Wednesday

Which Way Will You Go? - A Dose of Encouragement


Today I want to tell you about another picture God once gave me.

Imagine a wide, very wide set of stairs.  

On the left-hand side a narrow section has a set of footprints going up the stairs. 
The rest of the staircase is full of lots of footprints coming down the stairs side by side. 







Can you picture it?  


It definitely appears to be easier to come down those stairs than to go up, because of the wider space and because there is the feeling of lots of others coming down with you.  
You’ll probably get caught in with the crowd and almost helped down in the crush.  

Will there be any help from others to go up though?

Those going up will be few and far between and going slowly because they will have to go against the flow of the crowds descending.  

One thing is certain;


 you have to make the decision to either go up or down on the stairs.

         
This is how many Christians feel at certain times in their walk in life. 
They have decided to go on this upward journey and they know that they are going against the main stream of people in this world.

Going down would be easier.
So many others in the world ready to encourage and help along the way.
We wouldn't have to consciously keep our mind and body alert, it would be a simple carefree journey down.

The footsteps leading up the stairs are like Christ’s steps, as we follow them we will be following His example and not following the crowd’s steps. 

                    “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example,
                   that you should follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2 v 21.    (RSV)

You may think it will be a lonely journey going up with no person by your side. 
Sometimes it feels like there just isn't room for anyone else to go in that direction beside you.  

Yet there is someone who wants to go up with you. 

The Holy Spirit wants to guide you and help you along.
  
The Holy Spirit’s power will help you up those stairs even when the natural reaction would be to give in and not endure the loneliness you feel.


So we each have to make the decision for ourselves.


  


Which way will we go on the stairs?  



Once we do our part in starting the upward climb, God does the leading each step of the way.

“A man's mind plans his way but the Lord directs his steps.”    
                                                          Proverbs 16 v 9.    (RSV) 
                                                         

Then we should be aiming at all times in the future to be able to tell the Lord that we have not left His way up the steps for the wider descent. 

Also we must be an encouragement to others to continue in the right path.
           
         
       So let’s get going in the right direction and persevere on the journey.



                                               





Tuesday

Poirot Investigates - 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.  




Click on the Book Title or Book Picture
 for more information on the book.











Poirot Investigates. 

A Collection of Poirot Short Stories.




Shelfari Description

These are 11 short stories where M.Poirot and Captain Hastings solve mysteries together.
1. The Adventures of the Western Star
2. The Tragedy at Marsden Manor
3. The Adventure of the Cheap Flat
4. The Mystery of Hunter's Lodge
5. The Million Dollar Bond Robbery
6. The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb
7. The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan
8. The Kidnapped Prime Minister
9. The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim
10. The Adventure of the Italian Nobelman
11. The Case of the Missing Will



M.Poirot solves the mysteries using his"little grey cells" and Hastings speculates wrongfully.


Cross a movie star,
an archaeologist,
a French maid,
a prime minister,
a wealthy dowager,
and an Italian count
with Hercule Poirot
and you get a collection of the detective's most intriguing criminal puzzles.










My Thoughts


This is the third Poirot book by Agatha Christie.

11 completely different short stories.

Great for lifting and setting down after one story.
Great for that little fix of an Agatha Christie puzzle to be solved during a busy day.

Contains stories that are well crafted and true to the suspense and mystery of her full length Poirot stories.

I really enjoyed this especially as I read it during good weather so left it by the door of the Sunroom and just grabbed it each time I took a little break on the sun lounger in the back garden.

My one question after reading this was simply



"How did she know when to write a short story or a full length novel when the basic idea
for a plot came into her head each time?"















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














Sunday

It's God's Love #7


This Sunday Series is all about God's Love.

There will be a simple, short post each week
consisting of a Bible Verse around the topic of
God's Love and I would be very pleased if you
would join me each Sunday.










Without Love we would not be true followers of Jesus




The Love of God 

must

reach out 

to others

through us.







Love is

the

Fruit of the Holy Spirit

given by God

for us

to

live for Him.


















Friday

10 Great Uses for 1 Simple Household Product - Need Help!


I have found that I don't have a great sense of smell any more which I presume is an advantage at times.

But my husband does have a rather sensitive sense of smell sometimes so I am very gracious and do something that makes him a happier man when he is in certain parts of the house.


Yes I have on a Quick Easy Solution to some little problems.







Little problems that can occur in different rooms in your house.


Little problems that can occur in different places in different rooms in your house.



Hence my title for today's blog post:



10 Great Uses for 1 Simple Household Product 









And the Simple Household Product is


               something that many households will already have


                                 and is not very expensive


                                                     in fact I have a few packets of these all the time in the house.














Simply take one of these sheets and place it in



1.     The Laundry Hamper.






Especially for the smelly socks.


I can balance one on the hinge of mine but a little bit of sellotape can be used to stick a sheet on the underside of the lid or the side of the hamper.








And even the ironing basket if you are going to have your clothes lie here for a few days before ironing.





2.     The Storage place for bed linen






I do this in the underbed drawers in our Guest Bedroom and it is nice to keep that bed linen fresh smelling when you know it may be sitting there for quite some time between guests.





3.     Among the Hangers in the Guest Wardrobe





Even if you only do this a few days before your guests come the wardrobe will be very welcoming as they open its doors.

I wish some hotels would think of this as I often notice their wardrobes smell rather stale which is surprising as they should be used regularly.





4.     The Guest Towel Basket





I always try to get the guest room towels washed and dried and back in the guest room very soon after the guests leave but then it may be some time before they are used again so one of these tumble dryer sheets placed in between the towels just freshens them up for the next guests.





5.     The Guest Room or Bathroom Radiator





We don't keep the heat on all year in the Guest room when it is not being used so when we then turn the radiators on a day or so before our guests arrive it's nice to have the room freshened up this way too.


Of course it can just be an added bonus in the bathroom all the time!


Also placing a sheet in each of these few different places in the guest room is much less expensive than keeping one of these air fresheners on the go.






As these are expensive to buy and to get the refills.


Because I use them regularly for the Guest Room and its ensuite I try to make sure that there is always a box of them in the vanity unit in that ensuite so these are one of the items I would often think of for my Amazon Prime Pantry Orders along with their other clearance items.




6.     Cupboard under the sink





We have a small food recycling bin in the right hand side but even if you don't under the sink cupboard can soon get a little smelly.

Note to self: Getting rather untidy in here again!





7.     The Bathroom Hand Towels Sea Grass Basket





My husband Fred is not fond of the smell that can come from Sea Grass baskets.
We have some of this type of basket in our storage cupboard as well as this Drawer unit in the bathroom so this keeps him happy with the hand towels smelling nice and not of the Sea Grass.





8.     The Kitchen Bin





Obviously this will help especially as the bin fills up.

Our bin has a little groove at the back just under the lid which is handy for this but again a little bit of sellotape can be used to stick a sheet on the underside of the lid.





9.     The Vase of Silk Flowers





Yes I know they do not smell but sometimes it is just a nice idea to get a hint of a fragrance when you are near a flower arrangement or vase even if the flowers are not real.

Just another way of freshening up a living room.





10.     Your Slippers





Everyone in our family says that I have smelly feet but of course they are all wrong.

  
However I do know that because I wear slippers constantly in the house they can get (a little!!!) smelly and so I keep the rest of the gang happy by making them have a nice smell - for a while anyway!


Or you might want to try this with your boots.



Then of course don't forget there is also the 
Tumbler Dryer



Why not take a walk around the house the next time you are expecting visitors and you might be surprised where you could hide a dryer sheet (somewhere in the small toilet usually springs to mind) and not have to run out for an air freshener, light a scented candle or use one of those horrible can sprays which just make me sneeze.








Now isn't this more like Funwork than Housework?









Wednesday

Writing Through Your Feelings - A Dose of Encouragement


Today I have another Guest Post for you.

It is still in the Dose of Encouragement Series but instead of a post from me it is one from our daughter Linda who is Teaching English as a Foreign Language in South Korea.

She wrote this on her own blog last year and I loved how she had been so open and honest about how she felt so I have asked if I could have it here to share with you all this week.
      
Linda is still on holiday with us from South Korea and hence this is going to be another really busy week for me.

After reading this you may be interested to have a look at Linda's blog which is written from her viewpoint as a writer who is a Christian and contains posts on her thoughts and also some of her short stories.


So over to Linda

I had a sort of argument with a friend and it left me rather uneasy.  
You see, this argument shouldn’t have happened, and it was because I was looking at the situation in the wrong way.  
Yes, we both did or said things that hurt each other, but when I look at the bigger picture, and how God is involved in it, I don’t see the hurt anymore.

Of course, at the time I wasn’t letting myself think in that nice way; I was looking at my selfish perspective.  
Sometimes we get hurt and we all have a natural reaction to it, which is usually to protect ourselves by seeing how others have done wrong by us.  Now-a-days my first response is to talk to God about situations I don’t understand or find hard to deal with, and this does help me, even if it takes a little time.

This time, however, I made a conscious decision to take a little space for myself, to get over what I was hurt by, and be selfish, by letting myself be hurt for a little while, before I would accept the better view that God had for it (which I already knew and agreed with).  It’s a bit silly, but I thought that sometimes we need to feel the pain in order to get over it, and if I just accepted what God was showing me as good, then I was avoiding the hurt and not really getting over it.

Well, then my argument happened and since then I have felt sick about how I acted and how the situation has been left. 

     What did I do to fix this? 

I couldn’t talk to the person about it, and I didn’t know how to explain anyway, so I did what I should have been doing and went to God.  He showed me some things I already knew, but because of my initial selfish reaction of not wanting to listen to it, I found this hard to accept.

      So I wrote about it.

I used to do this a lot; write a letter to someone to tell them how I feel, even if I know I will never give it to them.  These days I sometimes write my prayers, because I can focus better and this process helps me work things out.  This time, however, I wrote to the person, and do you know what?  God worked in that.  I was looking to God in the whole situation and suddenly it all changed from my tiny viewpoint to the bigger picture and the love I have for that friend.


Even though I am hurt by some things, I know that it can’t be any other way, and I know that I am happy and excited about whatever God has planned for me.  It’s a pity that I have to go through some pain, but this will all help me later.  I don’t feel like I can fix what I said easily, and I don’t know if I should give my friend the letter, but changing my attitude is a start and I hope it will show my friend that I don’t care about what we fought over; I care about our friendship.

After the argument mentioned, I could not be sure that I would ever have a chance to rectify, apologise or just fix the relationship, but I had to find a way to move on and be content with my life and my attitudes.  

God gives us the only way to move on through the guilt and shame we feel in any previous actions.  
His grace and mercy give us the chance to see that our humanity doesn’t have to limit us to being simply faulty humans.  
We are humans, full of fault, but Jesus gave us a way to get past that and move on to better things.  


Today Linda writes:

A year later, God has helped me learn that lesson and progress with it in more ways.......

If you would like to read further on her view of today then head on over to Elsie B Writes


Do you write through your feelings too?


************************************************************



     Linda describes herself as:

     A writer from Northern Ireland, who has lived in a few other places and has a friend in God.



************************************************************

Sunday

It's Gods Love #6


This Sunday Series is all about God's Love.

There will be a simple, short post each week
consisting of a Bible Verse around the topic of
God's Love and I would be very pleased if you
would join me each Sunday.










Today we are looking at the Gospel of John



The Apostle John had a lot to say about Love


This seems like a very simple, straightforward verse
with a simple, straightforward command
but it cannot be obeyed without the understanding of God's Love








The full sentence of this verse is


That ye love one another; 
as I have loved you, 
that ye also love one another.



Our love

for others

based on

God's Love

to us.


Oh what a responsibility!















Wednesday

A Walk in the Vineyards - A dose of encouragement

Today I have a Guest Post for you.

It is still in the Dose of Encouragement Series but instead of a post from me it is one from our oldest son Jonathan who is a Pastor in Leeds, UK.

He wrote this on his own blog a couple of weeks ago and I loved it so much I immediately asked if I could have it here to share with you all this week.
        
Why this week?

Well it just seems very appropriate as this week I have Linda over on holiday from South Korea and Jonathan over on holiday from Leeds and also this is going to be a really busy week for me.

After reading this you may be interested to have a look at Jonathan's blog which has a variety of posts from humorous to bible teaching to deep theological thinking.


So over to Jonathan


The sunlight was beautiful.

After hours of driving – through France and into Italy, back to France then back to Italy – a walk in the evening sunlight was the perfect way to end the afternoon.
 The Italian lady spoke of a ‘big bench’, but more importantly she spoke of a fantastic view over the vineyards. The English of the Italian gentleman was as limited as our Italian, yet still, without words, he managed to show us the way to go.

The sun shone on our faces. The dogs barked as we walked past the lemon trees. 
And then we were off. Down a country lane between rustic farm buildings. Up a hill between the shining green vineyards.

We stopped to look at the vines. 
We stopped to look at the grapes. 
Not the grapes you find on the shelves of Asda or Waitrose, but tiny green balls.
Baby grapes. 
Now, I suppose all grapes must start this way, but we’d never seen grapes like this before.

And as we looked at the grapes, my friend started to sing. 
He did not sing an Italian song.
Nor did he sing a pop song. 
Instead, upon that Lord’s Day, he sang a song of praise.

Now, when I tell you that my friend started to sing a song of praise, perhaps what you imagine in your mind is the latest ditty from the latest album. 
Or perhaps you imagine one of those songs which has managed to pass the test of time and endure for a year or two.

But, no, that’s not what he sang.

I will rejoice in You and be glad;
I will extol Your love more than wine.
Draw me after You and let us run together;
I will rejoice in You and be glad.



It was a song none of us had sung or even heard in a decade or more.
A song that people were singing before either of us were born. 
To my other friend (the wife of the first friend – she had grown up with much more respectable church music than us!) this was a new song, and she looked on bemusedly as we explained how it was to be sung ‘over and over and over and over and over and over again’ (sorry I just couldn’t resist that reference while I was typing!) world without end, Amen.

And so we wandered through the vineyards singing this ancient chorus.

We strolled past the tiny grapes in the beautiful evening light. 
And then we found the aforementioned ‘big bench’ – it really was a big bench, so big it seemed to have been made for giants. There was no climbing up to the bench, for it was already occupied by some local teenagers, chatting and giggling – enjoying a beautiful Sunday afternoon with friends.

We gazed out over the rolling hills covered with vines. 
We saw the majesty of the high mountains beyond and understood why they called this place Piedmont. And then we walked back down the hill – back to the lemon tress, the dogs, the hazelnuts and the friendly Italian man who made us an afternoon espresso. 
And echoing over the beauty of the light and the rolling vineyards, and over the majesty of the mountains, and over the gift of friendship were those words we had sung: 

‘I will rejoice in You and be glad / I will extol Your love more than wine.’


************************************************************

Hello! My name's Jonathan Black and I'm a pastor and teacher in the Apostolic Church (Leeds Assembly).   
 I read theology at the University of Cambridge (MA) and Continental Theological Seminary/University of Wales (MTh) and am now working on a PhD (on the Trinitarian ecclesiology of the Apostolic Church.) 
 Before coming to Leeds I taught theology at Continental Theological Seminary near Brussels (in Belgium).      
                         Hence the blog about 'Apostolic Theology'.


 ************************************************************

Sunday

It's God's Love #5


Last month I started this new Sunday Series.

There will be a simple, short post each week
consisting of a Bible Verse around the topic of
God's Love and I would be very pleased if you
would join me each Sunday.










Today I am looking at Colossians chapter 3



Firstly we must look away from the things that Satan has 
in this world

and

then 

look to the virtues of God







Mercy

Kindness

Humbleness of mind

Meekness

Longsuffering


Bound together by love, not just any love but that which can bring perfect unity

God's Love