June '22 Sunrises

'Treasure!' - 30/06/22

If you are looking for a place to search for buried treasure, you could start with the Seychelles. In the 17th century, it was renown as a hiding place for pirate’s treasure. It is believed that an infamous pirate by the name of Olivier Levasseur hid treasure worth more than $160,000 in the Seychelles, and it has never been found. So, if you are planning a holiday, I would take your bucket and spade to dig for X that marks the spot!

When I think of treasure, I am aware that treasure can mean different things to different people. For pirates it definitely meant gold. However, your treasure could mean knowledge, or family, or wealth of a different sort.

Whatever it is, treasure is definitely something that is important to you.

The bible reminds us that some treasure is even more important than pirate gold:

Matthew 6:19-21

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The treasure the bible is talking about here, is not treasure of the pirate kind, but rather time spent following God and following the example of Jesus. By loving others with God’s love, and putting God first in your life, this is truly treasure of the heavenly sort. We are called to bring heaven to earth by the way we love God and act towards others. That truly is treasure to search after, and treasure that will last.

So what treasure are you going to look for today?

 

'Thistles' - 28/06/22

Here I am, walking my dog, in the beautiful sunshine, surrounded by thistles! They are everywhere! Some of them the same height as me (5 foot 4 3/4!!) 

I’m feeling somewhat threatened by these spiky yet beautiful plants. 

I’m resisting calling them weeds, after all wasn’t it Winnie the Pooh who said, ‘weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them’. Well here I am, getting to know the thistles! (And I like them.) 

Thistles have been the national flower of Scotland since the 13th century. Vikings would try to creep up on Scottish clansmen only to discover that they were walking barefoot on thistles laid out on the ground. (Where were their shoes???)

Their cries of agony and distress were the perfect alarm for the clansmen! (Clever!) 

Today the Scottish are still very proud of their national flower. They no longer lay them as traps for the enemy, but rather get them tattooed on a bicep, have them embroidered on a kilt, and I’ve even heard of someone using them to make a sporran! (Ouch! Think I’d prefer to stand on one!)

These beautiful yet lethal flowers are covered in tiny thorns in order to protect them from being attacked. It’s natures defence system (incredible?!) 

Thinking about that, I realise that we have more in common with the thistle than I thought. How often do we build a brick wall around ourselves, or develop a sharp, spiky attitude towards anyone around us, because we feel anxious or threatened or afraid? 

Like the thistle, we may be constantly on the defence, anticipating another perceived attack at any moment. Life is cruel at times, we can feel battered and bruised and weary. Feeling broken by tough times and experiences and nervous about letting our guard down again. As we join together as church, in our communities, and with families and friends, let’s be mindful that the thistles we are sitting next to need kind words, encouragement, patience and understanding. 

I’m really enjoying my walk today, seeing these beautiful flowers has given me renewed perspective that spikes are there for a reason.

Let us all be kind to the thistles, the plant type and the people type, and let’s continue to make our world and much better place. One thistle at a time.

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11 

'A Sigh of Relief' - 27/06/22

It’s amazing how stress can build up over a year, not because you have done anything wrong or because people have made your life difficult, but just because that’s life. Some of our younger family members have been working very hard all year preparing for exams. Preparing is tough enough, but the actual weeks of the exams can test student’s stamina and confidence to the limit. Inevitably it spreads out to parents and grandparents as well. Then as individual exams are ticked off and the day arrives when students walk out on their final day, you can almost hear a sigh of relief across generations. I’ve not taken any exams this year, or last year, or…. I’m sure you get the message; those days are behind me. How I miss exams! The next events will centre around attendance at various colleges and university in September, so we have a few months of tranquillity, except for that one day in August when the exam results are announced. We’re looking forward to that! One family member has a new job, one is looking for a job. I must have forgotten something.

Our family is no different to any other. Many families in our community have had seriously difficult issues to deal with, and as one is dealt with, another appears on the horizon.  

It was no different in Jesus’ time, as He walked the streets and pathways of Palestine, He was constantly looking into the faces of people who were stressed, lonely, angry, frightened, or ill with no hope of a cure. Many of them were transformed by His compassion and power. During the last meal with His disciples, He told them that life would be difficult without Him, but He said, “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” Jesus always spoke the truth; none of us can expect to sail through life without problems and sadness’s (and exams!), but for those who trust Him, God’s gift is His peace, which is better than anything the world can offer.    

"Can't See The Woods For The Trees" - 25/06/22

There are some times when there are so many tasks surrounding us, that we talk about “not being able to see the wood for the trees”.  There are times in my job when we run healthchecks on our computers and when you first see the results, you see hundreds of issues building up. It can be quite daunting at first sight, but when you start to look at the detail from a different view, you see things differently. The hundreds of issues actually are related to only a handful of actual solutions. So what was a daunting task can then become a much simpler one.

Sometimes in our own life, there can be a build up a jobs to be done. In themselves each job may not be that tricky but when you put them all together it can be a bit overwhelming. But there can be a path through which sometimes does not appear straight away, but it is there. Sometimes, other people can help you through this path. It may be an offer of help or just finding your way through yourself. But there is a path, there is a light at the end of the journey.

We are reminded in the Bible “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory through Jesus. He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.”

Being a Christian does not mean that life will be a bed of roses, but it does mean that you can depend on the love, comfort and support that God can provide, either directly or through others.

One thing to remember is that we are not alone in our journey, there are others around you who will help and we have a God who loves us and cares for us

 

"Embracing The Positive" - 24/06/22

I did something on Monday that I never thought I would do. I set foot inside Anfield; or, as it is now ostentatiously known, The Anfield Stadium. Some people have a, "To Do" list... this was on my, "Not To Do" list. You may wonder why. Well, Anfield is the home of Liverpool Football Club and I am a dyed in the wool Evertonian. Like most football fans, we don't really know what ignites the passion for a particular club. I suppose it's in our blood. My Grandad was on Everton's books in the thirties, although he never made the first team; my Dad was born in Goodison Road; my uncle was a shareholder etc. etc. I had my first season ticket when I was nine. So, to enter enemy territory has always been anathema to me.

Why do it then? Because something was happening there that was more of a positive than the negative of setting foot in the place. One of my favourite bands, The Eagles, were playing there. So, whilst Anfield may have been on my, "Not To Do" list, The Eagles were on my, "Bucket List" and that won out. I have attempted to see the Eagles on three previous occasions; once I had to cancel due to a scheduling clash with another event and the other two concerts were cancelled due to the Covid pandemic. So, Anfield or not, I wanted to make sure I didn't miss this opportunity... particularly as the original band members are now in their seventies and you never know how much longer they've got!

Was it worth it? Oh, yes! The Eagles did not disappoint. They have been performing for fifty years and they can still deliver the goods. So, I'm glad I accepted that there was something for which it was worth setting aside my long held prejudice. The positive was so much better than the negative.

I have found that for some people a relationship with Jesus is on their, "Not To Do" list. Like me, they have what seem like perfectly good reasons. For some it's a dislike of organised religion; for others it was a negative experience at Sunday School; still others grew up in a family where church going was not a thing; some people have always had other things that seemed more important; others just don't like going into a church; some have a fear of commitment, or a fear of change; some believe they will have to give things up that they are attached to; others that there are too many don'ts. Jesus is not about any of these things. He says, "I have come so that you may have life in all its fullness".

Jesus will not disappoint. He has been changing people's lives for the better for a lot longer than The Eagles have been performing. So, if you have been tempted to meet Him on other occasions in your life and something got in the way, don't miss the opportunity now. None of us know how long we have got, so why not set aside whatever prejudice you may have and discover that His positive is so much better than any negative you may be holding on to

 

"The Power Of The Crocodile" - 23/06/22

I am sure that everyone has heard of ‘The eye of the Tiger’, and that infamous song in the rocky movie that accompanies the boxer training! I wonder though, if anyone has heard of ‘The power of the Crocodile’?

If you are familiar with Papua New Guinea culture, you may have. Whilst most cultures believe that puberty is hard enough, the Sepik people of Papua New Guinea take the transition to adulthood to a whole new level. In this culture, crocodiles are worshipped, and they believe that you must be ‘reborn’ into a brave warrior by battling a ‘supernatural crocodile’. The adolescents must first be ‘eaten’ by the crocodile in a special ceremony which involves tiny cuts on the arms, legs and bodies. They are then caked in clay and confined a ceremonial house until the wounds heal. When they emerge, they have the ‘Power of the crocodile’ and are deemed a brave warrior!

This definitely falls under the category of ‘Don’t try this at home’! 

I do find it interesting that in lots of cultures, however different to our own, there is the process of change that is celebrated. The process of ‘becoming who you were meant to be’ or transformation, is seen as an important part of the journey of life. 

In the Rocky films, it took a lot of Blood sweat and tears for the boxer to be transformed into a prize fighter. In Papua New Guinea, it takes fighting a supernatural crocodile!

The Bible also talks a lot about transformation. Thankfully tigers or crocodiles are not involved! The bible reports many accounts of how people’s lives are transformed when they encounter Jesus and his love. In fact, when Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth, he described it like this:

2 Corinthians 5:

If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new! All this is from God. Through Christ, God made peace between us and himself, and God gave us the work of telling everyone about the peace we can have with him. 

Saying yes to Jesus doesn’t mean that you have to fight a crocodile or run up a lot of steps (like Rocky), but the more time you spend learning about Jesus and his love, the more we become the person God created us to be. It’s a gradual process and we learn every day. We are all on a transformation journey so to speak. 

So today, where are you on your journey with God? Whether you are just beginning, or have been walking with him for years, take time to be with him today and take the next step along the way.

 

"The River Of Life" - 22/06/22

Wherever you live in the world, water is essential to human life. Water for drinking, washing, growing crops and feeding animals to name but a few. Without water, life is impossible. 

This is seen very clearly in the country of Mali. Its landscape is dominated by the great Niger river, which runs through the country. All the towns and villages where people live in Mali is centered around the river. If you go too far from the river you hit the great Sahara Desert. Everything in Mali is focused on the river Niger because they can’t survive without it.

Jesus describes himself as Water, which may seem strange, but he actually describes himself as the water of life!

John 4

Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”

Jesus was trying to explain that he was as important to us as water is. His love, his care, are as vital to our existence as the Niger river is to the people of Mali. Without Jesus dying for us and beating death, he cant help us through this life, and it means that we cant live forever with God and Jesus in heaven. 

That’s a bold claim for anyone to make, but Jesus is clear. He is the living water, he is Love, and his love is there for anyone who would invite him into their lives, to walk alongside them. His invitation is for everyone, everywhere, from Mali to the UK and everywhere in between. Come and see what Jesus is like and how amazing his love is.

Next time you boil the kettle, or have a shower or put the washing on, think about Jesus, the water that never runs out and his love that never runs out.

 

"Wallpaper" - 21/06/22

I’ve got new wallpaper! 7 foot parrots, toucans and cockatoos in their beautiful bright colours, now adorn one wall of my lounge! I’m more than delighted with them! Totally excited actually! I love my big birds! It reminds me of tropical days, beautiful, bright sunshine, Latino music, fiestas, and an abundance of large papayas! Putting it bluntly, if I had to be a wallpaper this would be it! But I’m well aware that it’s not everybody’s cup of tea! I had a very dear friend in our house a week ago who openly told me, “well I wouldn’t put it up in my house“! That made me laugh a lot.

After all, can you imagine what our world would be like if everybody had a personality of large, tropical, bird wallpaper? We’d be in more chaos than we’ve ever experienced! No one would be on time, ‘peace and quiet’ would be in rare supply, ‘sensible’ and ‘orderly’ would be a thing of the past, but we’d have a great party! 

I don’t know what type of wallpaper you would be, but whatever it is, know today that you are vital to our world! Blessed with gifts and skills to make our communities, and indeed our world, a better place! Give thanks for who God created you to be. And give thanks for all those around you who may be a completely different wallpaper to you, but just as vital!! 

 

 

‘I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,’

Phil 1:3

'Looking but Seeing Nothing' - 20/06/22

As we live our lives in our amazing world, we are aware of the importance of looking, just to avoid bumping into things or people. If we are drivers, there are so many dangers and possible accidents just waiting to present themselves. When you drive to work or the shops, how many road signs do you pass that give you instructions, warnings, or directions. In a ten-minute trip through most of our cities, it’s likely that you will pass more than a hundred of these signs, try counting them on your next trip. Probably, if we are paying attention, we will see, understand, and react to all of them, but it’s unlikely that we can recall them all. How often have you driven to work on the same route each day and arrived at your destination but can’t remember the journey? So much of the world around us is not noticed, it is possible to look at everything as we pass but see nothing that inspires, pleases, or challengers us.

 

I’m involved with a thing called DayShoot which requires me to take one photograph every day of the year, but each day’s image has a specific theme. This causes you to look at the world in a deliberate way, and amazingly it is transformed into a wonderland. You always look at that oak tree as you walk to the bus stop, but have you ever stopped to look at the beautiful shadow it casts onto that boring wall? Have you noticed that tiny, tiny, blue flower that is so fragile, but manages to grow out of the concrete pavement? When you’re sitting at the edge of a lake, look at the trees on the far side reflected in the water, fifty on the hill, fifty in the water, beautifully rippled. Have you noticed that little children don’t walk, they bounce? Everywhere there is beauty in the most ordinary of locations, but so often we don’t really see them.

 

In the first chapter in the Bible we read, ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth….God said, “I command light to shine…I command the earth to produce all kinds of plants, including fruit trees and grain…I command the ocean to be full of living creatures, and birds to fly above the earth…I command the earth to give life to all kinds of tame animals, wild animals, and reptiles”…And God said, “Now we will make humans, and they will be like us.”

 

The truth is this, it doesn’t matter what you look at in the natural world or above it, in cities or deserts, through telescopes or microscopes, in the oceans or in the skies; whether we notice them or not, they are all part of God’s creation. And so are you and I. Let’s make sure that as we look around, we see the handiwork of the creator God. Just looking is not enough.

 

"Speaking But Saying Nothing" - 18/06/22

There are some times when you hear some people speaking and part way through you have to stop and think, “what is he actually going on about?”

If you have ever had to listen to a message from senior management, it is often a time you dread, an hour of your life you won’t get back. You join the meeting just because you know they are checking who attends. 

These days, the meetings are all on a computer using Zoom or something similar, so you hope you can join but not actually have to listen. But these calls can now be monitored so they know if you have joined but then actually start doing something else on your computer. You hear the management speaking and if you manage to listen you begin to wonder, what are you actually saying? I can hear words but you are not actually saying anything. 

Many years ago, I was on a “business writing” training course and I was actually given a cheat sheet which had 4 or 5 sections to it. Each section had about half a dozen phrases in it. You could pick any phrase from each of these sections and when you put it together, it actually made a proper sentence but did not actually say anything. It was all filler just to boost the word count in your report!!

One of my colleagues has a phrase for this today, he calls it “word salad”, its there but nobody really wants it, it doesn’t add anything but you have to eat it. Why do you need salad with a bacon cheese burger?

But anyway, one place where I am constantly surprised at lack of word salad is in the bible. Some people say the bible is not relevant today, some think its difficult to read or some think its all just a story. However, each part of the bible has relevance today, you just have to listen properly. As historians learn more about our ancient world, it confirms more and more about the bible. I was recently listening to a talk about a part of the bible that lists the generations of Israel. When it started, I had no idea what you could get out of this section. But the speaker gave 1 simple message. You matter. 

The bible took the time to list the people of the different generations that lead to more well known parts of the bible and ultimately to Jesus. The message taken by this speaker was “you matter”. No matter what part you play, you matter. It may be you are an author, conference speaker or just a bloke who goes to church. You matter.

When you read the bible, you need to think about what it says, you need to think about how you can relate to the passage, the words are God’s words. Not only do they have meaning, but each time you read them, God can inspire you in different ways each time you read them.

Try it.

 

"Royalty" - 17/06/22

It's been a busy few weeks for the Queen. First, she had all the malarkey surrounding her Platinum Jubilee; complete with the amusing antics of her great grandson, who, despite the demands of royal protocol, behaved like a four year old boy. Given that he is a four year old boy, we can hardly be surprised. Then she had her birthday... not her actual birthday (that was back in April), but her official birthday. I wonder did she have another party and whether she gets another cake? Fitting then that Paddington bear was part of her Jubilee celebrations, because he too has two birthdays... they are on Christmas Day and June 25th; so you still have time to send him a card.

Then to top it off, she became the second longest reigning monarch in history, pushing King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand into third place. Currently top of the leaderboard is Louis XIV of France, but his record of 72 years and 110 days must now be in serious jeopardy. Of course, he had a head start on our Queen, as he became King of France at the age of four and a half. Given the previously mentioned four and a half year old member of our own royal family and his pleasing determination to just get on with being four and a half, I can only imagine that life under the early years of Louis' reign must have been interesting. In truth, Cardinal Mazarin, the first minister of France actually ruled the country until his death in 1661, whereupon Louis assumed the responsibility of the crown at the age of twenty three. History lesson over.

Now, none of the aforementioned monarchs comes anywhere near to reigning for as long as my King. He has reigned forever... since the beginning of time as we know it and beyond; "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. The Saviour of all men. He shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. The son of the living God. Every knee will bow before Him, every tongue will confess His name. The blessed and only ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords. The author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God".

 Long live the King.

 

"All The Way To Timbuktu" - 16/06/22

I am sure you have heard of the phrase “ from here to Timbuktu”! well if you haven’t, it’s a expression used to denote somewhere very far away. It is used to mean a journey we really don’t want to do, such as “ I’m not going from here to Timbuktu to pick up your things”. Not the best example, but you get the picture.

The origin of phrases like this intrigue me, so I looked it up. It turns out that whilst nowadays Timbuktu is a city in the African country of Mali, on the edge of the Niger river, hundreds of years ago it was a trading crossroads between Europe and the Middle East. It was also known for its lawlessness and a pretty dangerous place to be.

Ancient Timbuktu also had two things that the rest of the world wanted: salt and gold. It was considered a place of mythical riches. In 1824, the Geographical Society of Paris offered a reward of 7,000 Francs and a gold medal valued at 2,000 Francs to the first European who could visit Timbuktu. Obviously to claim the price they would also have to return alive, and with evidence. 

Gordon Liang a Scot, was the first to reach there, but he got shot, stabbed, robbed, and to add insult to injury, they even broke his arm. He stayed for a month to recuperate and then got murdered 2 days after leaving. It was the French explorer Rene-Auguste Caillie who eventually made it and claimed the prize. 

Thankfully today Timbuktu is a much safer place to visit, but still a long way away.

The bible tells us that even if we are on a long journey, or in a difficult place, nowhere is too far for God.

Psalm 139:

Is there anyplace I can go to avoid you God? to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—you’re already there waiting!

 

Its really comforting to know that wherever we are in the world, God is there and his love is ever present.

So no matter where you are going today, even if its Timbuktu, God is already there. He is with you on the journey and he is waiting for you at your destination. Lets thank him for his amazing love.

 

"The Great Declutter" - 15/06/22

After getting much-needed work done on our house, we finally moved back home a few months ago. 

When we first walked through the door the space looked huge and wonderful and clear!! And it was! 

Then we had to move all our belongings back in! And rapidly the space began to disappear! One after another we carried cardboard boxes into the house. 

Surely this didn’t all belong to us? Where did all this junk come from??

 

‘Junk!’ I had no idea that we had so much!! Looking at it all in boxes spread out across our new floor I realised that it had been kept in cupboards and drawers for years, ‘just in case’. 

Something had to be done! And the Great Declutter began! I have to say it’s been very therapeutic getting rid of it. Very freeing! 

 

But physical junk isn’t the only stuff we all live with. There’s a different kind of junk. 

Do we recognise resentment or unforgiveness in our lives? 

How about jealousy or greed? 

An inferiority complex or a sense of superiority? 

Selfishness or anger? 

When we live with such baggage or junk it clouds our judgement, distracts us from what is important and good and simply weighs us down.

 

The Bible is very clear about ‘junk’….

 

‘…So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end’.

 

Life can be filled with junk if we allow it and we will become distracted and overwhelmed and lose focus on what is truly important. May we all seek to get rid of the junk in our lives, to live free of it, and trust Jesus to guide us, one step at a time, through this journey called life. 

 

"The Scarecrows of Life" - 14/06/22

Next week one of my chicks finishes college in Southport. Two years of hard work doing her A levels. 

For a good portion of that time she studied from home amidst lockdown rules. And for the rest of the time I’ve driven there several times a week to drop her off and pick her up. 

We would play music in the car, a wide variety, and talk about a whole bunch of stuff. 

While I will be glad of the smaller petrol bills, I will miss those journeys. They have been lovely times. 

But there is something at this time of year I most certainly will not miss on the journey to Southport!! The ugly, creepy, vile, terrifying, disturbing, stuff-of-nightmares scarecrow festival! If I wasn’t driving I’d shut my eyes!!!! What crazy minds create such frightening, big straw dolls!? 

My blood pressure rockets! I come out in a cold sweat! And I put my foot on the accelerator! Scarecrows! I’m renaming them scare-Jos!

But driving past them today I was thinking about my chick moving on to the next stage of her life. There’ll be great things and not so great things! She will have wonderful days, happy days, days of achieving and days of celebration! How wonderful! 

But she will also have days of struggle, hardship, fear, worry and upset. On this journey called life, we’re guaranteed ’scarecrow days’. Those days when our blood pressure goes up, worry or panic or upset takes over and we ‘put our foot down’ in an attempt to just get through the day as quickly as we can.

We’ve all experienced those days. Maybe you’re going through a scarecrow day right now? 

David knew exactly what it felt like. He knew anguish, stress, fear and loneliness and it was through those experiences that he wrote the 23rd Psalm…

 

‘The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. 

He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. 

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.’

 

Whatever you are experiencing today, may you know of the Lord who has promised to never leave us as we encounter both great times and also those scarecrows of life. Happy Tuesday to you all.

'Second Best' - 13/06/22

I read about Kenny Perry who was competing in the world-famous Masters Golf Tournament a few years ago. He was leading in the final round and the thought that he might actually win was very exciting. Unfortunately, he was overtaken and was placed second at the end of the match. Asked afterwards how he felt, he said, “I won’t dwell on it. If this is the worst thing that happens in my life, I’ve got it pretty good. There are so many other things in life that matter more. I’ll go home tonight with my family, and we’ll have fun.” For Christians, the ability to look beyond our failures and disappointments is meant to be our normal approach to living. How we measure and order our priorities indicates our level of trust in God. If we made a list of our top five priorities, would ‘Trusting God’ be at the top? Would it be in our top five? Are there more important issues in our lives that push God down the list? Jesus said, “Don’t store up treasures on Earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. Instead, store up your treasures in Heaven….Your heart will always be where your treasure is.” And St. Paul wrote, “You have been raised to life with Christ. Now set your heart on what is in Heaven, where Christ rules at God’s right side. Think about what is up there, not about what is here on earth.” Our world culture is increasingly focussed on achieving our aims and acquiring even more than we already have. Let’s remember, God also has aims for us and promises us treasures in Heaven that will never fade away.  

As Kenny Perry demonstrated, failing to achieve our aims may hurt us, but it doesn’t have to harm us. God has better ideas.

 

"Peace In The Valley" - 11/06/22 

https://youtu.be/R3KBqqc7uvg

 

"Still" - 10/06/22

https://youtu.be/J8u-H2DN1vc

 

"It Is Well" - 09/06/22 

https://youtu.be/Kh0eklK4H4Y

 

"Broken Things" - 07/06/22

https://youtu.be/WdUu6ZsdVfM

 

"Be Still" - 06/06/22 

https://youtu.be/OOXj-ZE_2Zo

 

"The Small Things" - 01/06/22

I saw an article the other day about someone in the ‘Kardashian world’ getting married. I can’t remember which Kardashian it was, nor remember who she was marrying, I think it might have been in Italy, but I really can’t be sure. To be honest, I paid little attention. But I wish them well. 

It reminded me of an article I read some time ago about their tv show, ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’. A continual ‘fly on the wall’ account of each and every day in their very expensive household. One of them made the comment that they look forward to no longer being watched, day in, day out, because perfection is just too difficult to keep up. It would seem that the Kardashians are having trouble keeping up with themselves!? I saw a photograph of all the various tiny children in their family. They were having a photo shoot. All dressed in clothes that complimented the child next to them. All clean. All looking at the camera!! How did they do it???? The photo was, to be fair on those little chicks, very beautiful. I hope they were having fun. I hope I was looking at them, not an airbrushed version of them. 

Yesterday I was looking through our family photos. Photos of my four chicks. Sometimes when they were tiny I’d dress them in dresses that matched. Not that they cared. I’d do their hair in beautiful braids, or leave it down with the obligatory hair band in place. I have some truly wonderful photos! (It helps when your dad is a photographer!) But what comes with the photo is the memory of the occasion. We’d just been rolling down a hill. We’d just watched a funny film. We’d had a McDonald’s. They’d just played a joke on me. One of them had just dropped their chocolate ice cream all down their white top, they’d just waged war on eachother, they’d left a trail of destruction in the house, that I would be heading back to, to tidy up. And it was the rarest occasion in the world if all four were looking at the camera!  Welcome to real life! I’m sure you can relate?

 

Someone once said, ‘Appreciate the little things in life, because one day you’ll look back and realise they were the big things’. 

So today, I’m thankful for every beautiful, scruffy-looking photo of my little girls that brings back memories of mud pies, baking a cake, climbing a hill, planting flowers…

I’m thankful for the everyday conversations I have with my chicks while we do the dishes together, drive to the shops together, watch tv together. 

I’m thankful for WhatsApp chats with all our amazing Melling family that can get really mad and busy at times, but are always fuelled with love, humour, concern and help.

I’m thankful for my cup of coffee that causes me to stop for just a moment and stare at my garden that I love so much. 

This is my busy, messy, complicated, beautiful, completely ordinary and often mundane life. And I love it. 

The Bible says, 

 

‘THIS is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it’. 

 

May today and every mundane, ordinary, imperfect day, bring you reasons to smile, be grateful, thank God, and truly live.

As for the Kardashians, I don’t know them at all, but hope and pray that in the midst of what may be a pursuit for an airbrushed, perfect life, they too discover what it is to truly live.