Archive for May, 2012

At the start of this year, I shared with you my aims for this year (Welcome to 2012) – not my new year resolutions, but what I aim to achieve this year. Then at the end of each month I’ve given you my monthly update on how I’m doing. So now it’s time for my May update:

  • Eat healthier
    • Not been the best of months between one thing and another…I was on holiday from work for just over a week and look Mum out for lunch, dinner or coffee every day…then I’ve been out for several meals with colleagues/friends from work due to some people taking on new roles or retiring.
  • Lose some weight
    • Not the best month as I have put back on a couple of pounds, mind you give all the eating out I’ve been doing, it’s not really any great surprise.
    • On the plus side, over the last month several people have commented that it was noticeable that I’ve lost weight, so that has to be a good sign!
    • because of the great warm weather we’ve had in the last week or so, I’ve been wearing my summer clothes again,and it was great to find they were no longer tight/too small for me, and were in fact, if anything, a little bit too big for me now!
  • Spend more time reading my bible
    • Been a slightly less successful month on this aim too this month.
  • Don’t let painrule my life
    • Still suffering a lot with pain these days, and sometimes it’s almost unbearable, but I’m still managing to force myself to keep going and not give into it, even though it maybe means my pain levels remain higher for longer
  • Get back to playing tennis as stopped playing in 2003 when I first wasn’t well
    • My target time for getting back to trying to play tennis again was Easter, and so for the last few weeks I’ve thought about going round to my tennis club if some of my friends were there…but none of them have been!
    • I know that just sounds like an excuse, but it is difficult to try and play tennis by yourself!
  • Put aside a minimum of 5 minutes each day to spend some quiet-time with God
    • Been another reasonably successful month with this, as I’ve made a point of trying to spend a minimum of 10 minutes “quiet-time” with God most days
  • Get back to playing the piano regularly as it’s been a while
    • Continuing not to make any progress with this one!
  • Go on holiday – we’ve not been away anywhere since 2002
    • Again, no progress on this one yet!
  • Keep on top of the housework (especially the ironing mountain!)
    • Been doing a bit more housework in the last couple of weeks, although there’s still loads of room for improvement, particularly in tackling the ironing mountain
  • More patience and understanding of others
    • I’ve said it before, but I must say it again, this is definitely one of my most challenging aims, as I definitely still need to be more patient!
    • More prayer for patience is still required!
  • Stop procrastinating
    • Continuing to do much better with this

So that’s my honest answers to how I’m getting on with my aims for 2012 – To summarise my progress to date…it’s continuing to go OK as, in general, I’m still heading in the right direction with most of my aims. However there are still some which I haven’t made any progress on to-date, so there’s still room for improvement in the coming months.

How about you, are you succeeding with your aims for 2012 so far?

Whatever your aims for this year, I pray you may be making progress in your aims for 2012, and that come the end of the year you will have achieved all God had planned for you this year!

 Your children!

There are plenty of people who would love to have children but for one reason or another are unable to.

There are loads of people who have children but because of family circumstances they never see or have contact with their children.

There are those who have sadly lost their children…I’m sure they think of their children daily.

Isn’t it sad that there can be so many people around us who are grieving in some way for children; whether that be a child that has died, a child they have lost contact with, or indeed a child they have never even had!

Isn’t it even sadder that we hear and see so many stories in the news of people who have physically or emotionally abused a child…a child who in many instances, probably trusted that adult to look after and care for them, but instead did unspeakable thing to them which the child will never fully recover from.

It’s because of this that I urge you to never ever take your children for granted…by “your children” I of course am not just talking about any children you are the parent of, but also any children who is in your care at any time!

Children should be able to trust adults to look after and care for them, and teach/show them only what is good, it’s therefore down to us to make sure we do all we can to make sure we do all we can for the children.

Friends!

There are many people all over the world, children and adults, who do not consider themselves to have any friends. Then there are many who consider themselves to have friends, but those friendships are build purely on lies or control, and so are false friendships.

How those people crave for real friends – friends they can rely on in times of need; friends they can talk to when they need a listening ear; friends they can trust with the darkest secrets.

Therefore those of us who are lucky enough to have friends, true friends, don’t ever take them for granted – tell them what they mean to you, don’t just assume they know; love them and care for them as you would want them to love/care for you; be honest and trustworthy with them and don’t ever let them down.

In summary, don’t ever take your friends for granted, cherish and nurture them always.

Breaking You by Audrey Assad
 
You’ve been let down, it’s true
Your pain is so easy to see
You’re hunted by your history
And it feels like you’ve got no escape
 
Your life left you high and dry
You used to be sure of yourself
But then your whole world went to hell
And tomorrow looks like just like today
 
So, you lie on your bed, you wont let the morning come in
And you hide in your room, feeding that fear and its killing you
Don’t you know that its killing me too,
Cause your heart break is breaking you
 
I miss the life in your eyes
The home that I found in your arms
And now you don’t know who you are
But I wont give up on you on no
 
You lie on your bed, you wont let the morning come in
And you hide in your room, feeding that fear and its killing
Don’t you know that its killing me too,
Cause your heart break is breaking you
 
And you lost your fight and your flame’s gone out
And your down on your knees
Cause your life is not what you thought it would be
No
 
Lift up your head
Help is on the way
And it wont pass you by
You just gotta reach out your
Hand lift up your eyes
Love is on the way
And it wont pass you by
You just gotta reach out your hand
 
Go on and lift up your head
Because love is on its way
And it wont pass you by
You’ve just gotta reach out your hand

When life sucks, God is there for you.

When there seems no hope, God is there for you.

As the above song says, in times of deep despair when you’re at breaking point, your help can be found in God, all you’ve got to do is “reach out your hand”, because God is there for you.

You don’t need to feel as though you’re breaking, because God is there for you, and He will take your hand and help you through.

Is Sunday really a day of rest?

For those of us who attend the Salvation Army and particularly those who take part in the band or choir, I certainly wouldn’t say Sunday is a day of physical rest as we spend much time rushing about between meetings/Sunday school/practices that we barely get a chance to relax during the day.

However if we’re talking about spiritual rest, then yes, Sunday really should be a day of rest. It should be a day when we can spend time focusing on God and his message for us. Where we get food for though and strength to face the week ahead and all the challenges that will bring.

Having said that, that doesn’t mean that we cannot, or should not have times like these during the rest of our week. However due to the pressures and stresses of life these days, the weekends can often be the one time of the week when we can relax and have quality time with both our family and our God.

Let’s make sure we make Sunday our day of spiritual rest, so that we can receive food for thoughts and spiritual inspiration for the week ahead.

Please listen here to the International Staff Songsters of the Salvation Army singing Rest:

I’ve been asked by quite a few people over the last month or two, where I get my inspiration/ideas from for all my blog posts.

Well there’s no great secret to it, a lot of the time I blog about what I’m focusing on in my own personal devotions, so I just write about some of that. Other times I get ideas for blog topics from conversations I’ve been having or sometimes from tv programmes I’ve watched that just trigger some ideas. I also like to throw in a few blog posts about some of my interests such as football or tennis.

I’ve heard it said a few times that there’s nothing better than real life experiences to learn from, and I have to agree with that. So that is why I sometimes blog about my own personal life experiences…given how difficult life can be at times I think it’s important to share some real experiences with you all, in the hope that you can learn from my experiences, and from my mistakes!

So there you are, there’s an insight into my inspiration sources for my blog posts.

I pray that over the coming days and weeks that I can continue to post blogs which you find interesting, inspiring and hopefully a bit challenging to.

Happy reading!

If you are a Christian, I’d ask you today to look back at your life before the time you asked God into your heart…now look at your life now, has the way you lived your life changed?

If your life hasn’t changed, it would suggest that you haven’t given the whole of your life to God. When God is at the centre of our life, we must put out of our lives all things that are not Christ-like.

Matthew 18:2-4 (NIV)

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Stand in front of a mirror, look at yourself closely…yes, that’s your image you’re looking at which doesn’t tell you anything about the real person with you. So now, have a look inside your heart and your head…can you see God?

If you can’t see God in your heart and your head, others won’t be able to see God in your life either because if you are a true Christian, others will see God in you, and you too will see God in yourself.

I pray today that God is in your heart and in your head, and can be seen there by you and everyone else, however if He isn’t, I pray you will let God into your whole life today.

My message today is backed completely by Steven Curtis Chapmans wonderful song, Fingerprints of God – I hope you are blessed and challenged as you watch/listen to this video:

The last few days I’ve been asking you to consider your blessings, especially those ones which maybe aren’t obvious to you at the time (Are They Blessings In Disguise #1 and #2). Having written the first of these blog posts and starting on the second one, I received an email from a friend which contained a prayer which was by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

Ever since I read this prayer it’s been in my mind, and I believe it’s because it follows on perfectly to my last two blog posts, as it reminds us that we are often impatient and want everything to happen now. However God has a plan for us, he knows our starting point and he know where he wants us to be, but unlike us who just want to get to the end point, God wants and needs us to do all the stuff in between even although at the time we may not understand it’s significance.

God’s work in our life may seem slow to us at times, however consider this, have there actually been lots of blessings in disguise during those in-between times?

Here’s Pierre Teilhard de Chardin prayer:

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way
to something unknown,
something new.
Yet it is the law of all progress that is made
by passing through some stages of instability
and that may take a very long time.
 
And so I think it is with you.
Your ideas mature gradually. Let them grow.
Let them shape themselves without undue haste.
Do not try to force them on
as though you could be today what time
– that is to say, grace –
and circumstances
acting on your own good will
will make you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new Spirit
gradually forming in you will be.
 
Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God,
our loving vine-dresser.
by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
 
Amen

Yesterday in Are They Blessings In Disguise #1 I talked about how the situations and circumstances we find ourselves in can be blessings, even if we don’t realise it at the time!

But how about people? During our lifetime we meet and encounter thousands of people, some for only a few seconds, others for years, but can we tell which people we meet are blessings and which we shouldn’t entertain in our lives?

We know of people in our lives who from the instant we meet them, we know we’re going to hit it off with them, that we can trust them with anything at any time. Then there are those who as soon as we meet them we feel uncertain and unsure whether they a genuine and can be trusted. It can be difficult sometimes to distinguish between these people sometimes, however, once in a while we can get it all wrong…

Have you ever made a judgement about someone when you first met them, thinking they will not become a true friend, only to find a while later that you’ve been completely wrong, that that person is in fact more genuine and trustworthy than you could have imagined. In yesterday’s blog post I recounted how I had someone unexpected reach out to me…that person was one of those people. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t that I ever thought I couldn’t trust that person, but simply that I had never imagined us having the opportunity or requirement to become close friends and confidants.

So again you can see people, as well as circumstances can be a blessing from God, so don’t pre-judge people before you get to know them, as you never know they may just be your blessing in disguise!