Have Faith November Issue

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Have Faith

Daily Reflections, Thoughts & Prayers

November 2019

A Brand New Look

Taking a New Look at Faith:

A Personal Story

A Time of Remembrance

101 Years On: The World

Remembers Again

Judge & Be Judged

Are We All Guilty?

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Morning Prayer...

Lord, help me to live this day, quietly, easily; to lean on your

great strength, trustfully, restfully; to wait for the unfolding of

your will, patiently, serenely; to meet others, peacefully, joyfully;

to face tomorrow, confidently, courageously.

Amen

—St. Francis of Assisi

| 02 www.havefaith.org.uk


WELCOME

November 2019

It was really nice to see the

interest in the first issue of

Have Faith although I do feel

it was pointed very strongly

at my military past. Not so

much this month, although

we are in Remembrance

month and it is only right we

pay our respects.

Another feature, in this

month’s issue, is that

of Judgement. This is

something I constantly see in

so many walks of life within

our communities, I suppose

it’s becoming a bit of a pet

hate of mine. Although I did

feature this in a reflection last

month, I wanted to take the

opportunity to expand on the

subject and look at why it is

so important to talk about.

Of course, I know I will never

change society but it never

hurts to throw a pebble into

the proverbial pond.

One of my personal

struggles has been trying

to find social communities

to share my thoughts with

and get feedback and input

to expand the platform.

Thankfully, this month I

managed to find that very

thing by using MeWe. I am

not a fan of Facebook as it has

caused me issues in the past,

as it has with many people,

however one particular

group in MeWe has provided

a great way of speaking to

people who share my faith

and thoughts. Hopefully,

permission granted, I shall

be featuring and celebrating

them in the very near future.

Finally, please do get involved

with the new website.

Although, it is still a little

sparse, it does have our

daily reflections as well as a

downloadable copy of the

latest issue. Also don’t forget

it has the ‘Have Faith FM’

radio page which streams

inspirational, gospel and

worship music 24/7.

That’s it from me for this

month, God bless you all.

Find Have Faith at www.havefaith.org.uk or by going to our social media platforms on Twitter

@havefaith or by going to MeWe/Groups/Have Faith FM.

IN THIS ISSUE:

November 2019

P10: A Brand New Start

How one man turned his life back to Christ.

P20: A Time of Remembrance

Remembering our fallen as another year passes.

P30: Judge & Be Judged

How one man turned his life back to Christ.

www.havefaith.org.uk 03 |


Day 1

A Brand New Day,,, 2 Corinthians 4

I had a dream the other

night..., well it was a

nightmare actually. Nothing

that really bothered me but

certainly enough for me to

think about the meaning of it.

The dream was, I was walking

down a street very close to

my home when everything

started to turn a brilliant

white and then all of a

sudden the ground started to

disappear. Weird, I know but

there you have it, our dreams

can go all over the place.

As I said, I was none the

worse for it but after a little

research, I started finding

the same meaning over and

over again. Dreaming of an

end or dreaming that you

die is meant to signify a new

beginning. Of course, there is

no scientific evidence to this

and it could very possibly be

complete rubbish but it did

kind of make sense a little.

Recently, I have been going

through a lot of career

changes and pointing myself

into a new and very positive

direction. It has all got very

exciting, I must admit. I

won’t bore you with the

details but for me it’s as if the

old life has passed and a new

one has begun..

The thing is, the dream, to

me was a sign that my old life

was coming to an end and

my new beginning was

about to start. So from

a bad dream, a new

bright light shines.

Perhaps that was

the light I saw in my

dream.

Now, I don’t think I

am superstitious but

I do think that God

has a way of sending

messages and signs

that perhaps we do

not understand. In

my mind, it is not

beyond the realms of

possibility that this was

such a sign telling me to look

to the new future. I may be

wrong but I will look at it as a

good sign, after all, what do I

have to lose.

So my thoughts reflect on

some of the nightmares I

used to suffer when I was in

the midst of PTSD. Totally

different and incomparable,

I know but maybe it was a

way of being told to get help.

Maybe not, but one thing I

am learning is that there is

a reason for everything we

experience. The trick is to

recognise the message. Much

easier to write about than to

do in practice.

But the message here is that

we must always look for our

new start no matter how

bad things seem. One thing

we can say without doubt is

that your new future does lie

ahead, you just need the

strength to look for it. As

far as my fellow veterans

are concerned, I don’t

think I could offer a more

worthwhile piece of advice.

Finally, I’d like to leave you

with one of the verses that

I read when looking for

answers to my dream. I

think, this is where it started

to make a little sense.

Isaiah 43:18-19

Forget the former things; do

not dwell on the past. See, I

am doing a new thing! Now

it springs up; do you not

perceive it? I am making a

way in the wilderness and

streams in the wasteland.

Hope this helps you in your

journey through life.

| 04 www.havefaith.org.uk


Day 2

Don’t Worry, Be Happy... Matthew 6: 25 - 34

I remember, in my younger

days, that wonderful song

by Bobby McFerrin, ‘Don’t

Worry, Be Happy’. Of course

it was just a feel good song

with comical verses but the

message was something

which was bang on and very

often overlooked. Ok, I’m

putting my hands up here,

I have to admit to being a

bit of a worrier. But what

good does worrying actually

achieve? No, this is not a

rhetorical question, I actually

want to look at the effects

both physically, mentally and

spiritually.

To start with, the physical

effects of worrying are well

documented. Stress, high

blood pressure, weak immune

system, the list goes on, so

we know very well worrying

is not good for our physical

well being. Mentally, it has

very much the same effect,

stress, headaches, lack of

concentration, the lack of

ability to get things done,

anxiety, depression etc. Yes,

not very good at all.

But what about spiritually?

What good or damage does it

do to our spiritual well-being?

There are very little ups

here, I suppose we can argue

that worrying may keep us

from becoming complacent

and keep us on the ball,

personally I believe there are

better ways to achieve this.

But it can do a whole lot of

damage to our soul.

To me, If I worry about

something, it means I am

not trusting in God. A

complete break-down in

my faith. Well, maybe not

complete, but my faith

has definitely weakened, I

completely understand

that not everybody follows

Christianity and that’s fine,

we live in a very diverse

world but worry doesn’t

differentiate. It affects us all.

Even somebody with no faith,

is damaged. Worry is telling

that person they are losing

faith in themselves.

So let’s look at a quick and

typical scenario that we worry

about. Money! The dreaded

pennies cause us so much

worry these days especially

when it comes to paying bills.

So the electric bill, lands

on our door mat and we

open it up and see that

it is pretty high for the

month. First reaction is

to start worrying, “How

on earth are we going to

pay this?” I have said

this to myself and to my

partner so many times

yet, somehow a way is

found to pay. Maybe not

in the time the Electric

company wants it but it

gets paid. Worry over.

The fact is, once we calm

down, stop worrying,

we can think straight and

solutions are found.

The same is applied

spiritually. The trick is to

stop worrying. Once I do,

I will ask God in prayer to

help. Being human means we

are not perfect and subject

to errors and failures. That’s

OK. But by simply asking for

help normally gets the job

done. God is a good route

to ask for help. I know that

the bible is full of advice

about worrying. That’s where

I get my strength from to

overcome worrying matters.

I wonder if Bobby McFerrin

had this in mind while

writing his song. I shall leave

you with a fantastic phrase I

learnt in Kenya many years

ago and was the subject of a

song in the musical ‘The Lion

King’ Hakuna Matata...

(No worries)

www.havefaith.org.uk 05 |


Day 3

Don’t give up... Philippians 3:7-14

I wanted to reflect on something that I feel is

close to everyone’s heart, the will to go on. I

think that it’s fair to say that for those of us

that have served in the Armed Forces, have at

some point had to find that extra-something

else to get us through difficult circumstances.

We all have that pig-headed stubbornness to

succeed which usually started coming out

during our basic training. But it’s not just us

old vets that possess this trait. Every human

that is born has it, without exception.

Earlier this year, I took much pleasure in

watching SAS: Who Dares Wins. It was a

celebrity special with the competitors putting

themselves through extreme challenges set

up by British Special Forces to support those

with Cancer. A very noble thing to do. The

challenges were extreme and pushed the contestants

to the very limit of their endurance,

sometimes beyond. It impressed me no end

to see the human spirit come through despite

the physical hardship that they endured but in

reality. They were all volunteers and they all

knew that within a few days they would return

back to their lives no worse for the wear.

But my mind did wander to those with little or

no choice who have to endure great pain and

sacrifice and yet still do not give up. Those

suffering terrible illness, poverty, persecution

and oppression.

tools to succeed and to fail.

For all that are struggling, about to undertake

a struggle or hardship, I would like to share a

passage with you which I believe can give each

and everyone of us strength to succeed.

Hebrews 12: 1-3

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such

a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off

everything that hinders and the sin that so

easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance

the race marked out for us,

2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and

perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he

endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat

down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 Consider him who endured such opposition

from sinners, so that you will not grow weary

and lose heart.

What our heroic competitors endured, although

impressive, was very little in comparison

to the suffering and courage of Jesus on

that final walk. Every agonising step taken

with the cross was a step to save us all from

sin.

Our strength, as humans, is exceptional. Our

choices of how to use that strength is what

defines us. Some of us give up sooner than

others but most of the time it is just because

we lose sight of our goal or forget what we are

fighting for.

Some of us dig in and refuse to give up and

drive on, determined never to be beat. But

believe it or not, there is very little difference

in the two, just choices. We all have the same

| 06 www.havefaith.org.uk


Try and try again... Hebrews 12:1-3

Somebody once said that perseverance is the

virtue of trying again, and then trying again,

and again, until we achieve our goal.

Nothing great was ever accomplished without

perseverance. Some people have marvellous

natural gifts and are capable of wonderful

things. But they lack staying power. When

they meet something that doesn’t come easily

to them they lack the patience to master it.

They are outdone by people who will carefully

and painfully devote themselves to learning

the skill they need.

Day 4

People who persevere aren’t always the

ones who make the headlines. They don’t

necessarily shine and glitter. But they have

worth, because they know what’s of value in

this world and they’re prepared to work for it.

Perseverance is a Christian virtue. The apostle

Paul writes about it: he was tempted to give up

his missionary work because it was so hard,

but he kept going. Without his perseverance,

you would not be reading this.

As veterans, it is quite often the case where

we feel like giving up. We no longer have the

strength to continue fighting. But thankfully,

for the very large majority, they find that bit of

soldier/ airman or sailor deep down inside

that manages to bring forward the survival

instinct.

Just recently, I, or should I say we, have been

challenged to find money to keep the Veteran

Centre open. It has been very difficult, full of

rejections, lots of frustration and our patience

has been stretched to the limit. Finally, we did

it. We finally got our local councils to listen

and dip in to their funds to support the great

work the staff at the centre are doing. But there

were many times when we wanted to throw

the towel in and give up. Those moments

never lasted too long but we did truly feel

tested. One thing that kept driving me forward

was the thought of what state I was in a few

years ago. The thought that I would be giving

up on people in the same position was too

strong. I couldn’t let people down.

Maybe there is a moral to that story in finding

a reason to go on. Not rocket science but if,

when life is getting on top of you, you can

remember how life was like, good or bad and

use that to drive forward. If life was good, try

to reach it again. Try to remember there is an

end to everything, including bad times. Just

keep trying.

If times were bad then try to imagine just how

experienced in life you are and how you can

use your experiences to help others.

This magazine and the Tommy Atkins Centre

have been created on this premise alone. Most

of all, just remember however hard life is,

or however hard your challenge is just keep

trying and you will succeed. If you still haven’t

succeeded, maybe the time just hasn’t been

right or you haven’t been ready to succeed. But

it will come, just keep trying and don’t give up.

www.havefaith.org.uk 07 |


Day 5

Remember the Important Stuff Psalm 118: 5-6

Isn’t it funny how life gets in the way at times,

believe me, you are reading this from somebody

who is constantly getting sucked up in

the great vacuum of life. These days, I have so

many responsibilities, (of my own making,

I must add) My days are a constant drone of

magazines, PC’s, websites, I forget what is

important.

Just recently, after months of working at full

tilt, achieving loads and managing it all in my

stride I suddenly started to get stressed out,

started realising I couldn’t cope and began to

doubt my ability. This feeling started to spread

everywhere, even into the tranquillity of my

partner and myself. What was happening?

The answer has been there for me to see all

along but being typically human, I ignored all

of the warning signs because I was too busy.

Everything became important except for the

important things. My three F’s got neglected,

Food, Faith and Fun. Because of this I actually

forgot what I was doing everything for.

Last year, I was quite conscious of my diet, I

ate well, cooked lots of good meals and felt

physically great. As far as the fun is concerned,

I would spend time writing songs, playing

guitar

and taking a little time to chill out with my

other half. But I think most seriously, I have

recently neglected my one-to-ones with God.

All of the time I was busy, I forgot to take all

of this rubbish that I had accumulated to my

mate. The result was it piled up and started to

weigh me down. So I have made a promise to

myself, no matter whether it is at the Cathedral

or not, I will take a few moments each day to

have a chinwag with God. At least while I am

enduring this busy period.

I should go to church and pray. Yes, my human

side is still there and I still neglect what is

really important. But, in a way, the work we

do, I still class as God’s work and to me that is

so important. Everything we do here is to help

others. I, or should I say we, expect or want no

reward only the knowledge that we helped. But

to do this I do need the strength and backing

from God, without that life gets very tough.

I don’t expect for you all to do as I do in these

circumstances but I think it is pretty good

sound advice to share your problems, niggles

and stresses with a friend. Personally, I cannot

think of a better friend than God but that’s me.

But if you do find yourself in a place where

you have a little too much on your plate and

have no one to turn to why not give my friend

a go. He’ll never turn you away, He’ll always

let you talk your heart out and always provide

a solution even if it doesn’t become immediately

apparent.

I have never really been a church goer but I do

take a lot of pleasure in going to the Cathedral

and just spending a little time chatting to God.

I tell him what’s bothering me, I ask him to

watch over those I love and I ask him to guide

me through whatever I am doing. When I

leave the Cathedral I do feel better about myself,

it’s as if I’ve unloaded to my best friend,

which, to be honest, I have.

| 08 www.havefaith.org.uk


Day 6

Choices & Blame... Ecclesiastes 9:1-18

one but these days to rectify the mistake, we

just pick up the remote, press a button and the

job is done.

Not so easy in life. Choices we make in life

will have good and bad consequences, but we

have to stand by the decisions we make and

learn the lessons whether good or bad. This

is because we are given the free will to make

choices. Bear this fact in mind for later in the

reflection.

Let’s start with Choices. I have to confess to

being a bit of a movie buff. I have all of the

movie sites on my PC, Netflix, Now TV, Sky

Movies, you name it, I’ve got it. I have an

extensive collection of DVD’s including many

comedy box collections, war movies, action

movies, musicals (Can’t believe I’ve just

confessed to that one) plus lots of old classics.

Yet, when it comes to watching a movie with

my partner, it takes me an eternity to find

something we both like. I think back some

years ago when my dad bought his first VCR.

He had just two or three films and five TV

stations to watch but all of us would sit around

the old box and have a good movie night.

The trouble these days is, we have far too

much choice. We please ourselves and make

that decision on what we watch just by the

way we feel and what we fancy. We have that

choice. The choice we make may not be a good

Now to blame. Have you ever blamed anyone

for something that has happened only to find

you were wrong? I have, on many occasions.

But there is one form of blame that makes me

very uncomfortable, unfortunately, I hear it

over and over again. When someone loses a

loved one or there is a violent attack or war,

I hear ‘There can’t be a God if he lets this

happen’ or words to that effect. It is very easy

to blame someone when we can’t explain what

has happened. Our thoughts can get very

confused and we tend to strike out at any

avenue that is open. Unfortunately, God takes

his fair share of the blame. I have realised that

God has to allow nature to take its course

even when events lead to major tragedies. He

cannot upset the natural balance of the world

by intervening. He has to let us, as individuals,

make choices and stand by the consequences.

That way we learn and improve ourselves.

Even wars, started by men making choices.

Not God. He cannot save us from worldly

events, illnesses, violence and conflicts. It

would be wrong for him to do that.

But despite all of this it doesn’t mean that he

has walked away. He is still there for us to talk

to, to lean on and to look after those that leave

us. At times of pain, God is our comfort, not

our blame object. Just something worth

thinking about.

www.havefaith.org.uk 09 |


Day 7

Walk A Mile... Matthew 5:41

This month’s reflection centres on a project

that we undertook last year. There is an old

saying that you should never judge somebody

unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

Never a truer word said. But sometimes to

understand a person you need to walk a mile

in their shoes. This was so apparent to us as

we tried to get the public to understand the

road our veterans walk.

In this day and age, news stories come and go

so quickly one can be forgiven for forgetting

the problems of other people. Especially when

we are caught up in our own day to day lives.

This can make awareness of the problems of

others so difficult. The thing is regardless of

how empathic we feel for somebody, there is

no way we can walk a mile in somebody else’s

shoes. All we can really do is try to understand

the best we can. But it can be a good idea to

take the time to try to understand someone a

little more. Learn about what has made that

person good and bad. The more you know, the

more you can start to walk a metaphorical

mile but without this understanding and

knowledge their shoes will never fit you.

No one can really understand what Armed

Forces Veterans have been through unless

you have served alongside of them. And

even then, that would mean physically being

alongside them on duty. That is the only way.

But as I said, no-one can be expected to fully

understand. Just know that there is a long

road that is walked.

I would like to point out at this point that this

is for everyone, not just Veterans but in light

of certain events I would like to keep with

our heroes. Our idea was to walk a mile for a

certain group of people. 80 of them in fact. I

could never understand what they have been

through but as I walk, I will consider how they

have suffered on their journey. You see, these

80 took their own lives last year. I walked in

my old Army boots as they did and I tried to

get people to understand what I was doing

and why I was doing it in the hope that more

people could walk a mile for someone they

know that may be suffering. I know that God

was with me and gave me strength to complete

the task.

Maybe this is something you could do for people

who you know are walking their particular

difficult journey. Yes, you will never know

what they are going through but it may help

to let others understand their journey a little

more. You never know, it could save a life.

Unfortunately, as I write this we have lost so

many more veterans in this tragic way but we

never give up on them. Jesus never gave up on

us at any point despite the incredible suffering

he had to bear. Maybe a good incentive to use

when walking your mile.

| 10 www.havefaith.org.uk


Day 8

A Few More Steps... Psalm 40:2

You can’t throw a stick these days without

hitting someone that has a story to tell about

footsteps, or taking the next step or following

someone’s footsteps, the list goes on.

A while ago the footsteps thing was hammered

into my brain so hard but this time it was

physical steps. Walking up Pen Y Fan in Wales

for the OP Wamits project really tested me

out. Of course, it’s not an easy mountain to

walk up but achievable for most people with a

basic fitness level. The problem I had was two

years ago I was diagnosed with chronic heart

disease, put on a critical list and rushed into

surgery. It was devastating to find out that this

fit lad who loved challenges was no longer fit

enough to just walk to the shops. Thankfully

the operation was a great success and, with

medication, meant I could pick my life up

again. It did take a long time but I vowed one

day I would go up the Fan again under my

own steam.

Back to my effort, the last 500 metres felt like

500 miles. Every step felt like I was dragging

two of me up there. But I couldn’t give in.

I had promised a lot of people, including

veterans that I would do it. In my mind,

during that last 500 metres, I was carrying all

of the pain of the last two years, I was carrying

the hopes of OP Wamits, I was carrying the

burdens of all of my brothers and sisters who

I try to help but the heaviest was carrying the

will to go on.

Don’t get me wrong, I wont compare a couple

of hours leg ache with the suffering of our

troops but there are a few lessons in it. The

biggest one is, never give up. No matter

how high your mental mountain is, it has a

summit. Keep walking, you will get there.

Sometimes you need a hand. I did. I focused

on why I was there, I remembered the long

path I had walked to get me to this position

and I allowed God to help me the last few

steps. I read this passage the night before to

help me.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself

yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I

do: Forgetting what is behind and straining

toward what is ahead, I press on toward the

goal to win the prize for which God has called

me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:

13/14

I conquered my past, I achieved my OP

Wamits, but the biggest reward was the one

I had been employed for. I was able to turn

around, hold out my hand and help others to

the summit. In my mind, I shall remain on

the top of Pen Y Fan as long as I am able to

hold out a hand to my fellow veterans.

One step in front of the other, one at a time,

you will make it.

www.havefaith.org.uk 11 |


Day 9

Competition... Ecclesiastes 2:22-26

I have a really unique position in my home

town. Apart from all of the charity work we

do, I also indulge myself in the music world

which, in our town, is quite a cut-throat world

of who is the best, who plays the guitar the

best, who sings the best, who makes the most

money. Amazingly, one question that never

seems to come up is, who enjoys what they do

the most just because they love doing it?

I play music and sing which isn’t everybody’s

cup of tea but I love doing it. Not because I get

paid lots of money (I don’t but that’s not the

point) not because I’m better than everybody

else or not because I’m trying to make it big.

Simply because I really love making people

happy with what I do and having fun with

my friends. No competition, no stress, no

worries, just fun.

The world today seems to be obsessed

with competition. Being the best, better

than everybody else. I find this to be quite

an aggressive trait which seems to be all

over, including in world conflicts. People

determined to tell others that what they know

and do is better.

Just to give you something to think about, and

remember I only use quotes from the bible to

keep myself pointed in the right direction, I

found this in James 4:1. ‘What causes quarrels

and what causes fights among you? Is it not this,

that your passions are at war within you?’

Is this not exactly what we have been talking

about? When the competitive spirit gets

into us we can lose sight of what is really

important.

Another passage that really sticks in my mind

is found at Psalm 118:22 ‘The stone that the

builders rejected has become the cornerstone.’

In fact this is found in many passages

throughout the bible including in the Gospels.

In fact, in my eyes, if it is repeated so much

that it is a lesson God really wants us to take

on board. If you win the race, you do not learn

humility. But he who is at the bottom can only

climb to reach the stars.

So, anyway back to

playing music. No I’m

not the best guitarist,

in fact far from it. I am

not the best singer by

a long way but being

who I am is just where

I want to be. Enjoying

what I do and enjoying

making others happy.

I hope whatever you

do makes you happy

in life. Never lose sight

of why you enjoy it

and never enjoy what

you do for the wrong

reasons.

| 12 www.havefaith.org.uk


Day 10

Balance your Wheel of Life... Ezekiel 1:15-21

Here’s a bit of a weird one. We

were talking about the wheel

of life the other day and how,

if one part of your circle

becomes damaged, neglected

or just forgotten about then

your ride in life can become

unstable.

I can almost hear you saying

“What on earth is this idiot

going on about now?”. Well,

I’ll explain. There are many

parts of our life which make

us what we are. Family,

friends, work, rest, recreation,

love, health, the list goes on

depending on our personal

circumstances. When each

one works in harmony, life

is good, the wheel turns

smoothly and we sit in our

perfect world. If only...

Our lives are rarely perfect.

In fact I can put my hand on

my heart and say I don’t know

anyone that has a perfect life.

But that doesn’t mean to say

we can’t balance our lives to

make it the best as possible.

When you take your car in

to service, the mechanics

will balance your wheels.

They spin, what looks like a

perfectly round wheel, on a

machine that shows where it

is off balance. The mechanic

will then rectify it by banging

a weight on to the wheel to

get the perfect balance and

return the road drive to a

smooth experience.

We can do the same in our

own wheel of life. Obviously

banging a wheel weight to

your head is not the answer

but repairing the part which

is out of balance will ensure

your ride is smooth even

though the wheel is not

perfect. If I can explain with

a practical example, recently

I have had a few health issues

which have knocked me

off my normal track,

ignoring the problem

meant my work, sleep,

family life were all

affected but after a visit

to the doctor where he

banged on my virtual

balance weight in the

form of some medication

and further investigations

gave me peace

of mind to get things

back into balance. Yes,

things are not perfect

but I’ve balanced out my

imperfect wheel so things are

a little more smooth.

Take a look at the Wheel

of Life to the left, and score

yourself honestly between

1 - 10 per section. Draw a line

across the section with the

outer line being 10 and the

centre of the circle being 0

and then take a look at where

you need to add a balance

weight to smooth off your

own personal life ride. If you

have trouble finding your

balance weights, why not take

a look at the spiritual wheel

above. Plenty of guidance can

be found here.

As I’ve said before this is

just my own personal way of

making sense of these things.

I do hope that these passages

make as much sense to you as

they do to me. Have faith in

yourselves.

www.havefaith.org.uk 13 |



I have become a student

“of Christianity.

The ‘Have Faith’ author speaks frankly on how God and the Bible became such

a big part of his life and how he sees his Faith after his Military past.

My Spirituality has always been

an issue for me, at least up

to a few years ago, especially

coming from such a violent background.

The whole concept of God and Faith

has been (to my shame) questioned on

many occasions. Even attending Church

services has been something of a sore

point for me. I found it hard to swallow

how people in the congregation could

tell me right from wrong and then go out

and contradict themselves by sinning

and making mistakes exactly like me.

As a soldier, it was often thought that

an idea would be to separate ourselves

from religious thoughts in order to stop

conflict in the mind when called upon

to take on the more unfortunate duties

of being a serviceman. Of course, this is

wrong but it is easy to see why it is done.

By the time I arrived back into civvy

street, I was truly confused. I was

already in a very dark place due to acute,

complex PTSD and had a massive trust

issue with anyone and anything that tried

to help.

After numerous suicide attempts, I finally

took myself to a quiet chapel and asked

for help. I didn’t know what to expect or

if anything was really going to happen...

OK, stop right there for a few moments.

Let’s rewind 40 or 50 years. I was born

in Southern England back in the 60’s

to a South American Mother and an

Ex-Military Father. Being raised in a

Catholic household, upbringing was

very strict and turning into a rebellious

street urchin seemed to be my thing

which naturally ended up, on numerous

occasions, with me on the wrong side

of a dusting down, to put it politely.

However, I tried my best which wasn’t

easy being the second eldest of four kids.

School was not my best strength and I

found myself in the local Army recruiting

office not long after finishing school.

After joining up, life became a little easier

to handle until the first operational tour

of Northern Ireland.

I’m going to stop with the life story there

as I just wanted to give a brief account of

where I came from and why my internal

| 02 www.havefaith.org.uk


A Brand New Look

conflict raged so hard. With that said,

let’s pick up the story.

...So there I am, A Catholic raised,

battle hardened veteran with a million

life questions running around my head

with no answers. The mental health

professionals could not get to the root

of my PTSD, my Faith had literally been

smashed to pieces in the military, and I

was at the point of losing all hope. Yet I

found myself sat in the military chapel of

a Cathedral (It seemed the right place for

me to be) asking for God’s help.

I was answered. Not straight away, and

not in any way which would challenge

reality but subtly and in the right timing.

It came with the urge to write down

everything in my head. I don’t know why

as I was never academical or anything

special with the English language but

I had to just write. The result was

spectacular. I wrote a poem which

seemed to spark the beginning of the end

of the PTSD. I can remember weeping

uncontrollably for hours after writing it.

When I calmed down, for the first time in

years, I felt a sense of relief and peace,

The next 5 years, in short saw me create

a whole network of assistance to help

veterans. I have to say, so many lives

were not only changed but certainly

saved. The bottom line was, I was now

doing the job that God had wanted me to

do, Everything I had been through, had

learnt, had suffered was all parts of God’s

plan for me to be in exactly the right

position to help others. God truly had

answered, Not only had he answered me,

he had been there all along,

But let’s get back to the faith I needed to

sort out. I had been raised as a Catholic.

Something I could not go back to after

serving in Northern Ireland. My big

problem was my past. How could I tell

people I was a Christian when I had lived

a very unchristian existence? My answer

came after reading about St Paul. I

related to him so much. He, like me had

an unchristian past. Yet, he turned to our

Lord as you all well know and gave his

life in the Word of Christ. I think the big

point for me was, he was human. Had

human faults, had human tendencies

and yet showed that change was possible.

That was it.

So, for me I have become a student of

Christianity. Let me explain how I see

that. Firstly, I still do not feel worthy to

call my self a Christian. But my learning

to be one has begun. I am still making

mistakes, though not as big as they were,

I still do not know everything I should

about my faith but I have the rest of my

life to learn as much as I can. My final

test will be standing in front of God

on the day of my Judgement. If I am

welcomed into His house, I will have

qualified to be a Christian.

To me, this thinking will keep me on a

good and true path but I will always be

open to learning and not in a position

which puts me above myself. So I have

begun by writing my reflections and

thoughts in the hope that they may be of

use to others. Where I go from here, I do

not know but I’m sure God does and he

will let me know in his own good time,

After all his timing is faultless.

www.havefaith.org.uk 03 |


Day 11

A Prayer to Remember... John 14:27

Today is a very simple and obvious reflection.

Of course, the 11th November marks the signing

of the Armistice after the First World War

but it also commemorates all that have given

their lives in the service of their country.

Instead of my normal ramblings, I would

simply like to offer a prayer to all of our servicemen

and servicewomen, past, present and

future. I humbly ask you all to join me.

Let us pray for all who suffer as a result of

conflict,

and ask that God may give us peace:

for the service men and women

who have died in the violence of war,

each one remembered by and known to God;

may God give peace.

God give peace.

For those who love them in death as in life,

offering the distress of our grief

and the sadness of our loss;

may God give peace.

God give peace.

For all members of the armed forces

who are in danger this day,

remembering family, friends

and all who pray for their safe

return;

may God give peace.

God give peace.

For peacemakers and peacekeepers,

who seek to keep this world secure and free;

may God give peace.

God give peace.

For all who bear the burden and privilege of

leadership,

political, military and religious;

asking for gifts of wisdom and resolve

in the search for reconciliation and peace;

may God give peace.

God give peace.

O God of truth and justice,

we hold before you those whose memory we

cherish,

and those whose names we will never know.

Help us to lift our eyes above the torment of this

broken world,

and grant us the grace to pray for those who

wish us harm.

As we honour the past,

may we put our faith in your future;

for you are the source of life and hope,

now and for ever.

Amen.

For civilian women, children and

men

whose lives are disfigured by war or

terror,

calling to mind in penitence

the anger and hatreds of humanity;

may God give peace.

God give peace.

| 16 www.havefaith.org.uk


Day 12

Signs... Galatians 6:7-8

for fresh cream cakes. Certainly not a sin or

nothing wrong with that until you look at my

health. I have coronary heart disease. I have

had two stents fitted already simply because

my body doesn’t deal with Cholesterol very

well. A few years ago, I ended up in hospital

on the critical list after having a particular

nasty bout of Angina. Thankfully, it was

sorted and for the most part I’m now back to

being healthy but I have been warned not to

indulge. So why do I ignore the signs when

faced with these fantastically tasting cream

cakes? It’s simple. I’m weak. Because there is

something where I am going to get an awful

lot of pleasure from, I take the chance and

ignore the danger signs.

How does a bird know when to fly when the

air is cool in the autumn sky... I wrote that

line for a song some years ago. The song was

actually called ‘Signs’. The song was full of

those type of lines, examining why things

happen. The song was never meant to be a

great mystery trying to figure out the ways of

life, it was simply a song about recognising the

signs that present themselves to us.

But we don’t have to be that poetic to see

those signs. Making it very basic, the sign

that we need to eat is when we get hungry, the

sign that we need to sleep is we get tired. No

rocket science there.

So why is it that when we get the signs that we

are about to go wrong, we ignore them? I’m

not talking of anything in particular here so

I will keep it basic. Actually, here is one of

mine. It’s not exactly the crime of the century

but something I need to avoid because of a

serious reason, but don’t. I am a real sucker

Ok, that is a whimpish example but the

principal is the same across the board.

Mentally we outweigh the risks in our

mind and we choose to go with what makes

us happy in the moment and ignore the

consequences. Not a good idea when we think

about it.

So without harping on about the ‘ifs’ and

‘whys’ lets remind ourselves of a few things

to give us a little extra strength when we are

making those decisions. I need to remind

myself that God never lets us bite off more

than we can chew, (excuse the pun). In 1

Corinthians 10:13 Paul tells us that God

always provides us with a way out. This is

where we need to look for the signs. Not

ignore them. For me, maybe putting my hand

over my heart will remind me that I have a

problem. My heart is my sign. It will require

a little sacrifice but in the grand scheme

of things, it’s not a big one. Another good

incentive is to look at the sacrifices Jesus made

for us. Let’s learn to be true Christians.

Please look for the signs in your daily lives and

ask yourselves, are you being shown the way?

www.havefaith.org.uk 03 |


Day 13

Just a dropped stitch... 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

It is true that failure and losing are essential

parts of success and winning. I look with awe

at a friend of mine who has just competed in

a major Motor Racing series. Now it is only

his second season in such a huge competition

but yet, at the final race he found himself

in a position to win the championship.

Unfortunately, he had a mechanical problem

in the last race and he missed his chance. He

was so close. Yet, I feel that this was a vital

lesson which may lead to him becoming a true

champion in the near future.

As I write this, I’m sure the disappointment

will still be poking away at him but with the

willingness to keep trying and that old virtue,

patience, I’m sure success will follow.

Contrary to popular belief, losing and failure

are nothing more than processes to success

and normally happen when you are not ready

to win or succeed yet. The important thing

here is to keep trying. This has been such a

hard, personal battle for me personally. The

amount of times I have almost given up over

my own illness is unreal but every time I

think that way, there is a very small part of me

that pushes me on to keep trying and to keep

living. I know in my heart that the little bit of

me is starting to get bigger and bigger because

I asked for God’s help. I didn’t get help straight

away, I had to fail a few times more before I

saw the road I needed to walk down to win. I

haven’t won yet but I feel my first title is just

around the corner.

Looking at Psalms, I found this: Psalm 37:23-

24 “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one

who delights in him, though he may stumble,

he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with

his hand.”

Lyricist and Novelist Paulo Coelho once wrote

“Defeat is for the valiant. Only they will know

the honour of losing and the joy of winning. I

am not here to tell you that defeat is a part of

life: we all know that. Only the defeated know

Love. Because it is in the realm of love that we

fight our first battles – and

generally lose. I am here to tell you that there

are people who have never been defeated. They

are the ones who never fought. They managed

to avoid scars, humiliations, feelings of

helplessness, as well as those moments when

even warriors doubt the existence of God.’’

No matter how many times you have failed

or lost, you are not a loser or failure. You just

haven’t won or succeeded yet.

I recall a saying in a certain TV programme:

‘Failure is just a dropped stitch in life’s

tapestry’

| 18 www.havefaith.org.uk


Day 14

Are You Ready... 2 Timothy 2:15

Here’s a question for you all? Are you ready

and prepared for tomorrow? Is everything

in place to ensure you day goes smoothly? I

would imagine most of you are now nodding

or thinking of course it is. But let’s extend

that a little, are you ready for next week, next

month, next year? No, of course not. At this

moment in time we are not sure what is going

to happen so we don’t have the correct

information to prepare. Or do we?...

We can look forward and prepare for what

we know will happen. One example of this,

is that busy season that everybody starts to

prepare for in the summer. As soon as the

temperature drops by a few degrees in October

you can guarantee that the Christmas trees

and decorations appear in the shops, people

start buying presents for people to budget the

cost and we find ourselves in a crazy world

of worrying about things that are not really

important in the grand scheme of things.

I wonder how many are spiritually prepared

for the future. If there is one thing I have

learned it takes but a brief unseen moment

for a life to end. How can we ever prepare

for that? We can’t to be honest, nobody can

foresee how or when we will meet our end but

we can do things to make sure our soul is

ready for whatever may happen. No one is

saying you have to turn into a saint or join

the priesthood or become a nun but there are

a few things you can do naturally in life to

ensure we are spiritually ready. Like making

it up with friends you may have upset, getting

in touch with that family member you had a

row with some years ago, saying sorry for the

things you’ve done. Not rocket science but

something all of us fall short of. Most of all,

forgive.

The one thing that the bible teaches us,

coming to think of it so do all Holy books,

is the most important of all things. Love the

Lord, your God and love your neighbour as

yourself. If you cannot forgive, how can you

expect to be forgiven. If you cannot love,

how can you expect to be loved. If you cannot

save, how can you expect to be saved.

A soldier on the battlefield has to train,

prepare and plan in order to carry out his

duties. It often involves hard work, pain and

suffering but he does it because he knows it is

right and for the good of others. We don’t have

to go that far but we can use that as a good

inspiration to get ready for what will come.

Remember that however hard things may get,

you have someone on your shoulder who will

never desert you, he will never walk away. And

if you ask him, he will help you to prepare.

www.havefaith.org.uk 19 |


Day 15

Chase your dreams... Proverbs 3:6

Do you, or have you ever wanted to achieve

something in your life but felt it is out of

reach? I certainly have. In fact, it is only

recently I’m realising one of my goals. It’s only

a little thing but it has meant a lot to my self

esteem and my feeling of self worth amongst

others. Really, I shouldn’t be too concerned

at what others think, only what I think but yet

again, I’m only human.

Ok, so here it is. I have been playing guitar for

around 36 years. I really enjoy sitting down

in a quiet room and just playing away. A real

nice way of chilling out. I also sing and write

songs. That is something I do know I’m pretty

good at, not wanting to blow my own trumpet

but I do feel comfortable with my abilities.

However, as a guitarist, I have never felt good

with the way I play which has caused the odd

issue when I’ve played with bands and while

I’ve been gigging. I’ve felt a bit of a fake to be

honest.

Just recently, I learnt to play one of the guitar

tunes I had loved ever since I was a boy.

Through a bit of perseverance I got it down

to a tee. I then decided to try it out on an

audience in my local pub. The tune went

without a hitch which made me feel really

good. At the end of the gig, the boss came

over to me and congratulated me on my guitar

playing. Wow! That had never happened

before. So I decided to take a little time out

and learn a few more of these style of tunes.

Before I knew it I was playing more and more

complicated and demanding tunes, quite

successfully I may add, then Bingo! I took a

step back and looked at what I had done. I

had become a pretty darn good player without

even noticing. I still have a lot to learn but I

had overcome the demon telling me I wasn’t

good enough.

There it was, the enemy was controlling my

mind telling me I couldn’t do it. I believe that

God got involved and paved the way for me

to overcome the disbelief in myself. After all,

playing these nice tunes just puts a smile in

peoples hearts which is not a bad thing. I do

enjoy making people smile.

So I think for today, reflecting on your self

doubt on that goal you’ve always wanted

to achieve, ask yourself if the enemy is just

scuppering your plans because they are good.

Roll up your sleeves, start small and get bigger.

Before you know it, you will succeed.

| 20 www.havefaith.org.uk


Day 16

What’s the Rush?... 1 Corinthians 14

A few days ago, my partner and I were driving

to the shops to pick up a few bits. Nothing

unusual about that, just a casual journey

without any stress. Or so we thought. As we

drove through the centre of town, it seemed

like everyone was trying to escape town before

a disaster struck. It was mayhem. Anyway, we

got out of town and on to the country roads.

This is something we both love, especially

around this time of year when the leaves have

started to change colour. The golds, oranges,

yellows and all the other breathtaking shades

really add to natures wonder.

Annoyingly, the madness from town seemed

to follow us as cars passed us at breakneck

speeds still trying to either getaway from the

pending apocalypse or get to their destination

first before everybody else. I had to ask myself

why do people have to go so mad and miss so

much.

Life is very much the same. It seems that

everyone is trying to get ahead of the game as

quickly as they can. Kids are trying to grow

up too fast, people stress to get the very latest

technology, employees are ruthlessly climbing

the corporate ladder not caring who they step

on to do it, our roads, as we mentioned are

getting faster and faster, it seems the whole rat

race is speeding up but missing all of the great

stuff we have in the present. All of this fast

living can cause so much stress and bad feeling

that you have to wonder is it all worth it.

Some years ago, I was posted to Kenya. Life

is so different there, very little money, very

few possessions, very little reason to rush

around yet the people seem to be so happy.

In particular, I speak about the tribesman of

the Masaii. They live very nomadic lifestyles

mostly just tending to their cattle. The big

difference between us and them is they really

appreciate what they have and are truly one

with the land they live in. It is so humbling to

see people with so little, so happy.

I certainly cannot sit here and tell people how

to live their lives in any particular way but I

would ask for you all to take a look around

you every now and then and really appreciate

what you have. Thank God for the gifts you

have while you have them and don’t be in

such a hurry to get to the end of the race.

Once these wonderful days pass, they;ve gone

forever.

Those golden leaves will fall soon and the tree

will be bare for the winter so enjoy the beauty

while it lasts. God really is a great artist.

www.havefaith.org.uk 21 |


Day 17

There’s no Courage without Fear... Isaiah 41:10

This month marks the biggest landmark of

courage on our calender as you may have

noticed from the Remembrance article. We all

commemorate those who showed courage in

adversity in armed conflicts by our brave men

and women.

A thought comes to mind of the fear each

and every one of them experienced regardless

of whether they lived or died. As our title

implies, there has to be fear in order for

courage to be present. Those who read last

months edition may recall how I defined

courage. The presence of fear, yet the will to

go on. It is a massive attribute.

As a veteran, I know only too well, the effects

fear can have on our decision making and

actions. Yet I have never seen myself as

particularly courageous. I think at the time,

I did what I had to do through duty. I had

made a commitment and I saw it through. I

think many of our servicemen and women

adopt that same way of thinking. It kind of

keeps their feet planted on the ground during

the testing times. With the same thought in

mind, once Jesus had left his disciples, each

and every one of them lived a dangerous

life. Spreading the word of the Lord in times

where the penalties for doing so were death in

horrific ways. The very definition of courage

was so present here. Each one knowing that

at some point they would suffer for their

missions. In fact, all but one was executed.

Again the thought of their fear comes to mind.

Yet they never wavered from their own duty.

I think these are valuable inspirations when

we are called upon to show courage in our

daily lives. If you are experiencing fear over

a situation, bear in mind that it is simply a

process where courage will overcome. Indeed

at these moments fear is essential. At these

times pray for the strength to go on as those

before. Have Faith in the Lord to give you

strength and have Faith in yourself.

| 22 www.havefaith.org.uk


Day 18

Acceptance Romans 15:1-7

This can be a bit of a weird time of year for

me. Although the festive season is not quite

upon us, the appearance of the Christmas

season in the shops always seems to warm me

a little and commence my own celebrations,

albeit well over a month too soon. One of my

favourite past-times, much to the annoyance

of my every suffering other half, is the dreaded

Christmas movies. I absolutely love ‘em.

Already this year, I have sent her completely

round the bend with umpteen versions of the

Christmas Carol, Santa Claus movies and,

one of my favourites, A Miracle of 34th Street.

Yes, I am a big kid at heart but I find them

warming and often with many messages. In

my favourite, it speaks about trusting in what

is not seen and accepting that it exists. The

very foundation for our Faith. The word Faith

is defined as trusting in what we cannot see.

Of course, the movie is about Santa and it is

just a movie but accepting our Faith is a major

point of trust.

But what about other Faith’s? We live in such

a diverse world with beliefs ranging widely.

Buddhism, Islam, Jewish, Hindu to name

just a couple. Each having Faith in their own

religious persuasion. It’s easy to see how our

minds can come in to conflict. With so much

diversity, how do we come to terms with this

so we all live in peace?

For me, it comes down to two words.

Judgement and Acceptance. Firstly, who am

I to judge others in what they believe? Am I

above them just because I think in a different

way? To do so would undermine the lessons

Jesus taught us. Secondly, to accept our fellow

man is to fulfil one the biggest things Jesus

taught us. Love our fellow man as we love

ourselves. Is this really so hard to do? Well,

maybe sometimes, as humans, we can fall foul

of this. But one of the big ways I get over this

is to simply think what others think of me and

the way I hold my Faith. If I want others to

accept me, then I must accept them.

Thankfully, my poor suffering partner accepts

me fully. God bless her.

www.havefaith.org.uk 23 |


Day 19

Trust in God... Matthew 6:25

It’s no surprise that we can live in a difficult

world these days. So many things can cause

us to feel unsure of ourselves and also so can

fragile stone to stand on.

Have you ever had a moment when a friend or

family member has let you down

at an important time? I think we

all have at some point. I certainly

have. Maybe you’ve even been

the one doing the letting down. It

doesn’t mean we, or our friends are

bad people. Sometimes life just

gets in the way and some situations

are unavoidable.

Many times when I have felt on my

own or isolated from my friends, I

have taken a few moments to ask

God for help. It’s a bit of a habit of

mine now. One thing I can be sure

of is that he never turns me away or

ever gets tired of me asking him for

help. He is that reliable,

To ask for help from God is

actually quite a test of your Faith.

You are literally trusting someone

you have never seen. With this in

mind it can be confusing when the

answers to our questions are no. If

God says no, then there is a reason

for it, like a parent, if your request

is not in your interest then it would

be wrong for him to say yes. That

really then comes down to us. Ask

yourself if you are being fair to God

in asking to help in your situation.

people. Unfortunately people can be very

damaging to our self confidence. Especially

when we value their opinions. It can be a very

One thing I will always be sure of,

he hears every request and always

ensures that we can handle the

situations we are in. But remember

that God answers in his time,

not ours. That is always right. His timing is

always at the moment when you will get the

maximum benefit from his reply. Read on...

| 24 www.havefaith.org.uk


Day 20

Trust in God Pt2... Romans 8:28

On this subject of Trusting in God, I’d just like

to take a brief look at why I have seen how

God works in us in his timing. It is a story

I have told many times but I

feel it is the one incident where

I actually saw how God was

working in me.

be suffering or even worse. His timing was

flawless. The suffering and experiences that I

needed to go through were necessary in order

Have Faith’ originally came

from my experiences of how

I overcame a serious mental

health issue after serving in the

British Army. My service took

me to numerous conflicts and

testing environments where I

saw an awful lot of inhumanity

and traumatic events, This

lead to PTSD in a severe form.

Suicide attempts, constant

nightmares and continuous

flashbacks haunted me for many

years after. Of course I asked

God on many occasions for help

but wasn’t seem to be heard.

Or so I thought. The process

of recovery really began with

me writing things down which

has lead me to writing for other

veterans in the same position.

This lead to me actually opening

a centre to help others with the

same condition. Time and time

again, we helped ex-servicemen

and women who had been down

the same road. This process

healed me.

God had used me as a tool for

the good of so many others.

Yes, he helped me but he used

his perfect timing . He used all

of my experiences to the very best effect. If

he had just helped me when I asked for it,

many of the veterans we helped would still

for God to use me to the maximum effect.

Maybe that is something to bear in mind if

you have not been answered yet.

www.havefaith.org.uk 25 |


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

At 11:00am on 11th November

we stand silent in prayer and

thought. Some paying homage

to family members who have served and

in some cases, lost. Some remember

comrades, some remember times past,

many weep.

In some way, I believe that Remembrance

Day effects us all, even if just a little.

Personally... well, I always have many

emotions but I won’t go into my own past.

But in whatever way you commemorate,

I pray that you find peace in your own

thoughts.

The thought occurs that while we

remember those in recent battles and

service, this really is nothing new.

Sacrifices have been made since man first

walked upright.

War is truly a terrible thing. Even as a

soldier I have very often questioned why

man must do battle in order to reach

a goal? Why do we need to fight just

because a solution is difficult to find?

Whatever the reasons or however it

is justified, wars are fought and many

are killed and injured. Again, I am no

Politician so I shall leave reasons to those

in power. But I fear, many more battles

and wars are still to be fought.

I have had the pleasure of meeting many

veterans of the Second World War. Many

Greater love has no one than this, tha

| 26 www.havefaith.org.uk


A Time of Remembrance

of these have been the subject of my

writings in various publications, and

I have to say that I am humbled every

time. One especially comes to mind of

a sailor who was involved in the Battle

of River Plate at the start of the war.

Despite the many years that had passed,

the details of his experiences were

firmly etched in his mind. Yet, this very

sprightly 90 something, still managed to

recall the fun stuff and all of the naughty

exploits he got up to. I always try to push

for these stories as it brings a smile while

remembering adversity.

Sacrifice has been necessary for the

common good throughout the ages. But

one stands in front of all the others. The

ultimate sacrifice by our Lord, Jesus

Christ. He went to his incredibly violent

and painful death in order that we may

all be saved from our own sins.

I have read the life of Christ over and

over again, and on many occasions he

could have walked away from his fate.

But he didn’t. His love for us was so

strong that he gave all. Now Jesus was

not a combatant in any sense of the word.

Yet, I truly believe that every soldier

who walks on to a battle field prays for

his strength, his courage and his love in

order to fight for what he or she believes

is right and good.

Every Remembrance Sunday two poems

are read out at the services. Of course,

the excerpt from ‘For The Fallen’ as at

the start of this article and also: “When

you go home, tell them of us and say ‘For

you’re tomorrow, we gave our today’. “

Both are very moving and are totally

appropriate and justified. But I can’t help

thinking what Jesus said to his disciples

before he went to his death. “Greater

love has no one than this, that he lay

down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

In my opinion, this is the very essence

of every serviceman. I personally

keep this firmly in my thoughts

every Remembrance day. In fact, it’s

permanently in my thoughts to be

honest. Such is the impact of that one

verse. But then again. that’s just me.

Lest we forget!

t he lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:13

www.havefaith.org.uk 27 |


Day 21

Restore the Balance... Matthew 6:6

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the demands

of today’s world. Especially when we have

deadlines to reach, obligations to meet, bills to

pay, the list goes on and on.

But I wonder how many of you actually

take a little time out in a quiet environment

to regather your thoughts, pray a little and

restore the natural balance of your mind and

life.

I’ve just come out of a four year battle of

running a major magazine. Don’t get me

wrong, it was so worth while and I enjoyed

every minute of it. I met some great people

and we did an amazing amount of good. So

up front, there are no regrets. However,

saying all of that, I gave myself no time to

stop and take time to recharge myself when I

needed which added a little stress from time

to time. Again, there were no real issues or

stresses that I couldn’t deal with but I do now

wonder if many things could’ve been made a

little easier if I had taken a little time out every

now and then to balance my life. I am very

fortunate to be blessed with a great home life

that has totally understood me and what I was

trying to achieve. The thing here is I feel I’ve

missed quite a few opportunities to be with

those I love and to rest when the opportunity

was there.

These days I’ve freed myself of these

commitments and am now enjoying a well

balanced life. Even through this magazine, I

am having just a few moments each day with

God in quite surroundings without pressure.

So what ever is dominating your life at the

moment, learn to take some time to do what

calms you and recharges your mind. I cannot

stress just how important this is.

| 28 www.havefaith.org.uk


Day 22

Do you need the Doctor... Romans 3:9-19

When you have an ailment the best place

for you to be is in your local doctor surgery

where he can advise the best remedies and

treatments to get you back on your feet. Our

physical health is something we all need to

take care to the best of our ability. Even down

to eating well, taking regular exercise and

reducing our stress levels. But when it goes

a little wrong, off to the doctors and get help.

yes?

Our Spiritual health is just as important but

in many ways we overlook the importance

because it doesn’t effect the daily running of

our lives. Or does it?

One particular passage from the Bible sticks

in my mind and is just so true. At Matthew

9:12 Jesus said “It is not the healthy who need

a doctor, but the sick.” This one passage really

brings to me the true weakness of humanity.

For some time, I avoided going to church

because I saw too many people that went to

church purely because it was the right thing to

do and by them going to church meant they

were all spiritually healthy. I used to find these

very people would scorn if you were guilty of

sins which they didn’t approve of.

To me, these people were all sick but were

ignoring the symptoms. In my mind, we go

to church not only to Worship our Lord but to

be healed of our spiritual ailments. Without

exception, that is all of us. None of us are

perfect or without sin. Jesus didn’t give his

life for all of the good people of the world, he

actually gave his life for those sin the most so

they could be healed.

If we go to our GP and hold back on our

symptoms, how can we expect them to give us

the right treatment? So next time you are in

Church, let the Lord know all of your spiritual

illnesses so he can treat you properly.

www.havefaith.org.uk 29 |


Day 23

Love Changes Everything... John 13:34-35

I do love that song. It brings all the highs and

lows of that precious four letter word which

is the big gift that all of us are given. If ever

we needed evidence that there is a God then

in my eyes, Love is the proof. How else could

we explain the origins of the most powerful

emotion we have. In fact when we look at the

arguments between science and spirituality,

I challenge our physicists and other brain

boxes to explain what puts love in to our lives.

Of course the argument can come back as

chemical reactions that causes an emotional

response but how did these emotional

reactions start? How did the human mind

design itself to have such a powerful gift? No

matter what answer our scientists give us, I

will keep asking why and what is the reason

for it.

In short, I will never be convinced by any

scientist that love is anything but a gift from

God. All of the recording teachings of Jesus

revolved around love. Why on earth would we

think otherwise.

One of the great things with love is it comes in

abundance. You can keep giving it to people

and you never have to ration how much you

give away. In fact, one of my favourite artists,

Neil Diamond once said in one of his songs,

“Love’s a gift that’s made for giving, you give

it all away but have it still”. How true is this.

So, as per all of my reflections, I do hope you

take a look at the love you give and the love

you receive and make the most of the most

valuable gift God ever gave us.

| 30 www.havefaith.org.uk


Day 24

God’s Gifts in Abundance... Acts 14:17

November can be a very dreary month here

in the UK. The weather has cooled, the wind

blows a little stronger, the rain is constant

but it is all just part of God’s yearly cycle.

Balancing our resources in perfect harmony.

At least as much as can be without bringing

in the Global warming issues. That aside,

when our seasons change, the land rests

and replenishes. The old fruits of summer

disappear, the winter clears the trees ready

for the spring when the new shoots begin to

bloom ready for a new harvest. The wind,

rain and sun are all tools that make this cycle

possible regardless of how miserable it may

make the day look, we do need it. Of course

we do question this when those nasty storms

hit. Especially the devastating conditions. But

they say the Lord moves in mysterious ways.

Maybe there’s a reason for them, who knows.

In my youth, I spent so much time with

nature. I was born and raised in the best of

both worlds really. Our town sat on the edge

of the New Forest in the South of England

with our house being just a stones throw

from the seaside. My friends and I were keen

surfers and were spoilt by a great beach that

faced the Atlantic ocean. When the sea was

rough, we would watch the sheer power of the

forces in front of us. We would wait for the

sea to calm a little which would leave perfect

waves shaped by God himself. Again, all part

of the circle of life.

I’ve had my fair share of gifts from God and

the world and have been lucky enough to have

been able to use it as my playground. So the

next time you look out of the window and

see the wind howling and the rain lashing

down, don’t feel depressed or miserable over

it. Just think of it as God going about his

business using the worlds natural processes to

rejuvenate things ready for the coming year.

In fact, get out there and enjoy it as we did

as kids. It really is a wonderful place to be in

when you think about it.

www.havefaith.org.uk 31 |


Day 25

Be Creative... Colossians 3:23

Are you creative? Are you an artist, writer,

craftsperson, musician? There are so many

ways in which we can express ourselves by

being creative and artistic.

I could sit here for ages and harp on about

what I get up to when I decide to kill time. I

have always loved being creative but one of

the big things that I wanted to speak about is

the abilities you need to be creative. Not all

of us can follow in the steps of Rembrandt or

Beethoven but really we don’t need to.

So really, this reflection is centred on just being

creative in our own ways and within our own

limits such as they are.

I do feel a little sad for people who are

convinced that creativeness is not within their

reach. How many times have we heard ‘I can’t

draw’, ‘I’m tone deaf or can’t sing’ ‘I wasn’t any

good at school’, so many excuses are used and

in the vast majority of the cases, they are just

excuses.

If you’ve never considered yourself a creative

person, try this. Grab a piece of paper and

just write about something you are passionate

about. It really doesn’t matter what.

Don’t worry about rhyming or spelling,

grammar or anything else. Just write. The

big thing here is to write what’s in your

heart, not what you think other people

will like. Once you’re done. have a read

back through. You’ll be amazed at what

you’ve created. Believe it or not that was

exactly how I developed into the person I

am today.

God gave us all the ability to be creative.

It’s how we build and improve our own

individuality. We are meant to do it. As

far as inspiration goes, you only need to

look at what God has done for us. He

is the ultimate creator, take a look at the

things he created simply by looking out of

the front door.

There is a fantastic passage in the Bible

which may spur you on a bit at Romans

12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this

world, but be transformed by the renewing

of your mind. Then you will be able to test

and approve what God’s will is—his good,

pleasing and perfect will.” It is indeed a gift

from God himself. So go on, give it a try.

You never know where it may lead. I speak

from experience here.

| 32 www.havefaith.org.uk


Day 26

Speaking to the Masses 1 Corinthians 14:21–22

To speak to a great many people, all one

needs do is flick the old PC on and jump on

to the many social media platforms that very

much seem to dominate our lives these days.

It really couldn’t be much easier to get your

messages out there. The thing is much of what

we say is merely flicked over and not really

taken in. Why? Because there is just so much

to read. If we were to take the time to read

everything that popped up on our time-lines,

we would probably spend the entire day just

catching up on the gossip. Yes, technology has

really advanced.

But let’s take a step back a couple of thousand

years to the time when Jesus was stood on the

mount speaking to the people. Obviously,

He didn’t have such luxuries as PC’s, Mobile

Phones, Tablets etc. Yet, He used the best

form of communication that has ever been

given to us. The word of mouth. When he

spoke, his voice carried truth and love. Two

sentiments that are very difficult to clearly

show by tapping on a keyboard. Not impossible,

but very difficult. You may feel it when

you write it but does the reader really get what

you mean.

But let’s flip the coin for a second. This week,

Jane and I had a day out in Birmingham City

Centre. While we were there I noticed a man

standing in the middle of the street speaking

of God and the Bible. Nothing new in this day

and age, we see this in every Town and City

we come across. But what struck me is that

absolutely no one was listening. Two thoughts

came to my mind. Was it because all of that

information is available at our fingertips

and nobody needs to listen to some nutcase

preaching away. After all, who is he to preach

to us?

Then the second thought hit me. Just how

hard was it for Jesus’s disciples to go fourth

into the world and spread the good news?

I wondered if times had really changed so

much.

Yet, here we are 2000 years later still hearing

the same word. Through perseverance and

great sacrifice they succeeded but it took so

much courage and determination. Maybe I

won’t judge the man on the street so much in

future. Just something to mull over today.

When Jesus gave us His prayer,

every single word embedded itself

so deeply that it is still said throughout

Christian world today. How

powerful is that? Just by speaking

to that group of people, the words

spread like wildfire throughout the

world.

Of course, with modern technology

you could spread the word a

million times faster to a massive

audience but how many these days

would bother to take it in if it just

popped up as a post on your page?

I wonder.

www.havefaith.org.uk 33 |


Day 27

The Wonderous Book... Genesis 1

The Bible, for me is a never ending source of

inspiration and guidance. It is written in the

perfect way for us to achieve the very best in

our lives, not only spiritually but also in our

day to day existence. It truly is an amazing

piece of work.

The artwork in it’s construction is flawless.

In my eyes it is like the grandest Church in

paperform. Yet despite it’s grandeur, it is free

for all of us to own. Why, because it is simply,

the word of God.

There are several versions of the Bible but the

messages remain the same in them all. To me,

the different versions do not make any real

difference to me. It’s funny but I have seen

people arguing about the different versions for

some very petty reasons and I had to feel they

were missing the point a little. Mere mortal

man finding faults in such an incredible book

instead of getting involved in all that is right in

it. But again, just my thoughts.

No matter the version, take a while to

appreciate the immense workmanship in

the verses. No other book in history could

ever come close to it. Of course, it is written

by man’s hand but I cannot help feel it’s

creativeness is God. Although human hands

wrote the text, God was the author through

those hands if you see what I mean.

As I have said numerous times, I like to use

it as a guide to life. I can never go wrong if I

stick to it’s instructions and follow what has

been written. I do have areas where I tend to

revisit over and over again, the New Testament

is really where I get so much benefit but that

doesn’t say that the rest of the Bible is not as

important. It all is.

SO, try to take a few moments each day to

pick up your own Bible and read a passage or

two. Don’t force yourself to over-read or stick

to a strict regime, just simply read what you

want. That way you will maintain the desire to

return and learn. The army taught me that.

| 34 www.havefaith.org.uk


Day 28

Proof?... Deuteronomy 19:15

Well here is a subject that nearly always throws

the cat amongst the pigeons when it come to

questioning the validity of what is written in

the Bible, I have heard it all but I decided to

write this because of a conversation I heard

just recently with two people arguing over the

validity of the Bible.

Instead of getting into the argument and what

was said, I would just like to mention a point

or two on my own understanding. Firstly, I

cannot question anything written in the Bible,

I simply am not qualified enough to argue

points on such an immense subject. In fact, I

don’t feel any of us are, but yes, you guessed it,

that’s just me.

But here’s something to think about. Have you

ever wondered why there are four Gospels?

Each Gospel is written differently but tells

exactly the same story. Of course if they

were written exactly the same it would be a

little dodgy but what we have is four different

accounts of the life of Jesus. In essence, four

witnesses. To me, that’s pretty conclusive

proof that Jesus not only existed but did the

incredible work we have all come to know and

died for us. Not only this but he rose again to

fulfil what had been written before and save us

all from our sins.

Back in those days, Thomas doubted that Jesus

had risen until Jesus appeared in front of him.

In this case seeing had to be believing. But

the big lesson through all of these scriptures

was to believe that everything HAD happened

with the proof remaining in the pages of the

book that we have been given.

The Bible, for me, is all the proof I will ever

need. As in my last reflection, I don’t worry

about the version, just content inside and the

goodness it gives. Our Faith has to remain

strong or everything written has no meaning.

www.havefaith.org.uk 35 |


Day 29

Forgetting... Isaiah 43:25

I am massively good at this, but in totally

the wrong way. I can be massively absentminded

in my daily life. But I excuse myself

with my age much to the annoyance of my

other half but thankfully she constantly sees

the funny side of this. I suppose, like us all,

I have moments of forgetfulness where I put

something down and then cannot remember

where I left it. That’s very commonplace

for me. But, hey ho, it keeps a smile on my

partners face.

I do like to think I’m good at forgetting

indiscretions against me by others. I have

never been one to hold a grudge. If someone

has wronged me and they apologise, I will

forget the reason why we had a problem. If I

don’t, what happens when I do the same?

I just don’t have the time to hold on to grudges

or bad feelings. It is a complete waste of time

and stops us from going forward with our

lives. In a previous reflection, while talking

about forgiveness, I mentioned that some will

forgive just so they can move forward in their

lives but if they do not forget the issue that

caused the problem, true forgiveness cannot

happen. Some will walk away and try to put

that person out of their mind but life has a

horrible habit of throwing reminders into our

path. The only real answer is to do as our Lord

taught us by following his example. He sends

our sins to eternal forgetfulness when we have

repented. Surely we should do the same.

It isn’t an easy thing to do, maybe a good piece

of advice is to listen to the other side of the

story to understand where the sin came from.

If all fails, pray to God to help you.

Regardless of all of this, I still cannot

remember where I put my car keys!

| 36 www.havefaith.org.uk


Day 30

And Finally... 2 Corinthians 5:17

As November comes to a close, we can thank

God for all of the blessings that we have been

given over the past month. Take a little time

today to reflect on what has gone on in your

life, the good and bad. Both are as important

as the other.

November, as this booklet has mentioned, can

be a very difficult time for many. For others it

is the run up to a very joyous season but we do

have to be thankful that we have lived every

day and we do need to look forward to the

month to come. Not so much because of the

Christmas season we are about to march into

but for the gifts that God is about to give us

every single day.

For me personally, December is my most

exciting month. I absolutely love it. I have

said that Christmas for me has already started,

but I strongly keep in mind the celebration of

the birth of our Lord. I know some say Jesus

was born in the summer time but that to me

is not so important. December is the month

where we celebrate and because of this, so

much love and goodwill spills out from us.

This is the very reason why I celebrate so long.

But I am also reflecting on the past month.

Yes, it has been difficult as I remember but I

am also thankful that God has placed me here

today despite of what has gone before. I really

do feel blessed.

Finally, I would like to wish you all well for

the coming month and pray that you enjoy the

Peace of God in your daily lives. I pray that

my reflections in November has helped, even

if in the smallest ways.

www.havefaith.org.uk 37 |


Of all of the lessons within the

Bible judging others is one that

keeps repeating itself over and

over again. Why? Because, in my view,

it is the one sin we are all guilty of and

continue to do time and time again.

The sin of judgement carries a very stiff

penalty which many of us tend to ignore

yet it is repeated in the bible so many

times.

“Judge and you will be judged”.

I think this is most emphasised in a

passage of the Bible I have used many

times.

Matthew 7: 1-5

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

For in the same way you judge others, you

will be judged, and with the measure you

use, it will be measured to you. “Why do

you look at the speck of sawdust in your

brother’s eye and pay no attention to the

plank in your own eye? How can you say to

your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of

your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank

in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take

the plank out of your own eye, and then

you will see clearly to remove the speck

from your brother’s eye.”

If this is so, why do we continue to judge

others? I believe that sometimes we do

not realise that we are judging somebody.

Imagine yourself out on a Saturday night

at your local pub or bar with your friends.

Somebody walks in whom you are well

acquainted with but is seeing somebody

that you do not approve of for whatever

reason. It is very common to have a

conversation about them to the friends

you are with. Something like:

Have you heard who she is going out

with? He is such a horrible person. She is

going to end up getting her heart broken.”

In this instant, you are judging both of

them. To begin with, these two people

may be bringing the best out of each

| 38 www.havefaith.org.uk


Judge & Be Judged

other without us having any idea of what

is going on. You have judged the male

party on something he has done in the

past. With this one, are you aware of all

of the facts or is it just gossip? secondly,

are you any better than he is? Have you

lead a clean and blameless life in order for

you to qualify to make such a comment?

I think not.

Consider the crowds and the woman in

John 8. I think all of us have been in the

crowd and I’m pretty sure most of us have

been in the same place as the woman.

Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And

early in the morning he came again into

the temple, and all the people came unto

him; and he sat down, and taught them.

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto

him a woman taken in adultery; and when

they had set her in the midst, They say

unto him, Master, this woman was taken

in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in

the law commanded us, that such should

be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they

said, tempting him, that they might have

to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down,

and with his finger wrote on the ground, as

though he heard them not. So when they

continued asking him, he lifted up himself,

and said unto them, He that is without sin

among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

Such an important lesson here. Jesus

basically told the crowd, none of you are

in a position to punish this woman as all

of you are as guilty of sin as she is.

One of our failings is to compare the

severity of sins and judge accordingly.

Of course, in our Law courts, this is

something which is practiced daily to

punish justly within our society but

Jesus said that each sin is measured the

same severity and is forgiven in the same

manner. This is something which man

cannot do I fear.

In our own lives, all I can say is to think

before you consider judging anyone. Can

you cast the first stone?

www.havefaith.org.uk 39 |


Have Faith

Daily Reflections, Thoughts & Prayers

About Have Faith

Have Faith is a collection of daily reflections and prayers

designed to help you through your daily lives through

the experiences of it’s author. Paul Michael is an ex-

British Soldier who served 22 years in such theatres as

Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Kenya, Berlin, the Falkland

Islands and throughout BAOR. He uses the experiences

he gained during his service and through his recovery

from PTSD to reflect on life using the Bible so that

others may find answers to their own daily life problems.

You can find more content and information at

our website such as the Daily Reflection, the

downloadable magazine and our own Radio

Station, Have Faith FM.

www.havefaith.org.uk

If you have any questions or would like to submit

articles and content to future editions of

Have Faith then please email us at:

havefaithfm@gmail.com

This website and its content is copyright of Have Faith

© Have Faith 2019. All rights reserved.

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