As I journey through my seventh decade, I can and do give thanks to God for the double blessings of health and spiritual wealth that He has graciously bestowed upon me.
So, I feel the task of a personal testimony, must be brief.
Are you aware that in Matthew 12:36, in fact, the twelfth New Testament prophecy in this first Gospel, every idle word either said in anger or in jest, will be accountable on the Day of Judgment?
So, I have to ask myself, therefore, what about every superfluous sentence and word that every author moulds and tries to fashion into literary darts for his reader’s approval? Will this count as well on that fateful day, yet to come for each of us.
With this thought in mind, I suggest that the saying “brief is best” should apply, and remembering the sower in Matthew 13:39, when his seeds were thrown, fell mainly on to the unprepared ground, I hope my words, therefore, will not share such a fate.
(During my book launch, my old parish priest joins me)
(My late uncle and his original ordination card)
(Family friend, now deceased)
(Previous friend of the family and now a deceased priest)
(Giving a talk at an ecumenical meeting)
You must turn away voluntarily from all organised religion, for if men or women have placed their soiled hands upon it, then it is flawed.
(Preparing to serve mass in 1964)
And will not all deeds and words one day be revealed at the Great White Throne Judgment (Matthew 10:26)! None of us must be implicated in a false man-made system that will ultimately fail us, neither can we defend it, nor should we wish to do so.
(Berlin, Germany: sharing Jesus with this man)
Organised religion, I am afraid, carries its own heavy sackcloth of emotional baggage and particular failings, sometimes to an extreme degree. I neither need it nor seek it.
(UK Open-air street preaching)
Some years ago, I fulfilled a long-held pipe dream to visit Israel. It wasn’t so much a pilgrimage, more a journey of devotion. I wanted to follow in the footsteps of the Master, and of course of the apostles.
My son James accompanied me to this very special land.
We stood in awe when we reached those historical and spiritual locations such as Nazareth, Galilee, Capernaum, Samaria and the atmospheric Sea of Galilee, where Jesus performed so many of His most personal miracles.
(James and I in the footsteps of the Master)
It remains an enchanting rural setting that will forever be etched in my memory, not least because of our baptism in that holy area. During our time there, James and I met a sister from Sweden, by the name of Margarita.
I had the privilege of baptizing her in the very warm waters of that peaceful location. If she should ever read this, please contact us.
Later that day both James and I baptised one another in the River Jordan.
(Our friend from Sweden)
Whilst on that journey, we visited the endless plains of Armageddon. Here God’s future hand of judgment will be witnessed in the Bible’s final days. Sadly we did not get to visit Jerusalem, but one day I look forward to joining many of the saints, who with the King of kings will reign for a thousand years in that eternal city.
What an adventure, what a privilege!
(Looking into the sea of Tel Aviv)
But remember: only after you have decided to trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal Saviour, are you saved from all of your sins, something no church or religion can offer.
“Ye must be born again,” Jesus warned Nicodemus three times in John’s Gospel. Don’t you think He is telling us something? I do!
So, receive His eternal gift of forgiveness of sins, it’s free and it might be the wisest thing you ever do! Refuse it, then you do so at your own peril!
True, it might take you a lifetime to reach that eternal destination known as Heaven, but it will, however, be the most rewarding journey you will ever wish to travel.
(Patrick shares Jesus with a Jesuit priest at Euston train station)