Archive for the ‘family’ Category

In the run up to Christmas each year millions of pounds are spent on gifts. So in the last few weeks I, like many of you will have started to think about what gifts to buy my family and friends for Christmas this year. So out of curiosity I wondered how much on average we spend on Christmas presents each year, in the UK. It turns out that the figure varies dramatically depending on who you ask or where you look, but the average seems to range from between £350 to just under £1000!

Whether we are planning on spending anything like those amounts of money on gifts this year, or our budget is much less, the gifts we buy can still be fantastic and memorable for the receiver.

The most meaningful presents we receive might not come wrapped in shiny paper or frilly ribbons. They are often the ones that lift your spirit, brighten your day or trigger your imagination or memories. So I wonder what was the most memorable or best gift you have ever received for Christmas?

I decided to ask some of friends what was the best gift they ever received for Christmas. Here’s some of the answers I got.

  1. I would say for me it has to be between the laptop I got last year or the ps4 I got two years ago.
  2. I was given a gift bag filled with little stuff (a cd, stud earrings, a little book etc) that probably wasn’t worth much to anyone else. But each gift had a little post it note explaining why they’d brought that or what it was about the thing that had made them think of me. It was so thoughtful and made me feel special.
  3. A Levi red tab denim jacket I got when I was 12.  We didn’t buy or wear “things that had labels”. I remember sleeping in it in case my parents decided to return it. We also didn’t have masses of money and I had an idea that it must have been quite expensive. Honestly, best present ever – I still have it and I’m now 40! My nieces now fight over who gets to wear it as it’s now ‘vintage’.
  4. The huge big teddy bear I got when I was 7 – it was almost bigger than me – I still have him.
  5. A few years ago in my last job I had a really tough year because of a serious health problem but carried on working when I could. When I was in the office some of the guys would put bits of paper on my desk with positive quotes, and I loved that. Then that Christmas, one of them sent me a Happy Box – It’s a box containing lots of bits of paper with lots of positive quotes. So now whenever I am feeling low, I just open the box and take out one of the. And yes, it’s not solving my health problems but at least I always end up with a smile on my face.

Have you thought of the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received?

The real message of Christmas is not the gifts that we give to each other. Instead it is a reminder of the gift that God has given to each of us, the gift of Jesus. There is one final ‘best gift’ story from a friends that I want to share with you

  • My mother-in-law gave my family a stocking with the name “JESUS” written across it. Each year on Christmas morning my family writes a letter to Jesus and puts it into the stocking.
  • This is a tradition my husband and his family have been doing since he was little. They have yet to open and read any of these letters, but they are a constant reminder each year as we begin to decorate our tree and wrap our presents, that the greatest gift we have is Jesus.
  • This gift has guaranteed my family will take time to focus on the Lord during the festive season.

I was really touched this – the way they start each festive season by focusing on Jesus is such a great way to ensure they never forget the reason we celebrate Christmas.

2 Corinthians 9:15 (TPT)

Praise God for his astonishing gift, which is far too great for words!

The best Christmas gift we will ever receive isn’t a gift someone placed under a Christmas tree for us, but was a gift of great sacrifice, the best gift from God, of His Son, Jesus Christ, who came into this world in the simplest and humblest of surroundings.

Romans 6:23 (NIV)

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 John 5:11 (NIV)

This is the true testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life has its source in his Son.

This year as we look forward to opening the gifts we’ve received from our friends and family on Christmas morning, remember that no matter how great or meaningful those gifts may be, they will never be comparable to the best gift we can ever receive – God’s gift to us of his Son. So next time you’re asked what the greatest gift you’ve ever received is, I hope like me your answer is

‘Tis the Lord, O wondrous story!
‘Tis the Lord, the King of glory;
at his feet, we humbly fall,
crown him, crown him Lord of all!

Praying our way through the day is equally as important as devoting set-apart time to prayer. I believe God wants us to offer up acknowledgments of Him, make requests, and offer thanksgivings throughout each day. Learn to let prayer be as comfortable as breathing!

~ Joyce Meyer Ministries

Praying shouldn’t be a chore, in fact it should be the complete opposite – It should be something we do naturally because we want to, rather than something we do just when we can fit it in to our busy lives.

Just as we always want to talk to our friends and family, so we should want to talk to God whenever we can. So pray each day about everything and anything, whenever and wherever you are. God hear every one of your prayers.

Homeless

Posted: December 3, 2019 in Christmas, family, Glasgow, homeless, poverty, prayer
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Can you imagine what it would feel like to lose all your possessions in the space of a few hours?

Well for some families in Glasgow a few weeks ago, this nightmare became reality for them.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-50379853

I can’t imagine how those families must have felt, losing all their possessions, but at least everyone got our safely.

I’ve no idea how those folks will start to rebuild their lives, their family homes, or how long it will take them. It will no doubt be particularly hard for them at this time of year they may have lost presents they have already bought, they have probably lost precious sentimental items that can never be replaced.

I pray these families will receive all the help they need to help them rebuild their lives and get settled in new homes.

Can you believe it, we’ve reached December already? It seems to have been a really quick year, as it doesn’t seem that long ago we were just celebrating Easter. My Mum always told me that time passing quickly was a sign of getting older, although I always chose to dismiss this! Maybe there’s some truth in this, or maybe it’s just that when there’s a lot going on in your life and you’ve more things to juggle to fit everything in, time does seem to pass quicker, I don’t know.

Anyway, back to it being December – Not just December, but Advent Sunday. Do you know what Advent Sunday is?

Advent Sunday, which is also known as the first Sunday of Advent, is the first day of the Advent season. Advent season is the time when Christians prepare to celebrate Christmas, when they celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Advent Sunday is always the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. It does even need to be in December, as it can fall as early as November 27 or as late as December 3.

On the first Sunday of Advent, Christian churches around the world will light their first candle of Advent. They will light an additional candle each of the following Sundays in the lead up to Christmas.

Now that the advent season has arrived, you’ve probably either started to put up your own Christmas decorations or have seen decorations that others have put up. You may have been our carol singing or playing Christmas carols, and if not, I’m sure that will all start very soon.

At the start of this advent season, please take time to remember what all the activities we’re involved in in these coming weeks, are really all about, the Christ of Christmas.

When I think about the word ‘pieces’, I think of a jigsaw puzzle, or something broken into lots of individual parts. Our lives can sometimes feels as though it’s broken into many pieces when we’re having to deal with concerns or troubles in different areas of our lives. For example, maybe we’re having problems getting a job, or faces redundancy; maybe you or family members have health concerns; maybe you are struggling to pay your bills or find enough money to buy food for yourself and your family.

Whatever the issues or concerns you face, God keeps his promise to us to never turn his back on us, and to always love us. So give him all the pieces of your life, and God will accept them all, and help you with every part of your life.

Uncontrolled, uncontained, you love is a fire
Burning bright for me
It’s not just a spark , its not just a flame your love is a light
That all the world will see

Have you ever been told you’re not good enough, or that you’re a nobody? It hurts doesn’t it?

Imagine you are continually told those things by someone who others think love you or care for you, by someone who should have your best interests at heart.

You’re never alone and you really do matter!

The song Fear is a liar by Zach Williams was co-written by Jonathan Smith. Zach stated that “Fear is a Liar” is a declaration of encouragement and some scriptural reality that he wanted to communicate to fans.  He explained what the song for about

We were calling out the devil for who he is, and reminding him that he was a liar, and that he has already been defeated. That was the idea for that song. I wanted something that people would relate to, and find hope in.

For anybody who was struggling with fear or going through something, I hope this song gives them hope, to call the devil out.

So if you’re frightened or scared, don’t give up, turn to God because he does care about you.

Fear Is a Liar

When he told you you’re not good enough
When he told you you’re not right
When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you’re not worthy
When he told you you’re not loved
When he told you you’re not beautiful
That you’ll never be enough

Fear he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
Cause fear he is a liar

When he told you were troubled
You’ll forever be alone
When he told you you should run away
You’ll never find a home
When he told you you were dirty
And you should be ashamed
When he told you you could be the one
That grace could never change

Fear he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
Cause fear he is a liar

Let Your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let Your fire fall Your love is all I feel

Fear he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
Cause fear he is a liar

Why is it when you’re tired or fed up and can’t wait for a particular time to come, it feels like time has stopped? Every clock or watch you look at seems to taunt you by moving extra slowly.

Tick..tock…tick….tock…..tick……..tock……….tick………….tock…………….

How you noticed that even when the seems to be passing extra slowly, you still struggle to get anything done? Probably because you’re too busy watching the clock tick and time pass so slowly. Even your brain seems to be working against you as you’re struggling to concentrate on anything.

Finally the clock reaches the time you’ve been waiting for all day, so you rush off home so you can relax and chill, but does this mean time continues to pass very slowly? Of course not! Now that you’re doing something you were really looking forward to, time starts to pass extra quickly! So much so, that before you realise it, you time for relaxing has passed, and it’s time for you go back to your daily routine again, where time seems to pass so slowly.

Watching the clock on the wall seeming to tick very slowly the other day, it reminded me that we spend much of our time wishing time would go by quickly because we’re looking forward to something. But conversely, we also spend a lot of our time wishing time wouldn’t go by so quickly because when we’re doing something we enjoy or are spending time with loved ones, time seems to go by quickly.

Do we make the best use of our time each day? We spend our lives wishing our time away, but have we actually made the best use of each moment we have on this earth? I’ve found in my own life that it’s not until those I love have passed away that I wish I had spent more quality time with them. So please don’t make that same mistake as me, use your time carefully, and live for now instead of always wishing the future to become the present.

clock

Some people will lie to make them seem more important. Some will lie to cover up their mistakes. Others will lie to play on your sympathy. While some will lie for their own gain (financially or professionally).

Some people lie thinking their lies will never be found out, but from experience I suspect we can all think of people who have lied to us, or our friends and family, but who have ended up catching themselves out in their own lies.

Some are even more blatant than that, some tell lies to people to their face then post contradicting statements or photos on social media which these same people can see. Do they think those they lie to are blind or don’t comprehend the contradictions the person lying is posting?

It’s true what many say, when people lie, those lies will catch up with them. Usually because they forget the details of the lies they’ve told, so end up telling different people different ‘stories’ or versions of their lies. All that will happen is those you’ve lied to will no longer trust you or respect you.

Lying will never get you anywhere. In fact it’s more likely to lose you friends, and opportunities or support from your work colleagues. The bottom line is just don’t lie!

Psalm 66:9 (The Passion Translation)

There’s no doubt about it; God holds our lives safely in his hands. He’s the one who keeps us faithfully following him.

We’re reminded in this verse in Psalms that God has promised to look after us always.

Imagine you promise your your best friend something, but they continually keep asking you to confirm that you’re still going to keep your promise to them. That feels like they don’t really trust you doesn’t it? So when we doubt God, we’re really questioning the promise God has made to each one of us!

There is a possibility that even our best friends will not keep promises they have made us, however there should be no doubt in our mind that God will always keep his promise to always be there for us, and look after us.

When did you last look in the mirror and think, “I’m happy being the person I am”?

We can all be guilty of wishing we were better at this, or looked more like that person; had family or friends like the next person, or had achieved what person a had managed.

But what good does it do us? We are who we are, and so can never be those other people. Imagine how boring a world we’d live in if we were all the same, we all looked the same, acted the same, had the same family and friendship circles.

So take a moment to remind yourself of this you are amazing – Yes, we’re all different, with different personalities and that’s because God created each one of us individually. He gave us amazing personalities and amazing prospects for our future, so be amazing for God each and every day!

Cos we are amazing
If only we could believe that it’s all in His hands
We’re a part of a plan that’s much bigger than us
Yes we are amazing
There’s nothing we can’t achieve
and we don’t need to change
So I’m gonna stay, just the way God made me

I am amazing by Philippa Hanna

I don’t wanna waste anymore time in the mirror
Watching my face never change I don’t feel beautiful today
I don’t waste anymore hard earned cash on these ‘miracles’
That never change the way I feel, don’t make me beautiful today
How long can I hide-away beneath this disguise?
And what drastic measure do I have to take to realise…

That I am amazing, in spite of what I can see,
When I look at myself wishing I could be anyone other than me
Cos I was created
With everything I could ever need
So I’m not gonna change
I’m gonna stay just the way God made me

I’m not gonna take
Anymore of these lies they’ve been feeding me
Not gonna listen to the voices of my enemies today
With my feet on solid ground
I’m gonna turn it all around
Because it’s time I realised I’m truly beautiful inside
How long can I hide-away beneath this disguise?
And what drastic measure do I have to take to realise…

That I am amazing, in spite of what I can see,
When I look at myself wishing I could be anyone other than me
Cos I was created
With everything I could ever need
So I’m not gonna change
I’m gonna stay just the way God made me

And who am I to say that I could do a better job than him?

Cos we are amazing
If only we could believe that it’s all in His hands
We’re a part of a plan that’s much bigger than us
Yes we are amazing
There’s nothing we can’t achieve
and we don’t need to change
So I’m gonna stay, just the way God made me

Not gonna listen to the voices of my enemies today