Archive for September, 2011

The last few days I’ve spoken about the value of friendships and the wonderful feeling it can give you when you find a true friendship particularly when that friendship turns out to be a lasting friendship.

How about those friendship which end, how do they make you feel? We often feel upset, hurt and let down when friendships end, and none of these feelings are very pleasant are they.

Personally I’ve been there, got the t-shirt etc, I’ve had friendships that have end. Some I’ve got over very quickly others although the relationship broke down a while ago, still hurt when I think about them. I’ve even got one friendship which is still very painful whenever I see the person(s) concerned as they are quite simply rude and seem to want to continue to hurt me, and this was a person(s) that was a very good and close friend for many years.

Have you had this awful experience too, or have you experience something worse?

Whatever our experiences of broken friendships, I think we would all agree that it hurts when a friendship fails.

All I can say to you is stick in there, there are plenty of people out there who could be a true friend to you, as those “friends” you’ve lost were sadly not meant to be you friend for life.

So who else is there that we can always rely on as a friend who will never let you down or hurt you..

 

Do you have a friend or friends who you consider to be faithful?

Unfortunately for many, finding a single faithful friend can be something they will never experience, and that I find is very sad. It’s wonderful when you have someone who you can tell anything to, and talk about anything with and know not only that they will not judge you, but will not pass on anything you have told them to anything else.

For some their faithful friend maybe someone they have known for many years, possibly since childhood. For others it maybe someone the met just a few years ago and instantly “clicked”. For some it maybe someone they’ve known for a while but through a particular situation you’ve found you have so much in common and have subsequently become good friends. Then there are those for whom their closest and most faithful friend is their partner.

It’s great when your best friend is also your partner, after all why would you want to spend your life/commit your life to someone who you’re not friends with!

However great your friendships are, there is one person who we can all rely on to be faithful at all times, and that is Jesus. Do you consider Him to be your friend?

If you don’t consider Jesus to be your friend, why not give him a go, talk to Him…He will listen and He will be there for you at all times.

Faithful Friend by Twila Paris

Everyone knows you as a man of honor
I am glad to know you simply as a friend
You’ve always taken time to be my brother
And I’ll be standing by you in the end

But I will never put you on a pedestal
I thank the Lord for everything you do
I’ll be there to pray for you and for the ones you love
I believe that He will finish all he started in you.

Chorus
I will be an open door that you can count on
Anywhere you are, anywhere you’ve been
I will be an honest heart you can depend on
I will be a faithful friend

I am one of many whose path has been made clear
By the light you’ve carried faithfully as a warrior and a child
God has used you greatly to encourage and inspire
And you’ve remained a true friend all the while

So I will never put you on a pedestal
Cause we both know all the glory is the Lord’s
But I’ll be there to pray that He will keep you by his grace
And I always will remind you to be seeking His face

Chorus

Should there ever come a time to cry
I will weep with you
And every single time you win
I’m celebrating too

Oh, I will celebrate with you

Chorus

We all need people we can love and trust and who love and trust us. We yearn for someone who we can share our deepest secrets, feelings and emotions with and who trusts us enough to share their deepest secrets and emotions with us too.

It’s a wonderful feeling when you find someone you feel comfortable enough with to share some of these feelings with. I personally experienced that feeling a few years ago when I was going through a really really tough time, and I must admit it was almost like the someone had turned the sun back on again, when I found someone I could share some of my deepest feelings and fears with. What made that time even more special was that I discovered this person could very much relate to my feelings, as they were going through some tough times themself at that time.

How great it was to have a friend and confidant to rely on…

Can you tell there is a “but” or “however” coming next? Unfortunately after a few months that friend was no longer there for me, and I must admit I was deeply hurt and disappointed. However I truly believe that God sent that friend to me during my darkest days and when He felt I could go on by myself, He moved that friend on to be someonelse’s angel.

God does give us the friends we need, when we need them.

Appreciate your friends, old ones and new ones, as they may be the friend God send you when are most in need.

Why is it important to us to have a place we can call home?

Here’s a few reasons I need a place called home:

  • A place to relax with hubby
  • I can openly show my emotions and feeling without feeling I’m being judged
  • A place of safety
  • It’s warm (sometimes too warm!)
  • It’s a place where I can spent “quiet time” with God
  • It’s a place I can simply be me

Yes, we all need a roof over our heads to shelter from the weather and be safe, however as my list shows, my home provides me with so much more than simply shelter. If all my home provided was shelter, I don’t think it could truly be considered “home“.

I know when I’m over at Mum and Dad’s it still feels like home because Mum and Dad are there, and they make me feel safe. That shows me that although the house provides shelter and heat, what makes a house is the people in it.

Is your home more than just a place of shelter and warmth? I pray your house may also be your home.

I’m sure you will have heard this phrase many times:

Home is where the heart is

But what does that actually mean? Well here’s a great definition I came across a few days ago:

When I walk into my home I feel peace. I feel I am in the most safe environment that I could be in. There are no worries or problems within the walls of my home. It is the one place that I can truly be me. My family is here and love and comfort surrounds me. I am in my world where everything around is me. To know that this is the place where my family and myself have established together and that we all have our special space within our home and spaces where we can come together is why our home is where our hearts are.

How does that definition sound to you?

For me I still think of myself as having three homes…no we’re not really really rich and got two secret hideaways!

My current home is definitely here with my hubby of seventeen years. Just as the above definition says, my home is where my family (hubby) is and love and comfort surrounds me. What more could I ask for?!

So I have my current home with hubby, but a very close run second home to me is still my Mum and Dad’s house where I lived from aged 10 until I got married. Mum and Dad still live in that house and so again, just like the above definition says, it’s a place where my family are and we love and comfort one another. Once again, what more could I ask for?!

Finally, my third “home”…This one’s a bit different because it’s not a place I’ve every lived and is unlikely to ever be one where I would live, however it is still “home” to me. Confused? Let me explain…

I’m sure you’ve probably heard the expression “spiritual home”, well that’s what my third home is, it’s my spiritual home!

So where is my spiritual home? It’s not as you might think, my current church and place of worship. No, it’s Rutherglen Salvation Army, the corps I grew up in, and worshipped there until 2002 when I transferred to Bellshill Salvation Army. Does that surprise you? In some ways it still surprises me, however when I think about how much I learned as a Christian and all I participated in at Rutherglen, it shouldn’t really surprise me…I became a junior soldier, later a senior soldier of the Salvation Army there; I was a member of both the junior and senior bands and choirs; I was a member of the Corps Cadets; I was the YP Record Sargeant for many years; I was singing company and then songster accompanist; I was deputy songster leader and then songster leader; but most importantly I learned and grew as a Christian and Salvationist.

My Mum’s side of the family were some of the founding members of Rutherglen Salvation Army, I have a heritage at Rutherglen, my past, present and future were moulded there…Rutherglen Salvation Army is most definitely my spiritual home.

Take a few minutes out to consider the place or places you consider to be home, and why. These places have moulded you and made you the person you are today.

I thank God for allowing me to lucky enough to have three places I can call home.

Home by Nichole Nordeman

Bright are the stars that shine in somebody else’s sky
Green is the grass that grows some place different
More possibilities, more than You offered me
More than I care to see from a distance

I was certain that the truth would be
In a place that kept eluding me
But every stone turned and unturned again
Would only serve to prove
That I never had to move to find You

And You will always be
The only love I’ll ever know, home
And You have made for me
The only place I’ll ever go, home

God, for the shameless pride
The times when I rolled my eyes
To laugh at simplicity, show me mercy
Knowing what I know now it’s hard to imagine how
I could feel anything but unworthy

And the mystery of Your love for me
Is not as hidden as it seemed to be
Should have known then when You said to me
‘Seek and you will find’
It was right here all the time

And You will always be
The only love I’ll ever know, home
And You have made for me
The only place I’ll ever go, home

I believe in the quest and the journey
I believe that the answers come in time
And where we begin is where we arrive

And You will always be
The only love I’ll ever know, home
And You have made for me
The only place I’ll ever go, home

For many of us “Home Sweet Home” will be a phrase I’m sure we will have said or thought many times.

But what about those for whom that statement couldn’t be further from the truth?

There are times when specific events or scenes remind us that some don’t have the same wonderful home experience that we have, however surely it shouldn’t take events or images to remind us of these folk?

There are many people in our own communities who sadly never get to experience a wonderful and loving family home life. It’s sad and disgraceful that in country which has so much, we can still have people who have nothing, not even a roof over their head at night, or food to eat.

There’s those who would have us believe they are living in safe and loving home however when the door closes and no-one can see them they suffer mental and physical abuse. It’s sad and disgraceful that there are those living around us that think this is acceptable behaviour.

Then there are those who live alone, have no family or friends who care enough about them to visit them. They are lonely and long for companionship and conversation. It’s sad and disgraceful that we can live in communities where people don’t care for their neighbours any more.

There’s also many people in countries ravaged by war, poverty, natural disasters who find themselves with no home. It’s sad and a disgrace that other countries don;t do more to assist people in these countries.

These are just a few situations that mean some people don’t experience “Home Sweet Home”. So next time you say or think to yourself, “Home Sweet Home”, please spare a thought for those who don’t consider home to be a sweet and happy place to be.

It’s not too late though to do something to help these people who are worse off than us. We can give donations of time and/or money to organisations/groups who help those in need. I know they always say you don;t need to give much because every penny counts, but I’m going to be honest, the more you can give, the more people who can be helped! You might think you’re too busy to be able to give any time to helping, however, unlike the money, I would agree that every minute you can give does count.

Let’s do all we can to ensure everyone has a roof over their head.

Let’s all do what we can to make home a sweet and loving place for everyone.

I’ve found myself thinking quite a bit in the last couple of weeks about colours, and the feelings, emotions and images the conjure up in our minds when we see certain colours or hear the colours being mentioned. So today I thought I’d give you an idea of some of the colourful thoughts I’ve been having.

So here goes – I’ll give you some colours, single or multiple, and not necessarily in the order you’d expect, and then later in this post I’ll tell you my thoughts. This way you can have a think about the images/emotions the colours give you without being influenced by my answers.

1. Red

2. White and green

3. Black

4. Blue, red and yellow

5. Grey

6. Blue and white

7. Orange

8. Blue and black

9. White

10. Black and white

 

Now here’s my responses to the colours above:

1. Danger

2. Celtic – not because I support them but because while writing this we were watching them playing in Europe!

3. Darkness and depression

4. Salvation Army flag

5. Boring!

6. Scottish saltire

7. One of my old cars…a “Calypso orange” Fiat Punto

8. Bruises…of which I get many

9. Hospital

10. Caesar – The black and white cat my mother-in-law used to own

Were any of your answers the same as mine?

Did any of my answers amuse you?

What about your own answers, any of them amuse you?

A simply little test there, but I hope it shows the power colour can have, and does have in our lives. Use colours wisely to convey the feelings and emotions you want the viewer to experience. Bearing that in mind, keep an eye out on the colours used in posters and adverts as many of them use colours to stir our emotions.

This week, in various blog posts, I’ve referred to us celebrating harvest last weekend at Bellshill Salvation Army, but do you actually know what that means?

Here’s one definition I found:

Harvest Festival is a celebration of the food grown on the land. Harvest Festivals remind Christians of all the good things God gives them. This makes them want to share with others who are not so fortunate. In schools and in Churches, people bring food from home to a Harvest Festival Service. After the service, the food that has been put on display is usually made into parcels and given to people in need.

These days we don’t talk about “harvesting the crops” like they used to in the past, because we live in more urban communities where we rarely see crops let alone consider when they need to be harvested. However in the past, when the crops were gathered in. it was customary to give the best of the crops to God. The best crops are normally the first ones gathered.

Exodus 23:16 (NIV)

Celebrate the Feast of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field.

So that’s what harvest festivals are all about. But what about us, what does God expect from us, His people, at harvest?

Well, as was mentioned in the definition above, it’s a chance for us to bring food to our harvest festival so that it can later be passed out to the needy in our communities. But it’s also much more than that, it’s a chance for us to say thank you to God again, for all He gives us each day.

We live in a world where we’re all so busy rushing around all the time that I suspect if you’re anything like me, you forget to say thank you to God for the all He provides for us. I’m not talking about all the complicated things in life, but the basics, things like food, water, a home, clothes, our education, our family and friends…and then theirs the world around us, the rivers, trees, flowers, plants, hills…

How many of those things I’ve just listed have you thanked God for recently?

Take time out this Harvest to just say “thank you” to God for all the things we have in life, the things that we so often take for granted.

John 15:1-2 (NIV)

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

Following on from our Harvest weekend I’ve spoken in the last few days about some of my experiences of my weekend. Today I want to focus on another thing I was reminded of during our harvest celebrations…God is a gardener!

What, you didn’t know God was a gardener? Well He is, but not in the conventional sense, He’s the gardener of our lives.

We’re reminded in John 15:1-2 that God He looks after each of our lives and helps us to toss out the parts of our lives which are not productive, i.e. the parts of our lives which are not a true likeness of Him. However on the other hand, the areas of our lives which are pleasing to Him, spreading His message He will help nurture and grow so that we can become more productive in witnessing for Him.

God will help us be all He needs us to be, however if we try and grow on our own without a strong spirutal root in Him, we may do ok for a short time, but ultimately, like trees, plants and flowers that are cut off from their roots, they will fail to thrive.

We must make sure that we don’t forget to include God in all we try to do for Him, because if our actions and words are not grounded in His love, there is nothing. i.e. We must remain firmly rooted in the true vine, God.

I get fed up at times when people I try to be pleasant and nice to, just ignore and/or hurt me. This world can be tough at times, and the people in this world can be even tougher and sometimes even hateful.

John 15:18-19 (NIV)

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

In the above verses from John, Jesus reminds us that it’s because we are different from the rest of the world, because we follow Him, that the world does not accept. However this should not worry or upset us, because God has called us, and chosen us to be His disciples, to be His witnesses in this world full of hatred.

So don’t yearn to be accepted by the world, because ultimately to be God’s witnesses we must be different, we must be Christlike in all we do.