Archive for May, 2011

These days we are increasingly able to do all our transactions and interactions anywhere and at whatever time of day, using computers, phones and other new gadgets.

As a consequence of this we seem to be hearing about a growing number of computer frauds that are taking place. One of the types of fraud that seems most alarming and difficult to stop, is identity theft.

So what is identity theft?

Identity Theft is when an imposter pretends to be someone else so that they can illegally gain information, services, goods or money. e.g. Someone pretends to be you by using your name and credit card details to order goods or services; Someone pretends to be you to “hide” from authorities by giving your name/address as their own.

I’ve heard a few stories of people who have found their identity has been stolen, and it seems to be a very long and difficult task to convince the authorities/credit card companies that you are who you claim to be, and that the other person using your identity is an imposter.

Personally the term identity theft always makes me think of something positive – someone so great that we all want to be so others try to be that person. I.e. They try to take on the same personality traits as the person whose identity they are impersonating.

So how do we keep ourselves safe from identity theft? I can only offer a little bit of advice in the hope that this help you from falling foul of identity theft:

  • Keep you credit/debit cards in a safe place at all times
  • Don’t share your credit/debit card details with anyone…especially your PIN number
  • Don’t let your credit/debit card out of your sight when paying for goods/services in shops/restaurants
  • Only share minimal personal data on-line – Those who know you will find you from the little information you share
  • Only use secure internet sites when making on-line purchases
  • Be careful how you dispose of mail/documents that include your name and/or address

These are just a few hints – If you need further information I’d suggest the following websites:

http://www.getsafeonline.org/

http://www.identitytheft.org.uk/

We find out even more about God in each book of the new testament of the bible:

In Matthew, He is King of the Jews.
In Mark, He is the Servant.
In Luke, He is the Son of Man, feeling what you feel.
In John, He is the Son of God.
In Acts, He is Saviour of the world.
In Romans, He is the righteousness of God.
In 1 Corinthians, He is the rock that followed Israel.
In 2 Corinthians, He is the triumphant, victorious one.
In Galatians, He is your liberty … He sets you free.
In Ephesians, He is Head of the Church.
In Philippians, He is your joy.
In Colossians, He is your completeness.
In 1 Thessalonians, He is your hope.
In 2 Thessalonians, He is your patience and discipline.
In 1 Timothy, He is your faith.
In 2 Timothy, He is your stability.
In Titus, He is the truth.
In Philemon, He is your benefactor.
In Hebrews, He is your perfection.
In James, He is the power behind your faith.
In 1 Peter, He is your example.
In 2 Peter, He is your purity.
In 1 John, He is your life.
In 2 John, He is your pattern.
In 3 John, He is your motivation.
In Jude, He is the foundation of your faith.
In the Revelation, He is your coming King.

We find out a little bit more about who God is in each book of the Old Testament of the bible:

In Genesis, He is the Creator God.
In Exodus, He is the Redeemer.
In Leviticus, He is your sanctification.
In Numbers, He is your guide.
In Deuteronomy, He is your teacher.
In Joshua, He is the mighty conqueror.
In Judges, He gives victory over enemies.
In Ruth, He is your kinsman, your lover, your redeemer.
In 1 Samuel, He is the root of Jesse.
In 2 Samuel, He is the Son of David.
In 1 Kings and 2 Kings, He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
In 1st and 2nd Chronicles, He is your intercessor and High Priest.
In Ezra, He is your temple, your house of worship.
In Nehemiah, He is your mighty wall, protecting you from your enemies.
In Esther, He stands in the gap to deliver you from your enemies.
In Job, He is the arbitrator who not only understands your struggles, but has the power to do something about them.
In Psalms, He is your song and your reason to sing.
In Proverbs, He is your wisdom, helping you make sense of life and live it successfully.
In Ecclesiastes, He is your purpose, delivering you from vanity.
In the Song of Solomon, He is your lover, your Rose of Sharon.
In Isaiah, He is the mighty counselor, the Prince of Peace, the everlasting Father, and more. He’s everything you need.
In Jeremiah, He is your balm of Gilead, the soothing salve for your sin-sick soul.
In Lamentations, He is the ever-faithful one upon whom you can depend.
In Ezekiel, He is your wheel in the middle of a wheel, the one who assures that dry, dead bones will come alive again.
In Daniel, He is the ancient of days, the everlasting God who never runs out of time.
In Hosea, He is your faithful lover, always beckoning you to come back, even when you have abandoned Him.
In Joel, He is your refuge, keeping you safe in times of trouble.
In Amos, He is the husbandman, the one you can depend on to stay by your side.
In Obadiah, He is Lord of the Kingdom.
In Jonah, He is your salvation, bringing you back within His will.
In Micah, He is Judge of the Nation.
In Nahum, He is the jealous God.
In Habakkuk, He is the Holy One.
In Zephaniah, He is the witness.
In Haggai, He overthrows the enemies.
In Zechariah, He is Lord of Hosts.
In Malachi, He is the messenger God.

What do you think of your national anthem? Does it make you feel proud to belong to that nation when you hear it?

Earlier this week on the radio, I heard part of a discussion surrounding our (Scotland‘s) national anthem. Firstly they asked what the listeners currently considered to be our national anthem and secondly, what they thought it should be.

I believe this whole discussion came about because Alex Salmond, our First Minister, stating that we should change our national anthem to Scotland Will Flourish.

From the part of the radio discussion I heard, there were 4 main candidates for our nation anthem. Here is a version of each of them, in no particular order:

There were many opinions voiced in the radio programme I heard, some better than others at trying to promote their particular choice. Personally I like the passion stirred by Flower of Scotland, so I’d probably vote for that. How about you?

Please use my poll below to indicate what you think our Scottish national anthem should be – I’ve listed the main candidates from the radio programme but please feel free to had your own suggestions:

When you travel on holiday to a place you’ve never been to before or don’t know well, it can be a good idea to take a travel guide with you to help you find your way around. The guide book will help you find you way around, highlight places of interest that you may want to visit, as well as giving you some background information about people and the location.

Ever wished you had a guide book for life? Well we do…the bible!

Proverbs 3:5-6 (The Message)

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.

The bible gives us guidance on every area of our life, covering every kind of emotion we may be feeling. Here’s some examples:

These are just a few of the “life” topics you’ll find covered in the bible, so whatever your need, whatever you situation, turn to God’s word, the bible, you will find direction and inspiration there.

If you had to choose one particular category of book to read, which would you choose? Maybe a biography, sci-fi, crime, health, Christian, historical, mystery, travel…

Why have you chosen that particular category of book? Maybe for information, to learn, entertainment…

Having now chosen you type of book, if you were then told you could only choose one specific book from that category, what book would you choose?

The book I would choose would depend very much on what kind of mood I was in at the time I had to choose the book. However if I was informed that I had to choose one book, and that one book was the only book I was allowed to have for the rest of my life, would that influence my choice of book? Of course it would!

I’d want to choose a book that inspires me when I feel lost; makes me laugh when I feel like crying; gives me direction when I feel lost; shows me how to improve my life when I feel like I’m stagnating; I’d also want a book with a good story.

Now the big question…what book fits all of the above? I’m sure there are many book which fit one or two of my desires for my “one” book, but how many are there that satisfy all my desires for my book?

I think there is just one book that fit my wish list…the bible!

The bible my fit my requirements, but would it really be my book of choice if I actually had to choose one book…to be truthful, I’m not sure that it would be…and that concerns me as a Christian.

I pray God will strengthen my faith and belief, so that should the day come when I have to choose only one book to keep for the rest of my life, I will choose my bible.

According to some people, last Saturday (21st May 2011) was the day when the Rapture that was foretold in the bible was going to happen. Strangely enough it didn’t happen…either that or everyone I know was left behind – somehow I don’t think this will have been the case!

A few years ago I read a number of books in a series called Left Behind (by Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins). This series of fictional books tells the story of a number of people before, during and after Christ takes all His people from Earth, to be with Him. i.e. the Rapture.

Well strangely enough a few weeks ago, long before I’d heard that some were predicting the Rapture would happen last Saturday, I started re-reading the first book in this series “Left Behind – A Story of the Last Days on Earth“.

I’d forgotten how much this book reminded me of the film Home Alone, although there are obviously some major differences between the two. Home Alone is about a young boy who is accidentally gets left behind when the rest of his family go on holiday. He adapts to the situation he finds himself in, successfully fending for himself (including fighting off some burglars single-handedly) until his family return home to be reunited with him.

Home Alone is a humorous look at a child taking care of himself and his home until his parents return to be with him, whereas the Left Behind book is serious and thought provoking making think very deeply, and truthfully, about by faith and my beliefs.

Funnily enough, I’ve had a feeling of deja vu while reading Left Behind, as I’ve found I’ve been asking myself the same questions I asked myself the first time I read it!

  • Is my faith true and strong?
  • Do I really put Christ first, myself last and others in between?
  • Am I just going through the motions of being a Christian?

Given that the Rapture was predicted to happen last Saturday, were you ready for it? If Christ had come last Saturday and taken all His people to be with Him, would you have been included, or would you have been Left Behind?

Tough questions! Ones which if I’m honest, I have to admit that just like the last time I read this book, I fear I may have left behind! Once again this has given me a lot to think about!

I find myself vowing again to re-evaluate my Christian life and taking steps to ensure I that if Christ came today, I won’t be left behind. Please join me in taking a look inside yourself, make the changes you need to, to ensure you too will not be left behind.

We all have books which we read over and over again, and enjoy as much, if not more, each time we read them.

So what are your favourite books, the ones you read over and over again?

Here are mine:

Have you read any of these books? If so what did you think are they in your “must read again” list? If not, I’d recommend that you have a read of them as each of them are excellent books.

But surely as a Christian there should be another book in my list…the Bible!

Why is it when we talk about books we always exclude the Bible?

I do read the Bible a lot, and yes I’ve read some parts of it countless times, sometimes for guidance, sometimes for inspirations, sometimes for encouragement, sometimes to reassure me, other times, just because…

Make the Bible the most read book on your bookshelf (both your physical bookshelf and your electronic bookshelf).

Imagine your life in book format – Imagine that for each area/topic/interest in your life, a book exists.

For example your life may be made up with books on the following topics:

My question to you is this…if the size of each of your “life books” was based on how much time you focus on that topic/area of your life, what would be your thickest or largest book?

Using the topics in my example “life books” above – would Christianity be a thin paperback jammed in between Boredom and Depression? Or would it be the larger than all the other books put together?

Having thought about this for myself, I realise that my Christian “life book” isn’t as thick a volume as it should be. If like me, you find your Christianity “life book” is thinner than all your other books put together, please take a few moments to refocus your life.

Let’s all put Jesus back in the centre of all we do, so that He is part of all our other “life books” not just our Christianity one!

With the end of the various football sessions in England and Scotland, I thought it was time to reflect on how wonderful football is.

Football supporters of the same team often come from different backgrounds and culture and come with different life experiences.

Competition is great, it’s people from the different backgrounds together supporting the same team.

Isn’t this all a bit like religion? There are many religions, each with different beliefs and cultural backgrounds, however we are ultimately all followers of Jesus.

This means that despite our religious/cultural differences, when the real battle against good and evil comes, we will all stand on the same side, with Jesus, as brothers and sisters.

Yes, there are differences in background, culture, and life experiences between football supports and Jesus’ supporters, however we must all accept, appreciate and enjoy the differences between us all – football supports and Jesus’ supporters.

Come Together by Third Day

You can all call me crazy
For the things that I might say
You can laugh all you want to
I know there will come a day
When we all will come together
And learn to set aside our hate
And we can learn to love our neighbor
Just like we would love ourselvesWe’ve got to come together
‘Cause in the end we can make it — alright
We’ve got to brave the weather
Through all of the storms
We’ve got to come together
‘Cause in the end we can make it — alright
We’ve got to learn to love
We’ve got to learn to love

You can call me a dreamer
But these dreams will come true
Yes, I am a firm believer
In the things that we can do
If we would all just come together
And let the Lord lead our way
There is nothing that we can’t do
There is nothing we can’t face

We’ve got to come together
‘Cause in the end we can make it — alright
We’ve got to brave the weather
Through all of the storms
We’ve got to come together
‘Cause in the end we can make it — alright
We’ve got to learn to love

And I know that there will come a day
When the Lord will call His own away
To a place that He has made for all of us
But until the day of His return
There’s a lesson that we’ve got to learn
We are brothers and we’re sisters
We are one

We’ve got to come together
‘Cause in the end we can make it — alright
We’ve got to brave the weather
Through all of the storms
We’ve got to come together
‘Cause in the end we can make it — alright
We’ve got to learn to love,
We’ve got to learn to love

Ya know we got to learn,
Know ya got to, ya know we got to learn to love
Yeah, yeah
Don’t you know, oh yeah, don’t you know
We’ve got to learn to love