Sunday, 11 November 2018

Sunday Scripture - 1 Thessalonians 5 v 16-18


Sunday Scripture is just simply a thought or two on a Bible verse that may have struck me afresh or maybe for the first time or has always been special to me.


Today I am looking at 1 Thessalonians 5 v 16-18





For years now I have heard lots of talk about

 "What is God's Purpose in Your Life?"

or

 "What is God's Purpose for you?"



Often I think that this is directed more at women than at men because of the fact that

 we might be "stay at home mums"!

or

 we might be "housewives"!

or

 we might be sitting in our church wondering "what our role is"!




I think that we need to remember two things 
when we are tempted to start listening to or reading 
what someone else has to say 
about our role or our purpose in life.



FIRSTLY

THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM

No. 1.

Q. What is the chief end of man?

A. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.



SECONDLY

The verses we are looking at today 




When we focus on God and what he has instructed for all of us,

when we are rejoicing in our Salvation,

when we are in constant communion with Him,

when we can see our way to be thankful to Him for all He does for us each day; 

other things will fall into place. 


What should we be doing?

Then we will know

when something is right for us to do 

or

when we should say yes to the 
specific, unique things
 God has for us.






So we are left with two questions: 
  

What should You & I be Doing?

&


Are we willing to go back to His instructions and focus on Him first?








Sunday, 28 October 2018

Sunday Scripture - Psalm 16 v 8


Sunday Scripture is just simply a thought or two on a Bible verse that may have struck me afresh or maybe for the first time or has always been special to me.


Today I am looking at Psalm 16 v 8





This week I had a number of different things that had to be done.

We are getting a new kitchen so the old one was being removed this week and the tiles taken up from the floor which meant a lot of packig things up and moving things to use in other rooms.

But some things I had to do were simply because I just was too easily distracted by other things during the previous week and so didn't get round to these things.

Oh how easily distracted we can be!

Our attention flitters from 

      one thing to another, 

            one person to another, 

                  one blog post to another, 

                        one TV programme to another, 

                              one song to another,

                                    one thought to another......



Who do we flitter to instead of looking to God?



We need to have a determined attitude to keep our focus on God.

We need to be able to say






Is this not a great declaration to set in the face of the devil!



Oh yes things will still surround us and we will have to think of other things and other people but if we can truly say the first part of this verse 


I have set the Lord always before me:

then we will be able to hold on to the second part.  



because He is at my right hand I shall not be removed.


We will still be looking to Him,

have His guidance at all times 

and 
have His presence 

so we will not be enticed away by the other gods of this world.



Oh how easily distracted we can be.


What a wonderful position to be in because then we can also say 


Psalm 16 v 11
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. 


                                                        


Are you determined to set God always before you?




Thursday, 18 October 2018

N is for Newcastle - A to Z of Places I have Visited


I am writing about some places I have visited in alphabetical order.






Today I am writing about a place I have visited quite a few times and although I was brought up on the other side of the country from it I now live just 30 mins away by car.  I live in County Down Northern Ireland and this lovely seaside town is also in beautiful County Down.



County Down UK location map



I first remember going to Newcastle, County Down in Northern Ireland when I was a teenager and it holds fond memories for me of getting lost on the way up the mountain with a few others including the future Mr Black.

I'm the girl in between the two Freds and one of them is still beside me today.






Then many many years later after having lived abroad twice Fred and I moved back to Northern Ireland from Belgium and instead of returning to County Londonderry we chose to live on the eastern side of the country in Banbridge, County Down.






Banbridge is about 40 mins by car from Belfast in the North East and approximately 30 mins from Newcastle on the South East coast.

We have never lived as close to a Seaside Resort before but even so we have not been to Newcastle very often.


Newcastle is famous for the fact that it sits at the bottom of Slieve Donard "where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea".  This is taken from a line of a well-known Northern Ireland song written by Percy French and there is a restaurant on the northern part of the town beside the Famous Slieve Donnard Hotel named after this composer.

As you can see below the Mournes and the town of Newcastle are lovely on a bright clear day.


Newcastle Donard


This is the view along part of the main street of Newcastle looking towards Slieve Donard and the Mourne Mountains.  Yes that highest peak is the one that we were supposed to be climbing all those years previously but sadly did not get near the top.



In 2013 our second son got married and he and his bride had their wedding reception in Newcastle.

They had pictures taken in Belfast and then also when they reached Newcastle where it was mostly the family photos.  Imagine in a day at the end of October when it is well into autumn (known in Northern Ireland for the rain) and you are having wedding pictures taken in the late afternoon on the sea front in the wind and rain.






Yes you can well imagine how our hair got blown about and we felt a little chilly.


Later in the same year we were back in Newcastle. On one of our oldest sons visits back to us from England we decided to drive there on a dull December day.

Now Newcastle (as all the other seaside resorts in Northern Ireland) is well-known for its windy weather but this day it was exceptional.  We left Banbridge with clouds in the sky but at least it was dry.

30 mins later we were sitting in a car park along the sea front in Newcastle watching the wind, rain and crashing waves which were roaring along in a storm.  Needless to say on this visit to the seaside only one of us got out of the car.  Our son Jonathan dived out to take a picture and an extremely short video of the storm.  I took a picture and a video from inside the car (I had more sense just to lean out the window for minute).




The beautiful Mourne Mountains that my husband often admires are partly hidden in the mist.


We had some friends visit a few years later for just a few days at the end of March and we decided to go for a walk along the promenade in Newcastle.  This time it was so calm and warm we had to take off our coats and we all decided to have ice-cream.  Unfortunately no photo was taken this time as it was the early evening time and already dark.


If we had been there during the day we would have seen the calmness and brightness like in this picture below which shows the southern end towards the harbour.

© Eric Jones and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

No visit to Newcastle is complete without a walk alone the promenade which in recent years was picturesquely extended and includes a lovely bridge.  Each time we walk along it I say how nice it would be to live in one of the apartments alongside it which are overlooking the sea and Fred reminds me that yes I would enjoy it in the summertime.

It is such a pity that Northern Ireland does not have warm sunny weather for a longer period of time in the year so that the town of Newcastle could be enjoyed more.

However there are many shops and some amusements to entertain visitors when the weather is not so dry.


Kent Amusements, Newcastle, County Down, September 2011






If you missed any of the previous places in this series just click on the Titles below:

A for Alicante
B for Bratislava
C for Calpe
D for Durbuy
E for Ennis
F for Florida
G for Gran Canaria
H for HongKong
I for Islandmagee
J for Jersey
K for Killyleagh
L for Leeds
M for Monschau






Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Murder in the Mews - Book Review


Disclaimer:
There is an affiliate link on this blogpost.



I am reading through the novels of Agatha Christie in the order in which they were written and writing a review on each one.








Murder in the Mews



1937


Description


Murder, stolen plans, a mysterious death and a menage a trois – four intriguing novellas featuring Hercule Poirot…
How did a woman holding a pistol in her right hand manage to shoot herself in the left temple? What was the link between a ghost sighting and the disappearance of top secert military plans? How did the bullet that killed Sir Gervase shatter a mirror in another part of the room? And who destroyed the ‘eternal triangle’ of love involving renowned beauty, Valentine Chantry?
Hercule Poirot is faced with four mystifying cases – Murder in the Mews, The Incredible Theft, Dead Man’s Mirror and Triangle at Rhodes – each a miniature classic of characterisation, incident and suspense.






My Thoughts


This is the 30th book by Agatha Christie and the 17th Poirot Mystery

One of the Poirot short stories books but they are not too short as there are only 4 in this grouping.  



Murder in the Mews
A few good suspects but it looks like suicide or does it, nice twists along the way and an obvious clue to anyone who watches or reads a lot of murder mystery now because I have seen that idea (no spoilers here!) used more and more but perhaps when I first read it many years ago I would not have been familiar with that type of clue.

The Incredible Theft

Well you know what happens with thefts in her novels - there is always much more than a slight of hand involved and again who is that foreigner?  And I'm not talking about Poirot here.

Dead Man's Mirror
Are people always who or what they claim to be?  (Slight clue there!)

Miss Christie throws in one of her outside/inside episodes here which she can easily do when the setting is a large house with various patio type windows.

Triangle at Rhodes
Very similar in a way but then also very different to a certain of her other well-known and full length stories so watch out for the twist here too.


A good read, in fact 4 good reads where you will change your mind on the guilty parties more than once or twice or even three times.



If you would like to know more about this book then click on the title or picture above.


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


If thinking of reading this book in the future why not pin this pic to go back to later.
























Sunday, 14 October 2018

Sunday Scripture - Hebrews 12 v 14


Sunday Scripture is just simply a thought or two on a Bible verse that may have struck me afresh or maybe for the first time or has always been special to me.


Today I am looking at Hebrews 12 v 14





The first thing that struck me when I was considering the verse for this week was the fact that within each of the last 3 verses in this Sunday Scripture series, there is a mention of one of the Fruit of the Spirit.

The first one had PATIENCE,

                 the second one had JOY

                       and now this one has PEACE.

I don't think this is a coincidence because the Fruit of the Spirit is very important in our lives and we should show this daily.


The other main word in this verse is HOLINESS.


I believe that there are two relationships here in this verse, the PEACE in is about the relationship between us and others and the HOLINESS is about the relationship between us and God.


Yet the two cannot be completely distinct from each other.




How can we possibly expect to be sanctified and lead holy lives if we do not live in Peace?


How can we who are naturally sinful and selfish live in peaceful relationships if we do not have the presence of the Holy Spirit with us each day as He helps us to live and grow more like Jesus?



What do we need for a true relationship with God and man?


Our Christianity cannot be complete if we do not have 
the right relationship with man and with God.


We are not to be completely apart from the world but we are to be God's representatives in the world showing peace and holiness to touch the lives of others.

In other words we are to be Christlike as we live with the hope of coming into the presence of Christ Himself.  And that links back again to that earlier Sunday Scripture that also mentioned patience.

Today's verse is a strong word on how we should live towards God and towards man and if we learn to live holy lives then the peace will be there as a result.  We cannot be holy and yet at odds with others, the peace will be the outworking of the holiness and through this the fruit of the Spirit will be seen.






Thursday, 27 September 2018

Monschau - A to Z of Places I have Visited


I am writing about some places I have visited in alphabetical order.

So far we have got through 12 letters of the alphabet so nearly halfway through the series.





From August 2004 to December 2010 we lived in Belgium and because of that we have had extra opportunities to visit places we would not have heard of before or particularly thought of visiting previously.  Like The Durbuy Maze etc.

One of these places was the small town of Monshau in Germany.






Belgium and Germany share a border and just across that border from Belgium into Germany took us to that lovely picturesque location.


By Karte: NordNordWest, Lizenz: Creative Commons by-sa-3.0 de,
CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35392837



It was a lovely day for a Fred and I to take a trip to show my sister and brother-in-law (yes the one who is the subject of a previous blog post 10 Gift Ideas for Your Brother-in-law )  another place while they were on one of their annual visits to us.

We also had our son Jonathan with us and as he spoke German he definitely was not going to be left out for two reasons.  Firstly he loves to visit any new place especially anywhere that may have some old buildings and secondly I knew from experience that when visiting large towns & cities in European countries there will not be too many language problems as many of the people will speak a decent amount of English but in the smaller tons and villages there can be communication problems.


We arrived on that sunny morning and as we parked our car our first view of the town was gorgeous.





A beautiful house in a picturesque setting of a small bridge and stream - just like you might see on a jigsaw box.

While stopping here to take some photos we ended up with a very different photo of a visitor to my arm.

I tried to look it up in google later and it seems to be some form of beetle but isn't is so small & colourful.  I did not mind having this beetle walking up my arm.





Walking on into the town we spied a fun type of transport and of course we couldn't resist taking the little train ride around the town and the surrounding area which involved up and down the hilly location.  This ended up being a good move because we were able to walk around the higher area without having to walk up the hill or down the hill because of this perfect means of transport.





We took this photo of the two hubbies in front of our transport because all men love trains but in fact all 5 of us had a fun time on our train ride.


As I said Jonathan loves old buildings and we certainly had some of them to visit on this day trip.




Up the hill was the Castle of the Dukes of Julich and we enjoyed exploring around it with it's beautiful archway and so much still intact.   The walls around the castle are clearly seen from the town sitting well below it.


After spending quite some time here we took the train down again to the town to do some more sightseeing.


Something I love to see is a clock tower and I loved this view I had through the trees of a very clear to read clock.





Then I scanned on up and saw the Swan at the top and thought how pretty this was






This turned out to the be the top of the Reformed Church in Monschau.




the clock face here was blue and there was another clock at the market square which had a white face  but I must have forgotten to take a photo of it.



We had a look around inside the church and then Fred took a photo of the rest of us at the entrance.




There is a very ornate bridge leading across from the front of the church to the opposite street, just another thing to make this a very memorable town.



It was such a bright, sunny day that we stayed outside most of the time so did not go in to investigate the museum that was beside the Reformed church.  It was called the Foundation Scheibler Museum and is highly recommended as one of the places to visit in Monschau.


We are often more interested in finding somewhere to have a good coffee and sit and people watch in beautiful surroundings which is what we did here with plenty of places to choose from for our cuppa in the centre of the town.


There are also lots of old, pretty wooden houses along the riverbank in Monschau.  See how they hang out over the edge of the river because they are built right to the edge




and some even sit out precariously over the edge which makes me wonder about the architecture of these houses.

This white and black one to the left in the picture below really caught my attention because it seemed to have just been thrown together with it's walls ready to fall over because they were missing their support.  Plus the fact that most of it was not straight - one of the more unusual houses I have ever seen.  

I think it is so noticeable because it is close to the other white one which is so straight and upright.





I thought we would end now with a picture which encompasses the style of this village




the different types of buildings the lovely clock tower, the museum, the wooded hillside and the view of the castle walls.

I would definitely recommend a visit to this quaint town especially on a sunny day like we had.






If you missed any of the previous places in this series just click on the Titles below:

A for Alicante
B for Bratislava
C for Calpe
D for Durbuy
E for Ennis
F for Florida
G for Gran Canaria
H for HongKong
I for Islandmagee
J for Jersey
K for Killyleagh
L for Leeds





Sunday, 23 September 2018

Sunday Scripture - John 16 v 24


Sunday Scripture is just simply a thought or two on a Bible verse that may have struck me afresh or maybe for the first time or has always been special to me.


Today I am looking at John 16 v 24





Obviously this verse is about praying and receiving and Jesus had just previously been specifically talking to His disciples about a time when they would be sorrowful and He would not be with them.

I love that Jesus was saying something very personal between them but this should also be personal to us.

Up until then the disciples could ask Jesus any questiions they had but there was going to be a time when they would have to pray to God about everything. 

Jesus has power to answer all our prayers & grant us the desires of our hearts but He was not strutting His own importance here; instead He was showing how it is about us because He wants good for us.




So is our Joy Full?


Not - are you joyful?       But - IS YOUR JOY FULL?

He is talking about joy that only He can give us and that no-one else can take away from us v. 22



19 Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’?20 Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. 21 A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.25 “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you;27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. 




Do we hold back and not confide all to God? 

I don't think He wants us to have to stay in any sorrow because He has a great Joy for us.




Do you really have joy?


We really do need to approach the Father as Jesus has instructed and receive what He is longing for us to have.





PRAYER
Dear Father, help us to come to you about everything, knowing that your will for us is to give us the best we can each possibly have because you know what we require to have full, overflowing, real joy that will touch the hearts of others as well.
In Jesus name, 
Amen.