Saturday, 24 December 2011

Nothing Is Impossible With God

We have just come back from our Church Carol Service. I have only been once before, that was last year.

I immediately started to fill up with tears as the thoughts of the last year came flooding back to me.

This time last year I had just started to get the help I needed from the people around me, who loved and cared for me. 

As 2011 started I was still unsure of what was happening for me and how the future would turn out. I remember our Pastor saying to me, "maybe this year will be the year that works out OK. 2011 could be the year where things start to change for the better".  I'm sure he probably finished the sentence with a disclaimer in case the year did turn out to go belly up.

But......he was right, I started a proper relationship with God in January, was baptised in July and overcome many personal obstacles. It has definately been one of my better years!

As with everyone, there has and will be times that trip me up and set me down, but I have a hope for the future, as was read tonight in our service:

Luke 1:37 (NLT) For nothing is impossible with God.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Is There A Good Time Of Year To Die?

Sadly, I know of three families who in the last week have lost loved ones.  It somehow seems to be made worse by the time of year.  But really, is there a better time of year to lose someone you love dearly?

I remember answering the phone to my father-in-law on a Christmas morning years ago.  I immediately sensed something was wrong, but said nothing and handed the phone to my husband who joyfully wished his Dad a "happy Christmas" only to hear back "well it's not very happy for me, my Dad's just died." Awkward.

If you know the person had been very ill and suffered for a while, is it wrong to think and possibly even worse to say, that actually, it's probably for the best?

I definitely have found myself thinking that over the last few days, but then, it wasn't someone I was close to that left me.

If you know the family didn't necessarily have a faith and you have no idea what their loved one believed, there are almost no words on earth to say, because you fear the worst for their soul.  You can't exactly offer "they've gone to a better place".

If you find yourself in a place of mourning at this time of year, I have nothing to say that will change how you feel or make it better.

But as we all know, if we are celebrating Christmas, we are celebrating the birth of The Saviour of the world, no matter what we are facing, what our circumstances are or how we are grieving, we can find hope in the birth that took place all those thousands of years ago.  If it were not true, the story would have faded and grown old, but the birth of Jesus is faithfully re-told every year, it stands the test of time.

Matthew 1:21 (NIV) She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

I pray that you will truly find hope in the birth of that human baby conceived by God, who was born, and died, with the purpose to save every single one of us from our in-born sin.  There is hope and there can be peace for you this Christmas.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Weekly Song Round Up



School has now broken up and we will gradually start swinging into Christmas in our house.

Decorations will go up, sweets will be bought and cheesy Christmas DVD's will be watched.

But most importantly and on my insistence we will have Jim Reeves Christmas album accompanying our lives over the next week!

My Mum was a big Jim Reeves fan, and it is just nostalgic for me. I am instantly in my childhood home, in the kitchen, messing around, being stupid, having a laugh, whatever, probably in fact complaining at how awful it was having Jim Reeves on when we could have 'Now that's what I call Christmas'.

But now, as an adult with my own family I can inflict it on my kids because I know it will add to their memories of Christmas, and now as an adult I can finally admit, what's not to love about Jim Reeves?

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Heaven Is For Real

Colton Burpo is not quite four, when he has an emergency appendectomy.  In the months that follow, he starts to tell his parents about how while he was being operated on he was in Heaven with Jesus, and the Angels sang to him.

If you are a non-believer you could probably say this is a clever book of fiction by a Pastor with Biblical knowledge.

I am a Christian and I believe Heaven is for real, but I don't know why I find it hard to accept that Jesus would let a child visit Him in Heaven and tell us of his experiences.  It's not that I disbelieved Colton's story, I just suppose it's so supernatural it's hard to get your head around - imagine how his parents coped as he casually told them about meeting his mis-carried sister!

The story naturally unravels without coming across as overly sentimental or cheesy.

Colton's Pastor dad backs up his accounts with scripture references, and the end of book poses questions to make you think further beyond what you have read.

Heaven is for real? Yes it is. 

Did Colton Burpo visit Heaven? Why not?

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Christmas Round Robins continued......

God's Round Robin (not only to be read at Christmas).

Dear Child

I know you have had difficult times this year, you will always face trials, but sometimes it is possible to profit and learn from them.  I was with you every time you cried out to me, I answered you, but sometimes you didn't listen.  I held you close to me and protected you from the earthly dangers around you, knowing that all would be well in your eternal life.

When you celebrated and had fun this year, I was with you too.  It made me so happy to see the joy and laughter in your life, and it pleased me that you thanked me for it constantly.  You are my child and I love you and want you to have peace.

I know some of your friends and family who you love dearly do not yet know me, but I know them, and I hear your prayers for them, continue to show them through your life who I am.

My gift to you this year is still the same as it was last year, and will be forever.  It is the gift of eternal life, through my Son Jesus Christ.

Please accept it.

My love to you always

Your Heavenly Father

Friday, 9 December 2011

Christmas Round Robins continued......

The Round Robin you shouldn't send....

"Well I didn't think we'd still be here to write to you, it was touch and go for a while with Bob's kidney stones, but he finally passed them in June. As for my 'trouble' it has been worse this year than ever. I've now been put on a different medication as the other was disagreeing with my digestive system.  I had to sleep in the spare room some nights so Bob could get some sleep, and of course that's only a 'put me up' bed so it played havoc with my back.  I've got an appointment with the specialist about my back in January, so I will be able to update you next Christmas on how that went.

We didn't get away for a holiday this year, with all the illness and the credit crunchie we just couldn't afford it, and with our eldest just having had the babby, it's a constant financial drain. Also we're still paying off the fine for our youngest from last year. This Government is a disgrace, like Bob said, when he were young it would've been a quick telling off and sent home with his tail between his legs, but no, they need to make an example of youngsters these days, it's not our Ricky's fault his friends all legged it and left him holding the matches.

Our street all put up our decorations and lights in November, except for the miserable git at no.5.  There's always someone who just can't seem to have any fun, and grumbles about everything.  He'll probably wait till the middle of December to put his lights up, what's the point in that?

We've not bought gifts to send out this year, we had to make Christmas cut-backs and we promised ourselves last year the priority was to get the inflatable snowmen for the front, it's important to do your bit in the community at this time of year isn't it".

Love From

Bob, Sheila, Chantel & Ricky

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Christmas Round Robin's

The round robin you don't want to receive.

"It's been such a busy year this year, we didn't have time to take our usual months break in August to the Seychelles. Thank goodness we managed to pop over there back in March.  I don't know what we'd do without our holidays.

Just as well we had been away, as April turned out to be the month from Hell.  Roger took delivery of his brand new Mercedes and would you believe they had the interior trim done in the standard leather, he had specifically told them he wanted Nappa leather in Alpaca Grey.  They may as well have delivered a completely different car, it was absolutely heart-breaking.  Roger is still not quite over it. As I've told him, these things take time to come to terms with, you were expecting Nappa leather and you got standard, of course you're going to find it hard, I've had to be strong for both of us.

Thank goodness September started well, with the twins both being accepted for St Wellington's Manor.  The school run is an absolute beast, but at least I only have to do it Friday afternoon and Monday morning.  You should have seen the list of equipment I had to buy them, I said to Roger it's no good not getting everything, how would he feel if they were the only children not to have their own ponies in the event of a polo match.  Men eh? They have no idea of living in the real world.

As this year comes to a close it has given me time to reflect on what is important in life, and I'm going to have it out with the Mercedes garage over that trim if it's the last thing I do - not for me - for Roger. It's this time of year that makes you realise you have to be selfless.

Please accept our Christmas gift to you with our love, we've had some good fortune this year so we've bought you a box of 24 Ferrero Rocher instead of the usual 8".

Love

Roger, Marjorie & The Twins


Coming soon...........the round robin you shouldn't send............

Sunday, 4 December 2011

All The World's A Stage

Welcome to the show, in which I have just arrived at my walk-on part.
I didn’t know until recently what my part was and I had been ad-libbing.  I had heard lots of times that I did have a part and it was a very important part, in fact I was created for this particular part.  This part is actually so specific that it was written for me even before I was born!
When I say I had been ad-libbing, I hadn’t been listening carefully enough to the director.  He was there all along with his megaphone, calling out to me, telling where he wanted me to be and what he wanted me to say, and sometimes I think I pleased him and said the right things at the right times to the right people.  Other times it was a case of ‘exit, stage left, and hurry’!
The great thing about this show is, everybody gets a part, and even the person who paints the scenery is as important as the person with the leading role!
I used to think my part was so unimportant, that it wouldn’t even notice if I didn’t turn up, I had nothing to offer the show, no-one would care if I was in it or not. 
Then the director started talking to me, he told me not to be frightened of my part, he would always be there if it went wrong, sometimes I believed Him, sometimes I didn’t. 
My close friends who knew the director well said, “listen to the director, he knows everything about you and he loves you so much, you are so special to him”
My part in the show got worse and I felt like I’d been given the crappy part to play and I didn’t think others in the show were that special either – I wanted out.
I told the director this, I wanted to leave the show and not be in it anymore.
But the director had other plans, he brought me in close and he told me “not now” I couldn’t leave the show yet.  It was hard, because I realised I had to listen to him and that meant I had to play my part and somehow carry on.
Eventually, I had the overwhelming realisation that not only did I have a part to play, but I was actually the director’s daughter!  How could I have missed this for all these years, I began to feel filled with his love and knew I could attempt to play the part he wanted me to play. With Him directing me anything is possible.
In case you missed it, the show is 'life', the director is 'God' and we ALL have a part to play.

Friday, 2 December 2011

The Smiths - Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want ( 1984 )



Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want....................Lord knows it would be the first time..............

Nah, I've got what I want before, just a fab song that has invaded the airwaves having been used in the John Lewis ad, having said that there are a few things I would like to get!

Weekly Song Round Up



Simply one of the best songs ever written, and there were a number of times this week I would like to have become 'comfortably numb'!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Jeff Lucas And Adrian Plass Seriously Funny Tour

After the week I'd had, if these guys hadn't made me laugh there would have been trouble!  They did not disappoint.

Having read their Seriously Funny book I knew they were funny guys, but if I'm honest I wasn't expecting much, I mean, come on, Christian comedy?

Ever heard the phrase 'comedy timing'? Adrian Plass could give a master class in it, his delivery was so good he had you laughing in anticipation of what you knew was going to be a well worth waiting for punchline!

I did wonder if it would just be a 'live' re-telling of the stories in their book, but I only recalled about two, so there were lots of new laughs.

They cover many Christian related topics, such as speaking in tongues, where if you find yourself in a highly charismatic/pentecostal church and it is expected of you, but you don't have this gift, you can get away with it by reciting the 1990 Sri Lankan cricket team!

And about how to cope on meeting the 'perfect' all-round Christian family, whose children all play musical instruments, and they have 'family worship' together and they turn to you and ask how you organise your family-fellowship time!

They were able to find humour in topics as dark as death and depression, without being disrespectful or irreverent, and as with the book, they seamlessly weaved hysterical anecdotes with the message that Jesus is a good guy to get to know, without being at all 'preachy'.

Well recommended if you can get tickets for the last few dates, and you could easily take a non-Christian friend without cringing!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Laugh Like A Drain...........Maybe Not.

I commented on a blog post about being blessed, that although we haven't got hot water in our house, at least we have an electric shower and clean running water.........

Well that was true.  Our drains are now blocked, so without very limited use of the water they back up and spill over into our utility and garage area.

Some people face sickness in the family over and over again.  We just seem to have all the household and vehicle failures over and over again.

We are both self-employed, my husband after finishing one business and looking for a job unsuccessfully for two years, started another business, so money is minimal and added to the fact we are majorly in debt, well, these are exactly the sort of problems we can do without.

It makes my chest tight, it makes me feel sick inside, it makes me want to go to bed and not get up.  My head thinks the only thing that can solve our problems is money - about £40,000 if you're offering.

But in my heart I know that we can survive with broken down cars and no washing machine and wondering if it's safe to flush.  I know this time will pass and when our kids our grown and have made a success of their life (because they will learn from the mess that is ours), we will look back and laugh.  At the moment we laugh through gritted teeth, because we know will either cry, or worse, kill each other.

Philippians 4:12 (NIV) I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

You understand I see this as relevant to the area of the world I live in.  I am well aware that some poor people have to walk miles to collect dirty water and could probably get shot on the way.

My 'needs' and my 'plenty' are vastly different to other peoples.  Maybe my 'needs' and 'plenty' are exactly how they should be at the moment.

People always say "at least you've got your health".  I don't think being healthy is all it's cracked up to be, for now, I'd rather be comfortably numb.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Don't Be Like Job's Friends

Not sure how sticking a sanitary towel on your head helps when you are ill.  Anyway...........

Our town has been hit by a lot of illness lately, more than just your common winter cold or flu.

People are coming down left, right and centre with horrible chest infections, which in many cases have turned to pneumonia.


About 6 weeks ago one of my friends turned up to our homegroup and confessed she was finding every day life a real struggle.  Just your normal things, kids, house, husband working late.  It was all starting to take it's toll.  Of course being the lovely Christian people we are, we prayed for her and immediately offered our help where we could, sharing school/club pick-ups etc.

Little did she or we know what the following weeks would bring, from that date to this 4 of their 6 family members have had pneumonia - two of them hospitalised.  She is still sane - just about!

Around the same time 6 weeks ago, I decided I wanted to read the Bible chronologically.  So I started through Job.  Good timing.  God's clever like that you see.  We all said we'd be good friends and support her without having a clue what that was about to involve.

Job's friends thought he must have done something or had an unconfessed sin which had brought about all his trouble.  That is an easy reaction for us to have today, I myself in the past have thought "God, what did I do, why is all this happening?"

Job hadn't done anything, he was right with God and faithful to Him, but God did not enlighten him as to why he was suffering disaster after disaster.  Job, got annoyed with his friends for indicating he must have brought it on himself, and questioned God.

My friend is a very wise, loving and caring Christian person.  I know she must have faults somewhere, but I haven't seen them!  I'm glad I was reading Job because it helped me to not distort my view of why people go through periods of suffering.

We may never fully understand in this life why some of us go through what we go through.  Sometimes after the event it becomes clear.  Other times it's just a time to get through and forget about.  If you know God, that will be enough, you will not need to know 'why?'

Friday, 18 November 2011

Weekly Song Round Up


The Script are one of my favourite current bands, some of their songs are quite challenging in questioning the existence of God and looking for something to believe in, but I can't deny their lyrical talent!

I was listening to them this week and 'I'm Yours' came on and I realised I was singing along and I was singing it to Jesus.

Jesus gave everything to us, and no matter how messed up we are He still wants to love us and spend time with us. For some unfathomable reason He values us! The least we can give Him is ourselves.

Can you say "I'm Yours" to Jesus?

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The Father, Son And The Holy Go-between.........

We can all understand and identify with the Father & Son characters in the trinity, we all have a parent and we are all someones child, regardless of how that relationship has been for you, I think it is reasonable to say we can draw a parallel from our experiences to understand the identities of God and Jesus.

So The Holy Spirit, ever known one of those? Is the Holy Spirit there just to translate messages to and fro between us and God? When we finally 'get' a piece of scripture we've read a dozen times, is that the sum of the Holy Spirits role?

You could look at Him like that, but He is so much more.

Last night we read John 16, a passage I have heard many times, but for some reason last night it really moved me.  Probably just the Holy Spirit giving me a dig.

7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:
9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me;
10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer;
11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

Jesus is telling His disciples He has to leave them and go to Heaven to be with God, but instead another person will be with them in His place, the Holy Spirit.

Jesus sees that as a good thing, as a progression in the plan.  The Holy Spirit will highlight to us what is going on in the world. He will bring to our attention the sin in our lives and the need to make it right.

So, how to identify with the Holy Spirit? Ever watched the news and been enraged at injustice? Seen a charity fundraiser with images of starving children and cried in despair? Watched a country get torn apart by war and prayed desperately for peace?

If there were no God, you wouldn't feel emotion at such things, the Holy Spirit is God and we do all feel there are terrible injustices, that is the Holy Spirit opening our eyes to the truth around us.

Jesus took the form of man, so when He was on earth He could only talk to the people who were with and around Him, He couldn't be all over the world at once.  God is in Heaven and we are on earth,  the Holy Spirit is on earth so that God and Jesus can be with us whoever or wherever we are at all times.

What has the Holy Spirit revealed to you lately?

Sunday, 13 November 2011

I Will Live My Life For You............Will I?



This song is very special to me, I'm sure all of us as Christians are in awe of the love Jesus has for us.  But when we sang it in Church this morning, it spoke to me differently.

God told me, "I accept your thanks for my sacrifice, but I want you to make some sacrifices, I want you to show the grace & love I have shown you to the ones that have hurt you beyond your understanding"

If I am living and giving my life for Jesus I have to express that in my attitude and actions to others.  I can't excuse it with, "but you will never believe how much ..........hurt me".

This has been a battle of mine for a while, and although I have done forgiving and talked and gone over and this and that, I just couldn't seem to get over that final hurdle of letting go of the
hurt.  I have prayed and others have prayed (including some of my fellow bloggers!) for a restoration of my marriage, and I really felt God say this morning that I could do it, I could freely give my life to show the grace that I needed to show, because God showed that same grace to me, knowing that I would hurt Him beyond understanding.

I have probably heard or read a million times 'we should live like Jesus and treat others with love etc...' but it is difficult to put into practice unless you are asking God through His Holy Spirit to help you do that.  That is why I know that today I understood the words of living my life for Him, to be relevant to what I was going through, because I had been asking God to work in me in that way.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Weekly Song round Up



OK, this week has made me think of a load of songs about young life and how it can be wasted!

The bonus in the Tom Petty video is it has Johnny Depp in it!

So many kids are out there making bad choices Skid Row 18 and Life These might just be fictional songs/stories but even if it comes true for one young kid it's too many. Alice Cooper I'm Eighteen I've gotta say I don't think I would ever want to repeat my teenage years and they weren't that bad compared to some, but I've got my skeletons that I buried and they affected my future.

I suppose what I'm thinking is if you know or have influence over young adults or kids who are just out of school, pay attention.  I think a big problem is teenagers don't realise there are people who will do anything to help them straighten their life out.  It took me 20 years to accept a little help and like I said I don't think I had it too bad, but my family I think, are unaware of what I was going through because I just didn't think there was anything anyone I could talk to.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Too Much Too Young

This week one of my daughters ex-classmates was killed when the quadbike he was riding crashed while being chased by the police.  He was 17.

He had been in and out of care and had made some bad choices, but by all accounts he was a nice lad.

I just can't get over the age. 17.  All you've ever really done is gone to school, everything is ahead of you and then.......it's over.

One of my friends has a niece who is dangerously ill with anorexia.  She is 18. I believe she has been ill with it for a number of years.  She is on the verge of being sectioned and if this happens it could put an end to her chances of pursuing a career in nursing.  This dreadful illness is threatening her whole future at just the age of 18.

One life tragically taken by a catalogue of wrong choices, no doubt led to by the lack of a stable up-bringing.  And another hanging in the balance because of a catalogue of believed lies.

I met my husband when I was 17.  That changed my future. What have you got if you haven't got your future?

Sunday, 6 November 2011

The Post That Never Was.....

So, I just poured my heart out to you guys who may end up reading this when I realised there are only two people I need to talk to.

God and my husband.

God knows the score already, but I'm hoping he might let me in on how on earth I'm supposed to keep moving forward.

As for hubby, well, guess we just have to talk and keep talking.

Friday, 4 November 2011

So You Don't Forget........

 

 

Over at Gypsy Mama Today's Five Minute Friday topic is

Remember…

 


When I was at a very low point my dearest friend gave me a beautiful card with these words written inside.

"So you don't forget.......

You are......Loved

                     Forgiven

                     Valued

                     Worthwhile

                      NOT Guilty

                     Trusted

                     Needed as a Mum, a wife and a friend

                     Shame free

                    Made in God's image

                    Dependable

                    Here for a purpose

                    Special

                    ...........so smile! :)"

That card will be valuable to me for the rest of my life, maybe there are some words on there that you need to remember about yourself.

 

Sunday, 30 October 2011

The clocks have gone back, it's Sunday night, that means only one thing in our house.......hide & seek in the dark!

This has kind of turned into a routine tradition over the last few years, that through the winter months we play hide & seek in the dark.

When we first did it a few years ago the kids were all a lot younger and it was really good fun, and as parents, you know, you humour them and allow them to continue with these little games.  The kids are now 16, 14, 11 & 7 and it is on the 7 year olds insistence that we play, she counts down the weeks to the clock change, and now everyone is doing a little humouring.......although it still is fun!

Now ordinarily our house would be a death-trap if you tried to walk around in it with the lights out, but herein lies the beauty, if you want to play, you have to have picked everything up! And they do, they really do, so once a week our house gets a good pick-up done, all that remains now is for me to give it a clean through on a Monday.  We'll see.

The counter is chosen by whoever needs the loo first. We count in the bathroom and usually play within an hour of having our Sunday roast.........

With it being dark, you don't have to be too imaginative with your hiding, so I can choose my favourite spot, laid out on the sofa, and still be joining in.

Usually the only thing to give away our hiding places is our inability to contain our bodily noises, I know what you're thinking, but I'm talking about the odd cough or sneeze of course.

Anyway although some of us groan a little at what has become a 'tradition' and we all make out we're really only playing along for the little one, it is one of those things that the kids will talk about when they're older to their kids, it's a memory maker, of course it's not our only memory maker, but it's probably one of the more routine ones.

Any family bonding habits within your household?

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Seriously Funny Adrian Plass & Jeff Lucas






Written communications between two friends, who are sometimes funny, sometimes grumpy, sometimes controversial, but always endearing.  Adrian and Jeff are on a wavelength probably similar to a lot of us, but they have had the guts to put their opinions in print.


I am essentially a nosey person, so to have the opportunity to read someones 'private correspondence' really appealed to me! I also like the reality of the situations of which they write, their anecdotes of book signings and tour interpreters are hilarious!
Their faithful thread is not lost in the humour though, with their thoughts of Jesus' reaction and the way a Christian might be used by the Holy Spirit in mundane situations is both touching and thought provoking.

If you are offended by the humour or some of the language in this book, you may need to re-address your outlook on what it means to be a 'normal, run of the mill, fun-loving, Jesus-serving Christian'.

p.s. Seeing them on their 'Seriously Funny' tour next month, so will probably do a little post on that!                                                                                 

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Trick or Treat. Really?

I don't celebrate Halloween, why?  Because I'm a Christian? Partly.  Because I'm British and can't stand over consumerised nonsense? Definitely.

I haven't really got any big high and mighty ideas about the evils and witchcraft etc.  I just think it's daft to dress up as something horrendous and go out and beg.

I don't 'get' the celebration.  Sure it was pinched from the pagans etc.  But then so was Christmas......don't get me started on Santa!

What confuses me more though are the churches that provide an alternative party or celebration.  I'm not really sure why? Doesn't this only indicate, that Halloween is such an amazing event that usually Christians don't celebrate and we feel so awful about our convictions that we are going to offer you an alternative? Yay.

We have never taken part in Halloween, simply by not answering the door and fortunately we have been spared the unsociable behaviour.  But I have also never been pestered by my kids for a pumpkin or to go 'trick or treating'.  Because we've never been involved they've never asked or felt they've missed out.

For the few Christian parents I have heard agonising over what to tell their little sweetheart that has asked to go 'trick or treating' for the first time this year, here's my advice.  If you're bothered by it because of your faith, tell them that.  And if you feel allowing them to go to an alternative Church party is the answer, you're only fueling the idea that Halloween is worth celebrating.

Halloween, do you or don't you?

And remember everybody......it's spooky out there........

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Puzzling Questions What Happens After Death?

So what happens after death? There are no right or wrong answers because nobody can know exactly.  But I don't think 'a family gathering and a buffet' is the answer we're looking for.

I think it's pretty straight forward in so much as, if you are a true follower and believer in Christ, one day you will be with God in Heaven for eternity.

And if you have chosen not to follow Christ, well the alternative is a little hotter.


As to the timings of these events ie straight after death, when Jesus returns, after the 1000 year reign etc, I am not very good at retaining or studying academic information, so I can't really say when I think I'll be in Heaven, I just know it will be when I'm dead!

The dvd we're watching doesn't ever answer the questions, but then the questions are such that there isn't really a correct answer, it is to do with how you feel, what you believe, and whether or not you want to explore the topics even further and possibly come to have a faith in God, where hopefully some of the questions/answers might make sense!

It is difficult going through it as a Christian, because you're answers all hinge around that, so it would be interesting to hear a complete non-Christian perspective.  Some of the voxpops from the street are obviously non-Christian, but one stuck in my mind. They go around the street asking various people the question, "What do you think happens after you die?" A chap answered something along the lines of "probably nothing, but I hope there's something better."

I pray that he follows that enquiring thought in his head, I can't think of anything more sad than somebody hoping to find something that they don't even really believe let alone understand.

I listened to these two podcasts this year Liquid Church Hell, Heaven & The Afterlife Mars Hill Church (Driscoll) Revelation which I really enjoyed and got a lot out of them, but frustratingly like I said, I just cannot retain information in my brain (unless it's lyrical, so if one day the Bible is made as a musical from start to finish, I'll be alright), so however well studied, I don't feel confident that what I'm saying is Biblicaly correct.  I shoot from the heart!

So, what's gonna happen after you die?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Scone Incident

Well today was my 'perfect day'!  I had told hubby I wanted surprises and I think I can safely say I got them!

On birthday's in our house we always open the pressies on our bed with the four kids in our bedroom, I had lots of things I had hinted at - going well so far - and then, well I opened a yoga-mat, to a chorus of "you weren't expecting that!"

No I was not. Apparently for some reason they were giving away free yoga-mats with the perfume hubby had bought me? I know. Even the shop assistant was confused by the promotion.  That'll be going on EBay in the next few days so everyone's a winner!

I never make myself a birthday cake, let me re-phrase that, I never make cakes. I can make
perfectly nice ones, I just can't be bothered with all the faffing about
with ingredients and mixing and whatever else you do to make a cake.  And with a family of 6 they are not eaten appreciatively, they are wolfed down with somebody always moaning they didn't get a piece.
So I was delighted this morning when my mother-in-law turned up with a cake she had made for me on hubby's instructions, in the shape of a guitar. "surprise"!

Anyway as I hinted last week in my music post, I wanted to spend a nice day outdoors.  So off we set across the fields and hills heading for a nearby village with a pub to have some lunch in.  We had been walking for about an hour when we came across a conveniently placed bench at the top of a field, it had no memorial plaque on it so I assume it was a thought for ramblers from a kindly farmer, rather than a mourning relative who knew 'Bessy loved this spot'.

The view from where 'the incident' happened

Perfect. We sat down and my husband produced a cream tea, I mean the works bless him, he had really thought it through and had everything, a flask of lovely tea, scones with real cream and real strawberry's, how lovely I thought, so while he was mother and poured tea and constructed scones I was trying to balance my camera somewhere to take a timed picture of us enjoying our elevenses.  It being a field there was no natural tri-pod so I pulled across the gate and set it up balancing on one of the bars.  The shot was perfect, we were going to look so romantic sat on our bench having our cream tea, everything was set, all I had to do was get to the bench in 10 seconds and smile! Simples. Well, unless you are me.

As I dashed to the bench my left foot slipped out from under me and before I could even cry "I'm falling" I was laid on the floor in front of the bench with my ankle and my back in pain and covered in cold wetness which I had at first thought was cow-pat.  No.  It was my strawberry's and cream scones, which as I somersaulted as I fell I had hit out of hubby's hand and they came crashing down landing on me. SURPRISE!!!

Although I am always trying to capture moments like this, it goes to show, life isn't picture perfect and maybe I was trying to hard to capture it to prove to myself that it is. To look at how happy we were enjoying our scones on a lovely Autumn day and for others to see us as a perfect couple, to show to myself that we should be together, we can have fun and enjoy each others company.  But I think it would have been a false picture, I think I would've always seen beyond the smiles and remembered the issues and the fact I was trying to create a scene.

Well I certainly did create a scene, but not the one I intended.  But it made me realise that if we weren't a good couple, if we couldn't spend time in each other's company and have fun, that little incident could have ruined the day, but it didn't. We laughed about it together and wished that the camera had been on record because we would've made a fortune on 'you've been framed'.  There was no embarrassment or frustration or anger over the spoiled scones, just laughter, and those moments you will never capture on camera.  You have to hold on to them in your heart and remember that when it could've all gone horribly wrong, it didn't. Because you were with the right person at the right time.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Weekly Song Round Up



The cassette of choice in the Volvo this week has been Lou Reed's Transformer.  Some of the best poetic songs ever written on that album!

Everybody loves Perfect Day and if you don't, I'll pray for you - you're missing out.

I love this time of year, the weather is gorgeous, the trees look amazing with the leaves in all their different colours and the ground becoming carpeted with them.

Next week is my birthday and I am anticipating having a 'perfect day'. For me that would be spending it outdoors, going for a long walk, surrounded by all things natural, that is probably the one time I don't allow music to infiltrate my life, when I am outdoors, I love to hear the natural sounds around me, that is music in itself. 

It never ceases to amaze me how many different varieties of natural things there are. Take trees, green is my favourite colour, so that is probably why I like trees so much, but have you ever thought about how many hundreds of different trees there are? Why didn't God just make one or two varieties or just think, 'I have made a tree, now onto the next thing'. And getting back to the colour, grasses, leaves, plants have so many shades of one colour, it's fantastic!  If that isn't 'supernatural' I don't know what is!

Anyway, if while I'm outdoors on my perfect day I find a pub to have lunch in, well it would be rude not to stop.

Have a good weekend.

What's your perfect day?

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Puzzling Questions What Is God Like?

Someone so filled with love, you could never end up in Hell?  Someone with so much hatred for sinners?
These are two views from mega-pastors that have appeared on the blogosphere etc. The latter one within the last 24 hours!

I am now sure that God is filled with love for us, I feel His love for me. Someone asked last night "could God really forgive every sin he's ever done?"  The answer was a resounding "YES!" God loves and will forgive each one of us, if we only ask Him. 

What if we don't ask Him for forgiveness?  What if we simply don't believe He can do anything for us? What if we decide to take our chances and live our lives for ourselves?  Well, I don't think we will be spared an eternity in Hell, no matter how loving He is. There will be a price to pay and the Bible says the wages of sin is death. 

But does God really hate us because we have all let Him down and fallen short of His glory? I don't think so.  When you hate someone, you lose interest in them, you give up on them, you don't want to spend time with them.  God will never give up on us.  We can anger Him and do things that dis-please Him, but cause Him to hate us? I don't buy that.

So, what is God like?

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Puzzling Questions Who Am I?


Last night a new course started called Puzzling Questions, so as I did with the marriage course, I will air my opinions of it on here!

I think this is a fairly new course and is designed to run before Alpha (I haven't done an Alpha course, but I may if I get the opportunity)

Anyway last nights question was 'who am I?' I don't know if this is a typical question people are asking themselves, and I'm not really sure if I came away with the answer!

Does physical beauty make a difference to who we are?  Are we defined by our job, or our position in our community?

These things shouldn't define us, but inevitably we will be judged by others on them.  That is where the security of knowing you are a child of God comes in, for those of us that have that relationship we can know that we are beatiful no matter what, we are made in His image, and are loved unconditionally - simples.

Yeah right, we are also still human and get hung up on all the things we lack or differ from our peers.  Last night when the talk on the table came round to describing yourself or how your friends might describe you, I couldn't move away from the subject fast enough!I also think our identity is constantly changing, I know mine is.  Even in the last year my identity has been evolving into someone more confidant, someone who isn't always wondering what people might think about me, someone who is willing to step out and do things I wouldn't have dared to do before.

I do put this 'new me' down to starting a real relationship with God, with taking Him seriously and believing it when I am told He loves me.

God loves me and thinks I'm alright, and for now I'm happy with that!

Who are you?

Friday, 30 September 2011

Weekly Song Round Up



My car failed me the other week (on the way to my counsellor of all places, you know how I like those drives!)

So I did the only sensible thing, I now allow my husband to drive our unreliable car and I have been using his - this would be a good switch if he drove a two year old mercedes company car or something, but he actually drives a 25 year old Volvo........I know, but at least it won't (shouldn't) break down on me.

This beast of a classic car is equipped with a tape deck, so I have had no choice but to listen to cassette's while I am out and about.

For any readers under 20 or maybe even 30, cassettes were around at the same time as 'records' which pre-date c.d's, well let's just say when I bought this particular 'tape' 20 odd years ago, I could never have imagined I would be sharing it's brilliant music with people all over the world with a few drags and clicks.......what will they think of next?

Anyway this weeks music has been the fantastic Paul McCartney's Tug of War album!  I recommend you go immediately to spotify now, or any other reasonable musical download outlet and give it a listen!

A couple of my other faves from the album are Wanderlust and Ebony & Ivory.

Which old cassette or record would you like to dig out and re-listen to?

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Evidence That God Doesn't Exist



All the likes of Dawkins and his fellow Atheists are asking for is 'evidence' that God exists.

That shouldn't be too much to ask should it?  Prove He exists and they'll accept the evidence.

For me as a believer though the argument is turned on it's head, prove God doesn't exist.  They can no easier give tangible evidence that God doesn't exist than I can prove He does.

The evidence that Christians can give is their own personal experience of God, and if you aren't open to believing what somebody testifies as true really is true, then that is not a fair point to stand on.

Christians all over the world can tell you how God interacts and makes a difference in their lives, whether you believe what they say or not is up to you, but if you are seeking to find out if God exists the evidence will be presented to you on asking Him for it, talk to Him, seek Him, He will reveal Himself to you.

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

Can you prove God doesn't exist?

Monday, 26 September 2011

Oh Dear....Failed Again

Last week started off well. 

Unfortunately it took one thing out of my control to turn it around.  It didn't turn into a majorly bad week, I just ended up doing some things I had promised myself and my kids I wouldn't do again. I gave in to a lack of self control.

What really disturbs me is that we have been doing 'fruits of the spirit' in our weekly homegroup and last week it was self control.

What did I miss? Why did I do it? Because I wanted to, I wanted to be in control of me and do what I wanted to do regardless of what anyone else said.

Why didn't I turn to God first, wouldn't he have given me what I wanted? Yes, but I wanted to rebel, I wanted to be in charge......how immature.

The thing is, I have seen in other people I loved how small unimportant weaknesses in self control, that are easily excusable, turn into hard addictions that are difficult to crack.

I'm not going to tell you what my weakness was, because it's not that big a deal, I just know for me I shouldn't do it.



Which 'fruit' do you struggle with? 

Friday, 23 September 2011

Weekly Song Round Up

                        

Hmmmm......now where would be a good place for the satellite to land? Could we gather all the false preachers and teachers and televangelists in one place and blast this song at them as the satellite crashes back down to earth!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Archbishop Rowan and Frank Skinner in conversation

Archbishop Rowan and Frank Skinner in conversation

If you had told me a year ago, or anytime previously in my life when I 'thought' I was a Christian, that I would listen to a discussion between a Roman Catholic and an Archbishop, I would have probably scorned the very idea, because I was the 'right' sort of Christian and well, they're not.


God released me from those prejudices and opened my mind and heart to listen to the way other people believe. 

Of course there are going to be differences in the way we meet and worship, but at the end of the day......at the very end of the day........when all days have ended and time is no more.......God will know our heart, and I don't think he will say, although I think I used to think he would say "depart from me, I never knew you because you are wearing a cassock"

I suppose what I'm getting at is I had a very narrow-minded view of Christianity, and doctrines I saw as unnecessay equaled unChristian.  Whereas in actual fact there can be nothing broader than Christianity Jesus died for ALL.

Within denominations there will be people who have mis-understood the idea of their faith, I know, I was one of them.  But there will also be within those denominations true believers of God and Jesus Christ as their Saviour, and how they worship and what they wear won't change what they believe in their hearts.

If you have some time to listen to this discussion I would recommend it, whether you're Roman Catholic or Anglican or whether you're just someone who loves Jesus and believes in God as your Heavenly Father.

I don't know what is in the Archbishops heart or Frank Skinners heart, but God does and that's good enough for me!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Weekly Song Round Up



Came across this posted by a friend on facebook!

Maybe it's the fellowship of being with fellow Christians that makes the difference when singing worship songs from the heart?  Maybe it's the environment, the expectation of meeting with God and the movement of the Holy Spirit?

No matter how much I try at home, I really struggle to sing or listen to worship songs at home.  I just find them so cliched and sort or samey, and as for Christian radio stations.........they'd be great if it weren't for the music.........and the presenters..........

That said, one of my favourite parts of our Church service is the worship and many times I have felt God's presence and the Holy Spirit working within me and I mean every word I sing and I think the songs are great, for me they just don't seem to translate outside of the Church environment!

Can you give good worship during Monday to Saturday?

Friday, 9 September 2011

Five Minute Friday.........In Real Life

The Gypsy Mama's topic this week is 'In Real Life' Five minutes un-edited writing.......go.

I start the day full of confidence, nothing can go wrong. Nothing terrifies me and I have the strength and the will and the patience to cope with anything.

I will not have a ridiculously stupid unnecessary argument with my teenage daughter.
My kids will go to school in perfectly clean and pressed clothes with their hair done up in the tidiest of styles.
I will clean through the whole house and make sure dinner is prepared ready for the evening.
I will know exactly who is doing what and has to be where over the weekend.  I am organised and have known our plans quite a few weeks in advance.
I have already done a quiet time/bible study and understood everything God was telling me, why do people find that so hard? It’s bliss!
Oh sorry……the title was ‘In Real Life’……..I thought it was ‘In My Ideal Life’…….

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

I'm Alright

Our homegroup starts back tonight after having had it's 'Summer' break.  The thing I initially found most difficult and uncomfortable within our group is the prayer time. The question is put forward "so anyone got anything they require prayer for? Any problems or difficulties we can pray about for you?" "Uh, no. Definately not me, I'm alright."

I daren't let go of anything, good ole smiley me.  Then what annoys me more is that the praying starts and I think 'seriously? That needs prayer? Do these people know what real problems are?' Uh, no they don't, because I wouldn't tell them!

Don't get me wrong I have a fantastic and supportive homegroup and despite my unwillingness to share, I have a strong feeling I was prayed for regularly because now when I say "I'm alright" I think I mean it, and I think people believe me!

I suppose I didn't want to be the one, and there will always be one, who always has a problem, things are never quite right, 'woe is me, I can't get my toddler to use the potty properly.' Newsflash, everybody goes through that and just gets on with it, it doesn't need a prayer gathering. Of course you should pray for that if you are finding it difficult, but asking other people to ask God to help you out with toilet training your toddler? I don't know.

I'm not sure if this was the tangent this post was heading down, but it's here now, so I might as well go with it.

I guess I'm wondering at what point it is valid to bear your soul to your brothers and sisters in Christ and say 'you know what? I'm struggling, I don't know if I can get through this, will you pray for me?'

So homegroup tonight, "any prayer requests?" will I say "I'm alright"? and if I do, will I mean it?

Friday, 2 September 2011

Weekly Song Round Up



How can I go forward when I don't
know which way I'm facing?
How can I go forward when I don't
know which way to turn?
How can I go forward into
something that I'm not sure of?

This has kind of been the last couple of weeks for me.  I don't know which way is up or whether I'm coming or going - but God does.

It's fair to say daily life has been a little bit of a struggle, marital problems, well-being not as good as it could be - and income - well, what's that?

Soooo hubby had taken over a lot of the running of the house, because a lot of the time I just wasn't firing on all cylinders, but at the same time we were praying for him to either find employment or establish a sustainable income through doing his own work whatever that may be.

This has been life for probably twoish years, frustration, anger, tears, hate, fear, and the tiredness, just wanting to sleep and never wake up.

It occured to me on many occasions that actually maybe our prayers for a job for hubby weren't being answered, because he was needed at home to look after the house and the kids and I hate to say it, me.

Although I knew financially it was desparately needed, I was terrified of it coming because I had no idea how I was going to slip back into the role I had so easily fallen away from.

Well it appears it has now come, it has crept up on us gradually, giving us a taster, showing us we have to cope, I do have to now make adjustments to my day and organisation is not my thing!

Hubby has been out working for two full weeks now, working for himself, and it looks like he may have some work for next week as well.

God knows I am struggling, it gets to 5 o'clock and I don't even know what we're having for dinner and it definately isn't in the house.  In fact a standard answer to "what's for tea?" is "I don't know, it's still in Tesco"

But things are going to have to change, and I take that as God showing me I am ready to take on more responsibility, I am getting better and I will be able to cope, my husband can go out and provide for his family and I can start to take care of things.

How can I go forward?  With God leading the way, I won't be afraid of praying for hubby to continue to get work and for me to have the strength to get through the day without him.


Isaiah 30:20-21(CEV)

The Lord has given you trouble and sorrow as your food and drink. But now you will again see the Lord, your teacher, and he will guide you. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice saying, "This is the road! Now follow it."

Five Minute Friday.........Rest

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
Rest…..
Some people might feel I’ve had a lot of rest over the last year, especially the last six months.  My daily routine has included a nap of 1 – 2 hours.  My husband took over the shopping and cooking duties, because by 4pm I was useless and needed to sleep.  The food shopping was done on a daily basis because we only knew how much money we had to spend on a daily basis.

In the last two weeks that has all had to change and hopefully will continue so for the future.  I have had to step up to the plate because God has answered prayers for sustainable work and hubby has just completed two weeks, so I had to do shopping cooking etc, and some days had to forgo my rest!!!

However, I will not complain, I will ask God for the strength and well-being I require to take those duties back on again because He knows what is needed and He knows my husband needs work and I have had a bit of a wobbly couple of years!  In God I will find my rest.

O.K Give me your best 5 minutes on rest......


Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Taught a Little, Learned a Lot

This was my response to a blog, when asked to sum up your life in 5-6 words.  Tricky isn't it?  You don't want to come across as big-headed or worse, a failure.

I would like to think that in my life so far I have been able to share things with family, friends and especially my kids that they can learn from me, even if it is only to share every possible way I've gone wrong so they may not make the same mistakes.

No matter how much we feel we can impart to others, there will always be room to learn more ourselves.

Psalm 119:33-40 (CEV)
33Point out your rules to me, and I won't disobey even one of them.
34Help me to understand your Law; I promise to obey it with all my heart.
35Direct me by your commands! I love to do what you say.
36Make me want to obey you, rather than to be rich.
37Take away my foolish desires, and let me find life by walking with you.
38I am your servant! Do for me what you promised to those who worship you.
39Your wonderful teachings protect me from the insults that I hate so much.
40I long for your teachings. Be true to yourself and let me live.
 
Who or what are we looking to learn from?  Celebreties, Sports heroes, Politicians..........God?