Monday, 6 June 2016

Which Service at Church? - Coffee & Conversation


Sometimes as Christians we only want to go to Worship Services but neglect the Prayer Meetings.

Sometimes as Christians we only want to go to Church on Sundays and forget about our fellow congregants the rest of the week.


Sometimes we want to do only bible studies by specific people instead of looking to God for what we should study and get the best help we can for that Bible passage or topic.

Sometimes we want to go to the fun things at church but never want to help in the church community work.

Sometimes we want to simply go to church events and not actually think of how we can help those and other events take place.

Sometimes we want to be seen to be doing things in the church service but we couldn't be bothered to help behind the scenes.


One Church service but not another?

Sometimes we are happy to have the Gospel preached but not willing to invite others in to church to hear that Good News.

Sometimes we want to know that our church is reaching out to tell others of the love of God and the rescue there is from our sin through Jesus but we neglect to do our part in God's work.


We pick and choose what we do to suit ourselves but what about the needs of the church and the people of the community around us?








Sunday, 22 May 2016

Pondering the Psalms - Psalm 107

Each Sunday I choose a Psalm and write down some brief thoughts on it.


Today I'm looking at Psalm 107 



This Psalm falls into four parts:


V. 1-3
Thanksgiving to God


V. 4-32
We see a pattern repeated four times

  • The Ungodly Man
  • Turning to God & God's Intervention
  • Following God's Way
  • Goodness of God


V. 33-38
God's Good Hand on Nature
God's Good Hand on Man


V. 39-43
God's Justice & Kindness


This Psalm could be summed up simply by verse 1




Though people do not understand or see God's Hand in this world and in their lives that does not change the fact that He is always there in the world and in our lives 
and we would be wise to accept and acknowledge that.

Then we would understand his love and kindness and let Him change our lives.




Monday, 2 May 2016

We all love Free Stuff which is Good Stuff - Coffee & Conversation

Sometimes we don't realise how good something we have is.

That is exactly what happened to me a couple of years ago.



I went to the Churches Resources Exhibition in Belfast and came home with a plastic bag full of leaflets and other bits and pieces. A few days later I went through the contents of the bag quickly, mostly saying to myself that I would read through the leaflets properly when I had more time and only concentrate on the things I had particularly asked for or lifted from the stands right now.

Well the other leaflets just got put in a pile and a long time later I eventually decided to go through them mainly to throw them out because I was tired of seeing the pile on my desk in the study.

Imagine my surprise when I read about BES.    

Bible Educational Services


This is a free resource, yes FREE and I was missing out.




How was I missing out?

Because when I had been given the info. I had not properly realised what I was being given.

 At an event like this one you get so used to everything being expensive and everybody trying to persuade you that their product is the best that you can so easily click off and toss the name or idea into the back of your mind, and the leaflet into your bag to be forgotten about with lots of others.

I was annoyed at myself because I had not taken more of an interest at the time, and that I had been so unorganised that I hadn't sorted out and read everything much sooner after I got home.

Needless to say I spent some time on their website and downloaded some items which will help with the upcoming topics in our Sunday School Curriculum in the near future and some which I was able to make good use of almost immediately. Then in a few months time I will have to look into it again and see how we might benefit from it for the next year.

So go Check out the FREE Bible Lessons at BES






And let's tell others


We all love Free Stuff which is Good Stuff!







Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The Right or Wrong Way? - A Dose of Encouragement 107


Previously I had written about Reading One Verse a Day and writing down my immediate thoughts on it and I posted them on facebook for a month.

This had stemmed from me trying to form a new habit where I would read a verse of the bible before I would read my emails each morning.

Well they say if you do something every day for a month you will form a new habit but I am proof that unfortunately

it is just not true.

It is easier to skim through emails while still half asleep than to sit and take in some Words of Scripture.

I'm being honest here.
I need to sip my coffee first thing in the morning and gradually come round because I am not a jump out of bed and be bustling with energy type of person.
I'm more the don't talk to me or ask me to make any decisions until I've had my coffee.

However since this experiment I have been reading a few verses at a time and seeing a benefit from that which I didn't really see before.  I am seeing that even one verse read (no matter how quickly) can leave a thought, idea, or even just one word that may simmer inside and come to fruition later.



I was always more the "read at least a proper paragraph" person because I always felt like everything should be read in context.

Now I'm more "yes I need my context to fully understand" but I also sometimes need a sentence or a word to jar into my subconscious and edge into my thoughts later in the day"


So I was coming to the realisation that there is no right or wrong way to read your bible.

 The most important thing was to read it.


So - What about those times when we come to a passage that we feel we know so well?

  • Do we skip it?
  • Do we skim over it?
    Photo from Graphic Stock
  • Do we read it and let our minds wander as we do so?
  • Do we read it quickly and think we know what is there and we have already got the relevance of it in the past?
  • Do we read it and accept that it is relevant for us TODAY not just because it is part of God's Word but because it is the part He has brought us to TODAY?




I love to read but as time goes by I find that I am skim reading more and more and later I cannot fully explain what I have been reading because as I skim read I am not getting the full details of the subject matter and also not taking the time to let the information register in my brain.

I need to get back to reading more slowly and reading every word.


So I was coming back to the realisation that there is a right and wrong way to read your bible.

 The wrong way is to skim through it.


Is there a Right Way or Wrong Way to Read your Bible?


God's Word is important for my everyday life and I want to encourage you that it is important for your everyday life as well.

Let's get back to actually reading it and absorbing it instead of skimming it.





Monday, 4 April 2016

What's on our bookshelves? - Coffee & Conversation.

Do you enjoy reading?

Do you have a lot of books?






I have 5 bookcases in my study:


  • 1 completely full of Christian novels; 
  • another has Christian novels, devotionals and Bible Study books;
  • the third has bibles, commentaries, biographies and my Agatha Christie collection (Heron Books); 
  • the fourth has language books, photo albums, map books and my hoard of books to use for the Sunday School Curriculum for Church;
  • the last one has the rest of my non-Christian novels by various authors but quite a few of Nelson DeMille, Jeffrey Archer, John Grisham, Brad Melizer, Linwood Barclay & Lee Child.





We have lived in 8 different houses since we got married and each time we move we have all these books to pack up and then find the right places in the next home for the bookshelves.  

We keep saying that one day we should be thinking of downsizing so where will we put the books then?  

If they were all available as ebooks would we throw them out and buy them as ebooks? 

I know I would be tempted to keep my nice matching Agatha Christie novels at least as I really am enjoying sitting in the sun room with my hardback copies of these as I read through them all in Chronological Order and then review them here on the blog.

My husband and I read a lot of the same books, just as we watch a lot of the same TV series and this was always very handy when it came to travelling as we took the books we both wanted to read and shared them instead of each packing our own.  

Now of course it is so much handier to just carry our iPads and Kindles and we don't have to spend time beforehand deciding on the joint book list.







The only problem now is that not all the Christian novels we would like to collect are in ebook form.

We also find that those which are available as ebooks are very expensive compared to other novels.

However I do like to keep an eye out through Twitter and Facebook for any indication of free offers on ebooks or reduced prices and swiftly go on Amazon to snap them up.

The great thing about ebooks (apart from the fact that they are easy to carry around in the kindle or iPad) is the fact that you don't need extra bookshelves to store them in, well not real ones anyway.

"Is a book in your hand better than an ebook?"

My oldest son says a book in your hand is so much better than an ebook.
He is worse than us as he has a full wall of his apartment lined with books from floor to ceiling, plus another bookshelf on the wall beside this, then some boxes of books under his bed and of course we must not forget the several boxes of books he still has in our house under the snooker table.






This is like the Daddy.......Chips? question I mentioned in a previous post.

Books........Ebooks?     Which is it to be?






Sunday, 27 March 2016

Pondering the Psalms - Psalm 146

Each Sunday I choose a Psalm and write down some brief thoughts on it.


Today I'm looking at Psalm 146 


This is one of those Psalms I feel is overlooked at times.


This Psalm falls into five parts:

V. 1-2
When to Praise the Lord.

V. 3-4
Who not to Trust in.

V. 5-7
The Hope we have in the Lord.

V. 8-9
The Deeds of the Lord.

V. 10
The Crescendo!



"When should we praise the Lord?"


When to Praise the Lord.
We must praise Him while we are alive.
Not just some of our years but all the years we we live knowing that He is the Lord.



Who not to Trust in.
Oh we should know this but still it has to be mentioned.
Humans are human they are not perfect as God is perfect.
Man has been given life by God and one day each man will lose that life he has been given.
We are finite so can not be the true inspiration for anyone.


The Hope we have in the Lord.
We have true happiness & help when we trust in God because He is our Hope.


The Deeds of the Lord.
Look how much we are told God does just in these few short verses.
He is the Creator, the Truth, the honest Judge, the Provider, the Rescuer, the Healer, the Uplifter of our souls, the Lover of Righteousness, the Carer.
But we must not forget He is also the one who will confront the wicked.


The Crescendo! 
The Psalmist again ends as he started this Psalm with Praise for the Lord.







We are not to choose when or how often we should Praise the Lord.
We are to do it while we live.
While we have breath.



We should start our days with Him in Praise and end them in Praise
to the only one who is worthy of that Praise.

To God be the praise forever and forever!








Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The Waterwheel - A Dose of Encouragement 106



        Some years ago a friend of ours was going through a very hard time in her life.  

She came to stay with us for a couple of weeks and needed a lot of understanding, sympathy and encouragement to help her see that she was loved.


        One Sunday morning when we took her to church with us there was a time of prayer and ministry for individuals and my husband Fred asked her to go forward for God to bless her.  

I stood beside her and prayed that God would use someone there to really pray into her specific situation and that did happen as the people there could sense she had a great hurt to deal with.  


Then God showed me a picture of a waterwheel turning slowly round 
on the side of an old mill. 


As the wheel turned the sections of the wheel were filled up with water and this turned the wheel round and round.

This waterwheel was moving very slowly and we could think that it was moving so slowly that it would not make any difference to anything.  But something happened as the water was continually flowing through that wheel and turning it - there was energy created.  Even though the water was not very forceful and moving slowly through the wheel, the mill was still receiving power. 



Of course we would think that the mill required either a swift flowing current or a good head of water and with all the sections of the wheel intact the water would then provide the power that was needed.  Also if there were sections of that wheel missing it would be noticeable in the working of the mill. 

However that wheel was gradually going round and round and increasing in speed as it was letting the water do the work it was meant to do.

"Sometimes we need to remember the waterwheel"

Our friend needed to allow God to keep her in the flow of His love and care and settle in the security of knowing that He has enough love to encourage and keep her going. Things might seem like they were moving slowly and she might think she could not cope but with God she could count on the fact that all He did by the work of His Holy spirit would matter and He would help her cope with it all no matter how long it would take.


Sometimes I can feel the same way and need to remember that waterwheel myself.




Monday, 7 March 2016

8 Pet peeves! - Coffee & Conversation







I know you are more like me than you think you are.

I know you have some Pet Peeves.


Here are 8 of my Pet peeves. 


Disclosure:  they may have been rather influenced by not getting my full night's sleep.






1. People who park where they shouldn't so that it is difficult for the people who should be able to park there to get a spot.

2. People who say you never told me that when you know you have but they don't pay proper attention.

3. People who say they told you something when it was really the other way round.

4. People who start telling you about something you should do when you had told them about that ages ago.

5. People who leave everything to the last minute.

6. Movies made from books but the endings or even more than that are changed, the book was good because of how it was written and the outcome so why change it. 

"I've got 8 Pet Peeves today!"

7. Dogs who bark early in the morning and wake me up.

8. Husbands who wake you up 10 - 20 mins before your alarm is due to go off and you know you have no chance of getting back to sleep, why do I have to miss out on that last bit of sleep? Makes for a bad start to a Saturday morning, and this is from the man who has shared nearly 39 years of Saturday mornings with me.






Feel Free to list some of your Pet Peeves in the comments.



Sunday, 28 February 2016

Pondering the Psalms - Psalm 95

Each Sunday I choose a Psalm and write down some brief thoughts on it.


Today I'm looking at Psalm 95 


This is one of Encouragement to come to God with Praise and Worship



This Psalm falls into 5 parts:


V. 1-2
A Call to Praise

V. 3-5
The Reason Why

V. 6
A Call to Worship

V. 7
The Reason Why

V. 8-11
A Prophetic Word of God


"The way to go deeper with God"


A Call to Praise.
The way to come and approach The Lord: singing, joyfully, knowing He is our rock, thankfully, remembering our Salvation.


The Reason Why.
He is a Great God.
He is a Great King.
All of the Earth is His.
All of the Sea is His.
Everything is His.


A Call to Worship.
The way to go deeper with God: with reverence, humility and awe of our Creator.


The Reason Why.
We are His People and He is our God.  He is the one who protects and cares for us.


A Prophetic word of God.
A Reminder not to be like the Israelites in the wilderness when they hardened their hearts, tempted God and looked to themselves and not God.






The first part of the Psalm seems to be the instruction of how we are to pursue 
our relationship with the Lord


The second part is how not to have the right relationship.







Friday, 26 February 2016

Where Will They All Sleep? - Housework/Funwork 66



The first month of the New Year is already over and what have I done in the house?


Well I try each year to follow my Monthly Plan which means I would have the Master Bedroom and the Master Ensuite to overhaul in the month of January.


BUT
I really felt as if I was very disorganised this year so far, blaming it on the fact that
  • we had our baby grandson to spend time with, 
  • we had two storms which did a lot of damage to our garden
  • we were preparing for our daughter to come from South Korea to spend the whole of February with us
  • we were preparing for our daughter's Korean boyfriend to come stay for a short period during this month
  • we were also preparing for our oldest son to come stay at the same time as Linda and Pildu (Stephen)

Hence my usual schedule is out the window!




PREPARATION for VISITORS

Thankfully I am a woman of LISTS.

But when I realised that we would have Linda, Stephen and Jonathan all here at the same time I needed not just my lists but some restructuring and thinking as to how they would all be able to stay with us.

Now this probably seems strange that someone who is living in what was advertised as a 6 bedroom house is wondering how she is going to have 4 bedrooms available and usable.

But when we moved to our latest location we decided to not have rooms taken up as bedrooms when we would seldom need them.


Instead 

  • Fred has an office
  • I have a study
  • We have a dressing room 
  • We also have a games room (which is really a storage room for the things the kids have left with us and the large pool table that came with the house).  


That leaves us with 2 bedrooms.

  • The Master Bedroom for Fred and I
  • The Guest Room for family & friends

GUEST ROOM



A quick think back to October 2013 when our other son got married reminded us of how we could cope because then we had to provide sleeping arrangements for our three kids, a best man, a groomsman and ourselves.


Where will they all Sleep?


So how do I accommodate three extra people none of whom will be sharing a room?

  • Linda will be in the Guest Room because she will be here first and leave last.
  • We have a Bed-Settee in our Sun Room so that will mean the Sun Room will become a bedroom for Stephen.
  • We also have a great Airbed called the EZ bed (blows up by itself and is raised up on trellised legs) which collapses down to a very manageable storage size and that will be the bed for our son Jonathan and we had 3 places we could put it  -  kitchen seating area or dressing room or Fred's Office.




Next Thought was about MEALS


That was actually quite easy to plan and prepare because

  • Jonathan is always looking for any excuse to have Fish & Chips when he comes to stay with us as he is convinced that Fish & Chips in Northern Ireland are far superior to those in England; so we will have that once or twice. 
  • Linda will be looking to have all the meals she associates with home especially roast dinners because she hasn't got an oven to prepare those types of meals in Korea.
  • Stephen has previously lived in America for several years so will enjoy western style meals and enjoys tasting new things. 




Yes Tayto Crisps of all types were tasted daily by Stephen (even for breakfast) and found to be the Best Crisps in the World which of course we already knew.


Stephen is already back home in Korea after meeting our daughter-in-law and grandson, having had some sightseeing trips of our beautiful country and having been part of a special event in our lives (see picture below).




But of course there was another reason Stephen came to see us.


He came to ask if he could marry Linda.




I think this has all been more FUNWORK than HOUSEWORK




Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Where's My Name? - A Dose of Encouragement 105



In my last Dose of Encouragement  I talked about how we personalized Christmas and today I want to tell you about the Personalized Bookmarks I started to make many years ago.


There were 3 different designs:
2 for girls names
and
1 for boys names.


For the girls names I chose hearts and butterflies and if you have read much of this blog these choices will not surprise you as I Love Hearts and I Love Butterflies.


I have recently written about a simple little Heart Recycle, previously I had done a kids craft post for a Heart Themed Valentine Banner  and in an earlier Dose of Encouragement I shared about how I was Missing the Butterflies in the garden of my new home.





For the boys names I chose books and it is obvious by the Book Reviews on this blog that I Love Books.





Now often when I would be at a Craft Fair or other event selling the bookmarks I would hear children and adults talking to each other and saying

 "Where's My Name?"


There always seemed to be some expectancy in that question.

Mostly this was simply from someone who wanted to see their name on a bookmark not necessarily to buy one.  But because I also had the meanings of the names on the bookmarks it was sometimes from people who were just interested in knowing the meaning of their name.  This part of it would attract their attention.


"Where's My Name?"

Then there was another question they would ask me

     "Have you got my name?"


There was always a bit of hope in that question but not always any expectancy.


This would be from the people who really felt they had little hope of seeing their name on any personalized items but it was worth a try.
Like people who had a different spelling of the name compared to others or their name was a very unusual one.

My sister is called Averil and because it is spelt with an "e" she could never find anything with her name, in fact people would often write her name without the "e" thinking they were correcting it. Then she named her daughter Clair without the "e" and they both ended up rarely finding anything personalized for them.

I know that my sister and I had often looked through stands of personalized items in shops just in the hope that one day we would be able to buy something for Clair many years ago when Clair was young, now over the years the odd time we have managed to find Clair's name but not Averil's.

When I heard that question at a craft fair I would ask the person what their name was and help them find it in my bookmark stand or explain that I was sorry I did not have their name but perhaps they would like me to take their name and address and I would make one specially for them.

For the people with names that could never be found this was quite a surprise and also a pleasure to know that someone could offer them something they had as yet never been able to find.
I could simply have said "sorry I don't have that name" and have left it like that but of course that would not have been so good for me trying to sell my items or so nice for the person who had already felt rejected over their name.



Today I was thinking on these two questions and the offer I could make to people.


Then about the question so many people ask themselves with some hope but no expectancy


"Will I go to Heaven?"


"Will I go to Heaven?"


I'm glad that I have the hope and expectancy of my home with Jesus in Heaven.


I'm glad that the Bible tells me my name is written in Heaven.





I'm glad that when I die I will not have to ask

"Have you got my name?"


with some hope  but not with any great  expectancy.


I'm glad that when I die I will not have to hear God say

"sorry I don't have that name"



Because I will be happy as I ask

 "Where's My Name?"

full of  expectancy  to see my name written in the Lamb's Book of Life



I could make the offer to create a personalized bookmark if the person was willing to buy it.

But God has already made us the offer of a life with Him in Heaven and He says we don't even have to pay for it, it is free for us because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

It's an offer of salvation but we have to accept it.

If you have read this far then either you have already accepted God's Salvation and you share that hope and expectancy with me or you are in the place of knowing that you want this gift but have as yet not made that step of accepting it.

Please don't hesitate any longer.

It's an offer you have to accept.


"It's an offer you have to accept"


If you want more help on this please watch the  3 2 1 Video in the sidebar or  Click through to read more here.