Archive for December, 2014

Looking back over my blog posts at the end of the last two years, I see my comments about the last two years were that they were pretty rotten years. Well guess what, 2014 has had some real lows but thankfully also some highs too.

So let’s start with the highs first:

glasgow_2014_commonwealth_games2014 saw us having 3 family weddings, the first ones since our wedding 20 years ago! Mind you they didn’t half make me feel old though, especially the last of the 3 weddings which took place just last Saturday, as it was the oldest daughter of one of my cousin’s that was getting married, and she was a flower girl at our wedding!

This year also saw my home city of Glasgow hosting the Commonwealth Games. As it’s unlikely to happen again in our lifetime we took this opportunity to attend a number of events during the games, and were so glad we did because we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. What a fantastic atmosphere there was at all the events we attended, Glasgow did us proud!

Onto the not so good stuff from this year:

The first family wedding of this year was in Keighley, Yorkshire, and sadly my hubby was unable to travel down to the wedding because of his health. So Mum and me travelled down to the wedding ourselves. It was a long and tiring weekend but one which we thoroughly enjoyed. In the following couple of weeks I didn’t think my Mum was quite herself and seemed overly tired, I thought it was just due to the wedding…

hospital2A couple of weeks after attending that wedding, I found my Mum lying on her living room floor, she’d been there for approx. 19 hours, but couldn’t get up and couldn’t reach the phone. Thankfully she hadn’t broken anything but she did end up in hospital for a number of weeks for rehabilitation. When she was discharged from hospital she was very tired and confused when we got her home, and didn’t last very long at home until she ended up back in hospital again – I found her on the floor again the morning after she was discharged from hospital! Mum was admitted to hospital again for a number of weeks. During her time in hospital time they found her infection markers were very high and despite numerous treatments they failed to come down, so further tests were performed and they showed Mum had cancer.

Things moved very quickly then and before we’d really had time to take in what was happening, particularly Mum. Mum started her chemotherapy in September and was finally discharged from hospital at the beginning of October after being in hospital for over 3 months (excluding the 1 overnight she had at home when she fell again). Mum has continued to get chemo every few weeks, and hope to find out fairly early in 2015, how well this has worked.

Add to this, my hubby’s health issues, my own on-going health issues, and those of our 19-year-old cat, and you can see this year’s had some tough times for us.

Sadly this year I also discovered that several people who I had come to consider as good friends, sharing some private things with them, have turned out to be false friendships. As when things got tough in various areas of my life this year these folk have hardly spoken to me, taken other people’s side in disagreements without even asking me for my side of things. It’s been upsetting that they have chosen to believe the views of another and seemed not to even consider that this view was not an accurate reflection of events. This was made worse when I asked one person about something I supposed said, and they just laughed, suggesting they had no understanding of how events had hurt and affected me. They certainly haven’t shown any interest in me or my family or the fact that I’ve been struggling to cope with all that’s I’ve had to cope with over the last while…

So it’s been a stressful year with some highs and some lows. To be honest I’m not quite sure how I’ve kept going as, as well as working full-time, I’ve either been visiting Mum in the hospital, or looking after her at home very day. Between looking after our house, and Mum’s house, and making sure Mum has everything she needs, it’s tiring, and stressful to put it mildly! That said I know that in all these situations I’ve listed here, God has been there with me, and they have each been part of God’s plan for my life.

I’m finding life quite tough just now with everything that’s happened in the last year or two, but just like last year there’s one song that has been stuck in my head which keeps reminding me that no matter what I’m facing, and how bad life seems, God is there for me and He will always be there for me – Here’s Kutless with Promise of a Lifetime:

So as you can see 2014 has been a mix of highs and more lows, so I’m hoping 2015 will be the first year in a while that’s just full of highs…I can but hope can’t I?

I hope your 2014 has been a happy one, however if not, I hope you have had the love and support of family and friends to help you through the year.

I pray that as we look ahead to 2015 you may go forward with confidence knowing that whatever situations you have to deal with, God is by your side not just during this Christmas season, but all year-long.

The Promise of a Lifetime by Kutless
 
I have fallen to my knees
As I sing a lullaby of pain
I’m feeling broken in my melody
As I sing to help the tears go away
Then I remember the pledge you made to me  I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime Will you help me fall apart
Pick me up, take me in your arms
Find my way back from the storm
And you show me how to grow
Through the change I still remember the pledge you made to me

I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime  I am holding on to the hope I have inside
With you I will stay through every day
Putting my understanding aside I am comforted
To know your always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime.
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
Looking back at me
I know that you can see
My heart is open to the promise of a lifetime 

Relationship_with_GodIt’s almost the end of 2014, so let’s look back over your year from a spiritual perspective. So to help with this, here’s some questions for you:

  • Have you prayed regularly during 2014?
  • Have you listened to what God has to say to you in this last year?
  • Have you said “yes” to all God has asked you to do this year?
  • When difficult times have come along during 2014, did you turn to God for help immediately, or wait until turning to God was your last resort?
  • Have you done your best to tell others about Jesus?
  • Has God been at the centre of all you’ve done in 2014?

If you’ve answered “Yes” to all of the above questions, well done, you’re obviously doing the best you can to be a good example of Christ to those you encounter.

Sadly, I guess if we are honest with ourselves, many of us, including me, will find we did not answer “Yes” to all those questions, but answered either “No” or “Sometimes” to at least one or two of the questions. Thankfully, regardless of our answers to these questions, we have time to change so that we can answer “Yes” to all the above questions honestly, just by trusting God to help us in every part of our life, not just the parts we’re choose to let Him into.

So as 2014 draws near, draw closer to God and let Him into every part of your life.

You’re all I want
You’re all I’ve ever needed
You’re all I want
Help me know you are near

How suddenly a baby cries and all forever change
As shepherds leave the angel song to find this holy place,
Where in her young and trembling arms a virgin holds her Son
And in this Child of breath divine our Light has finally come.

She ponders how the Magi kneel before Emmanuel.
With gold and frankincense and myrrh Christ’s sacrifice they tell.
A dream would help them flee a king whose pride would cruelly destroy.
As mothers weep God’s mercy meets the hunger for His joy.

What wonder still that Anna filled with praise should bless the Lord;
Her aging eyes now looking on the Savior of the world.
For night and day her prayers had filled the temple of our God.
Her heart could tell His saving hand within this gift of love.

Hear Simeon who had waited long draw near to hold the child
To speak of Him who would reveal the many thoughts we hide:
That hearts would rise to know His grace but many fall away;
A sword would pierce His mother’s soul upon redemption day.

How suddenly a baby cried and all forever changed.
Through history soul by soul have come to find His healing grace.
He filled my troubled heart with peace, with hope of endless worth.
My voice will join the song of praise that tells Messiah’s birth.

 

That day, over 2000 year ago, when Jesus was born, changed the world forever.

Have you found peace and hope in Christ? No matter what happens in your life, Christ can meet your every need, calm your troubled heart, so come to Him today.

20 days old baby sleeping in a christmas nativity cribWhat do you think of when you think of a new born baby? Peace and quiet, crying, sleepless nights, responsibilities, worry?

Probably all of those things apply don’t they. Mind you I guess Mary probably felt more scared and worried about her responsibilities as the mother of Jesus simply because he was God’s Son. That said, Mary accepted those responsibilities knowing that God would give her the strength and guidance she and Joseph needed to ensure the baby Jesus was looked after as God desired.

Will you accept all responsibilities God asks of you, no matter how unprepared you feel for the task?

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let God be your guide and support in all circumstances, happy or sad, because He loved you so much that He sent His Son to earth to save us, forever.

The following music is called The New-Born Babe and it’s performed here by the International Staff Band of the Salvation Army. It’s based around a 16th century chorale which J.S.Bach used in his Cantata No.122, ‘Das neugeborne Kinderlein’. In the notes for this arrangement, Bruce Broughton includes a translation by R. Rutledge of the words associated with this music:

There comes the true jubilee, what are we eternally lamenting? Look alive! It is a time for singing, for the Christ-child exorcises all sorrow.

 

 

Over these last few week, as we looked forward to Christmas Day, I’m sure like me you have heard lots of people talking about “the magic of Christmas”.

What makes Christmas magical?

The-Magic-of-Christmas

For me, Christmas is special when it’s spent with family, and it is only “magical” when I take time out from all the busyness to remember the true reason we celebrate Christmas, and think about that very first Christmas Day.

So, was your Christmas “magical”?

Whatever kind of Christmas you have had, and whoever you have spent Christmas Day with, I pray that the magic of knowing Jesus as your own Saviour and friend, has been central to your Christmas season this year.

Rejoice!

Posted: December 26, 2014 in Christmas, life, music, religion
Tags: ,

Are you having a great Christmas?

Are you celebrating the birth of Christ Jesus?

Remember we wouldn’t be celebrating Christmas if it wasn’t for Jesus, so c’mon and celebrate His birth today!

 

MerryChristmas

Everyone is always so busy on Christmas Day, with friends and family, eating and celebrating, that I’m not sure how many of you will read this blog post on Christmas Day, but in the chance that at least one of person read this on Christmas Day, I want to ask you to stop for a few minutes and pray for who are finding today very difficult. Let’s remember the reason for the season, and do our bit to spread some Christmas cheer by praying for those in special need of our love and help today:

  • Those who will spend today alone
  • The homeless
  • Those who mourning the loss of loved ones
  • Those who are ill or in hospital
  • The families of those who died in the tragic accident in George Square in Glasgow on Monday this week
  • Those who didn’t have money to buy their family any presents
  • Those who didn’t have any money to buy a meal for their family on Christmas Day

So please today, can you take a few minutes to pray for those for whom Christmas Day has not been a day full of joy and happiness. I pray your Christmas Day has been one full of joy and peace, and that you have  shared some precious moments with your family and friends.

Merry Christmas!

Celebrate

Posted: December 24, 2014 in Christmas, life, music, quotes, Relationships, religion
Tags: , , , ,

Tonight we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

God sent His Son to earth to save the world. So on this anniversary of Christ coming to earth, how should be repay God for saving the world, and for saving us?

Fall on your knees, O hear the angels’ voices
O night divine, O night when Christ was born
O night divine, O night, O night divine

Let’s make this Christmas all about CHRIST, because without Christ, CHRISTmas would not be the joyous occasion we are celebrate each year at this time.

I believe in the poetic genius of a Creator who would choose to express such unfathomable power as a child born in straw poverty – Bono

It is amazing isn’t how, how someone so loving, so powerful as God, who could have made sure His son was born is the best of home, into the wealthiest of families, instead chose Mary and Joseph, ordinary everyday people, to be Jesus’ parents. For such a mighty saviour, Jesus was born in the lowest of places, a stable where the animals were kept, but that didn’t matter to Him or to God, because ultimately where he was born did not define the person he was to become.

If it’s acceptable to God for His Son to be born in a stable and still be the Saviour of the world, surely we as God’s children owe it to God to do all He asks of us. So this Christmas, repay God for sending us Jesus, by committing your life to Him today.

Born in Bethlehem by Third Day

Baby Jesus, born in a stable
Humble Saviors birth
You left Your throne in Heaven above
To live down here on the earth

Baby Jesus, lying in a manger
Crying for the world
The angels told the shepherds
Of the good news for us all

Hallelujah, the King is here
Given for all men
For today the holy son of God
Is born in Bethlehem

Come now sinners and you saints
All peasants and all kings
And bow before the earths redeemer
Let all voices sing

Hallelujah, the King is here
Given for all men
For today the holy son of God
Is born in Bethlehem

Hallelujah, the King is here
Given for all men
For today the holy son of God
Is born in Bethlehem

Baby Jesus, do You know
You’ll die for all our sins?
Don’t be afraid for in three days
You will rise again, You will rise again

Hallelujah, the King is here
Given for all men
For today the holy son of God
Is born in Bethlehem

Hallelujah, the King is here
Given for all men
For today the holy son of God
Is born in Bethlehem
For today the holy son of God
Is born in Bethlehem, born in Bethlehem

Every year at this time of year we hear the word “belief” mentioned a lot, but sadly it’s more often than not in relation to Santa, than about Christ. I find it very sad that so many in this world have never known the true love of Christ for themselves. If ever I need a remind of what God needs and wants me to do in my life, to tell other about Him and His love for us, this is the reminder I need.

In the last few weeks when I’ve been out at various Christmas events with Bellshill Salvation Army Band, I’ve been challenged each time one of our band, Daniel McMillan, has song the beautiful song, I Believe. It challenges us to ask ourselves, “What do you believe?“. I’m glad to say, I believe in Christmas, and more than that, I believe in Christ, the Saviour of the world.

What do you believe?