Another one bites the dust….

So…Dr. Who the Conqueror of the Daleks loses all courage and joins the list of T.V. “dramas” that cower before the Politically Correct Brigade. The Doctor’s new assistant is openly gay. Can you believe it was Headline News tonight in the U.K., sharing the limelight with what Donald Tusk had to say? Of course the new series is being presented as being brave rather than boringly predictable. Joining the bandwagon late when it has already been rolling for a while takes no backbone. I guess it is only a matter of time before we have a politically correct remake of “Lassie” or “King Kong” or “The invisible Man.” “Spiderman” and “Superman” may be relegated to some deep vault as unsuitable material for public consumption. Not sure about “Popeye the Sailor Man.” “Swiss Family Robinson” will presumably have to go as well because of its doctrinaire version of family life.
A sad day for story writing and telling: a sad day for children that family programmes are now hijacked by an agenda. Not surprising, for Political Correctness worships itself and its own cause. It is irredeemably narcissistic. (Have you ever tried to challenge a narcissist? If you have tried, you will have met a rage second to none and may even have been on the receiving end of violence.) Political Correctness is a self appointed god and saviour which cares not one jot about asking questions about human well being. One day the agendas within the Kingdom of P.C. will clash and it will dissolve into civil war. A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. Political Correctness inevitably paves the way for a new dictatorship of one hue or another.
“…watching while sanity dies,
touched by the madness and lies
Come, Lord Jesus, come, Lord Jesus,
Pour out Your Spirit we pray.
Come, Lord Jesus, come, Lord Jesus,
Pour out Your Spirit on us today.

God Bless


Has God’s Word failed?

The conclusion of a conversation Morag and I were having this morning:

God’s Word never fails. Its promises are true through and through, like purest silver refined seven times. God’s Word never returns to Him void but accomplishes that for which it is sent forth.

Here’s the thing though: The teaching of man can fail us when it is the teaching of man and at variance with the unfailing trustworthiness of the Word of God. The fact that it comes from a pulpit or a conference lectern does not enable it to escape that powerlessness. That is why the charismatic scene and to a lesser extent the evangelical scene can sometimes be filled with disappointed people. (The liberal scene causes less problems in this regard because it never leads anyone to expect anything from God anyway – at best he is a God whose presence and activity is hidden, which sort of stacks the cards in favour of expecting nothing in the first place!) The teaching and programmes of man are presented as though they were the Word of God: folk  sincerely follow the teaching to the letter, but they find that often, “It doesn’t work.”

Perhaps you have followed through a course that offered you all sorts of victories in the Christian life and it didn’t work; perhaps you are part of a church leadership team that followed through an evangelistic programme or a mission programme that gave very disappointing results despite the expectation raised by the advertising blurb and glossy and persistent marketing that eventually wore down your resistance and your better judgement. Sadly I met so many Christians in the course of being a parish minister or through some of the wider ministry the Lord seemed to call me to, who were quite simply suffering through being squeezed into the mincer of some Christian sausage machine that failed to meet individuals as individuals and only offered a pre-formatted programme as the route to “more.” Over the years people have occasionally tried the sausage machine approach on me when ministering to me in one setting or another. I don’t bear any animosity to those who have treated me that way, who  made me feel I was being turned into some sort of performing monkey that must dance to their tune or school of thought, but it did feel wrong and it made me sad that trust was abused and people, me included, were turned into fodder for a method.

Has your faith floundered on the authoritative sounding teaching of a man or woman? Well, it is maybe good that it has, even if the disappointment was hard to bear. It may drive you back to saying to the Lord Himself, “Show me Thy ways, O Lord. Teach me thy paths.

If you are a preacher, make sure you are not fundamentalist in your allegiance to any given school of thought or theology, for no person including those to whom we owe much in the Lord  is without fault in what they say, including theologians who have an “ism” attached to their name from times past, or a multi-million ministry in terms of money or followers today! I pray you will have a commitment to study hard to  truly divide the Word of truth. Don’t offer the teaching of another human being to people as though it were the bread of life: offer it in very small doses that genuinely back up the Living Word of God.

Forgive me too, if I add one more thought (I know these blogs can sound arrogant as though there is no one right but me! That is not my heart. I believe time is short and the days are evil and we need to make the most of opportunities we have. If I throw a lot of my own experience into your lap, it comes from a desire to see the lost saved, the saved filled, the sick healed, the oppressed set free and the Word of the Lord coming in power more so than I have ever seen yet, or any of us have ever seen yet. At most I can speak from a background of a very ordinary ministry blessed with partial fruitfulness not all of which may pass the test of Judgement Day ).When I was preaching regularly I had an inbuilt filter  or two through which at times unconsciously but at other times very deliberately I passed what I was planning to say in a sermon.

The first filter was that I thought of someone who had known horrendous abuse and all that flows from that to damage living, trusting etc. I would ask myself if what I was planning to say not only honoured the Word of God but honoured life stories like that. Albeit the Word of God itself accomplishes that for which it is sent forth, was the way I was thinking of presenting it going to create a needless blockage: was it  a thoughtless presentation that would set up obstacles to hearing?

The other filter for me personally, is that of Christian leaders  and Christian believers all of whom  ministered and lived out their Christian witness against a background  of persecution; I met them at a conference. Trite methods promoted in self-confident sounding programmes seemed so hollow to me when I was in that setting for two or three weeks. I think of them often. It was a life changing experience that affected how I present the Word of God: would what I am preaching hold any water at all in the lands these dear people came from?

Fellow ministers, I hope you might set some filters for yourself that will help you present the Word of God in a thoughtful empathetic way, otherwise the Word of God can become a tool in the hand of the enemy to wound hope or faith; the road to recovery can be a long one.

God Bless


P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

For someone who knows they are out of their depth…

This morning a memory came back of trying to get back to the shore when I was swimming. It took real effort. OK I know it is not wise, but sometimes I like to push things. For example, I like to stand at the edge of cliffs or the very edge of a pier even on a stormy day, or drive slightly faster than I should in some circumstances. Yes, OK, OK, please don’t lecture me… I find it great FUN! Mmm…sometimes I fear I come across a lot of very serious Christians who have forgotten how to have fun, but that is for another blog.

On this occasion, I knew I had gone slightly out of my depth but felt all would be well, that nothing would happen that I could not cope with. However, either the tide changed or I hit a current. Very suddenly I was carried out further than I wanted to go. I don’t want to over dramatise the memory, but it was a struggle to get back in to safer waters. What I thought might take me about 5 minutes took about 15 or 20 minutes. Actually if that happened today, I would not have the lung power or physical fitness to get back into safer waters. That is a thought that just came this very second…quite sobering.

All I know is that particular memory came as I thought about whether I should or should not write a blog today. There is no reason why I should be remembering that incident as far as I can work out.  So I am wondering if this is a word for someone who will read this blog?

Perhaps you knew you were crossing a line; skirting close to the edge of the will of God, you crossed the line and now you are finding it difficult to get back. It is as though something not under your control has carried you out further than you ever meant to go when you took that step that day or that night. I guess it can happen to churches, congregations, denominations as well for that matter. However, I get the sense this is for very personal or individual application. Did you cross a line you set for yourself; “I will allow myself to do this, perhaps this, but definitely not that. I will draw the line there!” You crossed the line you drew. One of the most fearfully sobering verses in the bible is the one that tells us that Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom. That was the start, the first step, the first crossing of a line  in what would become  a sordid story in which Lot’s soul was tormented day after day, a story in which others of his family suffered in a dreadful and shameful way.

Call upon Christ. You cannot save yourself. You will keep breaking new boundaries you thought you never  would. We are not as in charge of ourselves as we like to think. Christ is merciful.

Souls in danger look above
Jesus completely saves
He will lift you by his love
Out of the angry waves
But the master of the sea
Billows His will obey
He your Saviour wants to be
Be saved today!

Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me.
Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me.

May you reach safe waters once more by the mercy of Christ. In these waters you will be out of your depth in the love of God.

God Bless


P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

Why could we not…?

You can take it as fact that Thomas Chalmers believed in the Sovereignty of God when it comes to a person’s salvation. That makes this incident from his life all the more salutary.

Chalmers was lodging over night in an inn. The Lord told him to speak to the innkeeper about his soul. Thomas Chalmers reasoned the time was not opportune to do that. The Lord said again that he was to speak to the innkeeper about his soul. Again, Chalmers felt the time was not opportune. Through the night he heard a commotion going on below his room. He got up, looked out his window and saw the innkeeper being carried out in a coffin. Chalmers response was this. “The time was opportune, but I missed it.”

There is always a danger that we push a truth to the point where it becomes an error. When Jesus was asked by his disciples why they could do nothing for a demonised boy, He  did not say, “It is just the will of God that we have to accept.” He delivered the boy. He then explained the reason behind the disciples’ inability, presumably  in order that should they meet the same situation again, they would know what to do.

The fact that I remain unhealed despite many prayers of many pray-ers does not rob me of hope that I may be healed this side of a coming eternity where of course we shall all be fully healed without question. There may be a reason that I or someone needs to see that has not been seen yet. I say that without meaning to put any pressure upon myself or on anyone who prays for me. I am using myself as an example of the truth I am trying to put over: It is too easy at times to say, “It is the will of God.” There was a “because” as to why the disciples could not help the boy that Jesus could help.

Or let me put it another way. If talk about “the will of God” is sometimes pushed too far by conservative evangelicals to the point it bestows beauty and piety upon laziness and spiritual presumption,  the truth of the “Already here but not yet Kingdom of heaven” (a precious truth to charismatics in terms of  our theology of signs and wonders happening or not happening), can be pushed in error to the same result: it is easy to push the “not yet” part of that truth to the  place where again spiritual laziness takes too much yardage of comfort from the “not yet” and stops seeking for the action of God.

Is it time to seek afresh rather than settle where you may have settled? Is it time to stop hiding behind “the will of God” or “the already here but not yet Kingdom”?

I guess I am saying something very simple as someone who believes in the Sovereignty of God and  the presence of the coming Kingdom dawning now: I have this feeling indeed a belief  that more people are meant to be saved in Scotland than is happening, though I rejoice in the stream of salvations I hear about. I also think more people are meant to experience healing or deliverance than we are hearing about – I mean real healing not just claimed healing, and real deliverance rather than simply an emotional experience in a hyped up atmosphere.

Is it time to eat humble pie and come together to Jesus who is still our Teacher by His Word and Spirit and ask, “Why could we not…?”

God Bless


P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

A really short prophetic word for you….

OK then: a really short blog!

I know we know that faith without works is dead. I am glad that there is a general acknowledgement that part of serving Christ is bringing compassion and practical help in His name to situations of need and that on Judgement Day the one who has been appointed to judge the world will say, “In as much as you did unto one of the least of these etc.” and “In as much as you did it not unto… etc.” Nonetheless, I found these words of Henri Nouwen in “Clowning in Rome” hit me and held on to me. I think there is wisdom and prophetic warning here: I felt a fear for “the Church of today,” if I can use that broad phrase.

“It might be that by de-emphasising solitude in favour of the urgent needs of our world we have endangered the very basis of our lives as Christian witnesses.” (Clowning in Rome, published by D.L.T. 2001, page 12.)

I will resist all urge to say why I think these are important words to consider. Think them through on a personal level, on a congregational level or even on a wider level….

…well, I can’t resist the urge to say this: if sermons this coming Sunday just move people to get more involved with need, rather than resulting in people spending time alone with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, then perhaps they will have been dangerous or damaging sermons, if you know what I mean. Sincere listeners may suffer and so may our communities and parishes. Nouwen says that without that solitude we can never be effective builders or enablers  of true community.. why he says that would stop the promise of this being a short blog! It’s for another day…

God Bless


P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

Thanks Professor Best!

I was sharing my testimony not long ago and thought afterwards that it is strange how God uses incidents or remarks that seem of little or any significance to further His good will for our lives.

In 1979 I was in a New Testament class. There was a bit of a battle going on between some of the evangelical students and the lecturer, Professor Ernest Best. At one point he dropped a comment, which I think was probably deliberately provocative: “The trouble with you evangelicals is you don’t actually read what the bible says!” Well, if it was intended to inflame things, it did!

Back at home that evening, I thought of the Professor’s remarks. I decided as best I could to read the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles as though I had never heard them before or heard anyone teaching on the material. The result of that was I became a Pentecostal at least in belief though not at that point by experience; but then it is not experience that is to be the guide to doctrine, but the Word of God. So thanks to Professor Best, I ended up believing that there was a Baptism in the Holy Spirit, distinct from conversion, though they could happen at the same time; believing too that the gifts of the Spirit are for now, not just then. The bible let me see that I had to let go of the many versions of “These things are for special times or special people” that I had heard over the years.

Come to think of it, I had always believed that these things are for all God’s people in every age since starting to read the bible after my conversion at  a Scripture Union Camp. Scripture Union taught me to read the bible every day, which I tried to do. I saw the ministry of Jesus, read about Pentecost, saw the life of the early church but somehow picked up the impression that was for then and not for now. I didn’t really understand that, but I trusted the genuinely godly people that told me so.

However, the fire of desire for Pentecost never went out and within a short while of my conversion I started seeking for the life that I read of in the early believers. If I remember rightly, I had begun to flag in keeping believing for this and seeking for this. Professor Best’s remark and a fresh reading of the bible relit the fire, the hunger. I had begun to think, “Ah well, maybe I was wrong, maybe this is not for me…” but now sought with a fresh hunger a fresh thirst… and discovered what I saw as a baby Christian was indeed true.

It is amazing what we see when we put aside what we have been taught to believe and read the bible with an open mind and the eyes of a child of God. Sometimes it is a real challenge and creates a tension. However as I said earlier, as those who believe the bible is the Word of God and not any particular theological system, our approach should be to ask God to lift us up into what the bible actually says rather than make the bible fit our experience or lack of experience.

Morag has just asked me if I was wrting a blog, which I confirmed to be the case. She then asked what it was about and my reply was, “I don’t really know yet. I won’t know until it is done!” So now that this blog is nearly done, I am wondering, “What am I saying?” Am I saying that if you read the bible as openly as I did as a theology student you will all become Pentecostals. Well, I was going to write, “No of course I am not saying that…” which would make this blog more comfortable reading, but come to think of it, you know what? Yes, I want us all to become Pentecostals by conviction and experience, and I want to be more Pentecostal than I have ever been. There is always more! What blasphemy to believe we experience all there is to experience of God the moment we were converted.

Friend, will you read  in the gospels about the ministry of Jesus Himself, all that He began to do and to teach and then read on to what He continued to do and to teach through his chosen Apostles? You and I are part of that ongoing story of Jesus. I want more of the overflow of the Holy Spirit that happened around Him and around the Apostles for me, even if you are happy with where you are.  Maybe I am writing this blog to myself more than anyone. Whatever it is saying to you, it is saying to me, “It is time to seek the Lord.” I sense “deep calling unto deep” in my own spirit and pray that some of you at least may sense the same.

By the way if you want to make comments against this, please don’t waste your time. Get your own blog page. For me this is too precious a truth for debate. Oh don’t get me wrong, I love a good debate and fight about things, fuelled by an arrogance that I am of course right! However,  that is my flesh more often than not and rarely of the Spirit. If some stop reading this blog, well God bless you as you do that, just don’t join the angry folk who speak one way or other about all of this or read their unedifying and at times dishonest web sites. It won’t profit you at all. These sites will just put you further out of fellowship with part of the body of Christ, the part that you think is wrong, the part which Jesus loves as much as those circles you feel comfortable in.

Oh that someone may get on their knees as a result of this blog. Just your agreeing with anything I say, or disagreeing with anything I say is not why I write. I write in the hope that from time to time someone even to their own surprise  will start to seek the Living God of the Bible with Jacob like tenacity: “I will not let you go unless you bless me!”

I am basically a Calvinist by theology, though not where he or his followers disagree with the Scriptures as best as I can humbly and honestly understand them. However, I really do believe that each one of us is as close to God and as full of the life of God as we have chosen.

God bless


P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

Jesus can’t do that…

Sometimes I regret the way that salvation is presented; it can sound as though a loving Jesus saves us from an angry Father, that The Father and The Son have different hearts toward us, or a different attitude toward human sin. Listen, God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are One God in every way toward us! The love of Jesus that embraced the cross for our salvation is the love of the Father that gave His only son for us, a love the Spirit wants to make real in the deepest place of each one of us, until  we are released from all deception about God or ourselves and cry out “Abba, Father!”  God is One God in Himself and One God in the life of a believer.

Friend of Jesus: there is one thing Jesus cannot help you to do this day: He cannot help you to move against The Father’s will for you. From all eternity as Son of God He said what He has said in human flesh, once subject to weakness and now risen and glorified: “Your will Father!” He says that for Himself still; He prays it for you and for all His friends this day.  Neither can any experience of the Holy Spirit, whatever we may call it, help you to move out of the will of God. Even when the will of God was most difficult for God’s Son to embrace, this is what the Scriptures say:  “By the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.” (Hebrews 9 verse 14, NLT)

May the same Jesus by the power of the same eternal Spirit, strengthen  you and I this day to walk in the Father’s good and wise will…or even to return and embrace that will if that is what we need to do.

I have mentioned Struthers Church before in this blog, a church which blessed me in my past and still blesses me today. When I went there as  a student for the Church of Scotland ministry  about 38 years ago, there was a chorus of a hymn that was often sung.  It still has a powerful effect when I think of it:

Sweet will of God, still fold me closer
Til I am wholly lost in Thee
Sweet will of God, still fold me closer
Til I am wholly lost in Thee

God bless


P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

What is your chief complaint?

Hark, my soul, it is the Lord!
’Tis thy Saviour, hear His Word;
Jesus speaks, and speaks to thee,
Say, poor, sinner, lovest thou Me?

“I delivered thee when bound,
And, when bleeding, healed thy wound;
Sought thee wandering, set thee right,
Turned thy darkness into light.

“Can a woman’s tender care
Cease toward the child she bare?
Yes, she may forgetful be,
Yet will I remember thee.

“Mine is an unchanging love,
Higher than the heights above,
Deeper than the depths beneath,
Free and faithful, strong as death.

Thou shalt see My glory soon,
When the work of grace is done;
Partner of My throne shalt be:
Say, poor sinner, lovest thou Me?

Lord, it is my chief complaint
That my love is weak and faint;
Yet I love Thee, and adore:
O for grace to love Thee more!

William Cowper

P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

God willing….

Well,  this past weekI have been asked to speak at 3 different places at various points in the coming weeks and months. Each invitation has been couched in the same terms: “Even if you only speak for 10 or 20 minutes and even if at the last moment you can’t come because of your health, that is fine.” Well, that suits me and not just because of health issues. It sounds like these places are open to God. If I turn up, praise God. If I don’t, praise God anyway! If I can preach a sermon of my usual length, praise God! If I have to stop after 10 minutes, praise God (perhaps even with added thankfulness all round)! I sort of like that.

…and something else is on my mind leading on from that. When I was a young Christian, I used to hear the old saints of God saying after announcing something they were planning to do, “God Willing.” That seems to have gone out of fashion a bit now and yet the Word of God says that is what we should say when we are talking about our plans. I suppose it is about humility, which is maybe out of fashion nowadays as well, even in the church. Time to forget about spiritual fashion and  agree with the timeless Word of God? Yes! Why not slip the concept of the will of God into conversation this week, whether you are speaking to a believer or a non believer? “If the Lord wills..” It might break an awful spirit of presumption that seems to abound in the plan-making of Christians and it might help a non-believer begin to think that there is a God whom they are perhaps ignoring, to whose will  they are giving no meaningful place in their lives.

God bless


P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

Uch! See those bleating sheep…!

“The bible is full of contradictions” say those who have not read it so they don’t have to!

Well, there are actually contradictions in the bible, most notably the contradictions of the human heart. These words from Jeremiah 6.16 (N.L.T) were in my readings today:

This is what the LORD says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’

I knew well the “Stop at the Crossroads, ask for the ancient paths  etc.” part of the verse but had somehow forgotten the response that follows: “No, that is not the road we want!” My thoughts then went on to these words of Jesus from Luke 5:39 (N.L.T.)

But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘ The old is just fine,’ they say.

As I thought of these different verses, I remembered a remark Bishop David Pytches made across the lunch table at New Wine in Shepton Mallet, for no apparent reason; I guess I must have been looking or sounding frazzled from ministry:

Who would be a leader, Kenny ?

I was at a church not long ago which stands for the ancient paths, for  godly, but vibrant  and relevant and Spirit filled ways. The blessing of God is flowing there. I heard the leader say to younger members who had expressed some level of dissatisfaction about their church, “I mean what do you want me to do for you? Do you want me to turn cartwheels?”

More recently I was at a church where the congregation was being encouraged into new things, new kingdom ventures in the Holy Spirit. One could sense that not everyone would embrace the new ventures with enthusiasm. Many congregations prefer to “stick with the old wine/ways.”

It can be a frustrating thing being a leader, you know. Jesus put it like this in Matthew Chapter 11:

To what can I compare this generation? It is like children playing a game in the public square. They complain to their friends, ‘We played wedding songs, and you didn’t dance, so we played funeral songs, and you didn’t mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’”

There are about five bits of advice I have kept in mind for the last few decades as a church leader. One of them comes from Rodney Howard Browne; “Sheep bleat. That’s ok! It does them no harm. It’s what sheep do”

So if you are a leader who this very day  under the guidance of God called the sheep back to the old ways or into New Kingdom Life, well done whatever you were doing. If there was some bleating in the response, well it’s what sheep do. Don’t let the bleating depress you. Pray, lead and keep going! Try and not let the bleating spoil your Sunday lunch or intrude into your family time or invade your sleep.

If on the other hand you are a sheep (and for some reason these days it is difficult to find sheep who don’t think they should be leaders or shepherds), is God calling you to the ancient paths, or to new ventures in His Kingdom in the enabling power of the Holy Spirit or to both? I hope it is both as you can’t really have one without the other, or so it seems to me.

God bless


P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

For everyone who reads it…but maybe for you in particular…

Today I am looking at a friendship bracelet made for me by someone who suffered horrendously for years at the hands of another person. She gave a bracelet to myself and one to my wife Morag.  Mine has just been restrung due to loss of muscle mass associated with my illness and its treatment and the side effects of both: fresh on today, it caught my eye and attention. When they were first given to us, these bracelets were a sign that after meeting with her quite a few times pastorally this person was beginning to trust us – actually she literally did not believe she was a person when we first met, so deep was the damage done to her.

I am thinking of the challenge/command/need to forgive those who have wronged us. Sooner or later as followers of Christ most of us have to face up to the issue of forgiving someone who has wronged us, perhaps wronged us personally or wronged those we love. It is an issue of obedience, part of following a Saviour crucified for us. However let’s not talk about forgiveness in a trite and insensitive way or in harsh, demanding or legalistic tones. To do so is to increase the abuse…

…and something else is on my mind now that I think of it. The fact that you forgive totally from the heart does not mean the wrong done to you does not continue to hurt.

…. and something else…the fact that you forgive someone does not mean that your relationship with them is unaltered by the wrong they did to you or your loved ones. “To continue the relationship unaltered” may be the devil’s way of making you think that forgiveness is an impossible, cruel and unreasonable demand; such a misunderstanding holds many back from the freedom that a true offering of genuine forgiveness really brings.

….and something else…to press the point of that last paragraph a bit more…I think God wants someone who reads this to stop being tortured by a misunderstanding of forgiveness. You need to be sure what God is requiring of you by His grace and be equally sure of what He is not demanding of you.

….and as I said often when preaching, “finally, finally”…true forgiveness from the heart is one of the most difficult things you may ever have to do. Remember though, that when Jesus is resident in you by the Holy Spirit, His commands become possibilities;  an invitation out of captivity into life in all its fullness; a promise of what can be; an offer of His help. You may even find when you forgive from the heart your physical health not to mention your emotional, mental and spiritual health will improve. It is not unknown in my experience as a minister to see someone forgiving a wrong and being healed instantaneously the very next second.

God bless you


Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

When I hear Dr. R.T. Kendall teaching the bible or think back to amazing conferences where the late  Rev. Jim Graham did the same,  I think for a few moments of giving up bible teaching… and then get over it. When I think of the Rev George B. Duncan who was my minister following my conversion I think I may as well give up preaching…and get over it and continue preaching. When I read the poems of Norman Macaig or the poetry  or short stories of George Mackay Brown I am embarrassed that I ever think I have written anything one could call “a poem”: their poems and mine seem to be from different planets in terms of skill and beauty. Well, sooner or later I recover from that self deprecating way of thinking: Pavarotti may have been a great tenor but it does not mean that no other singing is worth listening to or for that matter that we should shoot every crow!

To that list of humbling experiences I would add this: when I read anything by Henry Drummond, who was a Scottish 19th. Century biologist and evangelist, I think I may as well give up trying to express anything to do with the Christian faith!  When I read his writings I am not sure if I even have a brain! I want to share with you some of his words, words which I could never have written given a month of Sundays.

Before you read what follows, I want to in invite you to shut your eyes, read the text from Revelation in the title of this blog;  now shut your eyes and think of  the life to come. What images fill your mind? If you don’t  cooperate and play along with me here  and do this before reading on, you won’t get the full impact of Henry Drummond’s words. NOW, ONLY IF YOU HAVE PLAYED ALONG THUS FAR, compare what you have seen, thought or felt, with these words of Henry Drummond (Oh well, I tried to help you get the most out of this blog! Some of you won’t have  paused and played along but will go straight on and read H.D’s words anyway.. I hope you still get an appropriate sense of  impact and even of shock!)

“By far the most original thing here is the simple conception of Heaven as a City. The idea of religion without a Church– “I saw no Temple therein”–is anomalous enough; but the association of the blessed life with a City–the one place in the world from which Heaven seems most far away– is something wholly new in religious thought. No other religion which has a Heaven ever had a Heaven like this. The Greek, if he looked forward at all, awaited the Elysian Fields; the Eastern sought Nirvana. All other Heavens have been Gardens, Dreamlands – passivities more or less aimless. Even to the majority among ourselves Heaven is a siesta and not a City. It remained for John to go straight to the other extreme and select the citadel of the world’s fever, the ganglion of its unrest, the heart and focus of its most strenuous toil, as the framework for his ideal of the blessed life…

The Heaven of Christianity is different from all other Heavens, because the religion of Christianity is different from all other religions. Christianity is the religion of Cities. It moves among real things. Its sphere is the street, the market-place, the working-life of the world…
….with actual things, with Humanity in its everyday dress, with the traffic of the streets, with gates and houses, with work and wages, with sin and poverty, with these things, and all the things and all the relations and all the people of the City, Christianity has to do and has more to do than with anything else. To conceive of the Christian religion as itself a thing, a something which can exist apart from life; to think of it as something added on to being, something kept in a separate compartment called the soul, as an extra accomplishment like music, or a special talent like art, is totally to misapprehend its nature. It is that which fills all compartments….Take away people, houses, streets, character, and it ceases to be. Without these there may be sentiment, or rapture, or adoration, or superstition; there may even be religion, but there can never be the religion of the Son of Man.”

Happy consternation and revelation to you all.

God Bless


From about half past ten in the evening until half past midnight. Fire!

You will no doubt have heard the name Blaise Pascal. He was a genius mathematician and physicist, a staunch defender of the scientific method. Following on a recent blog on “Reasoning and Resting”  I came across something he said:

“If we submit everything to reason our religion will be left with nothing mysterious or supernatural. If we offend the principles of reason our religion will be absurd and ridiculous.” Mmmm… worth thinking about.

Reading that quote reminded me of the note he wrote that was found by Pascal’s friends after he died. It was  sewn into his clothes and described in cryptic and yet undeniably  effulgent terms his encounter with God in Christ:

The year of grace 1654

Monday, 23 November…From about half past ten in the evening until half past midnight.

‘God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob,’ not of philosophers and scholars.
Certainty, certainty, heartfelt, joy, peace.
God of Jesus Christ.
God of Jesus Christ.
My God and your God.
‘Thy God shall be my God.’
The world forgotten, and everything except God.
He can only be found by the ways taught in the Gospels.
Greatness of the human soul.
‘O righteous Father, the world had not known thee, but I have known thee.’
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.
I have cut myself off from him.
They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters.
‘My God wilt thou forsake me?’
Let me not be cut off from him for ever!
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.’
Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.
I have cut myself off from him, shunned him, denied him, crucified him.
Let me never be cut off from him!

I love reading this type of story. However I equally love hearing conversion stories that seem very quiet and undramatic, such as that of Lydia described in the book of Acts. All we know is that as Paul preached the Lord opened Lydia’s heart to what was being said. So simple and much more like my own experience as a 13 year old; the Lord just opened my heart to what I was hearing from the bible at a Scripture Union Camp. Every birth is precious and unique.

You know what? The story of your conversion is exactly the way it should have been. Let’s be thankful and let’s remember there is more of God and His Kingdom for all of us to explore and discover now and for an eternity to come! If your story has been full of drama maybe you need to remember that sometimes God is not in the earthquake, the wind or the fire but in the still small voice or the sound of  complete silence. If you always have heard God in the still small voice way, remember that in the bible He can indeed be in the earthquake, wind and fire.

If you wish to why not pray, “Lord, come to me afresh.”? That way, you are leaving it open to Him whether He draws near in familiar ways in ways that are new to you.

Even as I say that, I am thinking of our beloved guinea pigs who were part of our household in Thurso. On their second birthday we found one of them to be unwell – a huge lump had appeared. I could only think of 2 options: either the vet would suggest we put her down, or he would maybe let the two guinea pigs have their birthday celebration and then put her down! Neither seemed a particularly good birthday choice. As it was, the vet managed to sort the problem out, an option somehow I had never thought of. I will not go into the details as they are not exactly pleasant! On the way home with the now healed guinea pig, I do believe God spoke to me. He simply said, “Kenny, you looked at the situation and could see Option A or Option B. I am God: I can look a the same situation and see Option  A,B,C,D,E,F,G,……X,Y,Z  and beyond!” I arrived home humbled. the guinea pig arrived home healthy. And we were all happy. (Hope the preachers are impressed by the alliteration there!)

There is more than option A or B when it comes to God meeting us: more than the choice between a quiet or dramatic encounter, even though we may not be able to work out what other options there may be apart from those two!  Best just to say, “Lord, come to me afresh” and leave it to God to choose from His infinite range of options how He answers that.

By the way, if you have to wait for Him to answer, well that is a good thing. Waiting in the doctors surgery can be frustrating, but it does remind us we are not in charge, much as we would like to be.

God bless


Reasoning and Resting….

What is on my mind? No doubt many things will flood it today, good and not so good. However I woke up rejoicing which can’t be a bad start to any day:
rejoicing at the complete unreasonableness of the love of God toward me;

rejoicing that reason only takes me so far in understanding my conversion; all I can say is God did it. It was not in my mind at all to be converted when I was…but I was;

rejoicing that my faith does not rest on reason but on the Word and power of God; after all we may lose our own reasoning powers one day. I lost mine when I was concussed once but my spirit was gloriously alive, exulting in God in the most joyful tongues I have ever spoken with in my whole Christian experience; I was partly rejoicing because of the discovery that when I was off my chump and not in sensible control of my own body or speech, my spirit was still in reality; it is the only part of me that was for a while! So I guess I had a reason to rejoice, but it was beyond reason too, wonderfully and gloriously so. I felt no need at all to explain myself to the confused and rather frightened on-looking doctor.  OK, for the nitpickers , I did fail to interpret for him. Actually, for the same nitpickers, it was not a tongue for interpretation if you must know, but this is all getting a bit technical and off target…

Oh it is not all completely unreasonable, this Christian thing. I can give you a reason for the hope that is in me, but I can never understand grace, the steadfast loving kindness of God towards rebels in these outlying parts of His Heavenly Kingdom, so infinitely far from His Throne where He is worshipped as the Holy Holy Holy God: grace made the incredible journey across the infinite gap “that He should give His Only Son to make a wretch his treasure!” “We may not know, we cannot tell what pains He had to bear, but we believe it was for us, He hung and suffered there.”

Very happy not to understand it all, that the reason for my hope may not make full sense to anyone I share it with. Their coming to faith is not going to rest ultimately on my persuasiveness but on the power of God.

So praise God for our minds. Part of the whole business of our minds being renewed is realising their reach is limited, that there are matters too high for us, before which we can rest in the arms of God, like a well-weaned child who could not even understand the concept of 2 plus 2 equalling 4.

God bless you with rest and joy this day, child of God.

By the way, God bless the apologists, we need them and their gifting, we need you and your gifting if you are one of them. However all gifts and strengths if unguarded become a weakness and can become our undoing, and the gift of being a persuasive apologist is no different from any other in this respect. C.S. Lewis says this in “The Great Divorce”:

“There have been men before … who got so interested in proving the existence of God that they came to care nothing for God himself… as if the good Lord had nothing to do but to exist. There have been some who were so preoccupied with spreading Christianity that they never gave a thought to Christ.”

May we never worry too much about appearing clever. After all, when it boils down to it, we  are bound to the folly and the weakness of the cross which in eternal terms, the only terms that will prevail, is the wisdom and the power of God.


Putting away the childish desire to be thought of as grown up!

“Making life worse for ‘them’ will make life better for ‘you’ (James O’Brien).”

This seems to be the way that countries are being run. Making life worse for the poor, for those on benefit, for single parents will  make life better for the rest of us, as will making things more difficult for  refugees and foreigners (U.K.). I can think of other versions for other places… “Making health care access difficult for the poor….”

Vilifying “them” is an easy option when you lack any positive policies and history shows it causes untold suffering to an extent that can only be properly described as a manifestation of evil.  After many have suffered, the truth usually comes out that it is the emperor himself who never had any clothes in the first place. It takes only the wisdom of a child usually to see through things and make the correct call as to the way  things really are for the spell to be broken that blinds more adult reasoning.

I love these words of C.S. Lewis:

Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

God bless


Sad… for God’s people….

In Revival there is no need to spend a brown penny on advertising. God does His own advertising.” (Duncan Campbell, near enough a quote!) Longing to see such days…. and not just saying that because I am a Scot! You can make many things a success in the world and in the church today by technology, planning, marketing, promotion and money. I was looking at a garden full of false grass a few days ago. Perhaps it is good enough to play on, but it would be cruel if we offered it to sheep instead of the real thing….. I am thinking of the words of C.S.leiws:

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

I feel sad that in the market aware church of today,  God’s people are being fleeced and short changed.  Little of God or nothing of God is dressed up as the latest “must have.” So often, I come away from a meeting or a conference,  even one thousands strong that I have led or spoken at or  been involved in feeling so sad that folk thought it was wonderful when by the measure of God’s presence or activity it was not.  It has been a good mud pool perhaps, but not the ocean.

Oh that we would long for a swim in a place where we could not sound the depth or feel the safety of edges; that we would not talk up  a stream into having the proportions of a river; that we could come to a state of honesty about the state of things; that we believed it was possible not to just sing about being “lost in wonder, love and praise” but to experience it.

By the way, I learned from our wonderful Landscaper, Gordon Robson and his equally wonderful  team of workers that it takes a huge amount more money to put down false grass than to prepare the ground for the real thing. Watching them at work though in our back garden sea of mud, at times it clearly takes huge effort to get ready for the real too. Yes, it would be easy not to bother and put down a few slabs on the edge of the mud instead ( as builders do)  and sit there in a deck chair until mud seems so normal, we forget about grass and flowers and trees and….

God bless


Lions may roar but even the smallest of dogs can’t half bark !

I think this my most quoted biblical text in my blog even if I am taking it out of context a bit: I often consoled myself with it on a Saturday night anticipating preaching the following morning.

“Better to be a living dog than a  dead lion.” (Ecclesiastes 9:4)

I am so grateful that I have known lions  of the faith in my life time and read of many more from eras long gone. I have heard them roar magnificently in the pulpit and seen their fearlessness in leadership. I am so grateful for the meat with which they have fed me and the protection and safety I felt in their presence.  However many of them are no longer in this world. At least I am still alive. I may not have the impressive roar of a lion, but I can still bark a bit and make a sound or two for Jesus and if you are reading this, so can you. So make that sound!

Remember though that  when we go beyond giving honour where honour is due and make our lions our idols, well, all our idols have feet of clay.

God bless




I have known what might be referred to as signs and wonders now and then. Here’s my thoughts:

Transportationfrom one place to another in a moment of time: interesting.

Deliverance: interesting, but a bit predictable when it has happened two or three times.

Being slain in the Spirit: very thankful indeed.

Seeing gold dust and oil: beautiful, wish it would happen again.

Other signs and wonders: intriguing.

You know what? Take all signs and wonders tand put them together  and they are not as wonderful, as stunning, as runaway fascinating or desireable as the Lord Jesus Christ. He really is the fairest of ten thousand, the lily of the valley, the bright and morning star. He alone is the bread the soul longs for when it is awakened from spiritual death unto life.

Oh that He might be honoured, seen, presented, sought this coming Lord’s Day. Oh that He might be preached and presented to men and women, children and youths and not simply the preacher’s knowledge of Hebrew, Greek, Classics, the issues of the day. Oh that some may be surprised by a voice and look to see who is speaking and behold one as the Son of Man and fall at His feet, dead, only to hear, “Fear not. I am He that liveth and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore; I am here, now, for you.”

A suggestion for preachers: you have a day left to refine your semon notes, if you use notes, or to refine whatever type of preparation you have made. Physically, or in your mind, put a red pen through everything you intended to say which you know in your heart is there so that people would be impressed by you, by your learning or knowledge, the breadth of your reading, your grasp of church challenges, your life story,  though of course thank God for all that He has helped you to know and to learn and all Christ has made you: it is all there in you, all part of you now,  so that you may glorify Christ before His people and to the lost. Let it all come together to glorify Christ, not you.  Ask yourself as honestly as you can as you read or think over what you have prepared questions like,   “What is that sentence there for?” “Why am I sharing that story?” “Who will people admire when they hear this?”

God Bless


Why do we get so complicated about things?

(Posted in Facebook already)

Why do we make such a mystery about mission?

I know of a church – one of the Struthers Group of churches –  where 3 people have been saved lately: two in one meeting last week, and the other a week or two before. There is no technique. From what I can see looking on, it seems as though people just bring their friends along expecting they will encounter Christ, given time; the Christ who is present in a very real way, drawing near by the power of the Holy Spirit in the gathering of His people. To that you can add the sharing of testimony as a regular part of the church gathering, as well as straightforward preaching of God’s Word and significant time and space given to wholeheartedly worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. No angst about the whole thing, just prayer and faith nourished expectation that the Lord will work…

God Bless


A missing mantle…?

…to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.

These are the words of Christ to Paul. The moment of his conversion was the moment that a mantle of mission was placed upon him too, in the words mentioned above.

I have to say I found myself thinking lots of thoughts as I read these words:

1 – Do these words sum up the efforts  and  the intentional pursuit  of the church of today in which all of a sudden “Mission” and “Missional” have become words that are used more frequently than they have been for a long time? 

2 – What would be the marks of an individual Christian or a  Church fellowship that took Paul’s commission and task in the Gentile world as our commission and task in the Gentile world too? Has the mantle of the apostle Paul gone missing? What would looking for that mantle and by the grace of God finding it mean and look like? What would change in my life or ministry? What would change in church life?

3 – Do we believe that those who don’t know Jesus yet are held in the power of Satan? Do we believe that we were once captive to Satan too before we were set free by Jesus Christ?

4 – How theologically non PC it is to suggest that  our prime need is  not the restoration of our self esteem, the healing of our childhood hurts,  to realise how wonderful and beautiful we are, but the forgiveness of our sins.

5 – How even more theologically non PC it is to talk about God having a people that we can come to have a place among, for it means that some people are not God’s people. God has a chosen people, the Jews, and we Gentiles become heirs of the promises to them through faith in a Messiah who was Jewish. There is no salvation outside a Jewish Messiah.

6 – The last time I was in church did I hear about people turning from the power of Satan to God? Did someone have that story to tell, a story of being turned from darkness towards the light?

Feel free to think about this verse yourself, as if you needed my permission.

I guess once again, I am dumbstruck: “How did that (the evangelistic mission of the church in the wider world then) become this (the mission of the Church now)?” is my thought once more. My prayer, “Oh that this may be forsaken and that may be sought! Oh Lord, has the mantle been discarded, trampled on along with the blood of Christ?”

God bless


One of the most important lessons I have learned from anyone!

I have written a lot lately about Hugh Black. It seems from your private responses that he is a connection between myself and others who read this blog! Some of you have told me how he was instrumental in your experiencing the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Thanks for taking the time to do that.

Tonight, I am half remembering the details of a story he told during a sermon. He had just had his teeth out and felt he could not preach for that reason. However someone challenged him that he still could and even though, as he himself said, he had fewer teeth in his head than a hen, he went ahead and preached. He found out that you could indeed preach without teeth! God still moved and worked upon the gathering.

Would you have done that? Would I?  Mmmm….Sometimes you don’t have to look very far for clues as to why someone is greatly used by God. From this half remembered story, I am remembering one of Hugh Black’s great themes in his preaching: death to self.

I think it is probably impossible to be used to the glory of God if you are worried about what people “make of you.” Sooner or later if you want God to use you, worry about that has to go. So long as you are walking in the love and truth of Christ and in  love for Christ, well, what people make of what you look like or sound like, what people make of you on any level, need not be of undue concern.

We are so concerned about image these days, where appearance means so much. Churches have images they want to promote and cultivate as well. I remember meeting and speaking to a homeless alcoholic man who was told when he went to a church nearby where we were standing that he was not the sort of person that church was looking for and he would be better trying somewhere else! The only image we should be concerned about in our own lives or ministries or in whatever church we are part of,  is being remade in the image of our Creator, which is what Christ seeks to bring about in every life where He is resident.

So, I leave the theme of “death to self” with you to think about, as I have been thinking some more about it myself. Perhaps too it would be profitable to ponder this verse that I heard someone preach on not long ago:

“They were more concerned about what people thought of them than about what God thought of them.” (John 12:43; God’s Word translation)

God Bless


P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.


“Mirror, mirror on the wall…”

In the bible believers in Christ are described as God’s workmanship, His work of art: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned…” (Ephesians Chapter 2 verse 10 N.L.T.)

I read today an astonishing phrase in “The Poems of Rowan Williams” in  “Gwen John in Paris, for Celia.” Gwen John was a model for Rodin and actually his lover too. She speaks as though she is his  failed project:

“On the stairs. In the yard. I stood,
not noticed in the middle of half-broken stone,
aborted figures. I was a failed work,
keeping still among the darting birds.”

A very simple question: Do you believe the Word from God that describes you as “God’s Marvellous Masterpiece” or has the voice that calls you “a failed and forgotten about work” caught your ear? The voice and word we listen to  about ourselves is of enormous significance.

As Christians we are to put on the Belt of Truth. Whatever else that means it means this:
God is who He says He is and I am who God says I am.

When our Creator and Redeemer looks at the weakest of believers in Christ – and today, or any day for that matter,  you might feel that is you –  He makes a very ancient proclamation, “Look at that which my grace has made! If I say so myself that is good, so very good indeed!” Think of Him saying that about you to Himself and allowing you and the angels of heaven  to overhear  next time you catch sight of yourself in a mirror!

God Bless


P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.

Learn from my mistakes.

It is good to learn from one another’s mistakes. I have made many so I guess a better title would be “Learn from my mistakes – 1.”

For some reason today I am thinking of 2 occasions when I  ignored impressions  concerning other people. In one instance for 3 days in a row the Lord seemed to say to me to knock on the door of a particular house within the parish where I was ministering at that point in time. I had no idea who lived there and reasoned with God that I could not just knock on the door of someone I didn’t know, so I never did. The next day the man who lived there committed suicide. Did others ignore nudges from God about this man, or was I the only one? I have no idea.

The second instance:  I found a person’s name coming to mind.  I had never met him and knew nothing about him. I Googled  his name and found out a bit about his life.  After that, I just put the matter out of my mind and never thought any more about it all. I never prayed. As in the first story I have shared, this poor man took his own life.

Well, all I know is I felt a nudge to write this blog.

God Bless


P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.


Telephone Ministry that shook hell and shook me!

In my last blog I told the story of Hugh Black, one of the founders of the Struthers group of churches, praying over the telephone for a lady who was miraculously healed; “miracle” was the word her doctor used. That set me thinking of a couple of times I asked Mr. Black to pray for me over the phone when we lived in the North of Scotland. On both occasions there were certain difficulties I was facing. However Mr. Black’s response was very different on each occasion.

Occasion 1: I gave a brief summary of the situation we were facing to Mr. Black. He was silent for a moment and then said, “Kenny I discern a depth of evil in this situation that has come against you through the man you have told me about. Let’s pray. ‘Lord we come before you concerning  that wicked man. We come against the depth of evil that has stirred itself against Kenny….’” As Mr. Black prayed, I felt my whole body shudder and the ground beneath me shake. It was not imagination. It was quite fearful. Something had happened. I knew that something had shifted, that things would be different after that prayer. Somehow, just as is said of Jacob,  Mr. Black had “prevailed with God and with man”  on my behalf.  Does that sound too grand a claim, too dramatic? Is it making too much of a human being? No, I don’t think it is.

I hope we are not so sentimental about the love of God that we fail to realise that there are what Jesus called “wicked men.” Sometimes we are too “nice.” Wanting to be nice to people all the time and about people all the time is not always wise. I remember on holiday in the Canary Isles  that a lady came towards me and started to tie a thread bangle around my wrist, addressing me by name, though we had never met.  Something similar happened to me  in France in an encounter I had with one of the Travelling Community, but it is too long a story for now. Demons have knowledge (think of spiritualist meetings). If you are a believer you are known about in hell! Remember what the demon said to the sons of Sceva: “Jesus I know; Paul I know about; but who are you?” (See Acts 19 verse 15)

Before I lose the thread (!) back to the thread bangle in the Canary Isles. I naively smiled one of my nice friendly smiles, taken off guard. Morag was quicker of the mark! Without a moment of hesitation or pausing to think if it would cause offence, she realised something occult was happening and pulled the thread bangle off my wrist before the lady had a chance to tie a knot in it. Morag was right to do so.

Occasion 2: I gave a brief summary of the situation we were facing to Mr. Black. He was silent for a moment and then said, “Kenny, I discern self-pity here and if you will just repent of that you will come out of this faster than a balloon out of water. Good night Kenny.” Down went the phone without a single word of prayer being offered! I shook again, but this time like someone waking up from self-deception.

He was right: self-pity is a killer, and it is best to call it when it surfaces. Indeed it is best to call it what it is ourselves. It is rather uncomfortable when someone else has to point it out!

Tonight then, I  thank God for the memory of a man who knew the authority he had in Christ. I thank God for a man who loved the honour of Christ enough and loved me enough to tell me the truth!

Am I entering my anecdotage now I have had to retire? No. I am just hungering afresh  for what is real, for the Living God and I am thankful for those who have shown Him to me. The memories I carry of such people still have power to make me hunger for God all the more.

I hope you are hungry and thankful too.

God bless



As the song says, “It must have been the hand of the Lord!”

(I know some of you read my blogs and not my posts on Facebook, so here is something I posted on my Facebook page yesterday (Sunday). I hope it blesses you.)

Heard a lady share tonight the story of a miracle she had experienced many years ago. She had been prayed for over the phone by Hugh Black, one of the founders of the Struthers group of churches. He prayed that “the unseen hand of The Lord” would be upon her. The next visit to the doctor confirmed a miracle had happened, indeed “miracle” was the word the doctor used. Tonight as the story was being shared, I felt the presence of the Lord resting upon that phrase, “the unseen hand of the Lord,” So my prayer is that if you have sought the Lord for His help recently, the unseen hand of The Lord may rest upon YOU!

I have been thinking of a Scriptural song that was sung in circles I moved in some 40 years or so ago:

“Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like unto thee, glorious in holiness,
Fearful in praises, doing wonders,
Who is like unto thee?”

Why not use Facebook to share a testimony of what the Living God has done for you? Alter your settings to “public” so what you share goes beyond your circle of “Friends.” Who knows who it may reach and bring to Christ? Praise His Name! Maybe you could attach one of the following tags to it. That might help people to find various testimonies to the love and power of Christ. Come on! Get your testimony out there!





God bless


One of the most dishonest words we all use…

One of the most dishonest words we use? “Personally.” I was re- reading C.S. Lewis’s wonderful book, “The Great Divorce” this morning. He says that when we use the word “personally” we give it an emphasis that shows we don’t mean it! We use the word “personally” but actually the way we say the word shows that  what we then go on and express after we have said it,  is the way we think it should be for everyone, universally! C.S.Lewis  is  embarrassingly spot on!

Jesus was truthful in all His speech. He never misused the word “Personally” In fact He never used that word or any other similar word in the dishonest way that we do. He said with authority, “I say unto you..” This is what marked Him out from other teachers of the day and made His claims so extreme that either they were blasphemous or true. He appealed to His own authority as the Son sent by the Father with the Father’s words.He never shared His opinion, but spoke as one who stated truth that is true all the time and for everyone everywhere. I guess this is what makes the Jesus of the Gospels extremely offensive in this day and age. He never said, “Well personally, I think I am the Son of the Blessed” when He was directly asked. He said, “I am.” He did not say, “Personally, I think I am the way to the Father,”: He said, “I am the Way the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by Me.” We are beginning, even in the UK, to climb once more the foothills of opposition and consequence for simply believing this. How steep and arduous will the climb become? Personally (truthfully meant) I have no idea and disagree with Conspiracy Theorists and with those who exaggerate or who are scaremongers. Let’s remember in our prayers though, our brothers and sisters in other lands for whom this is a climb so steep that it has cost them their earthly freedom and their lives. One of the most humbling moments in my life was being with my wife in a setting where persecuted Christian leaders were singing that they had suffered much for Christ and were willing to suffer more and to lay down their lives for him. We were supposed to be there in a “teaching” capacity. How could we fulfil that role? How could we do anything other than give honour where honour was due? Throughout our time in that country we were surrounded more or less everywhere we went by bodyguards, sometimes armed. The delegates had no such protection.

… and yet the belief and the philosophy continues to gather pace and is almost enshrined and protected by law these days: “There are many ways up the mountain to God.” Well, there may be as many ways to Christ as there are people who have ever come to Him and who may yet, but there is no other name given by which we may be saved other than the Name of Jesus.

This is nothing new. From the start, as it moved out in mission, the Church was faced with the same challenge: how to present the exclusive claims of Christ in a culture of many philosophies many gods and goddesses etc. There may be  faiths around, for example fundamentalist militant atheism,  that were not as common then, but essentially it is still the same situation. There has always been a question which confronts us in a new form in every generation and in every culture where Christians live: though we give to Caesar what is Caesar’s who is Lord; Caesar or Jesus? Where does hope for the human race really lie?

God bless


Look after your nose and your face….

OK, another off the wall one! When I was praying for individuals and in general this thought came strongly to mind, “Oh Lord, don’t let them cut off their nose to spite their face.” When I switched on the T.V., guess what? That phrase was said within the first couple of minutes…

Coincidence? Godincidence? Don’t be so determined to make a point, as it were, that you harm yourself in the process. You may even miss out on the good things God has for you, refuse something you have long wanted that He is offering you…all just to make your point, because you feel it so strongly and  are convinced that others must be made to see the rightness and justice of your point as well.  It is very easy for hurt people to refuse healing, they very thing they want, need or would do them good. Self harm is not only physical in its expression, it can come out in the form of cutting off our nose to etc. etc..

If you are unfamiliar with the phrase  because you are not from my culture, here is an explanation from Wikipedia – so it must be true!!

Cutting off the nose to spite the face” is an expression used to describe a needlessly self-destructive over-reaction to a problem: “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face” is a warning against acting out of pique…”

Oh it is sad that sometimes the greatest enemy to our happiness, well-being and contentment is our own self. I had a dream in prayer  not long ago. This time it was for an individual. I saw this person playing a set of jingly bells, as though they were a musical instrument. The important thing was that they had to listen for the low beat of the base drum and keep in step with that. They could not set the beat, much as though they might have wished to. They had to listen for a stronger, steadier, louder beat that they could only choose to follow or not be part of the tune that was happening. They could not however make the beat of the drum accommodate itself to them no matter how fervently they shook the bells in their hand! If that was what they wanted, well, what would be the result? They would be found alone angrily shaking the bells that “no one else wanted or would listen to!” Not true of course, but true to them…

Don’t miss out on playing the tune because you want to control others in the orchestra to play to your jingle, to do things according to your demands and preferences, behave in ways that you want them to.  Worse still, don’t demand the drummer follow your lead. God does not dance to my tune or yours, and others were not made by Him to do that either. Sorry to have to break that to you…


1: Remember: don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.

2: Remember: though you may want to set the beat for everyone around you, God doesn’t want you to try and do that and he won’t help you to accomplish that. You will be so much happier if you humbly receive the goodness of God on offer, and learn to play along with others rejoicing in the sound of their life and ways, rather than being frustrated by them.

I hope it may come to you as a relief rather than as a stimulus to foot stomping or stamping: YOU ARE NOT GOD. NEITHER AM I. As some of our American brothers and sisters try and get Scottish Christians to say, “Can I hear an ‘AMEN’ to that?”

P.S and N.B x 10: normally the attempt to get us to say “Amen”  is an unsuccessful exercise… so maybe just give up, please! The more you try, the more we will just sit there glowering, yes, not glowing in The Spirit, glowering at you in a threatening and discouraging way, daring you to try and continue to sound so positive! It’s a gift we have, so rare it is not even mentioned in the Bible in any of the list of gifts; but hey, most Scottish Christians have dispensed with those lists of gifts anyway, well one of the lists at least, so to add others, like glowering, is not a problem to us.  We could  even teach our gift to you if you want. Perhaps next time you come over, we could have a time of impartation, even  a mutual impartation: shouting and brooding silence, glowing and glowering can make for some interesting musical nuances. All shouting and dancing all the time would just be boring wouldn’t it. All brooding and glowering would just be, well, wonde…… I will stop there…

God bless


Overflow thoughts…

Are we willing for a revival where all the glory goes to God? Are we willing for Him to move as He wants not as we say He must? Are we willing that He should move in a place or though a church, a generation, an individual that we think of as suspect? Are we willing to be used or set aside completely, whatever means glory to Him? Are we willing for our preaching, our writing to be shown to be wrong, lamentably wrong despite our sincerity: all the times we have said, “God will,” or “God can’t” or “God wants to” or God won’t” or “God is waiting” for this or that change to happen in the church? Are we willing for our prophecies and programmes to be bypassed? Do we want the God who honours above all things His own Name and HIs own Word?

Oh, if we prayed as much as we theorise, discuss, criticise, judge, try and show ourselves right and others wrong, who knows what may happen? “Whenever, whoever, wherever whatever it looks like Lord, glorify your Name. Honour your Word and your Son!” This is my hope and fear; even when we are faithless to Him, He remains faithful to Himself. He cannot deny Himself, be other than Himself for anyone at anytime. He is gloriously, wonderfully Himself. Do we want Him to be Himself?

God can still be for us but become as an enemy to His people according to my bible….

“Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them (Isaiah 63.10).”

Prior to the 1949 revival in Lewis, the Presbytery realised there was little evidence of the working  of God’s Spirit within its  parishes, little favour from God  upon the means of grace He has given to His people, they did not have endless meetings about restructuring either the appearance of sanctuaries or the workings of the Church at large.  Instead they sent a letter around the parishes encouraging people to repent and pray, as clearly the Lord had a controversy with His people.

By some at least that was heeded. There was a seeking in prayer. The result was revival.

But then, perhaps in those days and places within the Church and even outwith the Church people feared God more than analysed Him, and were less syrupy and sentimental about what “God is love” actually means.

I wonder how the suggestion that  God has a controversy with His Church in Scotland would be received nowadays…..? I hope we are not so committed to our own programmes or prejudices about church or what is needful for the hour mission-wise, that we would not allow God to wreck our well meaning plans and sincere discussions and blow them out of the water never to be heard of again.  I remember God humbling me (or perhaps I was obedient to the Scriptures and humbled myself – a much wiser option!) not long ago about a prejudice. I am not humble enough to tell you what it the prejudice was…perhaps one day I will.

By the way, I always served in churches that saw a real measure of the blessing of God, the moving of His Holy Spirit, but in my own estimation it was ever only a measure. That is what I see around Scotland at the moment, well at least in circles I move in or know something about; blessing  in all sorts of places and churches, sometimes much blessing, but ultimately even where it seems much, only a measure, sometimes exaggerated and sadly not always truthfully explained or reported.  I believe completely in the sovereignty of God, and yet I believe we were and are meant to see more of His favour upon our life and service.

God Bless


P.S. – You are very welcome to enjoy these blogs and share them with anyone “without money or price!” However, if you ever feel grateful for these blogs and are able to do so, then please make a donation to Open Doors, Scotland. Their website is

In case you have not heard of them, Open Doors works to help our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world.