social spark Aisling Beatha: 2007


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Monday, December 31, 2007

Prayer for the new year

May God bless all of you as we enter 2008
A Declaration of Hope for 2008.
With God’s help:
I affirm that in 2008, I intend to bring:-
Harmony in place of discord
Opportunities out of challenges
Praise instead of criticism
Encouragement to replace despair.

We affirm that in our Church, 2008 will be a year of:-
Holiness and wholeness
One purpose for many people
Prayer that leads to action
Everyone finding a place to belong.

We pray that for our community, 2008 will be a year of:-
Healing for those who are broken
Order where there is chaos
Protection for the vulnerable
Enterprise for all.

We pray for our nation, that 2008 will be a year of:-
Health of body mind and spirit
Open-hearted attitudes
Passion for justice and mercy
Expectations and visions fulfilled.

We pray that The God of all Hope will give us the faith and courage to live lives that will release HOPE this year.
I make this declaration and pray this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour and Lord. Amen.
© World Prayer Centre, Birmingham and HOPE 08 Ltd

Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007 Review of the year Answers - Part 5

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Oh heck, that was a long time ago. My birthday is in January. I really don't remember what it was I did? But, I was a ripe old 36! So, in just 3 or so weeks time I will be 37!

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
My hubby getting a job at equal pay, much closer to home. We have both been joking lately because there are some new industrial units being built (well, they're still just preparing the ground right now, but they'll go up quick once they start) just 15 minutes walk from our front door. We keep joking about how cool it would be for a company in his field to move into those units and him to get a job there! Instead of his current commute which can be anything from 1 hour each way on a good day to 2 or more on a bad one.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
relaxed and casual with a little more ooomph and colour than previous years.

What kept you sane?
What's sane? Seriously, how do any of us know we're the sane ones and it's the others who are mad? I don't think I've had a particularly sane year, I don't think I've always reacted in what would be considered sane ways. But I'm still here, they haven't locked me away, yet!

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I can't think of anyone that really gets me going the way hubby does, BUT at a push I would have to say in looks alone (because from what I've heard of his personality I wouldn't go for him at all), Russell Crowe. There's just something about his face.

What political issue stirred you the most?
Pretty much anything involving children, especially where they are being exploited or going without, both internationally and closer to home.
And any project that communicates even in some small way, to INDIVIDUAL CHILDREN that they are LOVED, well, WOW!
I think that's why I consider my involvement in the Operation Christmas Child stuff to be partly political, rather than just a faith issue.

Who did you miss?
The people I missed the most this year were people who are still here, but with whom my relationship has changed over the last few years to not be what it once was, for whatever reason. Different reasons in different cases, but some of them I see most weeks, but just on a different level. I miss those people a lot.

Who was the best new person you met?
I don't think I met a lot of new people this year. One very recently, and we're only just getting to know her, but it's exciting. We have a new neighbour next door but one and she's from Germany. She works as a translator.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007:
Be careful what you wish for or pray for, or think that God is telling you, because you might just get it!

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Bethany Dillon
Come Find Me

Why would I ever worship wood or stone?
Things that cannot hear or speak at all
Why would I want something that I can control?
When I can't even trust myself to fall

I was following a cloud of fire and smoke
But my heart was too weak to understand
So I built an image with my fear and with my gold
Now I'm reaching out for Your hand

Come find me, come find me
I'll be waiting for You to rescue me
Come find me, come find me
I'll be waiting for You to rescue me

Don't leave me when I feel like it's impossible
When I feel my inability bleed through
Rip the veil between what I see and what is real

Let this fire in my heart be proof

Come find me, come find me
I'll be waiting for You to rescue me
Come find me, come find me
I'll be waiting for You to rescue me

My faith feels like a furnace of loneliness, my rescue is invisible for now
But I can't seem to shake this hope so dangerous
I will love and follow You, unseen God

Come find me, come find me
I'll be waiting for You to rescue me
Come find me, come find me
I'll be waiting for You to rescue me

2007 Review of the year Answers - Part 4

How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas day this year was one of the best we have had in a while. There is a guy at church who is currently separated from his wife. He also has a son from a previous relationship. He was to spend time at his estranged wife's home later in the day, so we invited him to our house for Christmas dinner, with his older son. It was the first time we've entertained on Christmas day and it went really well. They were only here for a few hours, but with his son being in between our two boys in age it was good for all of them and it was good for us to begin to learn how to be proper hosts.

Did you fall in love in 2007?
YES! More in love than ever with my gorgeous hubby, if that is possible, but also more in love than ever with Father God, and totally aware that even now I have no concept of HOW MUCH he loves me.

What was your favourite TV program?
There's probably only a handful of programmes that I watch consistently.
Let me see. . . . . .
House – I love Hugh Laurie in this.
Grays Anatomy – Although I was beginning to get really fed up of the whole Izzie George thing by the end of the series (remember we're behind the states in a lot of these shows)
Ghost Whisperer – The thing I love about this is the whole relationships thing, watching the healing of those relationships and so on.
Extreme makeover home Edition – What more is there to say?

What was the best book you read?
The Father You've Been Waiting For” by Mark Stibbe. I think EVERYONE should read this book! It isn't HUGE, you'll finish it in a week. It might just change the way you see God, yourself and others. It has changed things for me.

What was your greatest musical discovery of 2007?
ooooooooh, my greatest musical discovery of 2007 was that worship can be played by poorly trained musicians, badly, and still be the most amazing worship experience you have had in years BECAUSE of the passionate hearts of the people involved. Anyone who was there knows exactly what I mean, and oh yes it was fun! And instead of judging we laughed and we enjoyed ourselves and we let go and God truly did turn up!

What did you want and get?
It's funny but the thing I thought I wanted and got turned out to be the very thing that would bring me down. I thought I wanted this year of seeking God for myself, but it turned out to be the loneliest time I have ever experienced. I still believe some of that was god's intention, but I KNOW that I made it far far worse than it ever needed to be by the way I responded and that in the end I had even begun to cut myself off from him. I am looking to remedy that over the coming weeks, looking to spend far more time, just focussing on him, on being in his presence.

What did you want and not get?
Friendships, deep, abiding, real, but still fun and exciting friendships. I'm still searching for that one and trying to understand why I don't have that in my life IRL. I KNOW that god put this ability, this passion, this need for female friends in women, and He and I often have discussions, (well, I do most of the talking actually) about why this is still absent in my life. Maybe if I did more of the listening and less of the talking, I would have some answers.

What was your favourite film of this year?
We didn't get to the cinema as many times this year as we did last year. But still the movies make me cry and still my boys take great delight in that fact.
I enjoyed Shrek the Third, that was a fun movie, made me laugh, and yes, made me cry. We never got around to seeing the new Pirates movie at the cinema so are waiting for it to come up on our dvd rental queue. Just this week, we went to see enchanted and a more cute film I could not have wished for. Yes, I cried, but what little girl at heart doesn't love a good fairy tale? OK, so some of you are too grown up for that sort of thing, but you know what? You're missing out! So, it isn't reality, so what?
But my favourite movie of the year, is perhaps a little controversial for a Christian blogger. I LOVED the Harry Potter movie. As ever I was a little disappointed about the parts in the book that had to be left out of the movie, but once again I am struck by the utter desperation of a boy whose parents dies when he was so young, desperately trying to be enough and do enough and all the time fighting that internal battle. But also so desperate to catch some glimpses of what his parents were really like.

2007 Review on the year Answers - Part 3

What song will always remind you of 2007?
There is ONLY one song. It was probably released before this year, but for me, it has said something that needed to be said:
Mika – Big Girls, You Are Beautiful!

Big girl you are beautiful

Walks in to the room
Feels like a big balloon
I said, "Hey girl, you are beautiful"
Diet Coke and a pizza please
Diet Coke I'm on my knees
Screaming, "Big girl you are beautiful"

You take your skinny girl
I feel like I'm gonna die
Coz a real woman needs a real man here's why
You take your girl and multiply her by four
Now a whole lot of woman needs a whole lot more

Get yourself to the butterfly lounge
Find yourself a big lady
Big boy come on around
And they'll be calling you baby
No need to fantasize
Since the words are my phrases
A watering hole the with girls around
And curves in all the right places
Big girls you are beautiful
Big girls you are beautiful
Big girls you are beautiful
Big girls you are beautiful

Walks in to the room
Feels like a big balloon
I said, "Hey girl, you are beautiful"
Diet coke and a pizza please
Diet coke I'm on my knees
Screaming, "Big girl you are beautiful"

You take your girl and multiply her by four
Now a whole lot of woman needs a whole lot more

[chorus x4]

Big girl you are beautiful

Compared to this time last year, are you:
a. happier or sadder?
Is sadder the right term? I don't think so. I am definitely more subdued, less comfortable. I wouldn't say I am happier, but certainly, sadder would be the wrong term to use. I am no sadder than I was this time last year. If anything I am more hopeful!

b. thinner or fatter?
Ahem. Do I have to answer this one? Can't I plead the 5th? Or will that actually give my answer away huh? Yep, another year older, another year fatter!

c. richer or poorer?
Sadly we have ended this year poorer, but we are on the upswing. We managed to get our refinancing through BEFORE all the subprime stuff hit and lenders became much more difficult to deal with. Hubby is extremely hopeful that things are on the up at his workplace and hopeful of a pay rise at the very least in line with inflation if not more, in April. And I am certainly open to picking up a job with a few more hours than I am doing now, although I really don't want to work full time yet because of my back.

What do you wish you'd done more of?
School Assemblies! Heeeheeeeheeeee, but maybe next year, huh?

What do you wish you'd done less of?
Eating and Spending.

2007 Review on the year Answers - Part 2

What date from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Oh gosh, I'm crying now, even though I already talked about her. I don't know if I would say June 7th, the day Natalie died, or if I would actually say the day we all found out just how ill she was and that she wasn't expected to make it and yet she was still staying bright in spirit and writing letters to leave behind for her children, and watching these very brave women who loved her even more than I did, who knew her so much better than I did, support her and the rest of us through that time. They are all inspirations.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Achievement? Hmmmmmm? I would say getting through that assembly at the school. Not that there were actually any problems in doing the assembly itself, at all, just how nervous I was leading up to it, with it being the first one I'd ever done and all.
I SO want to do more of this and need to get some of the books put out by the Christian charities about doing school assemblies year round. Maybe even some with some of my storytelling thrown in!

What was your biggest failure?
I completely failed to lost any weight or maintain ANY kind of fitness programme. Oh I had all sorts of excuses, but none of them really matter!

Did you suffer illness or injury?
The usual, coughs, colds, as well as some bouts of extreme tiredness coupled with frequent night waking. That's not all the time, I have been free of the extremes of it for a while, but the last few days it appears to have returned a little.
My back still hurts a lot from when I broke my tail bone in 2006. Especially at night. Not enough to keep me awake but enough to make me uncomfortable. I don't take pain killers for it, not any more, maybe I should. And the docs have been next to useless, just telling me to stretch more and throwing more pain killers prescriptions at it, so I don't even go see them any more.

What was the best thing you bought?
Has to be our new computer desk, or our new shelves, or our second dining table (2 smaller ones offer more flexibility than one big one) all of which came from IKEA and one of which was paid for my dad and my sis THANKS GUYS!
But one of my most favourite things that I have bought, I only got this morning. Well, only finished this morning. I bought a huge frame from IKEA, 20 inches by 27 ½ inches. Then, I got a poster print of a photograph I took a couple of years ago, at the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham. That arrived in yesterday's post, I put it in the frame and today my darling husband put the hooks up and hung the frame. And THIS takes pride of place at the top of my stairs.
I don't have the name of the sculptor and if you can't see what is in the middle of the palm, blow the picture up until you can.

Where did most of your money go?
Frivolous things, things we probably didn't need and couldn't afford, but that is about to change and we are to get a much tighter hold on what we spend.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
It's been a funny year. When you are feeling as isolated as I have been, excitement doesn't come easily. Excitement is something you do with friends, together, it is meant to be shared. By it's very nature, if you are excited about something you want to share it with people, tell them about it, show them, have them experience something of it for themselves.
Well, OK then, yes there has been something. I've experienced far more of the heart of the Father this year than I ever have before and whilst I am struggling to come to terms with what that means and really understand the depth of that love, and how it makes a difference in my life, I am excited about it and I have shared a little of it with those whom I know already understand it far better than I do and those who I know would tell me they do, but really don't have a clue.

2007 Review of the year Answers - Part 1

What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before?
Oh gosh, I really can't think of anything.
It's been an extremely isolating year for me, I guess one thing that has happened this year that I have been wary of before is that I have tried to maintain at least on a very light level (only because of time constraints) to maintain something of a relationship with people who have left our church this year, even though we firmly believe we are to stay. In the past I've shied away from that, felt like some kind of traitor or something which is totally ridiculous.

Oooh, I remembered another one, heeeheeee and this one was FUN!
I led a school assembly. I went into a local primary school (so 4 to 11 year olds) and talked to over 350 kids about the operation Christmas Child Shoebox appeal. I was as nervous as heck but LOVED every single second of it! And afterwards the deputy head of the school who was in charge said to me “You did really well, and I think everyone heard you, even the children right at the back must have heard you clearly.” Oh I laughed at that I really did, and I replied “I don't have any problems in that department.”
I definitely want to do more of those next year and will be contacting schools in September when they go back after the summer, to say I am available.
Did you keep your new years' resolutions and will you make more for next year?
I didn't, I don't, and I won't! However,I will be writing about my “theme” for the year soon, when I have finished this piece.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Again, no in real life people, but wonderful, wonderful Stephanie, and other fantastic friends from Women at Home have had quite a baby boom this year. And from what I see on the pregnancy boards, that isn't about to end any time soon.
Although for me the most exciting new babies have not been the ones that have come to their current families by birth, but the amazing stories of adoption that we have watched play out in our midst, praying and agonizing with the prospective parents.

Did anyone close to you die?
I guess it depends on what you mean by “close”. Did I know her in real life? No, not by a long shot, but she was one of my oldest online friends, having both been part of a Christian writers email group way back and then re finding each other on Women at home. But did I love her as a friend, I admired her outlook on life, I was in awe of her reading, and although there were many on Women at home who knew her better than I did, I considered her a true friend. Natalie Rose, gone, but not forgotten, we still miss you!

What countries did you visit?
Oooh, as always a really difficult question to answer, heeheee, NOT! I have been to England and to Wales this year. LAST YEAR (and I don't think I answered these questions last year) I travelled to Belgium to baptise a friend. But this year, just home and Wales. I'd love to travel, I'd give so much to go visit my friends in America, to see Belgium (and Ello) again, to take my boys to parts of Europe I've never been yet. But for now, there is no money for trips like that and so we did not even get a family holiday at all this year.
Maybe next year hey?
And wouldn't it be cool for next Christmas to be the year I get to go on an Operation Christmas child shoebox distribution trip. MAYBE! Anyone want to pay for me to go?

What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
One word, RELATIONSHIPS, call them friendships, call them what you like, but I need people, and this year I have been incredibly isolated, some of that self inflicted, some of that God and yes, some of it the enemy, but I really would like to be able to come out of this year saying “You know, I know people better now, and I really believe there are people I could turn to no matter what.”
Interestingly, after me writing this last night, this morning's sermon at church was about getting to know each other better and being involved in each others lives.

Review on the Year - Questions

Here are the year in review questions, in one place, without my answers, so that you can easily copy them over to your blog if you want to use them.
My answers will come in the next few posts.

What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before?

Did you keep your new years' resolutions and will you make more for next year?

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Did anyone close to you die?

What countries did you visit?

What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?

What date from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

What was your biggest failure?

Did you suffer illness or injury?

What was the best thing you bought?

Where did most of your money go?

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

What song will always remind you of 2007?

Compared to this time last year, are you:
a. happier or sadder?

b. thinner or fatter?

c. richer or poorer?

What do you wish you'd done more of?

What do you wish you'd done less of?

How did you spend Christmas?

Did you fall in love in 2007?

What was your favourite TV program?

What was the best book you read?

What was your greatest musical discovery of 2007?

What did you want and get?

What did you want and not get?

What was your favourite film of this year?

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?

What kept you sane?

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

What political issue stirred you the most?

Who did you miss?

Who was the best new person you met?

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007:

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

I believe one of these lovely ladies is my grandmother on my father's side, but he might have to fill me in!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Church Camp

I didn't want to go to church camp, I admit it, but in the time it took to get there God did a number on me and totally changed my heart. By the time we got to the first meeting I was so excited for what HE would do!
Anyway, more of that another time, but here and now we have videos form church camp. Oh YES!
First worship!
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU everyone who was involved in worship, Caroline, Lydia, Terry, Callum, Jon, Nes, Dan, Tom, Matthew, Drew, Janet, and anyone else if I missed you, you made it a fantastic weekend!

Then a series of 3 videos that can only be described as "What happens when a group of people are totally soaked in the spirit and then the worship band plays a dancing song.

And yes, friends who weren't there, particularly my American friends, that is ME you can hear. OUCH! And me who asks "are you videoing?" which is not as stupid a question as it sounds. This was done on a stills camera that also has the facility to take video.

Sadly we do not have any video of the drinking songs that were sung that evening, maybe next time huh?


Friday, September 21, 2007

The rest of the Puppet Funnies

Sorry for the delay. Here are the rest of the puppet man funnies.
This guy is just hilarious.


I showed you some of my favourite funnies last night, but I saved the best till last. THIS guy is amazing! I have puppets, and I love working with them, with the kids at church, but NOTHING I have ever seen a puppeteer do can make me laugh like this guy can.

I have puppets here, that I use at church with the kids. I have two muppet style puppets, that I made myself, these are fantastic. I had to replace the body on one of them and for some reason, since I did that it's body sits much flatter than it did before, even though I followed the same pattern. Can't figure that one out.
I also have a bird puppet with a squeaker. But it's a proper puppet squeaker. The squeakers you find in most kids toys work by squeezing the air out through the noise maker when you press. But obviously for a puppet, you want the noise when you open the mouth, not when you close it, so somehow they worked on them and we have the proper puppet squeaker.

I would also love one of the dog in a bag puppets, but that's a maybe, one day.

and part 2

And now. . . . .

Heehee, I have to go to work and so I am going to make you wait!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Monday, July 30, 2007

Peter Pan - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 45

I GIVE IN, It's 12:45, I managed just short of 20 hours which is amazing after how badly i slept last night, AND the tiredeness stuff I battle on a daily basis.
Just posting now the last one or two that I had pre prepared.

I just watched Robin Williams in Hook, and YES I cried! And God moments? In Hook? OH YES!

When Robin Williams finally realised he really WAS Peter Pan and learnt to fly again, and Roofio, who had been leading the lost boys in his absence came to him, with the sword, and offered it to him. WOH! Roofio had been fighting against him being the real Pan until this point, but at this point of submission, as he acknowledged who and what Peter really was, there is a restoration. Roofio is restored to his proper position, he is a BOY, nothing more, just one of the lost boys, yes probably the oldest, yes probably the best fighter, but just one of the boys, he isn't carrying the weight of being in charge any more, he isn't weighed down by a responsibility that was never meant to be his.

And then, the end of the movie, when Peter is fighting Hook, and the children are cheering him on as peter Pan, but then realise he is their daddy, and that moment of recognition in their eyes? THIS! This man, come to save me, THIS is MY DADDY! And it so reminds me of our relationship to God as father and that moment of truly recognising that, truly understanding that this might great and powerful God is MY DADDY! WOH!

And then they go to fly home, and Peter stays behind to appoint a new leader to the lost boys. That is so moving, and then the children get home, to their mother. And this is no fairy tale where the children have been gone but not even missed, because no time has passed at home, OH NO! They have been missing, and she has been up all night in their room, wishing and hoping and praying, and they sneak into their beds, and she wakes up, and looks at them in their beds but doesn't believe it. She speaks to her grandmother and says something about her dreams being so real that she still sees them in their beds when she awakes. But then they do, and there is this reunion, and I just cried for all those mothers who have missing children, who never know if they will see that day. Who can't allow themselves to grieve that missing child yet, because to grieve would be to acknowledge that the child is gone for good, so grief is postponed in the hope of return! HEARTBREAKING!

and there is still MORE! Then Peter wakes up, in the snow at the foot of the peter Pan statue in the park, and makes his way home, where he finds his mobile phone ringing in the snow in the garden. This man, who before he went to never Land to rescue his children, had been too busy with work, been too busy for his own children, is babbling down the phone to this work contact about pixie dust and flying, and tells the person on the other end of the phone to experience flying himself and throws the phone out of the window! And you know that this is one daddy who has learnt the lesson, who, never again will put his work before his children. Who has learnt to laugh and learnt to play and learnt to think happy thoughts! And my heart breaks for all those children who fathers are not absent physically, but who are absent emotionally, for whatever reason whether it be a genuine physical need for the money he brings in, in order to survive or whether it be for his own self esteem and his own misunderstanding of what it means to be a father.

Yep, another movie for the God Moment list!

Write a Book? Me? - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 39

IF I write a book, this would be the foreword.

I want to start with a few words to explain why I’m writing this book.
It all started a few years ago when I went to see ‘The Grinch’ with my children, the Christmas it was released at the cinemas. You will read about exactly what happened that day in the pages of this book, but let me tell you, God met me, right there in the cinema, at a point of great pain in my life and through that event continued the process of healing He had already started.
At that time I assumed it was a one off experience, but I continued to meet with God during the movies, having moments where I understand something of god much more clearly through the story being played out on screen, or moments where He brings healing to my heart.
My children are currently 11 and 14 and are now both well used to their mom crying her way through whatever movie they have persuaded her to take them to see. To the extent that they have been known to lean over to each other and ask “Is she crying yet?”
As I have shared some of these experiences with friends, they have encouraged me to record them and share them. And so, here I am, and her you are, reading of my adventures at the movies.
Most of these experiences have happened during children’s movies, probably as that is what I end up viewing at the cinema most often. But more recently I have begun to have similar experiences through TV, so look out for those in amongst the children’s stuff.
Much of what I write is not new, others have made similar observations about each of these movies or shows, I do not intend for this book to claim anything unique about these ideas, I merely want to share honestly of my experiences. Some, you will find, connect with something in your heart and others may make no sense to you at all. I know that and I hope that everyone who reads this book, finds at least one thing that blesses them.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Big brothers and Sisters in the Lord - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 36

There was a possibility I might do this talk last night, at our bimonthly youth event, but they're saving it for another time.
Imagine you are one of a group of primarily youth (bot other ages as well) and listen, as I talk.

You ARE Big brothers and Sisters in God.

Can everyone under the age of about 25 stand up please.

OK, can everyone who is over the age of 11 please sit down.

Those of you that were stood up just now need to take a good look at the ones that are sill standing. Make sure you know who they are.
Ok, you can all sit down.

Those of you who are from Springfield, I already know, but I don’t know most of our visitors. You might have actual brothers and sisters, you might have none. You might come from churches with lots of younger children, you might come from churches with none. But each and every one of YOU are big brothers and sisters in the Kingdom of God.

These younger children, the under 11’s, they look up to you.
They want to be like you.
I don’t have under 11’s at home any more, but I’m sure C can vouch for this fact, with her boys.
You might think that your influence in this world is nothing, you might think that you do little for God, but it’s not true.
These kids want to be LIKE YOU, and they watch you, they imitate you, good or bad, they do it because you are you. Because to them, being an adult, being a “grown up” is just too far away to comprehend. They might want to be like their parents on some levels, but on so many levels, they just can’t relate to that, and who they want to be , who they want to follow is you.

I’ve been thinking of some examples in the Bible to share with you, of people who were like Big brothers or Sisters to those around them. I think you’ll recognise most of these stories.

Moses and Joshua.
Moses, was this mighty man of God, leading god’s people, a whole nation, out of captivity in Egypt. And by his side was his “aide” Joshua. Moses was surely training Joshua. Every morning while they were out in the desert, Moses would walk from the tent where he slept, to the tent where he would meet with God, and the people would all stand at the doors of their tents and watch him go until he stepped out of their sight. That’s how much respect they had for him.
Who knows where Joshua was?
I’m presuming one of the older ones at least should get this

Exodus 33:11 says
11 The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

Moses went back to his sleep tent and left the presence of God, every night, but Joshua, STAYED in the presence of God. He experienced more of God than the man who went before him. Moses got to take the people to the river on the opposite shore to the promised land, and then he died. It was Joshua, who took the people in, Joshua who led them as a victorious people and went on to do many things for God.

What about Elijah and Elisha.
Elijah was a mighty prophet of God, bringing God’s word to a people who didn’t always want to hear it. Confronting King Ahab, Queen Jezebel and their prophets of baal. Miraculous provision for him during a famine. Many years of drought, then God tells Elijah to pray for rain, and it rains! And it rains and rains and rains!

And he had an assistant too, Elisha.
He travelled with Elijah, learnt form him, and so on.
THEN, one day God decides it is time for Elijah to die, and Elisha is warned by other prophets, and by Elijah himself, to go home, because today he would be no more.
Each and every time he heard that warning, he said “As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” He continued to walk on with Elijah and with God.

Finally the time came, they crossed over the river and Elijah asked an important question.
2 kings 2:9-12a
9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?"
"Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit," Elisha replied.
10 "You have asked a difficult thing," Elijah said, "yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise not."
11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw this and cried out, "My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!" And Elisha saw him no more.
Elisha even had the guts to ASK for more than his predecessor had received.

I want each and every one of you to far surpass and outdo me!
I want to see each of you do more and be more and see more in God than I could ever imagine, and I believe that is possible!
And at the same time, I want you to understand that that is also true for those who come after you, they will see more and do more and be more than you ever could.
ESPECIALLY if you are willing to take your place as their spiritual big brothers and sisters.
Love them, talk to them, spend time with them, get to know them, work with them, be a good role model.

I’m not touting for helpers for the kids work here AT ALL.
Because you could NEVER step into an “official” kids session in your whole life and it would not change the fact that you are called to model for them what is possible in the Kingdom, that you are called to lead them into greater things than even you can do. Of course, if you feel like maybe God is calling you into that kind of area in church, speak to your youth team or one of the adults involved with the children, but please don’t think that is the only way to be an influence on them.
You ALREADY ARE an influence, you will continue to be as long as you are around them and they see and hear far more than you think they do.
Be careful role models, but be Impressive ones!

My vows - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 33

From a couple of years ago when hubby and I renewed our vows.

Andrew, I love you. I love you for what you are, but I love you yet more for what you are going to be. I love you not so much for your realities as for your ideals and your dreams. I pray that you dream big dreams and I promise to be here by your side, to see them come true.
I want you, Andrew, as my life’s mate. The love you have given me has reached into my heart and taken my soul captive. I have known no other love like yours outside of God and I joyously recommit myself to you, as I did 11 years ago.
I will share with you all the good and all the bad of life, all the laughter and the tears. I will rejoice in your strengths and help you develop them and I will encourage you and love you in spite of any weaknesses you may have. Not always shall you be what you are now. You are going forward toward something great. I am on the way with you and I love you. I will love you the rest of my life, because it is my choice to do so. This is the covenant I make with you."

2001 letter to self for 20 years in the future - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 30

Interesting, reading this post, because it predates the time when I was challenged over my relationship with my husband at church camp, that I truly believe began a new level of healing in our marriage. It's interesting to find myself writing things like "is he still around?" regarding my husband because we are now more in love than we have ever been.

If you wrote a letter to yourself that you would read in twenty years, what would you want to tell yourself? I know some things that I would include in my letter would be: where I was today in my spiritual walk and where I wish, at this point, I would be in my walk. It is neat to think that twenty years from now, I could be reading something that I wrote to myself. It kind of reminds me about Back to the Future 2 when Doc Brown writes himself a letter telling himself that he would be shot at a specific time which made Doc Brown wear a bullet proof vest to protect himself. This could be our chance to tell ourselves some things for the future.
Right, first let's work out how old I will be. I will be 50. Andrew will be 50. Matthew will be 30 (arrgghh!) and Michael will be almost 27! Well, here goes nothing……

Dear Zoë,
I don't really know what I want to say to you. Do I want to tell you things about me as I am now, or do I want to remind you of things? I think I have many many questions for you, more questions than things I want to tell you. But that's not what this is about.

Remember that night at the end of the first catch the fire? What was it God said to you as you lay on the floor twiddling your wedding ring? "I put that there for a purpose." I do hope that Andrew is still around and still with you, but if not, God's word still stands. HE had a purpose, maybe you can't see that right now, but one day you will. And if he is still around, remember to hug him and kiss him extra today, just for me. He might not be the easiest man to live with at times, but he is the one God gave you.

I do hope you are happy Zoë, you deserve to be you know. Your father God never intended for all the yuck that other people dealt you in life, just as he didn't intend for the yuck you dealt out to others. He loved you from the moment you were first thought of. He loves you, and he cares for you still. His ever-loving arms are just a cry away. Call on him and he will answer you.

I find myself wondering if you have seen all the things you wanted to see. Have you been to the places you wanted to go? Have you done the things you wanted to do? How much of that is still to come for you? Let's look at things, you are only 50, your life is not over, no matter how old you feel, or how little life you think you have left. Have you been to Australia yet, and worked for God with Kids out there? Well, you always said you thought it would be a retirement project from God didn't you. Better start planning now, I say.

ZOË, never forget that God called you to KIDS. You cannot run away from it, and no-one can take it away from you. I have no idea what has happened in the last 20 years, no idea if you are still involved, or if all that is past for you now. It doesn't matter if you're not still "doing the stuff", if God called you to KIDS then you need to find ways of being involved and supporting what is happening now, even if that is just through prayer.

Somehow I would guess that you are still at the thick of things, still in there working away, winning souls for the Lord. Yes you heard me. You wouldn't think that from the 30 year old me that is writing this would you? God called you to Kids, to love them, to be their friend, to lead them to Him, introduce them to Him. Are you still able to see things from their point of view? Learn from them, listen to them, and be creative.

What am I like now (the writing this now)? Am I very different from how you now (the reading this now) remember me?

I am 5 foot 6 inches tall. I weigh 14 stone 6.5 pounds, and I am losing weight on weight watchers. I started at 17 stone 1 pound, and I am aiming to reach 11 stone. I have short red hair, and freckles galore.
I work one day a week in the church office, and I lead the Energizer (fun & games) session of Sunday School every week. I teach a Sunday School class every other week, and often end up doing something with one or other of the kids on the weeks that I am not teaching. This means I very rarely get to be in the main hall for the "sermon", and get (presently) very little opportunity for prayer. I have been trying to stand up for myself on that one, and make something happen, but only you will know if that worked.

I am today extremely excited and hopeful about the possibility of doing a Christian nationally accredited course for leaders of Children's work. Trouble is it's £275. Well, if I don't do it this year, I'll do it next, so you will be a woman of qualification if all goes well with that.

Where do I hope you'll be spiritually? I do hope that this prayer journaling thing sticks for you. I hope that 20 years from now, you are still going strong with that, but also learning that moment by moment communication with Father as well. I hope that you know your bible a lot better than I do, and are remembering more of it too. I hope that God is using you to reach out to kids and to their parents, whether that be through a Sunday thing, a non church kids thing, or just day by day with the people around you. Gosh, maybe you even have grandchildren by now, what a scary thought. Me a grandparent, when I don't even feel that I make much of a good parent.

Did I do okay with the boys, have they turned out alright. If they went through school more or less the normal way they will both be well out of university now and established in careers maybe. Remember one thing and one thing only. It really doesn't matter what they choose to do with their lives, as long as they are okay with God, and they are relatively happy with their lives. Do they make good parents, or will they one day? Are they fine upstanding young men? Oh ZOË if they are not, don't despair. Despair is a horrible place to live, and it helps no-one. No-one else has the right to say this to you, but me, and I am telling it to you straight, if you are in that place you have to do everything that is possible to get yourself out of it. No, it's probably not your fault, but that doesn't matter right now, take control. Don't let the enemy win.

KIDZ KLUB? Did you reach the kids out there? Did you manage to find a way? Did Jabez really work? Oh the whole idea sounds so exciting, so big, so huge, so scary. But our God is a great God, and we should ask him for great things.

I could go on and on and on, for a very long time, without running out of things to say, but I have to stop somewhere, and here it will be.

ZOË enjoy the rest of your life. Enjoy the challenges God sends, Have Fun with God, Get to know him even better tomorrow than you do today. LOVE YOU!

Photo Recipe - Cheat's Fish Pie - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 29

Cheats Fish Pie
4 packets (1 box) of boil in the bag fish in sauce
Frozen peas
Tin of Sweetcorn
Tin or two of tuna
Instant Mashed potato, made up with butter and milk added.
1 packet dry stuffing mix

1. Cook the boil in the bag fish and the peas in a large pan of water.

2. Take each packet of fish from the pan, one at a time.

3. Cut the packet with scissors and pour the contents into the dish.

4. Flake the fish with a fork.

5. Open and drain a tin of sweetcorn.

6. Mix the sweetcorn into the fish and sauce mixture.

7. Drain the peas.

8. Add the peas to the fish and sauce mixture and mix in.

9. Open and drain the tins of tuna.

10. Flake the tuna with a fork over the top of the fish in sauce mixture.

11. Season well with freshly ground salt and pepper.

12. make up enough instant mash to cover your dish, according to the instructions on the packet, using milk and butter for creaminess.

13. Top the fish mixture with the mash.

14. Dot with tiny pieces of butter.

15. Take a packet of dry stuffing mix.

16. And sprinkle over the top of the mash.

17. Pop this into the oven . . .

18. . . . Until it looks like this.
EDITED TO ADD: Nope, Anna, the three photo recipes that are on here, I did with my eldest son a few weeks ago and the photos have been sitting on the computer ever since. Haven't got around to making the posts. Figured today was an ideal opportunity. If you look back through today's posts you will find the other two.

Mark 10, Jesus heals a Blind Man - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 27

I wrote this quite a few years ago. I had been reading the particular passage of scripture and thinking about seeing it from particular people's point of view and this is what came out.

Mark 10:46 - 52

Here I am, sitting here, just like I do every day, in my allotted place, waiting, hoping, hoping that someone will take pity on me and put something in my bowl.

It sounds like there's a lot more people about than normal, and it's getting louder. Then I start to feel people brushing past me, crowding, rushing.
"What is it?"
"What's going on?" I ask.
But no-one answers, they're all too busy, in a hurry to see, to see … well, whatever it is.

Then I overhear, manage to pick out one voice from among the hundreds that are crowding my ears for attention.
"Jesus, of Nazareth, Rabbi."
Oh! The rabbi that has healed …. I have heard so many stories. But me, would he heal me? I'm not so good, would he do that for me? I suppose I'll never forgive myself unless I find out.

"Jesus of Nazareth have mercy on me!"
No-one hears, so I shout louder "Jesus, son of David, I NEED YOU!"
This time I am heard, but by the crowd. They tell me to be quiet and stop making a fuss.
"What would he want with a dirty, smelly beggar?" they say.

But I won't listen to them. The healer is here. This could be my only chance. I shout and I carry on shouting.

Then someone grabs my arm. Ouch!
"Hey there's no need to be rough," I yell " I just want to speak to the rabbi."
"You don't get it mate, that's where we're taking you."
"Yeah, he's calling for YOU, asking for you to be brought to him."
"Don't be scared, come on, there's no time to waste."

And then, there I am, standing in a clear space in the middle of the crowd, and I can feel someone standing in front of me. I just know it is HIM! What do I do? What do I say? So many thoughts running through my head.

But before I have a chance to make sense of anything, he speaks to me.
"What do you want from me?"
What do I want! Can't he see, doesn't he know? Well, of course he does, so why is he asking? Oh who cares!
"Rabbi, I want to see."
There, I've said it, no going back now, no matter what happens I've tried, at least I've asked. It seems like an eternity before he speaks again, but it's probably only moments.
"You are healed. Your faith has healed you."

Dare I? Dare I open my eye lids? But he has spoken so I must.

WOW! So much, Oh my goodness! Look at that! And that! What? Oh …… Wow …. Where's Jesus? I must say thank you.
"Jesus, Stop, Wait!"
But what does he need to wait for me for, now I can see.

So I join the crowd and I follow him. Where to, I don't know, but he has changed my life forever, I just have to find out what it's all about!

Star Wars and men in church - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 24

Wrote this sometime last year.

I have just sat through an episode of Deep Space nine, one of the ones with Warf in it, which was kind of weird, because we're used to seeing him on the other series, but anyway!

Series 5 episode 7.

A group of them go on holiday to a planet called Risa.

I just sat through someone (who actually turned out to be a kind of bad guy, meant well, but went wrong, but anyway) sit and tell them that because the whole point of this planet was pleasure and enjoying yourself and having a good time that he saw them all as children who couldn't defend themselves! And if he saw them like that then how did their enemies see them?
Risa is one of those planets the federation has set up with all sorts of things to control it's natural environment. They control the weather, to make it always lovely and wonderful, they control the seismic activity to make sure there are never any earthquakes (and BTW therefore never any tsunami waves), and so on. He turns off the weather control and all of a sudden the people start to leave, they're not enjoying themselves any more, they complain about everything.

Was talking to M on Friday about we as a church don't really know how to fight, then on Sunday got that revelation that some of what happened in that beach dream was about our children not knowing how to fight, even for themselves.
And I sat there and watched this, kind of open mouthed really, like "OK, now I understand what T's been on about".


There was also some stuff in this episode about Warf and his romantic relationship with one of the female characters.
And how she confronts him on the fact that he is so restrained, so locked in, never really knowing how to enjoy stuff, never really being truly himself, who he was made to be.
And he talks about how in the heat of the moment of a football match when he was a kid he killed a boy, not meaning to and realized that . . . .
here it comes . . . . .
"I realized how much more fragile humans are and that if I was going to live among them I would have to hold back for the rest of my life!"
Then there was some stuff about the relationship with her, and he didn't want her as someone he loved to get hurt, because of him being himself.
But in the end he got so angry at what this bad guy was doing that he did let rip, did let the real Warf out.

Doesn't that have something to say to our men, to where a lot of them have found themselves in the past, and for sure some of them still are, but also what you said about the young men in youth as well. That maybe some of the holding back has been out of fear for what would happen to those around them, those they love.

But also something more general than that, something about the angels we've seen as well, something about them holding back, because we would get hurt.
Not sure I understand all of it, but it was incredibly powerful.

Washing the Wedding Dress - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 21

This is another piece that came initially as a picture. We were in worship one Sunday, and I could vividly see the beginning of the following scene play out before me in my head. As I began to write down what I saw, the rest of this came flowing out.
What I did NOT know at that point was that a friend of mine was going to stand up at the front during the announcements section of the meeting and her and husband were to publically recommit. She had not told me she was going to do that, hadn't hinted at it or anything of the sort. I had NO IDEA! And so, when she did, we knew this was a God thing.
I've shared this in a number of places in a number of ways and truly want to get it "out there". I've been told over and over that it is a powerful piece.

I can see a woman standing over a huge washtub, desperately rubbing this fabric up and down a washboard.
“I MUST get it clean”, she’s crying, “I have to.”
She’s desperate, helpless, the stains won’t come out, there’s nothing she can do.
“I can’t wear it like THIS!” she says as she falls in a heap on the floor.

What’s in the washtub? Her wedding dress. Soiled, damaged, ripped and dirty.

How could she ever hope to get it clean, to get it ready, to make it “good enough”. It had been many years, and many stains, she had no hope of ever making it right.

In hopelessness she cried out to the only one who could make it clean.

Take this dress,
Take this mess
That was our marriage.
Lord, You’ve done so much already.
Dare I ask this one thing more?
Make me clean.
Take away this stain.”

Gently, lovingly, He took her hand.

“I’ve been waiting.
Waiting for this moment of desperation.
Waiting for you to know that I am the only one who can remove this stain, take away this hurt.”

He took her hand and lifted her to stand.

“Come look again.”

He lifted out the gown.
Still, there were the stains, but now they were changing. They joined, they merged as He touched them. As He ran his hand over this filthy rotten gown, it became a pattern on the fabric.
A beautiful pattern that even the greatest designer could not have come up with.

“I cannot take away what has already happened,
But I can treat the stain, heal the hurt, take the pain.”

“Take it!" He said, holding the dress out to her "Go, try it on."

She grasped the dress out of His hands, she ran to the next room and put on that dress.

When she returned, she was truly beautiful. She twirled about the room, radiant, beautiful, clothed in God’s love, His forgiveness, His healing.

"Now Go!
Now you are ready.
Ready to change hearts and lives.
Change whole cities, whole nations,
Because now you walk in a gown that is clean,
Truly clothed in my righteousness.
You have a job to do out there my dear child."

"But, I’ll get it dirty again!"

"Yes, I know, but now you know, now you are learning, how to get it clean again."

Photo Recipe - Stir Fry - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 20

Here we have another of our photo recipes!

2 tbsp oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (we used garlic in a jar, 1tsp for each clove)
1 tsp grated fresh root ginger (we used ginger in a jar, 1 tsp)
1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped. (Either wear gloves when you do this, or cover your hands with veg oil before and wash off afterwards. These methods prevent you being left with chilli on your hands, which you can then get in your eyes or whatever.)
1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and cut into strips.
3 carrots, cut into strips
1 large onion, sliced
250g pork, cut into cubes
1 courgettes, sliced
1 small broccoli head, divided into florets

2 tbsp soy sauce
2tbsp orange juice
1 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar.

1. Prepare your vegetables.

2. Here you can see some extra leaves. That's because I decided to add Pak Choi as well, because there was some reduced in the supermarket.

3. If you can get it, just chop the root end off, cut the firm part into smaller pieces and leave the green leafy parts fairly whole.

4. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan.

5. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli. I also added the pak choi firmer pieces here. You only want to soften and warm these, not brown them.

6. Add in the pepper, carrots, onion and pork.

7. Stir fry over a medium to high heat for about 5 minutes.

8. Then add the courgettes and the broccoli. We also added the leaves of the pak choi here.

9. Mix the sauce ingredients together and stir into the stir fry. Allow to bubble a little and toss the vegetables in the sauce to coat.

10. Serve with noodles or rice. We use microwave rice. Not the cheapest option at supermarket prices, at all, but very reasonable in stores such as home bargains.

Do you believe in Co-Incidences? - BLOGATHON 2007 Post 18

This is LONG! Wrote it Spring a few years ao, just a week or so before we went on vacation.

Do you believe in co-incidences?
I don't.
Do you believe that when God repeats Himself or speaks repeatedly on the same subject, we should listen attentively?
I do!
This is going to be VERY long, because I'm going to quote some quite long passages. Don't let that put you off; they are passages that most of you will know. I'm just quoting them so that you can see their relationship to each other.
Let me walk you through the last 2 hours of my life. I had fallen behind on a bible study I am doing with the ladies over at Women at Home, Believing God by Beth Moore. I had also fallen behind on a 21 day reading and prayer focus put out by Chuck Pierce, over the Elijah List.
So tonight I didn't join my hubby and my boys down at scouts, I stayed home to play catch up.
First I did day 3's homework from week 5 of Believing God. It talks about Moses' mention in the Hebrews 11 hall of faith. It talks about the first Passover and how much faith it would have taken for Moses to step out and do what god was asking. It talks about how that was looking forward to the blood Jesus would shed on our behalf as the ultimate Lamb of God.

Exodus 12
The Passover

1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt,
2 This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.
3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.
4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbour, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat.
5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.
6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.
7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door-frames of the houses where they eat the lambs.
8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast.
9 Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire— head, legs and inner parts.
10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it.
11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD's Passover.
12 On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn— both men and animals— and I will bring judgement on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD.
13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
14 This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD— a lasting ordinance.
15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day until the seventh must be cut off from Israel.
16 On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat— that is all you may do.
17 Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.
18 In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day.
19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is an alien or native-born.
20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.
21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb.
22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the door-frame. Not one of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning.
23 When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the door-frame and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.
24 Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants.
25 When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony.
26 And when your children ask you, 'What does this ceremony mean to you?'
27 then tell them, 'It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.' Then the people bowed down and worshipped.
28 The Israelites did just what the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron.
29 At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well.
30 Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.

The Exodus
31 During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested.
32 Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.
33 The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. For otherwise, they said, we will all die!
34 So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing.
35 The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing.
36 The LORD had made the Egyptians favourably disposed towards the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.

Then I went to the 21 day focus. Today I needed to do day 20. The first reading was Joshua 3

Joshua 3

Crossing the Jordan
1 Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over.
2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp,
3 giving orders to the people: When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it.
4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about a thousand yards between you and the ark; do not go near it.
5 Joshua told the people, Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.
6 Joshua said to the priests, Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people. So they took it up and went ahead of them.
7 And the LORD said to Joshua, Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so that they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.
8 Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: 'When you reach the edge of the Jordan's waters, go and stand in the river.'
9 Joshua said to the Israelites, Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God.
10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites.
11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you.
12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe.
13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD— the Lord of all the earth— set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.
14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them.
15 Now the Jordan is in flood all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge,
16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.
17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.

The instructions for prayer today were two fold. Firstly "Do not fear crossing over." Secondly "Ask the Lord to Sanctify you."
WOH! Do not fear Crossing over into your promised Land? What is there to fear for me? I was afraid because I still do not know what my promised land looks like, what it is that God has for me, I was afraid of the unknown. I was afraid that I would not hear God and that I would be 'being still', 'waiting' for a long time. I was afraid that I would not hear God and that I would step out without hearing Him, because I wanted to DO. I was afraid of what people might think, both if I waited much longer and when I cross over into the promised land. I was afraid, and this is one that just echoes Beth Moore from the week 5 video... I was afraid that I WOULD FAIL GOD, that I would not be ENOUGH.
I put my hand to my chest and it was as if I held all that fear in my hand, in a tightly clenched fist. I pictured myself before the cross, looked up into Jesus' face and there was still something stopping me letting go, stopping me laying this fear down. Then I remembered that it says in the word that god has not given us a spirit of fear, so I bound the spirits and demons of fear that have been harassing me, I commanded them to leave and go where Jesus told them to go and lay that bundle of fear down at the foot of the cross, backed away quickly, turned and walked away.
Does that mean those fears will never surface again? I doubt it. But I know who is on the winning side; I know I have the authority.
Then, I asked the Lord to Sanctify me, I looked up sanctify in the KJV with strongs numbers. Consecrate, Set apart, Prepare, Dedicate, Be holy. Tall order? NO! Ask GOD to sanctify YOU. HE DOES IT! NOT US. We don't have to work anything up, God does it! And at that moment I saw in my spirit a waterfall, pouring down, right there in the middle of my kitchen. And I was cleansed and I was washed, and I stepped forward into the father's embrace.
I still had time left so I moved on to Day 4's homework for Believing God.
Day 4 talks about Joshua. About how the walls of Jericho fell BY FAITH.

Joshua 6

1 Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No-one went out and no-one came in.
2 Then the LORD said to Joshua, See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.
3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days.
4 Make seven priests carry trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets.
5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, make all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.
6 So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, Take up the ark of the covenant of the LORD and make seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.
7 And he ordered the people, Advance! March around the city, with the armed guard going ahead of the ark of the LORD.
8 When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the LORD went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the LORD's covenant followed them.
9 The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding.
10 But Joshua had commanded the people, Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!
11 So he had the ark of the LORD carried around the city, circling it once. Then the people returned to camp and spent the night there.
12 Joshua got up early the next morning and the priests took up the ark of the LORD.
13 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the LORD and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the LORD, while the trumpets kept sounding.
14 So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days.
15 On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times.
16 The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the people, Shout! For the LORD has given you the city!
17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent.
18 But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it.
19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into his treasury.
20 When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city.

I like to read the bible out loud when I can. It takes longer, but it is worth it.
I got to verse 4, part way through verse 5 and I stopped.
OH LORD! How could I have forgotten? How could I have lost something like that?
THIS PLACE! THIS PLACE that I wrote about in my last blog, this place that I am living, THIS IS MY JERICHO! This estate is circular (well, more or less), the point is it has a perimeter road, a 'wall' if you like, a defence. And our house stands right on the perimeter, looking out, a house in the wall (remember rahab's house was in the wall). And I remembered someone speaking over our house that it would be a gate house in a walled city that it would be a WAY IN.
OH LORD forgive me, how could I have forgotten? THIS IS MY JERICHO.
Then I read on, worked my way (in awe) through Beth Moore's notes on this and other passages. Overwhelmed by God's goodness. Here we are, we've gone from the first Passover and the escape from Egypt, through the Jordan at the other end of their journey 40 years later, and finally into Jericho! And you know, it didn't make sense to Joshua? He was a master warrior, a MIGHTY MAN, he KNEW how to fight a battle to win. This walking business, this shouting, it didn't make sense. But you see, Joshua was a worshipper as well as a warrior and he knew, from past experience that it was God who fought for them, that it was God who won the battles, and he knew that God's strategies were the best.
This battle will not be won with muscle, Mighty Warrior, this battle will be won by faith!
Do you hear that? THIS battle, THIS Jericho, YOUR JERICHO, whatever that is, will not depend on strength of numbers, will not depend on our ideas, our plans, our strategies, it will depend on our ability to believe what God is telling us to do even if it seems like the worst idea in the world. And we can believe Him in those circumstances because he has shown us before. And because, PRAISE GOD....
Glory to His name, victory is NOT about what we deserve, it's about about WHO we follow!
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