31 03 2014

I’ve posted the first definition of Joy below on here before among a longer article, but it’s come up so many times in the last couple of weeks I just wanted to share it in it’s own space.

Joy is an interesting concept. We so often think of joyful as just being happy, but it really isn’t.

In the bible it says “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice!” – Philippians 4v4. “always” would imply even when you aren’t happy.

Joy = “Unnatural reaction of deep and steady thankful trust in God”

Joy is not about how we should feel, but how we should think.

It’s almost a head vs heart thing.

When I was little my Grandma taught me the Acrostic below:

Jesus first
Others second
Yourself last

update 1st April: I’ve just added below 2 of the songs I love that focus on Joy 🙂

My car is a “she”

25 03 2014

My car is called Rosie.

  • I’ve had her just over 3 years, she is ten years old, and has her own little personality.
  • If you go over a bump in the road, or even a drain cover, the CD player skips, and sometimes stops altogether.
  • If you sit in traffic and put the windscreen wipers on, the signal cuts out at the top of each sweep.
  • If you unlock the car and don’t do anything after 30 seconds she locks like any other car – but she doesn’t know that you’ve opened the drivers door, so she locks even if you open that.
  • The passenger window only goes part way down.
  • The headlight went about 5 times in 3 years because of a dodgy cable.

There are probably many things I’ve forgotten here.

But she has character, and I love her for it!

I get laughed at for saying she has character, or even that I call her a she or give her a name.

Yet don’t people call expensive boats and cars “she”? I think it gives her value, I don’t think it’s silly at all!
She has her little faults, but she’s dependable 🙂

seat arosa

Gospel Perseverance – Philippians 4 vv 1-9

24 03 2014

We had a great sermon this weekend – here’s the passage and my notes 🙂

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!

I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

This passage gives us things to watch out for so we can stand firm in the Lord and persevere in our faith (v1)

  • Unity with other Christians – vv2-3
    Soldiers would stand shoulder to shoulder, and if they didn’t break rank they were virtually invincible.
    The enemy is looking for cracks and divisions in the church to exploit.
    One of the most common causes of church splits is personality clashes.
    In this example Paul doesn’t take sides.

    Disagreements, disunity and unforgiveness can weaken the church and destroy our faith.
    Warmth of close Christian friendship strengthens the church and builds our faith.

  • Relationship with the Lord
    Paul gives three ways to do this

    • Enjoy the Lord – v4
      Paul mentions rejoicing 16 times in Philippians, but not a certain style of joy.
      Joy may be expressed in silence, tears, delight or peace.

      The ground of our joy can never be in our circumstances.
      If our joy is based on our circumstances, then when they change we’ll be miserable.
      Our joy and delight must be in the Lord.

      When you get down in the dumps, read the promises of Christ.
      Try reading Ephesians 1 vv 3-14 and dare to still be miserable at the end!

    • Expect the Lord – v5
      Gentleness means moderation or graciousness. Being willing to forego retaliation.
      We should expect His return at any time.

      Crowds gather with excitement for royalty or celebrity.
      We should have expectancy and excitement for the arrival of the King of kings!

      The Lord is also near through the Holy Spirit in us.

    • Petition the Lord in prayer, with thanksgiving – v6
      “When I look back on all these worries I remember the story of the old man who said on his death bed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened.” – Winston Churchill
      Worry can wreck out lives.
      Paul says that we must never be anxious.
      Rather than indulging in anxiety we are to pray about everything, no matter how small the issue.
      When we are anxious, it is because a situation seems out of control and we feel we can’t fix it. Either we continue like that, or we turn to prayer.
      God promises never to leave us of forsake us.

      It can be helpful to memorise verses that relate to personal issues for us, and then speak them to your spirit when you struggle.
      Some find it helpful to keep a prayer journal or prayer diary. It helps concentration, and helps look back and see how God has answered prayers. Then we can pray with thanksgiving and have greater confidence as we go on praying!

      As we bring worries and anxieties to God and leave them with Him, He gives us His peace in exchange.
      Peace means wholeness, soundness, well-being, oneness with God, every kind of blessing!

      Others can’t understand how we can be so peaceful amidst major worries.

  • Thoughts – vv8-9
    What we think about affects every area of our lives.
    If we want to become more like Jesus then we need to set our minds on the right things.

    The world we live in is quite different to this. We are bound to be tempted daily by wrong thoughts!
    “You can’t stop a bird flying overhead, but you can stop it nesting in your hair” – Martin Luther

    “Occupy your minds with good thoughts, or the enemy will fill them with bad ones; unoccupied they cannot be.” – Sir Thomas More
    The way to get wrong thoughts out is to get right thoughts in.
    Starting the day with this from the moment we wake up is a great way to start, to set the agenda for the day.

    Our unseen thought life is like the roots of a tree – our ability to withstand the storms of life depends on the strength of the unseen parts.

The hardest part of all of this is putting it into practice!
We must practice:

  • Avoiding quarrels and staying united with other Christians
  • Avoiding worry and anxiety by bringing it to the Lord in prayer
  • Thinking about good things

The Help – by Kathryn Stockett

15 03 2014

I’d seen the film, but it was quite a while ago and I didn’t really remember it, so in many ways, this was like reading a new book.

The story is set in 1960s Mississippi, and looks primarily into the lives of a few white women, their maids and their children. Now I wasn’t anywhere near alive in the ’60s, but I thought I knew a bit about what had gone on. I know about Rosa Parks, I know about Martin Luther King, and I know about Apartheid in South Africa. I did not know that a white woman would consider, let alone actually build a separate toilet outside her house for her maid to use so that she wouldn’t catch diseases from her. I didn’t know that to serve a white woman her coffee you would set it on the table rather than give it to her for her fear that her hands may touch yours and catch something. I am privileged to have grown up in an environment where this would never be tolerated, though I know that in some places things still aren’t quite right.

It was really encouraging to find out at the end that while it this wasn’t based on the authors life per say, she did grow up with a black maid who she was close to around this time, and so in general it was based on life at that time, though the book itself is fiction. It does close with a nice little account of her story in the back though.

The book itself has three women sharing the job of narration, two black maids and one white woman who isn’t quite like the rest of them. Just home from college and living back with her mother while her friends are married and enjoying high society life, she is far more interested in what life is like for the maids.

Definitely a bit of an emotional rollercoaster – there’s time for laughter, sadness and anger definitely, but it really opened my eyes to what things used to be like compared to what they are now, but also was genuinely a great read. One of those books you carry around with you incase you find a chance to read a few more pages!

the help

Walking with your head held high

15 03 2014

When I was growing up, I was always told to “watch where you’re going!”. So I have always tended to walk looking down, about a metre or so in front of me, incase of dog muck, etc on the ground.

And this can sometimes be misconstrued as a self confidence thing.

However, today I found a reason to look up!

Because of the beautiful sunshine I decided that today I would walk to the supermarket rather than drive, and just buy what I could carry. I put my sunglasses on and off I went.

The walk there was wonderful, so warm that I didn’t even have a jumper, and just enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of a spring day. I did a lap of the supermarket, got 2 bagfuls of stuff, and started to head home.

It was even warmer this time (this is a good thing, I am not complaining!), and so my nose started to glow a little. I would say sweat, but there was a book I read as a child that had the following line in it: “Horses sweat, men perspire, ladies glow.” – so I like to use “glow” when I can!

Anyway, my sunglasses kept slipping down my nose, and with 2 hands occupied with shopping bags, I kept having to stop to push my glasses back up, and then carry on. It turned out the only way to stop this happening was to look straight ahead or even up! This doesn’t come naturally to me, but it was my only option!

It’s time to look up!

Which on a pretty unrelated note, got this wonderful song stuck in my head – enjoy 🙂

(Am I the only one who for years thought this song was singing “it’s time to let go”?!)

“There was no other good enough”

9 03 2014

I’ve been known to do series of blogs for Advent before, so why not Lent? I did a Friday five favourites of Easter songs a year or two ago, but I thought I’d share some of them again and some new ones too, one each week. I’ve just put together an Easter compilation CD for my car so I’m pretty just they’ll all come from there 🙂

Since I found this particular YouTube video a few days ago I haven’t been able to get enough of it, I’ve been playing it loads and it keeps getting stuck in my head! I hope you enjoy it and get something from it/find it helpful/whatever the right phrase is there!

(the song itself starts around 40 seconds in)

There is a green hill in a faraway country,
It stands near a city, outside a wall,
Where Jesus our Saviour, the King of all glory
Suffered and died to save us all.

I may not know of the pain of His passion,
But I believe that in my place he stood:
That I may know freedom and live in forgiveness,
For I am redeemed by His great love.

There was no other good enough
Willing to pay the price of sin
For he was the only one who could reach out
And unlock the gates of heav’n to let us in.

So very dearly Jesus has loved us,
And all he would ask is that we love him too,
And trust him for all that this life lays before us,
That we would try His work to do.

There was no other good enough
Willing to pay the price of sin
For he was the only one who could reach out
And unlock the gates of heav’n to let us in.

Gospel Confidence – Philippians 3 vv 1-9

2 03 2014

There seems to have been a bit of a gap lately, not sure what happened, life just got busy and I had a few weeks on rotas, but here are my notes from this morning’s sermon!

So many people constantly feel inadequate and insecure.

Is it legitimate or possible for Christians to have confidence, and if so in what?

The answer is “yes!” – we can sing “Bold I approach the eternal throne”

But it is possible to have a false confidence in religion. Paul had that as a Pharisee.

Colossians 2 says about needing our hearts circumcised, this means having the sinful part stripped away by the Spirit when we are born again, and given a new heart.

People can think that religion gives confidence before God. E.g. having Christian parents, having being Christened, Confirmed or even Baptised. But none of these in themselves make us right before God.

People can think that living by Christian morals, keeping the 10 Commandments, or even just not breaking the law is enough. But doing good works is not enough to give us confidence before God.

Saul looked like a good religious man on the outside, but on the inside he had a burning hate of Christians. When he became Paul he found his confidence in Jesus Christ.

Jesus took our filthy rags on the cross, and we were clothed in pure white robes of righteousness. Therefore God does not see our sin. He sees us as pure, all because of what Christ did for us. At the bar of justice, we have been declared Not Guilty. We now have confidence to approach God!

The secular world sees confidence in a career, money, popularity, fame. That is not the case!

There is no more than what was poured out that He could have poured out.
There is no more than He’s given us that He could have given us.

“Confidence is a path of slow growth” – William Pitt. It’s going to take lifetime!

We’ll become confident in perfection when we meet Him on that final day, but in the meantime:: “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1v6b.

Jesus has paid the price once and for all