Showing posts from 2013

Looking Ahead

Dear Friends,

As we are coming to the end of the year, I find my thoughts going to the new year which will soon be upon us.  Over the last week or so I began to think about "What do I want for 2014?" What are my hopes, my dreams, my goals for the coming year? That is, until God showed me that was the wrong question to be asking.  You see, it's not about me and what I want, instead it's all about God and what he wants for me in 2014.  What does God want for me, for you, in 2014?

It's all very well looking ahead considering what goals and aims I may have for 2014, but if I ignore God in my deliberations then my goals and aims will come to nothing.  Proverbs 19:21 tells us "Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails." (NIV) and in Proverbs 16:9 "We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." (NLT) When we allow God to determine the direction we take then we will have success.

So, I've begun to …

Jesus Christ - The Reason for the Season

Dear Friends,

"Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and they will call him Immanuel which means ‘God is with us’." Matthew 1:23 (NLT)

What a great name 'Immanuel' is - 'God is with us'. Jesus Christ came to live among us and he is the reason why we celebrate Christmas. What an incredible, indescribable gift God gave to us on that first Christmas, over 2000 years ago.  God has given us the gift of Jesus that we might know what it means to have God with us, to know his presence which never leaves us, to know he is with us, he is for us, not against us which means we are blessed not only by his presence but also by his protection over us.

This year as I prepare for Christmas  I've been more deliberate about keeping Jesus Christ as my focus and at the centre of everything I do, rather than focusing on what I think needs to be done. When I'm not deliberate about it then I find I easily become caught up in the hustle and bustle …

A King Worthy of Our Worship

Dear Friends,

Over the past few weeks my family and I have been watching "I'm a celebrity...get me out of here!"  We've watched as a group of celebrities who don't know each other are dropped off in the Australian jungle for a few weeks. They take little with them into the camp, they sleep on camp beds and cook basic food on the camp fire.  They take part in various gruesome trials and face elimination from the jungle by public vote until just one person, the winner, is left. The one who is the last to leave is crowned King (or Queen) of the Jungle.  Although they may not all admit to it, they have selfish reasons for participating in this reality tv show, whether it's money, or to further their career or to win public approval.  To some people it would be viewed as quite a feat as the celebrities face and survive the jungle, with one person winning the victory by lasting the longest.

But, I know of one who has done something far more incredible and it's go…

Where Is God When I'm Hurting? Part 2

Dear Friends,

This week follows on from last week so you may find it helpful to read or re-read last week's post. I wrote how we can know, even during our trials, that God loves us, cares about us and is with us in our pain.  You may remember that I shared about Jess' experience at the dentist, that it was painful to endure it, but that it was in her best interests that she did so.

God, our loving heavenly Father, allows us to sometimes go through difficult and painful circumstances because they are ultimately for our good.  He uses these times to grow our faith in him, to deepen our trust, and to take us on in our Christian journey. For example, James says to his readers  "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." Jame…

Where Is God When I'm Hurting?

Dear Friends,

We recently had our bi-annual family outing to the dentist.  I don't mind having a check up at the dentist; to tell you the truth, I'd rather have a dentist appointment than an appointment with the doctor.  Jess, on the other hand, does not like visiting the dentist. 

At this particular appointment the dentist wanted to clean her teeth as there was a build up of plaque.  If she was tense before that comment, she was even more tense now, especially as he told her to just lift her hand if it got too painful.  As I sat watching the proceedings I could tell she was anxious, scared and in pain at times.  Now, the casual observer would not have picked up on it, but, as her mother, and  knowing her so well, I knew exactly how she was feeling.  I found it very hard to sit and watch my little girl suffering (at 12 years old she doesn't like me calling her that, but that's what she is to me!) and my natural instinct as her Mum was to do anything I could to protect h…

Christ's Personal Representative

Dear Friends,

In Ephesians 4:1 (NIV) Paul urges us "to live a life worthy of the calling you have received".  Our calling is to follow Christ and be his ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20 NLT) or as the Amplified Bible puts it "Christ's personal representatives".

That's quite a privilege and a responsibility isn't it?  I need to remember as I go about my daily business, that I'm Christ's personal representative.  I am to represent him in the things I say and do. 

This week I needed to go to my local pharmacy to collect and pay for some of Jason's and my prescriptions.  Now, I'm no maths genius but I could tell from the figure the chemist gave me that she had totalled it up wrong, she had missed off the cost of one of the prescriptions.  As a follower of Christ and one of his representatives, I knew that I needed to point out that she had undercharged me.  She thanked me for my honesty and seemed surprised I had pointed out her mistake to her.

A Spiritual Health Check

Dear Friends,

This week I was given a free NHS Health Check. The check is offered to everyone between the ages of 40 and 74 and is part of a national scheme to help prevent the onset of health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and stroke and helps you to "be better prepared for the future and be able to take steps to maintain or improve your health."  I had a blood test to check my cholesterol level, my blood pressure was taken and my height and weight measured.  I was declared healthy in regards to those health problems and encouraged to maintain my health with a healthy diet and exercise.

This physical health check got me thinking and I made the decision this week to have a spiritual health check too.  Just as I needed the help of a professional to take me through my physical, I knew I wasn't qualified to do my spiritual health check on my own - I needed the help of the Holy Spirit to take me through it as he is the one who can help me ident…

"Following My Leader"

Dear Friends,

At the school my children attend they are re-introducing the prefect system. (Make sure you read that correctly the prefect system not perfect system!!) Whereas in the past, most Year 11 (final year of secondary school) students were prefects, this time there is a process to go through and if the student is successful then he/she is given the position of prefect.

Josh has decided to apply to be a prefect.  He has submitted his application form, the next stage will involve an interview and then there's a third stage before the final decision is made.  Now, I know that Josh would make an excellent prefect - he is hard working, he has good relationships with staff and his peers, and I can remember him telling me a year or so ago how his friends (boys and girls) would come to him for advice if they'd got any problems.  He would be a great role model for the younger students and be an influence for good.  To be selected for the role of prefect is a privilege and a resp…

A Rainbow Moment

Dear Friends,

I get a thrill every time I see a rainbow, as much now as an adult as I did when I was a child and noticed a rainbow. I just can't help it, it fills me with joy and wonder, and an "Oh wow!" escapes my lips.  There's something so special about a rainbow, with it's colours and perfectly created arc shape in the sky. 

My family and I were travelling home having spent a lovely weekend with my sister and her family.  It was late Monday morning following one of the biggest storms we have experienced for some years.  The worst of the storm was over, but the sky was still overcast, it was cold, windy and at times there was heavy rain.

Then, in the midst of this, the sun came out from behind the clouds and a beautiful rainbow appeared.  We could see it from one end of the bow to the other.  I'm so glad I was awake to see it (often the motion of the car ride sends me off to sleep!)  

It was back in the time of a man called Noah after he and his family surviv…

The Gift of Encouragement

Dear Friends,

My sister and I were blessed to grow up in a home where our parents always encouraged us.  We were encouraged to do our best, encouraged in our efforts, encouraged to be the person God wanted us to be and to live the life God intended for us.  We were encouraged in our hopes and ambitions and to pursue our dreams.  We were encouraged to keep going when we encountered setbacks.  This encouragement helped us to see ourselves as God sees us, as someone worth loving and someone of value.

It helped me to also see how important it is to regularly encourage my own children.  I encourage my daughter Jess when she shows me a piece of homework that she has worked hard on and tried her best. I did this again just recently and in the smile she gave me I could almost see evidence of how it was nourishing and nurturing her very being.  It installed some confidence and belief in herself that she had done well.  Recently too with my son, Josh, I told him how proud I was when he had made a…

"Do You Dare To Change?"

Dear Friends,

I don't usually pay much attention to television adverts, but there's been one recently that has really caught my eye and inspired me.  Not so much what it's advertising but the actual content of it.  It's about the high jump athlete, Dick Fosbury and the voiceover says "When every high jump athlete jumped forward, Dick Fosbury dared to jump backwards."  This was in 1968 when just one man (Fosbury) out of the 27 high jump athletes jumped backwards.  In 1972 the number using Dick Fosbury's technique rose to 28 out of 40, in 1980 it was 23 out of 28 and in 2012, 26 out of 26 now used his technique!

In an interview he said "When you believe in something, that's when you really go for it...even though that was the standard technique (jumping forwards) I really believed there was some other way to jump over the bar."  He continued to say that he came up with the backwards technique that would help not only himself but other athletes t…