Minister's blog

Wild at heart

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going." John 3.8 Look out the window and it is another overcast day, with leaden skies and a stiff breeze. Time to reach for the pullover or cagoule. But step outside and it is like being wrapped in a warm embrace. It is the wind direction that makes all the difference. The prevailing south-westerly, with its chilly Atlantic draw, has been temporarily replaced by the less familiar continental flow from the south-east. What a difference it would make to the Hebridean summer if one could harness it! But as Jesus observes in the quote above, recorded by John, the wind eludes our attem

First love

"Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first." Revelation 2. 4 Revelation, which is the culminating book of the Bible, is in fact a letter comprised of several letters. Seven of these are addressed to churches around Asia Minor (Turkey) on what appears to have been a postal route, beginning with the church at Ephesus. The Ephesian believers have been doing a lot of good things but they are tackled by the Holy Spirit through John, who is the author of Revelation, for having abandoned their "first love". Most of us are familiar with the situation. We start something - whether that is a hobby, work or a relationship - with great enthusiasm but after a while we get u

Back in harness

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength..." Isaiah 30. 15 Being on holiday has been so refreshing. For obvious reasons I have not roamed far. I have not boarded an airplane, nor darkened the doors of a restaurant. I haven't been to church or toured around a museum or art-gallery. But I have enjoyed a different pace of life, spent time with Annice and, occasionally, been granted an audience with our children. I have received and visited family and, most poignantly, spent a final long weekend at the home in Lewis of my late parents-in-law. A bharrachd air sin, there was all that time for r

Sloth and idleness

I'm on holiday for three weeks, so no more blogging until the end of the month. In the meantime, you can find words of inspiration at: www.ucb.co.uk word for today. And don't forget 'Smuain na Maidne' on Radio nan Gàidheal: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007jddy. May God be your constant companion...

Sins and sinfulness

If God made a good world, why has it gone so horribly wrong? This persistent question comprises a mixture of theological and observational truth: God did make the world and he made it "good" but, ever since, it has been corrupted by evil. While they may have different views of its origins, every religion and philosophical worldview has its theories of the origin of evil, many of which overlap in the malevolent figure of a serpent or sea monster. According to the Bible, this was Satan: a rebellious angel who took the form of a creature to tempt those whom God had appointed as care-takers of all he had made, as a further expression of enmity towards his former master. Satan's plan worked, inso

How to celebrate...

"Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah 8. 10 Today is a "red-letter day" in America. Although it was on the 2nd of July that Congress voted to secede from Britain, it was on the 4th of July that independence was actually declared by the 13 former British colonies to form the United States of America. Of the manner in which the occasion was to be marked, John Adams - who was destined to become the fledgling state's second President - stated: "It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty." In

Your final hour

"Dear children, this is the last hour..." 1 John 2. 18 Last night I dreamed about a man with a rare form of cancer - of the hands. As soon as the doctor saw the man he pronounced that he had no more than one hour to live. The man was a highly regarded pillar of his church and so those around him were curious as to how he would spend that crucial final hour... According to the witnesses in my dream, he first boiled doughnuts for his work-mates and then he prepared a gourmet meal for his wife. I don't have the gift of interpretation, so I cannot offer an explanation of my dream. But it does draw attention to an awareness of the imminence of the end of time which permeates the latter half of th

Bi faiceallach!

"You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it." Haggai 1. 6 Haggai was contemporary with another prophet, Zechariah. Together they roused the exiled Jews in Babylon to take advantage of the new ruler's policy of repatriation. The message was: how can you expect God to bless you, unless you are living in obedience to his will and purpose? The Jews' first task was to stop moping around in exile and get back to the Promised Land of Israel. Then they had to learn to get their priorities right: rebuild the temple before decorating

Eastern threat

"If one part suffers, every part suffers with it..." 1 Corinthians 12. 26 Should the news from Hong Kong trouble us? What business have we in the affairs of another country? Why should we care about a law that would allow mainland China to rein in its troublesome province? Apart from China's betrayal of its guarantee to preserve Hong Kong's liberal heritage for at least 50 years since 1997 (exactly 23 years ago today!), there is an even more compelling reason: China itself is home to nearly 100 million Christians - these are our brothers and sisters in Christ, a bond which transcends national loyalty. That they are denied the right to worship freely is an outrage. That their gatherings are m

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