that the bird had laid across the nest.

The result was dramatic. The snake veered back and away, as if it had been stabbed by the little twig. It swayed for a minute, and then slid quickly off and down the tree, disappearing into the long grass.

The man was fascinated, and carefully lifted the twig off of the nest, wrapped it in a bit of cloth, and took it home with him. He showed the twig to a native friend, asking what it was.  His native friend explained that the twig was from a bush that was poisonous for the snake, and which it was known never to touch. The little helpless bird had used the small twig as her strong defence from attack.

Satan in scripture is known as ‘that old serpent’ He is intent on the destruction of people. But God has told us in his Word that there is a tree which is poison to our enemy, and which offers protection for all of us, old and young alike. It is the cross of Jesus Christ. On the cross Jesus died for our sins.

We need no longer live under evil dominion.

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

The Empty Chair

You look across at the empty chair
In vain for the one who Isn’t there,
No shared comments to make you smile,
Just being together made life worthwhile.

‘Time will heal,’ or so they say,
Just don’t tell me that today.
No card to come on your special day,
No words to speed you on your way,
No one to bring the cup that cheers,
No one to soothe and calm your fears,
Only memories of bygone years.

The simple things are what you miss
The loving hug, the goodnight kiss,
The opening door — the words ‘I’m back’,
The coat still hanging on the rack.

The hopes and plans we made together
We thought they would go on for ever
Are just a dream for now and ever.
The house is empty, cold, austere,
You open doors and no one’s there.

‘How could they do this, how could they leave,
Abandon you to cry and grieve?’
Then a little hand slips into mine
And says: ‘Don’t cry, you will be fine.’

For love abounds and through your tears
The sun comes out to quell your fears.
The love of family and true friends
Will see you through and make amends.

And then the world begins to sing
As you recall the precious things
You held so dear, when you were two
Saying ‘you can start anew’.

So now when I see the empty chair
In my mind, you’re always there.

( Kathleen Smith)

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

Jesus – No Ordinary Man!

  • In biology, he was born without
    normal conception.

    • In chemistry, he turned water to wine.

    • In physics, he disproved the law of
    gravity when he walked on water.

    • In economics, he fed 5,000 with two
    fishes and five loaves of bread.

    • In medicine, he cured the sick and
    the blind without administering a
    single dose of drugs.

    • In history, he is the beginning and the
    end.

    • In government, he is the Prince of
    Peace.

    • In religion, no one comes to the
    Father except through him.

    • Jesus is Lord. Of all things.

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Three Hymns

One Sunday a pastor told his congregation that the church needed some extra money and asked the people to prayerfully consider giving a little extra in the offering plate. He said that whoever gave the most would be able to pick out three hymns.

After the offering plates were passed, the pastor glanced down and noticed that someone had placed a $1,000 bill in offering. He was so excited that he immediately shared his joy with his congregation and said he’d like to personally thank the person who placed the money in the plate.

And there sat our Rosie all the way in the back shyly raised her hand. The pastor asked her to come to the front. Slowly she made her way to the pastor. He told her how wonderful it was that she gave so much and in thanksgiving asked her to pick out three hymns.

Her eyes brightened as she looked over the congregation, pointed to the three most handsome men in the building and said, “I’ll take him and him and him!”

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

 

Family Likenesses

A minister stood up before his congregation one Sunday morning with a big grin. “Four days ago,” he said, “I became a grandfather. And I am delighted to tell you that not only is he a very beautiful baby, but – he looks exactly like me!”

Many parents and grandparents have had the same thrill: the new arrival is going to grow up to look like them! The Bible has a lot to say about how God feels when we are born into his kingdom, his family.

Firstly, no human baby is brought into being because he/she decided that it wanted to exist. The baby was dependent on the parents’ decision.

And the same is true in the spiritual sphere. If you have any interest or faith at all in God, you may be sure that that in itself is a sign that he is calling to you. Secondly, when a human baby is born into a loving family, there is great rejoicing. The Bible tells us that there is great rejoicing in heaven every time anyone of us turns to God and asks Jesus to be our Saviour.

Thirdly, a human baby can do nothing to ‘gain’ life. All that baby has to do is to accept life, and begin to live. There is nothing you can do to ‘earn’ your salvation, you have to go through Jesus, and what he did for you on his death on the cross.

There is a fourth thing about babies. They grow up! They take on the language and behaviour of their family. Paul, writing in
Colossians, put it this way: “You used to walk in the way of sexual immorality, anger, … slander, and filthy language. But now you
have put on the new self, which is being renewed in you through the knowing your  creator. Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience….”

Sadly, we will never be perfect. All our lives, we will sin. But the Bible has two descriptions of sin. One verb in the Greek  refers to occasional actions. As long as we live, we will commit haphazard sins. But there is another tense of the verb to sin, and it refers to habitual, ongoing actions. If these are still ruling our lives, then we do not have the family likeness, we do not have God’s Spirit within us. We need to go back to new birth: by turning to Jesus Christ.

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

The Power of Prayer

“TO TRAVEL hopefully is a better thing than to arrive” wrote Robert Louis Stevenson.

The religious journey has something of this “feel” about it. It is not that spiritual goals are unimportant, of course, but the great blessing is really to know that you are travelling in the right direction. If this is true for individual pilgrimages, it applies to corporate situations too.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish,” it says in the book of Proverbs. Where there is no sense of direction in events, the same is true. How desperately we all try to see the right direction for the greater peace of what used to be Yugoslavia, but confusion and contumacy reign. In
Ireland over the years of the Troubles, direction has been lost in sectarian feuds and traditional but unquestioned religious hostility.

There was a sense of puzzlement throughout the nation on that Wednesday when interest rates went up and down in rapid but perplexing succession. Had we lost our economic sense of direction?

When we lose our way in both personal and corporate situations, we can experience a lostness and a meaninglessness that is devastating.

There was a time when Mary Magdalene found herself looking in the wrong direction. Her weeping eyes were focused on the tomb and her
missing Lord. Then she turned round and, looking in the other direction, she found herself face to face with the living Lord. This was a turning-point indeed for Mary.

One of the “eternal verities” is the belief that God’s grace and power can completely change the direction of lives.

“I met a man,” said the late and great Dr John White, referring to his encounter with Jesus. That was the secret of his robust conviction. The
vocabulary of faith includes words such as renewal, regeneration, redemption and reconciliation. They testify to the fact that, through grace, everything can change – aims, attitudes reactions, relationships, even indeed our whole philosophy of life.

Change is the action of God, but Jesus encouraged and indeed commanded his followers to contribute to the possibility  of change in people and in situations by importunate prayer.

“The prayer of a good man is powerfully effective,” said James, as is equally the prayer of a good woman.

No wonder St Paul says to the Thessalonians: “Pray without ceasing,” or Tennyson to us all, “More things are wrought by prayer. than this world dreams of.”

(Rev Dr Denis Duncan)

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey