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I don't know about you, but I'm tired of the TV adverts that suggest that any personal mishap may warrant legal action. Have a fall outside your home and you may be able to sue your local council. Have a fall inside your home and you may be able to claim from the carpet manufacturer or the people who laid the carpet!

Where is this approach to life coming from? A few years ago people suggested that we were being influenced by American attitudes. But it is no longer true. The attitude reflects our human natures, and I think there are two main reasons for it. First, we are attracted by the possibility of obtaining easy money. "Mrs.Smith claimed 5,000 as a result of her accident at work". What we could do with 5,000! Secondly, we want to avoid personal guilt. If we have an accident that harms us - or another person - we look for a scapegoat. We are not to blame!

Feeding these attitudes of avarice and avoiding responsibility weaken our characters and weaken society. They also hinder our experience of God. The Lord Jesus teaches us that the prayer, "God be merciful to me a sinner" gains divine forgiveness. He said the work of the Holy Spirit is to "convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment" (John 16:8).

Let's be responsible and repentant!


Sadly Dr.Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is making the headlines this month with his apology for Christian mission, and its introduction of Christian hymns around the world. This comes at a time when we're advised not to speak of Christmas as the term is too Christian - and offensive to Muslims and those of other faiths. December should feature "Winter Festivals"!

In an excellent newspaper article, Mary Kenny has issued the challenge: "Stand up Christian Soldiers!" (Daily Mail, 3rd November). She defends the Christian message and Christian mission with historical insight. She brands as 'nonsense' the apologising of great traditions, and the "pathetic cringing before the forces of political correctness". In a parting shot she writes, "So - for God's sake, Your Grace, show a bit of character and defend the traditions upon which your heritage is built".

This month we must pray for Christian missions, which are seeking to minister the love and grace of Jesus Christ in places like Pakistan. And we must remember that the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, said: "Go into all the world and preach the good news" (Mark 16:15).


December is a happy season for most of us. But for a ministerial colleague, Stephen LePage, it came as a nightmare. He was knocked off his cycle by a motorist, and found himself in Addenbrookes hospital for special care and treatment. He had operations for a fractured pelvis and intracranical haemorrhage. He spent Christmas under heavy sedation.

As we enter the New Year the good news is that Stephen is recovering slowly. God is answering prayer. He may be home in the New Year.

Whatever Christmas has brought to us this year, the message of God's love is assured: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

God bless you and yours this Christmas.

         Vernon                                                                     Bible

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Copyright 2008 Vernon Ralphs

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