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Thursday, 24 December 2015

A politically correct greeting

I lay no claim to the following as my own work, I saw it some years ago, loved it and reproduced it. I do not know who the originator was and therefore cannot credit them. I am however grateful to them.



Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practised within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to observe religious or secular traditions at all.

I also wish that the supreme being of your conscious thought (if you believe in one) grant you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2015, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures, understanding, with all due respect, that you may choose not to believe in a higher power or accept positive outpourings from an outside source upon your life.

OR

Merry Christmas

&

A Happy New Year



Friday, 18 December 2015

Finding Peace in a World of Struggle: Prayer for the Troubled Heart

I discovered this article on  the Crosswalk website and thought that it might be a blessing to some:


Finding Peace in a World of Struggle: Prayer for the Troubled Heart

By Debbie McDaniel

This world can be a dark place many days. News reports of shootings, innocent lives being lost too soon, terrorist threats, unrest, and struggle are constant reminders that we live in uncertain times. Past hurts cling tightly, our present reality filled with pressures, the future may seem to loom with fear.
Many times we wonder, is finding peace in the midst of all this even possible?
One quote reminds us, “Peace. It doesn't mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
Another says, "No God, no peace. Know God, know peace."
And both are true.
Without knowing the perfect peace and calm assurance of God Himself in this crazy, mixed up world, we will live forever struggling to gain control, always finding ourselves in the inner battle with stress and anxiety. Yet focusing on God’s words can bring life to our souls, no matter what swirls around us on any given day. He is able to bring security, so we're not overcome with fear, or find ourselves sinking down into a pit of worry.
He's the Answer to our place of refuge. We can never fully escape all the mess this world may bring our way. We live in a fallen place. But in the midst of what life deals us, we can remain steadfast, strong.
How?
Often, living a peace-filled life comes down to a choice. Choosing to come to Him, choosing to set our minds on His Word, choosing to trust Him no matter what, choosing to pray in all that we face, choosing not to be anxious, choosing to believe that He's always with us and in control, choosing to set our thoughts on those things that are true and right.
God reminds us in His word that peace will not naturally just come our way. He tells us to "seek peace and pursue it" Ps 34:14. Some may offer their own advice, "Get away for a few days, relax and be happy, take a vacation, tune out, just don't think about stressful stuff" But it's only temporary relief in a crazy, struggling  world. Vain attempts to cover desperate places of our souls with superficial, external fixes.
But the peace God offers is vastly different. It's lasting. Confident. Real. Breathing deep reassurance in the midst of all that we face – past, present, or future. Rising up against the fear that would seek to choke our lives. Bringing comfort and freedom.
God's words give strength, purpose, grace. They alone are what can bring inner calm to a whirlwind of crazy.


13 Verses of Peace to Guard Your Hearts and Minds in Him:


Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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
The Lord gives strength to his people, the Lord blesses his people with peace.” Psalm 29:11
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.”1 Peter 5:7
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” 1 Corinthians 14:33
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16
“…the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things…and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9
For He Himself is our peace…” Ephesians 2:14

The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you, the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

No matter what we go through in this life, or what we're up against today, we don't have to be shaken.
We're safe with Him.
At rest.
At peace.
He sent His only Son, pure essence of Peace Himself, to give us lasting freedom and peace that only He can give.




Dear God,
Our world is hurting and broken. We pray for those who have lost loved ones even today, please comfort them in their grief and loss, cover them with your peace and presence, as only your Spirit can do.
We know that in whatever we face, you are our Peace and Refuge, a very present help in times of trouble. Thank you that you remind us throughout your Word, we do not face the storms alone, but you are always with us. Whispering calm. Speaking peace. Bringing rest to our souls.
We confess our need for you. We ask you to forgive us for trying to figure everything out on our own, for not trusting that you are more than able and powerful to work on our behalf. Forgive us for picking back up what we already determined to lay down at your feet. Give us the ability to trust you more, give us a heart that finds rest in your presence, give us the wisdom to seek peace and pursue it, remembering it’s only to be found in you alone.
Thank you that your yoke is easy and your burden is light. Thank you that you care for us. Thank you that the peace of your loving and strong presence guards and protects our hearts and minds in you. Thank you that we do not have to walk in fear or live in overwhelmed cycles of worry and stress.
Thank you for your voice that breaks through the greatest wind and storm swirling around us, and whispers “Peace, be still.”
Thank you that you sent your One and Only Son to set us free.
In the Mighty Name of Jesus,
Amen.


Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/DebbieWebbMcDaniel, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives. Find her also at http://twitter.com/debbmcdaniel.



Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Whatever happened to Slade this Christmas?




One of my highlights at Christmas is to hear some of the great 70's Christmas songs of which Slade's "We wish you a merry Christmas" takes pole position. I always look forward to hearing and singing along with it. After all Noddy Holder's voice is not really much different to mine! 

BUT 
Something has happened. Firstly I have lost the cd that contains the song in our exit from RB to the Seaway and secondly I have only heard it once on the radio and not at all in the shops! the only other time that I have heard the song was by "The Huckleberry Finns" the local blues group in Looe. They were playing at the Christmas celebration in West Looe a couple of weeks ago and performed a great concert to a handful of people. The weather had caused a number of events to be cancelled but nobody seemed to tell the public that our local heroes were hardy enough to brave the elements! 

SAD


Rob the bass player is a friend of mine, it was great to hear them playing but sad that so few benefitted from a free concert in support of their chosen charity.



Back to the point of the blog: The old songs seem to be missing from the playlists. The songs of an earlier generation are more popular but what has been a great surprise is the Carols are much more popular. Another observation is that the tacky decorations that came with the era of Slade, Wizzard, Greg Lake et al have disappeared also. There are no singing Santa's and Christmas trees to be seen. Decorations are far more classy and display the artistry taken over putting them up. Looe is looking lovely and I would like to thank all that have added to the experience of walking the streets especially after dark. It is a credit to you. 



I would like to echo the sentiments of Slade here and wish all a happy Christmas and remind you that Christmas only came into being because God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son in order that through His life and sacrificial death we can be saved from the penalty that sin has upon us. 

The never land of Santa Claus is a fun fantasy but the promised land of heaven is a reality for all who will trust in the Saviour Jesus Christ who was born one day in Bethlehem about 2000 years ago. Why not pick up a bible and read Luke's account of the birth of Jesus or follow the link below:





Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Come aside and rest.

Come aside and rest.



This photo was taken a few years ago now but it always brings a smile to my heart. It was taken at the river mouth at Ogmore-by-Sea. The reason for it bringing happy memories is that it is unofficially adopted as Pam's and my bench. It has been a place of quiet rest, contemplation, prayer and building up.
Pam and I have often sat there through the storms of life when all seemed as if everything was dark and hopeless.
When Pam was undergoing chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy she was well advised to keep fit and so we took as many precautions as we could in order to keep her away from the coughs and colds of life, along with all of our food laced with garlic. We walked every day as far as was possible whatever the weather, our usual circuit was approximately 5 miles with this wonderful bench and it's beautiful view being our last but most important resting place.
Pam would happily sit there for 'hours' deep in thought and prayer whereas I being a boy sat for a few minutes and then the attraction of stones and water drew me to my own skimming contest. Every stone was another prayer point, some were in desperation, others in anger along with great concern, but mostly they were in praise of the great creator God who provided that place just for us. No matter what the weather God's glory could be seen, even the foggy days were helpful because we knew what was there even if we could not see it.
Even in difficult times, when all seemed lost in the fogs of fear and worry we knew along with the hymn writer that "Behind a frowning providence God hides a smiling face!" William Cowper who wrote the hymn "God moves in a mysterious way" knew full well what it was to go through dark days, he eventually in the depths of despair took his own life even though he believed in and trusted God. Sometimes we need a place of quiet rest where we draw close to God and be still in His presence. Our bench was such a place for us.
We thank God for the provision of a place like our bench in Ogmore but where do we go now?
Looe is so much different to South Wales, it is not open and vast. It is not quiet and peaceful, it is bustling with activity for much of the year and we do not get to see the sun setting over the sea. These are not all negatives because we really do love living here. It is clearly the place of God's provision for us currently and we are grateful recipients of His kindness and grace.

Where do we for rest and peace now?
We enjoy our walks along the seafront with coffee stops along the way. Coffee shops were never an option in Ogmore and so an espresso and a weak Latte on the way are a great addition to our constitutional!
But where is the place of quiet rest that Jesus invites us to?

The Banjo Pier or even the benches by the bridge are often a reasonable substitute to our Ogmore bench for reflection. It is not so quiet there but it is nevertheless a beautiful view of the glory of God in His creation. Wherever there are benches to rest on, Pam can still sit for 'hours' and I, usually with a pocket full of stones can throw my prayers to the One who really cares!

There are a number of differences between what we had before and what we have now but there is one constant, which is, that we are here because it is God's purpose for us. We spent 20 years very happy in Wales and now we are about to experience our third Christmas in Cornwall. We believe that God has led us here to come aside and rest awhile. The best place of rest for all Christians is with the people of God. He has placed us in a fellowship where together we are learning what it really means to come together and rest in His love, grace and mercy. A time of rest is necessary at times because we are in a spiritual battle which at times drains all of our energy. There is much in the bible about resting before God in order that we are equipped for all that the future has for us. God is so good, He is blessing our little Mustard Seed Church in Callington. It is our place of worship, fellowship and service and we love it. Please pray that in all things we will see God's purposes for His church in Cornwall.




This photo is a sunrise over Looe which reminds us that the sun of righteousness spoken of by Malachi the prophet has risen. The Lord Jesus who is Righteous has brought about a day when we can come to Him and rest awhile and through Him find true peace and when we do it really does not matter where we go to rest as He is always with His people. One of the names given to Jesus is Immanuel which simply means that “God is with us” therefore wherever we are, the Peace of God is our constant companion.

One day Jesus said to His disciples "Let's go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile>"

He still says that today, will you find time to be with Him alone?

We pray that the Lord will truly bless you all over this Christmas season and for 2016.



Love from Peter & Pam