Just who is God?

live-by-faith-copyI meet many people who tell me they do not believe in God. I once numbered among them myself. Some simply say they are not religious and think God doesn’t exist. They have no explanation as to where everything originated but will ask who created God when it is suggested that He made everything. They ask that question out of ignorance and from a human perspective. If God did make everything then He must have created evil too, they will say. Maybe they will say, ‘Then why does God allow all these horrible things to happen?’ making reference to paedophillia, murder or natural disasters to name but a few things. That becomes their stumbling block, their reasons for not believing in God. If sin is mentioned many will deny they sin but don’t make the connection between sin and God. Sin exists because God exists but sin was not created by God. God did not create many things, love, peace, happiness and all things good would suggest He did but these good things are simply aspects of God’s being, they exist because He does. Without God there would be none of these things. Sin separates the unbeliever from God, in fact sin and evil of all kinds are merely the result of the absence of God. When Adam and Eve took what they were not supposed to take they sinned. Their actions, their sin, resulted from the fact that God wasn’t in their hearts for if He had been they would not have disobeyed. When subsequently they realised their error the way back into the ‘Garden of Eden‘ was blocked. There was no way back to God. They had lost the eternal life which God had bestowed upon them when they were created and decay set in. Had God not put an angel there to guard the way back they would have returned but still in their sin. They would then have lived forever in their sinful state, that is eternally separated from God. That is the description of Hell, eternal damnation and punishment and separation from God. God could not allow that to happen. However all mankind subsequently suffered as a result of that disobedience. Paradise lost indeed. Having been cast out of God’s presence there was no way back. They were helpless and could not change their circumstances. Today we also have no power in ourselves to make amends and be able to return to the everlasting life which God wanted us to share with Him. God however loves us all and knows we cannot help ourselves but He cannot allow us back into His presence whilst still in our sinful state just as He couldn’t allow Adam or Eve back. Our sins keep us separated from Him. God provided a solution, the only solution, an atoning sacrifice. Our sins needed to be dealt with and the punishment meted out for them in order that we might have a clean slate and start anew. That sacrifice was His Son Jesus Christ. He alone has paid the price for each and every one of us. The debt has been paid and we are set free. There is just one thing, we have to believe in Jesus and in God, we have to repent of our sins, which means turning away from them and from deliberately turning to them and then we must take hold of the free gift offered to us. Without Jesus we would remain in our sins and remain separated from God, not just for now but forever! To believe in anything else is futile for there is only one way to salvation and that is through Jesus Christ, no-one else has the power or the authority. Make that choice before it is too late, not tomorrow or the next day, not next week or some time in the future you don’t know how long you have left. If you really wish to make that commitment then say this prayer…

Dear Father in heaven my creator God, I realise that I am a sinner and am in need of salvation. I regret having been a sinner all my life and I repent of my sins. I thank you for the gift of forgiveness and atonement that you have provided through Jesus and I take hold of it as my own. Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice and for taking my sins away. I am now yours and I ask you to be my saviour. Help me to seek only your will in my life from this day forward. Amen.

Now go out into the world where you are and tell others of this wonderful gift of everlasting life, The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Shirley Anne


Gone potty

Bargain Hunt
Bargain Hunt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a sad world we live in! So many people in the world are materialistic and their whole existence centres around material things. We can spend our entire lives gathering possessions simply because we want them, they are nice to have and to hold and we must have them. It is one thing to want to own something and another to have it out of necessity. In reality whatever we have we will leave behind once we die. So what is the point in having them in the first place unless as I say they are a necessity? To accumulate things for our own pleasure is a desire for many and some will pay exorbitant amounts of money in order to own something. There is a television program here in the UK which is called ‘Flog it‘, one of a few programs concerning antiques, their sale and purchase. One program is called ‘Bargain hunt‘ where contestants search shops or market places looking to purchase something for as little as possible so they can sell it at a profit at auction. Sometimes the things they find turn out to be valuable antiques but that is often a rare occurrence. In the ‘Flog it’ program people are invited to bring into whichever venue in use for the day their possessions in order to have them evaluated with a view to selling them at auction for financial gain. Some items prove to be of little value but sometimes something is brought in which turns out to be the opposite.

English: The Teapot, made in UK, ~2005 Русский...
The Teapot, made in UK, ~2005 but not the one mentioned in this post.

In a recent program a lady brought in an earthenware teapot and had no idea of its value, that is what it might sell for. It wasn’t particularly an attractive item, in fact it looked dull and uninteresting but the specialist doing the evaluation thought it might sell for anything between £100 and £150 and it was put up for sale at the auction with a reserve price of £80 so that if it didn’t reach that price it would be withdrawn as unsold. The bidding started as I remember at £100 so at that point it was sold as far as the owner was concerned but the bids kept rising, £200, £220, £240 until finally it reached £900! I couldn’t believe that anyone would pay £900 for a teapot that didn’t look as though it had anything going for it. In the realm of antique teapots however it was something of a rarity and therefore a valuable asset to someone. I imagined the new owner sitting at home surrounded by ‘valuable’ teapots and other material things amounting to a value of tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds and I think to myself, why? It is their prerogative of course but to me it seems so pointless for anyone to surround themselves with material things just for the sake of owning them. The world is going more potty every day.

Matthew 6:20

Jesus urges his followers not to collect “treasures on earth” because the temporary trinkets of the world don’t last. Some break down or rust away. Termites make lunch out of others. Instead, Jesus commands us to seek real profits—not material ones that pad only our wallets, but spiritual ones that benefit our souls. These heavenly treasures represent an investment opportunity too good to pass up. When Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (verse 21), he means that we naturally worship our first love. If we love money and worldly treasures, we can offer God no higher than second place in our lives.

(Taken from Daily Devotionals, biblegateway.com)

1 Chronicles 29:11
Everything we have comes from God. We’re managers or stewards, not owners, of what God places in our trust. The days we live, the positions we fill, the children we nurture, the money in our accounts all belong to God. Of all of these, money is perhaps the hardest for many of us to think of as a trust. We work hard to earn it. We naturally want to keep it. But God assures us he will provide what we need. And the Bible says over and over that we are to give some of our money back to him. Difficult yes, but the money itself isn’t the issue. God doesn’t need our money. He wants what our money represents. He wants our hearts. Don’t build a barricade around your possessions or your heart. Give God your heart and watch how he orders and provides all that you need.

(Taken from NIV Busy Dad’s Bible)

Shirley Anne

Early to bed….

Women Employed
Women Employed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

……early to rise, makes a man (or woman) healthy, wealthy and wise. Do you remember this snippet of wisdom taught to you when you were young? I used to think it applied to others and not myself but then I got wise. Staying up till the late hours and then sleeping in the following day has never been a way of life for me ever since I began my working life. Of course there were days when I did stay up late and did sleep in the following morning but they have been few. Being as I am self-employed and that since 1997, the saying has more of a meaning than it once did. When working for someone else or an organisation the tendency is often to do only that asked of you and no more. That principle doesn’t apply to everyone for there are those who give their all irrespective of whether they are self-employed or not and that is a good thing, Speaking as a Christian it is right and proper to put 100% effort and interest in your work, especially if it is for and on behalf of your employer. Now if that employer happens to be yourself you can see the reason for this approach for if you are lazy you will be the one to suffer. Even before I became a Christian I applied this principle to my approach to work. I took pride in my work and was rewarded for it by way of promotion and better prospects. Since becoming self-employed, which incidentally was only eight years after I became a Christian, it was natural for me to continue to give my all. It is a biblical teaching too. So from the first tentative days of being self-employed to the present day I can say that I have become (more) healthy, wealthy and certainly more wise! I have been telling everyone that I am now working part-time, have become semi-retired but in reality I am finding my income remains almost as it was a few years ago and I am better off than ever. I try not to work too hard but occasionally I find myself putting in more hours than I had intended though nothing like I used to, after all I am approaching seventy years of age! I meet other people of a similar age and find that those who seem to be more agile and hard-working into their old age fare much better than those who don’t. They too retire early and rise early ready to catch the proverbial worm. Laziness is the seed which produces poverty and poor health.

Shirley Anne

Time’s up

Time's Runnin' Out (album)
Time’s Runnin’ Out (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It had to come. Failure to act would mean the end of an era. Failure would mean loss of income, loss of a lifetime interest and a loss of mobility. On 21 November this year I will have reached my seventieth year on this planet and the day before I will lose my drivers’ licence for good unless I renew it. Here in the UK all drivers must renew their licences every three years once they reach the ripe old age of seventy. Naturally the application must be submitted long before that date but no sooner than three months before. For me that date came on Monday so I set about renewing my licence online. The process was surprisingly easy though it would have been easier had I known what references were required beforehand. They ask for your drivers number which is on your licence. They also ask for my National Insurance number and Passport number as well as the usual personal information. I was fortunate to know where that information was to be found, the passport and NI numbers that is. A declaration has to be read and ticked as appropriate to declare an ability to continue to drive by indicating a bill of good health and eyesight. Failure to declare any ailments which might affect safe driving is met with a hefty fine or imprisonment or even both. I should receive the replacement licence within two weeks.but in the meantime I have to cut into two pieces my old licence and post them off to the DVLA. That’s it, no fees and no complications. At the very least I shall be able to continue to drive for the next three years or until my time really is up! By that time I shall have been driving for 51 years.

Shirley Anne

PS. I wrote this post a couple of days ago and on Thursday morning I received my new driver’s licence card. Now that is what I call service!

From nothing at all to…..

Embed from Getty Images

…….plenty. That’s the way it goes in my profession. I received a late call on Sunday evening requesting my services on Monday morning. It was a small job but still appreciated and worth doing. I apply a minimum charge for any work but if the work is local and very small I might charge less. I did the work and was paid my minimum fee and was quite happy about that. I had no other work at all, even for the rest of the week but that is quite normal for I often get plenty of work later during the week. I got another call at about 10.45 asking if I could render some help with a loss of power in someone’s kitchen twelve miles away. I was also informed that some of the lights were not working. I drove across to investigate and was made most welcome by the middle-aged guy who stood by his garden gate awaiting my arrival. I set about tracing the fault on the power circuit which took some time but I eventually located the general area of the fault which seemed to be in the annex to the kitchen hidden behind the ceiling and false walling. It would take too long to search and repair that part of the installation and it would probably be easier to simply rewire it. We decided the best thing to do would be to disconnect the annex so that the supply could be re-instated in the kitchen but first I had to locate the cables supplying that section and eventually found them under the floor in the room above the kitchen. There was evidence of the presence of mice or a rat as some of the wiring had been gnawed almost through but those cables fed other circuits in the house. I repaired them before locating the cables supplying the annex which I duly cut and by-passed with a junction connector box. If the annex is to be rewired in the future the wiring will need to be reconnected at that point. I informed the guy that I wouldn’t be taking on that work as I feel it would be too much for me to do without some assistance. Unfortunately in the process to disconnecting the faulty wiring the gas boiler was also disconnected so I re-supplied it from one of the kitchen power sockets. However the boiler seemed to be faulty too! The guy arranged for a gas fitter to call and repair it. Finally I had finished reinstating power but had to change a fault lighting unit before I left. The original fitting couldn’t retain a lamp as it had been damaged by excessive heat over the years. What will happen regarding the annex wiring I have no idea but at the very least something must be done to eliminate the presence of rats  which might gnaw through more of the wiring. The guy wasn’t alone in the house, he had a Philippino  wife and two very young children by her and he also had his twenty-one year old son from his former wife living with them temporarily. Unfortunately his son had brought a young Pit Bull terrier with him that whined throughout the time I was there and the son wouldn’t take care of that. The guy tried to tell me that he was a little tired of his son’s attitude and only suffered him because he was his son. His son was out of work too but seemed to lack motivation to do much about it though he did write a personal CV on the computer and sent off a copy to apply for a post. As far as I am aware he didn’t have much in the way of qualifications according to what he had told me. I think the young man has his priorities all wrong. Anyway I had been there for over three hours and had missed my lunch yet again. I was back home around three-thirty but left off preparing anything until a little later. I sat out on the patio to enjoy the remainder of the afternoon in the sun. It wasn’t long before I received more work for the next day. I seem to be a work magnet these days!

Shirley Anne

Taking the time

English: Flowerbed at Clough This flowerbed is...
Flowerbed at Clough This flowerbed is on the verge beside the Newcastle/Dundrum road at Clough. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was a patch or two of the flowerbed next to the patio which was beginning to change colour between the plants from brown to green. Over the last few days I had thought about doing something about it but other things kept getting in the way. On Sunday morning I was out on the patio with my Bible and a cup of coffee enjoying the morning sunshine. When I had finished reading I began to let my eyes wander as usual and I was admiring and appreciating the wonder of God’s creation in nature. The sun lit up a little more than half the garden and was forcing its rays through the branches of the tall trees towering on the northern perimeter which face the rear of the house. I was sitting facing  east and the sun shone directly upon me. It was beginning to get warmer though the temperature hadn’t dropped much below 18 deg. C throughout the night. It was humid too and that made it feel even warmer. I glanced over to the flowerbed on my left and finally decided to get out some gardening tools and get down to making the soil brown again. Grass had decided to grow there and was becoming out of hand. I got down on my hands and knees using a gardening stool designed for the purpose and began the slow process of removing the grass. After an hour it all looked fine but I was beginning to wilt! I tidied everything away and went indoors for a drink but had to return outside to cool off. I was hoping I would get the chance to mow the lawn before the rain set in once more as was promised by the weather forecast. However, the lawn was still damp with dew and the rain we had the night before and because the humidity was high it wasn’t drying off as fast as I would have liked. I went indoors and prepared lunch and later returned to the garden to check the lawn. It was almost completely dry so I took the mower out from the garage and set about mowing it. It took me a mere fifteen minutes. The petrol mower has been a real help in mowing the lawn which used to take me almost two hours to do with the electric mower. That was only because I had to use extension leads and re position them constantly and also because the mower was much smaller too. Finally I was done. I put everything away then spent some more time out on the patio for it was still warm, though less sunny and by now there was a slight breeze blowing from time to time. August is the month for ants and also for dandelion seeds floating about and looking for somewhere to land so that next year we can be sure to have them growing out of the lawn and flowerbeds. We cannot do much about the annual cycle of events, we can only hope to keep things in check. I sat there thinking about God’s wonderful creation again and how diverse it is. I can see God’s hand in everything and feel privileged to be a part of it. How anyone can think it all came about by chance and evolution defies logic. Despite it all appearing to be chaotic and without purpose it is far from that. When you come to know God for yourself it all becomes quite clear. I am taking the time to appreciate it more and more. It did rain later, a lot. Whilst I was sitting on the patio thoughts about making changes there crossed my mind and I have made some preliminary plans to hopefully make them happen in the future.

Shirley Anne

More rain

English: rain clouds Looking out to sea at the...
Rain clouds Looking out to sea at the rain cloud that had just soaked me on a winter sunday walk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If we are to have much more sunshine and warm days it doesn’t look like it is on the menu for the next three or four days as I write this on Saturday afternoon. The sun has been shining this afternoon but there has been lots of cloud cover too. It rained mostly during the morning but the rain is supposed to be returning by nightfall. Sunday looks a little better but thereafter more rain is forecast right up to and including Wednesday. Soon I will need a dry day so that the lawn can be mowed, it doesn’t need it just yet fortunately but it is a case of doing it when I can. I might do it tomorrow, Sunday if it is to be as dry as they say it will be. I made the short trip into the village in the morning in order to deposit some money in the bank but I didn’t linger and walked back home as soon as I left the bank. Although I had an umbrella with me and although it was raining very lightly I didn’t bother opening it but by the time I had reached a hundred metres from home the rain became much heavier. Part of the last few metres I had tree cover so wasn’t bothered too much until I got to the gate when I had to make a dash for the front door. Another few seconds later and I’d have been soaked through! After a late lunch I spent an hour or so out on the patio. It was warm, a little humid and sunny and I sat there watching the numerous bees making their daily trips to a large flowering plant we have in the border close-by. I don’t know the name of the plant but there are several tall pale green stems which I would describe as being lime green, green mixed with white but toward the tops the minute leaves fade into a deep purple colour which are the flowering part of the plant. There isn’t much strength in the plant’s stems and it tends to bend over unless there is some sort of support provided. We have some bamboo canes to help in that support. For quite a number of weeks now the bees have been visiting the plant to collect nectar. There are other flowering plants nearby and some are even growing intermingled with it, Mombrecia being one of them but the bees seem to prefer the purple flowers. The ants are still busy and as soon as the sun comes out so do they. Soon it will be Autumn, four weeks away isn’t a long time is it?

Shirley Anne

Sometimes wonder

Norton 360 version 1.0 box art
Norton 360 version 1.0 box art (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had more trouble with my computer on Friday afternoon specifically with Firefox not running the Norton Toolbar. I couldn’t even set the toolbar for it had been removed from the Firefox options! This has happened a couple of times since I installed Windows 10 but it wasn’t Windows 10 that was causing the problem, neither was it Firefox, it lay with Norton. Well in fact some registry files had either been corrupted or had not been removed or overwritten when the last Norton update took place. Norton 360 had to be updated a couple of times when Firefox was updated and Firefox had to be updated to accommodate Windows 10. Now wouldn’t you know it, Windows 10 has had a couple of updates since it was installed too! No wonder things go pear-shaped. It would have been a simple matter to re-enable the Norton Toolbar under normal circumstances but are there ever any normal circumstances with computers? I chose to connect with the Symantec (Norton) team in India for yet another session with them taking control of my computer remotely in order to put things right. I had by this time tried all the obvious things to effect a repair but to no avail. The session started off quite normally and I watched the agent move my cursor all over the screen trying to find the problem. In fact the agent was going over the same ground as I had done but not once or even twice, they must have gone over the same ground six or seven times. I watched in disbelief for the agent was going round in circles. I began to wonder if they knew what they were doing. I use the term ‘they’ for I could not determine the gender of the person from the name on the screen, it was an Indian name of course and well, I am not knowledgeable when it comes to Indian names. Finally the agent decided to do a rigorous scan and after making a restore point stripped four items from the computers registry. The computer had to be restarted three times during the session and of course I had to remain with it to open it up each time. In the process of updating Norton, which was done three or four times but in actual fact could have been done only the once had the agent approached the problem correctly in the first place, I lost two extensions to Firefox. One was ‘Last Pass’ and the other ‘Zemanta‘ both of which I use every time I go online. The session was about to end and I had to remind the agent to re-instate them both so an attempt was made but during the process I had to take control of the cursor myself to show the agent how to do it! I had already spent eighty minutes with the agent trying to solve the problem and I didn’t want to spend another twenty minutes waiting for the agent to hit the right keys! Finally I thanked the agent for the help that I had received but at the same time wondered if they had known what they were doing half the time. The computer is working fine, Firefox is working fine and I am still out with the jury over Windows 10 though it seems to be working fine at the present. My other browser Chrome is fine, I won’t use Microsoft Edge at the moment because of the lack of allowable extensions it has. Norton works well, when it is working properly that is! And it is at the moment, finally!

Shirley Anne

How stupid and annoying

Burglar alarm area indicator
Burglar alarm area indicator (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I went to another town late on Thursday morning to replace a light fitting for an elderly lady in a modern house just off a main road in that town. As it was a fairly new estate I used my satnav to get me there but on arrival I discovered that I couldn’t drive directly into the road from the main street as it only allowed pedestrian access. It meant I had to drive around the block to get there. I went indoors to do the work but found that I couldn’t isolate the lighting circuit without setting off the house security alarm and I couldn’t isolate the alarm power within the alarm bell which sounds even when the alarm panel is isolated. I needed to disconnect and remove the old light fitting of course but part of the wiring remained ‘live’ even when the local switch was off. I had to switch off the main isolator to do the work. I had no choice but to leave the alarm sounding whilst I had the supply switched off. I quickly made safe those wires which remained permanently live even when the light wasn’t switched on. That meant I could switch on the power and thus silence the alarm whilst I continued with the work of fitting the light itself. The alarm circuit should have been connected to a dedicated circuit breaker thus avoiding problems like this. Anyway the old lady invited me to have a drink after I had completed the work and had received payment. Soon I was driving homeward and by now it was approaching one o’clock. I cooked my lunch and had just finished eating it when I received a call from a guy who told me he had just moved into his house, meaning within the last few days, and he wanted some lights replacing with the ones he had purchased. It was approaching two o’clock and I didn’t want to start another job that day. I offered to do the work on Friday morning and he accepted. Where was his house? You guessed it. On the opposite side of the main road across from the house I had left earlier! Had he phoned earlier I could have done both jobs in succession and have saved myself the extra journey. Later I received yet another call from someone living just a litter further away but in the same direction! Why in heaven’s name don’t people phone me in the evenings so that I can schedule their work? It is so annoying but thankfully it doesn’t happen frequently.

Shirley Anne

‘Tis raining

Raining (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wednesday afternoon and it is raining. The day started very bright and sunny and remained that way until a little before eleven o’clock. It was expected though and somewhat welcomed by myself. I sat out on the patio after breakfast with a cup of coffee and something to read, actually my Bible. Yes, I am reading it through yet again after finishing reading it through a couple of months ago. I am now about to read the Book of Numbers. This is not however the subject of my post. I sat out there for quite some time before returning indoors as it was starting to get noticeably cooler once the clouds rolled in. I spent the rest of the day indoors though I could have gone for a walk if only to relieve the boredom. I had no electrical work and nothing I wanted to do inside the house even though there are things I could be doing. My heart simply wasn’t in it. I occupied my time cooking, playing guitar, doing things on my computer like writing this post, watching a little television and reading and general household chores. Although I am very domesticated life spent totally at home would bore the socks off me! It was nice to look out at the rain whilst knowing that I didn’t have to go out in it. It was raining outside but it has been raining inside too, inside my heart. My personal life has been upset because the relationship I have with E is not what it was. For so long I have been taken for granted, shown little respect on occasion and often ignored. We haven’t spoken since the start of February because I reached a breaking point after once more being snapped at. Many times I have been badly treated but made the effort to heal the rift and forgive. I always forgive but that doesn’t mean I have to put up with ill-treatment and so I had to back-off. How long it will take before E repents and apologises for her behaviour is not known but I wait patiently. I like the rain but that falling in my heart takes a little more getting used to. I am discovering though that I am getting used to it, I don’t really have a choice.

Shirley Anne