This blog is supposed to be, as much as I can, my daily journey through life as a Christian. I hope it to be my thoughts and feelings on life but be as grounded in the Christian message as it can. My intention is not to create a daily readings or bible study guide but to look at my life in terms of a Christian trying to find and follow God's mission using his Life User's Manuel AKA the Bible.

Matthew 10 19-20

And don't you worry about what you'll say or how you'll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words. - Matthew 10 19-20

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Job - How would you handle it (Part 4)

This is part 4 of 9 please feel free to read the rest by following the links, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 and 9.

So after all Job went through and did not say a thing something cracked, something gave. He had suffered so much and never once said anything against God, never once complained. Yet eventually something in him gave way and a flood of emotion came out. But then how would you have reacted if it had been you? Would you not have snapped a lot earlier, I know I probably would have. Job 3 is a man full of grief, in the depths of depression. The man has lost everything and the constant grind of his day to day suffering has broken though the damn all at once. My new job puts me in contact with a lot of people in a similar position to Job. Their lives destroyed and nothing left. The grief and depression they have to deal with comes off some of them in an almost physical wave. Seeing this has made this passage that bit more real for me, I can if not imagine how it would feel if it happened to me at least see the effects it could have had on his life. Now we know how Job was feeling after this, now he has spilled his guts for all the world to hear we can look at the cases put forward to him from his friends.

Giving up

We live in a culture where giving up can be seen to be a bad thing. It is seen to be a lack of effort or laziness, or that we have admitted defeat. But this is not always the case. Sometimes giving up is the right thing to do, even the best thing to do. For example giving up drinking and the life I used to lead was one of the best decisions in my life. There are times and situations where giving up is required. If we are pouring all our resources into a fruitless task it is much better to give up and concentrate on something that will be beneficial. My last big relationship was one that needed to be given up on, it was going nowhere and causing more harm than good. In cases like this it is not so much admitting defeat as realising you are fighting the wrong battle. A minister once said to me "faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains, but if you are trying to move the wrong mountain no amount of faith will shift it". If we are who we should be in Christ then there is no reason, no one and no thing that should make us change.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Job - How would you handle it (Part 3)

This is part 3 of a series of 9, please feel free to read posts 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 and 9.

Job 3:1-26
    Then Job broke the silence. He spoke up and cursed his fate:

        "Obliterate the day I was born.
            Blank out the night I was conceived!
        Let it be a black hole in space.
            May God above forget it ever happened.
            Erase it from the books!
        May the day of my birth be buried in deep darkness,
            shrouded by the fog,
            swallowed by the night.
        And the night of my conception—the devil take it!
            Rip the date off the calendar,
            delete it from the almanac.
        Oh, turn that night into pure nothingness—
            no sounds of pleasure from that night, ever!
        May those who are good at cursing curse that day.
            Unleash the sea beast, Leviathan, on it.
        May its morning stars turn to black cinders,
            waiting for a daylight that never comes,
            never once seeing the first light of dawn.
        And why? Because it released me from my mother's womb
            into a life with so much trouble.
        "Why didn't I die at birth,
            my first breath out of the womb my last?
        Why were there arms to rock me,
            and breasts for me to drink from?
        I could be resting in peace right now,
            asleep forever, feeling no pain,
        In the company of kings and statesmen
            in their royal ruins,
        Or with princes resplendent
            in their gold and silver tombs.
        Why wasn't I stillborn and buried
            with all the babies who never saw light,
        Where the wicked no longer trouble anyone
            and bone-weary people get a long-deserved rest?
        Prisoners sleep undisturbed,
            never again to wake up to the bark of the guards.
        The small and the great are equals in that place,
            and slaves are free from their masters.
        "Why does God bother giving light to the miserable,
            why bother keeping bitter people alive,
        Those who want in the worst way to die, and can't,
            who can't imagine anything better than death,
        Who count the day of their death and burial
            the happiest day of their life?
        What's the point of life when it doesn't make sense,
            when God blocks all the roads to meaning?
        "Instead of bread I get groans for my supper,
            then leave the table and vomit my anguish.
        The worst of my fears has come true,
            what I've dreaded most has happened.
        My repose is shattered, my peace destroyed.
            No rest for me, ever—death has invaded life."

Stepping on the clouds

One of these days I'm gonna leave
One of these days I'm going home.
I'm gonna take my final journey 
I'm gonna rest 'neath Heaven's blue dome.

Stepping on the clouds we'll see Jesus
Rise to meet Him in the air 
Stepping on the clouds He will greet us
Oh the joy together we will share 
I'm gonna leave this world behind me 
Going where the Devil cannot find me 
I'm going higher, higher, higher 
Stepping on the clouds.

Going past the Moon the stars and the planets 
I'm gonna walk on the milky white way. 
When old Gabriel gives the signal
I'm gonna leave for Heaven to stay.

Stepping on the clouds we'll see Jesus
Rise to meet Him in the air 
Stepping on the clouds He will greet us
Oh the joy together we will share 
I'm gonna leave this world behind me 
Going where the Devil cannot find me 
I'm going higher, higher, higher 
Stepping on the clouds.

This song is one of the most played songs on my ipod recently. As I have been riding the bus to work I have had between 30 and 45 minutes on a quiet bus to fill in with something. So far I have been listening to my religious music and trying to pray. I struggle to keep my attention fixed for the whole bus journey but I am at least able to pray about the day ahead and what it may hold. I hope I can keep this going as it enables me to start the day feeling light unburdened and joyful. This song and a couple others have popped into my head through out the last 2 days while at work and have kept me going during lulls in activity and concentration. It is a catchy song and has been a favourite of mine for sometime, hopefully the lyrics will speak to someone else too.

Tune in again tonight to read the next instalment in my ongoing Job saga, hope to see you then.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Job - How would you handle it (Part 2)

I hope that the first post in this series didn't scare you off from reading the rest. I am aware that it was something of an epic and will try to keep the rest shorter so that you can focus on what was said and take something from it.

This is post 2 of 9, please feel free to check out the following links to read the whole series 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 and 9.

So imagine the scene, God is having a little shindig with all the angels and along comes the one person everyone was hoping wouldn't turn up. But being a polite deity God has a bit of a chat with Satan as you do in situations like that. God goes for the same opening gambit we all use of asking "So, what you been doing?" which is responded with the equally typical "Bit of this, bit of that". Then God asks if His great follower Job has been noticed at all, in what I must say does seem a bit of a show off fashion. The Devil tries to play down Job's obedience and challenges God on the fact that Job only loves God because he has everything he desires. At this point my friend suggested that the story descends into a case of God allowing Satan to destroy someone's life in order to prove a point. However to begin with I feel that this is a case of God showing not only his power but also that of belief in God. Being given the strength to cope with adversity because you have the Number 1 on your side. Job passes the test with flying colours, he never gives up on God and never says a word against God through it all. The next stage of the story is picked up again with a similar exchange between God and Satan. This time Satan wants to not only take everything away from the man, but also destroy him. God says go ahead try anything you want, but you can not kill him. Despite everything Satan throws at Job he remains loyal to God he still says nothing against him.

The questions that run through my head while reading this are many. Why did God allow Satan to do this, why did God not defend his main man. What did Job do to deserve this treatment, what must have been going through Jobs head when all these terrible things were happening to him? What would I do if I was in Job's position? Could I handle all that and still be in God's corner? The answers to these questions and more will be coming up in later posts. I'd be interested to know peoples thoughts and any possible interpretations on this passage, please get in touch if you have anything to share either by commenting or by mail to


Well as I am writing this I am user as to which post I am going to put up today, it is a choice of two. If you are reading this post then it is good news, I am continuing my blog. Last night I had a huge crisis over whether or not to continue blogging or not. There is a very good reason for this which I may share in the future but for now I will just say an event caused me to question the wisdom of my writing so openly on here. If this post is the one I decide to upload then I have decided that this outlet for me to pour out my thought and feelings is too valuable for me to give up on. I have used this blog at times to express some very personal issues that I can not share with anyone in person, a way to get thoughts out of my head to be discussed later with anyone with thoughts on the matter. I am not great with relationships at the best of times and struggle to express my feelings at time, yet I can say anything on here I want to.

Daniel 9:4
    I poured out my heart, baring my soul to God, my God:
    " 'O Master, great and august God. You never waver in your covenant commitment, never give up on those who love you and do what you say.

Not only am I baring my soul online to you guys reading this, but this is also part of my life with God, it is part of my prayer life and Bible study. If we want God to never give up on us then surely we can at least try to do the same for Him. Part of starting this blog was to increase the amount of Bible study I did, and it has worked. I have been reading the Bible in ways I would never have done before, I have learned things I would not have learned if not for this blog. I am thankful for this blog, its followers and anyone who reads it in passing. Without realising it you guys are helping me on a day by day basis grow in my faith and progress on my journey with our Father. Trials will be sent our way and the enemy will test us at every opportunity, how we react is a sign of our Christian life, when we are struggling it will be hard and we may act in unchristian ways. When we notice these signs that we are struggling we need to increase our contact time with God, ask for increased help and give Him increased access to out hearts, minds and lives.

I do enjoy writing this blog, which is why I post so regularly, and I hope some people enjoy reading it. I hope to continue writing for the long term future to share more with you guys and hopefully hear more from you too. It may be significant that this event occurred while I decided to look at the story of Job, a man who suffered greatly. But as I have said before, God never misses an opportunity to teach us a lesson. If you are reading this there is therefore more good news, or possibly bad if you dislike the longer blog posts, the second instalment of my Job series should be posted at 6 pm GMT. Once again thanks for reading, it is great to have you here, please feel free to comment or send me a mail at

Monday, September 27, 2010

Job - How would you handle it

I recently decided that it was time to correct a certain problem I have. I don't really know a great deal of the Old Testament. My favourite book of the Bible, Malachi is an Old Testament book but on the whole I do not really know it well enough. So in my quest to correct this I have been looking at Job and wanted to share my thoughts on it, however there is a lot to look at and a lot to say so I am going to do this as a series of posts hopefully over the next few days. To begin with I am just going to give you the first passage I intend looking at and will share my thoughts on it in the next post so as not to make it too long at one time. But before I do I just want to say why I chose to look at this in this way. 

In life things do not always go our way, problems arise, trials befall us and our faith is often tested to extremes. How we cope in these times is down to our relationship with God, with how our faith is rooted. Could we suffer what Job did and still love God, could we experience the trials Job did and not look elsewhere for solace? During a prayer session I attended recently, also based on Job, the leader said they wondered if God realised they only had little shoulders which didn't cope well with loads? Did God know that sometimes the loads they were bearing were too much to handle day after day? But it is not us who need to carry the loads, God is there if we ask for His help, if we allow Him in to help. But I will cover this more in subsequent posts.

So, here it is, The start of Job;

Job 1:1-2:10 
    Job was a man who lived in Uz. He was honest inside and out, a man of his word, who was totally devoted to God and hated evil with a passion. He had seven sons and three daughters. He was also very wealthy-seven thousand head of sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred teams of oxen, five hundred donkeys, and a huge staff of servants-the most influential man in all the East! 
    His sons used to take turns hosting parties in their homes, always inviting their three sisters to join them in their merrymaking. When the parties were over, Job would get up early in the morning and sacrifice a burnt offering for each of his children, thinking, "Maybe one of them sinned by defying God inwardly." Job made a habit of this sacrificial atonement, just in case they'd sinned. 
    One day when the angels came to report to God, Satan, who was the Designated Accuser, came along with them. God singled out Satan and said, "What have you been up to?"
    Satan answered God, "Going here and there, checking things out on earth." 
    God said to Satan, "Have you noticed my friend Job? There's no one quite like him-honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil." 
    Satan retorted, "So do you think Job does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart? Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him or his family or his possessions, bless everything he does-he can't lose! 
    "But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He'd curse you right to your face, that's what." 
    God replied, "We'll see. Go ahead-do what you want with all that is his. Just don't hurt him." Then Satan left the presence of God. 
    Sometime later, while Job's children were having one of their parties at the home of the oldest son, a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys grazing in the field next to us when Sabeans attacked. They stole the animals and killed the field hands. I'm the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened." 
    While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, "Bolts of lightning struck the sheep and the shepherds and fried them-burned them to a crisp. I'm the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened." 
    While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, "Chaldeans coming from three directions raided the camels and massacred the camel drivers. I'm the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened." 
    While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, "Your children were having a party at the home of the oldest brother when a tornado swept in off the desert and struck the house. It collapsed on the young people and they died. I'm the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened." 
    Job got to his feet, ripped his robe, shaved his head, then fell to the ground and worshiped:
        Naked I came from my mother's womb,
            naked I'll return to the womb of the earth.
        God gives, God takes.
            God's name be ever blessed.
    Not once through all this did Job sin; not once did he blame God. 

    One day when the angels came to report to God, Satan also showed up. God singled out Satan, saying, "And what have you been up to?" Satan answered God, "Oh, going here and there, checking things out." Then God said to Satan, "Have you noticed my friend Job? There's no one quite like him, is there-honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil? He still has a firm grip on his integrity! You tried to trick me into destroying him, but it didn't work." 
    Satan answered, "A human would do anything to save his life. But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away his health? He'd curse you to your face, that's what." 
    God said, "All right. Go ahead-you can do what you like with him. But mind you, don't kill him." 
    Satan left God and struck Job with terrible sores. Job was ulcers and scabs from head to foot. They itched and oozed so badly that he took a piece of broken pottery to scrape himself, then went and sat on a trash heap, among the ashes. 
    His wife said, "Still holding on to your precious integrity, are you? Curse God and be done with it!" 
    He told her, "You're talking like an empty-headed fool. We take the good days from God-why not also the bad days?"
    Not once through all this did Job sin. He said nothing against God.

This is the first post in a now complete series, feel free to check out the rest on the following links, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 and 9.

Off to the grindstone

So today is my first day at my new job. I have been looking forward to starting ever since my interview and the phone call I received afterwards. I decided before I started work I would visit my little brother at university so that if things become hectic with work and trying to live my life too I would still have visited him once this year. So after visiting my new employer on Thursday I packed my things, booked a train ticket and prepared to visit my brother for the weekend. It is a 4 hour journey to get from home to where my brother is and so  decided I would spend the time constructively and try to finish reading the street bible, that however did not happen, despite the 8 hour round trip I am still only up to the Psalms, however I will review this paraphrase fully once I finish it. When I finally got there it was not quite time to relax, my brother had requested that I cook for him and his flatmates. I agreed mostly because I love cooking, and eating, but also because I know how hard it is moving away from home for the first time and a little home comfort makes all the difference. I had a great time meeting and getting to know the new people my brother is living with. Over the course of the weekend we have eaten together, enjoyed DVD's and been out to the pub enjoying each others company and having a lot of fun.

After the fun of Friday and Saturday we decided to have a mode sedate Sunday, it is after all the day of rest for Christians. So we got up in time to go to my brothers local Church and attend the meeting there. It was an interesting experience to worship with this new group of people, it was different to many Churches I have been to. It was not loud and vibrant, but it also was not quiet and sedate. There was a nice feel to the worship and the whole place emanated friendliness. It made me very happy to see that my brother will hopefully be part of such a warm and inviting fellowship while he is away from home. After this I took my brother out for lunch which while not being the traditional Sunday roast was a great time shared together. We had a good meal, good conversation and even managed to watch the F1 Grand Prix while at the pub, definitely a good day all round.

The journey home was one of mixed feelings, I get on very well with my little brother, at times he is more like a best friend than a brother and I am missing him not being at home. While I have been away from home for 5 years it is strange to now be at home and him not to be there. However I know he is having a great time at university and he has made some great friends both in his halls and at his new Church.

Now I am at home I am preparing myself for my first day at work. I am both excited and apprehensive about this new job in a way I have never been about previous jobs. All the jobs I have worked in the past have been relatively easy in that they required only that I think a bit and generally sell things to people who didn't really want or need them. This job however is hugely different, not only is it not what I have trained to work as but I also have little to no experience in this environment. Saying this though I do feel that this job is what I should be doing right now, I feel as though God has directed me to it and put me in this place at this time for a reason. I am pretty sure I know what the reason is and although it is quite scary it is also liberating and exciting too. Since I have started to pursue this new direction in my life I have felt happier in myself, less pressured and less stressed about the future. I think that handing over control to God has been the best decision I have ever made and hope that I can continue to trust Him as He does have the best plan already worked out. Well that is pretty much all for now, I will try and work something together from my first day at work for tonight to let you guys know how it went. Until then hope you all have a great day, and please pray for me embarking on this new adventure.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My new blog

Coming soon to a computer near you. Ok recently I watched a TV show about Intelligent Design vs Science that really bugged me. I watched it in preparation for the first proper post on my God's Scientist Blog. What really gets to me is that so many supposedly "intelligent" people repeatedly make the mistake of lumping all Christians together or all religions together. Yes there are fundamentalists, yes they do believe ridiculous things but that does not mean we all believe them. The trouble is that the ones with the loudest voices tend to be the crazy people who shout the most. And this is true for scientists too, yes there is scientific fundamentalism too. I'm not talking about the quest for the ultimate theory of everything or the search for the fundamental forces and particles that make up the Universe. What I am talking about is a group of people every bit the same as those they claim to be fighting against. Scientists by their nature should be open minded regarding anything that has not or can not be disproved. I hope to post the completed post on this on my other blog soon, it has taken some time and will take a bit more but I want to do it properly and make sure it is researched fully. I will inform you as to when the post has been uploaded. We need to fight this battle on both fronts, we can not let the secular world silence us. But equally we can not let the fundamentalist Christians win either. We have a duty to fight the Enemy however he chooses to manifest himself. Neither of these view points is constructive to anyone and neither is going to help expand God's kingdom here on Earth.

1 Peter 2:15
    It is God's will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you're a danger to society.

You may not change the world

The other day I visited the place where I will be starting to work soon. It was an interesting experience and a little bit of an eye opener. I am sure that in the coming weeks going into work is going to be a lot of an eye opener. While I was there someone said a phrase that I think is likely to stay with me for a long time and I wanted to share it with you.

You may not change the world, but you may change some lives.

And that is what being a Christian is about, we do have a mission to go out into the world to change it. But the way we are asked to do it is not to change it all at once. We need to go out and change it one person at a time. I once heard someone say that if we all went out and converted just one person this week and then they went out and converted one more the week after, within two months the whole world would be Christian. It is an interesting thought that, and an encouraging one. If we each continue to shine our light in whichever corner we are in and live as we should we can win this battle. With God on our side we cannot lose, have faith, have courage. Live each day as if He was returning tomorrow, serve as if we have another thousand years.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Everything I do

Look into my eyes - you will see
What you mean to me
Search your heart - search your soul
And when you find me there you'll search no more

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for
You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for
You know it's true
Everything I do - I do it for you

Look into your heart - you will find
There's nothin' there to hide
Take me as I am - take my life
I would give it all - I would sacrifice

Don't tell me it's not worth fightin' for
I can't help it - there's nothin' I want more
You know it's true
Everything I do - I do it for you

There's no love - like your love
And no other - could give more love
There's nowhere - unless you're there
All the time - all the way

Oh - you can't tell me it's not worth tryin' for
I can't help it - there's nothin' I want more
I would fight for you - I'd lie for you
Walk the wire for you - yeah I'd die for you

You know it's true
Everything I do - I do it for you
                          (Bryan Adams, Michael Kamen and Robert John Lange)

This song was written for the film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and has as far as I can find no intentional Christian message. But the most outstanding memory of hearing this track was at a youth rally a number of years ago. The preacher played this track over a video of the crucifixion. It was a powerful combination the graphic images of Jesus being sacrificed for us coupled with the powerful lyrics of the song. Every verse, every chorus of this song could have been written as a Christian song. Everything He did, everything He does, He does it for you, for me and everyone else. He did give it all in sacrifice for us, He did die for all of us. Such a fantastic Christian message that is widely loved in the secular world, if only we could get more people to associate this wonderful message with this fantastic song.

Struggling with timing

Acts 1:7
    He told them, "You don't get to know the time. Timing is the Father's business.

A friend of mine is having a bit of a struggle at the moment, and I hope she doesn't mind this post but it is intended to help. The issue is down to timing, certain things are not happening to their schedule and it is causing some discomfort. The thing is, God does not work to the same time scales or schedules as humans do.

2 Peter 3:8-9
    Don't overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn't late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn't want anyone lost. He's giving everyone space and time to change.

Although we may worry because things do not seem to be happening how or when we would like or expect does not mean God has forgotten or is late. We may be made to wait a long time before things that were promised come to pass. Look at Abraham, he was 100 when Isaac was born. Another friend of mine has a phrase she uses regularly when talking about God's plans. "God doesn't work on time scales we see as reasonable." Sometimes that means that we have to wait for the plan to come to fruition, sometimes it requires that we wait to find out what the plan is. I know my friend knows all of this and that she trusts God to bring everything to a successful conclusion. However we also need to remember that God never wastes an opportunity, he uses the time we are waiting to teach us things we need to learn. Sometimes the lesson we need to learn is to trust in him, other times it is patience or any other lesson. God has plans for each of us and they all work out in His time. Do not try and rush God, try not to get frustrated or angry because you want Him to do things to your schedule. Instead ask yourself, what could God be trying to teach me, what might he be wanting me to get out of this experience. God does nothing without reason and when we look back we can see the sense and reason behind each action. We just need to trust Him, to fully rely on Him and then we will have an inner peace which comes from being completely in His hands.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

In Christ alone

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
'Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
'Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand

I was talking to a friend the other day about what our favourite hymns and worship songs were. To be honest neither of us could really settle on one song and decided to leave it at a top 10 list. Although I am not certain which song would top the list I am certain that this song would at least be in the top 3 whatever mood I am in. The reason for this is that the final verse makes me think of my Grandad, click the link to find out a little about him. As I was watching my Grandad in his final hours it was clear that he was ready to leave this world. He was looking for the way to leave this world to travel to the next. I know that he knew he was going to heaven, and I have to say if he does not get in there is little chance for anyone else. I also know that my Grandad's life is echoed in his life. He lived his whole life as a Christian, followed Christ where ever it took him and was rewarded many times by God. I hope that my faith can be anywhere near as strong as his so that I can always say, "Here in the power of Christ I stand".

Weekend away

Well I am really looking forward to this weekend. I am off to visit my younger brother at university for the first time. I do not always get along with my family great as I have been somewhat of a black sheep in the past and certain people in my family seem to resent that. However my younger brother and I are close and are more like friends than anything else. We talk on a regular basis, to the point where we bought our new phone contracts together in order to be able to talk as much as we want for free. We also spend a lot of time together and as often as we can include each other in our plans. Throughout my time at university despite him being 5 years younger than me my parents would allow him to travel to see me regularly. And so we would have a lot of fun and laugh a lot doing our usual stupid stuff together. Now he is an adult himself and off to university it is my turn to reciprocate and crash his student house in the same way. Since he left things at home have been tough as I have no one to offload to or go to for help with things that are bothering me. I have had no one to do things with,watch TV with, or until I get my car insured no one to drive me around. So I am quite excited to go down and see him in his new environment, with his new friends and experience his new life. It will really be the first time that we will be able to go out to pubs, clubs and bars and so should be quite an experience for the both of us, something of a new chapter. However, although I am looking forward to this weekend there are some things which I know are going to be hard. In the past I was a somewhat heavy drinker and generally a pretty bad example of a Christian. Since Lent though I gave up drinking and have been trying to live my life in a much more Godly way. There have been tests and trials during this time, yet I have always had my Christian friends close by to help me stay strong. This is the first time I will be encountering the "old" lifestyle I used to live without help and support close by. I know my brother is there, but he seems to me to be going through a wilderness period at the moment in which he struggles to see God outside of the Church environment. I am sure I have the strength to avoid slipping in to the "old" habits but I know it is going to be a real test, a real trial of fire. In addition to everything else this weekend I will also be going along with my brother to his local Church. There are two reasons for this, the first is I am curious as to what his new Church is like. The second is that I know how hard it can be leaving home and trying to build a new life in a new city where you don't know anyone. In this environment it is easy to let Church fall by the wayside, especially when faith is a struggle to begin with. I hope that my brother will be able to start to feel at home in his new Church quickly and that it will be a source of support for him in his 4 years at uni. I know that I regret not returning to the Church earlier and if I can help him find one where he can belong then I can hopefully save him some of the pain and suffering I endured in my years at university.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New Job

Ok, so I told you guys about the job offer I received last week. I have been waiting anxiously all week to hear news about it. I had no idea when I would start, when I would get to go see the place or really anything much about it. But today I had a phone call from the centre manager who asked me if it would be possible for me to go in tomorrow to meet people and look around the place. In addition to this I have been told that I will start on Monday too. I am very excited about this because I have had nothing much to do for about 4 months now which has been slowly driving me insane. It is also an opportunity to expand my skills into a new area, and hopefully a chance to grow as a Christian. Although it is not the field in which I am qualified in it is something that is likely to be of more use to me in the future with the direction I seem to be heading in. Even though there is all this feeling of excitement I am also nervous and apprehensive. It is an environment I know nothing about and as such I am kind of going in to it blind. I don't really know much about what I will be doing or the sort of people I will be working with. Without a shadow of a doubt this job is the right thing for me at this moment in time and will help
guide me towards the path I should be walking. The Bible verse that was in my mind before the interview has again been running round in my mind;

Joshua 3:5
Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things

I am not sure what these amazing things maybe but I trust that the Lord will always be working in my life. I am going to end this post a little differently to usual and ask a question, I would love to hear your answers.

What amazing things is the Lord doing in your life right now?

Old truths are still true

Habakkuk 2:2-4
        And then God answered: "Write this.
            Write what you see.
        Write it out in big block letters
            so that it can be read on the run.
        This vision-message is a witness
            pointing to what's coming.
        It aches for the coming-it can hardly wait!
            And it doesn't lie.
        If it seems slow in coming, wait.
            It's on its way. It will come right on time.

        "Look at that man, bloated by self-importance-
            full of himself but soul-empty.
        But the person in right standing before God
            through loyal and steady believing
            is fully alive, really alive.

There is much in the Bible that we should take heed of. We sometimes look at the Old Testament and think that this was a message for a simpler time, a simpler people who lived in the past. The fact is that there is very little difference between us and the people of the Old Testament, we just have a few more gadgets and gizmos than they had. Sometimes from some people we may hear the argument that the God of the Old Testament changes, that the message is different. If people think this then they have missed the point of the Old Testament, read through it and you will find that God's message does not change. From the beginning he wants us to love each other, but most of all love Him. He wants to have a relationship with us as His children. Verse 4 of Habakkuk could be lifted straight from the New Testament, it could easily come from the teachings of Jesus. The only difference between the Old and New Testaments is Jesus, when Jesus came the game changed, but God did not. The path of humanity was changed, but God was not. As I have said before, we hold the Bible to be true, this means the whole Bible. We ignore sections of it at our own peril.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My little black book

Now this isn't a post about what you may be thinking. My little black book isn't a contacts book of girls I know or anything like that. My little black book is my coping device. When I am having a rough time I use it to pour all my thoughts and feelings into so that I can deal with them at a time that suits me. Once they are on to the page I can stop thinking about them and come back to the thought at a more convenient time. Mostly it is full of crap but there are some gems amongst the muck. Some make me laugh such as, "Don't think with your gut, it does not make good decisions except on when to eat.". Others I think are somewhat profound, "The past is past and needs to be left there in order to make the most of the future, there is no need to forget the past but don't be chained to it.". The most interesting thing that struck me today as I was reading through it was that despite through most of the writings in this book I would not have claimed to be a Christian, there are a significant number of spiritual and Biblical quotes in it. There are crosses sketched in various places throughout the book, sometimes clear, sometimes discreetly hidden amongst the chaos. For me this shows that even when I have been at my darkest depths God was always there with me, he was working in my life even if I could not see it at the time. There is loads of great quotes and thoughts in this book and hope to share more of them with you at some point. This book has helped me loads in the past in pouring out my soul, now its helping me by showing me how much better my life is, and giving me a laugh at the craziness of my own mind. Remember God is always with us in all things, he never leaves us.

1 Corinthians 1:7-9
    Just think-you don't need a thing, you've got it all! All God's gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.


One night a man had a dream. He dreamed
he was walking along the beach with the LORD.

Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene he noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand: one belonging
to him, and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.

He noticed that many times along the path of
his life there was only one set of footprints.

He also noticed that it happened at the very
lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he
questioned the LORD about it:

"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow
you, you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me."

The LORD replied:

"My son, my precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."
                      (Carolyn Joyce Carty)

I know this is a very commonly known poem, it is used frequently amongst Christians. It is a fantastic image for life, whether we are Christian or not God walks beside us daily ready for any time we may need him. Even if we can't or won't see Him, He is there. Carrying us when we are unable to walk any further or ready to collapse beneath the weight of the world.

Psalm 23:4 (KJV)  
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 

This verse says almost exactly the same as the poem Footprints but from a different angle. If we know we have God then not even the worst things in life should worry us. Yet being human we will struggle to allow God to be there for us, we will struggle against Him as he carries us.

I want at this point to apologise for posting another dark and depressing post. I have much to be thankful and happy for right now, but I am feeling very isolated and cut off at the moment. Due to circumstances I am not able to attend the Church I wish to be at regularly and I am not able to spend time with the friends that I want to see very often. These two things have been fantastic anchors for me this past year, providing me with support as and when I have needed it. If it was not for this support I can honestly say I would not be here writing this post. I have no idea what route my life would have taken but it would not have been the positive path that it has been. 

It is our lot in life as humans to face dark periods, it is the nature of the enemy to try and drag us down when we feel our highest. But remember we have the best defence in the world, Prayer. It is our link to God, it is our weapon and it is our defence. As I mentioned in the post on Genesis 22 God has his plans, it has always been planned out. And it is the best plan there is, there could be non better. We may not understand it, we may not understand why we have to suffer or struggle as we do but be sure God will use it all to his advantage. 

Romans 8:28 (NLT)
     And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Whatever the reasons for things being the way they are, you can be guarantee that God will be working through it to produce something good. In my post on painting with dark colours I talk about how God can bring happiness, joy and goodness from bad situations. We just need to learn to fully rely on God in all things and for all things.

To finish I would like to backtrack into this post a little bit. Earlier I mentioned the fact that I am currently a long way from my friends and Church who have done so much for me over the last year. There are two friends who I feel I should thank especially. Despite the fact that I am not always the easiest person to deal with or be around, the fact that I am far from perfect, they seem to always have time to help, listen and talk when I need it. So for that reason I am saying a public thanks to them, I won't name them as they will know who they are and I know they don't do it for the thanks or to "play" the part. At the same time I would like to thank anyone who reads this, I use this as an outlet to pour out the rubbish in my mind yet it appears some people do read it and possibly even like it, although I am not sure on the second point. Please feel free to leave comments or message me on

Monday, September 20, 2010

Episode 2 - The one where Abraham tops Isaac (almost)

Ok, so I decided that I would like to look at Genesis 22 for the second linked post. If you want to read the corresponding post from Caron click here.

There is loads that can be said about Genesis 22, I could talk about sacrifice, following God's plans even if we don't like them or even look at how Isaac might have felt because of his Father's actions. But for me the reason that Genesis 22 is so important are the parallels between this and the sacrifice God made through Jesus.

Through all of this story there are a number of events or circumstances which foreshadow what is to occur in the New Testament. To begin with Moriah the place where the sacrifice is to occur is the eventual site where Solomon built the temple which is in close proximity to Calvary. God chose the site for the sacrifice and therefore the setting is not accidental. For me this is the first indication not only of what is to come but also the fact that God does not ask of us more than He Himself is willing to give. Because this site was not close to Abraham he had to travel a significant distance in order to follow God's direction. Numbers are important in the Bible, they hold meaning and are representative of God's actions, plans and thoughts. Because of this the length of time Abraham journeyed is also significant, the journey Abraham went on took him 3 days. The number 3 in the Bible is used to denote God's will or His divine purpose.

We see before the sacrifice that Isaac was laden with the wood for the offering, that he struggled up the mountain bearing the device for his sacrifice. This is a striking resemblance to the fact that Jesus bore his cross to Calvary. Both struggled to carry the load that they had to carry, for Isaac it was only the wood but Jesus carried not only the weight of the cross but the sin of all mankind too.

Abraham had already been promised that his ancestors though Isaac would be an untold number and he trusted God in this. Therefore when God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac he knew that though he could not understand the plan God would ensure that His promise would not be broken. He believed that God could resurrect Isaac after the sacrifice, that he would be given back to Abraham from the dead. In a certain sense this did happen, when Abraham lifted his arms to kill Isaac in his head his son was dead. In stopping the sacrifice God was raising Isaac from "death" and saving him for His use.

In what I find to be a moment of great foreshadowing after the sacrifice was stopped God then provided the sacrifice that would be made. The animal that was sacrificed that day was representative of the huge sacrifice God was going to make for us all. The blood of the ram that was sacrificed was significant in sealing the deal between God and mankind that one day the blood of the Lamb would be spilled which would cleanse us all.

One of my great loves of the Bible is how it is all connected, while any one book in the Bible is capable of standing alone, when it is viewed in its complete form the nature and plans of God can be glimpsed. This story is from the beginning of the Bible and yet we can already see that God's plan was in place.

Romans 8:29
     God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.

 The New Testament is not separate from the Old Testament, they form one book, one story. I know that this is far from being a comprehensive look at Genesis 22 and that there is much more that could be learned from it. I do hope though that this may spark an interest to go back and look at the Bible stories we all know so well and consider them in relation to each other. It's an amazing book the Bible, you could read it for an entire lifetime and still not learn all there is to learn from it. You could read it 10, 20, 30 years or more in the future having read it every day and still find something new.

Thoughts or comments please leave below, thanks.

Prayer gently lifts me

Prayer gently lifts me to highest heaven,
From Earth's confusion to Jesus' breast;
My sin and weakness, my doubt and sorrow,
Are lost for ever in sweetest rest.

This short chorus is one I have not heard in many years, and then we sang it last night in our Church service. The old songs and choruses sometimes get forgotten these days. There is a lot of good music out there in celebration of our God and not all of it can be used all the time. The problem is sometimes we seem to over complicate things, we try too hard to impress God with our intelligence and skills. He knows what we are capable of, He made us. Sometimes it is the sweet simplicity of such words as those above that convey the true feelings of our hearts. When we are not focussed on fancy music and long complex words we are free to think about what we are saying to our Father. We don't need to show off to God, we don't need to prove ourselves to him. If we did then we could never be saved, we can never be good enough for God. But we don't need to be, we just need to give ourselves fully and honestly to God forgetting what we are in the world. Once we reach this point we can start to use God's help to change our whole life.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Street Bible

Despite my dislike of this book in the past a sufficiently large number of people have told my that it is worth a read for me to take another look. So while browsing at my local Bible shop today I decided to fork out the £10 for it and see what all the fuss was about. I will admit now that I have not even finished reading Genesis in it yet so my decision on it may change, but I doubt it. Before I say anything negative I will begin with some positives. It is easy to read and it is a bit of a page turner. It may not be the most lyrical paraphrase I have read but it does have a little punch about it, enough to keep you reading it anyway. However I do find that it tries too hard to be "down with the kids" and comes across to me as The Bible Lite. I know that it does not claim to be The Bible and admits that it skips chunks too, but when I am reading it I feel that it is missing something. There is a lack of connection that exists with other paraphrases and translations. The mystery, majesty and wonder is not there. Fair enough there may be action, adventure and gripping story lines, but then that is all there in The Bible anyway. The poetry and literary styles of the books of the Bible do not come through for me in this paraphrase.

I wont knock it too much however because I think that for some people it may be the right introduction to the faith. As long as no one tries to use this as a replacement for the bible. I did say that I had not finished reading it yet and so I may be making judgements before all the evidence is in. Because of that I intend to stick it out and finish reading it, at which point I will write another post to let you know if my thoughts and feelings on it change or remain the same.

A story of a flat tyre

So last weekend I borrowed my Dad's little car to go away with friends for the weekend. The weekend went really well, we all had a great time and didn't want it to end. But after a road trip of well over 500 miles I finally arrived back home and went to bed for a well needed sleep. The next day my Dad and I for a run to the shops decided to use the little car instead of his usual one, when I noticed the rear tyre was flat. Then started the shouting and the accusations because of course since this tyre was flat the world was about to end and it was all my fault. But then I had used the car, it had happened on my watch, what could I say. So I listened to him shout and bit my lip not to retort. So we filled the tyre and it seemed to be fine, so we drove it to the shops and decided to keep an eye on it to see if it stayed up. Well this morning it was flat again, cue more shouting, and I was told to change the tyre. Not a difficult job so off I went with the jack in hand to put the spare wheel on the car. Half way through Dad decides to come "help" giving orders and telling me how uselessly useless I am at practical things because I am an academic. Again biting my lip so as not to say anything to make the situation worse. Once the tyre was off Dad had a look at it to see if he could find the problem, what damage could have caused the air leak. Lo and behold there was a whacking great nail in the tread hidden from view while on the car but shining away now the wheel was off. With the normal attitude of my Dad, with no apology for the last week of grief he said, hey maybe this nail made the tyre go flat. And with that he went back into the house. Now if ever I needed grace to handle any task it has been this week with my Dad. I have something huge to tell him and every time I see him there is a huge wall in the way that I can see no way past. Sometimes me and my Dad can be kind of close, in the way that men where I live are mutually respectful of each other. But recently our relationship has been strained. I am hoping that I can make the break through soon as I am fast running out of time to talk to my Dad about this and know I need to do it soon. But I don't want to tell him in a situation that is going to turn it into a confrontation. Hoping that with God's help I can find an opportunity to tell him soon.

In other news, the second linked Bible study with Caron should hopefully be ready to post on Monday. We have had a short chat about it and hope to make it a fortnightly thing. Let me know your thoughts on its success or failure and if you have any suggestions for future Bible studies let me know on and we will hopefully get to look at them at some point.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Suffering for love

One of my loves in life is playing guitar, I have 5 of them and each one is very special to me. I try to play at least a little everyday and find it most relaxing to just sit and strum away to my favourite tracks be they Christian or otherwise. Occasionally though I go through a phase of intense practice in order to learn a new technique or a particularly hard piece. Today was one of those days. I have been playing a lot recently as it is but today turned in to a mammoth practice session. I started out on my new bass guitar learning a bit more about it and trying to get up to speed so as to play along to a particular favourite of mine. This inevitable led on to me picking up my pride and joy, my stagg. This is one of the most beautiful instruments to play, it is so comfortable, has such great tone and clarity and also looks stunning too. After having played for sometime my finger tips began to scream in pain, but I chose to play on. A little while later it became agony to even touch the strings, but I chose to play on. Eventually it got to the point when my fingers were rubbed red raw, if I continued to play much longer then my fingers would bleed, which has not happened since I first began to learn 8 years ago. So at this point I stopped playing, to be honest it was more to do with the clean up that would be required and the damage it would do to the strings that persuaded me to stop playing.

This may sound like I am just rambling on about my pointless wasted day but there is a reason behind me telling you guys this. I love my guitars, if my house was burning down they would be the first things I would rescue. I love playing my guitars, they bring me so much pleasure and joy and I love being able to make great music with them. And because of this love I will play and play and play despite any discomfort and pain, because I love to play and make music.

Jesus loves me more than this, He loves you more than this. He loves us so much that there is no pain he would not suffer for us. He love us so much that there is no pain he has not suffered for us already. If human love can be strong enough to overcome pain and discomfort suffered from playing guitar, or any other kind of pain we experience. Imagine just how much more Jesus loves us. The pain of the cross was huge in itself, the iron nails piercing his flesh, the weight of his body tearing the nails through his flesh. The burning of his lungs as his own weight slowly suffocated him. But that was not all, on top of all of this was all our sin, the sin of every man woman and child ever born and yet to be born. Yet the love Jesus had for us was greater than this, His love was strong enough to allow Him to play on and on and on.

Some big things are happening in my life right now, and it seems as if everyday God is teaching me new things, sending me new lessons and guiding me more clearly than ever before. I am currently living as if I have been blind and can finally see, the world around me has taken on new meaning and a beauty I could never have imagined. I pray that in my life I can continue to grow towards God and follow where he leads. Love such as what He has for us cannot be matched by anything in this world. That love is mine, and that love can be yours too if you but ask for it.

The Reason

I'm not a perfect person
There's many things I wish I didn't do
But I continue learning
I never meant to do those things to you
And so I have to say before I go
That I just want you to know

I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
And the reason is you
(The Reason - Hoobastank)

This is the first verse and chorus from one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite bands. The lyrics are not and as far as I know the band is not Christian. Yet these words perfectly sum up my feelings about my past. Until very recently I was of the opinion that the thing in my past were part of who I am, that in order to be the person I am today I had to go through these experiences. I thought that to be ashamed of my past or to apologise for it would mean that I was ashamed and apologising for who I had become.

The reality is though that who I am, the person I have become is down to the fact that God is working in my life now. Before, all the things that I had done were of the world and the enemy. If I want to make progress in my journey then I must admit my failings and confront what they mean. I must admit how wrong and unchristian they were. More than anything I must apologise to the one person I hurt most during all of this, the one person who was there through it all, watching me with tears in His eyes.

Ignoring the past is not an option and forgetting it would open the door to sin. I must acknowledge that these memories are part of who I am and part of the journey I have been on. The lessons I have learned are valuable and the end result in finding God is to be thanked. However I must recognise the sin of my past life and know that any good that came from it was purely from God. If I am wanting to live a God filled and God lead life then I cannot be holding on to things in the past that I know to be sinful and wrong. To follow the path that God has set before me I must be aware but not attached to my personal history. One Bible verse that fills me with hope is the following;

Mark 3:28   
    "Listen to this carefully. I'm warning you. There's nothing done or said that can't be forgiven."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Job Interview-the after show party

Ok, so this post is a little bit later than my usual posting time. The reason for that is one I have been busy phoning my friends talking about the offer I have been given and two because my little nephew just got back from holiday today. So anyway back to the interview. It was not the best start, having arrived 10 minutes early I was informed that the candidate before me had arrived late and so the whole schedule was behind meaning I had to wait about half an hour. To be honest that wasn't bad as it enabled me to have plenty of time to relax and pray before hand. Once in the interview I felt quite relaxed and calm, the interview panel was friendly and made me feel very welcome. The interview went very well, I am normally a very confident and vocal person and so feeling relaxed I just chatted my way through the interview. I must have made a good impression because after a little while I received a phone call about the interview. At first the conversation did not seem to be going in the direction I wanted when the guy said they were very impressed with me but that they didn't think the job would be a challenge for me and that I may be suited to something else. Cue my heart migrating to my feet. However the next sentence lifted me high again, we do have another job we think you may be interested in! And so I have been offered a job working at a Salvation Army Life House in a near by city. This will be a real challenge, but it will give me a great opportunity to both grow and express my faith while developing a range of new skills. It will put me in an environment I have never experienced before and move me out of my comfort zone. I am very happy about this, much happier about this prospect than I was about the original job I interviewed for. I will keep you informed as to how this pans out in the future.

Job Interview

Well things are a little bit different today than I was expecting. A job interview I was going for tomorrow has been changed to today. The job in itself is not a huge deal, it is something I am over qualified for, will find fairly easy to do and in an environment I have been around since I was a child. Yet it is the significance of the change that is having the bigger impact on me. A number of my friends have also been looking for jobs, and to be honest I have been quite lazy and off putting when it came to actually looking. One of my favourite lines for my friends finding it difficult to get a job was "do you expect God to just send you a job offer in the post?" I mean sure if He wanted to that would not be beyond His power, but God doesn't work like that, he wants us to learn on our journey with Him and uses many opportunities to teach us. If we want a job sure we should pray for one but we should get out there looking for it too. Yet this job did appear from nowhere for me, at first I was told by my minister to apply for it, but then I went away for a music festival and didn't get round to it. Then when she asked if I had applied and told her no, she said it was ok since I already had an interview for it if I turned up. So now after not looking for a job, and then not applying for a job I have a job interview this afternoon. As I said the possible change in direction is really what is significant for me, I have spent the last 6 or 7 years at least working hard and getting the qualifications to become a scientist. I have been pushing myself hard in my studies in order to be the best at what I do. Yet this job is in a Church working with the community where my skills as a scientist will almost certainly not be required. I have been asking for help in deciding what direction I should be taking my life in, where I should be going to follow God's path for me. Is this the answer? Should I abandon years of work and qualifications? Well its in God's hands now, last night I prayed that he would help me in my choice, if I do not get offered the job my path lies in being a scientist, however if I am offered the job my path lies down another road. Shortly after this I was checking on my blog page and noticed the Bible quote of the day which was;

Joshua 3:5 – Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things

I am not sure what these amazing things will be but I am confident that whatever they are they will be the best for me.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Message from Gramma

My Gramma recently passed away and her Bible was given to me. Well more along the lines of I asked for it first, but anyway it is now mine. It is a wonderful thing to have from my Gramma, an inheritance that is more personal than anything else, this was her guide to following God! Gramma was an incredibly organised, tidy and uncluttered lady, everything was always just so. Therefore it is no surprise that her Bible was similarly neat and organised. There was a bookmark in the Bible and when I opened it to read it a few short verses stuck out for me.

Colossians 3:1-4 (GNB)
     You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in Heaven, where Christ sits on his throne at the right side of God. Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on Earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Your real life is Christ and when He appears, then you too will appear with Him and share His glory.

Gramma was a quiet, reserved woman. She would never say a huge amount, but what she said you knew was gold. She had an amazing ability to make silence into something to be shared and treasured. There was always a stillness about her, yet power and strength was never far away. For such a tiny woman she had a huge influence on me in my life, I know she loved and cared for me as no one else could. But most importantly I know she was a Godly lady, a true and solid Christian always working in His name and following His path through life. I am glad to have been blessed with so many strong Christian role models in my life and I look forward to meeting them in the future and hope I will be able to stand amongst them sure in the knowledge that I also was the best that I could be. Thank you for everything Gramma, we will miss you always.

Christian friends

I have some amazing friends, I haven't always. Until I began attending my Church I had a lot of friends, but no one I could rely on. I thought I had good friends, but time and again I would be let down or left short on something. It has come as quite a shock to me that I have managed to acquire such good friends over such a short period of time. These friends have been there when I have needed them most, they have helped me get through some tough times. Even without knowing it they have done so much for me and asked for nothing in return. It has helped my spiritual growth so much to have Christian friends, it has made fixing my problems and issues much easier than if I had been doing it alone.

Jesus never intended us to be in this spiritual journey alone;

Matthew 18:20
    And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I'll be there."

Jesus could just have as easily said that "whenever anyone is worshipping my name or doing good in my name, I'll be there". But we are not supposed to be alone in this, we are supposed to be part of His Church, we are supposed to gather and work together.

Matthew 18:19
    When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action.

This does not mean that God will not answer our individual prayers, but it is a clear sign that both God and Jesus intended us to work together. As the Church we are the body of Christ, and we have all heard the story about how each part of the body must do their job and by working together as a whole the work gets done. Very often in Churches because they are made up of humans we have disagreements and arguments. This will always happen and does not make you a bad Christian. However the way we act in these situations does say a lot about our faith.

Matthew 5:9 (KJV)
    Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

From time to time there will be situations where we do not agree with the path our Church is taking, or someone's actions within out Church. Jesus is not saying we should just accept the situation and "lose". He is instructing us to do what is necessary to solve the problem but with as little friction as possible, leaving the best impression of being Christlike.

Regular gatherings are also an important part of Christian life. We should be meeting with other Christians often to pray, worship and eat.

Acts 2:42
    They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.

By gathering together like this, as a family, we are strengthening the bonds within our fellowship. All three activities are most enjoyable and productive when done in a group. Jesus was not a hermit or a lone wandering preacher, He surrounded Himself with His disciples. He gave us a model for the Church by his dealings with the disciples. How to act, how to follow, how to learn and teach but also in how to gather. The early Church would gather in each others houses to pray worship and eat together, why should we be any different 2000 years on.

So far I have talked about gathering in groups and Jesus wanting us to be together. But there are times in life where we need to be alone or cannot be surrounded by our Church for whatever reason. We are provided for in these situations;

John 14:16 
    I will talk to the Father, and he'll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. 

The Holy Spirit was given to us so that we would never be alone, the Spirit is our constant companion as a Christian. God promised to always be there for us and to carry us when we can not bear the load. It is through the spirit that this promise is fulfilled. The spirit is a wonderful gift and ensures we are never left alone, however it can not be seen as a replacement for the Church, there should be no such thing as a lone Christian. There are however situations where Christ instructed us to be alone, to remove ourselves from the bustle of daily life;

Matthew 6:6
    "Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. 

But this is not a commandment to become a hermit or lead a life of isolation. It is Jesus showing us that at times we require the stillness of being alone in order to fully immerse ourselves in the presence of God. After which we should return to our Church and our lives.

These are just my thoughts which have been triggered by conversations with friends recently. But I know from my experiences with Churches I have attended in the past that when only meeting on a Sunday or even less frequently, the health of a Church decline rapidly. We should not let divisions in our Churches become permanent, we should always be on the lookout for how to heal hurts and fix problems in a way that is best for everyone. A Church is a community which cannot exist in isolation, we must work together within our own Churches but also with The Church in general. This is not a new situation, in fact it has been with the Church from the beginning;

1 Corinthians 3:4-6
    When one of you says, "I'm on Paul's side," and another says, "I'm for Apollos," aren't you being totally infantile? 
    Who do you think Paul is, anyway? Or Apollos, for that matter? Servants, both of us-servants who waited on you as you gradually learned to entrust your lives to our mutual Master. We each carried out our servant assignment.  I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow.  

As I already said, disagreements and divisions are an inevitable outcome of having humans together. But at the end of the day we have to remember that we are not just humans, we are also Christians too and should act accordingly when our human nature causes problems.

Finally, Jesus left us with His promises and instructions, I would like to leave you with the one bellow as I feel it is a fitting end to what has become a slightly epic post. I apologise for the length but hope that you find it as helpful to read as I have in writing it.

Matthew 28:20
    Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bad day

Jesus don't love me, no one ever carried my load, I'm too young to feel this old. (Kings of Leon)

Have you ever had a day when you just really don't feel great. Have you ever had a day when the above lyrics seem to sum up how you feel about life?

Jesus don't want me for a sunbeam. 'Cause sunbeams are not made like me.
Don't expect me to cry for all the reasons you had to die. Don't ever ask your
love of me.

Don't expect me to cry.
Don't expect me to lie.
Don't expect me to die.
Don't expect me to cry.
Don't expect me to lie.
Don't expect me to die for thee.     (Nirvana)

How about these lyrics? 

I have no reason to feel like I have today but when I woke up this morning I felt as though I had a terrible load, I had no energy and absolutely no drive to get up. I have had depressive periods in the past and know that it is part of who I am. Yet as I said I don't really have any reason to feel the way I do. I have just been offered another amazing job opportunity, I have my financial situation almost sorted and life should be good. I wasn't sure if I was going to share these thoughts with you today since they are just a rambling of seemingly depressive nothings from someone who has no reason to feel like this. However I thought about it for a while and it was while listening to the two tracks quoted above I began to think about the real hardship Jesus faced. 

Luke 14:27
"Anyone who won't shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can't be my disciple." 

Jesus faced the toughest task that anyone has, taking on the sin of the world. He was the sacrifice that means I have everything I need. God has given me the greatest gift not only in the world, but the universe. 

Mark 14:32-36  
    They came to an area called Gethsemane. Jesus told his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." He took Peter, James, and John with him. He plunged into a sinkhole of dreadful agony. He told them, "I feel bad enough right now to die. Stay here and keep vigil with me." 
    Going a little ahead, he fell to the ground and prayed for a way out: "Papa, Father, you can-can't you?-get me out of this. Take this cup away from me. But please, not what I want-what do you want?" 

The burden Christ bore for us was a huge one, a terrible one. And yet because he did this for us we have been given direct access to God, we have been given all the help we need. Through prayer we can ask God to help us in our personal trials and dark times. 

I need to learn to trust God, trust his guidance, his plans and his love. I still do not know why today brought with it the feelings and issues it did for me. I do not know if this was a lesson I have been given to learn or if it was an attack from the enemy. Yet from the shadows God still managed to shine a light and give me a direction to head in. This week is going to be a big week for me, I have a huge decision to make and Friday will be the day that I finally know the direction I am going to follow. I know that the plan that is set out for me is the best one, it must be as it is the one God has set for me. Knowing if I am following that path has been the hardest thing for me recently, knowing if I am following His will and not my own has been very difficult.

Through prayer, Bible study, contemplation and discussions with very close friends I have made huge inroads and I am in a much better position than I have ever been in. My relationship with God is still young and I have a long long way to go yet, but I know that this is certainly the best my life has ever been and I should be happy about that. As I finish writing this post, having spent time in prayer and reading the Bible, I feel the shadow of today has lifted and an inner peace around me and know that I am loved by my God.