A real concern

A Christmas Without Snow
A Christmas Without Snow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have just written a comment on an article posted by AOL regarding snowfall at Christmas. Our weather forecasters seemingly cannot say with certainty if we in the UK will get a white Christmas. My comments centred on the fact that I thought it utter nonsense that people yearn for such things forgetting as many do what Christmas is supposed to be all about, the birth of our Saviour and not the fact that we might or might not get snow!
I was at work on Saturday afternoon. I had no work in the morning but had arranged to work in another town for someone in the afternoon because they had no free time during the week. I didn’t mind, after all it is Christmas as they say. Anyway the work was to replace a few light fittings with sparkling new ones. The lady for whom I was doing the work began chatting with me. Usually it is off-putting when people won’t just let me get on with the work but on this occasion I didn’t mind. I was taken a little by surprise because her questions all centred upon me, my family, friends, about my faith and about Christmas. I am not forthright in opening up to people regarding my family and friends my faith and beliefs unless they ask of course but if they do I don’t hold back. She began by asking what I was doing over Christmas. When I replied ‘nothing different from usual’ she was intrigued and wanted to know more so I explained, telling her that I don’t think Christmas is celebrated for the right reasons these days and it has become a secular and commercial machine having nothing to do with Christ. I also told her that my family have all but distanced themselves and my friends all live afar, not that I can claim having many friends as I don’t which means I couldn’t celebrate the holiday with them as they do even it was my wish to do so. My social life is just about zero too but that’s another story. She became very concerned and it prompted more questions which I answered as honestly as I could. She couldn’t believe I don’t celebrate Christmas as I once did, in fact I don’t celebrate it at all. The look of concern upon her face was evident. She asked if I was a Christian, a question I usually end up asking of those I talk with rather than it being asked of myself. Asking what church I went to and discovering I don’t prompted her to ask why. The answer I gave made her feel sad for me and she said she thought it was sad that I wasn’t in a fellowship and no longer felt the urge to be in one. I was more concerned about her feeling a sadness for me instead of just accepting the way I feel about things as being my own choice. I have to admit I haven’t felt such a concern for me for many years, not even from those closest to me, my own family. I am more concerned that people should believe in God and Jesus Christ rather than be concerned for me and never mind whether it will snow or not.

Shirley Anne

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The way it crumbles…..

…..or how I missed my Sunday morning walk. Actually I missed my Sunday morning breakfast too! I had some extra time in bed though I had no more sleep than I usually get, I had made a few visits to the toilet which broke it up. Anyhow I was just sitting at my dressing table and about to apply my make-up when my phone rang. it was from an elderly lady living in a small township about nine miles away along the coast. I used to live at the north end of the same town a few years ago. She apologised for calling on a Sunday morning but she was looking for an electrician who would be available to fix a fault. I asked what the problem was and she told me the electrical supply had tripped and there was a fluorescent light fitting hanging from the ceiling in her kitchen. As my readers might know by now I will only work on a Sunday if it is an emergency. Well a total loss of power would constitute an emergency in our modern society as there would be no heating, lighting or power for fridges and freezers. I told the lady I would be there within the hour and I arrived there forty-five minutes later. First of all I had to put on my make-up of course but that only takes a few minutes. Naturally I skipped breakfast and drove straight there. As it happened her daughter, who was living there, had not long ago returned from hospital after an operation and she was desperate to get the heating switched back on. As I walked into the hallway I saw the fluorescent light hanging there on the cable. The main RCD unit on the distribution panel had tripped thereby cutting off all the electrical circuits. I disconnected the light then re-instated the supply much to the relief of the customer who promptly prepared each of us a hot drink of coffee. Whoever had installed the light hadn’t used the correct fixings for the ceiling and the weight of the light had gradually loosened them. Fortunately no-one had been in the kitchen when it fell from the ceiling. I refitted the light, this time securely! As is usual when a few women get together much chatting goes on, which is exactly what happened while I was there.

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral
Liverpool Anglican Cathedral (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They were asking me about my faith and what church I attend. I told them that I no longer go to church but that when I did it was first of all a Methodist church and after I had become a Christian, a Pentecostal church. The daughter especially wanted to know about the practice of speaking and worshipping in ‘tongues’ and how I became a Christian. They were Christians too. They told me that they travel into Liverpool (a further fourteen miles along the coast) to the Anglican Cathedral for worship and especially the teaching they receive from the clergy there. Finally I had to return home, it was time for something to eat. I had prepared a chicken and vegetable stew late on Saturday afternoon so I had no cooking to do, just heating it up. I suppose I could have then gone for a walk but somehow the novelty had worn off and I rested instead……I had work to do the following day.

Shirley Anne

Women in the Church

the word of God
the word of God (Photo credit: jangkwee)

1 Corinthians 14:33-40

33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace – as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to enquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.

39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
Footnotes:

1 Corinthians 14:34 Or peace. As in all the congregations of the Lord’s people, 34 women

It has become more and more commonplace for the Word of God to be twisted or ignored by those professing to be Christian followers of the faith and worse still those who are members of the Church whether clergy or not. It seems that the pressures of the world’s view, morals and standards come before what God says. Initially ordaining women into the priesthood was an absolute non-starter but gradually the longstanding adherence to God’s word has been eroded. What makes men think they can alter what God dictates with impunity? Look at verse 36 above. This attitude follows on from accepting other things that are wrong as being right, for example homosexuality. There are several verses which point to the fact that God doesn’t accept homosexuality but they are ignored in preference to ‘human rights’ legislation and the pressure and influence of the unbelieving masses. They will quote that love is supreme and of course it is but there is a difference between the love they talk about and the righteous love of God. We must love one another no matter who they are but that isn’t an excuse to accept their way of life when it goes against the word of God. The amazing thing is that all these things are prophesied in Scripture but it appears even the clergy miss that point. Remember one thing though in all of this, we are all sinners and must not judge one another for we ourselves, if believers, saved by the blood of Christ, saved by faith through the mercy and grace of our Lord, will be judged too.

Shirley Anne

It’s not for me they say

A picture of Pisgah Baptist Church in Four Oak...
A picture of Pisgah Baptist Church in Four Oaks, North Carolina, USA.

There are many things in this life that hold no interest for me and this is the same for everyone on the planet. We can’t all like the same things or have the same interests right across the board. I hear people talking about their hobbies and interests and sometimes those things coincide with mine but not always. For so long in my life I couldn’t understand why people went to church on a Sunday and I felt it was more to do with their traditional habits than their belief in God. Of course at that time I had no interest in God so going to church meant nothing to me. When I actually started going to church on a regular basis it was a ritual for me, it meant nothing spiritually and it was more to do with my children. For reasons not known to me at that time I felt pushed to take them along but wasn’t quite sure why. The children enjoyed going, which helped and I felt happy that they were learning the traditions of men, not realising they were learning about God and Jesus Christ too! As I sat in the pews my experience was one of listening but not understanding. It was simply what I did on a Sunday morning. Before too long we moved away to where we live now and I found another church to attend on a Sunday. Both of these two churches were Methodist. It was during my first year at the second church that I began to take an interest in God and I read the Bible from the beginning to the end for the first time. This ultimately lead to me conversion and I had a ‘born again’ experience. I also began to attend a Pentecostal church about this time. These events are listed in my pages above for those who wish to know more so I won’t elaborate here. My life was changed completely for the better once I became a Christian believer and my sole wish was to tell others about this pearl of information I had discovered so they too might benefit by coming to God as I had done. This desire to ‘preach the Gospel‘ has stuck with me ever since and really it should be the desire of every born again believer! So I witness to people given every opportunity. You might ask why we Christians want others, complete strangers to know about God and salvation but there is a new driving force within us called the Holy Spirit empowering us and there is a new love in our hearts for those who don’t know. Writing about God in a Blog is a very easy thing to do, far easier than speaking with people face to face but I enjoy doing both. I expect a lot of rejection for my efforts for many say in their own way, ‘It’s not for me’, as if it were a hobby or a pastime for me, something I just do as a hobby or because I have an interest in Christianity. Christianity isn’t anything like Islam or Buddhism, Hinduism or any other ‘religions’ for it is the only one with the promise of eternal life.  Believing in a deity, is difficult to accept for many people so they dismiss it out of hand. It is only by openly pursuing God that He will be found though. We have to make the effort and earnestly seek Him. Saying that God doesn’t exist doesn’t mean He doesn’t but people will say the opposite,’believing in God doesn’t mean He exists either’. Well I didn’t know avocados existed before I saw one! The difference is that I can take avocados or not as I please without any consequences but this isn’t the same for God. If I don’t take hold of His free gift of life everlasting in Jesus Christ I will pay the consequences and these consequences will last an eternity! There will not be a second chance so why take that chance? Why gamble with your destiny? No, Christianity isn’t just a hobby or an interest, it isn’t all about going to a church or following the traditions of men as many do. It is about salvation, ETERNAL SALVATION. Pooh-pooh the idea if you think that isn’t true and I know many of you will do exactly that. It won’t stop me trying to get through to you though because I know the gift is very much worth accepting.

Click here for some eye-openers

http://www.finalfrontier.org.uk/

Shirley Anne

Yet a further step away

Takva: A Man's Fear of God
Takva: A Man’s Fear of God (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once upon a time this country was called a Christian country and God-fearing. The laws of God, His precepts were strictly adhered to for fear of God’s wrath. Probably many folk were more frightened of the Church because of the way the Church preached the Word but nevertheless the message was received and accepted. Religion has always been a problem in preaching God’s Word. Would God or does God recognise His Church in these last days? Much of the Church has lost its way and struggles with doctrine, often miss-interpreting Scripture along the way or allowing secular thoughts to influence in decision-making. God gave us His Word in writing showing us the covenants He made with us and laying down His laws and precepts for us to obey. Those laws and precepts remain true even to this day and will remain so forever. When we choose to disobey those rules (laws and precepts) we place ourselves in danger for He gave them to us for a good reason. However, many have turned away from God and choose to do their own thing and live their lives as they please but to be sure God isn’t pleased with them, though some who believe in Him would maintain that He does! Each defiant step we take away from His laws, away from His precepts takes us further away from Him. God loves us all but in no way loves the sins we commit before Him. Sins are what keeps mankind separated from God. This country, this nation, apart from those who love God and obey Him,  has moved far away from God and is getting further away from Him every day. Under the umbrella of the ‘Human Rights‘ advocates God’s laws are being disregarded and ignored, issues concerning homosexuality, same gender marriage, abortions, all go against God’s law. God is not pleased and will pass judgement in due course. The saying by many that this country of ours has ‘gone to the dogs’ is not far from the truth and we will most certainly reap the rewards for our evil ways one day. Our once great kingdom will no longer be great and is already part-way down that road. We, as a nation, need to repent of our ways and get back to God. It is then and only then will we prosper.

Jeremiah 18

Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, ‘Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?’ declares the Lord. ‘Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, 10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.

2 Chronicles 7

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Shirley Anne

The Church needs to get its act together

 

Copyright Lucy Melford

SATURDAY, 5 JANUARY 2013

Bishops

I may through my time and place of birth be part of Western Christian Culture, but I wouldn’t say that I was a Christian, even though I have many personal standards that are not greatly different from those a Christian would stand by.The often conflicting dogma of competing faiths is really hard to understand, and very offputting. I can readily see why some look for their own direct connection with God, or their own version of spirituality, and stay away from conventionally-organised religion.I also see why, despite private reservations on the detail, it is a very human thing to come together and share a moment reflecting on a higher realm quite separate from everyday life. Occasionally I want that kind of company. But usually I want to be alone when I go into a holy place. Sometimes I light a candle in a cathedral, and think of my parents, if I do no more. I could light a similar candle at home; but somehow in a church or cathedral I feel that my thoughts will travel immeasurably further.Despite my very secular position as an outsider, I do care about the Anglican Church‘s internal arguments about bishops. The Church is still a major force in British society, at least in so far as people look to it to set a moral standard. I want it to be relevant and inspirational, something even I can come to, leading and inspiring society with a focus on love and harmony and charity and justice and spiritual advancement. And not divided in a damaging war between what looks awfully like the old and dusty and hidebound versus the new and bright and freethinking. A war that may cripple the status and effectiveness of an important and stabilising national institution. That’s my concern: the weakening of things that cement our society together.As for the dispute itself, some questions now that I can’t see the answer to. First, am I right to suppose that if the Bible said explicitlythat both male and female bishops (and archbishops) were appoved of by God, and that He didn’t care about sexual orientation, the argument would then simplify to who in particular had the best qualifications for the job? It looks however as if the Bible doesn’t say that at all.All right then. Second, third and fourth questions: should ancient Biblical words matter more than the insights of serious religious thinkers in more recent centuries, including our own? Does the accumulated experience of two thousand years really count for nothing? And how is it that some people can be disqualified by chance events during their conception and embryonic development? Surely God, if you believe in Him, did not intend that.I certainly do want to see women bishops and archbishops, and I don’t mind at all what any candidate’s sexual orientation is, so long as they are people I’d respect, and have the right qualities for the job.

Copyright Lucy Melford
                                                                            ————————————————
And my response.

Shirley Anne 5 January 2013 13:56

Psalm 119:105 "Your Word is a Lamp to my ...
Psalm 119:105 “Your Word is a Lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Photo credit: UnlockingTheBible)

First of all Lucy there is no salvation without Christ Jesus and without having the Holy Spirit there is no connection with God. Going to a church building will not make anyone’s thoughts travel further and neither does lighting a candle make any difference. God knows your thoughts before you think them but if you’ve no relationship with Him He does not hear you. The early Church recognised that fact by the Word of God, the Old Testament, as the New Testament had not been written. Many of the early members saw Jesus first hand and the things he did and saw the fulfilment of the Old Testament before their very eyes. They were taught from the Old Testament and knew it well for they were Jews. When the first apostles and disciples taught them it was from the Old Testament with admonition through the likes of Paul by his letters to the church groups scattered around the eastern Mediterranean (see letters to Corinthians, Ephesians etc). As Christians we must obey the word of God otherwise we make a mockery of His word, this is why it is important to follow the teachings in Scripture without turning to the right or to the left or being persuaded from outsiders (secularists, atheists and so on) to oblige them in their agendas. This is why the Church is struggling because it is wandering from the truth. The word of God is the same as it always was and is not subject to the whims and fancies of a modern society. Changing the word of God to suit the times makes a mockery of it. The truth will always be the truth.
People are not excluded from the Kingdom of God, provided they accept Jesus as their Saviour and reject the sins of the flesh and that is the crunch isn’t it? God indeed did not intend that we should be the way we are, sin came into the world and remains in the world until Christ Jesus returns. I believe in God but do not seek to influence His way of doing things. Can the pot dictate what the potter does?
The last sentence in your post I assume is rhetorical for it has to be from someone outside of the Church.

Shirley Anne

To continue with the thread click on http://lucymelford.blogspot.co.uk/