Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Joy in trials?


James 1

“ 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.   4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. “

A couple of days ago I posted about my current time of trial. So, I was encouraged Sunday when Pastor Sarah chose this passage.
How hard it is to consider trials as pure joy but although I know that God doesn’t tempt us (v 13) I do accept that God has a plan for us and “12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
It is hard not to be angry when you feel you have suffered injustice but James tells us “19 :Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, “

I am working towards the day when my faith will be mature and complete and not lacking anything. I find it hard to rejoice in this trial but I will embrace it, persevere and be quick to listen for God’s voice.

linking up with Graceful     

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Don’t pray for meat when you have enough manna?

18 "Tell the people: 'Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The LORD heard you when you wailed, "If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!" Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it. 19 You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month-until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it-because you have rejected the LORD, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, "Why did we ever leave Egypt?"'"

 31 Now a wind went out from the LORD and drove quail in from the sea. It brought them down all around the camp to about three feet above the ground, as far as a day's walk in any direction. 32 All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. No one gathered less than ten homers. Then they spread them out all around the camp. 33 But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the LORD burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague. 34 Therefore the place was named Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had craved other food.

It’s not often that I look to the book of Numbers for help and inspiration. But anyone who uses Wordlive from SU (fantastic free daily Bible readings and notes) will recognise today’s passage. The Israelites had manna enough for their needs but thought they needed meat.

I do understand the principle that I should pray for God’s will to be done in his time. His provision for my family has been faithful, if I had had to pick a time for my husband to be out of work this would be that time, yet, like the Israelites wanting some meat now, every time he goes for an interview I can’t stop myself asking let this be the right job, let this one be the one that God has chosen.

My friend’s son has just been offered a job – a position that shouldn’t exist, that seems to have been created specifically as an answer to prayer, the very job he needs. It’s a strong testimony to the power of a praying mother.

Perhaps strangely, it was a blessing to us in when my husband’s job ended. Then he needed some time to recover, to find himself again, some space. The garden has benefited, the family have benefited. He has been lifted by the thoughtfulness of a true friend, who encouraged him to start painting again with a commission for a tenner and a steak dinner! God knows his needs and what we need as a family. Pray for me to know the gift of patience…

the steak dinner commission

How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!’ (Matthew 7:11).

Monday, 20 June 2011

I'm watching you, Dad.

Fathers' Day Sunday and a chance to think about how we parent our children. Pastor Sarah showed a video. I'm watching you, Dad.


Our children and other young folk we come into contact with are watching how we respond to situations and how we respect other people. More than our genetic code for blue eyes, curly hair, ear lobes, they will learn to behave like us. Like the father in the video, if they see us deal justly with others, they will do the same.

Matthew 7
 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."

Surely no parent would give a child a stone for bread. But do we give them faint praise for encouragement, listen with half an ear, dismiss their achievements or compare them unfavourably with others? Does work or do the chores come first? In a culture where children are often seen as a burden, a difficulty, I find it hard to be the only one praising my lovely boys for their faithfulness, their hard work and their contribution to the family.

On a recent course I learnt the behaviour management skill of modelling. Instead of instruction, you demonstrate the good behaviour you desire. This can be incredibly powerful and how good to use a positive model rather than 'don't do that'.

In trying to become more Christ-like I often am seen to fail, frequently by my closest ones. The pastor used the text.
1 John 3 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[a] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3
So we are not yet able to be perfect.

I have many weaknesses: like St Paul I have a constant thorn in my side. In fact, I should say thorns. But maybe it is just as important that our children see us fail and acknowledge that weakness, that they see us fight against temptation and sometimes lose. And that finally they see us accept 'not my will but thine,' stop striving to succeed and trust in God's provision and plan.

 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,  and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3

Hear it on Sunday, use it on Monday"

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Fathers Day - remembering Grandad.

my Grandparents' wedding
My grandad was a gentle man and a gentleman. Kind and patient, a Godly man, his life testified to his faith.

Born in 1900, he was one of the generation to see their whole lives changed by the Great War, so many friends and cousins lost, the whole fabric of society torn asunder and remade.

For him, a greater tragedy was to follow. Serving in India, he contracted an incurable malady, some kind of infection or infestation which was to continue to plague him his whole life.
But I never heard him complain.

He must have had his dark days, his times of doubt and wondering why. But I never heard them. He was my patient Grandad, buying us stamps for our collections. Children of the sixties, we didn't understand why we collected stamps but it was something we could share with him.

He loved to make things with his hands, things to share. I remember a wooden table and benches for our garden and painted wooden animals, which my children have played with in turn. He never met them but I have tried to tell them of his life, to share with them his faith. God give me the grace to follow his example, to accept and give thanks for my lot and to use God's gifts to bless others.

One of Grandad's paintings

Friday, 17 June 2011

New skills - wire crochet?

1. the three chains

 Things being tight at Twixt terrace, I had to delve into my stash to produce something for a fund raiser.

I have wire, I have beads and I have just learnt to crochet.
So I decided to teach myself wire crochet!
looked at some pictures, made 3 chains with beads, scrunched the ends up a bit and made a bracelet!

2. scrunched up at the ends

I love it and hopefully someone else will love it enough to pay for it.

There will be matching earrings too!

Of course when I'd finished I found an amazing video at Auntie's beads and realised my wire was all wrong and I am now trying to resist the impulse to buy some finer wire...and some more beads...

3. finished!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

a bucket of wisdom?

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Full version of the original Reinhold Niebuhr  (ca. 1942)

When I was young my grandma gave me a necklace. Praying hands on the face and on the reverse the serenity prayer. Words to live by ...but not easy.

A couple of weeks ago my pastor prayed for my colleague and I who were facing a difficult work situation and the thing that really resonated with me was when she prayed for discernment for us. I'm not a naturally intuitive person so I'm really praying for and trying to practise this gift.

 'Hear it on Sunday, live it on Monday'
I heard on Sunday that we need to be able listen to the Spirit's direction. Discernment again.Then my Word live study notes on Acts continued the theme when Philip is called one day to preach to a crowd in Samaria then to an individual Ethiopian.Two really different situations.Courage and wisdom in buckets. That's what I need. A bucket of wisdom.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Active waiting?

Already I practise active procrastinating and active listening. I am also cultivating the skill of active walking, where you project an invisible force field around yourself when walking through a crowded corridor (try it if your default walking style is dodging and apologising when people bump into you - it works!)

From today's guest speaker, a new skill - active waiting.
From Acts 1, we are waiting for Christ's return.

From the parable of the talents, we will be judged according to how we use what we have been given. This resonates with a book I have been reading about how our fears stop us from fulfilling our potential. Fear of redundancy stops us taking risks at work or even considering change.

A little salt can flavour a lot of food. The speaker shared how his few moments of time and thought had a great harvest.

I have been offered the chance to use some of my talents. A situation I have been praying for. I don't want to bury my talent, my God-given talent in the ground. I feel like I've reacted with fear rather than rejoicing.

Active waiting
Proactive not reactive
Take the bushel off the light?

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Malteser cake

The current top selling cakes in charity bake sales in our town are Lemon drizzle and Malteser. No claims to be the queen of Lemon driszzle although I have a pretty good recipe but I am very pleased with my Malteser cake recipe adaptation.

I found the first recipe in a friend's cook book then found this iced version at ruth's kitchen experiments

I prefer more biscuitiness and less chocolate so I halved the amount of chocolate. But I really like her topping!

A couple of rules and hints
  • use eating chocolate - dairy milk works well and is fairtrade but supermarket is fine (just not cheapo cooking stuff)
  • use butter as marg sits on the top in a nasty oily lake
  • if its for a bake sale or you're on a budget one box of maltesers will do - just save half a dozen or so to crush on the top
  • as its a fridge cake proportions and ingrdients aren't set in stone - use more or less biscuits or maltesers, different biscuits, honey instead of syrup etc
  • if the worse happens and your milk chocolate seizes just carry on regardless...

Twiz's Malteser Tray Bake Recipe

200g milk chocolate
100g butter
3 tbsp syrup
250g digestive biscuits
1 box Maltesers

200g white chocolate
1tbsp syrup
1 pouch Maltesers

  1. Line a tray bake tin with baking parchment.
  2. Weigh the digestive biscuits into a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin to make fine crumbs.
  3. Set up a double boiler (a bowl over a saucepan of hot water) and melt together the milk chocolate, butter and syrup.
  4.  Mix in the crushed biscuit and stir until coated.
  5. Spread the Malteser in the tin and cover with biscuit mix. Bash down well with the back of a spoon and chill.
  6. Wash out the bowl and dry really well, then set up the double boiler again. Melt together the white chocolate, 1 tbsp syrup.
  7. While it's melting crush the Maltesers for the topping.
  8. Pour the white chocolate over the top of the cake and spread evenly.
  9. Pour on the crushed maltesers and spread over the top pushing gently into the melted chocolate.
  10. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  11. Lift out using the paper onto a board and cut into pieces - 18 ish


Friday, 3 June 2011

Unfinished business

Procrastination...writer son is proud of his ability to actively procrastinate and I fear he has in herited it from me. Whereas hubbie, once he has started a project will always complete it, often in the same day, I have a wealth of unfinished projects, spring cleaning jobs snd bright ideas that are reproachfully calling me every day. My response...bake a cake, do some weeding, the ironing and now even open this blog...
If I list them will I feel more motivated or not? I have a list in my diary of the crafty jobs with due dates but that didn't help.

On my week's holiday I planned to finish
  • a prom dress (just needs hemming)
  • a stained glass shawl (just needs a fringe)
  • a crochet shawl - well I got to the last row, decided I didn't like it and unravelled it so now I have to finish
  • another shawl
  • 3 Wheres Wally hats - finished one then got distracted by the bad crochet number
  • four or five necklaces (all needing me to buy some component)
  • a prototype notebook cover
  • oh and a crochet bunny with a tail but no face!
So watch this space

There will be photos...one day


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