Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Pleasing Him

“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”                                       John 5.30

It is quite interesting to read of Jesus saying that He can do nothing by Himself. It further reinforces His commitment to live only to do the will of the Father.

This verse reiterates what Jesus has said earlier: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”  (John 5.19)

It is undeniable that Jesus lived fully to please the Father. He followed the Father in doing. He was ever obedient to the Father.

Jesus says, “Follow me.” He’s beckoning me to live as He did, in full obedience to the Father’s will. I really try to do this, but I do not always succeed. I am not Jesus. I am not without sin, and the knowledge of my sin disappoints me so much. I know what to do, for I have so often encouraged others to do so: I need to run to my Dad in humble confession and repentance. I need to accept His forgiveness and move on – in Him. When we are acutely conscious of our sins is a time when Satan is at his most active. This is not a time to listen to him, but to turn to the Righteous One.

Lord God, Holy Father.

I have been reminded once again of the miserable sinner that I am. Again I say “sorry”, but it sounds so shallow and trite.

I humbly ask for Your forgiveness. Please lead me forward in good ways. Direct me clearly into the righteous paths and strengthen me to follow Your ways. Let me know that You are always with me. Let me feel Your presence as I journey on. I love You and don’t wish to disappoint You. I know I do. Please forgive me.

May I journey with You now, through this day?

I ask these things in Jesus’ name.            Amen.

My book “God Talk” is available through major Internet booksellers.
A taste of the book's content can be seen in the You Tube clip (Search: Peter Francis - "God Talk").

Saturday, 25 April 2015

"Do you...?"

 “Do you want to get well?”                                                         John 5.8b

Jesus is the divine healer. He can truly heal anyone. This may not always be God’s plan but we know that the power of God is so great that He can heal anyone should He so choose.

But Jesus asks this interesting question, “Do you want to get well?” and I see great truth in it.

Healing is a gift and, like any gift, for it to be fully effective it must be received. The recipient of healing must want to get well. Is this, perhaps, a silly question, a redundant question? Not necessarily.

Sick people often receive a lot of attention which they would not get if they were not sick. Sometimes the only contact (or the most meaningful contact) a sick person has with others is with the people who tend them in their sickness. To be faced with the question “Do you want to get well?” can be extremely challenging. The wellness could eliminate further need for attention thereby removing valuable contacts from the life of the formerly sick person.

Of course that person is released, in the fullness of health, to seek out new – and healthy – friendships. But this may not come into their thinking when faced with the “challenge” of healing. Yes, for some, the possibility of getting well could be most frightening.


I pray for those who are sick and for whom the possibility of healing is a frightening prospect.

I pray that such people might look on the gift of healing as entry into a truly new life. In wellness is opportunity to make new friends and do new things. Wholeness brings an enabling to join in activities that previously may have been too difficult.

I pray for those in sickness that they might realize the gift of healing is accompanied by other precious gifts leading into fulfilled new life. Hallelujah!              Amen. 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Our Father

“This, then, is how you should pray:

         ‘Our Father in heaven,
         hallowed be your name.’ ”                                        Matt. 6.9

Jesus has been speaking to His disciples about prayer. He tells them not to go babbling on like heathen, for God knows what we need before we ask. He then leads them in a simple but beautiful prayer.

“Our Father” – this is the most wonderful invitation into relationship. God is there for everyone. He is all-mighty, the Lord God. But He is also Father to His creation – to every thing and every one He has created.

Jesus is the one who first speaks forth “Our Father”. He is inviting us to join Him in relationship with the Holy One, and also with Himself. He says “Our Father” not “My Father”. This is family, and we are all welcome to be part of it. It’s up to us to respond. Individually and separately, we need to receive and accept the invitation. For myself, I willingly and gladly say, “Yes, Lord. I receive You as my Father. I claim the right and the honour to be Your son. I join in brotherhood with my Lord Jesus. I belong. Hallelujah!”

“hallowed be your name.” These words impact me greatly each time I encounter them. When I speak them out, a certain tone comes into my voice. It’s a sort of hushed reverence. I am acknowledging the most awesome God. His name is hallowed. It signifies the deepest, most profound holiness. It is righteousness personified. I hallow His name, but I’m relating to the whole of Him. My name is the clearest designation of me. When people ask me who I am, I answer with my name. My name is synonymous with the whole of me. And so with God! When I acknowledge His name as holy, I am receiving the whole of who He is, the immensity of His being, as holy, as righteous, as perfect in every way. This is my God. He is truly awesome, worthy of the deepest respect, veneration and obedience.

Yet I have just acknowledged Him as my Father. This totally holy, deeply righteous, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-being God welcomes me as His child. It is almost beyond belief. I say almost, but it is not impossible. I am drawn into relationship – the sweetest, deepest, truest, most enduring and totally undeniable relationship. Do I deserve this? Not in my own person or by my own endeavours, but my simple – but true – acceptance of Jesus as Saviour and as Lord makes it fully possible. I am so wonderfully, incredibly blessed. I know so, and I am so eternally thankful.

My Father,

How wonderful it is to address You thus.

And rightly so, for my Lord Jesus has made it possible for me to come to You as a much-loved son. I thank You. I salute You in holiness and righteousness. I say the name that is truly hallowed, the name that signifies the very being and essence of holiness.

But this great and wonderful Being is also my heavenly Father. I collapse in joy and thanksgiving. I praise You and thank You. Hallelujah!        Amen.

My book “God Talk” is available through major Internet booksellers.
A taste of the book's content can be seen in the You Tube clip (Search: Peter Francis - "God Talk").

Sunday, 19 April 2015


Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come and make our home with him."             John 13.23

We left Rudesheim (my apologies for lack of the umlaut - I simply can't get the machine to insert it!) at 8.30 am on Friday morning. I arrived at my front door at 10.00 pm on Saturday night - thirty-seven and one half hours later. Even allowing for the difference in time zones we were "travelling" for an actual time of over 29 hours. During this time we got very, very little sleep!

I don't know if distance and travel time have any bearing on it, but the thought of home after a visit to other parts has an undeniable appeal. The old saying, "There's no place like home!" bears truth, time and time again. Often when I come to the end of my visit in various places, I simply want to be home. Now I am, and it's so good.

For quite some time now I've lived with the realisation that my true home is in Him - my Lord and my God. I love Jesus and I truly attempt to live in compliance and obedience to His teachings. I love the Father and the Spirit. I hope I give them due respect yet, whilst I do, I can say that I am comfortable in their presence. Maybe this is the essence of the love that God has for me, and that He invites me to share with Him. Genuine love promotes a feeling of comfort and peace in each other's company, along with respect and gratitude.

I am blessed to know God's presence in my home. Indeed, He cohabits with me. He's here, and I know it. But He's not limited to one location. I have just travelled widely in Malaysia and through so much of Germany. And God has been with me every step of the way. This recent holiday has held more challenges than I can remember in any of my previous travel. At times I truly wondered what God was up to. Why was He allowing such trials and difficulties? I may never know the answer to that question. Yet I already know that, whatever the answer may be, it's not particularly relevant. For each time an event occurred that started me wondering, in  just the shortest space of time I knew that God was with me. Did I suffer? Yes, I think I did at times. But I knew I was not suffering alone. He was with me, and He got me through. I praise God.

So, whilst I'm now relocated in the locality and the dwelling I call home, I've never really left home. My true home is Him. Wherever I go, He is with me. I have His promise also that He'll be with me, always, to the very end of the age.

Almighty God, Loving Father, Precious Jesus, Holy Spirit,

I thank You that I know, through the sweetest experiences and beyond all doubt, that my true home is in You.

I thank You that there is nowhere I can go where You are not also there.

I thank You for the most wonderful holiday with Joshua, and the sure knowledge that You were with us each moment.

I thank You that You are here with me right now, that You will be with me tomorrow, and every other tomorrow.

Thank You,
I love You,


Thursday, 16 April 2015

The light

"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."    (John 8.12)

We're spending the final days of this German sojourn in the delightful Rhine-side town of Rudesheim. My memories of Rudesheim of over forty years ago prompted this return visit, and we have not been disappointed. Joshua is enthralled with the town, its character and ambience.

Today is a glorious Rhineland spring day. The sky is clear, the sun is warm and I have enjoyed a wonderful early morning walk through the vineyards above the town, and along the Klosterweg to the Benedictine Abbey of St. Hildegard.

I have even seen evidence of the Camino here.

I just might need to return some day for some serious walking.

I am presently sitting in the sanctuary of the Abbey Church.

 As I look up, I see directly into the eyes of Christ who is looking back at me, directly at me and at no one else.

I reflect over the last couple of weeks and at those aspects of this holiday and visit that were not according to my planning, and certainly not in agreement with my expectations. For instance, losing my wallet and all its precious contents on the first day. The mass of re-arrangements that followed.Then  contracting a heavy cold after just a couple of days in Germany, and battling with the effects as I sneezed and coughed, but continued to walk through wind and snow in the Bavarian Alps.

I look up, and it's as if Jesus is saying, "So what? I got you there and I've got you here, haven't I? It may not have been as you would have wished but then, life's not like that. You have to be prepared for the unexpected. The challenges you have faced and, by the way, have overcome, in the last couple of weeks have actually enhanced your holiday. Yes, you have shared some wonderful times with your grandson. You have enjoyed a pleasant catch-up with some family members, and you have seen such a variety of the Father's creation. How blessed you are!"

I am reminded of the significance of light in the life and work of Hildegard of Bingen. I look up and I see the light that Christ is, even today in this world where many have abandoned Him. I know the light that He is in my life. I am aware of how that light has shone in recent weeks. I am humbly grateful.

Lord Jesus,

You are the light of my life, and I thank You. Thank You for shining as You have up to the present time. Please continue to shine as I go forward, ever in Your light.    Amen.


Sunday, 12 April 2015

Wrestling with God

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak....

But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."  Gen. 32. 24, 26b

This morning I had the most wonderful experience of attending morning service with communion at the  cathedral, der Berliner Dom.

The whole experience was glorious. Entering the sanctuary, I was stunned by the beauty of the interior (sorry, no pics) which was so brightly lit by chandeliers and candles. Then the organ erupted brilliantly in a Bach prelude, filling the vast interior with heavenly sound. Yes, it truly was a touch of heaven.

What followed did not lessen the effect. The service included three baptisms, a message and communion, interspersed with the most wonderful choral music.

The sermon was based around Jacob's wrestle with God (Gen, 32.23-32). I did not get the message as presented - my knowledge of German is far from good enough. Yet, as the Domprediger spoke, I was reminded of sights I have seen this week and the experiences that accompanied them. For instance, the insanity of Dachau and the workings of the Third Reich. Then, during the last few days in Berlin, the graphic displays and representations of the Communist era in the east and, again, the gross violations committed against decent folk.

Why do I mention these things in this present context? As I listened to the preacher speak of Jacob's wrestling with God, I felt that modern Gemany has been on a similar journey. What I have witnessed in both Dachau and the Berlin locations has been presented honestly without any attempt to excuse or cover up. I hear the German people clearly say, "This was wrong!"

What I have seen and experienced this week has shown me lessons we can all benefit from. I pray that I have learned and will grow personally. I pray also for nations and people groups for I fear there is much happening in the world today that is most ungodly in character.

There are times when  God may well have us wrestle with Him. At other times, I sense the action is simply for us to press into Him, and keep "pressing in". In a minor way, through the unexpected challenges of the past two weeks, I have found myself pressing in. This morning's time in the cathedral was the most wonderful response, gift and blessing from God.

O Great and Loving Father,

I thank You so much. For this morning's wonderful experience. I thank You for the joy of a cathedral filled with people worshipping You. I thank You for Your presence with us.    Amen.

Thursday, 9 April 2015


"But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."   Matt. 5.44

Tuesday was a different day. Tuesday was a sombre day, for it was the day we chose to visit the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site.

Much has been documented and recorded of those horror times of several decades ago yet, however prepared we may think we are, when visiting one of the locations where such gruesome, inhumane treatment was so ruthlessly administered to innocent and undeserving victims, the truth of what occurred registers with a deep, new reality,

Perhaps the first impression to impact me was the vastness of the place. Then, when touring the exhibits, we learned of the thousands who had passed through there.

It appears that no one was exempt. Those who suffered here included loyal Germans who were interned in the early years simply because they posed opposition to the ruthless Nazi dictatorship. In time men, women and children of many nationalities and different faiths entered this place - many not to leave. I was particularly mindful of our Jewish brothers and sisters. The memory of their suffering was especially strong as I stood in the gas chambers. How can humanity treat fellow humanity in such a way? And yet, atrocities continue in today's world!

And so to my Scripture, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." I simply couldn't imagine the incarcerated having any feelings of love for the monsters who lorded it over them. Then, the verse tells us to pray for them. To pray to whom?

What, I wonder, would the inmates thoughts be toward a God, especially one who espouses love, grace, and mercy? This thinking came through strongly as we visited the various faith memorials that now sit on the outer perimeter of the death camp.

Catholic Mortal Agony of Christ Chapel (1960)

Carmelite Convent (1964)

Jewish Memorial (1967)

Protestant Church of Reconciliation (1967)

Russian Orthodox Chapel ((1995)

These reminders of God's presence  are clearly in evidence in Dachau today, but what of those horrific years when brutality seemed to reign supreme? I know that faith existed then. Through the writings of Dietricht Boenhoeffer and Victor Frankl together with the testimonies of others, I can believe that people held to their faith even in the darkest, dimmest times. In one way, there were thousands of "Job" experiences but without the happy ending. That is, without a happy ending on this earth. May each one who suffered have passed victoriously into the glory of heaven!

And was God present in Dachau? I believe so. He promises never to leave us. He accompanies us everywhere. Yet how hard it might be for Him. The phrase that follows my quoted verse is: that you may be sons of your Father in heaven (Matt. 5.45a). We are joined to Christ in our sufferings. When our Lord and Saviour was nailed to the cross in ignominious death it was the cruellest act imaginable in those days. The treatment at Dachau and similar establishments paralleled, in a way, the crucifixion. And the barbaric acts that are perpetuated today in various places surely echo the same theme. Jesus overcame. Let us cling to Him in faith for our own overcoming.

Lord, Mighty God and Loving Father,

I thank You for the Dachau experience, as chilling as it was. I pray that all who suffered there now live in glory with You. I pray similarly for all who now suffer and are yet to suffer.

And, though I do not fully comprehend, I pray for those who persecute. I pray for them and release them to You, in Jesus' name.    Amen.