373. Failing To See The Obvious. Again! The Words Solstice And Armistice. And A Personal Note!

When you reach 85 years it is nice to have some warmer weather and longer daylight hours. That got me thinking about the summer “solstice” when the sun “pauses” over the Tropic of Capricorn [thus the day with longest daylight hours here in Australia] before it begins its northern journey to the Tropic of Cancer which brings our day of shortest daylight hours or the winter solstice.

Funny word that, “solstice.” What is its origin? “Sol” is obviously “sun,” but “stice?” Fancy that! It goes back through different forms in different languages to a primitive form in Greek [stao] meaning to stand. So the solstice is the time when the sun appears to “stand still” before it reverses its journey northward again. Oh dear! A quick investigation revealed that words like staunch, staunchion, stadium and even the Greek word for the cross [stauros, a stake] seem to come from that same primitive [sta] root. [Perhaps the father of the bride in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was right after all!]

But the word “Armistice” came to mind as I entered Armistice or Remembrance Day. Could there be a connection? Guess what! The “arm” means arms or weapons and the [stice] means standing still. At 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 the Armistice was signed and the arms [weapons] stood still, they ceased to fire. What a joy that must have been for my father as a soldier in the Australian Army who had been engaged in bloody warfare in France and Belgium since 1916, and to millions of other people as well throughout the world.

A bit more personal

All this was going through my mind as I posted online another blog No 372 on my blogsite [www.jimholbeck.blog] moments after Armistice [Remembrance] Day arrived today. It was called “Remembering Remembrance Day. A personal note.” I mentioned in it that Remembrance Day is of special significance to me, for Carole’s Thanksgiving Service was held at 11am on Remembrance Day last year and we observed the customary one minute’s silence as we began her Service of Thanksgiving after her death from a long term cancer just 11 days previously.

[Perhaps an added significance for Remembrance Day occurred just now [11th November] for me for all future Armistice or Remembrance days on the 11th November every year. I just answered a phone call a few moments ago from my daughter in Victoria to say that her father in law passed away today in Melbourne after a massive stroke a short time ago. He was greatly loved and like Carole will be deeply missed!]

In the providence of God, there are just so many things and such wonderful loving people for which and for whom we should be deeply grateful in life! It pays to remember! We WILL remember! We shan’t forget!

Blog 373. Failing To See The Obvious. Again! The Words Solstice And Armistice. And A Personal Note!73 posted on http://www.jimholbeck.blog on Monday 16th November 2020.

[This was previously posted on my Facebook page on Armistice {Remembrance} Day on 11th November 2020.]

JIMHOLBECK.BLOGholbeckReflections on life in general and on healing in particular

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372. Remembering Remembrance Days. A personal memory.

WE stood for a minute’s silence on Remembrance Day [Armistice Day] to remember! 

To remember all those who had fought for their country in all the conflicts and wars since the early part of the 20th century, and how so many never returned home.

I remembered that my own father had left Australia in 1916 to fight in the trenches in horrible battles in France and Belgium during the First World War and how he was one of those who was able to return home in 1919, whilst many of his fellow soldiers’ bodies lay buried on those battlefields.

I remembered that my wife Carole’s uncle Clifford Carol Tapsell whom she was never to meet, who had gone from India to join the British Army, being killed by a sniper in Europe just a few days before the end of the war in 1918 and later reading how his family in India longed to know more about the circumstances of his death.

I remembered that my nephew Matthew who was standing in front of me in this service,  had served two tours of duty as a medical doctor as a Major in the Australian Army in Afghanistan and I wondered what he would be remembering about his time in Afghanistan, on this particular Remembrance Day.

A personal memory

But this particular Remembrance Day in 2019 was deeply personal for me. We were standing in our local church and the Remembrance Day service was taking place as part of the service as we began the Thanksgiving Service for my wife Carole who had gone home to the Lord just 11 days previously. It seemed to be so appropriate that on a day when millions of people throughout the world take time to remember loved ones who had gone to war and how so many had never returned home and families had been so traumatised as a result, that we as a family could remember with deep thanksgiving the love that Carole had poured out on us all. We had been the recipients of God’s love flowing through her to us, for me for almost 54 years and for all their lives for our children and grandchildren.

Every Remembrance Day in the future will have for me, this added dimension of deep, deep  thanksgiving to God for the beautiful godly young woman he brought into my life all those years ago, and for the love, meaning and purpose she imparted into the lives of perhaps thousands of people around the world during her time on earth. 

What a privilege it is to have loved ones who were willing to die for us, and so many did make that ultimate sacrifice for us. Lest we forget!

But what a privilege it is also for us to have those who were willing to live their lives for us, sacrificing so much in seeking to bring God’s love and blessing into our lives. We will never forget! 

Blog No.372 posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Remembrance [Armistice] Day 11th November 2020.

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371. What do you think of Joe Biden as the President-elect [and probably President] of the USA?

That’s not a good question to ask of me! What I think of Joe Biden is of little significance in the grand scheme of things. But the big inescapable question is, “What does Joe Biden think of Jesus?” Will he and his followers live and seek to govern by the principles that Jesus taught, or will they ignore Jesus and His words?

This is a question of immense significance for not only the USA, but for the whole world. The wrong answer to the question could signify a possible coming destabilisation of societies throughout the world and the placing of communities and even nations in imminent danger.

But, hey, it is also the big inescapable question that every person ever born has to face, including you and me. In the haunting words of the old Authorised version, Mat 22:42 “What think ye of Christ?” No one is exempt from having an opinion about Jesus, nor exempt from the choice of receiving Him or continuing to reject Him. There is also the choice of obeying Him and His words or rejecting Him and His ideas on how life should be lived and how the world should be governed!

We are all accountable to Him, not to Him just as some first century prophet but as He really is, as The Creator of the world, as The Saviour of the World, as The Sustainer of the world, and ultimately as The Judge of the world. [NOTE 1]

 Jesus both encouraged and warned His followers in this challenging passage from John 12:46-50. First the encouraging words, “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” 12:46.

Then the warnings, 47 “If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” 12:47-50.

It is an astonishing privilege for any human of any political background to become the leader of the free world. But it is also involves gigantic responsibilities. The President must seek the best interests of all Americans, but also take into account the best interests of all the inhabitants of the earth because God has allowed this person to become a leader whose government can indeed make a difference for good throughout the world. However the President must be humble enough to also personally obey this command, “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things [God’s abundant provision] will be added to you.” Mat 6:33. He must seek these things for himself and for his own nation whilst understanding this truth, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34.

If Joe Biden is officially declared as President of the United States then we have a duty [and privilege] to pray for him. We may not know at this moment what Joe Biden thinks of Jesus, nor what Jesus thinks of Joe Biden, but we need to pray nevertheless. What to pray? We can take some appropriate Scripture verses as a basis for prayer, for in this way we are praying the Father’s revealed will and purpose back to Him. Or we could pray a prayer such as this one,

“Lord, may YOUR KINGDOM come and YOUR WILL be done, in and through Joe Biden, in and through the whole US government and people, and in and through the leaders and peoples of the nations of the world. We ask this so that Your people may be blessed and especially that the name of Jesus may be honoured and exalted throughout the world as His word is learned and obeyed. For Jesus’ sake. AMEN.”


[NOTE 1] I have written articles on these 4 truths about Jesus in previous blogs under the numbers [260 Creator] [261 Saviour] [262 Lord] and [263 Judge]. You can click the numbers to be taken to the articles or use the Index when the blog site is opened.

I also have some audio talks on these 4 subjects on YouTube if you would care to listen to them. The audio talks given at the seminar are to be found under the same headings on You Tube under “Jim Holbeck”.

Blog No.371 posted on http://www.jimholbeck.blog on Sunday 08 November 2020.

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370. Life’s Unforgettable Moments. A personal Reflection. Coping with Personal Grief

There are moments in our lives that we will never forget. Sometimes they just happen out of the blue and at other times they occur as part of a process we are going through. One such moment was way back in 1964 when in an unplanned moment I proposed to my beautiful gorgeous girlfriend Carole, and she answered “Yes!”

Another was when she said “I do!” to become my wife during our wedding ceremony some 17 months later. I saw both as part of God’s wonderful timing and His gracious provision to me of a gracious dearly loved life-partner. What love we shared and what blessing we received over those almost 54 years together in Him!

Just one year ago today, on the Friday after my 14 October birthday, came another unexpected unforgettable moment. I was helping Carole move slowly to her favourite chair in the lounge. Her legs were massively swollen because of the uterine and cervical cancers she had been battling. Suddenly she stopped, took hold of the top of a chair, turned to face me, looking up into my eyes with her soft brown eyes that always melted me as I looked into them and said softly, “Darling, thank you for loving me. Thank you for caring for me.” This was different to the frequent affirmations of love between us every day, “Darling, I love you so much!”

It may have been that she realised that she had lived much longer than the medicos expected but that her body was now succumbing rapidly to the ravaging cancers. Her words touched me deeply. I realised that I had cared for her physical needs since she was recovering from breast cancer in 2008. No one else had ever come to our home to help her with her ablutions, dressing, bandaging etc etc when she needed help. It had been my privilege alone. But caring was always a part of loving the wonderful creature God had given me to love, as part of loving Him.

Just 24 hours later Carole said, “Darling, I think I need to go to Emergency.” We felt we were life-members of Emergency because we had been there so often! But as I wrote recently, this would be the last time I would drive my beloved Carole anywhere before the Lord took her home just 12 days later.

Unforgettable moments! Reflect on them! Treasure them! The memories of God’s grace at work in our lives in those moments helps sustain us through those difficult times we all have to face!

Blog No.370. Posted on http://www.jimholbeck.blog on Saturday 17th October 2020 but previously posted on my Facebook page on Friday 16th October 2020

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369. Reflecting On Birthdays. A Personal Note Written On My Own Birthday. Coping With Personal Grief.

Every birthday we have, has a different form. Things can happen even on birthdays. Last year when I turned 84 I had an early morning radiotherapy hit [number 44 of 45 scheduled for treatment for prostate cancer] and later my wife Carole and I rejoiced that this daily nine-week treatment was almost over.

Later in the day it was a rush trip to Emergency as Carole was having difficulties in breathing. This time her lung was only 1/3 filled with fluid and she was allowed to come home without treatment. [A few weeks before it had been 3/4 full of fluid and she had been admitted for several days.]

So last year it was a quiet evening at home to finish the day. Little did I know that just 5 days later I would again drive Carole to Emergency for the very last time I would drive my dearly beloved anywhere.

How wonderful it was today, 14 October 2020 on my birthday, to be taken out to lunch by friends to join other friends in a beautiful home-prepared meal and together reflect on God’s goodness to all of us over the past year. They were all praying people whom I knew had been supporting me in prayer throughout the year since Carole went home to the Lord on 31st October last year.

How wonderful it is to have friends who genuinely care, especially on one’s birthday when one is remembering with joy the life one enjoyed with one’s life partner for almost 54 years and also reflecting with a deep sense of sadness, her absence from us. But praise God, her presence now in a place of sheer bliss and joy in the presence of Jesus and so many of her loved ones.

[So a reflection for today, “In relationships, every moment counts! Every moment in relationships is priceless.” ]

My late wife, Carole Holbeck [1943 to 2019] would say about birthdays as one who memorised the birthdays of almost every family member and close friend over the years, “One’s birthday marks the individuality of every person ever born. On their birthday we honour their uniqeness.”

Blog 369. Posted on http://www.jimholbeck.blog on Friday 16 October 2020 but posted on Facebook on 14 Oct 2020

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368. A Modern Problem Of Hatred, Discrimination And Judgmentalism. A Reason and the Answer! God’s Plan For A Peaceful World Where Everybody Matters.

In recent days we have heard and seen a lot of words that were hardly used, if ever, in journals, newspapers, live TV or in general conversations. Sometimes they are uttered with such vehemency that you feel that there must be a whole “narrative” or “agenda” behind the words. Words such as white supremacist, colonialist, misogynist, toxic masculinity are used by some speakers and writers to seemingly refer to the male species as a whole. But females are not spared either, with terms such as hormonal, neurotic, bitchy, cow and baggage and many other terms used in a derogatory fashion. There is also a tendency to discredit others, both male and female as being “racist” or homophobic if they do not agree with the opinions of those who are classifying them.

What is happening it seems to me, is that we are reverting to a form of “tribalism” where we see others as being different from ourselves, and put them into various races, tribes, groups or categories of our making that we look down upon. Instead of seeing people as individuals, we immediately put them into a category we despise and ascribe the worst features of that supposed category to them. We can then go on to discriminate against them because they belong to a despised “category.” However I was a little alarmed recently when reading the Greek New Testament to discover that there is a word [katēgoréō; κατηγορέω which means to speak openly against, to condemn or accuse mainly in a legal sense.] It is the root behind our English word “category.” It was used particularly of the hateful accusations being directed towards Jesus and His followers. In fact Satan is called “the accuser” [A noun. katēgoros; κατήγορος] who “accuses” [A verb. katēgoréō; κατηγορέω] the people of God. Rev 12:10  “And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers  has been thrown down,  who accuses them day and night before our God.”

How sad it would be, if we were seen to be, in God’s eyes, doing the work of Satan in putting people into our despised categories by the way we think about them, address them or or even write about them.

We would do well to take seriously the words of Jesus when He warned against putting others down or assigning them to some despised category or other, Mat 5:22 “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” Strong language from The One who knows the future! Of every individual! Jesus was warning that present inappropriate attitudes can have eternal consequences.

What Is The Problem With The Human Race? Why Are We Sometimes So Nasty To Each Other?

Someone once said to me, “I don’t think the description of the Fall of humankind in Genesis 3 is relevant for today. Humans are basically good.” I felt like saying, “Brother, what planet have you come from? It’s certainly not planet Earth!” When you have had to deal (as I have done in full-time ministry for almost 45 years) with all the messes humans get into, there can be no other explanation than the truths in Genesis 3. Because of the Fall, humans have an inward bias towards evil. It needs the power of God to stop them going more deeply into even more evil.  So the question is, “Are humans basically good or are they prone to evil?” It’s not just a theoretical question for philosophers to discuss ad nauseam. It hits us in the face every day as we drive our cars. I saw some time ago someone driving irresponsibly and if I had not braked hard to let his speeding car into a narrow space in front of me there may have been a serious head-on collision on a narrow two direction two lane road at a combined speed of close on 200km/h. How selfish can you get to want to be seen as a “skilful driver” (or having a FAST vehicle) passing car after car, but at the same time endangering the lives of many people? [Admittedly I was not purely altruistically driven. There was a huge mass of self-preservation involved as well, as the resulting smash would have wiped out a number of vehicles including mine!]

The dilemma we face. Should I trust people or not? Are they basically good or could they do evil?  The dilemma for one person might be, “Can I leave my child with that man or woman? They seem to be nice. But can I really trust them?” The decision is made to do so. Another child is sexually abused.  Or “Should I go into business with that person? They seem trustworthy enough.” Another business is liquidated as the new partner skips off with the money and/or the clients. Or as one woman sorrowfully told me, “I married this lovely fellow and we went on our honeymoon. He said he would just go downstairs for a drink before we retired. He took some time. Later I discovered that he had met a young woman in the bar and had gone back to her room and had sex with her.” She almost screamed at me as she painfully said, “ON OUR WEDDING NIGHT!” But that was the first of many similar occurrences during her marriage. Apparently a “nice” man in the view of most people who knew him but with a fatal flaw that brought so much hurt and pain to his wife.

Are we humans basically good or basically evil?  We need to know in terms of whether we can implicitly trust people. Jesus didn’t always trust people. We read in The Message version of John 2:23-25, … many people noticed the signs he was displaying and, seeing they pointed straight to God, entrusted their lives to him. (24)  But Jesus didn’t entrust his life to them. He knew them inside and out, knew how untrustworthy they were. (25)  He didn’t need any help in seeing right through them. We may not have the same depth of perception He had. But we do need to have the same caution about relationships, knowing what people are capable of doing.

 Jesus Has The Answer For Our Dilemma. Mark 7:20-23.  In this passage Jesus said that it was not what went into a person that made them unclean. It was what came out of them. He continued, Mar 7:20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him.(21)  For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, (a word meaning inner dialogues or reasonings or deliberations, planning what to do. ) He then spoke about the form those evil thoughts took in human behaviour, in the verses that follow.

  1. Sexual immorality. Sexual sins or immoral acts both within and outside of the marriage.
  2. Theft.  Taking or using unlawfully something that belongs to someone else.
  3. Murder.  Begin with thoughts in the mind. The actions stem from the thoughts. Jesus went deeper and said that to have hatred in one’s heart towards someone was to be guilty of murder.
  4. Adultery.  Where a spouse is unfaithful to his or her partner. I tried once to get a man to face up to the fact that he was committing adultery with a friend’s wife.  I said to him, “You didn’t just wake up and suddenly find yourselves in bed together, did you? You thought about it (which was wrong) and made a decision to go further in the relationship. You are accountable for what you have done. It wasn’t accidental.”  Again as Jesus said, for a man to look lustfully at another man’s wife is to make him guilty of adultery even though the action hasn’t happened.  This leads on to the next wrong way of thinking that leads to actions. Coveting.
  5. Coveting.  This is mentioned in the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 5:21  “‘And you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife. And you shall not desire your neighbour’s house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbour’s.’” Coveting often leads to further action to take hold, for oneself, of the thing or person coveted.
  6. Wickedness.  All sorts of evil. A similar word is used of the devil as the wicked one. These are the sorts of bad things the devil would deceive us into doing to other people.

Then Jesus added a number of evil attitudes in the same verses

  1. Deceit. It is the outward expression in speaking or acting out what is false.
  2. Sensuality.  Lacking self-control in sexual matters.
  3. Envy.  Wanting what is not ours. Not grateful to God for what we have.
  4. Slander.   The word is blasphemy. Evil speaking = speaking evil of others.
  5. Pride.   Self-focussed attitudes looking down on others.  Thinking and acting as though others were inferior to oneself. Eg., the scribes and the Pharisees.
  6. Foolishness. Sums up all the previous evil attitudes.

Jesus concluded, (23)  All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” The import of what Jesus was teaching was that every person ever born [except for Jesus] is born with that inward disposition or bias towards evil. That’s why He told Nicodemus an outwardly very righteous respected person, [whom most people of the day would have considered an automatic entry to heaven], “You must be born again!” John 3:7. A far deeper degree of righteousness [which only God could provide], was needed for entry into God’s kingdom.

It means from what Jesus said, that it is not a case of some categories of people who are evil who will miss out on heaven, and other categories of people who are good who will be able to enter. ALL will miss out if entry is based on goodness. The people living in most desolated places on earth, all have a bias to evil. The people living in primitive cultures all have that bias towards evil. The wealthy living on harbourfront mansions all have an inner disposition to sin. The greatly admired scholars living in theological colleges or in the Vatican all have an inner bias towards evil. No one is exempt. Every time we point the finger at other people in condemnation, we condemn ourselves because we do the same things to a greater or less degree. As St Paul wrote, Rom 2:1  “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

King David loved and obeyed God and was described “as a man after God’s heart.” Acts 13:22, “After removing him [Saul], God raised up David their king. He testified about him: ʻI have found David the son of Jesse to be a man after my heart, who will accomplish everything I want him to do.ʼ” No wonder David cried out to God after he had sinned against God in his sin with Bathsheba, Psalm 51:10  “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”  He saw that his heart needed to be recreated lest he do the same again.  He had discovered how capable he was of deliberately doing evil and of trying to conceal it.

What do Anglicans believe?  Anglican belief is found in the 39 Articles of Religion to be found in the back of most Prayer Books. Article 9 is titled, “Of original or Birth sin”.  It has these words. Man … is of his own nature inclined to evil. … This infection of nature doth remain in those who are regenerate (born again). In other words this proneness to do evil is characteristic of all people. All born-again people still possess this old nature with its bias towards evil and can give way to it unless they are careful. That’s why they are to sow to the Spirit and not to the flesh (the old nature). Gal 6:8  “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

A question to consider regarding this. Have you ever wondered why many men and women who have been in active service in wartime hardly ever speak of their experiences? There is one obvious reason. Because they saw man’s inhumanity to their fellow humans in war. They saw and heard despicable things. It had a terrible effect on them. They don’t want to recall the memories. But there may be another far deeper reason for some of them. I discovered this when counselling many men over the years. Many of them have opened up enough to say that during active service they thought about and did some terrible things themselves. Now they find it almost impossible to talk about them.  They were horrified at their thoughts at that time. They were even more horrified at some of the things they did.  They detested the evil they saw in others. They detested even more the evil they saw in themselves. They felt there was no place for them back among the “good people”. I’m sure that there is a whole lot of healing that needs to happen for such men and women. But they need to find people who won’t be shocked at what they hear about the experiences of those veterans.

William Golding. The challenge of the book and the film “The Lord of the Flies”.   The story is of “innocent” schoolboys alone on an island without any adult supervision or presence. Golding shows that the increasing violence in the boys came from within them. It was not due to some external factor. He portrays the characters in the film to show that there is innate evil in humans. He is correct in what he portrayed. Human experience confirms it. The Bible has always taught it. Philosophers and theologians ignore it at their peril. There is no other satisfactory answer to why the world is as it is. God knew what He was doing in giving such a simple explanation in Genesis 3 for why humans function (or malfunction) as they do. As has been said before, We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because by nature we are sinners.

A deeper type of praying for people

It means then for Christians that they need to change their prayers from praying that nice people become even nicer, to something much deeper than that. They need to pray for people that they get soundly converted; be born again, that they get switched on to the Lord; that they are turned around by repenting of all evil and turning to God for forgiveness and His wisdom and strength. They need to be born again of the Spirit of God so that they become new creatures in Christ and can have victories over that old or flesh nature that still resides within them that is attracted to sin. People need it. The world needs it. Every individual needs it.

A New Beginning. A New Creation. A New Humanity. A New Way Of Thinking. A New Way Of Living. St Paul had known a radical change in his life. He saw himself as a new creature in Christ. He saw that other people could know the radical change he had experienced. He expressed that in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” New creatures could become new in character due to the indwelling Spirit who came upon those who believed in Jesus. They would be given a new nature through the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. In fact he described this new nature in Galatians 5 as the spirit nature being opposed to the old nature (flesh) which they had from birth.

That contrast is spelt out in the difference between the “works of the flesh” and the “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians chapter 5. The “works of the flesh” are those characteristics that are common  to all people because they are like that in a fallen world.  It affects every area of life. It is in the area of sex, (19)  Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality. It is in the area of religion, (20)  idolatry, sorcery.  It is in the area of social sins such as enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,(21)  envy. It is in the area of drinking, drunkenness, orgies. It is in everything associated with these things,  and things like these. That pretty well covers most of life’s experiences. The problem with this life-style is that it is self-defeating. It misses out on life with God in heavenas St Paul wrote, “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

The New Life In Christ. It is full of opposite characteristics. It is not “works” (frenzied activity) but “fruit” (the quiet outward expression of the life within), the expression of the life of the Holy Spirit within each believer. It is seen to be operative in the area of one’s attitude to God who shares His love, joy and peace with us. (Jesus spoke of His followers are having His love, His joy, His peace.) It is in the area of relationships with others in society, possessing “patience, kindness, goodness.” They are nice thoughtful people to have around! It is in the area of one’s relation to oneself, “faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control.”  They are honourable and trustworthy people.  While they are living according to the Spirit that is!  Paul wrote in Gal 5:25 “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” If the Spirit had brought people new life then they had an obligation to continue to live life being continually guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

 If it is true that all humans have a bias towards evil (in St Paul’s terms, a flesh nature) then that explains why there is so much evil in the world. People who are out of touch with God are doing what comes “naturally” to them. In various degrees. How can that change? They need to know and to experience God’s power in their lives. 

The Danger Of Putting People Into Boxes!

There are many dedicated folk who are seeking to serve their fellow humans in various health and mental services, who need to avoid the temptation of putting people into categories such as white supremacists, misogynists etc and getting people they have never met to admit to having “white privilege”, [whom they see as being captives of the cultures they were brought up in.] Rather it is a much more serious situation than that simplistic approach. Some folk may attempt to change the outward structures or cultures as much as they like and may produce great changes. But human nature itself does not change. The change that God wants and that humans long for in a world where love, not hate,  abounds and where peace, not anxiety or chaos, reigns can only come when individuals discover the transforming power of God in their lives as they are inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit of God and grow into His likeness. As St Paul wrote, when people know God they can know the power of the Holy Spirit to give them victory over their fallen nature, Gal 5:16  “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” Victory is possible for those who are strong enough to know they need the power of God in their lives!

This is how I sometimes pray for everyone I know, those who are my friends and the same prayer for those who aren’t interested in being my friend.

“Lord, I ask that you might work in (so and so’s) life to bring them to yourself. Open their eyes to see that they need You and may turn to You to receive forgiveness for all their sins and to receive a new life in Jesus. Set them free from the power of the evil one who had blinded their eyes and who holds them captive to do his will. I pray that they may be born again of Your Spirit and be released to be the people of God You want them to be. Fill them with Your Spirit so that they might know and experience Your wisdom and Your power to live in Your way. May they show forth the fruit of the Spirit in their lives day by day. Please protect them and bless them that they might be a blessing in the lives of other people. AMEN

Your prayer for people doesn’t have to be the same. But it does have to take into account that what is required for people is that they become new creatures in Christ and not become just slightly nicer people in the world.

Blog No.368 posted on http://www.jimholbeck.blog on Thursday 08th October 2020

Posted in Bible verses. Comments, Creation, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Forgiveness, Healing, Holy Spirit, Judgement, Justification, Mental Health, Prayer, Salvation, Sanctification, Sexuality, spiritual warfare, Temptations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

367. Reflecting On The Changes In The World In The Light Of The Truth Of Romans Chapter 1.

Over seven years ago [2013] I posted a blog which summarised a previous large number of articles based on Romans chapter 1. At that time, I had been concerned about what was happening in the world and I looked to see what answers we could find from Romans chapter 1 to explain such changes. There were, in my mind, many answers in Romans 1 to the problems I was witnessing.

Since that time many of the “bad” things that I thought might happen, have indeed happened. [Unexpected were the steepness of the “slippery slope,” the stunning reversal of values and the accelerated restriction of freedom of speech and religion.] I recently thought I should do an update to see how the world has changed since then and to do another analysis of how these changes are explained by the truths in Romans chapter 1. Especially how the powers of darkness opposed to God and to His people have taken a tighter grip on the world. This was through people whose anti-God attitudes demonstrated the acrid bitterness and burning hatred that have poisoned the minds of other people who were unaware of spiritual realities.  I hope to do another such article in the future. However I decided it might be helpful, for the moment, to republish the original article to remind us of the magnitude and rapidity of those changes since 2013. 

[REMEMBER All the following words were written in 2013. Blog number 129 summarising article numbers 124 to 128 all posted in 2013.] 

What has got into some of the world leaders in recent months? Some have taken gigantic strides in directions that were not expected. Some seem intent on changing the world as we know it, into an image they have created in their own minds. Now they want to see this vision reproduced in their own countries and even in other nations. Are we looking at world-changing visionaries in our midst? Or are we seeing the results of human wisdom gone mad? Humans out of control?

Once again chapter 1 of St Paul’s letter to the Romans has some answers for us. Recently I wrote some material on this chapter where I showed that three of the major factors in today’s world can be explained from its message. It is a description of human rebellion against God in three main facets of life.

1).  In Rom 1:17-23, we saw that human rebellion against God leads to idolatry in which God is replaced by aspects of His creation. It means that Jesus, His agent in creation, is also not accorded His God-given position as Creator and Lord of His universe.  One of the factors I noted in the articles was this. If folk reject God, they also reject His declaration that humans are made in His image. If people are merely different bits of this world structure then they (particularly the foetus or near-born or newly-born) can be disposed of at will because they are expendable “bits” with little present significance. There are many national leaders actively supporting almost unlimited abortion on demand. But some of them are not content with that. Now they want to have that particular concept of abortion on demand extended to other countries as well. There is talk that some of these leaders might want to make the acceptance of wide-spread abortion a qualification for receiving aid from the “richer” country! To stop “populution”? Or to extend their longed-for “power”?

God (YHWH) doesn’t see this “option” as wise management of human resources. He has a name for abortion done purely for the convenience of the person or the family or the nation. It’s called “murder”. Jesus once warned about putting stumbling blocks in the way of the young, Luke 17:1 “He said to His disciples, “Offenses will certainly come, but woe to the one they come through! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” If causing the young to stumble brings such condemnation, then what does the supporting of the extinguishing of the young, merit?

We need to wake up! Humans in rebellion against God are destroying fellow humans who are made in the image of God. He says they are! As such the vulnerable are to be protected and valued! Not destroyed!

 2). In Rom 1:23-25 we read that this rebellion takes on a sinister turn. Humans created by God reject their Creator AND begin to worship and serve “something created”. This is what false religion is all about, when humans begin to take their eyes off God as the pre-eminent One in the universe and begin to exchange the truth about Him for a lie. The lie is this; that something or someone can take His place. Such people put their focus onto something or someone else, a part of God’s creation.  Instead of following God’s commandments and His revelation of His will in the Scriptures, they place their allegiance in things or people.

We noted in a previous article that Jesus as the Creator-Redeemer of humans was called “the truth” and that His teaching is to be followed and not rejected nor added to. He was called also the “wisdom of God” for His words were the Father’s words.  His wisdom was obvious to all who heard Him. We read in Mat 13:54, He went to His hometown and began to teach them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “How did this wisdom and these miracles come to Him? Paul called Him the “wisdom of God” in 1Cor 1:23-24,   but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  Similarly in 1Cor 1:30  And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption

True religion is based on the wisdom of God rather than the wisdom of the world.  One way of assessing all the present day religious movements is to look at how they operate and what are the ideologies and the motivations behind their actions. The wisdom of God (YHWH) in James 3:17 is described like this, …the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favouritism and hypocrisy. What a wonderful peaceful world it would be if we lived by the wisdom of God! As we examine all the current religious movements are they marked by these qualities? If they are, then they appear to be elements of true religion operating with God’s wisdom especially when they exhibit true love knowing “God is love” (1John 4:16  So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.) 

If the religious bodies today are not characterised by these qualities, they may not be of God. Religions or ideologies operating from a human source of wisdom rather than a divine source have these features seen in James 3:14-16, bitter envy, selfish ambition, bragging, defying the truth. James writes here that this “wisdom” it is not from above, from God. It has to do only with the dimension of the human senses. It may be demonic, influenced by the powers of darkness. The outward expression of worldly wisdom is disorder and every kind of evil. A quick glance at our daily papers sees the evidence throughout the world of disorder, murder, the absence of love and utter evil in some of the religious movements. It would seem that false religion is alive and expanding on planet earth. It is false religion that brooks no rivals. True religion looks to God for wisdom on how to behave and to live in the peace of God that passes human understanding.

We need to wake up! Humans in rebellion against God are worshipping and serving the lie that you can replace Him with something or someone! He brooks no rivals. However He offers all people a relationship of peace with Himself through His Son Jesus Christ.

3).  In Romans 1:26-27. We saw in the previous article that this passage speaks quite openly about same sex activity and God’s attitude to it.  In Leviticus chapters 18 and 20 He declared His repugnance. “Abomination” and “detestable” are never pretty words. How much more when they come from the mind of God Himself! If He used such words to describe these activities, it is sad that His people today are being labelled as homophobic for simply expressing what He said. But people in rebellion against God will reject His words especially when they come through fellow humans.

Recently we have seen that some national leaders are not only in favour of same sex practice, but are pushing for same-sex marriage. One leader even wants to send expert teams out to other countries to help facilitate the acceptance and legalisation of same-sex marriage in those countries. Foreign aid with a twist! Again is it a case of such leaders being world-leading-visionaries who are taking the world into whole new expressions of freedom and liberty? Or something quite different!

But what if? What if there is a God who has revealed Himself in the Bible and through Jesus, and whose revelation we have in the Holy Bible, the Scriptures?  What if He told us almost 2000 years ago that He had dealt with people in rebellion against Him and delivered them over to “do their own thing.” What if people presume He doesn’t exist or isn’t concerned when they do things He had forbidden,  and are not struck down dead as a result? What if the words of 2Peter 3:9 are true, “The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” What if His apparent failure to deal with human sin is not a sign of His pathetic weakness, but of His incredible patience and amazing grace and astonishing love in giving them time to turn from their rebellion against Him, to seek His forgiveness and to find true peace with Him as the true God?

We need to wake up! Humans in rebellion against God are encouraging practices that God has strongly condemned in unmistakeable terms! He isn’t going to change His mind! He isn’t going to adapt to cultural changes! He isn’t going to water down His word to gain more acceptance or to elicit a greater following! He has spoken! Clearly! Definitively!

A realistic appraisal of the whole human situation. Romans 1:29-32 

God’s appraisal! We have seen in a previous article that these verses apply to every human ever born who has been rebellious against God. That’s all of us except for Jesus. We may look at these verses and pat ourselves on the back that we are pretty good in comparison with some notorious sinners in this world. But when we come to words such as greed, envy, disputes, deceit, gossips arrogant, proud, boastful, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful, we realise that we ourselves have failed to get a perfect score in those areas of life.  It means that we are sinners just like the ones we have judged as being guilty of sin.

Only one way for all of us

There is only one way out of our predicament for all of us because we are all sinners in the sight of God. And that is by accepting His offer of forgiveness and salvation in Christ. It is a free gift to us in Him. It is an offer coming from His grace and love. But it is not cheap grace! It meant that Jesus the Son of God, the Messiah, had to die for the sins of all the peoples of the world throughout the ages. His death brought the possibility of forgiveness and new life for every person who would receive them in Christ. But “receive them” is the operative phrase. What is happening in today’s world is that people are making their choice. To seek truth in the God of truth, or to turn their backs on Him and to continue on in their rebellion.

Perhaps when St Paul wrote Romans chapter 1 at the inspiration of the Spirit of God he did not envisage a world as rebellious as it is now. But God did!  In His love He has warned us through St Paul in this chapter that human rebellion would always take the form of idolatry, false religion and sexual inappropriateness. In His love He has warned those rebelling against Him in this way. However He also warns each and every one of us in the latter verses of the same chapter that we can’t criticise others, for we too are guilty before Him. The fact that we seem to be free to do whatever we wish without punishment may be an indication that the words of 2 Peter 3:9 are true, “The Lord … is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” Repentance from all of us! No exceptions!

A Prayer for someone to pray who feels they are not right with God, in order to get right with God.

Dear Lord. You have shown us so clearly in Your word that none of us can stand before You, trusting in who we are or in what we have done. We have all rebelled against You in many and various ways. I confess that I am guilty before You and I need Your forgiveness and love. 

I have learned that Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross so that I might have forgiveness. I have learned too that He rose from the dead and is alive today.

I invite You Lord Jesus to be my Saviour from sin and to be the Lord and Master of my life. Come into my life to make me a new creature and to guide and strengthen me to live as I should, from this day forward. 

I thank You by faith for the victories I shall experience in life with Your help. Please accept my thanks in Your precious name of Jesus. AMEN

Blog No.367 posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Saturday 03 October 2020.

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A quick look at TV and you see a world out of control. Especially scenes from American television at the moment. Fancy any community screaming obscenities at their police force, physically attacking them and wanting them defunded and disbanded. Fancy others belittling their duly elected President and some even threatening to bring chaos across the USA if he wins the next election. Those who have never accepted the results of the 2016 election can never forgive him for standing for office and have tried in many ways to bring his presidency to an end. One sees in various reports that assassination attempts on him are being considered in some quarters if he were to win the next election. Such an attempt would be seen by many disgruntled folk as a virtuous act. Such is the degradation that comes from harbouring hate and resentment and an unwillingness to forgive those whom we think have harmed us in any way.

But before we begin our “Tutt! tutts!” can we honestly say that we ourselves are prepared to forgive everyone of every sin they may have committed against us.  If we cannot say “Yes” we ourselves are part of the problem. The writer of Psalm 73 expressed what happened to him as he became bitter and lost a true perspective on life, Psa 73:21 “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, 22  I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.” Bitterness twists the mind so that one almost ceases to be human and acts without any due regard for a fellow or fellow humans. 

I have written previously that the NT Greek word for bitterness [pikria] is the origin of our English word [‘picric’] as in picric acid. This is one of the most bitter substances you can find and is highly unstable and explosive. In fact it was used in explosives in the First World War. Have we not all seen folk so filled with bitterness and unforgiveness that they were a walking emotional time-bomb. But good news! Some of us have had the privilege of seeing some of these burdened folk become convicted of their sin by the Holy Spirit and turn to God for forgiveness, often with great physical and emotional healing taking place at the same time. Not only that but they became willing to forgive those who had harmed them in any way. Going even further into the unbelievable, they became willing to pray a blessing upon those they had previously been bitter against. Adding another dimension to their forgiving, they expressed an openness to be reconciled [where possible] to their former enemies! Some were! Some weren’t, but the latter remained open to the possibility by keeping the door open to any possible future reconciliation.

This is the sort of thing we need to see happening in the USA and in Australia and throughout the world. For example, can anyone in their right mind ever become aggressive towards those who prefer to say, “All lives matter” and mean it, rather than being coerced into saying only that ”Black lives matter!?” It just illustrates that Satan has blinded the minds of those who refuse to believe so that they cannot recognise the dangers of the pernicious anti-God Marxist philosophy that they think will bring about a new Utopia. It never has! It never can! It never will!

So writing this article is part of my tiny miniscule attempt to save the world from possible chaos, violence and destruction in the coming days. I am hoping that people, all of us, may learn how to be forgiven by God and then learn by His grace and love, how to forgive everyone of everything. It is utterly necessary! It is entirely possible! But only by the gracious help of God and a willingness on the part of humans to humble themselves to receive His help!

What is being offered in this blog article number 366. 

I thought the number 366 was an easy number to remember, being the days in a Leap Year. It is a blog people can keep coming back to, to learn about forgiveness. There are over 30 articles I have written in previous blogs and I made a summary of the links to them in blog number 219. A more recent blog is number 258 which is a You Tube recording of a Skype teaching given from Australia to The Healing Ministry at All Saints Episcopal church at Winter Park in Florida some years ago.

For convenience I am summarizing all these links them in this article by providing the following links. Just click on the numbers 219 and 258 below to be taken to those articles.

Article 219 which has 30 plus articles to click on


Article 258 2https://jimholbeck.blog/2018/02/02/258-what-is-involved-in-forgiveness-a-you-tube-skype-teaching-by-jim-holbeck-recorded-by-the-healing-ministry-at-all-saints-episcopal-church-winter-park-florida/58 has the link to the You Tube video recording on forgiveness

NOTE:] Just in case the above procedure has difficulties you can simply go to www.jimholbeck.blog and type “forgiveness” in the Search box  and the list of articles will be displayed for you. 

Or type 216 or 258 in the search box and you will be taken to those articles

If you find the articles helpful, please share them with others because I think the world is in a very difficult and very dangerous place at the moment, and forgiveness rather than hate needs to flow between humans of all races and skin colours. The truths in these articles can help if read and acted on! The truths have helped many folk in the past and I am sure that read humbly, could help many folk around the world in the present and in the future. That is my hope and my prayer.

Blog No.366 posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Wednesday 16th September 2020.

Posted in Audio material, BIBLE PASSAGE OUTLINES, Bible verses. Comments, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Forgiveness, Glorification, GROUP DISCUSSION MATERIAL on "Forgiveness", Healing, Holy Spirit, Justification, Mental Health, Politics, Prayer, Questions and Answers, Salvation, Sanctification | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

365. Conformation To The World Or Transformation To The Likeness Of Christ? That Is The Question! What Is Your Answer? Romans 12:1-2

Like most of us, I like looking at YouTube to find things that might be encouraging in this increasingly difficult world. I am blessed as I come across some gifted Bible teachers and preachers and encouraged in my Christian walk as I hear or read their expositions of God’s word. In my search I recently came across a sermon I had preached five years ago [about the time of my 80th birthday] in the historic 1824-1828 convict built church of St Thomas in Port Macquarie . So I steeled myself to listen to my own sermon from way back then. 

I realised as I listened that I would probably not change any word of what I said back then. To my surprise I found it encouraging. [Jim, “Self-praise is no recommendation!” True but I was just making an observation that the truths preached were a renewed blessing to me 5 years later. ]  The passage has so much relevance for today’s world situation, and to me offers some clues as to how we can cope [and even have victories] as we seek to live for the Lord in today’s depressing political climate. 

I was encouraged as I thought about going into full-time service some 60 years ago that the Lord can use ordinary people like me through whom to speak. After all He once spoke through the mouth of an ass, so there was obviously hope for someone like me [Numbers 22:28]. In the 20 minute sermon I attempted to summarise in a few minutes the 11 chapters leading up to Romans 12, by looking at the theme of “belonging to God.” Following that I looked at the challenge of verses 1 and 2, will it be for us, conformation or transformation? My challenge to my readers is this? Would you be willing to risk listening to a retired 80 year preacher as he shared what he found helpful for himself in the Book of Romans?

The challenge is issued and you can find the sermon on this You Tube site. 

If you have any difficulties using this link you can just type jim holbeck into You Tube and you will find it among considerable other material in my name.

I might have some limited opportunity to respond to anyone who wanted to contact me at jimholbeck@gmail.com

 Blog No. 365 posted on jimholbeck.blog on Saturday 12th September 2020.

Posted in Audio material, BIBLE PASSAGE OUTLINES, Bible verses. Comments, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Holy Spirit, Justification, New Covenant, Prayer, Questions and Answers, Salvation, Sanctification, spiritual warfare, TOPICS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

364. Memories That Bring Tears To Your Eyes And Praise To Your Lips. A Personal Reflection. 2Corinthians 12:9

We humans are funny creatures and we are all so very different. I was reflecting on this a few days ago when I was thinking of how certain dates can become so significant in our lives as individuals. Significant things happened on a certain date and the memories, good or bad, will remain with us forever. The date that became so significant to me was the 22nd day of the month. That date became special to me way back on 22nd August 1964 when my very best friend Carole and I were driving back from seeing my sister’s family in the Qld country. We pulled up outside a small town called Esk before we drove the last stage of our trip back to our homes in Ipswich. As we admired the beauty of the hills around the township we began to talk about how wonderful it was to be able to spend some time together at last. I had said farewell to Carole in late January to go to theological college in Melbourne [1700km away] and we had not seen each other until this time in August. We shared how we had missed seeing each other even though frequent letters had kept us in touch. 

The conversation deepened as we shared about what the future held for both of us.  Carole had another 18 months to finish her bond with the Qld Education Department as a trained teacher and I had at least another 2 years to study in Melbourne. I had only a short time before I was due to leave her again to return to Melbourne until December. I was going to miss her terribly as I realised how kind she had been to my parents, visiting them often and sharing with me how they were going, in the many letters she faithfully wrote to me every week. I realised that my love for her had deepened during our time apart. I wondered whether this beautiful, attractive, gorgeous, highly intelligent creature sitting next to me could ever get to love and marry an ordinary guy like me. Somehow I plucked up the courage and said something like, “Carole, what would you say if, some day, I asked you to marry me?” Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait long for an answer as she replied immediately, “I would say ‘Yes’.” How much easier it was then to say, “Will you marry me?” and how blessed to hear the answer, “Yes!” What a joy to drive home and delight both sets of parents with the news. Just a week later our engagement was announced publicly in the papers.

I booked my return train trip back to Melbourne but shortly after my father became ill and was taken to hospital in Ipswich and transferred to Brisbane. He died of a brain tumour soon after. Carole was magnificent in helping us cope in such sad unexpected circumstances. I realised afresh that I was going to marry a real gem.  Before I left by car for Melbourne taking my grieving mother with me, Carole and I had worked out that the earliest time for our wedding would be another 22nd of the month, the 22nd January 1966 just after she would complete her teaching bond and would be free to come back with me to Melbourne until I finished my external degree from the University of London. 

By the grace of God Carole and I were able to share almost 54 years of a wonderful loving married life together, always celebrating with a real sense of praise to God on the 22nd of January and the 22nd of August every year. They were joyful memories etched in our minds as we praised God for bringing us together and enriching our marriage and family life over all those years. I think we were both amazed at the number of people over those 53 years who would say to us, “You two were obviously meant for each other.” We certainly believed that God in His infinite wisdom and love had brought us together from thousands of miles from each other, Carole coming as a 4 year old with her parents from Kharagpur near Calcutta in India and me from Gympie in Qld to meet in Ipswich, fall in love and serve Him together for over 50 years. What an incredible privilege for both of us. We both saw each other as being God’s gift to us individually.

The years since then have flown but the 22nd of August last year brought up the 55th anniversary of the day I proposed and Carole accepted. We did not know it at the time, but that day last year would turn out to be the last trip to another town we would have in our car together. Within a few weeks Carole would be hospitalised with fluid on the lung as her cancer increased. She was released after treatment but was readmitted back into Port Macquarie hospital on the 19th October and was transferred to Palliative care in Wauchope a couple of days later. Then came another memorable 22nd of the month. The specialist came into Carole’s room with a group of student doctors on that day and said to her, “Carole, we will try to get you home as soon as possible and we will arrange for palliative care nurses to visit you at home.” Carole thanked her and then suggested to her in her own gracious way, how the palliative care could be improved even further. But it was only a week later that the same specialist returned with another group of student doctors and said to Carole, “Carole you won’t be going home. You will die in a few days.” It appeared that Carole’s lungs were filling with fluid and draining them would not be possible. My beloved Carole did die just 2 days later. 

I write this just a few hours before what would have been the 56th anniversary of the day we became engaged. It probably will mean that every 22nd of every month will be filled with memories for me as I remember our engagement and our wedding and the joys of our married life together. They will be happy memories as I praise God for giving me such a perfect [for me] life partner. But when you face a personal bereavement you remember what you once had, but then you go on to remember what you no longer have. The tears of joy turn to joys of sorrow as you know you will no longer see that loving smile or feel that loving touch or hear that beautiful eisteddfod winning voice saying softly, “Darling, I love you so much! Thank you for loving me!” And over the last year adding, “And thank you for caring for me.”

Why have I as a very private person written so personally? Simply because I wanted to and felt I had to. It is never easy to face grief when someone you love is taken from you when you had hoped you might have had perhaps another 10 or more years together. I am glad that when I began ministry and had to minister to those going through bereavement, I would tell them that there is no set pattern to follow when going through a grief process. We all have to find our own way of coping whilst being open to the well-meaning advice that our friends pass on to us. So sharing in this way is my way of coping at the moment. I hope it doesn’t embarrass anyone but I just love to praise God for His incredible goodness in allowing Carole and I to meet, fall deeply in love and have an extremely happy fulfilling life together in Him. 

Many of you who read this article, may also be going through grief. I can humbly say that I find it helpful personally to reflect with thanksgiving and praise on all the good that God has brought into my life, especially the gifts of being born into a loving family, and His gracious gifts of a loving and beloved wife, dearly loved children and grandchildren. And on the days when I do feel a little bereft and a deep sense of loss chokes me up, I am finding this promise of the Lord to be wonderfully true as I seek to keep close to Him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Blog No.364 posted on Friday 21st August 2020

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