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Friday, February 29, 2008

Standing Still & Moving Slowly

Journeys are wonderful things to undertake, especially when you don't know the route that they're going to take. Mind you, sometimes that can be frustrating! I can certainly imagine the frustration of travellers who set off on a train journey to work only to learn that part of the journey --- sometimes most of it --- will take place, not on a train, but on a bus, as sometimes happens here in the UK due to problems with line maintenance.

Here at Share My Journey I never know quite where the journey route is going, even though I know the eventual destination that I am aiming to reach. All my life I've loved the excitement of taking trips down the side roads to discover what lies at the end of them, and I've generally not been disappointed. Sometimes I've found some real jewels along the way, both in the places that I've visited and the people that I've found there. Occasionally I've found that my brief sojourn has led me off-track altogether, and then I've needed to back-track to my starting point. Yet nothing has been a waste of time. Every experience grants an opportunity to learn from and leaves me with a broader horizon that when I set off.

Sometimes I reach a place on my journey when all I want to do is to stand still and soak up all that surrounds me, whilst at other times I may be led to move along very slowly so that I can enjoy the scenery without losing my pace. This blog is part of my journey and, as such, I can often be found wandering down the lanes as I travel on it, enjoying the Byways as well as the Highways. So you will find me sometimes posting every other day, much as I have been recently, whilst at other times I may write up several posts on one day. Whatever the case is, dear reader, please enjoy the journey with me, including the times when all I want to do is to simply 'stop and count the daisies' as I travel!

The whole point of any journey is that you set off from a given point in order to reach a specific destination --- in my case the journey that I'm on is a journey of discovery not only of all that I find on the way but also about my own reactions to what I find as I travel. One of the things I enjoy is sharing it with you, dear reader. Of course, some journeys are best taken alone, but the companionship of a friend is always a welcome addition to me as I explore Life's Highway, so I'm glad to have you along, no matter whether I'm travelling at a fair pace, moving slowly, or standing still.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Did the earth move for you?

Last night, in the early hours of the morning, we had an earthquake which, although the epicentre was in Market Rasin in Yorkshire, nevertheless sent shock waves to many areas of the UK, including where I live in Runcorn, Cheshire. It measured 5.3 on the Richter scale, and there was a lot of damage to property in the areas closer to the epicentre. Here in Runcorn it shook the windows and rattled the wardrobe doors just before 1.00 am in the morning.

Through it all dear reader, yours truly simply slept, blissfully unaware of the unfolding drama of the occasion!

This was the worst earthquake in the UK for almost 25 years, the last one being in Mid-Wales and measuring about the same on the Richter scale. I was much closer to that one and the epicentre was only a few miles away. I remember my factory shaking and the steel trusses supporting the roof moving as if they were made of rubber!

My wife was woken up with the rumbling and rattling noise, but I regret to say, dear reader, that the earth did not move for me!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Memory Lane

It's a dull, overcast day today, and so I think that a brief trip down Memory Lane might be just the escape that's needed. The question is, "Where shall I go?" It's all very well to decide to have a wander, but I've got quite a few years under my belt (and an expanding waistline unfortunately!).

Perhaps my 'key' can be music. I love music and song --- pretty much most styles, apart from the really NOISY sort that they seem to play on the breakfast TV show; you know what I mean --- the sort that you can hardly recognise any words in and which helps to give you a headache rather than have a soothing effect on you. In its place it's perfectly okay of course, although I have to admit that wherever that place is I don't really have too much desire to go there!

When I was away last Friday night for the YL conference that I wrote of yesterday, a group of us sat around and discussed, amongst many other things, what sort of music we liked, and in particular I was asked what the first records that I ever bought were. That was easy to answer. It was a Slim Whitman LP which I purchased second-hand from a shop in Manvers Street, Bath, in what was then Somerset. What's more. although I made that purchase fifty years ago this year, I've still got the LP and I still enjoy listening to it. In fact, to prove the point, I've placed a photo of it at the top of this post. I've been hooked on Slim Whitman ever since, and a couple of years ago I travelled to Norwich to see him perform at the very last date on what was his very last UK Concert Tour. He was 78! The theatre was packed with people of all ages and it was a tremendous evening, well worth my having travelled the distance to see him.
Another of my early 'heroes' was the late Hank Snow. I loved the way that his songs told a story, and am still as big a fan as I ever was.
Yes, you've guessed it! I'm most definitely a C & W Fan, but I also like a huge range of other singers as well as enjoying listening to the Classics. I think that often the musical choice of the moment is dictated by the mood that you're in, or perhaps the mood that you'd like to be in. Whatever the answer is, I know that my life would have been much the poorer without music and especially without my musical heroes.
What was your first record purchase dear reader? Why not leave a comment and share what it was and perhaps why you liked it. Also whether you still have it!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Young Life MISSION ... Get Involved!

Friday evening last I went away overnight in order to travel to a meeting of YOUNG LIFE, a Christian organisation that reaches out to young people, helping them to change their lifestyle and come to know Jesus Christ. The meeting was held in Hartford, in Hertfordshire, which is about three and a half hours away from where I live.

The organisation came to set up in Runcorn where I live several months ago, and the two young people appointed as local leaders, Luke and Jenny, are being very successful already in the way that they have met up with and are influencing the lives of many young people. The picture above comes from a YL group in the US, but it could be any one of hundreds of such groups across the globe. Learn a bit more by going to the website where I found this picture.

Often in churches, especially in the old-established churches with a relatively ageing congregation, the church would like to be involved in Mission yet doesn't know what to do beyond raising money for Christian Aid and similar organisations. By inviting Young Life into your area, or by getting involved and supporting them if they are already there is a great way to be part of what is arguably one of the most important areas of Mission available, that of bringing young people to know and love Jesus Christ.

Okay, so you are getting on in years, and cannot go chasing around all over the place any more, but does this mean that you cannot be supportive in a meaningful way? Of course not! There are many needs that YOU could be involved in, needs such as prayer for the group, helping to finance and raise finance, getting involved face-to-face by befriending some of the young people who are being nurtured. All sorts of things, in fact!

If this blog seems like an advert for YL then it is. I make no apology for that! I'm involved on the local committee of Young Life Runcorn, and it's exciting to be involved with something so important for and to the Lord. So, dear reader, I urge you to read up and find out about it, and then to get involved in your area.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Heaven’s Grocery Store

The following was sent to me to use in 'The Voice' magazine sometime in the future. Meanwhile, I thought I'd share it with you dear reader, straight away! I've edited it from the original in order to make it scan a little better.
Whilst walking down life’s highway
I saw an open door,
upon which was a sign that read
“Heavens Grocery Store.”
As I got a little closer,
the door was open wide;
I entered through that portal,
--- I was standing just inside.
I saw a host of angels.
They were standing everywhere.
One handed me a basket, saying,
”My child, please shop with care.”
Everything a Christian needed
was in that Grocery Store;
anything you couldn’t carry,
you could come back next day for more.
First, I got some Patience,
Love was in the self-same row;
further down was Understanding
--- you need that everywhere you go!
I got a box or two of Wisdom,
and a bag or two of Faith;
I couldn’t miss the Holy Spirit,
for He covered all the place!
I stopped to get some Strength
and Courage, to help me run the race.
My basket then was getting full
but I needed lots of Grace.
I didn’t forget Salvation
for Salvation was quite free;
so I tried to get enough of that
to save both you and me.
Then I went up to the checkout
to pay my grocery bill
For I thought I had everything
to do my Master’s will.
Marching up the aisle I saw a prayer
and just had to put that in,
for I knew that when I stepped outside,
I would run right into sin.
Peace and Joy were plentiful,
they were on the final shelf;
Songs and Praises hung quite near,
so I just helped myself.
I turned then to the angel, and asked,
“How much do I owe?”
He just smiled and said to me,
“Just take them everywhere you go.”
Again I smiled at him and said,
“But, how much do I owe?”
He smiled again, that knowing smile, saying …
“My child, Jesus paid your bill in full, a long, long time ago."

The LORD Is My Shepherd

It's difficult to select a favourite passage from the Bible because there are so many, but I guess that the 23rd Psalm must be a favourite for a tremendous number of people. It reminds us that we are cared for, and I think that is a basic need for all people (even the ones who don't like to admit it!).

It has the power in the words to heal and to comfort, to build up and to strengthen, to restore and renew; and all because of the power behind the words. Read it to yourself, listen to it, see it in a new light. Whatever you choose to do it will bless you. I found a great screen saver which depicts this Psalm with some beautiful music and images. Why not click on the link above and see for yourself; I'm sure that you'll love it to.

1.The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4. 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.
5. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Too Cossetted for our Own Good?

Brrrr! at the moment, although we have a grand sunny day outside, it's cold, and I do mean cold. The temperature is around -2 or -3 and the frost stays around for most of the day. Hang on a minute! 'I thought you said it was really cold', I can hear some of you thinking. Well, by today's standards it's far colder than we have become used to.

Yet, you know dear reader, when I think back to my 'growing years' we really did have cold winters. It was fairly normal for us to go through the winter with the inevitable 'dew-drop' on the end of our frozen noses, and slabs of ice for hands and feet. Waking up in the morning our beds were inviting us to stay, not because we were too lazy to get up but because we could see the patterns of the ice on the inside of our bedroom windows. No jumping out onto warm carpets either for us; we stepped out onto cold linoleum with the benefit of a small rug if we were lucky.

Looking out from the window --- my bedroom was on the third floor of a large house which had three floors and a cellar --- I looked out across the gardens to a paddock and wood, all of which would be covered either in snow or a heavy hoare frost. Now, if you've never experienced a real hoare frost before --- and I suppose there are those who haven't --- then it's a wonderful sight to see. However it's cold to experience as well. I've posted a picture at the top to show you what it can be like at it's most beautiful.
The problem for today's generation in the UK, is that they have never really experienced a really cold winter. That means that they don't know what it's like to wake up to snow morning after morning for weeks, sometimes so deep that it has drifted half-way up the lower levels of the house, and possibly six feet deep in the lanes outside. Of course, when it was snowy it actually felt warmer than when the frost was there. Of course, going to school was an adventure too, as we wondered if the bus would skid, and we got to school late because of going slowly. Then there were the icy pavements; deep ruts of ice that attempted to trip you up as you crunched your way through them.
For many years now we have experienced much milder winters, so much so that when the temperatures drops a few degrees people talk about it 'plummeting' downwards. I wonder if we have become too cossetted in our centrally heated homes and warm cars? Certainly, when it comes to the subject of church attendance, i question why people would willingly leave their warm home and travel to the church in a well-heated car, in order to sit on a hard pew in a poorly heated building. Some churches are so cold that it seems that it would be warmer to sit in a refrigerator! The problem is that the design of the building so often means that it's almost impossible to heat well, particularly when you consider that the church may only be used for an hour on the Sunday morning and another hour in the evening. It's simply not cost effective to heat all that space to comfort level for such a short time, especially when you consider that it means that the heating needs often to be left on for eighteen hours or so beforehand as well as between the two services.
Nice memories in many ways, but oh! how I enjoy the benefits of central heating!

Monday, February 18, 2008

My Way is His Way

With acknowledgments to Paul Anka who wrote new words to a French pop song, altered the melodic structure, and called it My Way, which was a huge hit for the late Frank Sinatra in 1969. Whilst I was thinking about this song today I thought about the way in which Jesus has controlled the direction of my life for so long. What a change my life has been following the one true way!

Now that the end draws near;
And I will face the final curtain.
My friend, I'll say it clear,
I'll state my case, of which Im certain.

I've followed Christ the Way.
I've travelled each and ev'ry highway;
And more, much more than this,
I did it His way.

Regrets, I've had a few;
For all my sins, too great to mention.
I served my Lord in ev'ry way,
He saw me through without exemption.

He planned each charted course;
Each careful step along life's byway,
But more, much more than this,
He showed me His way.

Yes, there were times, I'm sure He knew,
When I attempted more than I could do:
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up and spit it out.
I faced it all and I stood tall;
And did it His way.

I've praised, I've prayed and cried;
I've had my fill; my share of losing.
And now, as tears subside,
I find it all so amusing.

To think I ran the course;
And may I say - not in a shy way,
No, oh no not me,
I walked in His way.

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not the Lord, then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels;
To praise and pray, be one who kneels.
The record shows He took the blows -
And did it His way!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Spring has Sprung --- Even more!

It's just after 9 o'clock this Sunday morning, and it's cold but sunny, so it looks like another beautiful day. Here's a few spring flowers to cheer you up if you have grey skies!

Too Deeply Rooted?

One of the things that occupies my mind these days is the thought of where we will live after I 'retire' from my current position. If that seems a little dramatic then let me explain that I had always reckoned on retiring from this particular position when I reached the grand young age of 70. When I was ordained into ministry with this denomination the retirement age was 67 with the option to continue until 70, but now the option has been dropped and 67 is mandatory. I have offered to continue with my church until I'm 70 on a private arrangement if they wish me to. These thoughts are not too premature --- I've only got two-and-a-half years before I reach THE AGE, even though I don't feel it and (perhaps vainly) don't think that I look it either. The latter is, naturally, a matter of personal opinion!

The problem is that we have a mortgage to pay on top of all the normal living expenses --- or should that read living EXPENSIVES these days?

Then I started to think things through more logically. I dedicated my life to Jesus Christ way back in September 1967, and since then, although my path has not been strewn with roses, I've never wanted and been left in need. God has ALWAYS provided for me all that I've needed. So why should that change just because I retire from the denomination? The answer is that perhaps I will change the means of the journey but not the destination. Sometimes we can get bogged down by the day-to-day matters of our lives and forget who we've entrusted the charge of our lives to.

Then there are the assortment of things that clutter up our lives. Looking around us we blanket ourselves with a host of things that make us feel more secure for a variety of reasons, yet in reality Christ is all we need. If we make sure that our lives are right with God then the rest will follow on. After all, I believe that the reason that we stay is to honour God and be a serving witness in Christ's name. That's our overall mission, and when God deems that we've fulfilled it He will call us home.

Is it possible that sometimes we put our roots down too deep because we find the things of this world too attractive to let go of?

Now there's a thought to ponder on this Sunday!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Website Updated

My main website has just been updated with a complet facelift on the home page. Why not take a look at it and let me know what you think of the changes. Is it easier to manipulate yourself around and find the things that you're looking for? I hope so! In a couple of weeks time, at the turn of the month, the Easter message will be uploaded. Take a look at that as well and let me have your comments. You can email me via the contacts page on the site or you can leave a comment here.

Spring Sprung Today!

Today we went 'therapy' shopping for a change and I dusted off my wallet, shook the moths out, and we set off to the Shopping Malls. We drove off to a site about an hour away and enjoyed what was arguably the nicest part of the day --- driving through the Cheshire countryside in brilliant sunshine. It was great!

After doing a little retail therapy at the first shop, followed by a delicious lunch, we decided to go to another store which I remembered was in a nearby shopping centre. That decision was my undoing! As we got lost in the third direction looking for it, we started to see familiar signs and remembered that we did the same the last time we went there! Oh for the days when the memory worked on full steam!!!

Anyway, notwithstanding the last part of the story, we drove on to find a branch of the store in a neighbouring town, and lo! --- success at last. We managed to buy all that we had set out to and then, cold and weary, we set off for home.
But all in all, what a good day out it's been. We had a good run in the car; enjoyed the wonderful spring weather, especially the sunshine; and to top it all we spent quality time together. Now what could be better than that? As a bonus, we also brought some goodies home. I think it was certainly a successful day!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What a Friend . . .

When I was looking at U-Tube for the video in the last post I stumbled across this one. Do look at it --- it's precious. It will make you laugh in the aisles, and yet she sings out this song as well in such a special way. I love it! I hope it makes you laugh dear reader, but above all I pray that it speaks to your heart.

The most precious things in life cannot be touched and yet they manage to touch us; they cannot be felt and yet they manage to make us feel them; they cannot be bought for they are always free. So here, dear reader, is one of those good things for you to feel.
This afternoon I've been clearing out some of the muddle in my late friend Elsie's house, and what a lot of mess and muddle there is to be cleared. This is the fourth day that I've been doing it so far, and there's still lots more to do! Elsie was one of life's hoarders!!!

I liked these two cartoons which give something of an idea of the messy muddle that I've been gradually sorting through. So far I've taken about twenty-five bin-bags to the Charity shops and another sixteen to the Tip for recycling, etcetera. I guess another two or three days should see the task completed, which I shall be glad about. One of the things I hate about it is that you feel that you are prying into someone else's life, although it's a necessary task that has to be done by someone.

What can we learn from it, I wonder? Well, one thing for certain is that when it comes to the crunch we all need someone to help sort out the mess and muddle that creeps into our lives. So many people are hoarders of one sort or another, aren't they? At least with Elsie's muddle it's easily remedied! Some people hoard emotions and bad memories, afraid to let them go, and by hanging on to them they remain just underneath the surface, waiting to rise up and disturb the person afresh, time after time. So I guess that the best lesson that we can learn is that we all need to de-clutter our lives in every sense on a regular basis. We don't have to do it all on our own either, for thankfully we have a Helper on whom we can always rely. I'm reminded at this moment of one of the hymns that I've chosen for Elsie's funeral service next Monday, What a friend we have in Jesus. Click on the link and hear the choir from the Morriston Tabernacle, Swansea in South Wales. Indeed, there will never be another friend that has done, is doing, and will do so much for us, especially with no charge. In every sense, He's a life-saver!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Welsh Hymns as well

Some of my hymns have been translated into Welsh, and you can find them on the website. Here is one of them which have words and music written by myself. The title in English is Wondrous Heavenly Love and you can get the English words and the sheet music by sending me an email via the website.

Holiday --- Plans are under way!

Tonight we reserved the cottage in Wales where we plan to spend a week on vacation in August, so I thought I'd share the picture with you. It's not far from the beach on the island of Anglesey which is off the North Wales coast. My father came from Anglesey and so it will be great for me to spend a few days there exploring part of this wonderful place. I don't expect you to get as excited as us though! The picture below is an interior shot.
Where are you going on holiday this year dear reader? Why not share it with me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Some BEAUTIFUL Places ...

I thought that you would like to see some of the places that I think are absolutely stunning!

The picture above is early in the morning on Mynydd Epynt --- my home mountain!

This is a picture of the Brecon Beacons --- another mountain range near my spiritual home in Wales.

This is a beautiful picture of a sunset in Goa --- I think it's incredible!

Life is too short . . .

There is an expression that reads, Life is too short to live the same day twice. How easy it is, especially when you're young, to fritter away that most precious of commodities --- TIME. I suppose that it's the thought that there's always another day in which to get something done that lets you do this, but one day time will run out. Just imagine that today is all you have. What would you do with it?
As Christians, although we enjoy ourselves in this life, we look forward to the time when we will live in the Kingdom of God; the time when we will see Jesus face to face; the time when we will be able to praise Him for ever. Yet how much better it would be to live each day now as though we were already there.

TIME, that commodity which allows us to measure our progress in life. We refer to it in so many different ways. Sometimes wistfully, sometimes sadly, sometimes with regret, and often recall places that we once knew and people whome we once loved --- or perhaps were loved by. I wonder whether, in the light of our personal history, we would do things any differently if we were granted that time once again. Personally, unless we were granted the value of hindsight and the wisdom that age brings so often as a companion, I doubt that we would change much if anything. Why? Because we were who we were at that moment. We made our decisions for different reasons than those which hindsight would allow us. We hurt and were hurt. We valued and devalued. We stood still sometimes and we grew sometimes. And all the while, though life seemed to be endless, time was passing by --- sometimes even, it might be said, passing us by.

Perhaps the answer is that in order to grow we need to experience all that life brings to us, the hurts and pains as well as the joys; the sad times as well as the happy ones. That way we will always have a yardstick to measure things by. After all, if we were perpetually in one state of mind how would we ever be able to fully appreciate it? Surely a permanent state of happiness would be unrecognisable if we never experienced sadness as well. If there were no 'lows' in life, how would we ever experience the 'highs'?

So it would seem that the answer is to plan our days and our hours carefully, deciding what is important and what is best left out, and then get on with living our lives to the full and to the benefit not only of ourselves but of others too. That most elusive of experiences --- HAPPINESS --- is found when you put others first, and the first of the 'others' to place in central position should always be Jesus Christ. When you spend your time wisely, seeking always to do what will please God, and doing it in the name of Jesus, then you will find the fulfilment of those elusive dreams.

Have a great day dear reader, and enjoy every second of it to the full!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bloggers SPELLCHECK has passed away!

Four about the parst week now, the Blogger SPELLCHECK has nott bean wurkin, but lukkily I don't think it makes eny different to my blog 'cos I'm pretty

gud at spelling! It cud have bean much moor serious! Just imagine if wun of the keys on my keybored was not wurkin. Imagine the chaos if I cudn't get the 'i' to wurk properly and it punched in an 'a' insted!!! If that was the kace then my blog entry mite read something like this:

Hello, dear reader, a thought that a'd wrate a few lanes today about green assues as at seems to be all the rage at present, so here goes. At would be a good adea to start off wath recyclang, whach as one of the easaest ways for people to start to make a dafference an terms of global warmang. Do you recycle? Af so, how good as at at the place where you go to tap your stuff? A try to recycle vartually everythang, but at's not very easy sometames. For example, for a very long tame the tap dad not accept plastac, and so a had to throw all the plastac anto the non-recyclable ban, and thas really arked me! Now they do accept at, but the skap for plastac as marked for plastac bottles only. A stall put ALL my plastac anto at though! Af only the manufacturers would stop usang so much packagang JUST TO FOOL US THAT THEAR PRODUCT IS BETTER THAN AT AS!

Did you get through all that? Are you still with me? Good! I hope I managed to raise a smile today, 'cos that's the intention, and don't forget that it takes less muscles to make your face smile than it does to make it frown, so have a really lazy day and go around smiling at everybody. Smile at all the folks at church and see how many wonder what's wrong with you. Smile at the gas=station attendant and see if he or she thinks that you're coming on to them. Smile at your family and see if they think that your coming down with something. If any of these things happen to you then just ask yourself the question whether you smile enough normally! After all, if it disturbs people when they find you smiling a lot then there must be something wrong somewhere. Of course, perhaps that's the real reason that you're smiling after all!!!

Have a great day, dear reader! Be in touch soon.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A walk on the wild side . . .

This afternoon Gill and I took our little dog, Sam, out for a walk on Wigg Island, which is a local nature reserve. It's a great place to see plenty of birdlife as you stroll along, and offers a choice of woodland walk or alongside the estuary. Wigg Island Community Park is a former 'brownfield' site. The site is wholly made ground resulting from a series of industrial processes including the construction of the adjacent Manchester Ship Canal and the former chemical industry usage, notably the production of sulphuric acid. The heavily disturbed ground contains a mix of soil types, still to be classified, although poor draining brown-earths and alluvial gleys are known to be present.

Located on the edge of the Mersey Estuary, abutting the Astmoor Saltmarsh, it's a superb site to observe some of the more specialised wildlife of the area. The picture above shows one of the new viewing areas which enable visitors to see a wide variety of wildfowl and waders, without disturbing them, including readily recognised species such as Shelduck Tadorna tadorna and Curlew Numenius arquata. Common Buzzard are observed year round while migrant Marsh Harriers often summer on the saltmarsh.

All in all it's a great way to get some fresh air into your lungs, get some exercise and walk the dog --- a veritable 3-in-1 factor! The thing that's so great about this site is that it used to be a dumping ground for chemical waste, and the local council, Halton Borough, deserve a real pat on the back for what they have achieved. And it's still an ongoing project, which is even better news. The picture of Wigg's Chemical Works below shows what it was once like.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Good news for some of us! (Tongue-in-Cheek)

So, according to the media today, research has found that the problem of obesity lies in the genes! Mind you, generally speaking, the result can so often be found in JEANS!
I'm somewhat overweight for my height, (Not too much though), and so it's good to know that it's not really my fault. OK! so the biscuits, nuts, snacks, etc., just MIGHT have something to do with it, I'll grant you that, but I'll go with the clever people who have discovered what they say is the real reason --- my genes!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

GREAT Pictures!

Here's a few pictures from a great site to find Christian pics on. Why not take a visit and see for yourself!

Yesterday I wrote about FAITH

In yesterday's post I wrote about faith and, in the final paragraph, I commented on losing someone that you care about. I mentioned how God always knows the best answer to prayer, even though it might not be the one that we would choose, and how you can see in retrospect the wisdom in His answer.

Within an hour of posting my blog entry I received a 'phone call from a hospital to tell me that an elderly lady --- a member of my church --- had just passed away. I got the call so quickly because I am listed as her next-of-kin due to the absence of any close relatives. I had been to see her on Monday afternoon and had a fair visit, although I was very concerned for her. All through that night I was disturbed in my sleep by that concern, and prayed that God would find a way to grant her what she most wanted, which was to go home and not be placed into a Care Home. Without doubt that prayer has been answered, albeit differently to the way that I would have wanted. God answered my prayer exactly, for she will not have to suffer the indignities of the Care Home life that she was so averse to, whilst at the same time God has called her home.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


What is faith? The writer of the Book of Hebrews tells us that 'It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.' (Hebrews 11.1).

My faith is very simple. Briefly stated, I believe that the whole of creation has been made by Almighty God, and that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. I believe that Jesus Christ was all that is claimed, and that when He suffered on the cross at Calvary it was for the salvation of sinners in order that they might be reconciled to God, the price for their sin having been paid in full. The sacrifice was made for all sinners, and so that includes me and you, dear reader.

The wonderful gift of Salvation is absolutely free. It cannot be bought for a one-time price was paid by Jesus Christ. In order to receive the gift, all that's asked of us is that we firstly believe both in whom and by whom the sacrifice was made, and that we then repent of our sins. In order to do this we need to have faith. though we might see and be aware of God, of Jesus, and of the Holy Spirit, our belief is not a natural process. We were not born believing! No, we believe through faith, and the Bible teaches us that even that faith that enables us to claim this wonderful gift is, in itself, a gift from God.

So, if you believe that God is who He says He is, and that He will keep His promises, you have all the faith that you need. We read in Luke 17.6 that only a small measure of faith is required, and that faith comes from hearing the Word of God (Romans 10.17).

Sometimes, especially at those times when we are losing or have lost someone we love, particularly if the loss has been through illness or accident, our faith can be sorely tested. Yet coming through such periods of trial also serves to strengthen our faith, for we can learn from the experiences that we go through in a very positive way. One of the hardest things to accept is that God always knows what the best answer is to any given situation, and that, despite it sometimes appearing that our prayers might go unanswered, when we look back eventually in retrospect we'll find that our solution would have been the wrong one for the person concerned.

SHROVE TUESDAY today, and that means pancakes for tea!

Shrove Tuesday is the day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday, the name Shrove coming from the old middle English word 'Shriven', meaning to go to confession to say sorry for the wrong things you've done. Lent always starts on a Wednesday, so people went to confessions on the day before. At first this day was named Shriven Tuesday, but later became known as Shrove Tuesday.

The popular name for Shrove tuesday is Pancake Day, and this comes from the custom of using up all the fattening ingredients in the house prior to the commencement of Lent, so that people were ready to fast during the Lenten period. The fattening ingredients that most people had in their houses in those days were eggs and milk, and a very simple recipe to use up these ingredients was to combine them with some flour and make pancakes!

In other countries Shrove Tuesday is known as 'Mardi Gras'. This means 'Fat Tuesday' in French and also comes from the idea of using up food before Lent. Many towns in the UK organise Pancake Races, and often these will feature the staff of local restaurants and hotels dressed in their uniforms.
A favourite thing for many children is to 'help mum' in the kitchen, especially when it comes to tossing the pancakes in the pan so that they cook on both sides evenly. Often, due to poor judgement or heavy pans, or simply a little mischief, the pancakes end up on the floor or even on the ceiling! Whatever happens, it's usually a good moment of fun!
Made from batter and cooked to perfection in a little cooking oil, the pancake's ingredients symbolise the following:
Eggs >>>> Creation
Flour >>>> The staff of life
Salt >>>> Wholesomeness
Milk >>>> Purity

Sunday, February 3, 2008

A GREAT picture to bless your day!

Sunday is always too busy for me to spend too much time posting on my blog, so here's a great picture which I hope will add a blessing to your day, dear reader!

Now, if that's not quite enough to cheer you up, have this bouquet of spring flowers on me!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Just a few flakes of snow!

All through the week the weather forecasters have been promising that it would snow on Friday, including the area where I live, even though we don't actually get that much here usually. Friday came and went and . . . nothing! Admittedly, there was more than enough of the stuff most other places a few miles from us, but here --- nowt, zilch, nuffin' at all!!! However, when I awoke this morning there was a smattering on the rooftops etcetera of the white stuff, albeit that it seemed more hail-like than soft and powdery.

I do actually like the snow, at least to look at. Well, if I admit to it, the little boy that still exists in these old bones likes wrapping up well and walking through it too. There's something rather special about walking through snow when it's still undisturbed and new, leaving your footprints, perhaps finding the marks where some small creature has left their imprint for you to marvel at. And the way that snow looks on trees and hedgerows when it has been blown there in a blizzard-like fall --- WOW! Now that's something to behold and to lock the image away in your memory to treasure, isn't it.

One of the things that I marvel at with snow is the shape of the snowflakes when you see them magnified. Frozen crystals of all shapes and sizes float down and accumulate. The white fields resemble diamonds glittering in the sun. Some snowflakes resemble Dorian columns; some look like oak leaves; some are shaped like dinner plates; and thousands are almost perfectly symmetrical six-armed intricate snowflakes that look like frozen lace.Wilson ‘Snowflake’ Bentley took over 6,000 photographs of individual flakes between the early 1880’s and his death in 1931. No two were alike. Isn't it yet another example of the wonder of God's creation! The same is the case with people. Although the basic desigb is the same, when it comes down to it no two are really totally alike. Even 'identical' twins will have tiny differences which, although strangers might not notice, certainly they will be able to see in each other.
Here's a few facts concerning snowflakes:
  • More snow falls each year in southern Canada and the northern US than at the North Pole.
  • Large snowflakes can measure up to 2" across and contain hundreds of individual crystals.
  • The largest snowflake ever found was 8" by 12". It was reported to have fallen in Bratsk, Siberia in 1971.
  • In Germany, frogs were once kept as pets because they croaked more loudly when air pressure fell and when bad weather was coming. They acted like primitive living barometers.
  • An ice core 1,200 feet long can show what the climate was 1,400 years ago.
  • The lowest ever temp recorded was at Vostok, a research base in Antarctica on July 21, 1983: -128.6°F.
  • The heaviest snowfall in 24 hours is 76" at Silver Lake, CO 4/15/21
  • The heaviest snow storm occurred on Feb. 13-19, 1959 at Mt. Shasta Ski Bowl, CA: 189" of snow fell.

Scientists believe dust and bacteria blown off plants and thrown into the air by ocean waves produce rain and snow. In a lab, Russell Schnell (U of CO) produced snowflakes by injecting bacteria into a cloud chamber. The experimental clouds immediately turned into snow. The bacteria, Pseudomonas syringae and Erwinia herbicola, contain a molecule that attracts water. After one ice crystal forms, it splinters. Each fragment serves as a seed for another ice crystal. The snowflake’s six-sided shape comes from the hexagonal lattice structure of an ice molecule.

Wilson 'Snowflake' Bentley (1865 - 1931), known as The Snowflake Man, said of snowflakes in 1925, "Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated., When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind."