Bits and Pieces

Some interesting observations and comments for you to consider

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Will Britain become an Islamic state?

Popular British Bible teacher David Pawson (pictured) thinks so. In fact he believes the Lord has revealed David Pawsonthis to him.

Before writing off his claim as nonsense you would do well to listen to his 6-part talk on the subject, available on tape from Anchor Recordings. He has also produced a book on the subject

Out of months of detailed research he has put together a case for the attractiveness of Islam to British people in today's spiritual vacuum; the dark side of Islamic aspirations; the source of that religion; where the church has failed; and what we need to do to be the kind of church to stand up to the takeover he regards as a revealed inevitability.

Personally, I can see the real dangers of a takeover of Britain by Muslims but don't regard it as inevitable. After all, Jonah's God-given message to Nineveh was that God would overthrow them in forty days, yet when they repented he withheld the prophesied destruction.

A good Wesley hymn to start your dayCharles Wesley, hymnwriter

Charles Wesley (18th century) wrote 7000 hymns. One gem that I often use as a prayer as I start the day is Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go. Try to see beyond the old-fashioned English to the fine sentiments it expresses.

Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go

My daily labour to pursue;

Thee, only thee, resolved to know

In all I think, or speak, or do.

The task thy wisdom hath assigned

Oh let me cheerfully fulfil;

In all my works thy presence find

And prove thy good and perfect will.

Thee may I set at my right hand,

Whose eyes my inmost substance see,

And labour on at thy command

And offer all my works to thee.

Give me to bear thy easy yoke

And every moment watch and pray,

And still to things eternal look

And hasten to thy glorious day.

For thee delightfully employ

Whate'er thy bounteous grace hath given,

And run my course with even joy

And closely walk with thee to heaven.

Left Behind nonsense

Left BehindHarry Potter has been a publishing phenomenon. Not far behind it, amazingly enough, is the Left Behind series of 'Christian' novels. The work of Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, they nave notched up over 75 million sales worldwide—proof positive that the majority are rarely right.

The novels portray an imaginary outworking of the kind of premillennial dispensationalist eschatology that many Christians naively think is the only kind in existence.

A Grotesque Mismatch

Mature head, immature body

I once saw this in real life in a special hospital—a handsome young man in his 30s with the undeveloped body of an infant. The grotesque mismatch made me feel sick.

It's a good image of Christ and his church. Jesus himself is the Head and the church his body. He is fully-developed, mature and glorious; the church is ill-matched to the Head, stunted and deformed. It is deformed by superficiality, self-seeking, tradition, division and doctrinal imbalance.

God intends the church to mature and grow so that it matches the glory of the Head. The match will be complete at Christ's return, of course, but God intends things to improve before then—and we Christians, who comprise the church, are responsible for working with the Holy Spirit to make it happen. Look carefully at these scriptures:

  • Ephesians 5:23 'Christ is the head of the church, his body.'
  • 1 Corinthians 12:27 'You are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.'
  • Ephesians 4:11-16 'It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fulness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants... Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.'

Are you doing your part?

A Quiz on Your Understanding of Hell

Hardly a subject for a light-hearted quiz, you might think! But it's precisely because hell is such a grim subject that we need to be clear just what it is.

Sadly, popular Christian views on hell owe more to Greek philosophy than to the Bible. For this reason Edward Fudge has put together this series of multiple-choice questions, which will help you distinguish truth from falsehood.

He provides the correct answers at the end so that you can check your own, with Bible passages to look up. You could be surprised! Click here to try your hand at it.

My Favourite Software

Apart from major programs like Microsoft Office (including the brilliant OneNote), the following are some of my favourites items of computer software. Many are downloadable from the sites indicated. Some are freeware, others to pay for, but all have been tested at length on my system and have proved both helpful and stable.JotPlus Notes logo

JotPlus Notes. Brilliantly simple program for notes, lists and bits and pieces of info of all and every kind. Hard to categorise, but a real winner.

Noteworthy Composer. Well-priced for such a competent program, which allows a musician to compose, score and play music. Use it with or without a MIDI keyboard. Find samples on my music page.

FinePrint. A printer driver. Wonderful for printing two pages on one A4 page, or even four on one, or outputting a file as a booklet—much simpler than using the equivalent facilities in MS Word, and it works with any program. A real winner if you print a lot.

Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Top-notch programs for photographers. I subscribe, for a very modest monthly fee, to the version of Adobe’s Creative Cloud that gives me the latest version of both programs.Highly recommended. Magazines like Digital Photo and Digital Camera regularly give tips on their use, along with video tutorials on their accompanying DVDs.

Serif. I've been using Serif's PagePlus DTP software since version 1 (it's now on v19 - called X9). It is excellent within its field, and reasonably priced for what it offers. My three currently-available books were completely typeset and laid out in PagePlus. I have also used Serif’s WebPlus program to build and maintain this website.

Logos Bible Software. My No.1 - the very best Bible program with endless capacity for customisation and full scope for Hebrew and Greek study. Now in Version 6. Expensive but effective.

Two of us!

David Matthew - times two!It was through this website that I was contacted by an American guy called David Matthew—yes, exactly the same spelling!

He turned out to be a Christian, and to be dabbling like me in his family history (as things turned out, our two families don't have any near connection).

I eventually met up with him while he was in the UK doing genealogical research and some sightseeing. We had lunch together in York with some stimulating conversation.

Here we are outside Gert And Henry's where we had lunch. Thanks to Richard, American David's travelling companion, for taking the photo.

Famous forbears?

Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff, houses the tomb of a medieval aristocrat with the same name as me. NotDavid in Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff surprising, perhaps, since the Matthew family name is apparently of Welsh origin. Oddly, two of our three children ended up living in Cardiff.

The picture shows me alongside the tomb, holding the descriptive legend which says: ‘Sir David Mathew, standard bearer to King Edward IV at the Battle of Towton, 1461.’

If you’re sharp-eyed you will notice that there is only one ‘t’ in his surname but, as any genealogist will know, spellings of names varied widely until relatively recent times, so this is not significant.

Towton, strangely enough, is only a few miles from where I used to live in West Yorkshire, England.

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