Dear Friends,


Over the last week or so I have been trying to enter all the necessary dates in my new 2020 diary. As I have been doing that, I have also been working on the calendars for the three churches. A lot of dates to put in of all the events and meetings.  It all seemed to be going quite successfully and I felt fully prepared.


With the new shiny diary lying on my desk, and after a particularly busy day, it was decided a Chinese take-away would be welcome.  When I got back home with said take-away I was met with the news that whilst I’d been gone, others had arrived at the Manse for a meeting.


After all my careful preparations, one of the first things I should have put in the new diary had been missed. I was reminded of a little acronym someone shared with me a few years ago, PPPPP, which stands for Perfect Preparation Prevents Pathetic Performance. Clearly my preparations had been far from perfect!


Yes, we all make mistakes, however well prepared we think we are. The Bible and experience tell us that. The Bible explains much about human nature, how we have all fallen short of what God desires from us. The Bible uses the word ‘sin’ and describes how this affects all parts of our lives, the whole of what we are: the will, the mind and understanding, the affections and emotions, our speech and behaviour. No area or aspect of our nature and personality is perfection.    


That is the plain teaching of the Bible and what we see in so many flawed characters described in its pages, from kings being condemned by prophets to a disciple denying his master. This might seem depressing, lead to despair and to throwing away the diaries and preparations. We have though a God of grace. We do not get treated as we deserve and he can use even our faltering efforts.


We can go into the New Year expectant and eager, not because of how wonderful we are but because we have a wonderful God. We can and should use all our best efforts and energies for Him, yet humbly knowing how fallible we are. It is in gratitude for his love for us that we give him our best, knowing that if we fall, He is there to catch us.


With best wishes,



P.S. The meeting was postponed and I got to enjoy the Chinese meal!