Author Archives: David

About David

David is the son of Ken and father of Nick, who first introduced him to blogging. Ken is a retired Baptist Minister who continues to preach regularly, despite being in his late eighties. Nick is also a Baptist Minister (newly accredited). Somehow the being a preacher thing skipped a generation with David. Although half Scottish David grew up in England and in the Channel Island of Guernsey. He served in the British Merchant Navy after leaving school, and did not attend University until he was twenty-eight years old. By this time he was married to Marilyn and father to Nick, and Nick’s brother Michael. Another son (James) was born the day before the start of David’s final University examinations. Beth and John followed a few years later. The older boys are all married, and David and Marilyn have been presented with six grandsons and two grand-daughters to date. Beth served with British Youth for Christ (YFC) for four years, two as a member and then a year as the leader of the Nomad cage football team. She then spent a year with a new YFC ministry known as The Cube, before leaving YFC to join the Youth and Children's Team at Belfrey church in York, where she is also working part-time in a computer store. John, who is 19, is now the only one of our children still living at home. David and Marilyn met in 1973 and have been married since 1979. Marilyn is a trained nurse, who gave up nursing to be a full time mother, grandmother, and maker of cakes for pastors, youth pastors, and any church function that needs cakes. There is a rumour that she secretly reads David’s blogs. Family and church leave little time for hobbies, but David enjoys walking and cycling, and listening to music. He also dabbles with languages and is currently learning to speak Welsh. (By way of explanation the Welsh border is 11 miles from David's home, and his water bills arrive in both English and Welsh from Dŵr Cymru.)

Hope Springs Eternal

Proverbs 14:32

The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.

The word ‘hope’ leaps out at me from the above verse, and I have had to stop and consider where my hope lies. At the time of writing I am on the opposite side of the Atlantic to home, but hoping to be back home in about thirty-six hours time. I hope that I can find some time to spend with my family this Christmas despite the intense pressure of my workload.

As Christmas approaches many people will be hoping they receive gifts they desire. In our consumer driven western society advertisements shout loudly about the things we can have. We easily forget those who have little hope. Equally, it is easy to ignore the wickedness we see plastered across our television screens be it wrong lifestyles, victims of conflict, big business acting fraudulently, dishonest politicians, etc.

Jesus told a parable about a rich man who chose to ignore the wickedness of society that left a starving diseased beggar outside his house. The beggar possessed one thing the rich man did not have. The beggar had hope. It was probably his only possession. You can read the story in Luke 16:19-31.

My worry is that we can become blind like the rich man to the extent that our possessions become more important than our hope, and the promise of eternal life in exchange for a life surrendered to our Father in Heaven. The danger increases at Christmas to the extent that we may not even notice the starving diseased beggar, whoever or whatever he or she may be.

What are you hoping for this Christmas?

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

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Worthy to Receive Honor

Proverbs 14:28 

In the multitude of people is the king’s honor: but in the want of people is the destruction of the prince.
A growing population is a king’s glory; a prince without subjects has nothing. NLT

Which King?

When I read this verse I wondered if the reference was to earthly kings or to our Heavenly King? Here in the UK we still have a royal family so it is easy for me to consider what constitutes a king’s (or in our case queen’s) honor or glory. Queen Elizabeth II has been a worthy monarch. Although her powers are restricted to constitutional and representational matters, she is generally loved and admired by a multitude of people.

This proverb links population to honor and glory. The UK population has certainly grown during the Queen’s sixty-year reign, mainly due to immigration, much of which has taken place in the last few years. But does the growing population bring the Queen honor and glory? No. The fact that the Queen is so highly regarded in the UK and around the world is because of the way that she has fulfilled her duties, and continues to do so despite being eighty-six years old. Will Prince Charles be similarly loved and respected when/if he is crowned as King? That seems unlikely. While Prince Charles is first in line to the throne, he is not as well received by his ‘subjects’ as his mother. Queen Elizabeth will be a hard act to follow.

Another King

One of the UK’s most rousing and patriotic songs is ‘I Vow to Thee My Country.’ The words begin with loyalty to the nation, but end with a poetic description of heaven, and a King above all other kings, a King who seeks a growing population, a multitude of people who choose to bow before Him. A King who stands at the door of every human heart and knocks, waiting quietly for an answer.

I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no questions, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar, the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
 
And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are peace.

Listen: Katherine Jenkins sings ‘I Vow to Thee My Country’


Employment Issues

Proverbs 14:23

In all labor there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.

No Work, No Pay

In February 1980 I lost my job. I had been married for just under a year, and my wife was pregnant with our first child. Although my wife was still working, she had part-time work only, and we could not survive without my income.

My first visit to the unemployment benefit office was educational, and I was surprised at the number of people claiming benefits who appeared to have no desire to find employment. Being unemployed was not an option for me, but it took seven weeks of filling out forms and knocking on doors before I managed to find a job as the UK was in recession at this time. Sitting down and talking about finding employment would not have worked. I needed to take action if we were to be able to pay our bills. I needed work.

Low Pay

My new job paid less than half of what I had been earning a few months earlier when I was still serving at sea. I came ashore six months after our wedding because I did not want to be separated from my wife for two-thirds of the year. My new job was somewhat different. I exchanged my navigating officer’s uniform for overalls, and my ship for a van. My days were spent driving around the county delivering motor parts to garages.

Despite the low pay I enjoyed my new job. Instead of the freedom of the high seas, I had the freedom of the countryside. Instead of having a salary transferred directly into my bank account at the end of each month, I received my wages in cash at the end of each week.

Job Satisfaction

photo-9The fact that work is about more than wages is most evident in the face of one of the assistants at our local supermarket. He regularly mans the self-service tills. Customers use the self-service tills because they are supposed to be quicker. Inevitably they are not and there are often problems. When problems occur the assistant manning the tills is frequently on the receiving end of significant abuse. This particular assistant smiles his way through the day, despite the abuse. He told me he enjoys his work. It is a joy to watch him in action…a man who is satisfied with his job, because in all labor there is profit, and profit is more than hard cash.


Listen to the Teacher

Proverbs 14:6

A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.

Memories of School

When we were children we were regularly told that we would one day look back on our time in school as the happiest period in our lives. Really? As a child I knew that even a minute in school was wasted time. I was far happier outside the classroom playing on the rocks and the old fort at Grandes Rocques. It wasn’t that I scorned the wisdom of my teachers; it was just that I thought that I had better things to do with my time. I wasn’t the only one.

I recall the day that the headmaster took our class down to the old watchtower at Le Guet. The Germans used Le Guet during World War Two because of its commanding view out across the Atlantic. We were given tasks relating to the flora around the watchtower, but most of the class were back in the 1940s pretending to be either German or British soldiers engaged in a battle for the watchtower. When we returned to school and found out that we were expected to write an essay on the visit to Le Guet we had a problem because we hadn’t listened to our headmaster. To say that he did not appreciate our work is an understatement.

Legalistic or Simplistic?

While there are often pupils in school who are difficult to teach, surely that is part of the daily challenge for a teacher? This was a problem that Jesus would have recognized. Strangely, many of those who failed to listen to Jesus or benefit from His wisdom were the most educated men of the day. These Pharisees and teachers of the law were so focused on their legalistic approach to religion that they failed to grasp the simplicity of Jesus’ words. If only they had remembered this verse from Proverbs. “Knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices – mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Matthew 23: 23-26 NIV)


Building a Home

Proverbs 14:1

Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

Housebuilding

Six months before we got married my wife and I purchased our first home. Mortgages were not easy to come by in 1978 and we had to find a deposit of £1,000 for a house that cost £14,995. Prudently we saved far more than the deposit before applying for a mortgage. Why? Because a house without furniture would not have been a home. Some of our furniture was purchased second-hand, some of it was new. Some of it was given to us by relatives who wanted to pass on their hand-me-downs. It didn’t really matter where it came from, what mattered was that we were building a home.

Lived In

When I look back at our first house it wasn’t perfect. The wallpaper and carpets were chosen by the previous owner and could best be described as ‘loud.’ The electric heating was inefficient and expensive. The front door caught the force of the wind and the rain in winter and used to jam. But whatever else that house was it was our home. It was where we lived and raised our family for fourteen years. If you had visited you might not have found a tidy home, but you would have found a home that was lived in. A home that was built and cherished by a wise woman. My wife.

Tenant or Owner

Just as our homes should be filled with evidence of our lives, Scripture teaches that our lives should be filled with evidence of God’s Holy Spirit. If we have surrendered our lives to God this is equivalent to opening the front door of our home and inviting Him in as the new owner, not just a tenant. If we do this then He will help us to change the decoration, fit new carpets, install new heating, and anything else He sees necessary for Him to feel comfortable living in us. It all boils down to ownership. Have you made God the owner of your house or do you treat Him like a tenant?


Leaving an Inheritance

Proverbs 13:22

A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.

A Good Man

My grandfather was a good man. He was also a wise man. He trained as an accountant and set up his own business in the City of London. When my grandfather began auditing a new motor business he became such a valued friend of the founder that he gave him shares in the business. This business eventually became one of the largest Ford dealerships in South London.

A Financial Inheritance

When my grandfather died in 1964 my grandmother was left in the position of never having any financial worries. By this time my father was a Baptist pastor serving a circuit of four churches in Guernsey, and supporting a wife and two children. Two more children were added to the family in 1965 and 1967 and it was certainly a challenge for my father to support his family. My grandmother helped out financially from time to time ensuring that the inheritance left to her by my grandfather benefited her son and helped him to continue in ministry. When my grandmother died in 1983 the money she left helped provide for my parents and paved the way for a secure retirement that continues to today. That financial inheritance has also been used to help provide for me and my family, and my sisters and their families.

A Different Inheritance

My grandfather left more than a financial inheritance. He was more than a good man. He was a man of God. He invested in the spiritual welfare of his children. My father became a Baptist pastor and my aunt trained for the mission field, but served instead in her local church in many roles including youth leader and church secretary. The spiritual investment made by my grandfather was passed to me and to my sisters, and in turn from me to my children. That is an investment I can rejoice in. I rejoice in seeing my eldest son serving as a youth pastor, while my second son is leading a house group in our church. My third son is becoming increasingly involved in a student church where he lives and recently spoke in a service. My daughter and youngest son are active members of the youth group at our church. If only my grandfather could see the results of his wisest investment.


Strong Foundations

Proverbs 13:16

Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.
Wise people think before they act; fools don’t – and even brag about their foolishness. (NLT)

Building Wisely

A good explanation of this proverb is found in Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV) where Jesus uses a construction site to illustrate the difference between a wise man and a fool:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

When builders came to extend my home they were required by law to dig deep foundations. Although the extension only involved two ground floor rooms, building regulations stated that the foundations had to be strong enough to support a double height extension. While the builders considered this excessive, it added an element of future proofing and made absolutely certain that my ground floor extension would stand for many years. Call it wisdom, call it forward planning, call it what you like, but I have absolute confidence in the deep foundations supporting my extension.

Foolish Boasting

I also have absolute confidence that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that His words provide a foundation for survival in a world that offers many other choices. In fact there are only two choices. Listen to Jesus or ignore Jesus. He has the words of eternal life (John 6:68). Sadly there is no shortage of fools prepared to boast that there is no God as demonstrated in an advertising campaign involving buses in the UK during 2009.

Scripture provides a response to such folly: