The light at the end of the tunnel?

July 23, 2021

The outer rim of Japan’s National Stadium exploded in a spectacular display of pyrotechnics as the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games finally got underway at noon today GMT.

More than 11,300 athletes from 207 countries are scheduled to compete over the next two and a bit weeks, all I am sure hopeful of winning a medal.

When the Games were postponed in March 2020, organisers said the Olympic flame “could become the light at the end of the tunnel” a message of hope that the Pandemic which forced its adjournment was coming to an end.

But with infections continuing to rise in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, does the light symbolise hope or is it instead the sign of an impending train wreck?

Hope is a marvellous thing but human hope is little more than an optimistic state of mind. In the Christian Bible, hope means something else. The confident expectation of a promise made by God. The promise was Jesus. The fulfilment is a new life for all peoples, even those who have already died.

Jesus is the light at the end of the tunnel. More, he is the light of the world.

Peter Mill info@because.uk.com

Peter is Editor-in-Chief at Because.

1 The Bible – John 8:12 (NIV)
Picture: ID 176256655 © Vasilis Ververidis | Dreamstime.com

It’s coming home.

July 9, 2021

Is football finally coming home for England after 55 years of hurt? With England through to Sunday’s Euro 2020 final their supporters won’t have long to find out. Perhaps the most endearing story of England’s successful run in the tournament is that of their manager Gareth Southgate. 25 years ago, he missed the penalty against Germany that knocked England out of the 1996 Euros, now he has led the team to the final, beating Germany on the way. A photoshopped picture summed up the poignancy of the moment depicting the 2021 Southgate putting his arm around the 1996 Southgate.

Southgate seems to have found redemption for his past mistake, but what about us, can the mistakes of our past be healed? Jesus Christ once told a story[1] about a young man who squandered his father’s inheritance on wild living in a distant country, and when he was penniless, he decided to go home hoping his father would help by giving him a job as a servant. Instead, his father welcomed him with open arms and threw a party: healing had taken place.

Whatever mistakes you may have made in the past your heavenly Father is waiting with open arms to embrace you. Maybe it’s time to come home.

Barry Robinson info@because.uk.com

[1] The Bible, Luke 15:11-32.

 

 

Passport to paradise

July 2, 2021

If your idea of paradise is lying on a sun-kissed beach on a balmy Balearic island, you may need a new kind of passport to get there. Yesterday the EU officially introduced its Digital Covid Certificate, a way for European citizens to prove they have been vaccinated against, negatively tested for or have recovered from Covid-19.

This passport is free and recognised by all 27 EU member states, as well as Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein. In principle, if you have one, you should be exempted from testing or quarantine should you wish to cross an international border.

If you live in England, don’t panic, it’s hoped the NHS Covid pass, bundled with the NHS app, will also be accepted by most countries. If you live in the rest of the UK, you’ll have to get by for now with a retro paper certificate.

But what if your idea of paradise is more grandiose? A place where there is no war or pain, poverty or sadness, no hunger, not even death? (Yes, we’ll throw in a beach too, if that is your heart’s desire.) If such a place was possible, what kind of passport would you need to get there?

This passport is not an app or a piece of paper, but a person. “I am the way”, said Jesus.1 “All you have to do to get there is believe in me”.2

If you’d like to know more, just ask.

Peter Mill info@because.uk.com

Peter is Editor-in-Chief at Because.

1The Bible – John 14:6
2 The Bible – John 3:16

Life or death?

June 25, 2021

This week in the news there has been criticism of “binary” politics. In other words, say in a vote or a referendum, when there is a simple choice between “yes” or “no”. Could there be more options, and is there enough detailed information presented to help people make an educated choice?

When it comes to matters of faith, Christianity challenges us with a choice of two paths. One leads to eternal life and the other to the opposite. The difference is that we know beforehand clearly how our choice will play out. We can stay in this world’s well-trodden way of get. We see this in the news every day — it’s a pathway to destruction and misery. Or we can break free and follow Jesus — his way is the way of giving, loving and sacrifice. It’s to do with putting others before ourselves. It’s the tougher option but it leads to no more wars, fighting, and mental strife. Above all, it takes us to peace and harmony.

What do you think?

It’s time to choose Jesus and follow life.

James Henderson info@because.uk.com

Freedom Day

June 18, 2021

Perhaps, like me, you have been looking forward to the end of Covid-19 restrictions. In England it’s been dubbed ‘Freedom day’ and was supposed to be this Monday. Unfortunately, it would seem, freedom has been postponed.

What is freedom? It is often thought that freedom is the right to do whatever you want. The problem with this definition is that one person’s freedom in doing whatever he or she wants can very easily become another’s tyranny.

The Bible offers us a different definition of freedom. It says “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor 3:17 NIV). Unlike modern definitions, the Bible asserts that freedom is more than a basic human right – it is God’s presence in our life, and our presence in his life.

True freedom cannot be found in money, fame or power. Instead true freedom is found when we discover our purpose and can begin to live the life we were always designed to live.

Freedom does not need to be postponed. Turn to Jesus today.

Gavin Henderson info@because.uk.com

On the way to Carbis Bay

June 11, 2021

Last week I had the opportunity to spend some time in St. Ives, Cornwall, enjoying the good weather and the picturesque scenery. This week the area of St. Ives will host some far more prestigious visitors as the G7 Summit is held at the Carbis Bay hotel.

Topics for discussion include leading the global recovery from COVID-19 and strengthening resilience against future pandemics, championing free and fair trade, tackling climate change, and preserving the planet’s biodiversity.

All these are important topics, but can any agreements be reached? Will lasting decisions be made? Only time will tell.

Christians in Cornwall are taking the opportunity to encourage people around the world to unite in prayer, sending a positive message of hope and guidance to the world’s leaders. They are praying for protection; for unity, peace, and harmony among nations; for the leaders themselves in the decisions they must make.

Does prayer work? There are many testimonies that affirm that prayer does make a difference, why not try it yourself and see.

Barry Robinson info@because.uk.com

God with us

June 4, 2021

Recently I heard a Bishop make a confession on national radio! His ‘crime’? He was guilty of double-zooming. If you, like me, have never heard of that term before, it is the act of joining two online video meetings at the same time.

Dr David Walker, Bishop of Manchester, went on to tell the Radio 4 audience why he decided to kick the habit. He said it was just not possible to be fully present with two groups of people in two meetings at once, so it was disrespectful to everyone.

It is humbling to admit that, as mere mortals, we are unable to be all-seeing, all-knowing and omnipresent. Those qualities are reserved for the divine. Imagine, if you can, a God who is not only able to be fully present with every single person on the planet; he is also willing. In fact, it is his heart’s desire.

That’s a mind-blowing concept, isn’t it? Yet for Christians, that’s the reality of Jesus who was also called Immanuel, which simply means God with us.

Jesus is never too busy to be fully present with you. Why not spend some time with him?

Peter Mill info@because.uk.com

Re-Wilding

May 28, 2021

Re-wilding.

I love the concept. Bringing back locally extinct or endangered species in order to rejuvenate the environment around us. Recent examples are beavers in the UK and giant river otters in Argentina.

I wonder, could we play around with the idea? Christians can be likened to a dying species, nearly gone altogether in some places. My view is let’s bring them back into the spiritually derelict society around us. We need the return of what Jesus taught, ideas that once underpinned our value systems. Concepts such as faithfulness, integrity and not lying.

What do you think?

It could start with you. Follow Christ and re-wild our world.

James Henderson info@because.uk.com

Blessed are the peacemakers

May 23, 2021

Today a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas came into effect ending, for now at least, the fighting and violence of the last 11 days. The hope is that peace will follow.

Sadly, it is easier to stoke division and hatred than to bring about reconciliation and peace. That is why Jesus once said “blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”.1

He understood that those who strive for peace in this world are precious and to be treasured. More than that, he understood that they reflect the way of God more than the way of man.

In a divided world where a spiteful word is so easy and can cause so much harm, can you be a peacemaker?

Gavin Henderson info@because.uk.com

1The Bible – Matthew 5:9 (NIV)

Peace is coming

May 14, 2021

All this week I’ve been seeing disturbing images on television, in newspapers and across my laptop screen. Destroyed buildings, mutilated bodies, ruined lives. Will there ever be peace in Palestine?

According to an ancient prophecy, yes there will.1 But an end to decades of intense hostilities in the region will not come as the result of treaties, ceasefires or political ambitions. It will be down to one man, a man whose name means peace; whose name is peace. The Prince of Peace, better known to most as Jesus Christ.

What’s in a name? In this case, much more than you would think. The original Hebrew word translated into our English word peace is so much richer in meaning. According to Hebrew scholar Cornelius Plantinga, the word means “justice, and fulfilment…universal flourishing, wholeness and delight. In other words, the way things are meant to be”.

In this centuries old prediction, peace in the Middle East is only just the beginning. The Prince will usher in a whole new world of completeness, harmony, fulfilment, perfection, wholeness, wellness, safety and prosperity.

I for one can hardly wait.

Peter Mill info@because.uk.com

Peter is Editor-in-Chief at Because

1 The Bible – Isaiah 9:6 (NLT)

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