Tuesday, 3 April 2018
The Sunday after the death of Billy Graham, for some inexplicable reason the early morning service(which I attend) at church was given over to a time of mourning and remembrance, with You Tube videos and television clips. If we were in America I could have understand it, but in the depths of Lincolnshire?
Am not a fan of these mega telly evangelists who are specialists in manipulation and mass hysteria. True, many “come to faith” as they follow the crowd but what happens to them when they go home on ‘cloud nine’ Do they really know what they were getting into?
There is a well known paraphrase of Romans 7:14.25 that says:-
“Being born again takes a moment of faith, but becoming like Christ is a lifelong process”
Billy Graham and his ilk do not spell out the fine print of the contract, but God plainly spells it out...
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” Mark 8:34
“It has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but to also suffer for him” Phil.1:29
God makes it clear that following him will mean real hardship. Life as a Christian is supposed to be difficult. Evangelists neglect to tell their new converts this, so no wonder so many fall away? If we are to follow Jesus, we have to follow him to Calvary. That is something God wants us to understand the moment we come to Christ. Life as a born again Christian is not easy, Jesus told us that it wouldn’t be.
Romans 5:3-4 clearly spells out why it is important for us to suffer trials and tribulations....they make us grow in faith, make us strong in the Spirit.
Billy Graham was lauded as “an outstanding Christian”, but all Christians are “outstanding” in their own way.
An Easter Sunday blog post by Peter Hitchens describes one such ordinary “outstanding “ Christian who is worthy of remembrance
Why did Arnaud Beltrame give his life to save others? Christianity
Last week saw one of the noblest acts of human courage in modern times. Yet it has been given far less attention than it should have been. We often hear it said of soldiers and others that they ‘gave their lives’ in battle. This is true in a way, though many actual soldiers will smile at the expression and mutter that they probably did not have much choice in the matter.
But the French police officer, Arnaud Beltrame, consciously and deliberately did give his life to save another. When the drug abuser, petty crook and jailbird Redouane Lakdim burst into the Super U supermarket at Trèbes, in southern France, he wasted no time in showing that he was capable of murder. He shot dead two people, and was said to have laughed as he killed them. Then he took several hostages.
He was persuaded to release all but one, a terrified woman.
Arnaud Beltrame calmly offered to change places with her. I believe that he knew as he did so that this might well cost him his life, and that by stepping forward he faced the strong possibility of a horrible and lonely death. Nobody ordered or asked him to do it. It would have been perfectly normal and acceptable for the police to have surrounded the mad killer and waited for him to give in, or kill himself, with the strong possibility that he would also kill his hostage.
Arnaud Beltrame went miles further than he was required to go by the normal rules of life, or even the normal rules of duty and bravery. The daily bargain, under which we behave decently to others and hope for the same in return, wasn’t enough for him. Most of us couldn’t have done what he did. Most of us will never be asked to.
But I very much doubt whether our civilisation would have reached the heights that it has reached if nobody had ever been ready to make such a sacrifice. I believe very deeply that Christian societies are different from non-Christian ones, precisely because all of us know that such selfless courage is the ideal of what we all should be. And I think that Lieutenant Colonel Beltrame did what he did because of the specifically Christian saying ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’. This Eastertide it is worth noting that these words are recorded as having been spoken by Christ, shortly before he (knowing what was coming) was dragged off to face a mocking show-trial, torture, beatings and a savage public death. For Arnaud Beltrame had come, quite recently, to embrace Christianity.
In aggressively secular, hard-boiled France, this must have been difficult to do. Those of us who try to cling to the shreds of religion in the modern world feel increasingly besieged and hopelessly unfashionable.
My late brother Christopher was a militant atheist (but a good deal more thoughtful than most). He used to delight crowds of his supporters by demanding: ‘Name me an ethical statement made or an action performed by a believer that could not have been made or performed by a non-believer.’
In the end he tired of his own question and told me that he had found an answer. He thought that Lech Walesa, the lone and indomitable leader of Polish resistance to the might of communism, would never have dared take on such a huge and merciless enemy without his faith to sustain him. I suspect he would have felt the same about Arnaud Beltrame. And if this is true, and I think it is, is it time the rest of us wondered whether the West’s long mockery and dismissal of religion as childish and outmoded should now come to an end?
We need to know the difference between how things are, and how they ought to be, or what do we live and die for?
Tuesday, 20 February 2018
There is me on my Mother Phyllis's lap, as I was born 30th May 1949 am not very old! Mother is 32 years old. Behind her is her sister Olive aged 27 years old, just recently married and to the left her sister Edna, aged 29 years. In front of her is their Mother Annie gently restraining Edna's eighteen month son. And there in the middle is Grandma Curzon...
Early on Sunday morning 18th February, my Aunt Edna peacefully passed away. A blessed release after ten months of torment. She was 96 years old.
Then ten months ago she bent down to pluck an errant weed from the flower bed and her back snapped......twelve weeks in hospital followed then transfer to a nursing home, she hated losing her independence and most of all her flowers......
Then my cousin and family took a long weekend away in Wales, coming back to find my Aunt had been deprived of food and water for three days, by accident or design, that is now under investigation.
My cousin called the ambulance, not the care staff and she was taken into hospital at the beginning of last week,(Monday 12th February) but too late.
No life should end like this.
As the news filtered through to the rest of the extended family I received an email that ended with the words..."What does it feel like to now be the older generation?"
The realisation that there are no more of the "older generation" left. My Mother died twenty years ago, her sister Olive thirty years ago. My Uncles also long gone.
My Father died twenty three years ago and his younger brother and his wife both died suddenly within weeks of each other in 2016.
There is no one left.....my cousin and I are the "older generation"
Now that is an unwelcome and scary thought
I don't want to be all grown up, some days I miss my parents terribly, even after all these years.
But I take each day as it comes and trust in the Lord, and one day we will all meet again
Friday, 9 February 2018
One of the dangers of Christian life is that we too often imagine that we are 'people of prayer' and 'disciples that obey'....but are we really?
What we imagine we are, what we see ourselves as being must be lived out in real life.
It is very easy to deceive ourselves unless that love of God is frequently put to the test
We face many choices each and every day when our faith will be tested. There will be many opportunities to show God through our obedience. To show that we prefer His ways, rather than the ways of the World.
Abraham faced such a test when he was prepared to offer his son as a sacrifice, because God had asked him to.
"Now I know that you fear God"
Abraham's faith became real....to him.
These daily trails are the best, perhaps the only way of putting our love and commitment to God to the test.
God wants us to know the actual,lived out daily reality of our commitment to Him.
Often obedience through gritted teeth
Not merely through words, reciting prayers aimlessly without thought, words are cheap.
A faith test forces us to ask ourselves "Do I love God enough?"
A faith test reveals what is deep in our souls
Friday, 2 February 2018
According to numerous health care professionals when we reach a "certain age" we are advised to wear 'sensible shoes'...especially trainers.
I really dislike trainers and like track suits should not be seen on the over thirties unless worn for sports activity.
I thought that I would share with you this wonderful website called 'My Ageing Parent' and all the information about why we should wear 'sensible shoes'
OK, I agree, some of us are not so steady on our feet and sensible shoes are useful to give stability...but why trainers?
I always wear walking boots when out and about walking and wore study black ankle boots if going anywhere else. In the summer they were wearing out and in need of replacement so I went a hunting.
My daughter suggested 'walking shoes' as a sturdy replacement...I took some persuading as they still look too much like trainers for my liking, but off we went to the local 'Millets' to see what they had in their summer sale....this is what I came home with...see the photo above.
They are as comfortable as my walking boots which are the same brand but not as heavy.....but I do miss the four inch heels of my youth!
In my youth I was six feet tall and loved it..always wore three or four inch heel shoes apart from work. This was fine in a busy city when walking far is not really an issue, walking boots were part of my wardrobe from childhood as have always walked for pleasure.
Now I am only five feet ten inches tall and have not worn heels since 1987...just kept one pair that I look at now and again.
In 'olden days' wide fitting shoes in a size eight (UK) were just not available in the shops so these came from a company called 'Long Tall Sally'...it still exists and you can find it online now instead of a paper catalogue (remember those days?)
It looks as if the shoes still exist too and at the same sort of price!
Happy Days and Happy memories
( as an aside, my first husband was/still is only five foot two inches tall........second husband is six foot)
Monday, 8 January 2018
Sunday, 7 January 2018
This is dawn on Christmas Day...the temperature was way down as it had been for several days.
Once again we have had an 'interesting' December.
It all started two days after my daughters came to visit....
.......I had a heart attack...my second, so it wasn't so scary.
Heart attacks are rarely as dramatic as portrayed on the television and in women are mostly 'silent but deadly'.
I was on my own one afternoon, sewing happily in my craft room when the pain in my arm started which then progressed up my neck along jaw and rather bizarrely into my lips. Of course, my phone was downstairs on the kitchen table with my angina spray beside it...so I just quietly sat there.
My theory being that it would either stop or I would.
All was peace and calm within me...most reassuring.
No idea how long that lasted but eventually the pain stopped and was so tired that I went to sleep for two hours.
Actually didn't mention it to husband until next day after I had taken my self off to cardiac clinic and blood tests and ECG confirmed it.
Then had two really weird weeks when I was so tired all the time and a further two minor heart blips. All set to enjoy a few days with husband. This was going to be a short Christmas as for the first time in our twenty eight years of marriage this was to be the first time he has not had the whole holiday season off, only two days.
But then......he comes home Friday 22nd coughing and sneezing, and generally unwell.
Which he then kindly passed on to me and I went down with a vengeance.
As our town in UK is one of the "Australian Flu Hotspots" with eight dead so far , he was rather concerned that it was the flu that would kill me off....
It is now the 7th of January and for the first time since 27th December I have felt well..ish. According to this check list we didn't have the flu only a very bad cough/cold but I ran a fever for three days as well as being so fatigued...but I wasn't in the best of health to begin with!
I still have a hacking cough as has husband but he is all set to return to work tomorrow after a week of sick leave.
So that was Christmas...or not. Will try again next year!
Our visiting cat continues to visit and seems to just sleep wherever he flops down however inconvenient a place it may be.
So rather belatedly, will wish you all a Happy New Year and stay well.
Oh...the surgery I was due to have on my hand end of month has been cancelled/postponed due to NHS guidelines
Thursday, 7 December 2017
I belong to a weekly 'Knit and Natter' group at Church.
There are ten or twelve of us, not all knitters, we have two crocheters.
Last week I decided to do a straw pole to see why we knit/crochet.
Out of twelve crafters I was the only one who declared themselves to be a 'process knitter'
If you are unsure of what this means, here is a good article that explains the definitions.
I knit, anything, just for the joy of knitting. Most of what I make gets given away to the Salvation Army......
But the process knitters, knit fast and furiously to achieve the goal of the finished object.
Amongst our group of twelve, three ladies run Craft Stalls, so they knit and sell for profit.
Last week one lady was complaining that she was over run with orders and had to spend all her time knitting...now where is the fun in that?
The others are busy knitting items throughout the year for the "Operation Christmas Child" shoe box appeal, not a charity that I support for a variety of reasons, no need to air them here.
It does seem a shame to lose the pleasure of knitting to the call of profit. But that's just me.
A book revue:-
I picked this up on Amazon a few weeks ago, was intrigued by the title and am a fan of Stephanie Pearl- McPhee
Here is the revue from 'Goodreads'
"The tangled life of the knitter is the subject of inspired nuttiness in 300 tongue-in-cheek meditations from the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. At Knit’s End captures the wickedly funny musings of someone who doesn’t believe it’s possible to knit too much and who willingly sacrifices sleep, family, work, and sanity in order to keep doing it. Covering everything from the deadly “second sock syndrome” to a pile of yarn so big it can hide a washing machine, this hilarious collection will have knitters in stitches!"
Am about half way through, it is one of those books you can pick up at odd moments and it cheers you up.
Can highly recommend it