Song: Close By Us Forever

Close By Us Forever  (To the tune Away in a Manger)

1. Lord Jesus, our Saviour, has promised to be…

Close by us forever and guide you and me.

His Spirit within us will help us to know…

That He never leaves us—He cares for us so.

2. Though we cannot see where our pathway will lead

Lord Jesus says follow; I’ll give what you need.

No matter how lonely or anxious you feel—

You’re never alone for my presence is real.

3. I trust you, Lord Jesus, so help me to stay

Close by you forever and thank you each day.

In school, home or working, your promise is true…

Whatever may happen, I’ll always have you!

D Hayes, October 2018

-- Download Song: Close By Us Forever as PDF --

Poem: Palm Sunday

Welcome the King

The slow tread of animal feet

The swirling dust of a village street

The rising sound of loud hosannas

Palm branches scattered to welcome the King.

The slow tread of weary feet

The mocking taunts of a scourge’s beat

The rising sound of a hammer’s fall

A crown of thorns to welcome the King.

D Hayes (Poem first created on 10th April 1987)

-- Download Poem: Palm Sunday as PDF --

Poem: Sing Like An Angel

Sing Like An Angel

Sing like an angel and open your voice

Sing like an angel to praise and rejoice

Sing like an angel and float through the air

Sing like an angel to banish despair

Sing like an angel and send your notes high

Sing like an angel to brighten the sky

Sing like an angel and reach heaven’s height

Sing like an angel with praise and delight

Sing like an angel and join heaven’s choir

Then sing with the angels in joyful desire!

D Hayes (2017)

-- Download Poem: Sing Like An Angel as PDF --

Kool Skool!


Kool Skool

Patter of footsteps that echo and beat

Happy tip tapping from dozens of feet

Coats that sprawl loosely on pegs down the wall

Bright eyes that wait for the teacher to call

Children all seated to start the new day

Smiles and light hearts seem to brighten the way

Adults move round to encourage and show

Telling and guiding, so knowledge will grow

Windows that steam up from chattering breath

Tables with papers and books on the desk

Chairs that slide roughly across the class floor

Pictures and paintings and posters galore

Playtime comes quickly and bodies disperse

Running and hooting and shouts of great mirth

Teachers slip quietly into the staff cave

And gulp down some caffeine to keep themselves brave!

The morning wears on with learning more stuff

And brains become numb, as enough is enough

Then lunch break releases aromas of food

Tickling the nostrils, lifting the mood

Teachers dash to the loo in despair!

A quick bite to eat and a breath of fresh air

Then rushing about to compute or mark work

No time to relax or a meeting to shirk

A knock at the door means a problem to lick

Tommy’s hit Benny and Beryl is sick

Lenny is crying and Jane is upset

Gary is pushing again, you can bet!

Lunchtime is over and sighs all around

Teachers and helpers are now to be found

Setting up lessons with limited zeal

Trying to look more alert than they feel!

Flush of excitement as children troop in

Amy is smiling and Billy looks grim

David is proud of the cut on his knee

The classroom vibrates like a gay buzzing bee

It’s time for the gym, so there’s no time to spare

Marching and stretching and gliding through air

Dancing with joy and exploding with glee

Faces bright red as a sign life is free

So on through the day until the bell tolls

With noises and scrambling ‘til silence unfolds

A quick hug from Amy, a shy wave from Sam

Then out to the playground to greet Mum or Nan

The echo of laughter drifts in from the street

As children skip gladly in hope of a treat

And the mass of humanity fades from the scene

With pushchairs and buggies and toddlers that scream!

The teachers breathe deeply and wish they were home

But more work awaits them, they sigh with a groan

So much to fit in while the time slips away

The evening grows long as blue skies turn to grey

Much later, the hard grind recedes with the miles

Driving away with a heart full of smiles

Despite disappointments and moments of gloom

The joy and the glory shine bright as the Moon

The front door means freedom or so it now seems

Yet thoughts of the school day entangle your dreams

And visions of children whose lives you have blessed

Restore the conviction that God’s way is best!

 Denis Hayes (2017)

A young teacher commented:

‘I get the strong impression that most people see work as a means to an end. They have a job to get enough money to buy food and clothes, pay the bills and—if there’s some to spare—enjoy a few of life’s little luxuries. Now there’s nothing wrong with taking such a pragmatic view of things, but those of us who are called to teach see it as more than just a job. It’s a genuine vocation; you could almost say a ‘calling’. We are on a sort of mission to make the world a better place by helping children to make the very best use of their talents and intellect, to stimulate their imaginations, give them confidence, light a flame and promote a sincere love for learning. We are also keen to help them develop morally and become young people of true character. So much is expected of me that I sometimes think I’ve got to be some sort of super-hero with an endless reserve of energy, expertise and talent; in fact, a miracle-worker!

It’s difficult to pinpoint why people decide to teach. It certainly isn’t the money and it can often be an exhausting, even demoralising job at times. I guess it’s a mixture of reasons: a way of expressing our talents, commitment to the betterment of society, love of learning or simply a passion for children. There’s no doubt that the greatest rewards are internal; I mean things like the satisfaction that comes from seeing children grasp something for the first time or watching them enthuse over the work or smiling with delight after making a discovery.

I also love to see children happy together: their excited chatter and funny ways are like therapy for me. It’s great when a child or parent thanks you sincerely for something special you did with the class or with a group. When we have fun together—perhaps doing drama or practising for an assembly or playing games on the school field or just doing something slightly daft—it brings a thrill that can’t be measured or recorded on an assessment sheet. Only people who have experienced this level of happiness can fully understand what I mean.’

Self-worth and attitude:

There are a number of factors influencing a teacher’s self-worth and positive attitude: (a) General competence and skills (b) Gaining approval from significant others, such as parents (c) Receiving support from colleagues (d) Being convinced that teaching makes a positive difference to children’s lives (e) Strong moral convictions, including religious faith. A mysterious contradiction exists in that teachers often seem to be complaining about the unreasonable demands placed on them, yet they continue to love the job, which suggests that altruism and motivation to work with and help children outweigh self-doubt.

Extracts taken from Foundations of Primary Teaching (Routledge 2011) by D Hayes

-- Download Kool Skool! as PDF --

Firstfruits in New Testament


The New Testament has much to say about “firstfruits”…

Christ is the “firstfruit” in being the first to rise from the dead and die no more… thus, paving the way for believers to have eternal life:

As Paul writes in I Corinthians 15: 20-21

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.

James reminds his readers that we are the crowning glory of creation:

God chose to give us birth through the word of truth that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

And we have been chosen by God, as the Holy Spirit sanctifies us when we believe the truth about salvation through Christ:

As Paul writes to the church in 2 Thessalonians 2 v 13

God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.













-- Download Firstfruits in New Testament as PDF --

Farewell to Fear and Apprehension!

Three Days in a Week

There are two days of the week upon which I never worry: two carefree days! Yes, two days kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is yesterday with all its cares and frets, all its pains and aches that have passed forever beyond reach of my recall. I cannot undo an act that I have wrought or unsay a word that I have said. All that it holds of my life’s joys, regrets or sorrows is in the hands of mighty love that can bring honey out of rock and sweet waters out of the barren desert. This is the love that can make all things right; that can turn weeping into laughter; that can give beauty for ashes, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, the joy of the morning for the woe of the night. Save for the beautiful memories, sweet and tender that linger like perfume of roses in the heart of the day that is gone, I have nothing to do with yesterday. It was mine; now it is God’s.

The other day about which I do not worry is tomorrow. Tomorrow with all its possible adversities, burdens, perils and failures is as far beyond the reach of my mastery as its dead sister, yesterday! It is a day of God’s. Its sun will rise in rose-coloured splendour behind a mask of weeping clouds. But it will rise and the same love and patience will shine with tender promise as unfailingly as in the past. I have no possession in that unborn day of grace. Everything is in the safe keeping of that infinite love that holds, forever, treasures higher than the skies, deeper than the sea. Tomorrow is God’s day.

I have left for myself but one day of the week, today. If there are cares and burdens to be carried, they will be measured out to me ‘sufficient unto the day’. Almighty love will surround me and a mighty strength sustains me, moment by moment.

It is not the experience of today that drives people mad. It is remorse for something that has happened or fear of what may happen. Yesterday and tomorrow are God’s days. I leave them to Him.

Anonymous (Published in GRACE magazine, Winter 2016, p. 55-56)


-- Download Farewell to Fear and Apprehension! as PDF --

PEACE ~ Three Types


A summary based on notes provided by United Christian Broadcasters (UCB), Word for Today, 28th July 2016.

  • Peace with God
  • Peace with yourself
  • Peace with others

Peace with God

Key verse: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5: 1, NIV)

Eternal peace and assurance brings about the second type of peace: peace with oneself…

Peace with yourself

Key verse: Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts (Colossians 3: 15, NIV)

Once we have peace in our own hearts, we are better able to relate peacefully to others…

Peace with others

Key verse: As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone (Romans 12: 18, NIV)

Peace that reaches out to others provides them and you with a secure foundation for developing harmonious relationships.

Jesus often spoke of the peace that only He can offer: peace in the midst of storm and uncertainty… The peace that is beyond human understanding or rational explanation.






-- Download PEACE ~ Three Types as PDF --

Lessons from the Book of Haggai

Ten lessons from Haggai:

  1. Circumstances may change but God is still the same.
  2. God works through non-believers as well as believers.
  3. God understands our physical and domestic needs.
  4. Everyday work is important–not just ‘spiritual service’.
  5. God expects us to use our minds in making decisions, but when He says ‘move’, we move!
  6. There is a consequence attached to neglecting God.
  7. There is a time for everything under heaven.
  8. God’s promises do not fade or perish over time.
  9. His Spirit ‘abided in their midst’, but we need to ensure that he abides in my life.
  10. We all need a Haggai.

-- Download Lessons from the Book of Haggai as PDF --

God’s Tattoos

God’s Tattoos

  • Have you noticed the tremendous increase in the number of people with tattoos?
  • At one time, the only people with tattoos were sailors… now even ladies are ‘sporting’ them
  • Personally, I dislike them … but you may feel differently… perhaps you’ve got one yourself!

Recent surveys have found that about a quarter to a third of people with tattoos wished that they hadn’t had them done…

  • Services exist to remove unwanted tattoos! Apparently, it’s extremely expensive!
  • Tattoos can cause difficulty… Imagine a man having the name of his sweetheart (Julie, say) tattooed on his arm, only to separate from her and meet someone called Angela. Whoops!

You may be surprised to know that God has tattoos!

  • Not some weird design or a picture of an eagle or a dolphin or a motorbike or a mermaid!
  • God’s tattoo is in the shape of a heart… Inside the heart is engraved a name… your name! We read in Isaiah 49 v 16 that: ‘He has written (engraved, tattooed) your name on the palms of His hands
  • But note in I Corinthians Chapter 1, Paul writes it is for ‘you, who have been called by God to be His own holy people’
  • God’s palms were pierced on the cross…for you
  • We have the assurance in Isaiah that God does not forget us…from before we’re born until our final breath, we are known, loved and cherished by Him
  • He will never pay a visit to the ‘tattoo removal shop’!


-- Download God's Tattoos as PDF --

What Sort of Church does God and Satan Want?

-- Download What Sort of Church does God and Satan Want? as PDF --

The sort of people that Satan wants in church

  1. Academic Christians, who know the Bible of God but don’t know the God of the Bible.
  2. Scrooge Christians, who only give God a little of their lives and keep the rest for themselves.
  3. Nominal Christians, who do not make the effort to seek God’s will and purpose through prayer, study of the Bible and interaction with believers.
  4. Stunted Christians, who show little desire to grow in their knowledge of God’s will and purpose.
  5. Stagnant Christians, who are resistant to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
  6. Historical Christians, who prefer to reminisce than to look ahead.
  7. Confrontational Christians, who feel the need to challenge and criticise than to support and encourage.
  8. Self-centred Christians, who focus on their own needs and concerns.
  9. Temperamental Christians, who are unpredictable and lack grace.
  10. Spectator Christians, who watch others doing the work.
  11. Critical Christians, who look for faults in others.
  12. Envious Christians, who resent it when God uses others to further His Kingdom work.

The sort of people that God wants in church

  1. Those who want to know Him better
  2. Those who are wholeheartedly submissive to Him.
  3. Those who genuinely desire to discover His will for their lives and others.
  4. Those whose hearts are open to a fresh work of the Spirit
  5. Those who pray before they act rather than act and pray for help when things go wrong.
  6. Those who seek to walk in step with the Spirit along new pathways of faith
  7. Those who are prayerfully and practically interested in the needs of others.
  8. Those who seek to love others as Jesus loves them.
  9. Those who are approachable, caring and compassionate.
  10. Those who live and work and persevere in the light of Jesus’ return.
  11. Those who try to encourage and support others.
  12. Those who celebrate the victories of others.