Now and Then
Our "Now & Then" devotional video series is a daily thought based on a moment in time. Each day we release a video that we hope will inspire, uplift and challenge you in these uncertain times. We take an historical event that happened in that day in history (THEN), and use that as a basis for an encouraging thought that will you help you today (NOW). Each day carries with it something from the bible. And we hope that you will carry this hope, peace and joy into your daily situations.
Why are we doing this?
With all the uncertainty surrounding how, when, and where live performance could happen, we wanted to be able to create something that was able to go ahead irrespective of any social restrictions. These daily videos provide a way for us to continue our mission, which is to Creatively Communicate the Christian Faith and hopefully reach a wider audience via a consistent online presence.
Our June Devotional
For those of you who don't know, a devotional is a quiet time that you set aside to focus on God, spend time praying, and read God's word so you can reflect on your relationship with Him.
Many people like to have something regular that they can turn to each day to help them, inspire them, and encourage them; something that will help them understand more about the bible and how God wants to speak to them and be part of their daily life.
'Now & Then' is like a video based devotional that can be part of your daily journey towards understanding more about who God is and what he wants to say to you.
We encourage you to bookmark this page, share it with friends, and join us for our daily devotional video. Please also subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can find all of our videos. This really helps our channel and helps us to spread the good news.
01 June 2021
1958 CHARLES DE GAULLE ELECTED PREMIER OF FRANCE
It was on the 1st June in 1958 that Charles De Gaulle was elected as the Prime Minister of France.
De Gaulle was a decorated officer from the First World War, where he was wounded several times and even taken prisoner at one point, but he survived and went on to lead an armored division of the French army in World War two. His political career began at the same time as he became the leader of what was called ‘Free France’, but he retired from the political in the early 1950’s. However, he was called back to power and made Prime Minister, where he served for just one year before being made President of France, a role he held for the following ten years.
De Gaulle once said, “A man of character finds a special attractiveness in difficulty, since it is only by coming to grips with difficulty that he can realize his potential”… I don’t know anyone who finds difficulties ‘attractive’, but we all face them. And these times can help us to grow stronger, become more resolute and discover our true potential.
The bible says a similar thing in a letter written by Paul to the church at Rome. He says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment” (Rom 5:3-5)
If you are facing difficulties today, put your trust in God. Ask him to help you endure, to develop strength and to find a new hope… a hope that only he can give, that will never disappoint.
02 June 2021
1835 – BARNUM STARTS HIS FIRST CIRCUS TOUR OF THE US
Today was a big day for Phineas T Barnum, the man behind the circus! Because it was on the 2nd June back in 1835 that he started his first tour of the United States with his travelling show.
Barnum had several businesses in his early career before discovering his true vocation as a showman and producer and he had much to say about finding his true calling.
Here are a few of the things he said… “Whatever you do, do it with all your might”. He said, “Unless a man enters upon the vocation intended for him, and best suited to his peculiar genius, he cannot succeed.” And finally, he declared that, “No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.”
As a Christian, I agree with all of this because the bible tells me exactly the same. I am told to do everything as if I am doing it for God – to give it my very best. I am encouraged to be the person God created me to be, not trying to be like everyone else, but to embrace my uniqueness. And the bible tells me that God has plans and purposes for my life, and it is only when I am doing those things that I will know true success.
Barnum also said that, “Comfort is the enemy of progress.” Maybe you feel like there is something else you should be doing, or someone that you were created to be. Don’t just settle for comfort and an easy life… ask God to reveal his plans for you and then commit yourself to giving it your best shot.
03 June 2021
2016 – MUHAMMED ALI DIES
It was on the 3rd June in 2016 that the boxing legend Muhammed Ali died. He had suffered with Parkinson’s disease for a number of years and eventually died of a respiratory illness at the age of 74.
He had a long career in the public spotlight as a boxing champion, an activist, and as an entertainer. He also spent many years campaigning for people living with Parkinson’s disease. One of the most well known quotes that is attributed to Ali is “Don’t count the days, make the days count”.
None of us know how many days we will have on this earth. I guess last year showed us the fragility of life as a pandemic swept across the world ending millions of people’s days. So, today let’s take that advice from Muhammed Ali and make our days count.
The bible tells that we should ‘Make the most of every opportunity’ (Eph 5:16)… and it’s talking about doing good for others and helping those around us so that we can help make their days a little better. But the bible also talks about how we can know a ‘fullness of life’, or ‘life in abundance’ (John 10:10). And the way we do this is by getting to know the one who made us this offer, Jesus.
One version of the bible puts it this way… “I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect - life in its fullness until you overflow!” I have found in my experience that the best way to make my days count is to live them in relationship with the Jesus who made this promise.
And it’s a promise that’s available to everyone today.
04 June 2021
1070 – ROQUEFORT CHEESE CREATED
Are you a cheese lover? Do you crave a camembert, or like to chomp on a cheddar. Do you get excited over Edam, or think that Brie is blissful? Well, today’s thought may be of interest to you.
Legend has it that it was on this day in the year 1070 that the Roquefort Cheese was first created, and if you believe the legend… it happened quite by accident!
The legend tells of an young shepherd boy, who spied a beautiful shepherdess from afar. He left his flock determined to woo her but not before placing his packed lunch, into a nearby cave. That lunch was ewe’s milk curd on rye bread, mmm, tasty! The shepherd spent days searching for the shepherdess but it was hopeless. In the end he just went back to his leftover lunch but it now looked quite different because mold had covered the bread and there were deep green veins marbled at the curd. But because he was starving, he tasted the moldy cheese and he was surprised that it tasted good. The venue for this story was a place called Roquefort in France, and that was how the world famous cheese was first created.
Everything has a beginning, an origin. Whether it is by design or by accident… even this cheese, that became something new and tasty, began life as something else, ewe’s milk curd.
There is a latin phrase - CREATIO EX NIHILIO… it means ‘Creation out of nothing’ and it is used when talking about how God created the world. The bible starts with this – the very first sentence we read is, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”
You see, I believe that only God has the power to create something out of nothing… ever since then, people have been creating things out of what he first gave us to work with.
05 June 2021
1989 – TIANANMEM SQUARE
In the spring of 1989, student led protests were beginning in China in response to changes that the communist party leadership were seeking to make. By the beginning of June these protests had become so large that the government decided to act and sent in troops to a place called Tiananmem Square. The troops opened fire on protesters and arrested many.
But on this day, 5th June 1989, one man took a stand… literally, in front of a row of advancing tanks. The moment was captured on camera and went on to become one of the most iconic photographs of the twentieth century.
What do you believe in? What will you take a stand against today? When you look around you, or watch the news or read a website, what is it that stirs you and makes you feel like you need to act to make a difference.
I believe that God wants us to take a stand against certain things, to show people how he cares for them. Psalm 72 says, “He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them”(v12)… and the way that he does this is through people like you and me.
So, today how can you show someone that God cares for them? How can you help someone who is oppressed or show someone who is poor that there is a God who can rescue them? In other words, where will you take a stand today?
06 June 2021
2002 – BOURNE IDENTITY PREMIERES IN LOS ANGELES
On the 6th June 2002 the first of the Jason Bourne series of films had its premiere at the Universal Studios Cinema in California. The film was the first part of a trilogy of films based on books by Robert Ludlum, and to date there have now been five films in the series.
The concept of the stories is that a man is discovered floating in the sea and once rescued he begins to recover. The only problem is that he has no idea who he is or why he has certain high level secret agent skills. The stories follow his attempt to discover his true identity and trace the origins of his talents and abilities… and there’s lots of adventure and intrigue along the way!
Can I ask you, do you know your true identity? Are you confident in who you are? Can you trace the origins of your talents and abilities, and do you know why you are wired the way you are?
As a Christian, I believe that God creates each of us as unique individuals, and in doing that, he gives us talents and abilities to be able to do certain things well so that we can carry out the mission he has for us. The bible says that, “Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it!” (TPT) and it says elsewhere that he is, “giving you all that you need to fulfill your destiny” (Heb 13:21).
So, if you’re confused about who you are and why you’re wired the way you are, ask God to reveal your true identity.
07 June 2021
1665 – GREAT PLAGUE – SAMUEL PEPYS DIARY ENTRY…
On the 7th June in the year 1665, diarist Samuel Pepys began to write his entry for that day. This is what he wrote…
“This day, much against my will, I did in Drury Lane see two or three houses marked with a red cross upon the doors, and “Lord have mercy upon us” writ there; which was a sad sight to me, being the first of the kind that, to my remembrance, I ever saw. It put me into an ill conception of myself”
He was referring to the Great Plague that swept through London in that year claiming 75,000 lives. The red crosses on the doors was a sign that somebody inside was infected with the plague and must be locked in for 40 days or until they died from the disease.
If it wasn’t for the past year, this kind of story from history might be quite hard to relate to. But now, because of the Covid 19 pandemic that has claimed over 100,000 lives here in England, we know all too well about isolation and the need to limit the spread of a contagious disease.
But today, I want to encourage you to be contagious… to be someone who spreads hope, joy, and love. Be ready at every opportunity to pass on what you have to others. In the bible a man named Paul wrote to a church in a place called Corinth and commended them for their generosity and desire to help other people by sharing what they had. He says, “Your enthusiasm is contagious—it has stirred many others to do likewise” (2 Cor 9:2).
Think about what you have… now think about how you can share this, spreading good things to others, and get ready to be contagious!
08 June 2021
1955 – TIM BERNERS LEE WAS BORN
On the 8th June 1955 a boy by the name of Tim Berners Lee was born in London. Why is this a significant moment in history? Well, this boy grew up to be a computer scientist and the inventor of the World Wide Web!
In 1990 he built the world’s first webpage, titled "World Wide Web". It featured links to additional pages with information on himself, his team of scientists and the history of the project, as well as a detailed a explanation about what the project could achieve. The website’s home page described the World Wide Web as "a wide-area hypermedia information retrieval initiative aiming to give universal access to a large universe of documents."
In a publication called ’80 moments that shaped the world’ this breakthrough was placed at number one and it said, “the Internet has changed the shape of modern life forever. We can connect with each other instantly, all over the world"
It is true, the connection options available to us now are unlimited… I can sit here, on my phone, and be connect with someone on the other side of the world with a few taps of a screen. As humans we need connections… even someone like me who is more of an introvert by nature, need to be connected to others to get the most out of life. But there is a more important connection that we can all make, and that doesn’t require the internet.
The most important connection we can make is with God… and we do this by talking to him. The bible says “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do” (Matt 6:14) … God wants to connect with you and he made this possible, not with complicated computer programming, but by sending his son Jesus to make a way for us to now talk to, and get to know God for ourselves.
Today, make the most of this opportunity to connect with the One who knows you, who wants the best for you and who loves you like no one else.
09 June 2021
1958 GATWICK AIRPORT OPENS
On the 9th June 1958, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II officially opened Gatwick Airport.
The airport began life as a private flyers club in 1930 but by 1934 it had become a public aerodrome, providing regular flights to Paris. In 1939, with the start of WWII, the aerodrome was requisitioned as an RAF base until it was decommissioned in 1946. In 1950 it was officially designated as London’s second airport and then, after a £7.8 million renovation project it was officially opened on this day and has grown over time to become the busiest single runway airport in the world.
Airplanes fascinate me… how on earth does a big chunk of metal fly through the sky??? I know its something to do with lift, and thrust and drag etc, but it is just amazing to watch it happen. One thing I do know is that they have to be moving at a pretty high speed to lift off – they have to use the runway to build up enough momentum before taking to the skies.
I remember a few years back thinking that the same is true for us. If you have something you want to achieve, a goal you’re aiming for then you’re never going to achieve it by standing still… you have to be moving, building momentum as you go so that you can then soar and reach your goal.
Even then, you need something else to keep you going… to keep you flying high. For me, I find this extra lift I need from God. This is what a prophet named Isaiah wrote, “ but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will fly up on wings like eagles; they will run and not be tired; they will walk and not be weary” (Is 40:31)
So, if you have some place you want to get to, start moving towards it… build up momentum and then, to make sure… put your hope in God and get ready to fly!
10 June 2021
1966 – JANICE JOPLIN’S FIRST GIG
Chances are you’ve heard the music of, or at the least the name Janice Joplin. Well, it was on 10th June in 1966 that she made her first known live performance as the lead singer of a band named Big Brother and the Holding Company.
The gig happened at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco and became the platform from which Joplin would go on to become a successful solo artist until her death from a heroine overdose, aged just 27.
One of her most well known songs, and the last one she actually recorded was called Mercedes Benz, and these are some of the lyrics…
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz? My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends. So Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a color TV? I wait for delivery each day until three
So oh Lord, won't you buy me a color TV?
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a night on the town?
I'm counting on you, Lord, please don't let me down
Prove that you love me and buy the next round
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a night on the town?
It’s an interesting choice of lyrics and reads almost like a shopping list style prayer, asking God to buy her a car, a TV and a good night out! You know as a Christian, I do this as well sometimes… I’ll pray to God and ask him for a whole list of things, although not usually cars and TVs!
The bible talks about prayer and it says, “And this is the boldness we have in God’s presence: that if we ask God for anything that agrees with what he wants, he hears us. If we know he hears us every time we ask him, we know we have what we ask from him” (1Jn 5:14-15)
God wants to give you good things. God wants to provide all that you need in your life. So, ask him… know that he hears you, and know that he will answer and he won’t let you down.
11 June 2021
1776 – DRAFTING OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
If I say Independence Day to you, you’d probably say big American Sci Fi movie from the 90’s, or you might say it’s the 4th July. And both answers would be right!
The declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress on 4th July 1776, but it was on this day, the 11th June of that year that Congress created a committee of men to begin drafting the document that went on to shape American history.
The committee was made up of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston, and over a 17 day period they drafted the words that would establish themselves as a free, independent nation.
We can all sometimes feel like we want to be independent, not relying on others but just doing our own thing and going our own way. And when it comes to the idea of a higher power, a God who wants to have an influence in your life, many people choose independence rather than trust that this could be the best way to live.
The bible tells us, ”those now who live by faith are blessed… and that means that anyone who tries to live by their own effort, independent of God, is doomed to failure” (Gal 3:9). Pretty strong words… I mean no one wants to be doomed to failure, surely.
So, let me ask you… have you ever really considered putting your faith and trust in God? Have you ever looked into how God could help you and bring you fulfilment and success? Or, have you declared your independence from God?
Those who put their trust in God are blessed, and I have found this to be true in my life, because at the end of the day, God is someone I know I can depend on.
12 June 2021
1923 – HARRY HOUDINI ESCAPES FROM A STRAIGHT JACKET
On the 12th June 1923, illusionist Harry Houdini attempted to escape from a straight jacket. This may not sound that exciting but he was doing this whilst hanging upside down from a crane forty feet above Times Square in New York. I am happy to report that the stunt was successful and he managed to release himself in two minutes and thirty seven seconds.
Houdini was well known for his escapology and often allowed himself to become chained or handcuffed, locked in a trunk or hung upside down from cranes or lowered into water tanks. And each time he would wow the audience by managing to escape and set himself free.
It can be so easy at times to get ourselves ‘tied up’ as we go through our lives. Situations come along and we become entangled in them and then we can begin to feel trapped. Sometimes, its our own choices that begin to trap us and restrict us and again we can become trapped in a habit, or a relationship that is not healthy for us.
We’re not all Houdinis… we can’t necessarily get ourselves out of some of these situations. Maybe today it feels like you’re wearing a straight jacket and you’re struggling to break free.
Jesus said you “if you embrace the truth, it will release true freedom into your lives” (Jn 8:32) and the truth he was talking about was himself because he said elsewhere I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6)
So, if you’re feeling trapped don’t struggle alone. Look for help. Look for freedom. Look to Jesus
13 June 2021
1920 – US POSTAL SERVICE ASKS PEOPLE TO STOP SENDING BABIES
Okay, this is gonna sound strange, but it was on the 13th June 1920 that the US postal officially asked people to stop sending babies using their mail delivery service! Told you it was strange!
The postal service began parcel deliveries in 1913 it wasn't long before some ingenious parents cottoned on to the idea that mailing their children was cheaper than paying for more conventional travel. For example, a 10-month old baby boy, the child of Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Beauge from Batavia, Ohio, was posted from Ohio for the price of 15c in stamps, though his parents did insure him for $50. And in the most famous case a 5-year-old girl was mailed via train from her home in Idaho, with the stamps literally stuck to her coat.
Now, this practice is not as bad as it first appears, you see postmen were trusted local officials and people living in rural areas would usually know them personally already. Nevertheless the US postal service tried to shut the practice down and had issued the directive that no humans were to be carried in the mail.
When I read this, it made me chuckle. But then I thought about one of the most well-known, and most quoted bible verses because John 3:16 talks about how God loved us so much that he sent his son to save us. God delivered Jesus onto this earth as a human, born in the manger in Bethlehem. And when he grew to be a man he would remind people, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me” (Jn 7:16)
God didn’t send Jesus to earth as money saving exercise… it was a people saving exercise. And because of his death on a cross all who choose to believe in him will not die, but know everlasting life with God.
14 June 2021
1968 – SALVATORE QUASIMODO DIES (Italian poet and essayist)
On the 14th June 1968, Quasimodo died. Oh, not the fictional hunchback character who lived in the cathedral at Notre Dame! No this was Italian poet and essayist Salvatore Quasimodo.
You may not have heard of Salvatore before but he was a Nobel prize winner in 1959 and was awarded the prize for, “his lyrical poetry, which with classical fire expresses the tragic experience of life in our own times”
The writer himself once said, “Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own”. I don’t know if you’ve experienced that before, when you read something, or hear it or see something acted out and you can fully resonate with the thoughts and emotions that are being shared.
In the bible there is a collection of writings called the Psalms and they are often referred to as a book of poetry. A man named David wrote the majority of the psalms and they are a great example of what Salvatore Quasimodo spoke about.
David wrote his own experiences; of feeling depressed and unsure how he could carry on. He spoke of feeling abandoned and his shame following some of his actions. He spoke about his anger, his frustrations, and his sadness at times. But in the midst of all of this we see how David pulled through and was able to carry on.
His response can be summed up in Psalm 39:7… “And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you”. Whether he was feeling from people that wanted to kill him or mourning the death of his son, he was able to see that the only way to carry on was to place his hope and trust in the God he believed in.
I pray that today, this truth will resonate with you.
15 June 2021
1215 – MAGNA CARTA SIGNED BY KING JOHN
It was on the 15th June in the year 1215 that the Magna Carta was signed by King John in a meadow by the River Thames called Runnymede.
Historians agree that the then Archbishop of Canterbury, a man named Stephen Langton, played a significant role in drafting the historical document. It is believed he would have acted as a mediator between the two sides and made sure to include clauses that protected the church. Some believe that Archbishop Langton wrote other key parts of the charter and state, ‘it is clear to see that he understood God to be the great lawgiver who had placed his moral law in the consciences of all people such that each would have to give account to him’.
We read a similar idea in the bible, when Paul writes to Christian believers in Rome. When talking about how non-believing people act in a good and right way, he says, “They show that God’s law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within them that echoes God’s yes and no, right and wrong” (Rom 2:15)
You see, I believe that God created each of us and woven into us is that echo of God himself – the part of us that knows right from wrong. And when we do the things that we know are wrong, and we feel that guilt, then God has made a way for us to be made right… to find forgiveness and freedom, so that we can begin again.
16 June 2021
1980 – BLUES BROTHERS PREMIERES IN CHICAGO
(singing and dressed up)
“Everybody, need somebody… everybody, needs somebody to love”
Hello there and welcome to the 16th June, and it was on this day in 1980 that the classic film ‘The Blues Brothers’ had it’s world premiere, but not in a glitzy red carpet event in Hollywood, no. It was an invite only small scale showing for cast, crew and local politicians in a place called Norridge in Chicago.
The film is now a classic and includes a number of famous quotes and the soundtrack is full of legendary songs from some amazing artists including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and James Brown.
My favourite quote happens when the brothers, Jake and Elwood Blues, visit a church and during the service they have a divine encounter that leads them on a crazy adventure. They ‘see the light’ and believe that God has told them to put their old band back together. From that moment on they boldly tell everyone they meet, “We’re on a mission from God”!
A few years back I went to a conference for church leaders and during the refreshment break I went to grab a coffee… and this was the cup I was given (show). I’ve kept it and it sits on my shelf where I see it every day. So, let me ask you today… What’s Your Mission?
What do you spend your life doing? What are you seeking to achieve each day? Do you have a sense of destiny or purpose in your life? If not, I believe that God has a mission for you, so why not ask him. Because as the bible says, “He creates each of us to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” (Eph 2:10) Msg
17 June 2021
1982 – FAME FIRST ON UK TV
It was a Thursday night, the 17th June in 1982, on the BBC just after Top of the Pops that the UK first got to see the hit TV show, Fame. It became an instant hit with younger audiences and the now famous theme tune took the no.1 spot in the music charts where it stayed for three weeks.
You’ve probably come across the song at some point…
Baby, look at me… And tell me what you see
You ain't seen the best of me yet… Give me time, I'll make you forget the rest
I got more in me, And you can set it free
I can catch the moon in my hand, Don't you know who I am
Remember my name, fame
Have you ever stopped to think what you might be remembered for? When you leave a job, or move school or college… how will people remember you? You see, we can decide today to live in such a way that we leave people with good memories of us… of how we helped them, supported them, encouraged them. Maybe of how we bought joy and hope into their lives.
Jesus told his followers to shine wherever they were. He said, “You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world… If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine!” (Matt 5:14-15)
So our challenge, wherever we find ourselves today is to shine the light of God into other people’s lives so that they remember HIS name!
18 June 2021
1928 – AMELIA EARHART FLYS ACROSS THE ATLANTIC
It was on the 18th June in 1928 that Amelia Earhart made history by becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. Well, I say fly… she was the first woman to cross the Atlantic on this date… as a passenger.
She was part of a three person team, but the plane was actually piloted by a man named Wilmur Stoltz. However, just four years later in 1932, she would fly herself across the Atlantic to claim her very own moment in history.
Amelia Earhart once said that “Some of us have great runways already built for us. If you have one, take off! But if you don’t have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you.” I like this idea… that if you are fortunate enough to already have a runway, in other words the resources and opportunities to do something then, what are you waiting for… take off! But if you don’t have a runway in place then start to build one, and one that will not only benefit you but will be useful to others who will follow after you.
As a Christian, I believe that God can open up a runway for us so that we can fly into his purposes and plans. There is a worship song that says God is a ‘Waymaker, Miracle worker. Promise keeper. Light in the darkness’ and it reminds me of the words that God spoke through the prophet Isaiah – “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun… I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” (Is 43:19)
God wants you to fly into the destiny he has for you… so ask him to show you the right runway and get ready for take off!
19 June 2021
1999 – WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!
Happy anniversary to me! Well… to me and my luverly wife, Julia. Because it was on the 19th June in 1999 that we got married at a little place called Winchester Cathedral!
It’s true… we actually got married in the choir section of the great cathedral and held our reception in the refectory just across the green. We had tourists asking to take our photo because they assumed we were famous or royal. But we just happen to know the right people… my father-in-law to be precise who was on staff there at the time.
It was a great day, but as with any wedding it was just the start of a marriage, one that I am happy to say is still going strong 22 years later. Julia and I stood in front of our guests and made promises to each other and made a commitment that we would stay together no matter what happened. Those promises have been tested by situations and circumstances that we’ve faced, but we’ve always come back to the fact that we are committed to each other.
You know true commitment can be hard to find today… when you look around there are many examples of a lack of commitment whether that’s in workplaces, politics or sports teams, and it is also true in many personal relationships.
There is this phrase that appears a couple of times in the bible… it says “The passionate commitment of the Lord … will make this happen!” (2 Kings 19:31), and one of the occasions it is used is when talking about how God will send his Son, Jesus into this world as a light to shine in the darkness.
I want to tell you today that God is committed to you. He is so committed that he sent Jesus to shine into your darkness… to forgive you for your past, to help you live a new life today and to always know a hope for your future.
20 June 2021
1837 – QUEEN VICTORIA ASCENDS TO THE THRONE AGE 18
It was on the 20th June 1837 that Queen Victoria ascended to the throne at the age of 18. Her father had died when she was very young and her uncle became King William IV, but when he died on this day of 1837, Victoria was the next in line and became our nations Queen.
Queen Victoria had a strong faith in God and acknowledged the power of his words that she read in the bible. She is quoted as once saying, “That Book, the Bible, accounts for the supremacy of England. England has become great & happy by the knowledge of the true God through Jesus Christ.”
That is quite some claim, that an entire nation, on the whole can be great and happy because of its knowledge of God, and if you are a Christian I would encourage you to be praying that we will see this again in our time, that England would become great not because of its politicians or rulers but because of its knowledge and experience of God.
If you don’t see yourself as a Christian, and you’ve never thought about God being part of your life… I can thoroughly recommend it. I chose to invite God to be part of my life when I was 14, that’s 32 years ago and I can honestly say that, on the whole my life has been ‘great and happy’ to quote Queen Vic! And I know for a fact that this experience has been due to my knowledge and experience of God as a Father, a friend, a provider, a healer - a source of joy and peace, and a giver of hope.
So, if you want to experience the greatness and happiness that a knowledge of God can bring, then read Psalm 34 and ‘Taste and see how good the Lord is!” (v8)
21 June 2021
1970 – BRAZIL AND PELE WIN WORLD CUP FOR THIRD TIME
During the Football World Cup of 1970 one team, and one player made history. The final was played at the Elstadio Azteca in Mexico City and was between Brazil and Italy. The history that was made, was that Brazil were victorious, claiming their third World Cup crown. And the player, winning his third world cup with the team was the legend that was Pele.
Brazil and Pele were the first team and player to achieve this and Pele marked the occasion with his team’s first goal in that match. Since then they have won a further two World Cups and still have the most wins in the tournaments history.
Pele once gave this advice, he said, “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” And if you are wanting to be successful, this is good solid advice… hard work, endurance, learning, improving and a passion for what you’re doing… But I want to suggest there is something else that can be added to this.
The bible encourages us to ‘Commit your plans to God and they’ll succeed’ (Prov 16:3) and elsewhere it says that if we “For you will be successful if you carefully obey the decrees and regulations that the Lord gave” (1 Chron 22:13)
Work hard… tick. Persevere… tick. Improve and learn… definitely. And be passionate… absolutely. But above all, commit what you’re doing to God and follow his ways. That’s the secret to the success!
22 June 2021
1633 – GALILEO FORCED TO RECANT HIS BELIEF ABOUT THE SUN
Now, nobody likes to get things wrong do they? But we are only human and we all make mistakes from time to time. Well, on the 22nd June in 1633 Italian scientist and inventor Galileo was forced to admit that he’d made a mistake… sort of.
You see Galileo believed that the Earth orbits the sun, but he was forced to recant this belief by the Pope at the time because the Catholic church believed it was the other way round. Now, as I’m sure we all know and later scientific discovery showed, Galileo was actually correct… the earth does orbit the sun and it takes about 365 days to do so, which gives us our calendar year.
But here’s an interesting twist in this tale… the Vatican, as in the official voice for the Catholic church, only admitted that they had made a mistake themselves on 31st October 1992… 359 years after accusing Galileo of being the one to make a mistake!
Admitting we’re wrong can be hard, especially if you’re a proud person… but hopefully none of us would take that long to put things right if we were in the wrong. We need to be ready to admit our mistakes, apologise if we’ve wronged someone and begin to rebuild and damaged relationships.
The bible encourages us to, “Try to live in peace with all people” (Heb 12:14), and part of this is being ready to apologize when we’ve got something wrong. It was Elton John that sang, “Sorry seems to be the hardest word”, but it’s a word we need to be ready, and brave enough to use when it is called for.
When you’re in the wrong, and you will be in the wrong at some point in your life, don’t wait hundreds of years, or even hundreds of minutes to admit your mistakes. Say sorry and see the difference it can make to others.
23 June 2021
1884 – FIRST ROLLERCOASTER IN USA
(maybe rollercoaster ride background/motion) Well, if you’re a thrill seeker then you might be interested to know that it was on the 23rd June back in 1884 that America opened it’s first gravity powered rollercoaster. It opened at Coney Island in New York City and had six hundred feet of track. It was a huge success with the crowds… even though it only managed a top speed of six miles per hour!
By the 1920’s there were about 2,000 rollercoasters across America and they had been introduced into Europe as well, but during the war years there was, understandably, a slump in their production. It wasn’t until Disney opened its first park in 1955 that the coaster rose in popularity again and now these crazy rides thrill people all over the world.
They’re not for me, however, as I tend to get quite sick being on them… but many people love the ups and downs and twists and turns. You’ve probably heard the phrase, or remember a Ronan Keating pop song, that says ‘Life is a Rollercoaster’ but often, this ride isn’t an enjoyable one as it can leave you feeling tossed about and unsure.
A man named Paul wrote this, “I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am” (Phil 4:11-13)
The ’One’ he is referring to there is Jesus, and I have found in my own life that whatever the ride, through the ups and especially the downs, I can be satisfied and secure because I know Jesus is right there next to me.
24 June 2021
1509 – KING HENRY VIII CROWNED KING AT WESTMINSTER ABBEY
It was on the 24th June back in 1509 that King Henry VIII was crowned as the new King of England. The coronation took place at Westminster Abbey and was a grand affair with new tapestries hung along the king’s passage and the ceremony was followed by a grand banquet at Westminster Hall. Henry’s wife at the time, Catherine of Aragon wrote ‘our time is spent in continuous festival’.
Henry VIII is most known for his famous wives… and he showed in his marriages that he was an impatient person who didn’t want to waste time. Five of his six wives lasted less than four years, with the record for the shortest marriage going to Anne of Cleves for lasting just 7 months!
Henry is quoted as once saying, “Of all losses, time is the most irrecuperable for it can never be redeemed”, and he certainly seemed to live by this mantra! And time is the one thing we all have in common because we all follow the same calendars and clocks which give us 365 days, or 8,760 hours every year. And in each of those days we have 1,449 minutes to spend.
So, HOW WILL YOU SPEND YOUR TIME TODAY? If you think about it like currency… you watch the pennies, you have budgets to make sure you know what you’re spending/when. What if we did this with our time… just think how much more productive we could be.
The bible encourages us to live wisely and make the most of our time and opportunities we have. There are well known verses in Ecclesiastes that tell us, “There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth” (Ecc 3:1) and it then goes on to list different activities, such as a time to plant, a time to reap… a time to cry a time to laugh, and a time to embrace and a time to part.
So how will you spend your time today. Think about the season you are in and then decide what should you being doing at this time in your life.
25 June 2021
2020 – LIVERPOOL WIN THE PREMIER LEAGUE
If you tuned in during May you may remember there were three dates that celebrated famous Liverpool Football club victories, well in June there is just the one! And it is today… because it was on the 25th June that Liverpool were confirmed as the Premier League Champions.
It was one of those odd occasions where they hadn’t even played a match but after Manchester City lost their game on this day it meant that Liverpool could not be caught and they were champions. I was excited because it meant I could finally order my souvenir t-shirt that I’d been waiting for!
I excitedly placed the order online and then I had to wait for the delivery of the parcel. It was a reputable seller so I was confident that having placed an order my item would arrive… and sure enough a few days later, ta dah!
As a Christian, I pray to God and the bible tells me that prayer is a bit like my experience with this order. The bible says that, “And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for” (1 Jn 5:14-15)
You see when I pray, I’m placing an order with God… and I know from experience that he is a reputable provider. Now, I can’t just order anything I want… my orders have to be in line with his will for me and his desire to bless me, as a Father would want to bless their child. But I know that when I place an order like this… then it’s just a question of waiting for the delivery!
26 June 2021
1973 – BARCODE USED FOR THE FIRST TIME
On the 26th June 1974 a cashier at a supermarket in Ohio, America made history. She was the first person to sell an item using the barcode scanning system, or the Universal Product Code to give it it’s official name, and the famous item that was scanned was a pack of Wrigley’s chewing gum.
IBM had invented the Universal Product Code, or UPC, and each barcode represented the manufacturers identity and individual product number. This information is read within nanoseconds by a laser beam moving approximately 10,000 inches per second. This data is then transferred to the stores database computer for up to date pricing and stock management. So, just remember that next time you go shopping!
Nowadays barcodes are used for so much more than just shopping, and in some cases they are used to identify us as a member of a gym, a bank or an employee at a workplace. And some people are concerned that these bits of plastic reduce us down to being just a number and a code in an increasingly technical and computer based society.
As a Christian, I am comforted by the fact that I believe in a God who knows me intimately… I am never just a number or a code with him. In fact the bible tells me that “all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” (Jn 1:12), and that as a child of God, “your Father cares deeply about even the smallest detail of your life” (Matt 10:30-31).
Anyone can join God’s family, and you won’t be asked to show your card or scan your ID at any point. But you do have to make a decision and then pray and ask him to sign you up!
27 June 2021
1973 – LIVE AND LET DIE (ROGER MOORE) RELEASED IN THE US
On the 27th June 1973, Roger Moore made his debut as the world famous British secret agent, 007… or to give his real name, Bond… James Bond!
He took on the role following Sean Connery who had appeared in six of the previous Bond films and went on to play the suave secret agent in a further 7 movies. Just in case there are any Bond fanatics tuning in, Connery returned to the role in 1983 for ‘Never say never again’, so he and Moore are tied at 7 Bonds each!
I must confess, I was always a bit confused by the title. I know Bond titles don’t have to make sense… I mean just look at 2008’s Quantum of Solace!?! But then I thought about it and actually Live and Let Die is good advice… although, I would put the other way round.
As a Christian I read the bible and in there it says, “Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life… is with Christ in God. He is your life” (Col 3:3)… so we should ‘Let Die’ the old parts of us that damage us and may bring harm to others. And this happens when we choose to invite Jesus Christ into our life.
The bible goes on to say that, “Everyone who calls on the Lord’s name will experience new life” (Rom 10:13)… with Jesus, you get experience what it’s like to really live a life of fullness.
So, today, I’m revealing the big secret… that’s my mission! Invite Jesus to be part of your life and then you can ‘Let die… and Live’!
28 June 2021
1982 – CHARLES AND DIANA NAME THEIR FIRST SON WILLIAM
So, we’re probably used to hearing the name Prince William, Duke of Cambridge on our TV screens or in newspapers or online. But it was on the 28th June in 1982 that we first heard his names announced by Buckingham Palace.
William was born in St Mary’s Hospital in London on the 21st June and was the first child of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. And then, a week later the announcement was made that he would be named William Arthur Phillip Louis.
The name William is one of the most popular boys names of all time and is of Germanic origin. The name was first introduced in England by William the Conqueror and it is made of two words, "wil" meaning "will or desire" and "helm" meaning "helmet, protection". And if you look up the meaning of the name in baby books you will often see the phrase ‘Resolute Protector’ which is a pretty epic description!
I believe there is another name that carries this meaning, and that name is God. In the book of Psalms we read that, “they remembered that God, the Mighty One, was their strong protector, the Hero-God who would come to their rescue (Ps 78:35). And then in Proverbs it says, “for they have a mighty protector, a loving redeemer, who watches over them, and he will stand up for their cause” (Prov 23:11).
And the resolute part… well the dictionary says this refers to someone who is faithful, loyal, constant and steadfast… and I have certainly found this to be true in my own life. I would echo the words of Psalm 46… “God is our protection and our strength. He always helps in times of trouble” (Ps 46:1)
So, if you’re looking for a William in your life… a resolute protector, try calling on the name of God.
29 June 2021
2008 – LEONARD COHEN PLAYS AT GLASTONBURY
It was on a late Sunday afternoon, the 29th June in 2008… just as the sun was beginning to set over Somerset, that veteran singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen took to the Pyramid stage at the Glastonbury Festival to deliver what many have called ‘the best performance ever’ in the event’s 50 year history.
Cohen was 73 at the time and played through many of his greatest hits before creating a very special 'moment' when he played his legendary song 'Hallelujah'. The crowd joined in the choruses and their voices filled the evening air to create what the Daily Telegraph called a moment of, “sheer, unadulterated bliss”
The song makes reference to the biblical king David who had an affair with a lady named Bathsheba, and then had her husband murdered to cover up the fact that he had gotten her pregnant… sounds like an Eastenders storyline, I know! David is then confronted about his behavior and he confesses his wrongs and asks God to forgive him, and the song reflects this in the final verse when it says, “And even though it all went wrong, I'll stand before the Lord of Song, With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah”
David then wrote Psalm 51 after this episode in his life. He prayed, “God, be merciful to me because you are loving. Because you are always ready to be merciful, wipe out all my wrongs. Wash away all my guilt and make me clean again” (Ps 51:1-2)
David made a mistake… David acknowledged his mistake… David asked for forgiveness… God forgave David… and God can forgive you. When I became a Christian I was told that God forgives your past, gives you a new life today, and a hope for your future. Whatever you’ve done, you can come to God, ask him to forgive you, and be washed clean ready to live a life filled with hope and Hallelujah!
30 June 2021
1937 – 999 FIRST INTRODUCED IN THE UK
The emergency number 999 is now well established and remains the go to phone number in any accident or emergency situation. But it was first introduced here in the UK on this day, 30th June in 1937.
The emergency number was introduced following a house fire that happened in London in 1935 in which 5 women died. Neighbours reported trying to call the fire brigade by dialling ‘0’ for the operator, but then being placed in a queue. By the time the emergency services arrived it was too late for them to do any good. The government launched an inquest and the result was the need for a direct emergency number and 999 was chosen as it was easy to remember but also because it would be easy to find and dial if you were in a dark, smoke filled room.
We all know the kinds of things we should dial 999 for, but what about other emergencies that crop up in our lives… who you gonna call then?
As a Christian God is my 999… when I sense that I need help to face a circumstance or protection in a situation, I call on God for help. Psalm 18 says, “But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears… He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me” (v6 & 19)
I have found in many different ways that God is always there; whether it was during a serious cycling accident I had in 2017, a neurological illness in 2013, or when I have needed finances been unsure about where they would come from. You see, whenever I cry out to God for help, is always ready to take the call and come to my rescue.