Is He calling you?

Hello is that you? (1 Samuel 3:1–21)

God speaks to Samuel when he least expects it. He is, after all, just a child—a sleepy child, tired from the day’s activities with his “adopted” parent-priest, Eli. Samuel’s story reminds us that when God wants to speak to us, he’ll get his message through—one way or another.

Like Samuel, God’s messages can come to us in unexpected ways. A friend of Laura Hatch’s family had no doubt heard God speak to her when Laura was in grave danger.

Partygoers in Seattle were the last people to see 17-year-old Laura Hatch on the night of a fateful October 2, 2004.

For more than a week, her family and friends searched, prayed and hoped for her safe return. More than 200 volunteers—including many members of Laura’s home church—combed the woods, fields and suburban streets for any trace of the teenager. Despite their extensive search, no one uncovered the truth: She had lost control of her car on the way home from the party and had careened down into a steep, heavily forested ravine.

With no leads, her family assumed the worst.

“We had already given her up and let her be dead in our hearts,” Laura’s mother told the media.

However, Sha Nohr, the mother of one of Laura’s friends, had several dreams of a wooded area and heard the message, “Keep going. Keep going.” On the eighth day of searching, she and her daughter drove to the scene where the crash occurred, both praying continuously along the way.

At the site, Nohr felt inexplicably drawn to a concrete barrier, where she climbed more than 100 feet down a steep embankment, thick with leaves. It was there that she saw the fender of a vehicle amid the trees and discovered Laura in the backseat—barely conscious.

Having had nothing to drink or eat for eight days, Laura had suffered severe dehydration, a blood clot in her brain, broken ribs, a broken leg and facial lacerations. But doctors agreed that her survival—and the circumstances surrounding her recovery—were nothing short of miraculous.

That evening, instead of gathering for a solemn prayer vigil, more than 100 of Laura’s family and friends celebrated her safe return.

What did Samuel say once God got his attention?
How does God communicate with you today? How do you know when it’s God “speaking”?

Taken from NIV College Devotional Bible

Do you ever get the feeling that God is calling you personally? Do you ever get the urge to seek God? Does He ever enter your thoughts? Do you simply dismiss any thoughts about God and just turn them toward something else? Perhaps you have done these things, and I think you probably have, yet you still refuse to believe. Do you wonder why you do think about God even for just a moment, in a passing thought? I really doubt that anyone hasn’t had that experience at least once in their lives and most probably more often than they would like to admit. There are reasons for having thoughts of any kind, we are made that way! We think all sorts of things in a lifetime, possibilities, hopes and wishes yet we don’t always follow through and seek them for ourselves. God Himself is sometimes difficult to understand and many don’t want to make the attempt thinking perhaps they will discover something that challenges their beliefs. God may be calling their attention giving them the opportunity to get to know Him in a different way. People find God in different ways. If you ‘hear’ His voice calling out to you in your thoughts He may be asking to be let into your life. Maybe you should respond next time for there may not be another opportunity and you may regret that.

Shirley Anne

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In that?

On Friday, yesterday’s post mentioned that I had decided not to take my usual walk in preference to completing the concrete screed laying in the outside toilet. I said I might take the walk today instead, that is Saturday but that was before I realised we were in for some nasty weather. The latest storm was on its way and was currently over Ireland in the west. Although we were not supposed to be getting the worst of the wind we would still experience gale force winds. I went to bed early just in case the worst of the weather had passed over by the time I was thinking of going out. It hadn’t and in fact was just reaching its peak and it was raining heavily too! There was no way I would be going for a walk in that so I decided to eat breakfast and later work out on the gym equipment instead. I had eaten breakfast and was standing at the kitchen sink looking out of the window when I saw something which alarmed me.

The mixer was standing in the same spot as in the first picture but covered as shown in the second picture, that is when I left it on Friday. As I looked out of the window it was still in the same position but lying on its back in front of the bench! The bag covering it had been blown away and was now behind the large greenhouse diagonally across the lawn. The same place gets filled with leaves very often when it is windy. My first thoughts were of astonishment and unbelief. Then I realised just how strong the wind had been and was wondering if there had been other damaged but then realised also that the wind had most probably blown inside the bag which forced the mixer to fall backwards. Had I simply placed the mixer facing the opposite direction it would have remained standing. Then I thought, ‘I hope it isn’t damaged’, which would have been a catastrophe. I need not have been concerned for when the mixer is lying on its back as how I have to put it to allow the stand to be inserted into the base before lifting it upright, the motor is just clear of the ground. My main concern was that the motor wasn’t damaged. I am truly amazed it was alright after testing it. Needless to say I moved the mixer near to the side gate where is is sheltered from the wind and I also placed it with its front facing away from the prevailing wind. Furthermore I tied the bag through its handles around the base of the stand. So it was now standing where the large bags of sand had been just outside the outside toilet entrance. Whilst there I looked in the room to see how the screed had set. I wouldn’t be going in there again until Monday. I did exercise on the gym equipment later using the cross-trainer, the treadmill and the cycling machines. I get more exercise using the equipment but it isn’t quite the same as going for a walk in the fresh air………………….. Shirley Anne

Just about

For one reason or another I found myself a little under the weather yesterday and took the opportunity to have a complete day of rest. I even retired to bed earlier too and my head hit the pillow at nine-fifteen. It didn’t take long to fall asleep. Friday morning saw me up at ten before six and ready to go. It wasn’t for a walk though as I had decided to take that later or on Saturday morning instead, no, I was going to get the floor in the new outside toilet project finished. When I say finished I mean as close to the door opening as possible for I wanted to leave that small area until later. So after a little breakfast I put on my overalls and boots and went outside to set things up. We had rain yesterday, quite a lot of it and according to the forecast we would get more today (26 April) but it would be later rather than sooner in the day. I only needed a couple of hours to do what I wanted and fortunately it was bright and sunny when I started at seven-thirty. However the sunshine didn’t last long and clouds began to appear but I plodded on. It took two full mixer loads to finish the work. I had to place some temporary shuttering, basically a couple of pieces of wood weighed down with heavy tiles to form a stop.

I had just about enough mix to do it. During the mixing of the second load rain began to fall but it was extremely fine and short-lived. The remaining small area by the door won’t require the use of the mixer I shouldn’t think but may use it anyway. I managed to pack everything away and clean out the mixer by nine-thirty to return indoors. The rain didn’t fall again until after ten-thirty at which time it was pouring down hard. I was so happy I managed to do what I had set my mind to complete for it would be Monday morning before I would do any more work. I was going to take another long weekend off from work for a change…………………..Shirley Anne

Weighing things up

During the last couple of days rain has threatened to fall and it looks like we are going to have a few more days of unsettled weather before it returns to the way it has been lately. It is Thursday 25 April and I write this late in the morning. I should have been doing a little more concrete screed laying but I am not. I was up quite early at 4.45. I had set the alarm for 5.30 but had awoken at 4.00. I usually get up this early when I have the shopping to do though I don’t actually go out until after 7.15. I was feeling fine until I returned from the supermarket and had stored everything away when I began to feel tired and listless. The idea was to take a short break before recommencing work for the forecast had indicated a few hours of dry weather before it would rain.

Although the work is inside the building the preparation work is all done outside, collecting the materials loading up the mixer and emptying into the barrow to take indoors. It just isn’t practical to do that outdoors if it is going to rain. I suppose I could have rigged a shelter of some sort but it wasn’t worth the effort seeing as the weather had been generally dry. I went to the room to inspect the work I had done the day before and it had set just fine (see picture top left to bottom right, driest where it is pale). It would be best to allow it to dry out some more before pouring wet concrete alongside so doing the remaining area would be better left off doing for another twenty-four hours. It sounds like an excuse not to work but having weighed up the situation I decided that was best. In any case I wasn’t feeling up to it. Friday I would take an early morning walk but having again looked at the forecast the driest part of the day was in the early hours up til noon or thereabouts. I would have a window of around four to five hours before it would rain but I would have to take the walk later to take advantage. Decisions decisions. It all would depend on the forecast being right and me being fine and in the mood. Well the remainder of Thursday should give me the rest I obviously need! I am eager to see the floor finished (as far as the screed is concerned) so that I can begin other work such as door frame removal, lintel replacement, ceiling stripped and boarded and other minor works. When the shell is completed then I can plan installing the toilet furniture and arrange for a new door to be installed. A lot of work but I am taking it slowly. ……………………….Shirley Anne

People

I received an email from a friend living in the USA that she has finally decided to leave her current boyfriend who is actually her fiance. He seems impossible to live with, has mood swings a drink and drug problem and mistreats her. He ridicules her in public and belittles her to his friends and family. Not a nice guy and I am surprised she stayed with him so long. She wrote telling me she was moving out and has already found a house to purchase which she likes and has been approved for a mortgage. Over the years I’ve known her she has struggled in finding a decent relationship and those she formed a relationship with didn’t respect her. She is a lovely girl, generous and humble, honest and trustworthy, outgoing and full of life but it seems the good people of this world are the ones who get a bad deal sometimes. I am very similar to my friend in that I too have found it difficult living with someone I love who doesn’t always treat me well. I often feel taken advantage of because I am generous to a fault and gentle in spirit but it still grieves me. I wrote this poem last year which reflected how I felt and still feel. It is listed among the other poems on this site.

You’ll miss me when I’m gone,
You’ll miss the love we shared
And all the fun.
You’ll miss the tender times in moments past
When you and I together wished
That it would always last.
Well deep within my heart my love was strong
Despite the many times you hurt me
Knowing it was wrong.
Your stubborn heart was cold
Your eyes were blind
And stayed that way as you grew old.
When I am gone and you’re alone
Will you regret not acting
As you should have done?
When I am gone,
What chance that we shall meet again
And stay together love,
Or be forever apart?………………………….Shirley Anne 20 August 2018…. Hearts don’t break by themselves, people break them. People can be very cruel and hurtful. What pleasure is there in mistreating another person? What is to be gained? When you go out today wear your best smile and be kind to others. As Jesus commanded, LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Shirley Anne

End of rest

It is the Tuesday after the Easter break and the end of my four-day rest from work, not that I had been completely idle of course but it was a break from the project. Much as I like doing the construction part of a project it can be a little tedious sometimes, especially if I am mixing concrete. Fortunately I don’t have to mix it by hand as we have a mixer but it still has to be filled and emptied and then it has to be transported and laid. On most jobs that in itself presents no problems but on this project it has an extra hurdle. The wheelbarrow cannot be pulled into the room so easily unless it is only part-filled which would slow down the process considerably. I have therefore to get it as close as possible and shovel the concrete into the room. Even that is awkward because the wheelbarrow handle is in the way and there is limited space for using the shovel. I manage but it gets tiresome. The plan for today was to begin laying the screed which is simply a finer concrete mix giving a smooth finish. The base concrete had set hard and had four days in which to do so. After two full mixer loads and a lot of manipulation I got this far….

The screed is the darker colour in the pictures. Having decided what depth of screed I would lay over the existing concrete by the doorway (at the bottom in each picture) I had to make sure I lay the screed to that same level. I used a square of plywood laid on the existing concrete and using a level with one of the two long pieces of timber (one is shown in the pictures) laid the first part around the edges and what was left elsewhere. The timber was left as you see it because it wouldn’t fit inside the room lying down. It was used for the longest measurement from the doorway. A slightly smaller in length timber was used inside the room. I had to make sure the mix wasn’t sloppy or too dry so that it could be manipulated using the ‘float’. Subsequent mixes can be a little sloppy to aid quick levelling using the timber as it will be contained inside what I laid today. Then it is a case of getting it smooth using the float. That is the part I like doing more than anything else. I stopped work at twelve-thirty but it took another half-hour to tidy up! Four hours was enough for the day. During the afternoon I watered the garden then walked down the road to a neighbour’s property and sat chatting with her for a while. More about that later……………………………………….Shirley Anne

Just one more……

….please. I was giving myself a good talking to on Sunday (Easter) and telling myself I didn’t really have to resume working on the toilet project on Monday and that I should take another day off, after all it was Easter weekend and a national holiday. So I indulged and gave myself another day of rest. However, I did take my usual morning walk but at four-fifteen! I had retired to bed early the night before because I was feeling tired (can’t think why) so it meant an early rise which I wanted anyway. According to the weather forecast it was supposed to stay quite mild overnight but it wasn’t as warm as I had hoped, in fact is was a little chilly. I didn’t put too many garments on, in fact only my jacket over light clothing but it was just enough to keep me warm. Again, half-way through the walk it began to get warmer but only a little. The sun was just rising as I got home around six-fifteen. Normally I would then have breakfast and an hour later do any work on whatever project I had given myself but I had the day off! That’s four whole days of no work! I’m frightened I might get used to it but there is little danger in that as it isn’t likely. The days up til Monday had all been sunny throughout and Monday started off the same way but around three o’clock thin clouds began to roll in and the rest of the day was still warm but hazy. E went out in the afternoon to visit her mom otherwise she would have been sunbathing as she had been doing over the holiday. Whilst I was on the patio in the morning I decided to take a couple of photographs of the plants nearby…..

It looks similar to the one at the top of my blog and maybe it is the same variety or close relative. I call it the ‘Ice Plant’ though I don’t know its real name but its leaves are thick and filled with water which makes it cool to the touch. Hence ice plant. It is planted on the left of the Mound by the path. The second photo is one taken of the Mound from the Patio. On the left in the same picture is what we call the west border which runs up to the Patio.

In the next picture you can see more of that border which has filled up during the last two years and is a veritable mini-jungle! Just as planned though it does need a manicure. Following that picture is one taken at the end of the border where it meets the Patio wall. The plants there have really sprouted up, again as planned.

Finally in the last picture you can see one of the two Phoenix Canariensis plants that had been damaged by frost a couple of seasons ago but had begun to recuperate last year. Fortunately my efforts to protect them this past Winter have been successful though there is still a way to go to match their former glory. They did look like the one on the extreme left in the previous picture.

Shirley Anne

Too much

We’ve had some really hot days over the Easter break and sunny most of the time. However it has been dry and very warm with temperatures reaching 22 deg C where I live and even warmer in other places. That is fine if you like the heat but unfortunately I do not, I get weary and tired. Of course it depends on how warm and dry it is. Anywhere between 14 and 19 deg C is fine for me and I like a little moisture in the air! It was unusual weather for April. I write this on Easter Day that is Sunday and even at this moment (six o’clock in the evening) it is still hot and sunny. They say the temperature won’t drop below 11 deg C but more likely it will stay warmer during the night. I am therefore planning my walk for the early hours before the sun rises as I don’t want a repeat experience of my walk on Friday. I have been a good girl and have resisted doing any work on my project since Thursday though I have been watering the gardens. I should hate to lose plants for the sake of a little watering. This kind of weather is great for sitting around doing nothing but that bores me soft. I did however spend a lot of time doing just that but I was restless and up and down a lot. It’s like a catch twenty-two thing, I get restless doing nothing and tired if I do something but I’d rather be doing something! I have spoken of this a few times in my posts. Some might say I am substituting work for a lack of play or other interests and they could be right, I am often not sure myself. I ask myself what would I like to do but come up with nothing.

Yes I do have interests, they are listed on one of my pages, they are varied but they are mostly things I don’t want to be doing for any great amount of time. Travel is fine but a waste of time, people are fine too but not all want to spend time with me nor I with them or some of them if I were being honest. Others are full of empty promises, we all have them in our lives I am sure. My friend told me to have fun but what is fun? Her kind of fun isn’t the same as mine. I am not sure what my kind of fun is anyway. It must be doing those things I like I suppose which brings me back to work! I seem to have answered my own question………………………………………….Shirley Anne

Tell me how

During my life as a Christian, well to be more precise during the thirty years since becoming a Christian I have often been asked how does a person become a Christian. Some ask why can’t I just believe in God? In truth Jesus Christ is God but some have difficulty with that. Then I was often told by people that they didn’t believe in ‘religion’, whatever they meant by that. My reply was that I don’t either! I was playing devil’s advocate for I knew what they really meant, they had no use for a God. Yet having said they were not religious they asked me why I believed. When I told them I didn’t believe in religion I added that I believe in relationship. I believe in having a relationship with God and not in religion per se. Religion could never save me but God could. Why do I need saving and from what? I will let the following lesson explain…. How Do I Have a Relationship with God? (Matthew 18:21–35 …..and do read this passage if you can) The Problem
Satan, the great deceiver, clothed himself as a serpent, one of God’s good creatures, and set out to trick Adam and Eve into disobeying their good and gracious God. After creating Adam and Eve, God had told them not to eat of the fruit of a certain tree in the Garden of Eden. But Satan suggested that God wasn’t being honest when he warned of the results of eating the forbidden fruit. The great deceiver’s ploy succeeded, and Adam and Eve willfully rejected God and his promise of life together in the garden.
The Solution
Even before Adam and Eve sinned, God had a plan to get people back into a relationship with him. When he replaced their clothes of fig leaves with the skins of animals, he signaled something important—it would take the blood of another to cover the sins of humankind. God’s plan began with the founding of a brand-new nation through which he would reveal himself and his plan to restore humankind. For more than 1,600 years, every Biblical story of the chosen people of Israel would point to the coming of the solution. God’s solution to the problem of sin was made complete through the sacrifice of his Son. Here is the decision a person should make from the heart, placed into a prayer of acceptance to God. Dear God, I can’t, but you can. I believe in Jesus, who is God. I believe he died and rose from the dead. I place my faith in Christ to make me right with you and give me eternal life. I have no other plan but to have faith and to trust you. I am doing a 180 today and pointing my life toward you. I will no longer run away from you, but toward you. Then there comes an outward declaration to the world—a way for us to demonstrate our faith decision: “I profess you with my mouth, out loud for others to know where I stand. And I publicly express my full devotion to you through baptism.”                                                                      KEY VERSE
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)                                                                                                                       KEY IDEA
I believe a person comes into a right relationship with God by Christ’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ.                                                                                             KEY APPLICATION:                                                                              What difference does this make in the way I live?
We seek to please God because of what he has done for us, not to earn a relationship with him.
We walk in grace – and offer grace to others. Let us not forget Jesus’ parable of the unmerciful servant recorded in Matthew 18:21–35. It would be wrong and inconsistent for us to refuse to offer grace and forgiveness to someone else in light of the grace and forgiveness God has shown to us.
Taken from NIV Believe

Shirley Anne

Drained

I thought with being so tired on Thursday night that sleep would have come easily but it didn’t. Well not exactly. I had taken a shower for doing so always helps me to relax and I usually then find falling asleep no problem. However it took me a while before I nodded off at ten-thirty or thereabouts and then I found myself awake again at two o’clock! From then until about six o’clock I couldn’t get more than a few minutes of continuous sleep. Too much on my mind perhaps? Friday (Good Friday) morning would normally see me taking a walk in the early hours but I hadn’t set the alarm to get me up before five. As it happened that didn’t matter for I was already awake though I hadn’t any intentions of going out at my usual time. I had decided to take my walk in the sunshine for once because the weather forecast indicated a very warm and dry day. Temperatures did rise to around 20 deg C and there was little wind. It remained sunny all day long. I thought I would take my walk around nine o’clock and return before lunch. I ate breakfast at seven and left the house just after nine. I chose to walk south along the main trunk road to Ainsdale, something I very rarely do as I prefer walking along the beach or though the dunes to get to Ainsdale though I often take the coast road too. At first it was very pleasant but by the time I had reached the beach I had walked around three and a half miles and it was getting too warm to walk without cover. A combination of tiredness, a lack of sleep, my age and the warmth of the day took their toll and by the time I had returned home (roughly seven miles round trip) I was feeling rather exhausted. A nice cool drink and my already prepared sandwich which I had made after breakfast and popped into the fridge saw me feeling better. After lunch I spent some time on the patio relaxing and did nothing else until four o’clock when I had to make the effort to water both the front and rear gardens. It is surprising how long that takes for the gardens are not small and the plants need plenty of water when the weather is warm and dry for days on end. It had certainly been warm and dry for many days. I gave the lawn a watering too which I don’t do as often. After lunch I also opened the door to the room I had been working in to give it ventilation and help it to dry quicker. The concrete had set but for a few more days it would be ‘green’ and needed leaving alone before I could lay the screed. That I planned to do on the Monday. Two more days of rest……..Shirley Anne