14 March 2018

Set The World On Fire

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” - Catherine of Siena

Make a difference in this world.

I am the candle of the Lord,
with truth and love more powerful than sword;
O fan the flame, its single gleam diffuse,
And let my spirit be the light that You can use;
I am the candle of the Lord!
Light me!
(lyrics by Joy Webb)

8 March 2018

Self-harm For A Biscuit

I went to give blood tonight.  Self-harm for a biscuit, as my son calls it.

Just another small gesture to try and help someone else. Something that I have done over the years in an attempt to make a difference in this world. To do a bit of good. To save someone's life. I counted up, it was my 66th donation tonight.

I'm glad I went. The nurse was telling me how low blood stocks were following the bad weather we experienced last week. They had cancelled so many donation sessions last week. She thanked me perfusely for taking the trouble to come out...

But how much had this helped? All those donations, all those biscuits...

It's not easy to find out what difference all those multiple "small gestures" has made to this world, as I haven't a clue how my blood may have been used. A serious operation may use multiple donations to keep one patient alive...

In addition, blood is usually separated into its individual components or parts, so a patient can be given the particular component they need. Thus, the components in one unit of blood (or one donation) can be used to treat different patients.

So I can't tell. However, I can speculate. Even if I was going to take a conservative estimate, and say that one life was saved for every two of my donations... (and that's a number I read somewhere or other)...

That's 33 lives saved.


3 March 2018

Be Still

Who exactly is in control of my life? I often wonder...
  • Sometimes I feel that I am careering through life in the fast lane of a motorway in a clapped-out old car, with me reluctantly in the driver's seat - frantically pumping the foot-brake to slow things down, while looking for the signs for the next junction so I can finally escape from this fast pace set by the other road users...
  • And then, sometimes, things actually do work out, and I'm happy, patting myself on the back for managing to steer my way through yet another storm... and yet, I wonder 'what did I do right'...
  • And then, there are those times when things do work out, and I simply haven't got a clue how I managed to survive that one - that one has to be God's, I couldn't have done that on my own. Clearly God has to be in control...
I am writing this post whilst sitting on the sofa, the family have all gone out, so the house is actually quiet. The winter storm that was kicking off outside for the last two days is finally spent, and the snow is starting to subside. All is calm, and still. I have chance to think.

And I'm pondering on Psalm 46:10. And admitting a couple of things

I don't want to be "out-of-control", however I recognise that some situations will be outside my ability to influence. The problem is - I know I can't control it, and I don't want to give up! That's probably why I'm feeling so much stress. Feeling a bit sorry for myself. Is that right?

Am I trying to control things that only God can control?

Psalm 46:10 (New American Standard Bible)
Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

24 February 2018

Keeping A Balance

I was sitting on the sofa, in the midst of doing some reading, when the question clearly came to me. And the question came right out of the blue, and it wasn't related to what I was reading:

Would you do things differently if your circumstances changed?

It stopped me right in my tracks. But in a good way.

I was eager to find out where this was leading me - I had been seeking an answer to a particular dilemma and it had been a regular topic in my prayer life for quite a while. And here was an indication that I was now getting an answer - well, actually, a clarifying question - and as a result I had to give serious consideration to my work/life balance which was getting very ... messy.

It was becoming increasingly clear to me that I was getting the balance wrong. But what could I do to get the balance right? What could I change?

I was praying about it. And then, came the question...

The answer to the question.


So, what's next?

Lord, I know you didn’t intend for me to live a life dictated by work. Help me to recognise the ways I can find joy, rest and play in my hectic life. Help me be refreshed. And help me to recognise ways of changing my circumstances. Your ways. Amen.

22 February 2018

Miracles and Wonders

Psalm 77:14-19 New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

14 You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
16 The waters saw you, God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed.
17 The clouds poured down water, the heavens resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth.
18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked.
19 Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.

9 February 2018

Master, speak! Thy servant heareth

Master, speak! Thy servant heareth,
Waiting for Thy gracious word,
Longing for Thy voice that cheereth;
Master! let it now be heard.
I am listening, Lord, for Thee:
What hast Thou to say to me?
Lyrics:Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879)
SASB song 775 (2015 edition)

Written on 19th May 1867 in Weston-super-Mare, the lyrics are based on the following passage:

1 Samuel 3:8-10 The Message (MSG)
God called again, “Samuel!”—the third time! 
Yet again Samuel got up and went to Eli, “Yes? I heard you call me. Here I am.”
That’s when it dawned on Eli that God was calling the boy. So Eli directed Samuel, “Go back and lie down. If the voice calls again, say, ‘Speak, God. I’m your servant, ready to listen.’” Samuel returned to his bed.
Then God came and stood before him exactly as before, calling out, “Samuel! Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Speak. I’m your servant, ready to listen.”

21 January 2018

The Favour of God

I've been reading a lot over the past two days about 'finding favour' with the Lord.

So, what does that phrase mean? Well, if you favour someone in this world, you start giving them preferential treatment, showing them more kindness that to others. Essentially, they become your favourite.

However, through the many years I've been attending church, I was always told that God never plays favourites. He loves us all equally... (see Romans 2:11)

And yet, some people seem to be entrusted with special tasks. And it is interesting to read how these tasks are described... listen to the way that the angel Gabriel greeted Mary, the future mother of Jesus:

The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’
Luke 1:28 (NIVUK)

Highly favoured. And in fact given a phenomenal responsibility - to be the mother of the Son of God! And why? Because she knew God, and trusted Him. However, Mary and Joseph weren't blessed with 'creature comforts'. Joseph continued to worked as a carpenter to earn the family’s daily bread. The trip to Bethlehem during Mary’s pregnancy wouldn't have been easy - and in fact this could have been quite dangerous. And yet, she still enjoyed the favour of God like few in history had.

Here's just a few more quotes to ponder on:

This is what the Lord says:
‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.
Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting-place be?
Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?’
declares the Lord
‘These are the ones I look on with favour: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.
Isaiah 66: 1-2 (NIVUK)

Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors,
    waiting at my doorway.
For those who find me find life and receive favour from the Lord.
Proverbs 8:34-35 (NIVUK)

15 January 2018

Be Kind

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)

Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:31-32 (MSG)

6 January 2018

Pray, Believe, Receive

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Mark 11:24 (NIV)

Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’—no shuffling or shilly-shallying—and it’s as good as done. That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything. And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive—only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins.”
Mark 11:22-25 (MSG)

1 January 2018

A New Thing

"Forget the former things; 
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! 
Now it springs up; 
do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness 
and streams in the wasteland."
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

Happy New Year!