Saturday, 27 August 2011

SFFS Week 13

I'm really excited this week. I have a new idea to introduce to you, one that I'm playing with at the moment. It will eventually be a story, but for now only a few sentences have been written. I would love to hear what you all think about it. For now, I'm calling it The Cabin on the Lake.
The pungent smell of the pines drifted up her nostrils, arousing her from sleep. Through the haze of not-quite-awake-yet, and puzzled by the unfamiliar scent, she prised her heavy eyelids open a slit to get her bearings. An ocean of too-bright white linen assaulted her just-roused senses, at odds with the golden background of bare pine slats that rose as a wall beyond. Her eyelids drifted closed again, weighed down by safer thoughts than what lay beyond.
Slowly snapshots of the night before wended their way through the miasma of her half-asleep consciousness to surface jubilant, demanding her attention. An after-work dash up the Interstate as night drew in; a sprint through a convenience store to gather supplies; a bumpy, muscle-abusing ride down a dark forest track, damp branches smacking into her windscreen and scraping their sodden trail down the length of her car; and finally that heady reek of wet pines as she unloaded her life-for-the-next-three-months into the log cabin that was her haven.
She inhaled deeply, savouring the aroma as it filled her lungs. No longer wet, but spicey, sun-kissed by the new dawn. If this wasn't pure luxury, then she didn't know what could ever be.

Please do go here to give my fellow writers support in their writing.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Problems Have a Purpose

Taken from an email I received from Max Lucado.

Trust me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.
Psalm 50:15 NLT

God will use whatever he wants to display his glory. Heavens and stars. History and nations. People and problems. My dying dad in West Texas.

The last three years of his life were scarred by ALS. The disease took him from a healthy mechanic to a bedbound paralytic. He lost his voice and his muscles, but he never lost his faith. Visitors noticed. Not so much in what he said but more in what he didn’t say. Never outwardly angry or bitter, Jack Lucado suffered stately.

His faith led one man to seek a like faith. After the funeral this man sought me out and told me. Because of my dad’s example, he became a Jesus follower.

Did God orchestrate my father’s illness for that very reason? Knowing the value he places on one soul, I wouldn’t be surprised. And imagining the splendor of heaven, I know my father’s not complaining.

A season of suffering is a small assignment when compared to the reward.
Rather than begrudge your problem, explore it. Ponder it. And most of all, use it. Use it to the glory of God. . . .

Your pain has a purpose. Your problems, struggles, heartaches, and hassles cooperate toward one end—the glory of God.
—from It’s Not About Me

Heavenly Father, when problems and pain come my way, help me to remember that nothing comes into my life without your approval. Rather than complain and cry about the challenges I face, help me consider them as opportunities to bring glory to you. Give me the strength and patience to bear my burdens in a way that will honor you. I will lift my eyes off the trials and keep them fixed firmly on you, amen.

Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us.
Daniel 3:17

Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.
Joshua 21:45

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
Psalm 34:19

From Live Loved: Experiencing God’s Presence in Every Day Life
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2011) Max Lucado

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A Blessing and a Curse

34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

Luke 2:34–35

Saturday, 20 August 2011

SFFS Week 12

My contribution this week is a poem that I wrote early last year, on a day when I was very frustrated with my inability to be creative. I hope you like ...

Had I but the Words ...

Had I but the words to write a sweeping epic,
To craft an elegant poem, to knit the fabric of history;

Had I but the words to describe the dazzling stars,
To delve the depths of earth, to paint the majesty of mountains;

But I have only these poor words, and this aching heart.

Please go here to see the other pieces of writing that the other authors in the SFFSat ring have contributed this week (will only be available after 12pm British Summer Time today).

Thursday, 18 August 2011

What a wonderful world ....

I captured this image two days ago - the tail-end of a rose-tinted, multicoloured sunset over Witney, where I live.

For some reason, I've been very conscious of the sunrises and sunsets this week. We've had three fabulous sunsets (perhaps it's all the clouds hanging about?), and this morning there was a beige sunrise that drew my attention. So I just thought I'd share one with you.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Help for Prevailing Problems

From a mailing I received from Max Lucado, and appropriate to me as I read it.

“We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds.”
2 Corinthians 10:4 NLT

Does one prevailing problem leech your life?

Some are prone to cheat. Others quick to doubt. Maybe you worry. Yes, everyone worries some, but you own the national distributorship of anxiety. Perhaps you are judgmental. Sure, everybody can be critical, but you pass more judgments than a federal judge.

What is that one weakness, bad habit, rotten attitude? Where does Satan have a stronghold within you? Ahh, there is the fitting word—stronghold: a fortress, citadel, thick walls, tall gates. It’s as if the devil staked a claim on one weakness and constructed a rampart around it.

Strongholds: old, difficult, discouraging challenges.

That’s what David faced when he looked at Jerusalem. . . .


“Nevertheless David took the stronghold . . .” (2 Sam. 5:9).

Granted, the city was old. The walls were difficult. The voices were discouraging . . . Nevertheless David took the stronghold.

Wouldn’t you love God to write a nevertheless in your biography? Born to alcoholics, nevertheless she led a sober life. Never went to college, nevertheless he mastered a trade. Didn’t read the Bible until retirement age, nevertheless he came to a deep and abiding faith.

We all need a nevertheless. And God has plenty to go around. Strongholds mean nothing to him. Remember Paul’s words? “We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4 NLT).

You and I fight with toothpicks; God comes with battering rams and cannons. What he did for David, he can do for us.

—from Facing Your Giants

Blessed Father, as you helped David conquer a stronghold so you can help us conquer the strongholds in our lives. You have promised freedom and victory. Father, will you break these strongholds with your mighty power? You steady us with your love, amen.

My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:2

Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.

Psalm 50:15

“Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”
Matthew 6:8

From Lived Love: Experiencing God’s Presence in Every Day Life
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2011) Max Lucado

Tuesday, 16 August 2011


"Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.
2After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.
3Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth."

Hosea 6:1-3

Monday, 15 August 2011

A new name for ME!?

WOW! I've just understood why we will receive new names when God comes to fetch us (His followers, worshippers and friends) and we join Him in Heaven.

God has a name, and at the same time He has many names. Firstly, He has a name by which we call Him. We use this name to speak of Him and to speak TO Him. However, the second aspect is that God's names describe Him. They denote His attributes.

Sure, our names have meanings, but can anyone truly say that their given name COMPLETELY describes them? I'm sure I wouldn't be the only one to say 'Nope!' But when God meets with us finally, we will get names that will not only be those by which we will be called, but ones that describe us.

How awesome is that!?

Saturday, 13 August 2011

SFFS Week 11

Welcome to my posting for this week. For those who are first-time readers, SFFS is a ring of authors who share snippets of their speculative fiction writing. You can find out who the rest of the tribe are here. Please do go there and read (and perhaps comment) on their pieces once you're done here, as they are each fabulous!

My snippet this week follows on from Week 10's extract from The Thalladium, my WIP. It is in first draft form, so please bear with any "bad" writing.


With the other children following, I waded into the sea, still carrying Petay, and when I was in knee-deep I put Petay down to stand in the water and I sat down in the water next to him, careless of my clothes. Resting his ankle on my knee just below the surface of the water, I proceeded to wash the leg as gently as I could. It took a while, but eventually the wound came was clean. Not once had Petay complained of pain, when I was sure it must have stung quite a lot; even when some blood had gently flowed as abrasion had cleaned dried blood away.

Finally I carried Petay from the sea, returning to the rock we had been sitting earlier. The other children gathered around to see what I was going to do next.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Are Burdens Heavy?

In this blog post I discussed burdens and yokes. I've just come across some encouraging verses in the Bible that one all-to-frequently forgets about.

11Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.
Deuteronomy 30:11

“… 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:29-30

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Where does my peace come from?

For the last year or so I’ve been trying to 'find' my identity. At times this has been a rather frantic search; especially when I came across others whose identities appeared to be pretty secure. Those who have followed me closely over this time will have seen me doing many things, such as:>

Starting new projects that fizzled to nothing pretty quickly;
Investigating the concept of identity;
Trying to define creativity.
Chopping and changing my Facebook profile and Pages;
Writing my bio;

The list probably goes on, and may even include things that I’m blind to.

At one of the church services on the 31st July, however, it came to my attention that I’ve been wandering around in the dark searching for meaning, searching for purpose. I say 'in the dark' because, in my newly-educated opinion, I was looking in all the wrong places. The right place to look, not even place to look, but person to trust by faith, is God Himself. It is He from whom I derive my meaning and my purpose.

I cannot say that I have all the answers. I do not know the meaning of everything, and my purpose is also hidden to me, but my relief, and my peace, comes from knowing that I don’t need to search any further. I am happy to trust in the one who I know will give my life meaning and purpose one day.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Burdens, or burdens?

(Warning: this is a long post - tho I'll try to keep it short)

So, I uncovered a bit of a dilemma last night - and I believe that God showed me the unquestionable solution.

The verse that gave me trouble was Jeremiah 2:20. I first read it in the NIV, as follows:

"Long ago you broke off your yoke and tore off your bonds; you said, 'I will not serve you!' Indeed, on every high hill and under every spreading tree you lay down as a prostitute."

My problem was that the context in which I was reading it (outside of the Bible) indicated that the Israelites, who God was speaking to in this verse, had found God's sovereignty a burden, and yet this verse did not appear to be saying this. For several years now I have made use of Matthew Henry's Commentary, as it can be trusted to provide new perspective. So I turned to it, and found this:

20 For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot.

Now, one has to be blind if one does not presume, initially, that these two appear to be saying the complete opposite!! I mean, really now. There are two differences just in the first half of the verse.

  1. On the one hand, the Israelites break their yoke and remove their bonds; on the other hand, it is God who does these for the Israelites.
  2. On the one hand, the Israelites say to God "I will not serve you!", while on the other hand, they say to God "I will not transgress."
Needless to say, I began to get bogged down, thinking that God's righteousness is a burden and a yoke - that there is no freedom in following God. That was before I understood that perhaps the Israelites did feel that God's Law was a burden, because it prevented them from being like the people around them.

I did eventually realise that either way, these two translations may appear to mean different things, but ultimately neither of them are wrong. They indicate that there was a breakdown in the relationship between the Israelites and their God.

What I ultimately saw, however, is that God's law is a yoke and a bond that binds us. It certainly does not bring freedom or righteousness. As Paul says in Romans 3,

20Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

No. Rather, it is through the new covenant that God made with Man - the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on the cross for our sins - that we are set free from the bonds of the law and sin. As it is further said in Romans 3:

22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

This is compounded in Romans 8 -

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.

Essentially, all I realised was that, if I am under the new covenant - the law of the Spirit of life - then I do not need to be worried about the burdens and yokes of the Law, because that is the old covenant, and the new covenant brings freedom.

    Monday, 8 August 2011

    There is a Time for Editing!

    Hokay, so I realised yet another thing tonight (it's Thursday the 4th August as I write this - I'll post it at a later date). It's funny how these things keep hitting me over the head. Maybe I'm going insane, slowly ... but hey, I'm ok with that if this is what it means!

    I had just started to work on my current editing project - a rather large and, to date, tough one. I've really been slogging through the mud on this one, thinking that it was very tough (and saying this to anyone who would listen!), and yet, since before I even received the first document to scan over I was arguing to work on this project! And challenging isn't the word. The work itself is a challenge, but so is the content. It has been causing me to be very introspective, but in a good way. It, step by step, takes me to task on my relationship (virtually non-existant) with God, and discusses the reasons why this is the case - why there is no relationship. It is brilliant stuff, and when it is finally published, I will recommend it to any thinking Christian - or to anyone who dares to call themselves 'Christian'.

    That aside, a friend came online. This friend is a publisher who has read a little of my work and wishes me to write more. The problem: I cannot write (work for myself) while I have editing (work for others) on my plate. Suddenly I realised that what I am doing right now (the editing) is what I'm meant to be doing right now. This is, in fact, what I said:

    Unfortunately I believe that there is a time for everything, and at the moment, for me, it is the time to be editing. This is stuff that I need to be reading right now. Questions that I need to consider and decisions that I need to make. I am at peace with the fact that I do not write at the moment. I have been writing blog posts about my thinking at the moment. For me, this is where I need to be at the moment.

    I do still muse about my stories, and occasionally I get a new part worked out. i then make notes about it, and then I continue with the editing.

    And the funny thing was, I wasn't lying. What is even stranger is that, just as suddenly, the editing isn't so difficult any more. I'm now starting to enjoy it. Sure, it hasn't changed at all - I'm still making around about the same number of corrections per page, but it is no longer such a daunting task. It is now something that I can handle.

    Anyways, I'm heading off to bed (on the day I write this), so I'll bid you adieu with this:

    There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under heaven:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

    Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV

    Saturday, 6 August 2011

    SFFS Week 10

    Welcome to my entry for this week's round of SFFS. I have jumped a few sentences to get to this week's submission.

    When we join the story, Kate has been outlining to Petay what she is planning to do, and mentioned bandages. He has asked her what they are.

    “Strips of material. They will stop the wounds from getting dirty again, and in a couple of days we can maybe take them off so that it heals up properly in the air. Skin needs air to get better.”

    “Okay, let’s do it.” The brown eyes now held mine, the trust in them evident. I stood up, wondering anew at the primitive state of this world, the callousness that allowed little orphans to die from a simple dog bite.

    You can read the other entries from my fellow writers here.

    Thursday, 4 August 2011

    The Birds and Flowers

    I'm starting to realise just how much the birds and the flowers of the field rely on God for His provision. Their lives are more fleeting than ours, yet how much does he care for them? He gives them food, he gives shelter, he gives sun and rain.

    And how much more does he care for us? Us who can choose to go our own ways. Us who are obstinate and selfish.

    And from what I can see, the clincher is that we build for ourselves a society that relies on ability to do work. We do work in order to earn money, in order that we can purchase food and other supplies - including things we want but do not need. We do not keep in mind that every penny or cent that we earn ultimately comes from God.

    What would happen if we lost our ability to work, or our ability to function in society? The Bible tells that a time will come when the followers of Jesus will be unable to purchase food or supplies from the powers-that-be of this world. What will we do then? That is when the true believers, those who trust completely and utterly on God for EVERYTHING will stand up to be counted. Would that I were one of those - even now as I work.

    If I'm brave enough to let go and let God.

    Wednesday, 3 August 2011

    God invites

    I received the below posting in an email from Max Lucado, and I thought that I would share it with you all. I hope that it touches you and makes you think, as it did me.

    An Inviting God

    Posted: 18 Jul 2011 11:01 PM PDT

    “Jesus said, ‘Come.’” Matthew 14:29

    You can’t read anything about God without finding him issuing invitations. He invited Eve to marry Adam, the animals to enter the ark, David to be king, Israel to leave bondage, Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem. God is an inviting God. He invited Mary to birth his son, the disciples to fish for men, the adulterous woman to start over, and Thomas to touch his wounds. God is the King who prepares the palace, sets the table, and invites his subjects to come in.