Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Kings Speech

The movie, The King’s Speech is making waves at the moment and is a favourite to win an Oscar.

The proverb of unknown origin, “cometh the hour, cometh the man”, fits King George VI very well. My father in his memoirs records a little known fact of British history that highlights the calibre of this man.

My parents, Frank and Marjory Duncan, had trained to be missionaries and were due to leave for China, when England, and with it the entire Empire entered the Second World War. NZ passports were being refused and all men and women of military age were forbidden to leave the country. My father and mother, engaged to be married, received a letter from the relevant Government Department advising them that they had permission to leave the country at the specific request of King George VI.

When England entered the war, King George VI called the entire British Empire to observe a Day of Prayer. During this time he felt that if the Empire wished to know God’s blessing in the defense of the realm, it must do nothing to hinder the work of His kingdom. He therefore released all those who were already trained for missionary service to proceed to take the Gospel to the world. He also believed these people would make good Ambassadors and public relations personnel wherever they went.

This information was confirmed by the Hon Fred Jones who was the NZ Minister of Defence at the time and throughout the war years.

Would King Edward VIII have made such a decision? The Scriptures say that God puts kings in power and God takes them down. His is the Unseen Hand in history. It was God who allowed his unlawful personal relationship with Wallace Simpson to bring King Edward VIII down so He could bring the hesitant Bertie to the throne “for such a time”

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Posted by on 26 January, 2011 in Articles, Devotional, Personal


Back in harness

I thoroughly enjoyed getting back into harness and lecturing at the Geraldine campus of Capernwray Bible College last week. The weather was not warm, but the interaction with the 6 USA and 5 Canadian students was. I was very pleased with the way my body held up to the travel to and from Geraldine, and the 8 hours of lecturing. I got home on Friday evening.

Capernwray students at the feeding trough

The facilities are marvellous and conducive to a good learning environment

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Posted by on 23 January, 2011 in Personal


Back in harness

Tomorrow (Tuesday, 18th Jan) I’m off, by plane and bus, to ‘The Crossing’, the Geraldine campus of Capernwray Bible College. I will be conducting 8 hours of lectures on Developing a Biblical Worldview. I return to Nelson on Friday afternoon. It will be interesting to see how the body stands up to the travelling and lecturing. It will be great to blow the cobwebs away again!

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Posted by on 17 January, 2011 in Personal


‘One out of the box’

I have just returned from having my portacath flushed and was discussing my state of health with the Oncology Nurse. She told me I am looking better than she’s seen me look for a long time and that my health situation is ‘one out of the box’. (Perhaps that means I’m not ready for THE box yet!) She gave me a print out of my blood tests since early last year and they show that my kidneys, liver, lungs, iron and blood are stable, with some even improving. The only negative is that my CEA levels are rising and that indicates my body is fighting foreign bodies, namely cancer tumours.

My energy levels are still good and I am sleeping well at night. I have no symptoms from the lung tumours and only occasional twinges from the liver mets. Last week we had a repiler come to pack some sunken piles under the house. He went under the house and asked me to jump up and down in some areas to help him identify weaknesses. What it identified for me is that jarring through jumping is not pleasant to my liver!

Nevertheless, after that I went bush walking over a headland in the National Park and also did some sea-kayaking with my younger brother.

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Posted by on 17 January, 2011 in Medical, Personal


Still a bit of life in the old boy

Last Monday my younger brother, Alex and his wife Rosemary visited us from Auckland. We spent a couple of nights in a lovely B & B (we highly recommend it!) at Riwaka. On Tuesday we went on a day trip on a catamaran launch into the Abel Tasman National Park. It was glorious weather. When we reached our lunch spot opposite Tonga Island seal colony, Alex and I took to a sea kayak and ventured forth.

On the return voyage the boat stopped into a bay called The Anchorage where most of us disembarked and did a bush walk over the headland to pick up the boat again in the next bay. Considering I haven’t done any consistent walking for a long time, and that my iron and haemoglogin levels are still low, I was surprised how well I managed the hilly trek without having to use my inhaler or suffering any ‘anaemia-induced angina’.

Sea Kayaking in Onetehuti Bay

Bush walk over Pitt Head

The launch waiting for us to descend

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Posted by on 14 January, 2011 in Family, Personal, Photos


Reservoir or water bottle?

With the latest medical opinions ruling out further medical interventions for me, I am once again forced to rethink my life priorities. This is nothing unusual. Many times during my life I have been challenged to re-evaluate why I am doing what I do. In ministry, do I operate out of a rich relationship with God and His Word, or am I merely maintaining a relationship with God and His Word ‘on the run’ to sustain my ministry? There is a subtle difference. What begins as an overflow of one’s spiritual life, can indiscernibly change to a point where one snatches time for prayer and Bible reading in order to prepare for an upcoming meeting or series of seminars.

Are we tapped into a reservoir or sipping from water bottles that need constant refilling?

I have had to examine myself to see if my praying is being spurred by self-preservation; a sense of unfulfilled responsibilities committed to me; the reviving of a relationship in prayer that has flagged and has needed this crisis to remotivate it; or is the deepening of a hope that will, probably sooner rather than later, culminate in faith becoming sight? It is probably a combination of several of these.

Even our motivation for business and working can change. We begin with a dream that flows out of a passion. It ends by creating a monster that demands all our energies and the sacrifice of our talents, families and time to sustain it.

The change is often undetectable until almost too late. In His mercy God will often lay us low with health or financial woes to force a spiritual stock-take and re-awaken our original sense of vocation and desire to have Him pre-eminent in all things.

Writing to Wormwood in Letter VII, (CS Lewis, Screwtape Letters.) Screwtape lays out the subtle twist that often takes place to transpose the basis of a man’s faith from vitality to merely a means of virtue.
“Let him begin by treating the Patriotism or the Pacifism as a part of his religion. Then let him, under the influence of partisan spirit, come to regard it as the most important part. Then quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage at which the religion becomes merely part of the “cause”, in which Christianity is valued chiefly because of the excellent arguments it can produce in favour of the British war-effort or of Pacifism. The attitude which you want to guard against is that in which temporal affairs are treated primarily as material for obedience. Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing. Provided that meetings, pamphlets, policies, movements, causes, and crusades, matter more to him than prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours—and the more “religious” (on those terms) the more securely ours. I could show you a pretty cageful down here.”

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Posted by on 6 January, 2011 in Devotional, Personal