31 December 2010
27 December 2010
24 December 2010
21 December 2010
15 December 2010
As it becomes apparent that God is on your side
and against his enemies.
14 December 2010
I don't know about you, but whenever I am on my own, I tend to take after Mary and I sit and ponder on particular things. With so much time on my hands at the moment, this week I have been sitting and pondering one of the ways that I often describe myself - as a 'seeker after truth'...
13 December 2010
11 December 2010
10 December 2010
8 December 2010
Scrooge considers every "Merry Christmas" uttered as yet another attempt to fool him. An invitation to share a Christmas meal with his nephew's family is quickly shunned - no doubt, he thinks that they wish to take advantage of him. Scrooge even begrudges Bob Cratchit his sole paid day off for Christmas Day. Scrooge can only see the loss of a day's work, not at the reason for the day itself. He sees this as "having his pocket picked on an annual basis".
Do you know someone like this? They are still about, even in the 21st Century...
4 December 2010
I think I'd like to revisit this story again next week. Sounds like there's something I need to take from this...
2 December 2010
- ...an admission ticket to public festivals in ancient times...
- ...a pebble of acquittal used in Greek courts...
- ...a pebble used in elections in ancient Greece...
- ...a stone used in the high-priest's breastplate...
1 December 2010
Timing is everything. In Revelation, it says that "Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches." I'm listening.
29 November 2010
Put some colour back into your life!
27 November 2010
If you consider this particular saying in a purely spiritual sense, then this phrase may be spot on. It tends to be when things get really dark that you really miss that light; when you realise you need to seek some assistance. If you're one of those folk who tend to suffer from depression or are going through a difficult time, chances are you've heard this phrase given as encouragement. Just hang on a bit longer, it'll soon be dawn...
Here's another way of looking at it. You don't have to sit around and wait for the dawn. That may be a long time. In the winter months, night can seem to go on and on forever. Why not set out to bring the light into your life! Let it illuminate your situation and brighten up your mood. There's nothing to beat the warmth of a sunrise, particularly when you've been waiting for a long period of night to end. But even a small glimmer of light can cheer us - even the light from the moon can provide enough illumination for us to see the way we ought to go.
John 8:12 (New International Version, ©2010)
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jesus is the light that you need to seek. Fellow christians may provide you with some immediate illumination, however the light that we offer is light reflected from the Son. It's not as bright as light from the Son, but it does help.
22 November 2010
18 November 2010
"Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets and then teams up with three strangers to kill again."
(The Wizard of Oz)
"Disaffected farm boy destroys military installation, killing thousands"
"A floppy-eared alien meets two robed humans who take him on a series of increasingly disturbing adventures, including an attempt to acquire a small boy on a bet."
(Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace)
"A former soldier tries to find someone in the Big Apple but is frequently distracted by the colourful locals and their interesting lifestyle choices."
(Escape From New York)
"Time travellers attempt to steal an endangered species just to save their own behinds."
(Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)
For a longer list, click over to Filmcritic.com
14 November 2010
In Satan’s bondage held;
In Satan’s bondage held.
The gates of brass before Him burst,
The gates of brass before Him burst.
The iron fetters yield,
The iron fetters yield,
The iron fetters yield."
(verse 2 of 'Hark The Glad Sound' by Philip Doddridge)
Verses which came to me during the Divisional Prayer Meeting tonight. Very powerfully!
13 November 2010
However, what if God's plan for your life is not to travel the world; to build the airfields, the skyscrapers. That's George's dream. Each of us may plan to do great things. It's like wanting to win the big talent show; to secure that high-paying job; to retire to that little cottage by the sea. Such dreams are common to many.
However, God may be calling you to ministry in a faraway land, to make a stand and really make a mark on this world. To go out and make a difference. If so, good for you. Go for it. God's plan for your life will be the greatest adventure...
But, what if God just wants you to do His will - right here. To boldly stay put (to coin a phrase)? Perhaps He's not calling you to change the whole world, but to be salt and light just where you are at the moment. Just to change your small town. Perhaps that isn't quite the adventure you were thinking of...
Would you say yes - even if perhaps it's the last thing that you would want to do?
10 November 2010
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him...
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
...but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go."
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.
The LORD will guide you always...
3 November 2010
31 October 2010
- five separate opportunities to be 'salt and light' on the streets of my home town after the hours of darkness, thanks to The Salvation Army, to Street Pastors and the local Council. Although sometimes this has meant 'burning the midnight oil', I didn't miss the sleep, this was more than made up for by some very unique experiences.
- two occasions where I was privileged to assist my wife with her work with the local Cub Scout pack. Awesome - and often very noisy!
- some wonderful experiences at the Corps - one young person kneeling in commitment and coming to faith during our Corps Anniversary; other young people really responding to a prayer invitation the week after; even an awesome send-off to one of our more mature soldiers at her funeral service. She completed over sixty years of valiant service; the Hall was packed!
- several occasions where God has really got to grips with some of our family's more personal requests for prayer. Some of the answers have been right in front of us all of the time!
- I've even found that 'little area of calm' that I've been looking for (see my earlier blog entry). And I found it within me, so the good thing about it is that it's portable!
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
(Thomas O. Chisholm - William M. Runyan)
22 October 2010
18 October 2010
I'm incredibly encouraged by this. It probably explains why I get into trouble as often as I do...
Dare to be different!
14 October 2010
Some five weeks into filming, the role was recast and Michael J. Fox was brought in. In fact, Fox was reportedly the director's first choice for the role, but was heavily involved in the US sitcom 'Family Ties' at the time. A deal had to be struck with his agent to secure Fox, and a further deal made with the studio to agree for some expensive but now necessary reshoots. However, the popularity of the films helped Michael J. Fox become a household name that he is today.
Remember, the choices that each of us make in life can have a profound effect on the way our lives turn out. Things could be drastically different from what we wish if we don't make the right ones. And we don't have the luxury of a time-travelling DeLorean to pop back and put things right if we make the wrong move!
Joshua 24:15 (New International Version)
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
11 October 2010
8 October 2010
- A perfectionist is convinced to prove his or her worth by being perfect - to seeking to attain perfection.
- The fear of being unable to achieve that prefection leads to procrastination.
- Procrastination eventually leads to paralysis. You know what you need to do, even how to do it, but because you can't complete that first part well enough, you end up doing nothing.
5 October 2010
I wouldn't ever claim to be a perfectionist. Take the house for example. I do try to instill some semblance of order to my household (the phrase 'a place for everything, and everything in its place' has almost become my catchphrase, it's such a cliche amongst the family), but with a family of four and so many competing commitments for each of us vying for our attention, sometimes achieving perfection is the last thing on my mind. The place often looks like a bomb has hit it! Particularly during September...
Despite appearing to be a place of chaos and disorder, the house is indeed a home. Let's face it, it's the place where we as a family can let down our hair. Therefore a little disorder can be useful, as long as you can still find something when you need it! There's even a sign stuck to one of the noticeboards in the house: "A tidy house is the sign of a wasted life!"
I must admit to yearning for perfection in this area of my life at least, but with children in the house that can be difficult. I'm working towards a little area of calm in the house where I can unwind. I'm off work at the end of the month to do precisely that. This is an area of my life where procrastination always seems to set in. Regular readers will know that putting myself first is the last thing that I do.
29 September 2010
I was made weak, that I could be more tender.
I prayed for health, that I could accomplish greatness;
I was given sickness, that I could do better things.
I prayed for wealth, so that I could be satisfied;
I was made poor, so that I could have wisdom.
I prayed for power, so that I could rule the world;
I was given brokenness, so that I would depend on God.
I prayed for many things, so that I could enjoy life;
I was given, “new life,” so that I could enjoy many things.
I didn’t get what I prayed for, but I got everything I longed for."
26 September 2010
Most groups of scholars interpret the disciple's statement as an excuse; stating that he wanted to wait until his father, who was unwell, had died. That might mean a delay of days, or even weeks... Another interpretation that I read recently was that the disciple may be talking about a secondary burial, where the bones of a relative are moved from the tomb into an Ossuary, which could be as long as a year or so after death. If that was the case here, that could mean a delay of a few months...
Whichever the interpretation that you favour, the issue is all too clear. Christ's rather direct statement is not intended as an instruction to ignore family ties or obligations, to not show compassion. That would be contrary to other passages of scripture (e.g. Luke 7:11-15). No, this statement is in response to a man who's priorities were a little vague, unclear. There was a reason why he just couldn't fulfil the obligation. The disciple said he was keen to follow Christ's way, but when it came to the crunch, there was the excuse, delaying that tough final decision as to whether to follow Him. Christ knew that - and knew that there were others who could have performed that task for him. Those who weren't called to the sort of new life that Jesus offered. In fact, those who were 'spiritually dead'...
It's a bit of a cliché of mine, however I know that there are a thousand reasons why we should do anything, and a thousand reasons why we shouldn't. Perhaps it might be whether to go to church today, or to volunteer to help someone. If you want to find an excuse not to do it, they are pretty easy to find. However, deep down, you will know whether that reason is justified. Oh, and of course He will know...
What's your choice?
20 September 2010
19 September 2010
17 September 2010
13 September 2010
I've had such a great weekend. God has really blessed me - and is still blessing me as I am writing this. However, there's still some things I need to get to grips with. For example, the one thing that I really need at this moment to get a bit of bottle.
You will have probably realised that I am not adverse to trying new things, but sometimes there are times where the circumstances simply stop me dead in my tracks. After some thought I find it's not the new things that give me pause - I am keen to embrace them - but I find it's the old things. Little feelings of dread and despondency, confidence-shaking situations which tell me I'm not going to succeed, that things are going to go badly.
Paul spoke of a 'thorn in his side'. Perhaps that is mine...
As I have said before, this weekend has been a very positive one, with many highlights and some tremendous answers to prayer. Despite this, there have been lots of times when the 'old nature' seems to kick in. Standing firm and holding on in this particular aspect of my life is very difficult.
I just need a bit of bottle to deal with this, and all will be well... prayer support is welcomed.
"Courage brother, do not stumble,
though thy path be dark as night:
There is a star to guide the humble,
Trust in God, and do the right.
Let the road be dark and dreary
and its end far out of sight.
Face it bravely, strong or weary.
Trust in God, and do the right."
SASB 716 (Norman Macleod)
10 September 2010
It's all a question of motivation. Are you a good person - a hero - a 'nice guy'? Surely it's not a bad thing to want to be helpful... who doesn't want to be liked? And aren't we as Christians called to act with generosity, with lives of gratitude and service? Besides which, isn't it a bit selfish of us to say no to someone who needs our help?
Apparently, some doctors are now saying this 'Disease to Please' could actually harm us or even kill us. You end up in a situation where the answer is always yes, even in cases when it may inconvenience you. The emotional build-up of not being able to say no increases our stress. The adrenaline released as a result makes your heart beat faster than normal, your blood pressure rise and blood vessels narrow. That can lead to a heart attack or a stroke. Extreme maybe, but there you are...
Working out where you are with this 'condition' involves a bit of self-analysis. I'm told you start by looking at your real motivation. Try asking yourself "Why am I doing this? What am I expecting in return?" If you can answer 'nothing' then your motivation is pure. If there's another answer then it's worth giving this further thought. Have you got a hidden agenda?
One problem with a selfless lifestyle is that your own needs could go unaddressed. Don't forget to programme in some 'me time' in your schedule... Remember that your own family deserve to have a share of you as much as anyone. Perhaps you need to block out some time for them, too.
Then comes the matter of assertiveness. Try saying no once in a while - and then sticking to it. If you have a problem in saying no, then at least don't say 'yes' straight away. Buying time is at least a start. Nothing is so urgent you cannot take time to think about it.
Comments are most welcome!
"But it's all right now, I learned my lesson well.
You see, ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself"
(chorus to 'Garden Party' by Ricky Nelson)
6 September 2010