Wednesday

When Can I Trust Him? - A Dose of Encouragement


Fred never asked me to marry him!

He never got down on one knee and produced a sparkling ring in a little purple box.








He never planned a day out beside a beautiful waterfall or wrote a bunch of short letters to guide me to a certain place so that he could ask me that specific question.

He didn't contact his mother and father and ask them to keep an engagement ring safely hidden until a special birthday would arrive.

He didn't contact his future mother-in-law to show her the ring he was planning to get.

No Fred never did anything like that.


He didn't even take a specific time to ask me to marry him.


With Fred it was just taken for granted.


When Fred talked about the future there was no "IF" but just the "WHEN".








You see Fred was sure that he loved me and he was also sure that I loved him so there didn't need to be an "IF we get married" it was automatically "WHEN we get married".

And me?
Well I just agreed with him because I loved him and I knew that he loved me.

Fred had decided he loved me before we even started going out together and in his mind that would mean there would be no-one else for him and it would just be the natural thing for us to get married.


We did not have that

"getting down on one knee in a beautiful surrounding with a friend hidden somewhere ready to step forward and take a picture at just the right moment as the ring is produced"

moment to be forever remembered.


No we had none of that and as our kids know Fred is often reminded of the fact that he did not propose to me at all!

Instead he just started talking about "when we get married".

Well of course that is all in the past and we did get married 41 years and two days ago.  The "WHEN" happened and Fred had been true to his word there was no going back on what he had said.

I have always been able to trust what Fred would say because if he meant something he said it and stuck with it but if he wasn't completely sure then the "IF" would be used.

And because of the proof I have already seen with Fred, I know that I will also be able to trust him in the future.  Just as the "I have trusted Fred" and the "I am trusting Fred" led me to say "I Will" 41 years ago.


These qualities that I see in Fred are the qualities that I have also seen in God.






God doesn't start talking about "IF" something will happen in the future, it is all "WHEN" with Him.




All God's promises are not statements about how something might come to be but instead each one is a definite fact.





God has proved himself throughout Scripture and Time so that we can trust in all that He says.






God has never promised anything He did not intend to do, He always speaks the truth and will never go back on His Word.






This means we can trust Him forever.


Some people will use the phrase "IF and WHEN....."
But does that even make sense?
I would not be inclined to trust in anything that followed those three words.


This means we can trust Him forever.


With God we trust

the "I Have"  







& the "I Am" 





& the "I Will"








We have trusted in Him, we are still trusting in Him and we will continue to trust in Him.


Throughout our lives together Fred & I have enjoyed the "Our Stories & His Stories" because we have trusted God and shared our lives with God.













Sunday

Sunday Scripture - 2 Timothy 1:7


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 2 Timothy 1:7





Looking at verse 6 of this chapter we may be tempted to ask if Timothy had a fear of rejection in the use of the gifts or had he been hurt in some way in the past and was now timorous of exercising the gifts again.

Perhaps this was not the reason Paul felt he had to specifically write this, it could simply have been that Timothy had not made a conscious effort to be seeking to be used by the Spirit or he had let the gift lapse?

But then we read verse 7  and we do seem to have the indication that there was a worry or fear of some kind holding Timothy back.


Remembering that God is not going to give us something that is bad for us we can agree that He is not going to put fear into our lives but power, love and a sound mind instead.


Then that would lead us to 

"What gift was Paul referring to?"


If we simply looked at verse 7 on it's own would we come to the right meaning?

As usual the verses in this chapter should be read together to give the right context

when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,


Verse 5 points us to the faith that Paul had witnessed in Timothy and we can presume that Paul was not mentioning this without a reason.

Verse 6 points us to the fact that Timothy has a gift from God and he is responsible for how he uses that gift.

Verse 7 points us to what God has given to Timothy which reminds him of how he has been equipped by God.

Look at the order of these three things:

  1. Power - to combat fear and timidity 
  2. Love - to bring care for people
  3. Sound Mind - to bring clarity 


but then we must ask the question "What does Timothy need these three things for?"


To be a good Pastor 


to do the job he has been given to do


Verse 9 points us to what the people need.  The Good News of the Gospel and the building up of their faith.

Perhaps then the gift Paul refers to is one which is important for Timothy to have in order to continue to be a good pastor.  A gift that he knows about and Paul knows about but we do not necessarily have to know about. 


Can this be related to us?

Yes, we must always be equipped to do the job God wants us to do.




What has God given us?




What has God given us?                     The Right Spirit.

What should we give God?                 Faith.







I think this passage is not just about Timothy;
 it is about how God has equipped him and the faith he must use in order to share the Gospel.






Monday

A to Z of Places I Have Never Seen Yet! - Coffee & Conversation



I have been doing a travel series entitled  A to Z of Places I have visited and then I thought 

"What about the places I would like to visit that I haven't had the chance to go to yet?".


This of course meant I needed to make a coffee and sit and think.







So here is my list of 


A to Z of Places I Have Never Seen Yet.


Asturias in Northern Spain
(my husband worked there several times when the kids were young and I never got to go see it)

Baku in Azerbaijan  
(my husband has been there and says it is beautiful)

Copenhagen in Denmark  
(my husband worked here for a while in latter part of his career and again he never took me to see it)

Dundee in Scotland
(I have seen very little of Scotland and that needs to change)

Edinburgh in Scotland
(There is a castle there and our family like to visit castles)

Florence in Italy
(It just sounds like it would be lovely)

Granada in Spain
(I have always heard about it and now our oldest son has been there and sings it's praises too)

Helsinki in Finland  
(I have always been intrigued by this name)

Iceland  
(I have always wanted to go there and then our son did and our daughter wrote a novel about travelling there)

Johannesburg in South Africa
(I would love to see the expansive regions of South Africa)

Kenya 
(We have a friend who came from Kenya so I would like to see where she came from)

Liechtenstein  
(my oldest son has always wanted to go there so I'm copying him and we are both jealous because our son-in-law got to go there this year)

Here is a map to show where Liechtenstein is - just in case someone thought I had made it up.
It is bordered by Switzerland and Austria.


By Elevatorrailfan - This vector image includes elements that have been taken or adapted from this:  Location European nation states.svg., CC BY-SA 4.0, Link


Malawi
(my oldest son spent three months there so I would like to see it too)

Nashville in the US
(OK it's not because of the TV programme of the same name even though I loved it)

Oslo in Norway
(Would love to see Fjords and be in a very cold place that is meant to be very cold)

Piza in Italy
(Well I need to see this leaning tower)

Qatar 
(I don't really really really want to go there although my husband has been and liked it but I can't think of anywhere else for Q)

Rathlin Island in Northern Ireland
(not far from home but I can't remember ever having gone there and the wildlife is suppose to be great)

Sri Lanka
(No idea why I want to see it but it sounds like a lovely name)








Torquay
(I am an Agatha Christie fan)

US Virgin Islands  
(Who wouldn't want to go to the Caribbean?)

Victoria Falls in Africa  
(I love Waterfalls and I have been to Niagara Falls so it would be great to get to see the other major waterfall in the world too)

Westport in Ireland
(I hear it is a popular holiday location in Ireland)

Xanadu?
(Please don't tell me it doesn't exist.  😍)

Yet
(All those other places not seen yet that start with any letter because I haven't got any idea for Y.  😍)

New Zealand 
(We have been to Australia now I'd like to see it's neighbour to the south)



Have you seen these places yet?


PLUS 

Can I add in an object?

Bridge in Paris made of tubing and 3 trampolines.







Tuesday

Death on the Nile - 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.








Death on The Nile



1937



Description


Agatha Christie’s most exotic murder mystery, reissued with a striking cover designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers.
The tranquillity of a cruise along the Nile is shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway has been shot through the head. She was young, stylish and beautiful, a girl who had everything – until she lost her life.
Hercule Poirot recalls an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: ‘I’d like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger.’ Yet in this exotic setting’ nothing is ever quite what it seems…







My Thoughts


This is the 29th book by Agatha Christie and the 16th Poirot Mystery

It is one of the best known Christie books and possibly because of that and the number of adaptations that have been produced it is not among my top Christie stories.  

As with most of her books it is very cleverly written but at one stage I do feel that I can not quite get round the intricate plot because I feel that just one strategic action is not properly explained even having read it a couple of times and having seen all the adaptations, so I do know the full details of it.

She loves villains and heroines and so do I and here you definitely have a special villain and heroine.   I do love the way we are allowed to see the concern and the disdain for them both emanating from Poirot.

We also see several other storylines running through the book some of which have no bearing on the solution of the murder and some which do, not exactly red herrings though.

It has to be noted that this is one of her books that even if it was not one of the most wellknown it still would be one that once read the victim and murderer will not be forgotten. 

There is one thing missing in this one - no Captain Hastings!



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

Sunday Scripture - Matthew 8 v 27


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 be special to me.


Today I am looking at Matthew 8:27







In chapters 5 -7 of the gospel of Matthew, Jesus taught the people and they could see he spoke with authority but then he continued His ministry to them through signs and miracles in chapter 8.

It is a chapter of healings (the leper v. 1-4,  the centurion's servant v. 5-13, Peter's mother-in-law v. 14, many who were demon possessed v. 15 & 28-32) which verse 15 tells us was to fulfill the words of the prophet Isaiah.


This chapter also shows the faith that people already had in Him.  The leper, the centurion, the demon possessed as they came to Him for their miracles.   

Why?

Because of faith.

Looking back we can see that the teaching of Jesus recorded in the previous chapters stirred up faith in the hearts of those people who came to Jesus in chapter 8.

Yet then in verse 27 we read




The disciples may not even have known exactly who He was, and the people certainly didn't, but they had heard Him and witnessed His power through the miraculous and this lead to their faith.

So what excuse then is there for the people who do know who He really is?


The teaching of the Word of God and the work of God around us should stir up our faith too.



We need to stir up our faith.


What about the difficulties we have been though?
What about the difficulties we are facing right now?
What about the difficulties that will come to face us in the future?


Nothing about these difficulties should hinder our faith because we will be stirred up in our faith if we read God's Word and take heed of His miraculous deeds.


We should be able to say:


Who can this be but the Son of God!











Saturday

A Pop Up Bridge - Xtra Special Day


One of the best things about having moved to live in the eastern half of Northern Ireland is the proximity to the Mourne Mountains. 

As we drive south along the A1 towards Banbridge  I laugh when my husband Fred says "Look at that view".  I don't even have to look because I know he is referring to the beautiful outline of the Mountains of Mourne.





Occasionally he doesn't make this remark but replaces it with "The clouds are spoiling the view of the Mournes today" in a very disappointed tone.

We often say it would be lovely to take a picture of that view but in a car on the dual carriageway that is not possible.

When our son Jonathan comes to visit we quite often find ourselves heading off for an afternoon to somewhere around or within this mountain range and that was exactly what we did when he was here a few weeks ago.

We had our granddaughter's birthday party on the Tuesday afternoon at 3pm but we still had the morning free so off we drove ready to get some good pictures (we hoped) of the latest point of interest in our Wee Country.


Yes we were off to see a Pop Up Bridge.


I'm calling it that because I keep hearing about Pop up shops, cafes and whatever and this bridge could be said to just have popped up because it literally just appeared suddenly.

The bridge is in the middle of a reservoir at Spelga Dam in the heart of the Mourne Mountains.




Normally no-one can see the bridge because the reservoir water level is high so the bridge is always under the water.

This summer has been so dry (even though Northern Ireland is known for it's rain) and without the usual rainfall the level of the water in the reservoir fell noticeably.   This picture below shows the different water level marks on the side of the dam and it is very obvious that the water level this month was much much lower than normal.





So for the first time in our lifetime this stone bridge (normally hidden by the height of water) was clearly seen




and it was possible to walk across it into the centre of the water in the reservoir.

From the car park where my husband Fred took the panoramic picture above the bridge can hardly be seen in the distance and the people walking along it were hard to distinguish but many people had been coming day after to see this spectacle and walk where there was normally water and no path.

We took quite a few pictures from the car park and then drove on round to find somewhere closer to the bridge.

We found a road down to a pathway to the reservoir and left the car there with many others to start the walk to the bridge.




This pathway was not part of the bridge.

This was the start of the bridge, the rough ground after the smoother pathway.




As you can see from the cyclist the bridge was at a lower level than the pathway and he was having a hard job to get his bike back up again.


Once on the bridge we could see the poor condition of the ground we were walking on but then it had been under water for many many years.




There were lots of people there that day to walk the bridge and they kept passing us
because we stopped to take so many pictures trying to get a good angle on the arch of the bridge.


After many stops we arrived at the arch of the bridge and of course stopped again to take more photos.

As quite often happens we took some of each other taking photos of each other - if you get what I mean.



Some little videos were grabbed as well, like the one showing exactly what happened after this last picture had been taken.


Then there was a very strange sight, Fred had gone on ahead more quickly than Jonathan & I so that he could do something different, something you normally don't do on a bridge




he greeted us from his seat on part of the broken pathway under a tree!

We took more pics here at this spot and then continued along the pathway for quite a distance until we got to the end of it.


Not only did we walk across it as far as was possible but I did what many people know I like to do - I had a little paddle (just don't tell anyone I had my bare foot in the reservoir water).













Wednesday

A Shield of Wisdom - Dose of Encouragement


When I was ill at the start of this year several things came to mind while doing the usual mundane things, you know the things that still need to be done whether we are ill or well.

At one stage I had a problem with my eye in the middle of the flu and other infections.  I couldn't use my eye properly for just a short time but it made a difference.




I had a Pad on one eye and of course still had to put my glasses on to read.  That wasn't really a problem when I was reading as the glasses would actually help to hold the pad on the eye.

I remember having to go downstairs to get a hot and cold drink and I had my reading glasses still on to hold the eye pad on.  So I had one eye closed and the other eye with prescription reading lens over it.

Not so bad on the stairs but when it came to the smaller movements or things to be done there was more of a problem


Did I really see two sweeteners drop into that mug?

Did I stir in the powdered coffee well enough?

Did I leave enough room for milk?


It is amazing what happens to our perspective if we are not keeping both our eyes open and also looking through the wrong lens.

I could so easily have taken the glasses off then and held the pad over my eye with my hand and saw things clearly; but I was tired, sore and lazy and chose the easy option.

We may not be intentionally seeing things wrongly but for the sake of convenience or for us to be more comfortable we end up not seeing something clearly.

Or we may be happy to see the worst or read the worst into a situation because it suits us and then any lens is acceptable.


A lens of listening to what others might say and not checking it by the Word of God.

A lens of thinking we know better than to have to check with God's Word.

A lens of thinking we are more important because we have a role in the local church so we can dictate how to handle a situation.

A lens of having allowed the wrong influences of other people to distort our viewpoints. 


Photo Credit:  Pixabay



Every morning as we have breakfast together Fred and I pray to thank God for the previous day and all the things we are thankful for from that day.

Then we pray for ourselves and our family and our friends and other incidents of life or illnesses or travel etc.

But we always end up the same way.






Lord we ask you to keep us all safe and healthy, 
protect us wherever we go 
and 
give us wisdom in everything we say and do.



This WISDOM refers to what we do or say towards others and also actually what comes to us from others.  You see a lot of what is said or done to us influences the way we speak or act toward others.

So we know that it is important to have wisdom to govern what to say and do to others just in normal interactions and we want to be guided by God in what we think, say and do then but we also need that extra wisdom not to jump in without thinking when others say or do something to us.


Wisdom to say the right things God would wish us to say or to know when to not say anything.

Wisdom to know what is being said to us and when to accept it or reject it.

Wisdom to know what to do in a situation and what not to do.

Wisdom to receive the right things people would tell us or advise us to do and when to not listen to the wrong ungodly, unscriptural contributions of others.

Wisdom to know the situation, timing and the meaning or purpose behind the words spoken to us is very important.

Wisdom to know how quickly to answer someone.


Once we speak we cannot take back what we have said but also once we hear something from someone it is difficult not to be affected, manipulated or controlled by that item of information or the attitude that came with it.

Above all we need the wisdom to deal with all our interactions correctly and biblically.


In the Bible we are told to talk to people if they have hurt us or we think they have done something against us


Matthew 18:15-17
15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.


and we should not stir up more antagonism in ourselves by thinking on it and talking to others in complaint.

This is the wisdom of God because if we don't follow these steps we will hold things in our hearts to churn over and let them fester and this will make us angry and we will in the natural person then want to strike out in some way against this annoyance to us.


God's Wisdom can be a shield to us.

God's Wisdom is not always made clear to us but we should expect to see His Wisdom when His Word presents us with instructions for life.  We should then acknowledge it and try our best to act on it but certainly not just push it to one side and not think to ourselves about why He bothered to have it stated clearly for us in the Bible.

God's Word has been given to us to guide and lead us but also to instruct us clearly in many matters and when we come to something clearly instructed it is there for two reasons.

 

For our good.
For the good of others.

God knows what we humans are like - He created us, He knows us better than anyone else and so He has told us to go to someone else first if we feel they have done something wrong or hurt us.  When we ignore this instruction we are ignoring what God has told us to do, we are being disobedient and we are also ignoring His wisdom in the situation.  



This means we will not be in His Will at that time and will instead be opening ourselves up to more hurt and letting resentment build in our hearts.

It also means that we will not be giving others the opportunity to get right with God if they have truly sinned.

Then there is also the case where going to the person will clear up a misunderstanding of the situation and we will see that we had jumped to conclusions or been influenced wrongly buy others.

Where is our protection when we ignore His Wisdom?







Why would we ignore His Word which is there to help us?

Why would we think to ourselves that any way we decide to act which is different to His Word, will ever take us through the situation in the way He would want?

Why would we ever want to have to go it alone when we can walk with Him by following the steps He has laid out for us?


Instead let's pray that we always remember to shield ourselves with God's Wisdom and not allow any old lens obstruct the view we have of God's Will through His Word.