Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Distorted or Beautiful? - A Dose of Encouragement


Anyone who knows me personally or has read a lot of my blog posts will know that I absolutely adore my iPad
 (I wish they would pay me for saying that - I would be rich by now).


Also my family will know that I have far too many apps on my iPad (mostly free ones - I only get paid ones if I cannot find a free one which will do the job).






Well one of the apps I had downloaded one time ages ago was one to have a little fun with photos.  You loaded your photo into the app and then you could get a black and white sketch of a funny kind of outline of the photo.

I played with it once some time in 2012 and just used two photos that I found; quickly one of each of our boys many years ago when they were young. My husband had scanned some negatives and I had those pictures on the ipad so they were handy to use.

 (I can hear our daughter now saying "what about one of me?" 
- she always claims that being the third child was so unfair because we didn't take as many photographs of her as a baby as we did of the boys.)


These are the results of those two experiments










Faces stretched and pulled into strange shapes ending up with a kind of a caricature of each of the boys.  It provided me with a bit of a laugh and then shortly afterwards the pics were transferred to the computer and forgotten about.
In fact it took me quite a while to find them today.


Have you ever had a picture just pop into your mind?

Well you can probably imagine my surprise when suddenly these two pictures popped into my mind during a prayer meeting at church a few weeks ago.  I saw them clearly in my mind's eye and thought this was very strange.

Then God impressed a phrase on me

"I do not distort things I make them more beautiful"


Two of the words in that sentence really stood out to me.

"Distorted"  and  "more"

It was good enough, I felt, that God was telling me or reminding me that He does not distort things - that is the work of the devil.

And it was even better that He was reminding me that He makes things beautiful.

But the thing I felt that was being stressed was the fact that He makes things MORE beautiful.


Perhaps we need to take heed of Psalm 90:17






Now this only shows the first part of the verse but I think it is important that we also consider the next part



And establish the work of our hands for us;

Yes, establish the work of our hands.



God is not making us beautiful so that we can bask in our beauty, He is making us beautiful so that we can work for Him.

With the beauty of God upon us we will be more like Him in all ways filling us with His Holy Spirit and bringing forth the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives.  Our minds, attitudes and feelings will be more aligned to God's and ultimately this will help us to reach others for Him






So can we sit back and just think for a little while today about how we as children of God are not distorted but are made more beautiful by God?

I'm thankful to have a God who can make things MORE beautiful.



Do you want to thank God that He makes us more beautiful than we can imagine?
I do.








Tuesday, 27 May 2014

When Darkness Falls - Book Review

Disclaimer:
There is an affiliate link on this blogpost.


I love to snap up free ebooks if they look like they are something I will enjoy (especially murder mysteries).


So one day I saw this offer of an ebook in three parts and I downloaded it.






I only got round to reading it over Easter while I was travelling  because I had not got the Agatha Christie mystery that was next on my reading list already on my kindle.

The book is


       When Darkness Falls  
                       by  James Grippando


About the Author
JAMES GRIPPANDO is a best selling author of several books and lives in Florida, where he was a trial lawyer for 12 years.
Synopsis  from  Amazon.co.uk
In this novel from this bestselling author, lawyer Jack Swyteck tackles a case in which the life of his best friend hangs in the balance - and in which nothing is as it seems. A Miami criminal defense attorney, Swyteck isn't looking for a new client, at least not one who is homeless and in jail for threatening to jump off a bridge. But from the moment Jack is called to defend the man, who goes by the name Falcon, something is amiss. For one thing, Falcon comes up with the $10,000 bail - in cash. Then the body of a brutally murdered woman is found in the trunk of the abandoned car in which he is living. Panicked and on the run, Falcon takes Jack's best friend, Theo, hostage. They end up barricaded in a motel room, and Theo isn't the only one at Falcon's mercy. Jack must work with the cops and their crackerjack negotiator to free Theo and the other captives before Falcon decides he has nothing to lose by killing them all. What Jack doesn't know is that Falcon has a much bigger agenda, and that there are people behind the scenes who will stop at nothing to keep their dangerous secrets. Thus unfolds a riveting, lightning-paced story, as only James Grippando can tell it.




Publisher:  Harper Collins
Date Published:  Feb 2007
Series:  A Jack Swyteck novel


My Opinion

We are teased by attempted suicide, murder, a hostage situation and also trips back in time to another mystery.  A lawyer mixed up with a Homeless man, a man released from Death Row, a blind policeman, disappearing money and the daughter of a mayor definitely would seem to indicate a unique story and James Grippando has delivered a unique mystery here.


The action is quite fast paced in parts and well detailed but also slower when dealing with the individual characters who are important to the overall essence of the story.

Unfortunately I did feel that the male characters were better rounded than the female ones but I enjoyed the fact that there were some out of the ordinary characters.  I was able to deduce most of the mystery and would have been disappointed had I been able to deduce it all.  

This appears to be the 6th book based around the character of the Miami based lawyer and would definitely interest me in delving into another of the series if only to find out whether or not his best friend is also a leading character there.






If you have read any more of the Jack Swyteck books perhaps you would like to recommend another for me? 



Disclaimer:
If buying through Amazon via the link above I get a little commission but that does not mean any extra expense to you.


Sunday, 25 May 2014

Why We Worship 21




I am taking time each week to ask myself "Why we worship"



God does not need anything that we humans need to be able to live.


He does not need air, food, water or sleep.

               He doesn't need help or advice.

                              He doesn't need money.

                                             He doesn't even need us.







Isn't it marvellous that even though God does not need us, 





This verse above comes from the passage of Scripture where the Apostle Paul speaks to the people in Athens on Mars Hill.

Verses 22 - 31  cover it more fully.

22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 
23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 
24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,
25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 
26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 
27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 
28 for
“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;
as even some of your own poets have said,
“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
29 Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 
30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 
31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

Paul was explaining that God doesn't need people to do things for Him, He has no need of anything but instead is the reason we all exist.  He cannot be imagined by us,  or completely understood by us however He has determined that He loves us and wants us to come through repentance of our sins to Him.  
God can do everything He needs or wants to do, through His knowledge and wisdom He is in control of all things.   
He lacks nothing.


When we know that God is Self-Sufficient and doesn't need us we can be encouraged because this shows us that He really cares for us.
When we know that God is self-Sufficient and hence is everything He needs to be we can also be encouraged because if he doesn't have to depend on anything or anyone then He truly is the only one we can put our full trust in.




Wednesday, 21 May 2014

What a difference a Sneeze Makes - A Dose of Encouragement


                  
               I love a good sneeze, don’t you?  

I quite enjoy two or three sneezes at a time but when you have to sit beside someone who sneezes not just once, or twice or three times in a row but ten or twelve times it can put you off sneezes for life. 







When I was a teenager I was at a computer course with a range of students from other schools (yes those were the days before all schools had IT on the curriculum).  How well I remember the first afternoon on that course when the guy sitting beside me started to sneeze and sneeze and sneeze.  Everyone turned round at different times to see who was sneezing and at one stage the teacher stopped talking to stare in our direction.








Later in the church I attended for many years there was this guy who once he started to sneeze seemed like he wasn't going to stop and everyone would start saying 




      

but would then get fed up after 3 or 4 times.


Everywhere I went this guy would be sneezing and people would always think he was coming down with a cold or flu or something worse and often he would get such bad looks from people.







Well, I suppose I'll have to admit that I was in lots of the same places as this guy because this was the guy that I fell in love with all those years ago (even with the sneezing power and volume).  


This is the guy I have been married to for almost 37 years and he still has a powerful sneeze and yes will still sneeze lots of times in a row.


I can recognise Fred's sneeze anywhere.  


And this sneeze has helped me out on several occasions.


Many times when we lived in America and would be in those really, really large superstores Fred would wander off to look at some of the things that interested him more than regular shopping did.
Then when I would be finished shopping and I was getting tired and just wanted to get through the checkout and go home I would not have a clue where he was. 


That's when his sneeze was a beautiful sound to my ear.


He would sneeze and I would hone in on his location, waiting of course until he was finished sneezing before I would actually join him because I'd rather avoid the stares and in some cases pitying looks of the people nearby.



Now you are probably thinking 


               "that's ok he's her husband, she's with Him all the time so of course she'll know the sound of him" 


and yes that is my point


I know my husband really well and the rest of my family really well.

You will know your family really well too!


BUT


Can we recognise the Holy Spirit's prompting anywhere?   anytime?

Do we know the Holy Spirit well enough to know how He works through each of us personally?



I know my husband well enough because I have known him for many years and because I spend a lot of time with him.


So when he sneezes 


I know from experience that he hasn't got those
 allergies that people will be absolutely certain he must have because he sneezed a lot in their presence.







I know the difference between the way he has always been or whether he is taking the flu.





I don't have to think twice or pose the question to myself "is that Fred or not?" when I hear his sneeze.


That is exactly how we should be about the Holy Spirit.

Even just recently I have found myself sitting thinking yet again
" is this the Holy Spirit talking to me or not?"

After all this time I should be more honed in to the way He talks to me, to the way He impresses things on my mind, to the sudden bits of information He gives me.
Yet still many times I will hesitate to step out and do what He wants me to do.

We shouldn't have to take time to ponder and try to work out if the Holy Spirit is speaking to us or encouraging us to so something because we should recognize His way of working in us.

How?

Well just what we do with our husbands and families.

Love them. 
Spend time with them. 
Be prepared to listen to them and not do all the talking ourselves.







No one can know your family better than you through all the years so in the same way no one is going to be able to tell you when the Holy Spirit is prompting you, only you can.


And if we can manage in OUR family where we ALL like to talk and butt in and add our piece to the conversation, then you can too.




Sunday, 18 May 2014

Why We Worship 20




I am taking time each week to ask myself "Why we worship"


Have you ever thought about how thankful we should be that God is not like us?

Have you ever thought about how we are meant to become like Him and not the other way round?

I am so glad that He is not to become like us because we are flawed.

God is not flawed because 







Just think about that, 

                       
                            that means



there is not one thing wrong with our God.





No matter what we do we will never be perfect as only God is perfect so we know that the verse above does not mean just exactly as it sounds.

However God does want something from us.

The previous few verses in that chapter of the Gospel of Matthew will help us.


43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.


We are to do the things that are more unnatural for humans to do.

We are to show the love and goodness of God to others by being different to the norm in this world.

We are to have a different attitude toward others because God has instructed us to be like Him.

We are to walk in the ways of God.





I am thankful that God is Perfect because this means we can fully trust Him?




Friday, 16 May 2014

5 Essentials Items for Your Kitchen


One of the best ways to make our work in the kitchen less of a hassle is really to make it


 easier to do 

 or 

 quicker to do 

 or

 both.








One way to do this is to have some simple but very practical tools.

I have picked out 


5 things that I automatically think of 


when I am considering  what I use often or a lot of to make things easier for me around the house.







Yes these are


5 Things I Don't Think I want to have to do Without.




1.  Clip-its



Both IKEA and Lakeland have really good sturdy clip-its and in a good variety of sizes.

However you can buy them almost anywhere now but they may not be just as good a grip.









How can we seal many bags without some of these???


USES
Bread bags
Bags in freezer
Large crisp bags





2.  Long Handled Spoons



LAKELAND sell them but I have also bought them from pound stores

I have some that are bent so that they will sit on the edge of a mug or glass and some that are plain but I also have 2 (not pictured here) that I got in South Korea that have a larger wider spoon part whereas the others are more of a teaspoon size.






Who doesn't need something with a long handle to do some scooping???


USES
Tall glass ice cream sundaes
Large coffee mugs
Getting to the bottom of jars of jam etc.






3.    Kitchen Scissors



LAKELAND, IKEA, Pound stores and  any supermarket now.

Different colours and sizes available, but do get ones with a good comfortable grip because if you get hooked like me you will use them constantly.  







Who doesn't have lots of occasions when it is so much easier to cut with scissors than to chop with a knife???     Well Not Tomatoes anyway!

USES
Lots of meats and vegetables are actually easier to cut using the scissors than a knife.
So convenient for cutting foods into foods already cooking on the stove.
Also how else do you open those horrible strong plastic bags that seem to stretch as you try to pull them apart?






4.    Silicone Basting Brushes

LAKELAND and also in pound stores.

The round ones I have found to be softer and more flimsy.
But the flat ones I absolutely adore.






Who wants to battle with pieces of greased proof paper or kitchen towels to try to grease items???


USES
Oiling and basting roasts
Putting lime or lemon juice on fish
Spreading jam or any other similar mixture on cakes etc.
Greasing dishes.





5.   Resealable Bags



IKEA have the best and at such a good price. 

These ones seal easily and well not like some others you can find other places.

They have two different boxes you can buy with two different sizes of bag in each so between all four sizes you are equipped for just about any eventuality.






Great to have bags that seal so well that the contents don't leak over everything else in the fridge or freezer and bags that can be reused over and over again.



USES
DIY accessories like screws.
Transporting any type of food stuffs.
I have never tried soup in one but thicker foodstuffs are fine.
Freezer use as well as fridge use.




I reckon you could tell me of a few things you don't want to have to do without either.  If so let me know in a comment.