Daily Reflections, Thoughts & Prayers
A Brand New Look
Taking a New Look at Faith:
A Personal Story
A Time of Remembrance
101 Years On: The World
Judge & Be Judged
Are We All Guilty?
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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.
—St. Francis of Assisi
| 02 www.havefaith.org.uk
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:
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 |
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
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.
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
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
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
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...
www.havefaith.org.uk 05 |
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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 |
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
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
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
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
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
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
www.havefaith.org.uk 09 |
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
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
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
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
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:
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 |
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
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
| 12 www.havefaith.org.uk
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
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
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
www.havefaith.org.uk 13 |
I have become a student
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
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 |
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
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
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
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
and those whose names we will never know.
Help us to lift our eyes above the torment of this
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.
For civilian women, children and
whose lives are disfigured by war or
calling to mind in penitence
the anger and hatreds of humanity;
may God give peace.
God give peace.
| 16 www.havefaith.org.uk
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
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 |
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
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
| 18 www.havefaith.org.uk
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,
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 |
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
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
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
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
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
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 |
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
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
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 |
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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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
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.
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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
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
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.
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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.
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.
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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
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
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.
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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.
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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
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
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.
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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
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
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
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
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
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?
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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.
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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.
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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
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!
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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.
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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
“Judge and you will be judged”.
I think this is most emphasised in a
passage of the Bible I have used many
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
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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?
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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.
If you have any questions or would like to submit
articles and content to future editions of
Have Faith then please email us at:
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