Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Rushing about - a busy life!

Sometimes there is just not enough time to do everything. Sometimes we spend time, trying to use our timesaving gadgets to create time, if they don’t work we have wasted our time and had a frustrating time and we end up losing time. We take a very long time trying to get everything done in time. Then we hope to be back in time for a relaxing or good time with the family (family time.  Time impacts on nearly every aspect of our lives. Why is it so precious?

Sunday, September 27, 2020

The story of the Faithful Hound

Today, I’d like to make all dog lovers happy by sharing the story of Gelert the Dog with you. It’s a classic Welsh tale of one man and his dog but the man involved is Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd, no less.

So, Gelert is a legendary dog closely associated with the village of Beddgelert in Gwynedd, north-west Wales. Beddgelert literally translates as Gelert’s Grave and Gelert’s story is a variation on the “Faithful Hound” folk-tale motif. If you like, Gelert is Wales’ answer to Lassie.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Running away from God

Photo courtesy of Unsplash - Nicolas Picard

Photo courtesy of Unsplash - Simone Nespolo

Photo courtesy of Unsplash - Richard Loader

Have you ever felt that somehow God is speaking to you?

Maybe you have look around at the at the wonder of His creation. Maybe you were looking out over a panoramic view over mountains and lakes, saw the way a spider spins its web, a caterpillar moves or even the intricate insides of a delicate flower. Different things impress different people. For David the psalmist it was the magnificence of looking up into the heavens and gazing at the stars, it caused him to declare in Psalm 19, ‘The heavens declare the glory of God!’

God’s creation tells us of His very existence, God shouts out to us through His ‘handiwork’. In fact, Romans chapter one tells us that we can’t just remain undecided as to whether there is a God. We lie to ourselves if we say there is no God and God Himself says that this would be foolish.  It states that, ‘since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.’ So, God speaks to us through what He has made, He tells us that He is there. He speaks to us in different ways too. The Bible is often called God’s word. It is the very words of God, His messages, His instructions for us. Stop and think for a minute, if the Bible is what it says it is, God speaks to us every time we read the Bible.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Digital Storage - will it survive?

In a day when many people carry at least two cameras with them wherever they go in the form of a forward and a rearward facing camera on their smartphone, we might hardly know that first digital camera was only invented in 1975. The first camera phone went on sale as recently as the year 2000 but that was only capable of photographs with a resolution of just over a 10th of a megapixel. 

Some people have concerns that due to the pace of advancement in technology, information stored digitally could be lost altogether resulting in a digital black hole. Who knows where we might be in terms of data storage in just 100 years time. I’m about old enough to remember CD’s overtaking cassette tapes in the 90’s but I’m sure that some will be able to go further back than that.

For hundreds of years, British law has been written and stored on a special kind of paper called vellum which is made from calf or goat skin. The preparation of this parchment is a laborious task involving a number of steps. Carefully selected skins are first soaked in lime and then salted for storage purposes. This allows the hair to be removed before stretching the skin in a wooden frame to be scraped with knives that clean and smooth the surface. Finally the skin is dried before being cut out and ready to write on.

Although the finished parchment is more expensive than ordinary archive paper, one of the reasons that vellum is used is simply that it lasts for such a long time. Even if it were stored in an ordinary cupboard it still doesn’t deteriorate. A good example of this are the original copies of the Magna Carta, signed in 1215 and the even older Domesday book of 1086, which are still in existence. A big question remains as to whether digital storage will stand the same test of time despite digital archives now be considered more suitable and convenient for use,.

God’s law, the 10 commandments, were written originally on two tablets of stone. We might have thought that they would have kept well, but the first two tables lasted only a little longer than the keeping of the commandments which were written on them. Having heard the words of God that were written in a book, the people said that they would do all that the Lord had commanded them. Moses then went up Mount Sinai where God gave to him the two tables of stone but before Moses had even returned to the bottom of of the mountain, he could see that the people had already broken the law, Moses threw down the tables, breaking them into pieces at the foot of the mountain and two more had to be prepared.

God’s standards are perfect. The problem was that the people were not, and couldn’t reach the very high standard his law demanded, and neither can we. Thankfully, God always intended the old order of ceremony and ritual to be replaced. This was made possible by the Son of God who came into the world. The Lord Jesus is the only perfect man ever to have lived, and He came to pay the penalty of death that sin demanded so that we might be delivered from its consequences. Having done so, the old order was surpassed and a new way was made possible for people to please God.

People who recognise their own failure before God can be made anew and enjoy the benefits of the new way He’s made possible by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. To those ‘believers’, God’s law isn’t written with ink on vellum or paper, but it’s lived by the power of the Spirit of God living within us. It’s not a law written on tables of stone, but within the heart which has a true desire to be obedient to God.

As to the record of the names of those who have once trusted the Lord Jesus, the archives are kept eternally secure in the vaults of heaven where neither technological advancement can make it obsolete nor time can decay. Mine’s there, is yours?

Written by Tom Merriman for ‘Messages with Meaning’ and produced by Your542day

Sunday, September 20, 2020

What does true love look like?

Love is a wonderful aspect of human life. Someone once wrote that ‘love makes the world go round’ and the Beatles insisted that ‘all we need is love’. There are many kinds of love and they reveal the caring side of human nature. The love between spouses is close and intimate, the love between parents and children is very special and the love and care which friends show towards each other is to be treasured. Indeed the Bible says that ‘if I have no love, this does me no good’ and the greatest love was shown by God.


Saturday, September 19, 2020

Common Sense - is it common?

All pictures courtesy of Unsplash

Have you ever noticed today that ‘common sense’ isn't too common? Many people just do not realise that ‘common sense’ is the ability to think and behave in a reasonable way and to make good decisions. It is sound, prudent judgment based on simple perception of the facts or situations. Today we can buy a diploma and a great education - but all wisdom begins with God. Proverbs chapter 9 verse 10 tells us that ‘the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.’

Do you remember when cereal boxes had a prize in the bottom of the package? Most mothers would make their children wait until they got to the bottom to get the prize. I didn't want to wait, I would sneak into the pantry and dig to the bottom of the package to get out the prize. My mother would get cross with me and smack my hand. From then on I was not allowed to dig through the food to get the prize. I would have to eat the cereal and when I got to the bottom receive the prize. Proverbs chapter 16 verse 16 tells us, ‘How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.’

A young man had been laying around doing nothing, when an old man came up to him with a strong and very fast horse which was all saddled up and ready to go. The horse was equipped with some very large bags to carry their loads. The old man gave orders to the young man - ‘Ride as fast and as hard as you can and you will find a huge flowing river. When you get to the river dismount and pick up the rocks and place them in the very large bags, but remember you have to be back here before the sun rises.’ So the young man rode the horse and, just as the old man had told him, he came to the river. In the darkness, he jumped down off the horse and grabbed two hands full of the rocks and placed one handful in each of the bags. Then he jumped back on the horse and rode back. The sun was coming up and it was a beautiful day. The old man was waiting on the porch as the young man rode up. The old man said: ‘Did you do as I told you?’  The young man said: ‘Yes, Sir! I found the river, I picked up two hands full of the small rocks and placed them in the very large saddle bags. I have returned and was here before the sun came up.’

In the brightness of the sun the young man was told to empty one of the large saddle bags. Out fell a handful of diamonds, pearls, rubies, jasper and very expensive, rare jewels. The young man could not tell what he was picking up in the darkness of the night. He thought he was picking up common rocks? So why waste his time and effort on junk? The old man looked up at the young man, with tears flowing like a river. The young man had wasted his time, talent and ability - the potential was so great. The young man settled for very little when he could have had millions of pounds of rare jewels.  

We are like that young man. We have rare treasures all around us. We put so little effort into daily life! We tend to be satisfied with two hands full, when God’s plan has so much more in store. Life is valuable and wisdom and understanding are not easily found. Yes, we need to be content, yet we are never satisfied with our lot in life. God has more! If God has more, do we desire more?

Matthew chapter 6 tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Isaiah chapter 55 commands us to seek the LORD while He may be found and to call upon Him while He is near, while Romans chapter 10 confirms to us that ‘whoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved’. Now that’s wisdom - isn't it?

Messages with Meaning (17/09/20)

Friday, September 18, 2020

Singing is good for you!

All pictures are courtesy of Unsplash

The summer has gone, we were just getting out and about and then things changed again. One of the COVID-19 rules is the recommendation not to sing in public gatherings. Singing is good for the soul. It lifts your spirits and creates a sense of community and kinship. I, for one, have missed community singing. Music and songs create passion in our hearts and evoke vivid memories. 

A very effective method of learning is linked to the rhythm of repeating words that somehow glue the words or the facts to our minds. Most of us didn’t necessarily enjoy it but we often learned facts or figures by musical rhythm. If you went to Sunday School you may remember learning Bible verses by rote, for example, ‘For God so loved the world …’ or ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ …’ or maybe ‘Honour your Father and your Mother’. All of this was to get some important facts from the Bible into your young mind for the purpose of living life and one-day meeting God.   

If I was asked to quote from some piece of great literature, I might struggle but if you whistled a tune of a popular song, I might amaze myself by my ability to recall the words. Maybe you can do this as well. Music has a powerful effect on our memories!  

Try stopping someone in the street and ask what song from church they remember. It could be ‘Amazing Grace’, ‘All things bright and beautiful’ or ‘The old rugged cross’.  Others might say Psalm 23 as this is one hymn that is repeatedly sung at weddings and funerals. You might be thinking ‘I’ve never heard of it’. That’s a shame as it has very inspiring words. 

Verse four of the psalm says, 'though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me'. It reminds me that we will all face the 'valley of the shadow of death' one day. Our path through life is tough at times and it is certain that we will all face death at the end of life. The reason we all die is explained in the Bible by the statement 'the wages of sin is death'. The Bible makes it clear that death is the means of moving from this life to the next. 

At the end of the psalm the writer states 'I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever'. The writer is sure that there is life after death. Other writers in the Bible make it clear that God has revealed that there are two destinations in the afterlife. One called Heaven and the other called Hell. You may wonder why the writer of Psalm 23 is so sure that he will be in heaven. I think the answer lies in the fact that he can say 'the Lord is my shepherd'.

The Bible records that the Lord Jesus Christ 'came into the world to save sinners'. He said one day 'I am the good shepherd the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep'. The Bible describes human beings as wandering sheep when it states that 'all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way'. But it also explains that 'the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all’. This means that Jesus took the punishment for our guilt so that we can be forgiven. He rose from the dead on the third day and returned to heaven forty days later; where he is now.

If you don’t know the words of Psalm 23, get someone who does to hum the tune to you. Maybe it will come back to you. If you can't find a willing soul to sing for you grab a Bible, look in the index for the Psalms and read it for yourself. You could be amazed to discover how the words come alive as they describe the safety of being loved and cared for by the Shepherd. Maybe you would like to know how this could become real for you. If so, get in touch with me I would love to help you.


Friday, September 11, 2020

The Mumbles Railway

Do you remember the Mumbles Railway?

Anyone who lived in Swansea in the 1950s can hardly forget the ‘Bump, Rattle and Roll’ of the double decker tram as it lurched its way along Swansea Bay. For those of you who, perhaps, were not around in the 50s, the Mumbles Railway was a two decker tram that ran along the edge of Swansea Bay from the town centre to the lighthouse on Mumbles Head -  a distance of just under 6 miles.

Friday, September 04, 2020

“All’s well that ends well”

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none!’ William Shakespeare  (‘All’s Well That Ends Well’)

William Shakespeare is among the greatest writers in all the history of literature. His works have been read and performed a huge amount of times. In fact, we all probably remember a time where we had to study at least one of his plays at school.

Some people love his works but others may not appreciate them in the same way. However, most of us would be able to quote some lines from his famous writings, some might even say they have drawn wisdom from them.
Blogger Template Created by pipdig