Live for Eternity (PoW#17) – Andy Brown

Pearl of Wisdom #’17 We ought to spend our time here, preparing for there In our society, which is largely anti-God, anti-Christian and promotes evolution, humanism and secularism, it is hardly surprising that people think very little about eternity – life after death. If you take a Christian worldview, then you believe and understand that…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2018/09/24/live-for-eternity-pow17/

Planted by Him

Sunrise over Lundy, North of Dundee, Scotland.Photography courtesy of Ben Bremner, https://www.facebook.com/groups/scotlandsscenery/permalink/…

Planted by Him

Marriage Matters, It’s A Family Affair, S01E012

Can’t recommend this highly enough! Do give it a watch!

In this week’s Marriage Matters, Andy B and Jo talk candidly about things that cause problems in our marriages, that may lead to unfaithfulness in …

Marriage Matters, It’s A Family Affair, S01E012

Turn Your Ear & Fix Your Eyes (Proverbs 4:20-27)

My son, attend to my words.

    Turn your ear to my sayings.

21 Let them not depart from your eyes.

    Keep them in the center of your heart.

22 For they are life to those who find them,

    and health to their whole body.

23 Keep your heart with all diligence,

    for out of it is the wellspring of life.

24 Put away from yourself a perverse mouth.

    Put corrupt lips far from you.

25 Let your eyes look straight ahead.

    Fix your gaze directly before you.

26 Make the path of your feet level.

    Let all of your ways be established.

27 Don’t turn to the right hand nor to the left.

    Remove your foot from evil.

Proverbs 4:20-27 (WEB)

The other day my wife was talking to me, and like a dutiful husband, I was nodding and saying “Uh-huh…” in all the right places. My mind however, was somewhere else! I had to hold my hands up and admit that although I was hearing the words, I wasn’t really listening.

Verse 20 of Proverbs 4 is a rather eloquent way of saying “Listen up!” Attending to someone’s words is not simply to hear them, but rather to engage with them. Likewise, turning one’s head in the right direction (so that the ear is pointed at the speaker) is not nearly enough to ensure the instruction hits home.

Solomon is again entreating us to listen, to take on board and to respond to the wisdom of his teaching.

In a similar way, verse 21 encourages us to keep Wisdom’s teachings before our eyes and thus planted in our hearts. This idea of God’s Word and wisdom not departing from our eyes is an exhortation to be both regular and consistently reading and studying the Scripture.

A 30-minute sermon on a Sunday is not enough. A 5-minute devotional each morning may be encouraging, but it may be insufficient to receive the full counsel of God’s Word.

For me at least, little and often may be the key. I have followed “Bible in a year” plans before, and while useful in some cases, it can become a burden or even chore as we wade through six or more chapters each morning.

Better to read and meditate on a few Bible verses regularly, than read a dozen pages without taking it in.

Better to read and #meditate on a few #Bible verses regularly, than read a dozen pages without taking it in.

That is not to take Scripture out of context, I hasten to add. There is just as much danger in reading your favourite few verses all the time, and not engaging with the wider text or understand its place in the big picture.

Verse 22 says:

For they are life to those who find them,

    and health to their whole body.

Proverbs 4:22 (WEB)

Verse 22 has always been a verse which fascinates me. It says that God’s word, or the instruction of wisdom, provides life to those who find them and even health to our physical bodies. We touched on this in previous posts on the book of Proverbs, and clearly living wisely will lengthen your life. Smoking, drinking or eating to excess, or not looking after oneself is not wise, and as a consequence will of course reduce one’s lifespan.

The word translated as “health” here is the Hebrew word marpe’ and is most often translated as “health” (as above) or “healing.” It can also be rendered as “cure” or “remedy” also.

Could it be that the very studying of God’s Word can bring health to us, and I mean in some supernatural way rather than as a natural consequence of living right? While some would give a definite yes to that question, others would dispute it. I would encourage you to study its meaning for yourself.

The WEB translation of verse 23 is a little confusing, to me at least! Here it is from the NLT:

Guard your heart above all else,

    for it determines the course of your life.

Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

Despite talking of the health of the body in the last verse, this one is not referring to our blood pump, but rather our inner self. Guarding our heart is very much in line with what this passage has been talking about. Too few of us take seriously what we allow into our hearts and minds. Instead of keeping the Word of God before us constantly, we fill ourselves with ungodly entertainment or gossip. We are foolish if we think our hearts can go unscathed by such continual battering.

Your heart, that is, your inner self, will determine how your life goes. It is like a child who is constantly criticised or put down, they will struggle in life to overcome such negativity. Our hearts, in a similar way, cannot be soaked in negativity and produce positive results.

Verse 24 deals not with what we put into ourselves, but rather what comes out of us. It strongly advises us to be careful about how we speak, and I cannot emphasise enough the power of our words.

Paul also instructs us to:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

What a challenging verse this is! I say a lot of things in a day, but can hardly confess to all of it being helpful for building others up. I try to add value with my words, always having in the back of my mind that one day I will give account for them to the Lord. Yet too frequently I find my words are not wholesome, but instead are negative, critical or just wasteful. How about you?

Verse 25 to 27 all echo the same sentiment. Keep your eyes fixed ahead, and your feet on level ground. This is clearly not to advise us against turning our heads nor to ascend inclined ground in our hometowns! Instead, the Proverbs are warning us to keep fixed on what is right, and not to turn aside to evil.

If we do not do this, if we just wander along aimlessly, then we will find ourselves in trouble. Our focus and our determined purpose must be to seek after what is right and good. Our sinful nature has been programmed into us since birth, and despite the new life Christ brings, we do tend towards selfishness and evil unless we are set against it.

What are your eyes fixed on? Are locked ahead, gazing upon God’s Word, or do they wander and lead you astray? How about those feet? Are they shod with the Gospel, and following after Jesus, or do they stumble or meander away?

Make a decision right here and now that you will seek after wisdom all day long. Fix those eyes and discipline those feet, and you will life in God’s Word.

Hope Comes Looking (audio)

It was my pleasure to share in the teaching at our churches Lent meeting last week. we were considering the subject of hope, and looking at four encounters from the book of Luke-chapter 8.

I share below a recording of the message I gave, and hope it encourages you today.



Signs Above – #TestimonyTuesday

When I left university, I had little idea of what I wanted to do with my life – let alone what I thought God wanted me to do!

I applied for several jobs, and remember one vividly. It was an accounting role, and was based in Canary Wharf in London. At that time, it was a really up and coming area of the city, with a huge amount of development going on. It is now a very busy business district, among other things.

I was fortunate enough to be offered an interview for the role, and travelled to the area. There were some massive buildings there, and it was apparently a very expensive area. I recall buying a sandwich and having to take out a small loan to afford it!

I located the building and it was huge. As I went in through the main doors, I was confronted by a large reception area. Behind the main reception were the letters depicting the name of the firm in enormous characters. To me, it may as well have been as big as the Hollywood sign itself!

I may have been an adult by then, but I felt like a little boy gazing up at this gigantic sign. My heart sank and the phrase “out of my depth” sprang to mind! It never really occurred to me to turn and run, but I would not have been ungrateful if the ground had opened up at that point.

And that is when it happened…

It wasn’t an audible voice that I heard with my ears, but it was what I would later learn to be God’s voice whispering in my spirit. He said quite simply, “I am the God of this place as well.”

After that, the sign did not seem so big anymore.

I took a deep breath, uttered a little prayer and pressed on. I signed in, was escorted upstairs and gave it my best shot. As it happens, God had other plans for me and I did not get that job. Perhaps the reason I was offered an interview was simply to get me in front of that sign? I don’t know, but it taught me that God is ever-present. It showed me that even when I face things that are seemingly far bigger than I am, I go with a God who is bigger than everything.

What are you facing today or this week? If it seems too big for you, then remember you do not face it alone. The One who set the stars in place goes with you.

Jesus said, “Surely I am with you, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b). And He meant it.

Praise His holy Name!


Broken Dreams, and Hope! Now available on Amazon!!

This brand new book from another Andy is well worth a read! I sat down to read it yesterday, finished it in almost one single session!

It’s a very encouraging read, and Andy’s honest and approachable style of writing is very enjoyable.

Andy does not just point out that life is hard, but shares his genuine experiences of times of trial. He gently points his readers to the Lord, and shows how Jesus understands our suffering.

Do check out the below post, and grab yourself a copy of the book! You won’t regret it.

We had the pre-order open up last week, and now you can buy the book in either format – on eBook digital readers like the Kindle, and in Paperback …

Broken Dreams, and Hope! Now available on Amazon!!

Andy B 2 Minute Video, Resting Is Proactive! Season 4, Episode 41

I understand that I may have inspired this post… As someone who often feels guilty when resting, I can see why!

In this post, another Andy B reminds us of the importance of stopping and resting.

While you are there, do check out the other wonderful resources from the Berry Bunch family

We love accomplishing things. Perhaps, like me, you use a digital To Do List. It is immensely satisfying clicking that little tick box, and having …

Andy B 2 Minute Video, Resting Is Proactive! Season 4, Episode 41

Andy’s Aims – Audio

Andy shares a brief audio update.

A short update from Andy about his writing projects.

In case you missed it…

Our First Testimony Tuesday post – My Story in 100 Words, by Jo

If you have not checked out the Berry Bunch Family already, then I strongly encourage you to do so. i’m truly excited to hear more of their testimony and about gods faithfulness in their lives and ministry.

It was something of an honour to be mentioned in this post as well!

Do give it a read, and start following their site. you won’t regret it!

I’ve written, edited, and scheduled our first #TestimonyTuesday post. This is an exciting new, and regular, output for us, and we have Nicola to …

Our First Testimony Tuesday post – My Story in 100 Words, by Jo

I’m Sorry

I was thinking about apologising this week, not that there was a particular incident which I needed to say sorry for, but instead I was reflecting on how bad we are at it – generally speaking! Is that through lack of practise I wonder?

We all make mistakes, and yet we often fail to apologise properly, or even at all. This can only harm our relationships, and in my experience, I only ever think more highly of someone who admits their faults, not less.

I may struggle to point to specific Bible verses here, so please treat this as helpful advice rather than anything else! Experience gained the hard way is the only authority I can claim!

Be specific

When you apologise, be specific.

Sometimes when we discipline our children, they say “sorry” but really they mean “Be quiet Dad!” When I probe a little, asking what they are aplogising for, they cannot always tell me.

When you tell someone you are sorry, be clear about what it is you are sorry for. It not only acknowledges the mistake you made, but shows you understand why they were upset or hurt.

For instance, you could say:

  • I’m sorry I snapped at you this morning, it wasn’t your fault and I should not have said what I did.
  • I’m sorry I did not do what I said I would do yesterday, that must have been frustrating and created extra work for you.

While you do not necessarily need to mention when it happened, I think that can help to be clear about what went on.

Keep It Simple and Short

In my experience, it is better to be brief and to keep things simple. When we go on and on, trying to explain or setting the scene, it can come across as making excuses. We will touch on that in a moment, but for now, keep things straightforward.

I am not suggesting that you say something like, “I’m sorry I had an affair, that was inconsiderate of me.” As clearly, such a wrong requires a little more effort on our part!

I’m sorry, but… no excuses

When we apologise, we should offer no excuse along with it. You can hear the tell tale signs when someone says, “I’m sorry, but…” that little word “but” adds the idea that although I was wrong, there were extenuating circumstances which mean it wasn’t totally my fault.

Worse is when we say, “I’m sorry, but you…” turning around a situation like that is never any way to say we are sorry.

The truth is, when we are wrong, we have no excuse for our behaviour. There may be reasons why it happened, such as tiredness, worry, fear or stress, but an excuse does not make a wrong thing right.

I once heard it said that an excuse is a reason stuffed with a lie, and there is much truth to that.

When we are wrong, we should just say so, offering no excuses for the behaviour. It is merely an attempt to lessen the offence. Far better to just hold up one’s hands and and say, “I was wrong, I’m sorry.”

No Defence

In a similar way, when we are wrong, we have no defence any more than we have an excuse.

In a court of law, the accused mounts a defence to prove their innocence. In situations where the defendant admits their guilt, no defence is required.

When we say we are sorry, we are admitting that we have done something wrong. If we defend ourselves in that scenario, do we really believe we are “guilty” therefore? If some part of us believes we are innocent, then our apology lacks integrity.

Don’t apologise like a politician!

I write this at a time when the Prime Minister in the UK has been accused of breaking COVID restrictions which he imposed upon the rest of the nation. His “apologies” to date have not been all that well received by other politicians or the wider public. He has offered excuses; “I didn’t know it broke the rules…” and he has defended himself, saying “It was a work event, and I was only there 10 minutes…”

Often politicians will apologise by saying things like, “I’m sorry that hurt was caused…” thus avoiding any personal responsibility. It is like saying, “I’m sorry you took offence…” again, implying that the fault is not theirs, but yours… you took offence where none was intended.

Apologies must be freely offered, and not given begrudgingly. When politicians, or indeed anyone, apologises this way, we all question the sincerity of it.

Well, I’ve said I was sorry…

I have pointed out many ways not to apologise, and I hope it helps you give more honest and sincere apologies in future. My advice is simply to be open and admit when you’ve done wrong.

I want to close by reminding you that even when you do apologise sincerely, acceptance of that apology and forgiveness must never be demanded.

If someone does not respond positively to your sorrow, then please never say “Well, I’ve apologised, what more do you want?”

Forgiveness must never be demanded. When you offer your apologies, you must leave them with the other person and give them time to respond. It is not for you to remind them that they ought to forgive you, or that your apologies somehow heal hurts that were caused.

We all make mistakes, and as long as we live and interact with other people, there will be times when we need to say we are sorry for a wrong we have done. Let us apologise sincerely, without excuse or defence, and humbly say we are sorry when we need to.

I hope this has been helpful, and trust you won’t need to call upon it too often! Have a great day!

He Never Fails

I really enjoyed reading this post, and the part about keeping our promises is very important.

I hope you enjoy reading it too.

What God says, He does. He is trustworthy. He does not act according to what we think or what we say to Him. God acts according to what He thinks and…

He Never Fails