Isaiah 1

So I started a new bible study… or updated an old system to not include a ringbinder… here is yesterdays thoughts

lostintheword

  • A vision given to Isaiah for Judah and Jerusalem.
  • The people have turned from God and good living.
  • God will not listen to these people, although vv. 16-20 inspire hope that things will/can change.

 ‘learn to do good;
seek justice,
    correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
    plead the widow’s cause.’ v.17

Do you bring an acceptable offering to God? What is an acceptable offering?

Do you live in the understanding that God alone makes you clean? Have you expressed your feelings to God about this recently?

Are there things getting in the way of you living like v.17? When was the last time you stood for justice?

Does God use visions in this age? When did you last hear one? Are we as individuals, churches, communities, nations seeking prophetic visions?

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The books that changed your life.

Last week at Alpha we were looking at the bible and the question came up:

What book has changed your life? What book do you read and re-read again?

Now I suppose the bible is the obvious one, and really every time I read it does change me. However, I thought I would share five other books that have changed me in some way or that I have loved and treasured deeply.

  1. Little Women by Louise M. Alcott (and the rest of the series that follows the girls). I read this book first when I went out to India. I read it in a matter of days, and has been a firm favourite. Sharing life of individuals that go up and down, that shares joys and sorrows, has faith written all the way through it in many ways.
  2. Lucas by Kevin Brooks. This book is so wonderfully written, that it could be reality itself. You can’t escape the truths found within these pages on love and hate. I loved it so much I have in two languages and audio format.
  3. No Shame, No Fear by Ann Turnball is a book about teenagers, love and barely tolerated religion all set in the 1662. A girl battling her feelings for her Quaker ways and the man she meets on the road. The man’s discovery of real faith… and the girl. Its fascinating and has an equally interesting sequel dealing with the plague and the great fire of London.
  4. Dear Bob by Annie Porthouse (and it’s sequel Love Jude) Were a hilarious Christian diary of an English university student. I love them and still read them yearly. They are just very amusing and filled with wisdom.
  5. Between Angels and Demons Emma Bowes-Romanelli. This book is about a late teens journey through jaws of death and back to life. It’s so richly written with beautiful illustration by Jackie Astbury. A read for all age and all people as it shows the strength of human character and shares the journey of someone who has faced cancer, a disease that many of us have had our own links and stories with.

Five books that have had a huge part in my life. What are yours?

Immortalized in Stone.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Immortalized in Stone.”

So I never blog to frequently, but I found this daily post from last week and realised much had happened since May 6th.

How can you immortalize any year, as it is made up of a million events culminating in so many emotions and memories. As the musical Rent puts it ‘how can you measure a year.’

However, significant things happen. I turned 24. The weekend before I turned 24 I had an interview in Suffolk. Which means the rest of the time I spent at Cliff completely geeking out as a techie. Three months later, I was moving out of Wales and away from some amazing people to start a new job with an (amazing) Anglican Church. I have some ridiculously long title – pauses for breathe – Associate lay minister with responsibility for children, youth and young adults. The curate here has decided that means I look after people who run! Leaving Wales means I had to find a new flat (not easy) although I am now comforted daily by the sea view. (As winter closes in I feel it maybe harder to distinguish the rain from the sea.) I also live closer to my parents… so help Mum my car battery has stopped working was a very real reality. Although someone from church fixed it.

I’m learning a new denomination. I was really a cradle Methodist and I have not entirely shunned that identity yet, in-spite of some of the hurt that has happened – yet learning another denominations traditions and ways is exciting and eye opening. It really puts forward that sometimes our differences make us stronger, or really are not important, we are the body of Christ.

The reason why I was on my blog today was to look up an advent series of pictures I did some time ago. He was looking for some original art work and wondered if I could help. He reminded me today that we rarely loose good friends, just that we are secure in time passing to not effect it. We have to hope we make friendships like stone statues and not like sand castles.

I hope this year my friendships will continue to be Immortalized in Stone

Community

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Idyllic.”

“What does your ideal community look like? How is it organized, and how is community life structured? What values does the community share?”

I don’t know you, dear reader. Therefore I am unaware of your own personal experience of community, if you have lived in a structured community, or belonged to something with shared values – a squash league for example – or just lived next to the same neighbors in the same post code area. The positive and negatives that you have felt from that will effect how you answer this question.

I have belonged in some way to all the ideas suggested above. The squash league was easy. I turned, I was beaten, I shook hands, and marked the score on the board. The more informal group that I played squash with recently, you might say, bared more marks of community. Most of us (not all but most) were the same age and went to/ worked for churches. We would talk about shared experiences, or take out anger annoyances or aggression on the court rather than words that could damage. There was time for me to read around the copious research I was doing, whilst taking part. It was a community.

The last option I mentioned was the postcode area/ people on your street ideal. I feel sad I’ve not greatly connected with my current community in that way. I still work where my last flat was (its a 1.5 miles away from where I currently live) and I still end up being part of that. Next time I move I am going to make an effort to join the community on my doorstep! Not just complain about the wind chimes in it.

Finally I have lived in a structured community. My university at the time was described as a semi-monastic lifestyle. We had a shared value – Christ for all, All for Christ – we met and ate together, we prayed together, stayed up all night together, wept together, laughed together and we walked together. We would argue, be annoyed, fight, and forgive. We would attempt to share all that we could – unless it was milk! 

It was filled with human people, sharing humanity. It wasn’t happy clappy smiley people all the time. It was the struggle and the picnic lived out alongside other human beings, and human doings. It could at times be lonely and quiet and overwhelming, but it was also comforting, compassionate, and real.

Every year I have spent in that community – and I still visit – this scripture was talked, or thought about:

The Fellowship of the Believers

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47 NIV)

In the middle it is there: they were together. Have you seen a group of people together. If you don’t pre warn them they won’t all dress the same, and in this election we they won’t all vote the same, and they won’t all enjoy the same sandwich toppings, they will have opinion on red sauce, brown sauce or no sauce, and an even bigger opinion on scrunch or fold. They were together. When it says they had everything in common, I think that is more likely to mean they were willing to put aside there differences for what they had in common. For a local community people put aside there differences for the good of their postcode. For the squash club they do it for a good game and integrity in that.

In any Christian community what are we willing to lay aside for Christ?

I don’t think there can be an ideal community. Community is what happens when reality happens, it is filled with beautifully flawed human beings, sharing humanity.

Never the same morning

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Two Right Feet.”

There is very little routine in my life. Every day is different. There is no one thing that gets my day off to a right start. The alarm goes off and often goes on snooze – I allow time for this in my day. One day I will have to stop the whole snooze button but for now It’s working for me. There is no need for a cup of tea or coffee and often this doesn’t happen. The more luxurious days means I get to have this on my sofa catching up on some TV. At the moment i check the weather. Today can I cycle to work, will it be walking, or the car. Will I have to defrost the balcony and the steps to get out of my house or will it just be cold but not icy. Each day is so different that there is no way to create that one or two things that make my day right. It’s about getting up knowing today I get the opportunity to serve and praise God in all that I do.

Robin

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “A Moment in Time.

Robin

This was the last picture I took. This Robin attacked my car. He attempted to climb through the window.

He was a little scary but very happy to have his photo taken.

Maybe he just wants to be famous.