Sunday, 31 January 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 three 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!








Sunday, 24 January 2016

Pondering The Psalms - Psalm 27

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


Today I'm looking at Psalm 27 


This is one of the Psalms of David.


This Psalm falls into five parts:

V. 1
Declaration

V. 2-3
Confidence

V. 4-6
Praise

V. 7-12
Teaching

V. 13-14
Hope


Declaration.
We need to physically say these words.
We need to speak forth the truth, to truly grasp that we need not be afraid
       
                        He is our Light

                              and
                                        He is our Salvation 

                                              and
                                                        He is our Stronghold


Confidence.
The speaking out as in the last two verses and the knowledge that there is no need to be afraid leads on to being confident about what we know God has promised  -  this makes me think of Psalm 34 
He has promised that He is on our side.


Praise.
The result of seeking God, wanting to live in His ways and being in His Shelter can only lead to us giving Him all the praise and thanksgiving we can.


Declaration, Confidence, Praise, Teaching, Hope.


Teaching.
Crying out to God, seeking His face and accepting His gracious help leads us to listen and pay attention to Him to learn what is the good and acceptable will of God   (Romans 12:2)
All because we are not leaning to the way of others or to our natural instincts but we are being focused on His way.


Hope.
Knowing God's promises, having gained confidence in knowing God's will and His way and being prepared to wait on Him has all come to the point where we know we have hope for now and for the future.







A Lighthouse and a Lifeboat

illustrations

of 

His Love stretched out to us.






Saturday, 23 January 2016

Christian Songs for Kids - Rolled Away

Do you find it hard to get visuals and recordings for different kids songs?


Each month I am going to share 
one or two songs with you providing  

Visuals 
(Powerpoint or Picture or details of how you can make one) 

Words   
(chords also available)

Recording  
(mp3 or video to learn the song) 


Then if you would like to download the visual of the song there will be a link provided to my creation, or I will direct you to where else you can find it.   



Also don't forget you can go to the top of this post or to the sidebar on the right and sign up for an email reminder of my posts. 

Then you will know when the next song is posted.


This month I am taking the theme of


Forgiveness of Sins



The song I have chosen is 



Rolled Away

This is one of the most enjoyable choruses for the kids to interact in as they love to do the actions and sing it faster each time trying to keep up with the actions and not get mixed up.

When they are enjoying it they are still picking up the concept behind it and it is also the type of tune that just sticks in their heads.

I have been using this song for over 30 years and all the children over all those years have had fun with this song.




POWERPOINT


Here is a powerpoint show with music from Hebron Outreach so have a look at it and if you go to their website you can copy it freely.







WORDS


To get a copy of the words and the chords click HERE

There are two arrangements and the words are slightly different.





ACTIONS

Rolled away   -  roll your hands around each other and flick them over your shoulder  x3
And the burden  -  rest both hands on your shoulder
Of my heart  -  move both hands to your heart
Rolled away  -  roll your hands around each other and flick them over your shoulder
Every sin had to go   -  repeated flicking of hands over shoulder
Neath the cleansing flow  -  raise hands and ripple fingers as you bring your hands down in front of you
Hallelujah  -  nothing
Rolled away   -  roll your hands around each other and flick them over your shoulder  x3
And the burden  -  rest both hands on your shoulder
Of my heart  -  move both hands to your heart
Rolled away  -  roll your hands around each other and flick them over your shoulder





RECORDING

You will find an audio recording of the song with slightly different words  HERE
(listen for free)




Notes:
I cannot find any information on the author or the copyright for this song.
If anyone can help me with this information please leave a comment below or contact me by email which you will find on my About Me Page


More Songs on this Theme:
God is so Good.      (Available later)
My heart was Black with Sin.      (Available later)






Wednesday, 20 January 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.




Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The Sittaford Mystery - Book Review

I am trying to read through the novels of Agatha Christie in the order in which they were written and write a review on each one.
  


The Sittaford Mystery. 

1931  



Shelfari Description

In a remote house in the middle of Dartmoor, six shadowy figures huddle around a small round table for a seance. 

Tension rises as the spirits spell out a chilling message:
           'Captain Trevelyan...dead...murder'. 

Is this black magic or simply a macabre joke? 

The only way to be certain is to locate Captain Trevelyan. 

Unfortunately, his home is six miles away and, with snow drifts blocking the roads, someone will have to make the journey on foot...





My Thoughts

This is the 14th book by Agatha Christie and the First to be what I would describe as a stand alone murder mystery.   

It features none of Miss Christie's previous detectives or sleuths and none of the characters in this book are found in any of the later books she wrote.

This story is based in the countryside and in the depth of winter making travelling difficult and that is essential to the whole book.

There are a small cast of neighbours but of course our writer is not confined to just these few to weave her story but also takes us far away to see that others may have had some influence in it all.

I really enjoyed this story and do believe that this title is the better title for the book than the American one of "Murder at Hazelmoor".    Yes the story is of a murder but definitely in this Christie novel it is the mystery that we need to solve.

Of course a detective/policeman is needed to solve the case but even that is not exactly as it seems at first and in my eyes this is another good example of the Christie use of Red Herrings.

A good read and a simple solution but just not simple until explained.


 Here is a link to a list of her novels on Shelfari
Books by Agatha Christie





Sunday, 17 January 2016

Pondering the Psalms - Psalm 136


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


Today I'm looking at Psalm 136 


This Psalm falls into 5 parts:



V. 1-3
God


V. 4-9
Creation


V. 10-22
Redemption


V. 23-25
Love


V. 26
Hope


This Psalm starts and ends with two almost identical verses - verse 1 and verse 26


However they are each placed specifically at those important points.

We Start with God's Goodness



God.
He is the God of gods and the Lord of lords.
 He is Good, He is Merciful and He is Love and His goodness, mercy and love will never end.
 How could we not be thankful?





Creation.
He is full of wonder and creative power.
All that is on, above and around the earth was made by Him.


Redemption.
He provided our Salvation right from the start.
Our lives should be a witness to that.


Love.
He is the one who always sees, cares, and acts on behalf of His people.


Hope.
Even though we have not seen Heaven or can properly understand Heaven we believe in God so we believe in Heaven because we know His love is not going to end.



The Psalm is a portrait of our lives with Him.

 How He is good to us and draws us 
through our knowledge of 
His Greatness, Salvation and Love 
to the culmination of a 
Home 
perfectly prepared for us by Him.


We end with Heaven.


This is a Psalm which some might say is simply repetitive.

But

this is really a Psalm of recognition on our part of how worthy God is to be praised 
over and over again.


This is a Psalm which uses the history of the world to highlight the Love of God
to His people

and

to lead us to 

the Eternal Hope we have in Heaven - our home with Him! 









Friday, 15 January 2016

A Simple Little Heart Recycle & 365 in 365 for Last Year - Housework/Funwork 65


Preparations coming up to Christmas and having family here over Christmas doesn't leave a lot of time to declutter or tackle any jobs I might have on my list but even getting a little thing done is helpful.


As I was sorting out some of the many things that had accumulated around my desk (which I have been gradually working on for ages) I came across two hearts.

They were from our niece Joanne's Wedding over 2 years ago and had been our place names at the wedding reception.



I like black and white and was sure that I could find some way of using them on a project so had kept them, but up to now I had not thought of how to use them.

Then now after two years I see them and suddenly have an idea.

If you have read previous blog posts of mine about my study and about things I love then you will know that I really do love hearts and have quite a few hearts around the study and the house.

In fact on the bathroom door and the back toilet door I have hearts to show what the room is




I had got these on ebay and loved them so I also later contacted the lady selling them to see if she had ones with study and office on them but she didn't.

Well I know that these hearts are not the same but I just thought I would use them anyway and all I needed was some blu tac and a pair of scissors.

I snipped off the long parts of the black ribbon just leaving the little bows on each heart, then stuck them to the doors with some blu tac.

How simple a recycle was that?




I didn't add the words study or office because I would not be able to match the special calligraphy already on them but the names would do just fine as the study is mine and the office is Fred's.



Well now to look at the final results of my


DECLUTTERING  &  365 in 365 for 2015

If you are interested in more detail or see what room or job was tackled around the house then click on the Month to go see the relevant post.

JANUARY

Total of 29 items for this month.
Not bad only 2 short for the 31 days in January


FEBRUARY

Total of 42 items for this month.
Not bad for the 28 days in February.

So running total gives me
January   29
February 42
TOTAL    71  items  in  59 days


MARCH

Total of 31 this month so exactly right in 31 Days

So running total gives me
January   29
February 42
March      31
TOTAL    102  items  in  90  days


APRIL

Total 8 out of 30  for April
Not so good

So running total gives me
January   29
February 42
March      31
April          8
TOTAL    110  items  in  120 days


MAY

Nothing decluttered this month
This meant no change to my total so far for the year


JUNE

I did really well!
57 items this month

So running total gives me

January     29
February   42
March       31
April           8
May            0
June          57
TOTAL    167 items  in  181 days  



26 items went this month

So running total gives me

January     29
February   42
March       31
April           8
May            0
June          57
July           26
TOTAL     193 items  in  212 days  


AUGUST

67 things this month really helped me catch up and actually get ahead.

So running total gives me

January     29
February   42
March       31
April           8
May            0
June          57
July           26
August      67
TOTAL    260 items  in  243 days  


SEPTEMBER  

Fighting a Throat infection kept me back in September getting only 9 items decluttered 

So running total gives me

January        29
February      42
March          31
April              8
May               0
June             57
July              26
August         67
September    9
TOTAL    269  items  in  273 days  


OCTOBER & NOVEMBER

Again only 12 in October but I think I can blame the fact that we were waiting for the birth of our first grandchild at the end of the month

January        29
February      42
March          31
April              8
May               0
June             57
July              26
August         67
September    9
October      12
TOTAL    281 items  in  304 days  

but  better in November with 28 items

so total now up to November was

January        29
February      42
March          31
April              8
May               0
June             57
July              26
August         67
September    9
October      12
November   28
TOTAL    309 items  in  334 days  

This left me with 56 items to declutter in December to reach my goal and here's how I did


DECEMBER

Car Boot Sale  -  18 items
2 packs of christmas cards
1 vase
1 tissue box cover
1 pen pot
1 trinket box
2 creams
1 shower scrubber
1 set of decorative hearts
1 sequinned bag
1 pair of runners
1 piano ornament
1 metal basket shelf
1 decorative pill box
1 cable roll holder
1 driver licence holder
1 Christmas music decoration


Thrown Out   -   21 items
1 old diary
2 cds
1 torn blanket storage bag
1 old phone holder
1 old door mat
1 broken torch
1 pile of old kids drawings etc.  (kept just a few - good memories)
1 pile of papers from more files of mine
1 book
1 magazine
1 broken plastic folder
1 pair of slippers
1 dvd of an old game
3 old candles
1 old mobile phone
1 old charger
1 old electronic bible reader
1 old computer battery


Selling on GUMTREE  -  23 items
6 soup bowls
6 saucers
5 tea cups
3 saucers
1 larger cup
1 larger saucer
1 Teapot lid

62 in total

so final total of  371 in 365 days  -  SUCCESS!





Wednesday, 13 January 2016

How We Personalized Christmas - A Dose of Encouragement 104


In the past we have often given someone a personalised present at Christmas or we have got personalised tree decorations for our kids

BUT  this year

we personalised it quite a bit.


To start with it was our grandson Matthew's first Christmas and although he didn't know what was going on ( not even 8 weeks old by Christmas) we were all thinking about him and we started off by receiving gifts from others mentioning

"Baby's First Christmas"


Then we were at it ourselves because I bought a star tree decoration handmade about Matthew for our tree and then got one identical for Daniel & Suzie's tree.





But Fred was the one who thought of the idea that included everyone.

Now I'm the one who loves mugs and I always find myself glancing over the array of mugs in any place I see them just in case I will see a nice one (should be a bargain of course) or see one that makes me think of someone in particular and I know it will be a nice gift for them.


But Fred was the one who had the idea about the personalized mugs!


So he designed them for each of the family




The mugs for the proud grandparents.






The mugs for the proud aunt and uncle.






The mugs for the proud parents.





Then a mug for each of my 4 Black Boys.



And that is how we personalised Christmas this year.


So often we go through Christmas time in a blur of shopping, cooking, giving gifts, visiting and eating together but do we make sure that the time is really personalised?


We can personalise Christmas time in two ways and neither of them has anything to do with our names on mugs or anywhere else.


We can personalize Christmas Time in 2 ways.


We can personalise it by putting our mark on Christmas.

Yes we need time to shop for gifts and food, cook for the family and friends, give and receive gifts, visit and have meals together but we can also make time to engage with others on a good one to one basis and not just the hurried "Merry Christmas" and "hug".

We can think about little things that will make the time a happier memory for others or a time when they know someone cared enough to talk and listen to them and share a laugh or two.

I can think of a great example that happens each year in the Coffee Shop that our son Daniel manages in Belfast.  On Christmas Day anyone and everyone who may be on their own over Christmas are invited to come to Common Grounds and share in a Freshly Cooked full Christmas Dinner.




Volunteers flock to help and others are eager to donate food or money to provide a special meal and afternoon for anyone who drops in.
This year over 110 people were served and not only they, but also the volunteers were blessed in their time together.



We can personalise it by putting Christ's mark on Christmas.

Yes again we need to do all the practical things and a lot of what is involved now at Christmas time is centred around things rather than the person who is the reason we celebrate Christmas.




We need to make Jesus the Centre of Christmas and the Reason for Christmas.


One thing I insist on each year is that the Christmas cards we send out will always be focusing on Jesus and not referring to Christmas as a season.
  

Here are a few of my favourites  
(you can click on the pictures to see some stories that go with the cards)








And one we sent the kids in our Sunday School - deliberately picked to remind the children of the puppet show we had in church that year on the nativity and the fun time they had with the camel puppet.




Even this year when we sent out fewer cards and then sent an email greeting to link to a family letter on this blog we still wanted to express our thankfulness to God for sending the Saviour of the world and chose this picture for our Christmas greeting, keeping Christ at the centre.




We often hear things like:

“if you had been the only person on earth Jesus would have still died for you”

But we are not the only ones so we have a responsibility to put Christ's mark on each Christmas we celebrate here on earth to share Jesus with others and not remove Him from it.


We need to remember "Our mark & His mark".


I generally like to buy my Christmas Cards really early (as in the January sales!) so I am looking again now for a card with a fully Jesus centred theme to make sure I personalize Christmas for Christ.




Monday, 11 January 2016

I Wish - Coffee & Conversation


If you are a regular reader here or have stopped by my blog a few times then you may well know how much I Love Coffee & Chocolate.

Well at the moment I'm trying to cut down on the chocolate but ....  well not so much on the coffee.

I enjoy a large mug of coffee to sit and sip on when I'm checking my emails and sorting my ToDo lists in the morning & you also probably know how much I Love Lists and depend on them.

I do a lot of reading which is another Coffee Break Time and a lot of thinking so I thought I might do a new series on 




where I just talk a little about what is on my mind.



Today I'm starting with some things that  "I Wish"  about people.




I often WISH that I could recognize how all the people I meet are feeling so that I can understand them better.


So I PRAY that God will help me to understand people better and that He will help me do all those things I have mentioned in my little rant above.




Do you wish this about people? 


Do you pray this about yourself?