Malcolm’s Major Moments, 14 September 2019

Digging deeper

We encourage the wildlife in our garden. Bird and bat boxes are up on trees and poles. Plants have been selected for their benefits to butterflies and bees. Nuts and fat balls are displayed for our feathered friends to enjoy. What’s next?  What’s next is the need to dig deeper.

All our current wildlife offerings are primarily aboveground. But Penny wants a wildlife pond. Newts, frogs (to eat the slugs), insects, a place for a hedgehog to take a drink, damselflies, dragonflies and much more will be attracted into our garden. What do we need to do? Dig. Dig deeper.

I spent all Saturday afternoon and all Wednesday afternoon digging. Saturday was about removing the turf. Wednesday was about beginning the serious digging. The photograph above shows you what I had achieved partway through the afternoon. I spent five hours digging on Wednesday. This is the result…

It doesn’t look like much. That’s five hours of work! My elbows, knees, lower back, shoulders, well, and everything else in my body aches and tells me I spent five hours digging. But my eyes tell me it’s unimpressive. That’s the problem with digging. You don’t get the visible results that the physical effort merits.

Isn’t that rather like the spiritual life? We expend significant time and energy and emotional investment digging, digging and digging into God’s word and prayer and spiritual disciplines hoping for massive impressive visible breakthroughs. Yet we forget that God works patiently and with his appropriate timing to develop us step-by-step more and more into the likeness of his Son.

As I continue to dig this Saturday and probably for several Saturdays hence, I need to remind myself of the vision. A completed pond teeming with wildlife. That will keep me digging even when I don’t see significant visible results. Similarly, if I keep my eyes on Jesus, I will not be discouraged or disheartened when the transformation into his likeness takes longer than I would like. 

I offer my recordings this week in the hope that they will keep you focused on Jesus, and motivated in digging deeper in your spiritual life. 

The podcast summary contains a reminder of what’s been posted on my site this week. I.e. the usual TTT, SS & QTC. To watch/listen to any posts, just head over the the website.


Prayer request

In 2003 I took my first personal spiritual retreat (more on that in this coming week’s quiet time coaching podcast). A three-day time away with God which changed my life.  Since then I’ve taken a few more, and contemplated leading a group retreat. I think the time has come.

In the first part of next year I am planning to offer a spiritual retreat for a small group of people. I’m investigating venues and planning the schedule. Please pray for the success of this venture, if it is in line with the Spirit’s will for my life.  If you think you’d be interested to attend, please drop me a line: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.


Thank you for reading this far, and encouraging me in my endeavours to support our times of quiet with God, our corporate worship experiences, and the effectiveness of our preaching and teaching.

If you know anyone who might enjoy these materials, please send them a link to my website and encourage them to sign up for this newsletter.

God bless, Malcolm

Malcolm’s Magic Moments: 7th September 2019

“Reasons to be cheerful”

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When you believe in love, when you have experienced love, when you trust that love never fails, you always have a reason to celebrate. No matter what is going on. Many of you will know that my mother had a hip replacement operation six weeks ago. It was a long and tortuous journey from diagnosis to surgery with many barriers to overcome. However, since waking up from the operation she has not had one scintilla of pain. It’s like a miracle.

She does, however, still experience significant pain from the results of a lifetime’s suffering with rheumatoid arthritis. Despite all this, can she rejoice? Oh yes! My mother’s middle name is “Joy”. You can see in the photograph above that she is living up to her name. It’s her birthday. Penny and I went to celebrate with my mother and father this week. The hip pain is gone. Other pain remains. But we celebrate life, the abundance of glory contained within God’s creation, and family. Oh yes, the rather nice lunch put together by my wife did also help!

I hope and pray that you have many things to celebrate. Daily. Yes, daily. You can celebrate every day. Part of my daily prayer is to thank God for the new day. It wasn’t promised, I could not earn it, I certainly don’t deserve it. But it has been gifted to me. Therefore at the beginning of every day, I celebrate. As the King James version puts it:

“This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

(Psalm 118:24 KJV)

I offer my recordings this week in a spirit of celebration. I hope that you can celebrate the fact that Jesus never said “goodbye”. I pray you can celebrate the opportunity to preach even when you don’t know what to preach about. And, I pray that you can celebrate the challenge of needing the wisdom to know when to change the song service and when to leave it alone.

The podcast summary contains a reminder of what’s been posted on my site this week. I.e. the usual TTT, SS & QTC. To watch/listen to any posts, just head over the the website.


Prayer request

As mentioned elsewhere I had a very helpful meeting with members of the Thames Valley church discussing adjustments to my future role. I’m very excited about the opportunities for a greater emphasis on teaching, training and coaching. Please pray for me that I understand the correct priorities, and am willing to step outside my comfort zone. If you have any recommendations on materials which may help me to coach better, please pass them my way.


Thank you for reading this far, and encouraging me in my endeavours to support our times of quiet with God, our corporate worship experiences, and the effectiveness of our preaching and teaching.

If you know anyone who might enjoy these materials, please send them a link to my website and encourage them to sign up for this newsletter.

God bless, Malcolm

Malcolm’s Magic Moments: 31st August 2019

“Open Your Eyes – God is Amazing!”

Podcast Version of the Newsletter

The Feast Is Free

This time last year I was regretting not having done some blackberry picking. The area in which we live is blessed with many blackberry bushes. In order to harvest this free food, all we need to do is walk out of our house turn left, left again and we are confronted with bush after bush bearing beautiful fruit.

This year I decided not to pass up such a good opportunity.

When Ben Dannatt rang me yesterday for our weekly discipling phone call, I grabbed two plastic bags and my airpods. Whilst we talked about many and various deep spiritual issues I picked two bags of blackberries. They are now washed and cooked. Some in the fridge for festooning my breakfast porridge. Some in the freezer for a taste of summer when winter comes. How sad it would have been to miss out on this free food!

There’s a line in song we sometimes sing, “shall they starve and famish while a feast is free?”.  I wonder how often I, and many of us, miss out on the richness of God’s offerings for us. Are you making the most of prayer, God’s word and spiritual disciplines? It’s all free!  Just open your eyes – God is amazing!

Penny and I took a few days away for our 34th wedding anniversary and spent most of the time in gardens and walking country footpaths.

The glorious riches of God’s creation were all around us. Interesting birds, majestic trees, impressive shrubs, beautiful and, on occasion, rather strange flowers! Not to mention the insects, cloud formations, butterflies and other wildlife.  Open your eyes – God is amazing.

Whether you’ve got blackberries to pick, or not, I pray that this week you find plenty of opportunity to make the most of what God has provided by his grace, love and power of the Spirit.  Let me know what helps you to be reminded that God is amazing.

The podcast summary contains a reminder of what’s been posted on my site this week. I.e. the usual TTT, SS & QTC. To watch/listen to any posts, just head over the the website.


Prayer request

I have a very interesting meeting coming up this Sunday 1st September. I shall be meeting with a number of people from the Thames Valley churches of Christ to discuss how my role might shift given the changing needs of the church.

The balance of my “doing” things as opposed to training people needs to shift more in the direction of training, in my opinion. Please pray that God gives us wisdom to see in which areas I can be the most helpful to his glory and encouragement of the church.


Thank you for reading this far, and encouraging me in my endeavours to support our times of quiet with God, our corporate worship experiences, and the effectiveness of our preaching and teaching.

If you know anyone who might enjoy these materials, please send them a link to my website and encourage them to sign up for this newsletter.

God bless, Malcolm

“Malcolm’s Major Moments”, Week of 10th August 2019

“Access All Areas”

August began last week, but for me it began this Monday. On the first Monday of each month I take more of the day to pray, read and plan. It helps me to reflect on what God has been teaching me over the previous month, and fix my spiritual eyes on the right priorities for the month ahead.

This week I made a trip to a place called Ellesborough in Buckinghamshire. I parked by the side of the road and went for a walk along some marked footpaths. I ascended a hill with a tremendous view over the Vale of Aylesbury and spent some good time praying and praising. 

Walking on from there I came across a sign (detailed in my quiet time coaching episode for next week).  It indicated that access was barred beyond the point at which I was standing. I had unwittingly stumbled across Chequers – the countryside residence of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

The encounter reminded me of all the ways in which access is restricted. I’ve come across a few of those recently. The recent hospitalisations of my mother, my mother-in-law and my son had taken me into restricted areas. I’ve stretched the boundaries of visiting times to be able to comfort my sick relatives. I’ve been pushy with some of the medical staff to get the information I feel we needed. It’s uncomfortable to bump up against those limits (even if they are there for good reason). But again and again I’m reminded of how fortunate I am that there are no limits on my access to the Father:

“…through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:18 NIV11)

As much as I strive to grow in my assertiveness with human officials, it seems to me also that I could grow in my spiritual assertiveness, or perhaps the word is confidence, in enjoying the status that God has declared I enjoy in his eyes. Status equal in value to that of his son, Jesus.

I hope my posts this week will help you to grow in your confidence of and enjoyment of your unfettered, unlimited, unconditional access to our great Father.


Prayer request

Once again – my mother’s continued recovery from hip surgery. 

Thank you for praying for my mother-in-law. She is finally back home from hospital. 

Also, thank you for praying for my son.  He is also out of hospital and staying with us. 

Please continue to keep the wedding preparations in your prayers.  This time next week we will be celebrating the union of our daughter, Lydia, with her fiancé, Bintesh. Pray for me as I make my speech!


Teaching Day Update

I’m continuing to consider the book of Colossians for the teaching day in November. Do you have any favourite commentaries or books on that Epistle?


Thank you for reading this far, and encouraging me in my endeavours to support our times of quiet with God, our corporate worship experiences, and the effectiveness of our preaching and teaching.

If you know anyone who might enjoy these materials, please send them a link to my website and encourage them to sign up for this newsletter.

God bless, Malcolm

“Malcolm’s Major Moments”, Week of 3rd August 2019

“Three Hospitals and a Wedding””

The Power and Pain of “threes”

When I was a youngster I vividly remember my father complaining that bad luck always came in “threes”. On that occasion it was the freezer, television and washing machine which all broke down at the same time.

This week the Cox household had its own version of the same phenomenon. The difference being that this was people, not household appliances. On Saturday my son went into hospital via A & E. On Monday my mother went into hospital for a hip replacement. On Tuesday my mother-in-law went into hospital for treatment on an infected foot. All are on the mend, but It’s been a bit crazy round here as a result.

For a day or two we had three different relatives in three different hospitals in three different counties. Shuttling between them became quite the art for Penny and I. 

As a result, this week’s newsletter is shorter than normal. Please forgive the brevity, but I’m sure you understand. Due to pre-recording a number of posts last week, I have managed to put up material on the usual topics.

Have you been dealing with a set of “threes”? I pray the one-in-three and the three-in-one we worship will bring you strength, comfort and wisdom.


Prayer request

You’ve guessed it – my mother’s continued recovery from hip surgery, my mother-in-law’s recovery from her foot infection and my son’s recovery from his health challenge. Also, please keep the wedding preparations in your prayers. It’s all systems go for two weeks today!


Teaching Day Update

I’ve made enquiries about using a Quaker meeting hall for the teaching day on Colossians (probably) in Watford on 16 November. Please pray we get the OK to use it if that is God’s will. 


Thank you for reading this far, and encouraging me in my endeavours to support our times of quiet with God, our corporate worship experiences, and the effectiveness of our preaching and teaching.

If you know anyone who might enjoy these materials, please send them a link to my website and encourage them to sign up for this newsletter.

God bless, Malcolm

Malcolm’s Major Moments

27 July 2019

Adapt to thrive

Thursday this week was the hottest day of the year and one of the very hottest ever in UK history since records began. We were all complaining about the heat, whilst simultaneously feeling guilty that we were complaining about the heat!

An odd thing happened that morning that gave me pause to think.

I took my customary prayer walk through Cassiobury Park in Watford starting about 6:45 AM. As I made my way through the park I noticed far more people out exercising than usual. I was almost run over several times by power-walkers, joggers, runners and cyclists. I see some every morning. But not this many. There must have been three or four times as many fitness fanatics than usual. What on earth was going on? It wasn’t some special day. Just an ordinary Thursday.

Then it hit me. They all know what was coming. The heat.

They were aware that their mid-morning run, their lunchtime jog, their evening cycle-ride wasn’t going to happen. It would be too hot. So what did they do? They did not abandoned their commitment. They adapted.

It made me think about what I do when things get in the way of my normal routine with God. When I’m up a bit late the night before, or have to do something early in the morning. Too often this  has the effect of compromising my time of quiet with God. Occasionally it’s situation I could not anticipate. But more often than not I knew the challenge was coming.

On this particular Thursday I had been planning not to do my own strength training regimen. But, when I saw these devoted people determined to get their exercising in, I was spurred on. As soon as I got home I got on with my exercise plan before the intensity of the day’s heat struck.

In my posts this week I hope that I can inspire us to thrive by adapting when necessary. When corporate worship doesn’t go the way we had hoped, let’s adjust. When our preaching and teaching does not have the impact we desire, then reflect, learn and change. When our times of quiet with God are not as satisfying as we would like, let’s review and adapt. Above all, let’s not allow circumstances to push us around.

The heroes and heroines of Scripture show us that devotion to God does not have to depend on favourable circumstances (think Paul and Barnabas singing hymns in the prison at midnight in Acts 16).

Whether you are feeling the heat or not, whether you are enjoying the heat or not, I pray that whatever “heat” you are experiencing will lead you to adapt and thrive in your relationship with God.


Prayer request

My mother is going in for her rescheduled, rescheduled, rescheduled, rescheduled, rescheduled hip operation this coming Monday, 29 July. Please pray for her that all goes well – this time! Her name is Joy, by the way.


I would like your feedback – Teaching Day

You’ll know, if you been receiving these newsletters for a while, that I’m planning a teaching day in Watford for the autumn. November is more likely that October. I would covet your ideas for topics and/or Bible books which might prove of interest.  Colossians is the front runner at the moment.


Thank you for reading this far, and encouraging me in my endeavours to support our times of quiet with God, our corporate worship experiences, and the effectiveness of our preaching and teaching.

If you know anyone who might enjoy these materials, please send them a link to my website and encourage them to sign up for this newsletter.

God bless, Malcolm

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

Malcolm’s Major Moments This Week, 20 July 2019

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

Malcolm’s Major Moments, 13th July 2019

Of barking dogs and pneumatic drills – disturbing the comfortable and comforting the disturbed.

Information about this week’s posts, experiences and personal reflections on what God has been bringing to my attention.

God bless, Malcolm