I have always maintained that I am not fond of surprises, arranged parties and gatherings centred upon myself or otherwise. I guess you could say I am a person of routine also as I do not like change especially if there is no apparent need for it. Forever onward and upward is a motto held in high esteem by some who like pressing on into some idyllic future they think is better. In many ways the future as we arrive in it each day isn’t so great at all. We may have achieved much over the generations but in some ways we have taken a backward step as far as I can see. My future is a different one, I am just plodding along with all that is happening around me whilst trying my best not to let too much influence my daily life. I vehemently resist the temptation to acquire the latest technology, all-seeing all dancing mobile telephones hold no interest for me for instance. My mobile phone is only mobile if I take it with me otherwise it is just as immobile as any other inanimate object. I go for walks without my phone because I wish to be left undisturbed. On my return home I check to see if I have any missed calls and often as not I do, most though are unsolicited and are consigned to the bin. Actually I allocate many of them with a ‘Spam’ number so if the caller persists in annoying me I am not taken by surprise and can simply not answer. The kind of surprises I like are the ones which report an item of good news, an ill friend or member of the family regaining their health, someone attaining a qualification after much study, someone who has won a prize or has a financial upturn making their lives a little easier, these are nice surprises. A few weeks ago I submitted my annual tax return and I received a letter a few days ago informing me of the results of the calculations regarding my tax obligations. I appears that I have paid too much tax, £471 too much. Well that was a pleasant surprise as I had expected to be paying more.
Slowly but surely it nibbles away
At each precious second
In each precious day.
Turning around you don’t notice it’s gone
Your freedom, your choices
Your liberty won.
Deceived you are taken along with the flow
Then suddenly there is no place you can go,
Controlled you are led down the path of despair
There’s no turning back and nobody cares.
But wait, there is time to resist
There’s a path through the darkness
A path through the mist.
The choices you make as you open your eyes
Will determine salvation or end in demise.
Copyright Shirley Anne 2 March 2016
I was working in someone’s house a couple of days ago and during some conversation we discussed technology and the advancement and use of it in our daily lives. The couple who lived there were professional people, that is educated to a high level and holding down professional jobs. One, the lady, was a university lecturer and the man was a qualified engineer who was now working in information technology and its developement. I had to let them know that my views on technology were not the same as their own. I don’t like technology. I don’t like the way it is slowly weaving its way into our lives until we become totally dependent upon it. Don’t misunderstand me, there is good technology and there is technology we could well do without. Technology in medicine must be a good thing if it aids in diagnosis, prevention of incapacity or death and in treatment. Industry often relies upon technology. In other areas of our lives such as transport, communication, entertainment or simply to allow us an easier life at home I am not so sure the benefits outweigh the losses. Too many folk these days are glued to liquid crystal or diode displays, that is television, computer and mobile devices such as telephones; smart phones they call them. Oh yes they are smart alright but slowly they will take over how we live our lives, if we let them, and I know that will be inevitable for many for they cannot see what the future has in store. Their minds are closed as are their hearts, they actually want to go with the flow but there is a price to pay and perhaps one day, if prophecy is true, it will be too late to turn back.
In one calendar month almost everyone in the western world (and the eastern world too) will be celebrating Christmas. Naturally they will not be people of other faiths though even some of them might celebrate. It is intended as a Christian festival though having said that not all will be believers and followers of Christ and will be celebrating for different reasons best known to themselves. Their Christmas will not be a celebration of the birth of Jesus but it will be for a celebration centred around family, presents, partying and other things none of which honour Jesus. When Christ was born (and it certainly wasn’t on December 25th) three wise men, actually mystics from eastern lands had heard that a new king was to be born or had been born and as was the custom in those days when entering into the presence of a king they each brought a gift. The gifts themselves were not given on the day of his birth but some time later, maybe months later. People today might use the argument of giving presents to justify doing that because Jesus received gifts. They are not honouring Jesus by doing that but are simply satisfying themselves. ( http://rcg.org/books/ttooc.html ). Today of course everything is driven by commerce and there is an incessant pressure encouraging us all to buy into it. During the last few weeks and into the next four there will be a bombardment of advertising in the hope that people will buy things they don’t really need for themselves or for others. It seems rather stupid to me that people give gifts and then receive something from the recipient. It isn’t an act of kindness or love but one that is selfish and self-centred, especially when the whole point of Christmas was to celebrate the birth of Jesus as Saviour and praising God for it happening. How many will actually do that? It is a sign of the times I suppose and each year the truth behind Christmas is pushed further into the background until one day the association will be irrelevant. It is already meaningless in the eyes and hearts of many. It is all a sign of things to come, a sign of lawlessness and a turning away from God all prophesied in Scripture. Yes it is all there in black and white, a prophecy many hundreds of years ago and is being ignored because people would rather do their own thing than obey God. We don’t worship God with useless festivals and self-indulgency.
Daniel 12:10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.
If you celebrate Christmas then do it for the right reasons and not for any sense of self-gratification. Remember there is no salvation through material things or self-righteousness, there is only one salvation and this is through Jesus Christ, the one Christmas is supposed to celebrate.
I had not slept well on Sunday night and by Monday night I was totally out of the game, all I wanted was some solid sleep. I seldom sleep for longer than four hours at a time but often happily will resume my sleep for another hour or so after that. Most usually I will simply get out of bed but not on Tuesday morning. I had gotten my four hours of solid sleep but after waking for a short spell I drifted off again for another two hours, then I was refreshed, then I felt much better. Nothing was planned for the day ahead but as I normally do during the working week I dressed ready for work just in case someone called. No-one did. So I had the day to myself but did nothing except to water the garden. It was a warm and sunny day again and I could have done a little something in the garden but didn’t feel inclined. Later in the afternoon I decided to take my guitar out on the patio and was about to do that when my friend telephoned me for a chat. She lives in the USA and calls me fairly often when she has the time. I listened to her as I continued outside and onto the patio with my guitar. It was about an hour before I got to play it! It is nice to have a friend like her who takes a genuine interest in me. We have known each other for around thirteen years but don’t get the chance to meet as often as we would like, the last time we met was when E and I went to New York in 2009. She has moved recently and it would be nice if we could meet up at her new place. I have been thinking about taking a vacation there sometime, hopefully in the near future. In the meantime we email or she phones me. It might be better if we use Skype but she isn’t set-up for that at the moment. Wednesday is forecast to be even warmer so I doubt again if I will be doing anything in the garden if I am not at work. I don’t mind it being warm and sunny but I don’t like it too hot or humid and definitely don’t like working if it is. Cool is great for work, hot is not and so I get restless if it is hot. I was restless on Tuesday.
Another year gone and an extra number to my age date today. I am 39! No I am not, I am actually……….no I shan’t tell you but I’m old enough to probably know better as I am sometimes told! Funny, I don’t feel any different from how I did yesterday but age creeps upon us slowly doesn’t it? When I was very young age meant nothing at all to me. When I was in my teenage years I still didn’t think about growing old. Old age was something too far into the future to worry about. It was only after I had reached about thirty that I began to think about age and I would occasionally ponder on what my life would be like when I reached fifty and sixty years of age. These days I just wonder how long I have got left. These are the thoughts we really need to bear in mind throughout our lives and live our lives accordingly for we never know what our future holds for us. It is of no use to dwell on the past, what has been is done and it cannot be changed. It is of no use dwelling about the future either for we know not if we will see even the next day. We have to live for today and enjoy it. It is fine to make plans for the future, to have goals and purposes in life but that is all they are. We may achieve them or we may not, we just don’t know. I can look back at my life now and see all the mistakes I have made and there are certainly areas of my life I would have changed at the time had I known then what I know now. There are things I have regretted doing and things I know I should have done had I been more determined. So I say to those following behind, make the most of your life and don’t hold back for one day you may regret it if you don’t. Be the best you can with what abilities you have and try things that challenge you for you will never know your full potential unless you try. There is no such thing as failure except the failure to try. It is my birthday today or I should say the anniversary of my birthday and I will enjoy it as any other day in my life for it isn’t a special day for me, they are all special days!
I often wonder what each week will bring to my working life, even each day! I remember when my life was filled with commitments to others in the workplace, in my job as an electrician and how I was forced to spend my days because of my contractual obligations. Once I became self-employed those chains were taken away and I could please myself how my working life would be. At first though the chains weren’t completely removed as I took out a small contract with a local firm to look after the maintenance of their retail outlets and cafés but even so there was still some freedom to do other things. That contract ended when I had decided it wasn’t worth continuing with, it had become financially less profitable and was taking up too much of my time. At that point, in 2005, all of my time became my own and I was able to take on larger private electrical work. Since then of course I work fewer hours and can utterly please myself what I do. It is this fact that I am having difficulty in appreciating. When once I used to look forward to the weekends and days off work I don’t have to do that now. I can treat each day the same as the next, I can take days off whenever I please and it is a great feeling. However, filling those days can be a problem for someone like myself so used to working and liking it. Old habits die-hard, new routines are difficult for me to get used to and half the time I don’t wish for the status quo to change. Many people might find this a little strange but I like to be occupied working at something at least part of the time, for me that is as much a great feeling as waking up on a weekday knowing I can please myself whether I want to work or not! The weather recently has been fair with lots of sunshine, a prelude of days to come hopefully, days when I most probably won’t want to work so it will be great knowing I don’t have to.
I have said this many times in the past but I don’t worry about anything these days, I put my hope and faith in God who takes away my cares. Ok I know some of you will disagree with that but nevertheless it is true for me, He really does take away my cares. Personal problems I may have do not compare to the problems that face so many in the world. If you click on the link to the right ‘Vine of life news’ or here instead, http://vineoflife.net you will see the column to the far right of its home page items of news from around the world which will open your eyes to what is really going on, some items of news you never hear about from the media or main television news reports. The world is in a terrible state, people facing danger, starvation, military and religious oppression of all kinds and we should be concerned. I know I am concerned but I’m not worried about it all, these things we are told will happen before the end time. As sure as God has a plan they will, He knows things before they happen, it is all in prophecy. Mankind is heading for its own destruction unless there is an intervention, and there will be as sure as there is a tomorrow. I do not worry about these things for it is all in God’s hands. I am not surprised to read about many of the things we human beings get up to all in the name of religion, greed, power and such things. Man’s inhumanity toward his fellow being at times beggars belief and to what end? I remember how much my father was upset about such things and he would often say so whenever he learned of another way mankind had behaved toward his fellow-man. People tell me that we as human beings are gradually improving in our relationships with each other and that the world is becoming a better place but from where I stand and what I can see going on all around me that suggestion is a difficult one to accept. We have had many generations come and go to get it right but I don’t think we are even close or ever likely to be but as I said, I am not worried, God takes that away from me for I place everything into His hands.
1 Peter 5:6-7
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
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.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me. 6 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. 7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. 9 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.
We all have one of course. I wonder how many of us thought in the past that our future would turn out the way it did? I wonder how many people imagine what their future now holds for them? We can all make plans and think they will be as we hope but they never always fulfil our dreams do they? Something or someone may thwart anything we have planned and it all goes awry. How far into the future do we imagine we will go? Does it end at the grave or does it go beyond? Life itself is always in balance and the slightest thing can upset it. We never know what to expect even if we have lived many years. We may gain much knowledge, wisdom and experience which we may use to make an educated guess as to what is coming but it will be a guess and very much a gamble as to whether we get it right. Because we always catch the same bus at 0830 doesn’t mean the next time we wait at the stop it is going to arrive! Some of what happens to us in the future may be determined by ourselves and what we do but not everything. It’s a bit like blindly crawling through a large novel toward its conclusion in the hope that we find the butler actually did it and then discovering it was someone else! The truth of the matter is we do not know what our future holds for us, at least in the flesh. We only know that we will eventually die but not necessarily our circumstances before that day arrives. We can know our future beyond that day if we have the faith but not all do or they consider something different happens. The future is an open book of blank pages waiting to be written by us, by others and by an authority who holds the key. All we can do is live for today, even tomorrow is in the future and may no be as we expect.
I wonder how long it will be before somebody calls me to do a job for them? I already have one job to do in the new year, one I was asked to do sometime in January. That request was about two weeks ago. By early January I’ll be ready for work. My van is having some respite! I don’t want to look too far into the future knowing that at some point I will have to cease work anyway. I pray in the meantime I will stay fit and healthy enough to do what I have to do. There is no guarantee of course but I remain optimistic in life. About life? Well none of us knows how much time we have and I sometimes think about that, especially when I am alone with nothing to do. Sounds a little morbid I know but I don’t dwell on such things. In the Bible Jesus says that no-one knows the hour that he will return but he will come as a thief in the night taking people by surprise. In the same way our own departure from this life will take us by surprise too! My life has been good and it has been bad too and I know mine is in no way unusual. It isn’t so much what I have done myself but more the way I have been treated by others, certain others that is. So I wonder about the new year and I wonder if in twelve month’s time anything will have changed much for better or for worse. I must remain philosophical however that life can’t get any worse, can it?