Friday: best read in my blogroll!

Many thanks to Warren Baldwin for the following post about children
Children at the Center #1
“My Children are my world. They are the center of my universe.”
But, I still cringe when I hear parents say, “My Children are my world. They are the center of my universe,” especially when the children have gotten older. Here’s why. Bonnie had her first child when she was an older teenager. She missed out on having a first year of college, dorm parties with classmates, and spending long weekends at the homes of her girlfriends. When her high school friends left for college, she stayed home to care for her daughter, and soon after other kids.
That is ok! Even most of her friends who went off for school eventually married and had children. They just waited a few more years to start. For Bonnie, though, the loss of missing out on those older teen experiences was hard to accept But, for awhile she could forget the pain because she had something new to celebrate: the center of her universe, her precious baby daughter.
Bonnie worked hard to be a good parent. She was, except that it was hard for her to allow her daughter to grow and transition from one stage to another. It became especially difficult when her daughter was in high school and had her friends over. When they stayed up to watch late movies, Bonnie joined in, trying to function more as a teen friend than as an adult parent. It was probably unconscious, but through her daughter Bonnie was actually trying to create some of the teenage experiences she had missed out on years before. Bonnie’s daughter was her best friend, her pal, her center.
Then the daughter graduated, went to college, and never returned home again...Read more, click here

And many thanks to the owner of Simply helping him for the following post about marriage

In my childhood dreams, I watched my marriage play out beautifully.
Laughter, devotions, alone time together, kisses and cuddles all abounded.
Conflict and differences were seen, but didn’t need to be addressed.
We were perfect together, our differences didn’t cause issues.
In my life…………..boy do I see things otherwise.
Opposite personalities, different upbringings, age differences, and conflict seem to abound at times. Throughout the last 9 years, we’ve learned to discuss things much better than in the past thankfully.
Yet our marriage is nothing like my childhood dreams.
He likes tennis, I prefer basketball.
He likes alone time, I want us time.
I like having friends over, he wants the couch and remote.
I love trying new recipes, he likes the same meals.
We are like night and day different.      Read more, click here


Fix your eyes upon Jesus

Hebrews 11:29-12:2


The passage we are looking at today from Hebrews continues the theme of faith that the author takes into a new gear at the beginning of chapter 11 and his introduction to this is:

[2] This is what the ancients were commended for.

He then mentions a host of people as well as events through which greats acts of faith and hope are demonstrated from creation onto a host of important events in the first half of the Old Testament and then he glosses the rest and brings us to a time possible only years before the coming of Jesus. This is a catalogue of heroes of faith, people who had faith in a living God who acts, gives hope and who has more in store! In fact at the other end of chapter 11 he brings an interesting turning point which is pivotal to what follows:

[39] These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, [40] since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

In fact the whole chapter is like a marathon, hold that, which starts with a very steady and measured pace and then accelerates from where we cut into it today.

Another thought on 'faith' and for that, back to the first verse of chapter 11

 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

As part of the introduction to this passage one of my commentaries says this:

In a world where people dismiss faith as ‘wishful thinking’, or simply identify it with the beliefs and practices of a particular religion ( e.g. ‘the Muslim faith’), it is good to have a comprehensive picture of the faith that actually pleases God. Hebrews shows the link between faith, hope, obedience and endurance, illustrating that it is more than intellectual assent to certain beliefs. God-honouring faith takes God at his word and lives expectantly and obediently in the present, waiting for him to fulfill his promises. Such faith brings suffering and persecution in various forms.

Chapter 12 brings in his readers, and us, with complete prominence into the arena and also there is the ultimate hero of all who is also at the centre of the whole letter - Jesus. So, as I say,

Into the arena

Which is just the picture we have. Remember I said before that chapter 11 is like a marathon, well, most of a marathon is run outside the arena, certainly at the Olympics and probably in those days too, well, now we are there with Jesus in what is the final part of the event. And, this is what he writes:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

Can you see the masterful picture he is painting? All the people of chapter 11 have completed their leg of the marathon, which is also perhaps a relay where faith is the baton passed on, and by what we see in them  we are cheered on our way by the encouragement we see in the way they exercised faith.

In a slightly different way I saw this a few weeks ago at Hixon school sports day and it was a lovely sight. Each group had their great long race round the course, and the younger the group the more their little legs were whirling, but in each year there were always a few who struggled or who couldn't even really run. The truly lovely bit was that those who had finished were there at the finishing line cheering those who were struggling so they completed the race.

Our writer also brings in two other important elements as an illustration for the race of faith in this verse and another
 1.       Ridding ourselves of anything that would hinder - compare that to what Jesus says about the seeds sown in the thorny part of the field in the parable of the sower how they are choked by the cares of this life - consider: what chokes our faith
2.       Ridding ourselves of the sin that entangles - in other words all that dishonours Jesus or is not what he has for us or is against what he wants. The aim is to stay focussed on what we are through the victory of Jesus over sin and death.

All this then makes us lean, mean, running machines and as such there is

The focus of the race

Which is none other than Jesus who he is the starting line, the pace setter and the finishing post - v 2a

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, [2] fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

He is the source of faith, the reason for faith and the goal of faith and this faith is lived out in the realities of life.

This was also true for all those who he mentions in chapter 11 but their faith was much more on that which is unseen than ours  because Jesus has now been revealed. Of course we still have that which is unseen but it is all there in Jesus in whom and through who we live the life of faith.

How He has become the focus of the race

Because as a participant with us this is what he did - v 2b

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Joy was his focus as he, in faith, saw the outcome that is reality for him now which is to be seated at the right hand of the throne of God where he, seated there in victory, is the focus for our journey of faith. That has a conclusion in the next verse which wasn't in the reading - but we'll have it anyway and it will lead to our:


[3] Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Jesus is the ultimate encouragement for us to stay firm in faith. Not other Christians, the church or whatever but Jesus the victor who brings life and salvation - our hope where faith lies.

And finally an anomaly thought: I meet many people who say they are open minded about faith and God but I wonder if lots of those people actually have an extractor fan fitted to their open minds that takes away anything God sows there! You can compare that once more with the parable of the sower and the seed that falls by the path and which is eaten by the birds.

Fix your eyes upon Jesus!

Steven Abram.  Sunday 18th August 2013


Saturday best pick: should young Christians be encouraged to get married earlier?



Early marriage might not be a problem; instead, it might just be a solution. In Young and in Love (David C Cook), Pastor Ted Cunningham boldly suggests that early marriage is not as harmful as many believe and even offers the solution to staying sexually pure. He guides young adults through the arguments against early marriage and then reveals the secrets to creating a healthy, successful, and life-long relationship in early adulthood.
Young men and women fall in love. They develop intense desires to be with one another emotionally, relationally, and, yes, sexually. Cunningham validates this budding relationship and chases the foxes that seek to delay or destroy the bud before it can turn into a blossoming marriage (Song of Solomon 2:15). He praises this budding love, calling family and friends to recognize it with a wedding, and challenges all unnecessary delays to marrying in one’s early twenties.
Developing a Godly relationship can be hard when you fall in love at a young age. Few people offer support. Many doubt your love is real. It seems almost everyone — your friends, your parents, even your church — thinks you are much too young for marriage. You’re not ready. But maybe that’s not true. Cunningham explains where the arguments against young marriage often go wrong. Then he offers wisdom on how to know if you are making the right choice including the Four C’s: 
Character, Chemistry, Competency, and Calling. 
He’ll help readers understand what it takes to be ready for marriage. And along the way he’ll show that the answer to staying pure might be to prepare for marriage. Because it’s often easier to say, “Let’s wait” when “I do” isn’t so far away.
According to Cunningham, “Ultimately, Young and in Love honors marriage and encourages marriages in the making. This is not another purity book teaching you how to suppress any and all feelings of love. I want you to express your love and then enjoy marriage. So if you kissed dating goodbye, it’s time to say hello! If you have kept true love waiting, I tell you now, wait no more. Get married!”
For more information on Ted Cunningham visit www.tedcunningham.com


Friday raffle: in my blogroll basket

Anyways, I just thought I'd pop in and share a cute little conversation Connor had with Jodie the other day.  I love to listen to Connor and his thought process.  Jodie was cooking dinner and Connor came up to him and, out of the blue, said, "Daddy, I'm going to tell you how people fall in love.  First, they see each other and they think, "Wow, that person is really beautiful." Then they decide to start dating because they think each other is beautiful, and they're just in love.  And that's how it happens."

Jodie asked if Connor wanted to hear how we fell in love.  Connor was captivated as Jodie told him how we were friends for two years before we started dating, and he moved away during that time.  Connor asked, "So, did you guys forget about each other?"  Jodie said, no, we didn't, and then he came back home and we saw each other again, and then decided to start dating.  Connor said, "And, then, you decided you either had to get married or not date anymore."  We laughed at that.  I don't know where he got that from, but he can be pretty perceptive sometimes.  Jodie explained it wasn't exactly that we would stop dating, it's just that, after dating for awhile, we wanted to marry each other.  Connor said, "Yeah...AND you thought Mommy was beautiful."  Lucky for Jodie he said, "Of course."  ; )

Thanks to Nathalie Bannier for the following post:

John learned his lesson by lying on the bosom of Jesus! ~ ~ ~ ~
(J.R. Miller, "On the Control of Temper" 1898)
Many Christian people are willing to confess to an ungentle temper. They seem to think it a matter of not very grave importance. Perhaps the very commonness of the infirmity, blinds our eyes to its sinfulness. We are apt to regard the malady more as a weakness--than as a sin which makes us guilty before God.

But there is no question that bad temper is unchristlike. We cannot think of Jesus as acrimonious, touchy, irritable, peevish, or vindictive. Love ruled all His dispositions, His words, His feelings. He was put to the sorest tests--but never failed. He endured all manner of wrongs, insults, and hurts; but, like those flowers which yield their sweetest perfume only when crushed--His life gave out the more sweetness, the more it was exposed to men's rudeness and unkindness. We are like Christ, only in the measure in which we have the patience, gentleness, and good-temper of Christ.

We all agree that bad temper is very unlovely in other people. We know, too, what discomfort and pain a bad temper causes wherever the person goes. Bad temper is not any more lovely in us, as we appear to others' eyes.

An essential teaching of Christianity, is that marred human nature can be changed. The worst temper can be schooled into the most divine sweetness of spirit. The tongue which no man can tame--Christ can tame, so that, instead of bitterness, it shall give out only words of love.

To read more click here


Abandoning google + comments

My apologies if you have commented on my posts recently as I have been unable to read those comments. So I am switching google +  comments off . If you have a solution let me know. 

Thursday blessings

The fear of the Lord is wisdom

12 But where can wisdom be found?
    Where does understanding dwell?
13 No mortal comprehends its worth;
    it cannot be found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, “It is not in me”;
    the sea says, “It is not with me.”
15 It cannot be bought with the finest gold,
    nor can its price be weighed out in silver.
16 It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir,
    with precious onyx or lapis lazuli.
17 Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it,
    nor can it be had for jewels of gold.
18 Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention;
    the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.
19 The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it;
    it cannot be bought with pure gold.
20 Where then does wisdom come from?
    Where does understanding dwell?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
    concealed even from the birds in the sky.
22 Destruction[b] and Death say,
    “Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.”
23 God understands the way to it
    and he alone knows where it dwells,
24 for he views the ends of the earth
    and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he established the force of the wind
    and measured out the waters,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
    and a path for the thunderstorm,
27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
    he confirmed it and tested it.
28 And he said to the human race,
    “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
    and to shun evil is understanding.”
Job 28 : 12-28

Happy birthday Imogen!

Dearest Imogen,
Congratulations on your 18th birthday
with lots of love.
You really are a daughter
Who fills our home with cheer.
And you grow more beautiful
Each year.
We hope you'll always know
That we love you and we're proud of you.
At times you drive us crazy
It's like living in a zoo
But we really do love you.

The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord makes his face shine upon you and be gracious to you:
The Lord turn his face toward you.
and give you peace
Numbers 6:24-26

Bring the fattened marrows
and cut them.
Let's have a feast and
You probably guess why I adapted Luke 15:23
Imogen has been a vegetarian for five years. On her card, I wrote, the fattened cucumber however, Steven pointed out that marrow do grow bigger! lol 
Last night, we went out for a meal at Pasta di Piazza in Stone even though her birthday was today because she'd planned to spend the evening in Liverpool with 8 of her friends. We had a lovely time, the food and the service were excellent!
This morning, our 'baby' made some 'american' vegan pancakes with oats for herself and the same for us with an egg and 'normal' milk, not this soya stuff (lol) though I'm wondering if soya milk is a good idea but that's another story!
 After Liverpool, she will keep on the celebration at Bristol with Camille, her older sister (23) who is so pleased to spend the Bank Holiday with her round!

Imogen, Sadie, Abbie, Shanice, Beth, Tian and Molly
Girls, have a blessed day full of fun and may your friendship blossom. 
Photo: Liverpool with the girls !!


In a charity shop...

...you can find some proper gems! To cut a long story short, yesterday morning I took my car to an independent garage only to find out that the repair was going to be longer than I thought. I had time to kill and no car so I went round a few shops, and ended up in Oxfam. Their selection of books is usually eclectic, after browsing for ten minutes, I found two books of interest, The enemy within written by Kris Lundgaard that I have just started. Click on this link to read an excellent review of this book written by Tom Welch on his blog, or copy this : www.SabbaticalJournal.blogspot.co.uk
The other book is called Awesome on the inside, how to be changed by God from the inside out. Written by Tim Hawkins. Come & hear Tim Hawkin’s powerful messages over two consecutive nights at Brisbane Chinese Alliance Church. Tim will be speaking on being “Awesome on the Inside” with the first night focusing on “A Powerful Heart” and the second “The Pure Heart”. The two sessions over the weekend are tailored for Christian high schoolers to young workers and Tim’s desire is for them to get fired up for God.
Tim Hawkins is one of the most experienced Christian Youth pastors in Australia. He has been a full-time youth pastor in a local church for over 30 years. He is currently the Youth Pastor Emeritus at St Pauls Anglican Church, Castle Hill, in Sydney Australia where he has been for over 20 years.
Tim’s passion is to see high-schoolers and young adults become fervent disciples of Jesus. He planted and built the “Crossfire” youth ministry at Castle Hill, which is one of the most fruitful local church youth ministries in Australia. Every one of Tim’s resources has grown out of his local church’s youth ministry. Tim writes this material and speaks powerful messages to meet real needs. His books and resources are revolutionising youth ministry around the world, and are now being used as training manuals in many bible colleges.
Let me know if you have read any of those as it would be nice to hear from you. Good nite. N.

Pick of the week!

Christians in Britain and the US who claim that they are persecuted should "grow up" and not exaggerate what amounts to feeling "mildly uncomfortable", according to Rowan Williams..."When you've had any contact with real persecuted minorities you learn to use the word very chastely," he said. "Persecution is not being made to feel mildly uncomfortable. 'For goodness sake, grow up,' I want to say." True persecution was "systematic brutality and often murderous hostility that means that every morning you wonder if you and your children are going to live through the day". He cited the experience of a woman he met in India "who had seen her husband butchered by a mob".
.Sharing a platform at the Edinburgh international book festival with Julia Neuberger, senior rabbi at the West London Synagogue, Williams launched a withering critique of popular ideas about spirituality. "The last thing it is about is the placid hum of a well-conducted meditation," he said.
To read more, click here please as Rowan and Julia discussed other issues in this interview reported in the Guardian.


In Cannes and San Remo..

The sand beach between Mandelieu and Cannes

View from the coastal road between Cannes and Mandelieu

The 'old' Cannes

Tourists in the old Cannes

Le Bouchon du Port café in Cannes

A sreet in San Remo, Italy

Walking in San Remo

We managed to resist temptation!

Another view of San Remo, Italy


Friday: best encouraging posts in my blogroll hat!

Are you  1 - victorious, 2 -  thankful and 3 -  loving ? For a bit of a change, I have selected what I consider the 3 best encouraging posts written by inspirational bloggers listed in my blogroll. If you'd rather go directly to their pages click the link on the first words of the 3 selections.

    1 -   Hello Victorious Friends! Today, I assure you that God, who is our Alpha and Omega, has been with you and has seen your situation from the beginning. Because of this, according to HIS WORD, you have already come out on top. Your mission has already been completed. You have already reached the finish line - by faith. Therefore, as you are going through, understand that where you are right now is temporary. The Psalmist said, "yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death." Notice the phrase, "walk through".
Not stuck in -
Not abiding -
Not dwelling -
"Walk through" assures us that we are moving. How are we moving? We are moving and walking by faith and not by sight.
For, it is in HIM that we live, we move and we have our being! (Acts 17:28)
My victorious friends, I encourage you to keep living and moving by faith. Although the blows may be coming at you - from the left and from the right, DO NOT give up! Remember, God has great plans for you! (Jeremiah 29:11)

     2    -    A thought by John C Maxwell (2012-10-02) from his book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential (p. 75). Center Street. Kindle Edition.Now I, personally, start my day in the Bible. Today I read Psalm 106. It showed the importance of following Him and what happens if we don’t and what happens when we do. It ended with “Praise the Lord.” Good reminder to start the day. Then I read the last part of Acts 22 and of how God was moving Paul to His desired destination. It showed how each incident had a part in moving Paul to Rome where He wrote a big part of the New Testament. Each incident in the day is important to God. 
John Maxwell also says, “And the small steps you take today will lead to the bigger steps you take someday.” Let’s say you start your day with griping and complaining. Psalm 106:25-27 tells what God thinks of that. He doesn’t like it. Don’t do it. Start your day as Psalm 106.1-2 does with giving thanks to the Lord because He is good; and His love is eternal. Remind yourself of all the good things He has done in your life. And then Verse 3 says, “Happy are those who obey His commands, who always do what is right.”

3    -     Ever heard of Daniel Frederick and Susan Bateman? No? That’s okay. They aren’t movie stars or government leaders. Their lives are significant, however. They were married on August 29, 1772, till death did they part, 91 years and 12 days later. Daniel and Susan represent history’s longest recorded marriage.
Now you have something to shoot for, if you want to shoot for it, that is. For some marriages, 91 years would be a gift – a gracious extension to a blessed union. For others, it may be like the curse of immortality for the suffering.
Time can be a marriage’s worst enemy.
How so?
When there is little love and no romance.
When a marriage goes months or even years without sexual intimacy.
When husbands and wives choose to hold onto resentment.
When we keep secrets and protect turf.
When we never say, “I love you,” or “I’m sorry,” or “I appreciate you.”
Time has a means of sealing in our bitterness like moss in the crack of a sidewalk. Hearts that have hardened only get harder with time.
Time can be a marriage’s best friend.
On the other hand, time can also be a marriage’s best friend, if we choose to allow it. You can grow a mushroom overnight but an oak tree takes decades. When it comes to our marriage we need to decide to be oak trees.
The road of marriage has plenty of bumps and bruises. We let each other down. We hold each other up. We rest in times of peace and we weather storms together. And over time, through thick and thin, sickness and health, better and worse our marriage grows into a beautiful oak tree if we are willing to stick it out.

Have a blessed week-end. N.


Thursday blessings

'Do not let your hearts be trouble' Trust in God; trust also in me. In my father's house are many room; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
John 14:1-2
Jesus replied: If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My father will love him and make our home with him.
John 14:23 

Thursday blessing

Rendez-vous avec le soleil et le vélo à Cannes

A seagull posing for us on the ferry

Feeding the ducks in the river Sciagne

My hubby having a pause from biking from Mandelieu to Cannes

With our friend Yvonne

the 'old Cannes'

A ceramic artist in Vallauris

Good afternoon to all of you blogger friends and visitors. Yesterday, we came back from our holidays, in la Côte d'Azur. The temperature was in the 30s C. and as I am writing it's pouring down - near Stafford in England. The trip was easy on the way there but on the way back was not smooth, for instance when we turned up at our 'usual' campsite in Calais, the camping municipal, right by the docks,  it was closed and you cannot search for campsites in our sat nav. One French man who saw us stuck in front of the shut gate of the deserted campsite due to be demolished soon kindly told us that there was another campsite in the Bleriot plage not too far away. However, another French mobilehome pulled in and as the campsites were appearing on their sat nav we followed them for a while but this lead us to a wild goose search and time was ticking. In the end I asked again another couple parked in front of a doctor surgery and they reiterated that there was another campsite this time giving us more exact directions. So we found it and it was quieter that the one we were used to.  The lady at the reception told us that we could not pay by card (!) so we told her we'd go and find some cash. It suited us as we wanted to get some shopping in the nearby Auchan and find a restaurant for a bite to eat. When we came back two hours later the reception was closed! It never crossed our minds to ask her if they'd closed as all the campsites we've been are opened till 10 p.m. We left the money,  20 Euros in her letterbox. 
Another tale: we weren't allowed to leave the campsite before 7 am, our ferry left at 7:45 and we worked out that we'd have plenty of time to board. The following morning, we got up at 6:15, hurried to put stuff away, the electric, the bed...and left at 7 am, we arrived at the car ferry place at 7:20 only to see massive queues formed at the English customs, never seen before. Usually, the custom officer would look at the passports and have a quick check on his computer, that would take no more than 2, 3 minutes, for each car in front of us, they were taking a minimum of 5-7 minutes. When eventually we arrived at our boarding booth, we were told our boat was full and put in the 8:45 crossing. I asked what'd happened at the customs and somehow it was a bit of 'rivalry' between the English and French custom officers, but I wonder if they were after something more serious. As we crossed the channel not only the temperature had dropped but the traffic was dense and I am so glad that I was not driving!
We are so grateful to the Lord that we managed to have a holiday this year - as with what happened at the vicarage earlier in June, nothing was certain - and this holiday was great..more to come. 
Peace be with you. Yours in Christ Nicky 
PS..I will accept any translation for the title..hey hey!