I hardly dared breathe: the voice of Pilate’s Servant

I hardly dared take a breath as I continued about my work around the house, minding my own business, keeping my head down. I knew that things had been strained in the household, I had felt it.

I worked for the wife of the Governor, Pontius Pilate. I had been in post for many years when it happened and the mistress had shared many things with me. And that night, I remember, she shared her dreams and fears with me, as I share them with you now.

It was a few nights before that that the nightmares began – the same one every night.  She would wake up in a sweat and could hardly draw breath; her dreams were turning her into a nervous wreck.

The dreams were of Him, this Jesus character that had transformed the whole of Jerusalem, Jews and Romans alike. Some had changed for the better, some for the worse. And now my mistress’s dreams saw Him bound and beaten standing in front of her husband, who was to pass judgment on Him.

The man had eyes that bore into her very soul, she said. He was not angry, or full of hatred, in fact He stared at her and her husband with compassion and even love, not that she was very good at recognising that emotion.

The dream had warned her to stay away from this man, to leave him to the Jews, to do with him as they willed, but Pilate just had to get involved. He said that he had no choice, that the crowd were threatening him with going to Rome, to the Emperor. It could have meant losing everything.

The position, the power, and all that comes with that, the honour, the glory, the praise of Rome. But instead they lost even more than that, they lost their very selves.

Jesus came, just as the dream predicted, Pilate got involved, again as predicted. He tried to walk away, to wash his hands of the whole sordid affair, but it was too late by then, the die had already been cast.

Jesus was led away, stripped, whipped, and crucified, and for Pilate and my mistress, the real nightmare began.

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

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Jesus in the Temple: My New Video

What had happened that day?

How did this young travelling preacher change a man? A man in need, and a man in a bad place, a man who came into the temple searching for peace, but was only met with our disdain.

A man unclean, and yet Jesus met him and cared for him.

Healed him. Changed him. Loved him. And if I am honest I was changed too. I too wanted to be changed, wanted to be new, wanted to start again, hope again, live again. And Jesus, well He made all this possible.

To view and download my new video please click below:-

https://youtu.be/PVpgFFBY-u0

With many prayerful blessings

Geoffrey

For Thirty Pieces of Silver – the Voice of Judas

My name is Judas Iscariot and it is a name that will be remembered for centuries to come. I was there, you see, following Him, I was there when the crowds hailed Him as king and He made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey – let me tell you all about it.

We had spent three years playing at it, living as occupied people in an occupied land. The Romans dominated everything; we lived under their rule, but secretly we dreamed of regaining our homeland.

I joined a small group of freedom fighters, but our numbers were few, our weapons were fewer, and before long our enthusiasm began to fade. But then, about three years ago He arrived – Jesus of Nazareth. A carpenter by trade but He could really tell a story.

Somehow, He spoke with authority, crowds gathered around like bees to a honey pot, and they hung on his every word. Hope began to rekindle; maybe this was the man who would call us to arms, form us into an army, and reclaim our land, by force if we had to.

However, He had preached love and kindness, He had rebuked scribes and priests, He had eaten with tax collectors and sinners and healed on the Sabbath. I was beginning to doubt His qualifications, maybe He wasn’t the revolutionary I had hoped for after all.

But then… then I was surprised, as He turned His face towards Jerusalem, the city of our God and centre of our homeland. On the day we entered the city, the streets were lined with people, waving palms, shouting Hosannas and hailing Him as king. And I was there too; part of the throng, maybe it would happen after all, maybe this was the beginning.

 

 

The Romans looked on, spears in hand, just to make sure that the crowd did not overstep the mark. And He, He rode a donkey, not a white horse, like a king, or a war horse like an army general, but a donkey, plain and simple, placid and peaceful, what did this say?

I walked into the city with mixed feeling; half of me was full of excitement, maybe this was it – the beginning of the end for our oppressors. The other half was full of anger; perhaps revolution on my terms was not what Jesus planned.

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Spiritual Gifts

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led.

Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says, “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Holy Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

(1 Corinthians 12: 1-11)

Paul, when he writes to the church in Corinth, refers to the different kinds of spiritual gifts that are given for the common good.

These gifts are given by the Holy Spirit, just as He determines and according to His will. We must each wisely use the gifts that we have been given, so that together we may all help to build up the church of God.

Paul also refers to the importance of love when considering spiritual gifts. He mentions that prophecies will cease, tongues will be stilled and knowledge will pass away, but that love will never fail.

He also warns that our use of spiritual gifts will be adversely affected by a lack of love.

“And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains but have not love, I am nothing”.

(1 Corinthians 13: 2)

Therefore, may we use the gifts that we have been given, with a loving attitude, in order to give and receive the blessings in accordance to what God desires.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

(1 Corinthians 6: 19-20)

The Holy Spirit is able to produce miracles within our lives and in the world around us. He can act in both a powerful way and with gentleness. He is able to guide, instruct and lead us in all that we do and seeks for us to really know him and to develop our personal relationship with him.

When we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, our bodies become His temple and we should honour Him with acts and thoughts that are rigorous and holy.

If we are receptive and allow Him to work freely within our lives, we will begin to demonstrate fruits of the Spirit, which others will then notice, such as our peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control.

Let our lives bear witness to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, as we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, so that others may also experience His love.

(To order the Holy Spirit E-Book please click on the link below:-

http://www.godsholyspirit.net/ )

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

The Prophetic Wesley – my new kindle book

For me personally this book has definitely been a labour of love. Although I am a relative newcomer to Methodism, I have become deeply immersed in the historical aspect of Methodism, especially in the days of John Wesley (18th century) to the end of the 19th century.

I have a large number of books about John and Charles Wesley and about many of the early lay preachers, many of whom were itinerant. But none of the Wesley books include commemorative stamp covers!

Each stamped envelope has a card inside with appropriate information about the commemorative anniversary being celebrated.

In many instances I have added relevant information in my book to that which was already included on the original card insert.

I know that some of the material relating to the Wesleys will be fairly well known to many people reading this book but I suspect that there will be various Ministers and Lay Preachers of the 18th and 19th centuries, of which you may never have heard.

The Methodist Stamped Covers included in this book are only a relative small percentage of those now in my possession. And as time permits I hope to use many of them on the Methodist Philatelic Society web site. And, perhaps, in further kindle books too.

As far as I know this is the first (and, indeed, only) book to be published in any format about John Wesley based upon Commemorative stamp covers.

The Philatelic Wesley costs only $6.95 in kindle format.

For more information and to download your copy of our new kindle book please go to: –

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CJRGOWO

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Of all the gifts given to mankind by God, there is none greater than the presence of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit has many functions, roles, and activities. First, He works in the hearts of all people everywhere, throughout the entire world.

Jesus told the disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit into the world to “convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:7-11).

Everyone has a “God consciousness,” whether or not they admit it. The Holy Spirit applies the truths of God to minds of men to convince them by fair and sufficient arguments that they are sinners. Responding to that conviction brings men and women to salvation.

Once we are saved and belong to God, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts forever, sealing us with the confirming, certifying, and assuring pledge of our eternal state as His children.

Jesus said He would send the Holy Spirit to us to be our Helper, Comforter, and Guide. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever” (John 14:16).

The Greek word translated here “Helper” means “one who is called alongside” and has the idea of someone who encourages and exhorts. The Holy Spirit takes up permanent residence in the hearts of believers:-

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.

(Romans 8:9)

Jesus gave us the Spirit as some kind of “compensation” for His absence, to perform the functions for us which He would have done if He had remained personally with us here on earth.

Among those functions is that of the revealer of truth. The Holy Spirit’s presence within us enables us to understand and interpret God’s Word.

Jesus told His disciples that:-

“When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come”.

(John 16:13)

The Holy Spirit reveals into our minds the whole counsel of God as it relates to worship, doctrine, and Christian living. He is the ultimate guide, going before, leading the way, removing obstructions, opening the understanding, and making all things plain and clear.

He shows us the way we should go in all spiritual things. Without such a guide, we would be apt to fall into error. A crucial part of the truth He reveals is that Jesus is who He said He is:-

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the father, the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.”

(John 15: 26)

The Holy Spirit convinces us of Christ’s deity and incarnation, that he was the Messiah, His suffering and death, His resurrection and ascension, His exaltation at the right hand of God, and His role as the judge of all. He gives glory to Christ in all things:-

“He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine, and declare it to you.”

(John 16:14)

Another one of the Holy Spirit’s roles is that of gift-giver. 1 Corinthians 12 describes the spiritual gifts given to believers in order that we may function as the body of Christ on earth. All these gifts, both great and small, are given by the Spirit so that we may be His ambassadors to the world, showing forth His grace and glorifying Him.

The Holy Spirit also functions as fruit-producer in our lives. When He indwells us, He begins the work of harvesting His fruit in our lives — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

(Galatians 5: 22-23)

These are not works of our flesh, which is incapable of producing such fruit, but they are products of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives.

The knowledge that the Holy Spirit of God has taken up residence in our lives, that He performs all these miraculous functions, that He dwells with us forever, and that He will never leave or forsake us is cause for great joy and comfort.

Thank God for this precious gift—the Holy Spirit and His work in our lives!

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

A Story for Palm Sunday

Rebekah and Simon were helping their mother unpack the special food that she’d bought at the market for their Passover meal later in the week. The fruit and nuts smelt delicious, and the children could hardly wait for Thursday night to come.

Suddenly their dad stood up and hurried to the window. ‘What are those men doing with our donkey?’ he said. Flinging open the door, he yelled out to the people outside, ‘Who said you could untie that animal? Bring it back right now!’

Rebekah could just hear their reply: ‘It’s all right. The Lord needs it. You’ll have your donkey back by the end of the day.’

‘The Lord? You mean Jesus of Nazareth? Is he in town again?’

‘Yes, he’ll be in Jerusalem for Passover. He’s going up there now, just to have a look around.’

‘Well, OK, take the donkey, of course. But tell Jesus to be gentle with her. She’s never been ridden before.’

‘Can you imagine Jesus doing her any harm?’ laughed the man. ‘See you later.’

Simon and Rebekah looked at each other. They’d heard amazing stories about Jesus of Nazareth, but they’d never seen him for real. ‘Can we go?’ Simon asked, breathlessly.

‘What, with the donkey?’ said their mother. ‘Yes, I suppose so. If we trust Jesus with her, I guess we can trust him with you. Hurry up, then. They’ll be gone!’

The children skipped out of the house and ran to catch up with the two men. It was a bit of a walk up the hill to where Jesus himself was waiting, on the Mount of Olives. Simon and Rebekah hung back when they saw him, feeling shy, but Jesus said, ‘You’ve brought some friends, then, Philip?’ and held out his hands to them.

Before long, the children felt as if they’d known him for ever. They watched as Jesus stroked their donkey’s head and sat carefully on her back. Then the whole party—Jesus on the donkey, his twelve disciples, Simon and Rebekah—set off down the other side of the hill, towards Jerusalem.

As they walked down the stony road, more children caught sight of the little procession and ran to join it. A few grown-ups came over to see what the children were doing, and when they saw Jesus, they tagged on to the group as well. By the time they reached the valley and started climbing yet another hill, crowds of people were starting to gather by the side of the road.

Suddenly, Simon heard someone call out, ‘The prophecy! Remember the prophecy! Our king is coming to us, riding on a donkey! He’s the king, the Son of David!’ At once, a great shout went up: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Hosanna to the King of kings!’

People reached up to the tall palm trees round about and ripped off whole branches, waving them in the air as they sang praises to God. Others threw their coats on the ground to make a soft carpet for the little donkey to walk on, and everyone was dancing and cheering.

Rebekah loved parties, and she didn’t want this one ever to end. But then she looked up and gasped as she caught a first sight of the great city of Jerusalem, its whitewashed buildings shining in the sunlight. ‘Wow! I never realised how beautiful it is,’ she whispered.

At last they were at the gate to the city. Jesus climbed down from the donkey and handed her back to Simon. ‘Thank your parents for lending her to me,’ he said. Rebekah pulled on his sleeve. ‘Are you really going to be our king?’ she asked.

Jesus put his hand on her head and smiled. ‘One day very soon,’ he said, and walked through the gate into the jostling crowd.

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey