Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Firm Foundations, leaky roof?


2012 apr garden 011 

 

Our church is falling down
the hall is unsafe
roof adrift, walls cracked
congregation gather in the back room
this part is safe, firm walls, sure roof.
Our church is built on a firm foundation
but part of it is not secure.

My faith is based on a strong foundation
but there are parts of my life
that are not secure, not straight, not right.
The small room at the back is the Lord’s
fixed and firm
but other bits I thought I could build on my own
hold up in my own strength.
don’t want to give up control of
Like a sad leaky lean-to
are hanging on to that faithful bit and dragging it down.
Sometimes it’s not until the complete collapse that I remember I can’t do it alone.

The church roof has been judged and condemned
but the builder can save it
the foundation is firm.
When I give up my will and purpose to His
when I let my life, my house be built on that rock that cannot be shaken,
how wonderfully does everything work together for good.
In His time. In His way.
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Monday, 23 April 2012

With God things don’t just happen


2012 apr southampton 017 

She got to her feet slowly,

Hands reaching out to support,

Faces turned in respect and anticipation

Sensible shoes, hand knitted cardi,

I see a Proverbs 31 woman,

her husband, from the front of the church has full confidence in her

her children, safely grown, call her blessed.

As I wait for her to speak, I know, she will choose

words of contentment and thanks for faithful provision.

She speaks

I don’t like change,

And God has brought many changes into my life

And I am still learning to trust in him.

She sits. We sing the hymn she chose.


I used to like change, choose change,

I was the changer, in control, making my choices.

Then things happened. God brought changes into my life that

I didn’t want, didn’t understand why.

Painful changes, requiring sacrifice of my choices, my goals.

So hard to trust in God’s plan when you don’t like it, don’t want it.

This is what we sang. I wept. With God things don’t just happen. I’m holding onto that.

This is her favourite hymn, it could be mine now.

I do not know what lies ahead,
the way I cannot see;
yet One stands near to be my guide,
He’ll show the way to me:

I know who holds the future,
and He’ll guide me with His hand;
with God things don’t just happen,
everything by Him is planned.
So as I face tomorrow,
with its problems large and small,
I’ll trust the God of miracles,
give to Him my all.

I do not know how many days
of life are mine to spend;
but One who knows and cares for me
will keep me to the end:


I do not know the course ahead,
what joys and griefs are there;
but One is near who fully knows,
I’ll trust His loving care:


For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future Jeremiah 29:11
I made a printable! I loved some of the ones I saw on Pinterest so I had a go. I’m pleased with my first attempt…
josh poster
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Wednesday, 15 February 2012

God speaks – through a quiz show

 
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. Isaiah 30 8
I want to learn to read His word,
for this is how I know the way,
to live my life as pleases Him,
in holiness and joy:   C. Simmonds,
I guess this is intentional living for 2012 part one.
And the first thing had to be…God. And his word. Daily. I have always struggled with this. For many years I bought reading notes but I’d miss a day and give up for a month…or two. Then I discovered Wordlive – emailed daily notes. Well, altho’ I can go a day without opening my Bible, a day without opening my lap top – unthinkable. So now my browser opens to my emails and the first thing to do is read the Bible notes. Then it’s the notebook and counting blessings. Job done and I was feeling a bit pleased with myself…until…
I read this. A challenge to memorise God’s word with your children. I stopped feeling so smug and considered it.Obviously it made sense. But memorising the whole Sermon on the Mount? My son couldn’t be expected to do that with his modern upbringing of instant messages his brain couldn’t cope and he’d fail. (I conveniently forgot all those As in history, science etc).
And so I didn’t mention it. Next day my son told me he had a new hobby. Inspired by Eggheads and other quiz shows he was setting himself a daily task to learn and memorise new facts and within two days had all the countries of Europe and was on to Africa! Ouch.I can’t say the Lord didn’t speak clearly enough.
So we’re going to do it. We’ve both been ill so I’m thinking we’ll start in Lent. Forty days of memorising (with Sundays off for rest). I hope for all the blessings mentioned in 2 Timothy: wisdom and training in righteousness so that we may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. And I pray for a spirit of perseverance.
14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.2Timothy 3
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gifts 115-132
broken bread at the Lord’s table,dinner cooked for me, thrifted jeans – a blessing to find my size
surprising gift of pizza when I was hungry,husband home early cooking dinner for me again, and the gift of a muffin – seems I am always surprised by food.
friend’s laughter at a surprise baby shower, watching quiz shows in our pyjamas, older boys doing sports leadership with the little ones - joy in service.
Students’ pleasure in their achievement, parents’ evening, a privilege to meet supportive families, the blessing of Christian workmates and their prayers.
3 hard Eucharisteos – seems hard to go to church today but I am blessed by hearing God’s word, by worship and by fellowship.
Behind my wardrobe door the first fruits of project 333, no clutter, 33 things that fit, are modest and seasonal – my intentional capsule wardrobe.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

the commandment to have courage?




He spreads the snow like wool

   and scatters the frost like ashes.

Psalm 147 16


2012 feb snowy downs 1
Snow is unusual in these parts. And in a rare blessing we have been granted the beautiful sight of snow spread like wool on the downs while our pavements are clear and safe for our elderly folk to get about.

2012 feb snowy downs 3
I am a bit prone to anxiety. So that, rather than rejoicing if I open my front door and find snow, I would be worrying about falling over, about my auntie who broke her hip on the ice being afraid to leave her house. Sometimes I can be so anxious about what might go wrong that I won’t try anything. I can be so anxious that I might offend someone that I don’t text them when they’re ill. I often worry for so long about doing the right thing that the moment passes and I’ve missed the chance to help, support or comfort.
I know the verse in Philippians to have no anxiety about anything but in my Bible notes last week came across Joshua 1 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Not just the comfort of knowing God is with us but a command…do not be frightened and dismayed. A hard command for me to follow, Lord but as I seek to live more intentionally, I will strive to be that strong courageous woman of faith that you have commanded me to be.

Gifts 91 –114

a kind note from an old friend

generous ladies giving up their lunch to help my students

photo on the wall of my late father in law painting my children

helping a reluctant reader

glorious red sunset

joining in a quiz with my son

more Herman bread, and macaroons and homemade Viennese whirls

Daily Bible notes in my inbox, and Christian bloggers and a free Christian mystery novel on my Kindle

Laura’s parenting book

green shoots on a  gifted Campanulus

Tartan pyjamas my dH gave me

our lovely new windows to keep the storm out

a blanket my parents left in the airing cupboard

3 gifts outside: snowflakes falling, the beauty of snow covered fields, the blessing to the oldies that snow didn’t settle here

so thankful in these minus weather conditions for the warm red scarf my son gave, the lady who knitted my red gloves and the gift of a spicy red candle to make my home cosy.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Wherever you go…


2011 roma colisseum

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1v9
 
Often discouraged
Frequently afraid
I don’t feel strong
My courage fails me at the slightest setback
Or stumbling block
Careless comments
Taken to heart

Lord, you have commanded me to be strong
To have courage
They say that courage is being fearful but doing the right thing anyway
Knowing you are with me
Wherever
Whenever
When I’m hanging on by my fingertips
It’s You I’m hanging on to

Joshua uncertain was called to lead your people
God commanded
He obeyed
May I hear your voice as clearly
Obey
Whenever
Wherever
You are with me.



linking with
multitudesonmondaysbutton2-1
68 found a forgotten blue blouse in the ironing pile - perfect for my evening out
69 using the blue fountain pen my eldest gifted me
70 youngest proud of his ‘drama tie’
71 students’ leftovers given to me - pastry and jam make Bakewell tart
72 the blessing of support from colleagues
73 my grandmother’s table, used daily
74 fresh rain for the garden
75 a friend to walk to work with
76 listening to thunder from my warm, safe home
77 seeds sprouting on the window ledge
78 beans
79 and radishes.
80 husband finding he has the gift of green fingers
81 my hairdresser friend’s two Main Coon kittens
82 café lunch with my youngest
83 ‘The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord’
84 Micah 6 v 8
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
   And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
   and to walk humbly with your God.
85 a word from G on perseverance
86 vintage linen tablecloth
87 hubbie’s mum’s Wedgwood
88 polishing grandma’s crystal lamp

Monday, 23 January 2012

In which Twiz chooses to be intentional


2012 beach 006
I have found many blessings from following blogs. Before I happened upon a Christian baking blog I had no idea that Christian women (and men) were writing, sharing, praying in a kind of amazing online fellowship.
God has gifted so many to use their words, their images to encourage, to share the gospel, to bring a little joy to the day, a reminder of the right way,the best way and just to provide that different emphasis and focus to what the world gives.
Many times I had worried I was old fashioned, just that bit out of step with other parents, other wives, hanging onto my Biblical truths, almost apologising for it “sorry, I’m a bit of a Christian fundamentalist and I don’t do that'” Well, no longer. Bolder now, affirmed, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The latest unexpected gift is the Word of the Year. Bit strange, I thought, bit gimmicky. Then I started  to see a word everywhere, a word that called to me, this is what you need… So my word of the year is ‘intentional’. Maybe I’m behind the times but I’d never heard of intentional living, intentional parenting. I’ve a tendency to be reactive but this year I will live intentionally. And I’m trusting in my blogging friends and in God to keep me living that way.

You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You're out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours.

  Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it. Ephesians 5 8-10The Message

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one who believeth, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.Romans 116
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HearItUseItImage-1 multitudesonmondaysbutton2-1
46 A happy mum talking about her little boy
47 A happy brother sharing some news
48 Happy friends enjoying a joke
49 A friend with Herman bread made me laugh
50 Sunrise over the rooftops made me praise
51 Prayer day at the MOB society
52 From God’s word the 23rd Psalm
53 And John 10 (which I read in church)
54 How God provides and cares for us
55 In the kitchen lovely ladies to share the work
56 A clear and fresh lunch duty outside
57 An encouraging comment on my blog, thank you
58 My friend’s 7 week old babe smiling at me
59 Christmas present daffs starting to bloom
60 Finding the courage to contact a friend
61 A double rainbow - God’s faithfulness displayed
62 Tea and cake with my girlfriends
63 Washing on the line in January
64 Something that fits in the Charity shop
65 Time to iron the week’s clean, fresh shirts
66 And fold the laundry off the line
67 Whoever does the will of God he is my brother and sister and mother Mark 3 35
68 Romans 1 16
69 Ephesians 5 8-10

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

How does a shepherd care for his sheep?

 

 2012 beach 004

 

On Sunday we looked at the 23rd psalm (and I will be forever grateful to the teacher who made us learn it by heart) and John 10 and I learnt some new stuff about shepherds.

How does a  shepherd care for his sheep?

He provides for them, food and water. And our Father provides us with our daily bread but also with food for our spirits, leads us beside still waters and gives us the water that Jesus gave the woman at the well so that “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

He guides them and protects them. Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no ill for thou art with me. Jesus says that the Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep and that he holds us in his hands. “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

He knows them and cares for them “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.” How amazing that Jesus knows me – knows the number of hairs on my head just as the Shepherd “calls his sheep by name”.

“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.”

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28 home made sour pickles.

29 trying a new recipe – Mincemeat loaf - yum.

30 a student sharing their macaroni cheese

with me

31 a set of yellow pencils and

32 sharpeners and rubbers in

33 a hand made block for our desk.

34 amazing red sunrise over the downs

35 pebbly beach underfoot

36 dog alongside

37 the sound of my husband’s key in the door

38 ringing the dinner bell followed by

39 the sounds of everyone hurrying to the table.

40 kind and patient optician

41 mum being able to meet me and the boys for lunch and a hot chocolate.

42 seeing my generous dad looking so well.

43 I made and wore a birds nest necklace

44 gave my eldest back to his Uni for another term

45 shared a meal with the others he left behind.

Monday, 9 January 2012

In which Twiz starts counting her blessings instead of her grudges…

 

2011 Roma 015

























I’ve come very late to the counting gifts party.
Which is strange when you consider that I am known as the one
Who always sees some good in a bad situation (well that’s what they think).
But I was a bit scared
Would I find anything
Or would I just be thankful over and over again for my breakfast, my lunch, my dinner, lovely children, central heating…it’s not very spiritual is it?
And anyway, this week I was too busy counting grudges
everything unfair, everybody misunderstanding me
At church we were encouraged to write down a sadness
(we were thinking about the massacre of the innocents,
and how Jesus knew sadness and mourning)
And we wrote down what we would pray for, ask God for
And I found myself praying for the one who hurt me
Because for all my good and righteous intentions I hurt them too.
So I counted that a blessing
And many more followed…

7. overhearing big brother playing with little brother

8. and teaching him Maths

9. and helping with his chores

10. this old house

11. looking through my new windows

12. seeing blue skies again

13. reading the January Joy dare

14. then making this journal

15. and seeing blessings fill the pages.

16. in my bag this notebook from a lovely friend

17. in my fridge, pickle made by my husband

18. in my heart gratitude that I was led to this dare.

19. my Dad sending cake round for Uni

20. my Mum carrying it round in her trolley

21. and my son for offering to share it.

22. Light that caught me yesterday, shining on the waves

23. My son’s reflection surprised me, contacts, no glasses.

24. lovely shadows of the breakwaters.

25. a gift in my hand, banana and cinnamon muffin.

26. walking by our new desk

27. sitting down to breakfast with my son




Saturday, 7 January 2012

My Beach

 

2012 jan beach 004 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012 jan beach 005

 

Went walking on our local beach

this afternoon

you might say it’s not much of a beach

With its pebbles

tide line of seaweed

barnacled breakwaters

screeching sea gulls.

But we love it.

And think it’s beautiful.

Because it’s ours.

 

 

2012 jan beach 019 2012 jan beach 013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The seas have lifted up, LORD,
   the seas have lifted up their voice;
   the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
   mightier than the breakers of the sea—
   the LORD on high is mighty. Psalm 93 3 -4

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