Nearly Autumn

The trees are starting to get a distinct yellow hue. Leaves are actually turning colour, and some are already falling off the trees. Autumn is approaching!

This year is such a strange year. By now, 5 months into Covid, it’s starting to get old. Staying inside, not mingling with people, none of the things we are used to take control of. Churches needing to be reimagined, economies struggling, not able to freely travel. It has impacted us all in some way or other.

Secretly I hope that autumn is a sign of change. The natures changes, producing the most wonderful colours. A real promise of new things to come. But the old first has to die. Maybe that’s true if Covid too.. I certainly hope so!

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

This comes from Ecclesiastes 3, and reminds me of an old song:

Our lives is a real mixture of all sorts of emotions: joy, fear, anxiety, sadness etc. Nothing stays the same, change is always there. We all have to learn and accept and adjust to the ebb and flow of God’s design. Just like the seasons in the year. Some seasons are difficult, and we may not understand what God is doing. Like the current season we are in. But as I said in an earlier post, God is still in control and we have to trust He has our lives in His hands.

This season approaching is one of my favourite seasons. This year particularly I hope this will herald in a season of change. Turn .. Turn… Turn…

The first turned leaf I noticed
The first leaf I saw on the ground

Trusting is the Hardest Thing

Don’t you have it sometimes, when all things just come together in a bad way, and you do not know if you need to turn right or left? Trusting that Someone is still in control is not so easy. You want to just do your own thing, and hope for the best, as you think that is ultimately Gods way.

God uses every decision we make, that’s very true. He will not let us fall, and He will always be there to catch us if we do. But sometimes it feels He is so far away.

I find myself caught once again, not knowing what will happen, or how things will unfold. The Covid situation has many folks spooked, including me. Masks are mandatory everywhere, so it’s very visible wherever you turn. Even if shops are mostly stocked again, the thought of the second wave is never far away. The news won’t let us forget it even if we tried! We are told to stay sensible or there will be another lock down.

The economy has a huge impact. Job losses, protection of self… similar in Europe as in America. We keep each other updated, calls, texts, Facebook. We hear from friends and co workers about those who suffer. Money is tight for many people and thank God there are charities like the One Vision in Watford who help those most afflicted!

I guess I can count myself blessed I did not loose my job like so many others.

This seems like a very somber post, but really it’s just trying to tell myself God is still in control. It’s His world, as the beautiful song says

This is my Father’s world.
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!

The writer referenced Jacob’s exclamation “the Lord is in this place” from Genesis 28:16

Trusting Him is hard, especially when you can’t see the road, or where it’s leading to. But He is not forgotten about me or you. The Lord is in this place!

Service

11 Jesus answered, “What if one of you has a sheep and it falls into a deep hole on the Sabbath? Will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 And a human being is worth much more than a sheep! So then, our Law does allow us to help someone on the Sabbath.”

This passage comes from Matt 12 (verse 11 and 12) and is quite controversial. It is Jewish custom to protect the day of rest. Many rules have been created to ensure the Sabbath commandment ‘keep the Sabbath day holy and do no work’ is kept. Rules that may seem a little excessive vary between carrying, writing, cooking etc. This article is quite informative -> https://www.ou.org/holidays/shabbat/the_thirty_nine_categories_of_sabbath_work_prohibited_by_law/

Being non Jewish, I find these rules hard to understand. But what’s allowed on the sabbath, the day of rest, is still a very burning question amongst many of us. Some things are frowned upon, others are plain dividing subjects. Playing games, going swimming.. as if it’s diminishing this beautiful day of rest. A day set aside to spend in communion with God and our fellow humans.

During this intense period of Covid laws, we have been protecting our medical personnel. We don’t want to put our doctors in a position where they have to choose who dies and who lives. Many folks have had to stay confined in their homes as they are in high risk categories. Many charities try and cater for this category of people, bringing food and groceries. And the old discussion starts up again. Is this allowed to be done on a sabbath?

Jesus said that the day of rest was created for man, so he could be in communication with his Maker. He also said that which is done for the least of us, we do for Him. Serving is a true sign of love for God and love for man.

Another day of rest is starting. The busy week is passed and the weekend is here. Time to rest, do good and communicate.

As a family we have Zoom meetings each weekend, usually on Saturday. Our way of communicating, spending time together and being in fellowship together. I am looking forward to it. Time set aside. In the same way as I set time aside to sided with my Maker.

And if I can do good in that process too, by doing something for my fellow earthly occupants l, I feel I have spent the sabbath as was intended in Matt 12.

You joining me?

Rest

Some days are harder than other ones. Am sure we all experience it. Some days you don’t feel like getting up, or getting into your normal routine. Working from home seems to take away the boundary between your own life and your work life. So that feeling of not wanting to start a day is more profound.

Having stayed home now for 4 months, focusing on things to do at home, planning outings outside the home as swift as possible, it makes you reassess lots of things. I love being out and about, exploring, shopping, going places. But it’s not safe yet in the same way as it was last year. Hobbies at home is the thing.. I have discovered I love writing with fountain pens, I read more, and I crochet. My Netflix list is getting smaller and I rediscovered my love for history and documentaries.

In all that though, rest seems to have been given a new meaning. Previously rest was done in your house when you returned from being out. What is rest now? It’s ceasing activity, and relaxing the body. But with the always on mentality now working from home it’s so much harder to find true rest.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

That verse has gotten new meaning for me too. I am very much a worrier, which does not make things easier. But that verse in the Bible tells me to tell God about all my thoughts and worries and anxiety and in return He will give me rest. This is true rest. Rest for the soul. It’s a stop thinking of my self and start trusting He will give me peace. This is not the rest of relaxation but the rest of a soul that trusts in God.

Today is another day of Sabbath rest. Another opportunity to cease normal life and focus only on Him. And that is what I am going to try to do. To stop carrying my worries and turning it over to the One who promises me rest.

I hope you will find rest today also.

God loves us All

Galations 3:26-29

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Jesus preached about discrimination and not judging others based on how they look or what they wear. Jesus said: Love one another, the same way as I love you (John 13:34).

Its heartbreaking, the injustice that’s happening in the world. People are not treated as equals. Fighting for equality needs to continue, until we all live the Biblical principle.

Clouds

Tonight’s sunset was so pretty. Hints of pink in the sky, intensifying colours as the sun set and lit up the undersides of the clouds. The phrase ‘each cloud has a silver lining’ just popped into my head. The clouds all had a sliver of silver around it.

I have to say, not sure I have been able to find my silver lining just yet. I miss my family, my friends, my colleagues. I miss the banter in the office corridors, the social interaction. I don’t think I am an extrovert, but I find myself craving for interaction and a sense of normality.

What if this is the new normal? What if the world will not go back to how it was in early March? What if this is the beginning of the end of all we know? For sure we have all learned by now we can manage.. although some better than others.

Jesus wrote in Matt 10:31 ‘do not fear, you are worth more than many sparrows’. We are more valuable than the tiny birds we see everywhere around. In this time of fear, when we hear stories of death and sorrow every single day, we can be assured that we matter to God. God has ultimate power over our whole being but He exercises that power with mercy and love. That’s the story of Easter in a nutshell. Jesus loves us so much, He knows all about us and even gave up Hos life for us so we may live.

I may not have found my silver lining in my current circumstances, but I can rest assured that Jesus is my silver lining in the Corona virus cloud hanging over my head. He cares for me, knows my concerns and even knows every hair on my head. What a comfort that is!

Have you found your silver lining?

Clouds

Tonight’s sunset was so pretty. Hints of pink in the sky, intensifying colours as the sun set and lit up the undersides of the clouds. The phrase ‘each cloud has a silver lining’ just popped into my head. The clouds all had a sliver of silver around it.

I have to say, not sure I have been able to find my silver lining just yet. I miss my family, my friends, my colleagues. I miss the banter in the office corridors, the social interaction. I don’t think I am an extrovert, but I find myself craving for interaction and a sense of normality.

What if this is the new normal? What if the world will not go back to how it was in early March? What if this is the beginning of the end of all we know? For sure we have all learned by now we can manage.. although some better than others.

Jesus wrote in Matt 10:31 ‘do not fear, you are worth more than many sparrows’. We are more valuable than the tiny birds we see everywhere around. In this time of fear, when we hear stories of death and sorrow every single day, we can be assured that we matter to God. God has ultimate power over our whole being but He exercises that power with mercy and love. That’s the story of Easter in a nutshell. Jesus loves us so much, He knows all about us and even gave up Hos life for us so we may live.

I may not have found my silver lining in my current circumstances, but I can rest assured that Jesus is my silver lining in the Corona virus cloud hanging over my head. He cares for me, knows my concerns and even knows every hair on my head. What a comfort that is!

Have you found your silver lining?

God is in Control

Sometimes these old hymns just jolt me back in reality, their messages just as relevant now as when it was written. This particularly song is ‘This is My Fathers world’

In this crazy world we are now experiencing, its not so easy to see that our God is still in control. the media surrounds us with stories of death and sickness, shortages of critical equipment and all around doom. If you are not getting bombarded with news stories, or see it on Facebook or whatever other social media tools you use, you see it all around you. Driving along the motorway, the message on billboards and traffic sights is clear: stay home, wash your hands, stop spreading the virus.

It’s hard to not think about the passages in Matt 25 which speak of the end times, of last events being quick events. The questions we have to ask ourselves ‘am I ready‘. ‘Do I believe He is in control’ ‘what would I say when I see Him’. This virus came on so fast and the world as we know it has ceased to exist. We do not know if things will go back to before, but there is one thing I know for sure: God is still in control.

My dad reminded me that sometimes situations are utilised even if we did not realise it yet. His brother immigrated to America long before I was born. My mum, dad and I visited short before he passed away in 2017. My cousin and I clicked and have been friends ever since. And now, the year 2020 I find myself in their house awaiting the passing of this current virus situation. Maybe there is beauty in the fact my dad was not able to see his brother throughout his whole life. God is clearly in control!

The last verse of this poem which was set to music after the author died, sums it up so nicely:

This is my Father’s world.
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!

Coffee

I admit, I love my coffee! I have certain favourites from certain coffee places, but I also really love a cup of coffee just made at home. The warm liquid is comforting…

So we drove back from France to England and on the way I just really fancied a coffee. We stopped and I asked for a skinny vanilla late…. it was a stop at a well known chain, but the coffee lady was clearly new at her job.

A few miles further down I took a sip from my coffee… yuk!!!! the weirdest taste ever, def not a latte!

Opened the lid and stared into my cup of warm milk…. no coffee!!!!

We were debating what to do, and decided to stop at the next rest stop to buy an espresso and add that to the warm milk. It made it drinkable, but only just.

This thought me 2 lessons: always check your coffee before you leave the shop and I don’t like warm vanilla flavoured milk!

It’s a bit like going to church, listening to the sermon, participating in singing, chatting with the fellow participants … but then going home to forget all about God until the following week. Like shutting God out of life, just allowing Him to interact in a very specific setting.

Going through life like drinking warm milk without the coffee. A latte needs the coffee, and God needs the daily interaction in our life. And we need our daily interaction with God too! A perfectly flavoured coffee, fitting together well!!

28 Years

Oh my, time flies… it’s already the end of the first month of 2020, and it really feels like the year just started! However, January is a special month for us and no matter what.. she still looks forward to her birthday!!

I can’t remember the weather, this day 28 years ago. I can barely remember the days following.. but I can remember turning from a woman to a mother! She was the tiniest little thing, a number of weeks early.. but from day one she wrapped up around her little finger.

Today we celebrate her 28th birthday. It’s gone so fast! But still, each day I am so thankful for becoming her mum! We celebrated in style in a funky restaurant in Marlow where we had not been before. A birthday candle on the cake is still fun and asking the singer to sing happy birthday to her is a whole level of more fun!

Maybe this is what God means when He refers to Jesus as His Son. A whole other little of delight. Even if I don’t really understand how the Godhead works, I can so imagine the love flowing through Him when He recognised His Son!

Or the joy Jesus feels when we call Him our father and we recognise ourselves as His kids. A parental relationship is so special! One of deep trust and mutual love.

Melody, am so proud of the young woman you have become! Thank you for celebrating with us!