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I was impressed by a practical sermon this month entitled “Loving and Serving”.
The preacher told how the Lord Jesus washed his disciples’ feet in the upper room, shortly before his betrayal and crucifixion. His central text was: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14). The Lord performed a slave’s duty!

I looked for opportunities to follow the Master’s example of service. I found two outlets immeditately. First, in my hospital visitation and, secondly, in doing some painting in the grounds of a Christian residential home. I have found a third outlet.

Since suffering a prolapsed spinal disc in 1989 I have felt for those with spinal problems. ASPIRE is an organisation that seeks to help people with spinal cord injuries. At the moment it is promoting a sponsorship programme. It is asking people to SWIM THE CHANNEL! That is, 22 miles in a local swimming pool!

At 71 years-of-age I am going to do this. I will undertake to swim 1078 lengths in my local 33m pool before 3rd December.

{NOTE: This was successfully completed; sponsorship money was raised and sent to ASPIRE}


My thoughts centre on gambling this month.

I need to explain why. During one of my hospital visits I met a man with a severe addiction problem. The habit was so strong that he tried to end his own life. Although he had a good wife and family (with two healthy children) he tried to commit suicide - and that’s why he ended up in the casualty ward. His addiction? Gambling.

We talked about the trouble at length. We agreed that society promotes gambling while, at the same time, condemning it! The government is aware of the problem yet organises a national lottery - and even considers a mega casino in the heart of London. TV programs, such as “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” and “Deal or no Deal?” encourages gambling and congratulates those who win great sums of money. The latter show handed out 4.6m this year! Gambling encourages greed and selfishness. As far as I know no TV prizewinner has donated their cheques to a charity or world need.

Gambling is addictive. We need to warn young people about its danger - and offer the Saviour’s promise to those who are enslaved: “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).


“Saddam Hussein is hanged”.
This headline news announced the end of the tyrant of Bagdad. He was executed for his crimes against humanity. His record of attrocities, including mass murder, execution camps and involvement in neighbouring wars, are well documented. Cruelty and injustice has been recognised and condemned.

Cruelty? Four men were arrested this month for the part they played in the genocide of Rwandan Tutsis in 1994. About 200,000 people - men, women and children - were slaughtered! According to our local press the accused Rwandan, who has been hiding in Bedford, was involved in some 50,000 deaths. He rounded Tutsis up by directing them to a so-called safe area!

Sadly, acts of hatred and cruelty are still taking place - man’s inhumanity to man is still bad news. What’s the answer? It’s in our Christmas text from Isaiah:

“To us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and for ever” (9:6-7).

God bless you

         Vernon                                                                     Bible

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Copyright 2008 Vernon Ralphs

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