Saturday, December 03, 2016

Devotional Thought : Numbers 1:51

Whenever the tabernacle is to move, the Levites are to take it down, and whenever the tabernacle is to be set up, the Levites shall do it. Anyone else who approaches it is to be put to death. Numbers 1:51

No one was to help the Levites on the threat of death!

This is quite surprising. Surely as Christians we ought to help everyone. Yet here we are told that this particular task was something the Levites had to do on their own.

There are times not to help. We shouldn't help if we are only doing so to make ourselves feel good. We shouldn't help if we are making someone depend on us and they ought to be taking responsibility for themselves. We shouldn't help if this is a task God has given solely to someone else.

Paul teaches the Galatians, "Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ" but then adds, "for each one should carry their own load" (Galatians 6-2, 5).

There is a time to carry another's burden when they are weighted down and unable to continue but there is also a time when we carry our own load, we manage our own lighter responsibilities.

In the same passage Paul also says, "Each one should test their own actions" (v. 4). What's our motive for helping? Are we responding to God's prompting? Are we seeking something in return? Even if we are only looking for gratitude, our desire may be to put someone in our debt. It is only God who knows our true motive. If in doubt we can always ask him to show us.

We don't always do people a favour by helping. It requires good discernment to know when to help and when to hold back.

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Thursday, December 01, 2016

Book Review : Boys who Rocked the World

I went looking for Boys who Rocked the World by Michelle McCann after I read Girls who Rocked the World which I wrote about here. This review is very similar.

There are 46 stories of boys who have made a significant impact in lots of different fields. The wide variety of locations, historical settings and backgrounds makes for a smorgasbord of experiences. Like the girls, all the boys had to overcome obstacles, whether they were prejudices, poverty, lack of education or family expectations. They all showed amazing determination and perseverance.

The authors chose boys who had seriously started to have an impact by the time they were twenty. This criteria meant a lot of significant males were left out, especially those whose achievements required years of study. Nevertheless even with this strict criteria the number of remarkable accomplishments especially in those so young is amazing.

Each story is only a few pages long so it is suitable to read to children or have them read it themselves. Some stories deal with quite horrific events such as slavery and war but these were well handled by the author, neither going into unnecessary details but not ignoring the trauma either. My favourite stories were Mozart, Louis Braille, Einstein, Galileo, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

A fascinating read.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Blog Tour : Clash of the Titles

It's the end of our CLASH year, and we've lined up some awesome holiday reading (and gift ideas!) for this month's Clash of the Titles.
Vote for your Ideal curl up in front of a fire read!


Scroll through these releases and cast your vote for your perfect idea of a next read.
It's a tough choice, but it's up to you to determine our Clash Champion!


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Risking Love
Brenda S. Anderson

A play-it-safe bank employee falls for a down-on-his-luck, risk-taking widower. Can she risk loving a man whose home she may have to take away?

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An Unexpected Role
Leslea Wahl

Josie's island getaway becomes the summer of her dreams as friendships grow, romance blossoms and a series of thefts surround her with excitement. But as she sets out to solve the mystery she has become entangled in, she not only realizes the importance of relying on her faith but along the way also discovers her true self.

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Forest Child
Heather Day Gilbert

Historically based on the Icelandic Sagas, Forest Child brings the memorable, conflicted persona of Freydis Eiriksdottir to life and is Book Two in the bestselling Vikings of the New World Saga.


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Can't Help Falling
Kara Isaac

A funny, heartfelt romance about how an antique shop, a wardrobe, and a mysterious tea cup bring two C.S. Lewis fans together in a snowy and picturesque Oxford, England.


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The Cautious Maiden
Dawn Crandall

In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance; Vance Everstone. With danger stalking her and a new fiance who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust and who to leave behind. 


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The Thorn Healer
Pepper D. Basham

A wounded nurse battles resentment against a German prisoner as the two work together to save an Appalachian town from deception and disease in the wake of World War 1.


VOTE BELOW!

If you have trouble viewing the entire survey Click Here to load a dedicated page to the survey. 



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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Devotional Thought : Lamentations 4:20

The LORD’s anointed, our very life breath, was caught in their traps. We thought that under his shadow we would live among the nations. Lamentations 4:20

The Judahites considered Zedekiah the Lord's anointed. They deceived themselves into thinking life would continue as usual even though Zedekiah didn't keep God's covenant. There was no basis for their hope. They had lulled themselves into a false sense of security.

Through Moses, God had given the Israelites instructions on how to live a life pleasing to him. Throughout the time of the Judges, it was when they repented and sought the Lord, that he brought deliverance. Jeremiah was one of many prophets who warned the people about their rebellious ways. Yet they convinced themselves that God would never expel them from the land. Even though God clearly warned them of this happening (Leviticus 18:28, Jeremiah 10:17-18).

The Judahites chose to listen to false prophets and those who told them what they wanted to hear. They didn't consider their history or their God-given status. They didn't seek God for relationship, only for protection. Everything pointed to a coming disaster but they ignored the signs.

Likewise today some believe that doing good works will save them. But this isn't a Christian idea. "All our righteous acts are like filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). Perhaps the idea comes from our feelings of unworthiness and the need to do something to make up for our deficiencies. Yet instead of seeking God's ways of being in a right relationship with him, we make up our ways. We assume God wants people to be ethical and while this is true, it isn't the basis of our relationship with God.

To be in relationship with God, we need to seek his ways and not rely on ways of our own making.

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Book Review : Girls who rocked the world

I discovered, Girls who rocked the world by Michelle McCann & Amelie Welden at my local library. I was looking for biographies I could use in my Chaplaincy role at a primary school. It's a fascinating read. There are 42 stories of girls who have made a significant impact in lots of different fields. The wide variety of locations, historical settings and backgrounds makes for a smorgasbord of experiences. All the girls had to overcome obstacles, whether they were prejudices, poverty, lack of education or family expectations. They all showed amazing determination and perseverance.

The authors chose girls who had seriously started to have an impact by the time they were twenty. This criteria meant a lot of significant females were left out, especially those whose achievements required years of study. Nevertheless even with this strict criteria the number of remarkable accomplishments especially in those so young is amazing.

Each story is only a few pages long so it is suitable to read to children or have them read it themselves. Some stories deal with quite horrific events such as war but these were well handled by the authors, neither going into unnecessary details but not ignoring the trauma either. My favourite stories were Hatshepsut, Sacagawea, Florence Nightingale, Coco Chanel, Golda Meir and Anne Frank.

An excellent read.

I've discovered that Michelle McCann has also written a book called Boys Who Rocked the World so I'll be checking that out soon.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Always having a fresh start

For a long time my husband worked in a bank and then he became a pastor. Both occupations required us to move regularly. One of the advantages of moving is the opportunity to have a fresh start at each new place – a clean slate. No-one knows the mistakes you made at the previous place, things you wished you had not said, things you wished you had done but never quite got around to.

In our relationship with God we can always enjoy the assurance of having a "fresh start". God made it possible through Jesus' death for our sins to be completely forgiven and forgotten. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more" (Jeremiah 31:34).

But how can God, who is all-knowing forget our sins? Wouldn't that mean he was no longer all-knowing? The fact is God chooses not to bring our sins to mind. He chooses not to remember. It is important for us to realise that we also have this ability - the ability to choose not to remember.

In our relationships with other Christians and with ourselves, we need to use this ability. In the daily affairs of life when sins are committed against us, often unintentionally, we need to forgive and choose not to think about the wrongs that have been done to us, choose not to bring them to mind. God's intention is for us to have a "fresh start" in our relationship with him and with each other.

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Devotional Thought : Jeremiah 52:28-30

This is the number of the people Nebuchadnezzar carried into exile: in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews; in Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth year, 832 people from Jerusalem; in his twenty-third year, 745 Jews taken into exile by Nebuzaradan the commander of the imperial guard. There were 4,600 people in all. Jeremiah 52:28-30

Numbers of people are tricky in the Bible because sometimes they only counted adult males. In these verses 4,600 were exiled. There was a previous exile (2 Kings 14 & 16) where 10,800 were taken.

However in the three groups that returned in 586 BC, 458 BC and 444 BC the numbers were: 50,000, 5,000 and 42,000 – totalling 97,000. Even if the earlier figures were adult males and the later figures were everybody, it is still a huge increase. God grows his people numerically even in exile.

It's also a picture of what God does spiritually. Historically whenever the church is persecuted it grows. It's in the pressure times we get serious about our faith. We are faced with the difficult questions of suffering and hardship and we want answers. Our faith is meaningless if it doesn't stand up to real life issues.

Job never discovers the reason for his suffering, though we are given a glimpse (Job 1 & 2). Job wrestles with a sense of betrayal and abandonment yet in the end he discovers a deeper relationship with God and accepts his Sovereignty.

God's view of suffering is different to ours. He seems to think, if suffering brings us to a deeper relationship with himself, it's worth it. He knows all suffering is temporal and limited. This order of things with death, mourning, crying and pain will pass away (Revelation 21:4). In the meantime we can trust him to strengthen us so we can grow during difficult times.

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