The 3 Sided Kiss - A Dose of Encouragement

All those years ago when we only had one child.

Yes way back then we started a "Black Family" phrase

"The 3 Sided Kiss"

Very simply it was the result of our first child Jonathan trying to kiss both Fred & I at the same time, and it worked!

The three of us would laugh and squeeze in together for that family kiss.

Two years later Jonathan could no longer call for a 3 sided kiss because our family had grown to 4 with his brother Daniel.

But then he simply just called for a "4 sided kiss" and Daniel grew up being squeezed in as we tried (somewhat successfully) to make this new family kiss happen.

It took another 3 years for it to turn into a "5 sided kiss" when our daughter Linda was born.

Now a 5 sided kiss was not easy to try for and really not a success but for many years the 5 of us would just throw our heads together and end up kissing whoever was nearest.

Somehow just the idea of all of us trying to be united in this simple kiss would put a smile on our faces and make us giggle and haven't we been told on numerous occasions that it is good and healthy to laugh together.

It is the little things like this that make each family unique, the silly things that we laugh at, the unusual things we share, the days, weeks, months and years that have bonded us together to make up this special relationship.

No two families will have the same relationship.

Have you ever thought about our relationship with Jesus?

We all have a unique relationship with Jesus

We all have a unique relationship with Him and that is wonderful to know.

We have all had a different length of time shared with Him,

          different words spoken to Him,

                    different tears shed with Him,

                              different joys shared with Him,

                                        different gifts received from Him,

                                                  different requests made of Him,

                                                            different answers accepted from Him.

We may share the same Saviour, yes He is the Saviour sent into the world for everyone, He is the Saviour who loves each one of us, but we do not share the exact same relationship because we have all be created uniquely, we have all had different experiences in life and we all have different thoughts and feelings deep within us.

 It is great to know that He is the only one who knows all those secrets (good and bad) that He loves us and cares about all that matters to us.

 It is great to know that He wants to have this unique relationship with us now and forever.

Now that Daniel and Suzie are married and we have a baby grandson we should be calling for a 7 sided kiss but I think we all know that is just impossible.

When Matthew is a bit older I'm sure we will tell him about the "family kiss" and I think Grandma, Grandpa and Matthew could start the tradition all over again with the new "Black Family 3 sided kiss".


The Mysterious Mr Quin - Book Review

There is an affiliate link on this blogpost.

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 Mysterious Mr Quin. 


A Book of short stories.


THE MYSTERIOUS MR. QUIN A conjurer of skill with an instinct for detection, Mr. Harley Quin has an almost magical flair for appearing at the scene of the most remarkable crimes. But is it just a trick of light that haunts his shadow with a ghostly apparition? Is it fate that invites him to a New Year's Eve murder? And what forces are at work when his car breaks down outside Royston Hall, an isolated estate with a deadly history? With fantastic intrigue, uncanny procedure, and Agatha Christie's most charismatic creation, these dazzling stories remain personal favorites for the queen of crime.

My Thoughts

This is the 12th book by Agatha Christie and the First involving Mr Sattertwaite and Mr Quin.

Now the first thing I must comment on is that this one is of a very different tone and feel than the previous books.

It is the third book of short stories but is distinctly different from "Poirot Investigates"  and  "Partners in Crime"

Whereas "Poirot Investigates" was a gathering of typically Poirot type solutions, and "Partners in Crime" held the more comedic atmosphere due to Tommy & Tuppence adventures, this book is somewhat dark and sad in it's crimes.  Of course this leads well for the "Mysterious" title.

Two completely different men are introduced here with Mr Quin being highly mysterious and Mr Sattertwaite being very endearing to the readers.  I also think the readers would like to identify with the latter and think that one day they may have the opportunity to have some mystery and adventure in their lives.

I enjoyed the book again reading one story after the other and regretfully (afterwards) finishing the book in one evening when I really should have been asleep.  Lost sleep and the book being finished so soon both contributed to this regret.

Not a usual type of story for Miss Christie but then it does confirm the fact that she did not just turn out books of the same nature each time.  She had more talent than that.

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

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


Pondering the Psalms - Psalm 15

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

Today I'm looking at Psalm 15

This is one of the shorter Psalms in the Bible.

This Psalm falls into only 2 parts:

V. 1
The Question.

V. 2 - 5
The Answer.

The Question.
A very simple direct question from David to the Lord.
There is no doubt about the content.
It only takes one verse.

Who will live with God?

Who will live with God?

The Answer.
Though it is longer than the question, the answer is also simple and direct.
There is also no doubt about the content of it.
It comes from David because God has already laid this in David's heart.
David already knows the mind of God.

It is important to notice that David was able to ask a direct question 
expect a reply.

We can be in that same position 
I hope that we can all be like David and go ahead and ask God directly and simply
about the things that are important to us.

I also hope that we will be like David and have the answer within our being
we are walking and talking with God regularly
reading His Word
so that we will know God's intention for this world 
His will for us.


Congratulations! - A Dose of Encouragement

Our family "The Black Family" has changed dramatically in the last 3 years.

This change had nothing to do with Fred and I moving house or country or the children moving.

This change all took place here in Northern Ireland.

Our son Daniel told us he had met a girl.

Nothing unusual there as he has met and dated a few girls but usually we did not meet them within 4 months; if we met them at all.

He was telling us that Suzie was going to join us for lunch at the restaurant in Belfast where all of us were going to meet him.

Poor Suzie to have to meet us all together like that.

So that was the start of what we knew was likely to be a good relationship.

Then about a year later we were not surprised when Daniel came to tell Fred & I that he was going to get engaged on Suzie's birthday in April but we had to help him in the surprise.

We were delighted to help.

Suzie's parents were happy too.

Her dad had already named one of his lambs after Daniel.

So of course after an engagement we expected a wedding to be thought about and a date decided and plans started to be put together and well that could take a year or more depending on what type of wedding etc.


One month later they tell us they want to get married at the end of October that same year - 5 months away.

Things are moving fast!    

                  In the Run Up to the Wedding.

As October approaches everything is getting organised - even my problem of  What will I wear???

Because they wanted to do a lot of the preparation themselves it became a very busy time for the excited couple.

And then the day had arrived and what a happy day it was.

This was so very true it was the best day of their lives  -  so far.

We had a newly married couple settling into a new home, starting a new life together and working hard at their jobs.

Over a year later Fred & I got a special visit and a present for each of us.

Now what special occasion is this one?

                        Not Christmas.

                                          Not our wedding anniversary,

                                                                                Not either of our birthdays.

But a very special occasion for all "The Black Family" again.

The announcement that we were going to become grandparents.

Then we had all those long months to wait to welcome our first grandchild 


into the world 

Monday 2nd November 2015.

Now there is another beautiful addition to "The Black Family"

He is such a Blessing to have in our family.

Matthew is now 16 days old and one of the "Black Family Boys"

So from engagement to wedding and then a new baby means that the Black family went from 5 to 7 in less than 3 years and nothing but smiles on our faces.

What joy to have welcomed two new members of the family and happy days to be shared together.

We are thankful to God for these blessings.

We often only know how great things are as we experience them and that is another joy God has given us in our lives.

God gives the biggest blessings

In October 2013 Daniel and Suzie thought their wedding Day was the "Best Day of their Big Black Lives".

Now in November 2015 they know that the miracle of the birth of their son was the

"Best Day of their Big Black Lives"

This is a great example of how God is never finished with our lives 
even when we think we've had the biggest blessing 

He can give us more!


Pondering the Psalms - Psalm 25

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

Today I'm looking at Psalm 25 

This is another one of the Psalms of David

I'm looking at this Psalm in several parts:

V. 1-2
Where is our Trust?

V. 3
What is the Difference?

V. 4-5
Which Way should we go?

V. 6-7
Whose Grace?

V. 8-10
Who is the teacher?

V. 11-15
Who needs to have respect?

V. 16-22
What should we pray?

Where is our Trust?
It is in God because we know that He will not let us down.

What is the Difference?
The difference lies in the lives of God's people and the lives of those who do not believe and none of God's people need be ashamed about it.

He will not let us down!

Which way should we Go?
God should be the of the utmost importance to us because of our Salvation so we should want to go His way exactly and wait on Him long enough to know His way.

Whose Grace?
Because of His Salvation given to us, we can rely on Him to look on us as we are now and not as we were before.  His Grace covers us now even though we are not perfect.

Who is the Teacher?
The only good and upright being, the Lord God who looks on the humble and keeps His Promise with us.

He keeps His Promises!

Who needs to have Respect?
The one who desires to be taught by God, to prosper in God's way, to be the friend of God, to be under the protection of God and to know that great bound with God.

What should we Pray?
We should bare all to the Redeemer of our souls.
The troubles on our hearts, our need of His Forgiveness, the protection we desire, the Grace that only He can give.

So who do we thrust and why?

We trust God
 He keeps His promises
 will not let us down.

Oh that we would be humble and walk in His way.

Learning from Him and His Word and not from the words of others.


How to Help Others Love The Word of God - A Dose of Encouragement

I work with kids in our church and think it is important to help them learn God's Word and hopefully they will come to love it and love God.

However I think sometimes we are not wise as to how we try to help younger people get to know the Bible.

Some time ago I saw a young girl make an appeal on Google+ for help as to how to go about learning bible verses.

I was glad that she was looking to learn verses because doing so is storing up God's Word in your heart and mind and is something we are instructed to do from God's Word.

I was sad that she needed to request help on Social Media because I would love to think that any young person would have someone they can personally talk to for this type of help and not have to appeal to strangers.

I replied offering to help by posting my Bible Verse Graphics and giving her permission to copy them to use to learn the verses.  Also with some advice on how to learn them.

then I saw other replies by people who just did not read properly what the young girl had written.

This is what the girl wrote

Hey there My name's XXXXX I'm a 13 year old Christian girl who LOVES GOD, and is trying to live it! I need some advice on how to study the bible/memorize verses. I really want to memorize verses but what am I suppose to do? Choose a random book and then Read the same verse a million times till I memorize it? Thanks soooo much ya'll!!! Means a lot. Would ya'll mind praying for me to accomplish reading, and memorizing the Bible please? Thanks again!!!!

and this is part of what I wrote

Hi  XXXXX,  I teach a lot of kids bible lessons and bible verses and would be happy to help you.

followed by

Thanks Sandra Black   What do you suggest?

I put various memory verses on our church website and I write a blog in which I put some Kid's songs and bible verses.
Will you please ask your parents to agree that it would be ok for me to help you.
They can find out about me here on G+ and then they can find my blog and check me out there too.

there was a little conversing back and forward followed by

XXXXX I have publically posted a picture of a simple verse and linked your name to it so you should be able to find it ok.  If you can copy the picture (you have my permission to take my pictures although others do not) and print them out you can stick it up on your wall or pinboard and every time you go past it just read it out to yourself and you will know it in next to no time.

and I posted this

And thanks sooooo much +Sandra Black!!!

Now during this some other people were responding to this young girl

Woman 1:
Pray and wait with your eyes closed. You'll get a book or verse in your soul

Wait for how long?????

Man 1:
Gave a Link to his website which is 100 verses everyone should know by heart: study guide
and it continued for 26 pages.
plus a link for another guide which went on for 6 pages

This was a teenager he was talking to, but even for me it was way too long and too boring.

Woman 2:
Try memorizing the responsorial psalm each Sunday and one verse from the Gospel and Epistle.  That way you have just three things to focus on each week.  That should keep you busy for three years.  

There was more but that was about reading a chapter a day....  and who wants to be thinking of 3 years when you are trying to get started?

Woman 3:
Hello XXXXX  how lovely that you have posted on knowing Jesus.
I see that you have asked about memorizing bible verses - that is wonderful.
Now Katie... if you love the Lord Jesus you will know he died on the cross ..........

and she continued to speak out against the Catholic Church but said nothing about bible verses.

Woman 4:
One of the best ways to begin is to learn scripture verses and more importantly to know them in your heart to be true ..........   Did you know that 51 Things True of Every Christian .........

she continued about a link to a post on the 51 things but nothing about bible verses

Woman 5:
She mentioned music to help you learn verses and then told all about her wonderful journey to knowing God

 but nothing else about bible verses

Man 2:
Try "You version - The Bible" app on Android the give lots of plans to study the bible.

This was a teenager asking about learning bible verses not studying the bible - can we stick to the topic???

Woman 6:
Ask Jesus to come into your heart and reveal His Word (the bible) to you.

This was a girl who told us she was a Christian so we should respect her and believe her

Woman 7: For the reading part, I started with Matthew and have been reading a chapter every night before bed.  If you find a passage which you might like to memorize, read the first few words until you have memorized them, then add a few more and keep going until you have memorized the whole thing.

She is a teenager asking about verses - a passage would be daunting to me let alone her!

Woman 8:
Read the bible with love not as a book to memorize.  If you love it you will memorize automatically.
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV) 

Yes at least she gave a scripture - But NO, you will not learn it automatically!

There were many more people trying to give advice but all in a similar vein.

I was so disappointed that people had not read carefully before giving their advice.

Think before you give advice

Advice or help does not have to be long-winded a short answer directly related to the question is best with teenagers.

If we are in the position to help then we need to help by keeping their attention focused on what are the important points.

Every single one of those people (if they had thought about it for a little while) could have given a short helpful answer; but if while thinking about it, they had realised that they were not really suited to working with teenagers or had a true helpful suggestion, then they could have ended up a wiser person and not complicated things for her.

I believe as Christians we should all wish to help others love God's Word and to encourage them to read and memorize His Word.

I also believe that we should be willing to help others in any way we can but to remember to stay on the subject and not digress to our other interests.

Let's help others know God's Word

That teenage girl now follows my posts on Google+  so she can read articles on my blog or can use the verses I post to help her memorize scripture.  This is not something that takes a big effort on my part but is just one simple way of helping and encouraging others like her.

I and many other people post bible verses on facebook & google plus and other social media 


for any of us, just to be reminded of a scripture can 

lift our spirits, 

turn our minds back to God in our busy days 


encourage us.

I'm also reminded of something I used to hear older Christians say years ago and it is true today


Pondering the Psalms - Psalm 24

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

Today I'm looking at Psalm 24 

This is a Psalm of David

This Psalm falls into 4 parts:

V. 1-2
The Earth and Everyone belong to God

V. 3-4
Not everyone will stand in God's Holy Place

V. 5-6
Blessing on Holiness

V. 7-10
The King of Glory

All is God's.
Surely we should remember that everyone and everything ultimately belong to God when praying for people, our city, our nation.

God's Holy Place.
We also need to pray that we and others will have clean hands and pure hearts because we desire to be able to dwell in God's Holy Place.
We should pray for protection in all that we do to keep ourselves Holy to the Lord.

This is where we should desire to live

God's Blessing.
As we keep ourselves Holy God will give us His Blessing.

The King of Glory.
Strength and might describe our King of Glory.
The Lord of Hosts who is the Lord above all else is our King of Glory.

We have talked about the Holy Place
and how we must live to be able to enter it.

But it is not how Holy or clean or pure we may be that will make this Place Holy,

it is Holy because of the 

Holy, perfect Lord of all 

who will be resident there.


You Can Face It! Yes, You can! - A Dose of Encouragement

You Can Face It!

   Do you know that?

Yes, whatever it is - You can face it!

Yes, wherever you are  -  You can face it!

Yes, whenever it may happen  -  You can face it!

Yes, even when you think you are on your own  -  You can face it!

At some time or another we all need this type of encouragement.

No matter what the circumstance,

              or the location,

                            or the time frame,

                                          or the loneliness we feel,

                                                        we need to remember that

                                                                                                       we can face it all!


Yes with God on our side we can face it all.

With God we don't have to worry or be afraid that we are incapable of overcoming or even meeting whatever lies ahead because He will meet it with us and He is the True Overcomer.

He's the One who can move mountains.

He's the One who can calm seas.

He's the One who can heal.

He's the One who can give life.

He's the One who can whisper comfort in the storm of life.

If you have met with your Saviour and have that personal trusting relationship with Him where you have handed over your life and asked for forgiveness then

You can Face it! Yes, You Can!

because He is with you, Yes He is with you all the way!

It's a promise and He can keep that promise because of  WHO He IS!

Yes it's not about us  -  It's all about HIM.

because He said

So say it today and believe it

I Can Face It!  -  Yes, I Can!