Silent night

I thought that like me, you would enjoy Silent night beautifully interpreted by Gemma-Dawn ShawRaised in a single parent family with 3 brothers and a sister, Gemma found it hard to understand the role of God the Father. Although she grew up in church, Gemma developed an incorrect understanding of salvation. “I thought I had to be a good person first then God would accept me as a Christian.” It wasn’t until the age of 21 that Gemma made a real commitment to God with a biblical understanding of salvation by grace. “When I realised that I could commit myself to God and the Holy Spirit would change me then all the pressure seemed to go away.” You can read on more about her on her website.

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas. Blessings. Yours in Christ. N.


Nativity paintings...do you have a favourite?

This painting, the only surviving work signed by Botticelli appears to be complex. I have read that it does not simply represent the traditional events of the birth of Jesus and the adoration of the shepherds and the Magi. Rather it is a vision of these events inspired by the prophecies in Revelation. 
This painting was done by Correggio between 1528 and 1530.  I like the way Mary holds her son Jesus affectionately. However I am not sure why Joseph is so far away from her.

Nativity painted by FRANCESCO DI GIORGIO MARTINI in 1475 on wood. It can be seen at the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Siena (Italy)The Nativity with two angels, Sts Bernard and Thomas of Aquino is the only signed work of the Sienese master. 

I think that this painting by Philippe de Champaigne is my favourite as it shows Mary and Joseph's love and adoration towards Jesus. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12
I also recommend a very interesting website called the Web Gallery of Art 
So do you have a special Nativity painting? Let us know.
Blessings. N


To trust in the Lord

Photo, courtesy of Cathy
To trust in the Lord is always the right thing to do. 
I am referring to a few difficult periods I have had in my short life as a Christian, In these instances, I have had two choices; either to let panic invade and ruin my decisions, or to calm down and leave it to the Lord. 
I have had to learn how to stop over-reacting, this in itself is hard to do, you must take a conscious decision to ask the Lord for help. 
The Lord is full of compassion and He is faithful. Advice has come to me in various ways, either a passage of the Bible has sprung to mind or I have read and heard wise comments from fellow brothers and sisters. 
In any case, faith is the keyword and patience is the tool I need.
Blessings. Yours in Christ. 

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

Nahum 1:7

The LORD is good, 
   a refuge in times of trouble. 
He cares for those who trust in him.


Fasting? Should Christians fast?

...The most significant Biblical characters, with the possible exception of Abraham, were all men of fasting and prayer. Jesus, the Son of God, was a man of fasting and prayer (Matthew 4:2). So was the apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 11:27). Moses fasted 80 days. Elijah fasted 40 days....God wants to do many amazing things, but He looks for those willing to urgently make the corrections needed to come into line with him. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Successful fasting is also the fastest way to learn patience.
This excerpt comes from an article called Fast - key to power where the author develops the view that fasting is pleasing to the Lord. If you wish to read this very convincing post click on this link: http://www.christian-faith.com/forjesus/fasting-key-power. Maybe you are totally opposed to fasting, if so, tell us why. I would like to know what you think on this question. Do you fast? If yes, will you spare a moment and tell us why?  
Blessings. Your sister in Christ.


Christmas Food Court Flash Mob, Hallelujah Chorus

Isn't it just so good? Blessings.

A very quiet Saturday

For a change, I am having a very quiet day. I must explain, last night Steven went to Weston church for a prayer vigile with the Mid-trent team. He came back at 7 o'clock and went straight to sleep. I got up at 9ish and obviously moved round the house very quietly. I must say that at times you'd think that this house is made of paper as it is easy to hear sounds..The kitchen door will not stayed closed if you do not actually shut it so I had to remember that before I heated the milk in the microwave and got on with some tidying...Of course in this kind of situation, there is nothing you can do if the phone rings and you are not as near it as you wish. Two phone calls and fortunately I picked them up at the second ring! As I wanted to watch a dvd on 2 Corinthians I made sure to go in Im's room as somehow once the door is shut, it is pretty soundproof! 
I am still suffering from my tooth abscess even though it is not as bad as previously, the antibiotics must work! and somehow I am wondering if it is affecting my brain, I feel very lethargic! 
Outside my window, the snow is melting slowly as it is raining on and off, just as my friend Mandy told me last night, the meteo forecast was right! Later on Camille and I were skyping and somehow it is raining in Bologna too but she did say it was really cold last night!
I'd better wake up and do some school work before Im's return from town. She has two girlfriends sleeping over and it will be noisy..and fun!
Hope you are having a blessed Saturday! N.


Happy Hanukkah!

This morning as I was listening to Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks on thought for the day (BBC 4) and I thought that I should do some more reading on this Jewish holiday.  During the 2nd century BC a Greek ruler tried to force Mattathias, a Jew from the priestly class, to offer a sacrifice to a pagan god. Not only did Mattathias refuse, he murdered the Greek official. The Greek king Antiochus launched a series of reprisals, including desecrating the Holy Temple in Jerusalem by filling it with statues of Greek gods. Mattathias and his five sons rose up against these actions and fought for Jewish liberation of Judea. Mattathias' sons can to be known as the Maccabees, which comes from the root of the Hebrew word for "hammer" since the band of insurgents were said to strike hammer-like blows against their enemies. The patriarch Mattathias was killed shortly after the fighting against the Greeks began. His son Judas took over as the leader of the rebels and is credited with great tactical ability and unparalleled bravery. By the end of the war against the Greeks, the only brother to have survived was Shimon (Simon). The heroes of the Chanukah story, the Macccabees, guided by their fierce and steadfast belief in God. The Maccabees rededicated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which had been desecrated by the polytheistic Greeks during their rule of the city.
Did you know the only biblical reference to Hanukkah is in the New Testament? John 10:22-33
  • Did you know that Jesus celebrated Hanukkah? 
  • Did you know that Hanukkah is the feast of lights and the feast of dedication?
  • Did you know that Jesus Christ completely fulfilled this celebration by being our Light of the world? Many aspects of this holiday point to Jesus as the promised Messiah.
  • Here's a short excerpt from the "Jews for Jesus" website blog. The article is entitled "The Light of Hanukkah" and it's a good summary of the spiritual significance of Hanukkah and how it relates to Jesus as our Messiah:
    The Hanukkah candles are traditionally lit by a special candle called the shammash. Shammash is Hebrew for "servant." In the shammash candle, we can see a symbol of our Messiah Jesus, for as the Gospel of Matthew says,
    "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28
    The shammash serves the other candles by bringing light to them. In the New Testament, Jesus is frequently referred to as "the Light," and Jesus Himself once said,
    "I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8

    Blessings. Yours in Jesus-Christ.


Christianity and other faiths (part 2)

Post modernism means 'select what suit you', 'pick and choose', 'my experience is self-validated', 'there is no absolute'. This understanding of life is 6000 years old. There are 3three million of Hinduist Gods however hinduism has got no foundation. In Christ you have someone who has the audacity to say: I am the ultimate truth. Truly, truly, I say. This claim that fascinated the gentiles is just as great now as in Jesus' time. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” John 12:19. 
Our faith can come from a variety of sources. Looking at nature, rainbow, birds, you can be ecstatic. Surely there is a designer. In nature, we have clues of a divine being. Hinduism is based on an intuitive speculation. Islam shares one understanding with us, that God is an external being, not a product of our psyche. Muslims say we are all people of a book and claim the Coran is the last testament. If you tell them that Jesus is unique, this is not an argument.  The Muslims argue that they have the finality of revelation and will tell you that 
the Jews use the Old Testament, the Christians, the New Testament and the Muslims have the final product! Give me a break! Jesus is the alpha and the omega. Jesus is the ONLY testament! Time and knowledge is contained in him. 
God challenges us to go out and tell others the Good News. In our obedience, we are being changed. By being vulnerable, we begin to have a deeper appreciation of God and his love. 
Notes written at Doxey. Speaker: Rev. Canon George Kovoor
It looks as if we are snowed in tonight so I am not even sure that the school will be open tomorrow! We shall see. Blessings. Yours in Christ. N.


The Christian faith and other faiths

Steven and I went to a deanery synod in Doxey church. Our guest speaker was called Rev. Canon George Kovoor .We had an excellent evening.
Here are my notes.
For years, the UK has been the bastion of christianity and you sent the finest young men and women round the world to spread the gospel. They actually believed that Jesus was the Good News. There was something so important in the message of Jesus that they believed it was GOOD NEWS. So it should still be JOY in the Church. Therefore it is difficult to understand why there are too many miserable faces, constipated faces in the Church nowadays! Who wants to hang out with boring people! I train people who want to be equipped and not afraid to share our faith wherever they go.
However, if the Church itself is biblically illiterate and theologically clueless, it will find sharing the Gospel to people of other faiths difficult. Surely it is incumbent on the Church to share the Good News with everybody. If you do not know your bible and start talking to a Muslim for instance who will pick up on many apparent contradictions in the Bible, you will be stung! In the Royal Albert Hall, not long ago, an American apologist was decimated by a Muslim leader.
The Jews have had to live round the nations and they have always been a minority. They know how to engage. They consider themselves as called out people to whom God revealed his name. Abraham an Iraqui, was to be a light to the people. This always was the intention of God to reveal himself to all nations.
What is heaven like? When John is in Patmos he has a revelation, he sees that heaven is multicultural, multi-ethnic but not multifaith. In heaven the worship is super.
I am here in front of you because your grand-parents took trouble to come to our country and share the Gospel of Jesus-Christ. Brothers and sisters in Christ I am not prepared to collude with the system.
Isaiah 56:6-7 And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD 
   to minister to him,
to love the name of the LORD,
   and to be his servants,
all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it
   and who hold fast to my covenant—
7 these I will bring to my holy mountain
   and give them joy in my house of prayer. 
Let's think about Jesus'triumphant entry in Jerusalem, He made a beeline to the temple. Mark 11:15-17 Did Jesus have a problem with money? Let's go back to Solomon. We have a blue print of what the temple looked like, notice there was a vast court for the Gentiles. God has made a gracious place for the nations to come. Hospitality and generosity for those who do not know Him. By clearing the temple, Jesus who incarnates God, restores the hospitality and generosity of God so that the nations can behold the splendor of God.
How much more the Church must do to adjust to the world?
What preparation is there for new converts?
To be popular you mustn't compromise your faith. It seems that the Church of England is a plate of jelly, nobody knows what to believe. Engaging with people of other faith require integrity. Dialogue is better than monologue. Dialogue requires listening. Why were we created with two ears and only one mouth?
You must meet people, promote an activity where people are welcome. Take trouble to go where they are.
Dialogue requires mutual respect.
Canon Kovoor's speech was full of humour too. I am afraid that jokes do not do so well on the paper. There is more so watch this space. Blessings in Jesus-Christ. N.


Protecting children!

Mothers’ Union believes children should be valued as children, not consumers. Yet marketers target children’s natural inexperience in order to reach the household purse
Their Bye Buy Childhood campaign aims to empower families to challenge the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood through positive action.
Join their campaign to say “bye bye” to buying childhood. Giving children the message that they are what they own, rather than being valued for who they are, can negatively affect their wellbeing. Nearly three-fifths of parents believe that advertising seen by children can be harmful to them. Using sex to sell to children is particularly objectionable and 80% of parents are concerned about the impact of sexualised content in television, films, magazines and the internet on their children.
This is such an important issue. Somehow in our world, it looks as if children are robbed of their childhood, they are under pressure to conform to adult fantasies. Their innocence is at stake. In my view, I would say that the way films are categorised in 12 and 15 is not effective. What do you think ?
 It is the same with magazines and their never-ending gossips. It becomes more and more difficult for parents to monitor what their children read or watch. Then begins a huge task to counteract the effect of those violent, wicked stories, where evil seems to dominate love and loyalty. I am not even going to start mentioning the soap operas! Let me know what you think. I hope that Mothers Union challenge is going to be successful and show that parents do care for their children. Yours in Christ. N.


The Archbishop's lecture on heresy

Here is the first song we sang at the conference. Then you can hear the Archbishop's lecture on heresy. I have split it in different sections.   Bishop Jonathan commented: “The Archbishop overturned our notion of what heresy is and encouraged Christians to be on fire to serve our communities. It was an amazing day”. We totally agree with  him of course. 


Church on fire!

Tomorrow we are off to Telford to hear the Archbishop of Canterbury...
Tonight we went to see the fireworks by the Green Man Inn, it was an impressive display (no photos yet as I cannot seem to focus right!...however hubby took a few (4....hundred ..) so I may post a few a.s.a.p...) and amazingly the wind was blowing away all the smoke far away from us. still one particle of whatever fell in my eye (obviously I looked up, eyes wide open!)  and four hours later it's a little bit painful..
Have a blessed week-end. Yours in Christ. N

The highlights of our hols in Norfolk..

 The forecast was rain in Norfolk for the week but fortunately it only rained one day! So we went birdwatching...four times...in fact it is so easy to go birdwatching as Heacham is by the sea and ducks walk alonside dogs in the village!

We went twice to Titchwell, the RSPB reserve, they improved the walk and did some digging and trimming round the banks..everything looked very new!

 In Wells-next-the Sea, we saw this baby cormoran, so cute lol!

 Our last day was spent in the butterfly and wildlife centre near Sutton Bridge. It was  such a challenge to photograph elusive butterflies in the tropical garden. In the end, I cheated and filmed them. There were  four iguanas relaxing and watching you incognito.

One of the eagles caused a bit of turmoil as he never came back..not unusual. However they still held a 'handling birds of prey' show. I do find the barn owl so beautiful, don't you?


The heart of worship

by Michael W Smith

Lately I've had to sort out a progamme called Shockwave Flash and I did not have a clue what it was. Basically, that programme allows your computer to connect with bits of media...this is what I understand..so I realised that it was part to the Adobe company (they do the pdf files!) therefore I had to download the stuff from Adobe website, (twice) then test it ( mean press on their link that said 'test' and it still didn't work. Somehow when I came back from work yesterday it worked..phew! and during those few days, I had this beautiful song in my head and my heart and longing to hear it so 'voilà'! I hope you like it too. If you do, let me know. Yours in Christ.


In His presence

This was the title of the 10th anniversary conference Steven and I attended last saturday in Lichfield cathedral. In the morning, we had a powerful address by Revd Richard Taylor and in the afternoon Michele Guinness invited us to party, yes, really we had a party!
Here are some brief notes I took while Richard Taylor was talking.
I was a heroin addict and Jesus saved me. I gave my life to Jesus. I want to share Jesus with everybody. My book, To catch a thief from career criminal to a life of hope is a UK based story. It can be found in most prisons in the UK as I believe if I can change, other people can change too and come to saving faith. We see them and they are transformed. One girl who was a hard drug user, a gaunt prostitute with scars all over, she'd been sexually, physically and emotionally abused for years. Trudy came to us  and became part of the family. We got used to her, show her love and three years on she is the manager of the girls home.
I became Christian in a pentecostal environment and then I was introduced to reformed theology. I became friend with Archbishop Rowan . I have what I have by the grace of the Lord and I believe in the power of the Gospel. Jesus is explaining to his disciples the type of relationship between him and the Father, entering in his presence. His presence lives in us. The anointing is in us already! We rely too much on the atmosphere. Jesus is saying that He is in the Father. Do we understand the power of God's presence? The scriptures point to the fact that his presence is already in us. I take his presence to street work. In Edgbaston, I asked a young woman for a coffee and she started to shake the coffee so much that she spilt it. She could experience something different, God's presence. We talked further and I told her I was a Christian. The presence of God is in us. We have the power of the living Christ in us. The same Spirit that resurrected Jesus from the dead dwells in us. Christ is more than a religious leader. John 8:58-59  58"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!  Jesus was speaking of his presence. Jesus-Christ is God. However ecumenical we want to be, the message of the Gospel is exclusive and politically opposed. We are not physical, Christ came with love. Now that we are forgiven, the gospel is inclusive to those who believe. [....] I recommend Richard's book, To catch a thief. It is an excellent read and you won't want to put it down!

I am currently reading Michele Guinness 's  autobiography : Chosen and I am enjoying it thoroughly!
Blessings. Yours in Christ.


Renewal Conference.

 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
 2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
       come before him with joyful songs.
 3 Know that the LORD is God.
       It is he who made us, and we are his [a] ;
       we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
       and his courts with praise;
       give thanks to him and praise his name.
 5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
       his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100

Last time we went to one of those renewal days we were edified and inspired. I do recommend the experience. Blessings.

Swapping clothes..

Saturday night Imo and I met up with our friends Trena and Lizzie in town. We had a curry quite early, we were sitting in the restaurant at about 5:15  the reason being we were going to a 'swapping clothes' event starting at 7:30 in the Christian Elim Centre! We had a lovely time in the restaurant and then we moved to the centre. Everybody invited (ladies mainly only) brought a bag of clothes and then we were given a number of tickets corresponding to the number of items.
While we were having tea and muffins, Mrs. Comfort Owusu Otchere, the Schools Coordinator for International Needs Ghana told us about this Christian organisation where she has worked for 17 years. One of their success stories is how they managed to rescue young children at risk while working for fishermen, children as young as five. If they'd drown while repairing the nets or the boats, nobody would report them.  A high percentage of them managed to attend one of the schools provided by IN, International Needs. They also provide healthcare and have an anti-slavery programme.
Do you want to help too or do you wish to find out more? Click on this link:  http://www.innetwork.org.gh/
Let us pray for the churches, the church planters and their families, and everybody involved in the organisation. May the Lord gives them strength and guidance for the success of their projects. In Jesus-Christ. Amen. Also here is the link of their 'gifts of compassion' shop : http://ineeds.mimegraphics.com/index.php?education We had a fantastic evening. Blessings.


Creation or evolution?

Lately, it looks as if this question is a source of tension, so much that one may think wise to stay out of it for fear of upsetting one's friend.. In fact there are many Christians who tell me that evolution does not bother them, they add : if it is the big bang, then God created it!
I find it useful to know a bit more about the debate. Somehow, you must have noticed that the evolutionists viewpoints seem to be everywhere, in most of our schools, universities, documentaries and media. However there seems to be cracks in the theory of evolution and the creationists are fighting back for recognition as they believe that the evidence gathered by the evolutionists have not always been accurate for instance..you have heard of the 'missing link' ..but there is MORE!
Interested ? then why don't you visit Dr. Grady Shannon McMurtry's website : http://www.creationworldview.org

Blessings. Yours in Jesus-Christ.


..live at peace with everyone..

      17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
    18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
    19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord.
    20 On the contrary:
   If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. 
 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:17-21
I think that you will agree that sometimes living at peace with everyone can be difficult!
We have to be on our guard all the time so that difficult situations do not develop and end up overcoming us to a point where we feel that forgiving is too hard.
This afternoon, I was reading in Lynn's blog http://lynnmosher.blogspot.com/   how she blessed her employer instead of cursing her.
So if we choose to bless our enemy we will be able to move forward and remove bitterness from our heart. I must add that in such a situation, I asked the Lord to help me as I felt I could not do it on my own! Blessings. Yours in Christ.


There is a King in you!

You come from royalty
An aristocratic dynasty
The goal of the enemy
Is that you don't know who you are
There's power when you speak
Be mindful of words you release

I know that life has challenged you
But the king in me speaks to the king in you
You were born to rule there is a king in you

You come from royalty
An aristocratic dynasty
The goal of the enemy
Is that you don't know who you are
There's power when you speak
Be mindful of words you release

I know that life has challenged you
But the king in me speaks to the king in you
You were born to rule there is a king in you

Is there no king in you then why do you speak
Speak with such defeat?
Is there no king in you then why do you speak
Speak with such low esteem?

I know that life has challenged you
But the king in me speaks to the king in you
You were born to rule there is a king in you
Donald Lawrence and Co. 


The Venice of the Languedoc!

Later on we went to Sète. I'd never been there before but I knew that it was one of the largest harbours on the Mediterranean. What I did not know is it has been given the name of Venice of the Languedoc!  It is situated between the Thau Lagoon (Etang de Sète), the sea and various canals! Paul Valéry and Georges Brassens are its two most famous people. 

Imogen pausing on the parapet in front of the Chapelle Notre Dame de la Salette (see below). 
 Having a drink in one of the many cafés in the town center.

Walking by the harbour.
We had lunch in one of those restaurants. One of the dishes i had was called the tielle sétoise, a round pastry filled up with octopus pieces in a tomato sauce. 

 View from the mont  St Clair (183 m)

I thought that this tiny street with the washing on the line does look like an Italian street! What do you think?
Have a blessed week-end.