God and ASDA

Stories and thoughts: past, present and future

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How Much?

This is going to be a short Blog, but a thought came into my head this morning and I just had to put it into print.

It’s not possible to show the emphasis I want in the title. I want it to read “HOW MUCH?” like you would say when you realise the total of your shopping bill, having expected it to come to, say, £50 and finding it actually amounts to £75. Now say it as you would in that situation. HOW MUCH?

Another instance of this same emphasis is when you ask your friend what they paid for their new six-bed roomed house with all mod cons in a very desirable location. They tell you they got it for £200,000. You would say, HOW MUCH? (That’s highly unlikely, by the way, but if you hear of such a property please let me know!).

Sometimes we are prepared to pay any price for what we want, no matter what the cost. In that situation we wouldn’t ask “how much?”, we’d just go out and get whatever it was. There might be an opportunity to bargain if you live in a society that does that, but generally we wouldn’t even bother.

Have you ever thought how much it cost God to redeem us (buy us back)? He paid the ultimate price, His only Son, Jesus. He didn’t try to bargain with us – He paid up the full asking price. For YOU and for me. We should be saying HOW MUCH?

I heard a story once that went:

A little girl asked Jesus how much he loved her. He just spread out His arms and said: “This much, my child.”

Jesus died for you. If you don ‘t understand what that means please ask someone who can explain it to you. He’s coming back and will take all believers with Him.
Matthew Chapter 24 verses 36-44 make it very clear what will happen. Don’t be left behind.

    (36) “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (37) As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. (38) For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; (39) and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. (40) Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. (41) Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. (42) “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. (43) But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. (44) So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

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Ups and Downs

My husband and I love walking. By that I mean we enjoy packing a picnic, driving to some pretty location and walking through the countryside. We’ve amassed a large collection of books, brochures and maps relating to walking in the countryside over the years and always look forward to finding new areas to visit.

Last weekend I came across a magazine in which there were details of the kind of circular walk we enjoy and we hadn’t even heard of the place before, let alone been there! Five-and-a-half miles sounded like a pleasant walk which we estimated would take us about two hours, plus a lunch stop en route. The write-up promised a “lovely walk through the delightful patchwork of fields, enjoying some thirst-quenching views along the way”. We were told to look out for buzzards, bullfinches, swifts and swallows. So off we went.

We had only gone 100m when we came across the first problem – the gate through which we were supposed to go wouldn’t open – it was jammed and chained! After about five minutes of “gentle persuasion” the gate opened far enough for us to squeeze through (welcome all walkers!).

Rusty Gates

The path then became a mere track, wide enough only for one person at a time. This was extremely rocky and had potholes all along, not to mention large, fresh cow pats!!

When the instructions said “you now reach a field” (and this occurred very often as the walk progressed) we discovered that the fields were either ploughed right up to the fence, thus making it very difficult to negotiate our way, or else it was planted with crops. On one occasion we were actually walking between rows of sweet corn higher than both of us!! Not a pleasant walk at all.

So, back to the instructions. “Follow the path (aka narrow track!) uphill, enjoying breath-taking views should you need to catch your breath!!” But there was a reward at the end – downhill again – steeply.

Rocky Path, Maisonesse, France

It wasn’t all bad, though, as several of the gates and stiles, were, in fact, still in good condition and easy to negotiate.

Gateway at Meldon Reservoir, Devon

Remembering that a walk of this length usually takes us two hours, we were getting rather anxious when, after 2½ hours we were less than halfway round. As we still hadn’t seen a place to stop for lunch we decided to sit on a stile just off the main track and eat our lunch there. It was extremely uncomfortable and even worse when we discovered that we were right beside a wasps’ nest. Instant evacuation, lunch barely started!!

We were about two-thirds of the way round when I heard my husband say, “Oh, no! I wish we’d read this bit before.” On investigation, I discovered that he’d noticed a short paragraph as follows: “Follow this downhill path until you turn onto a narrow uphill path and climb to meet a crossing path” So far, so good. Then it continued in brackets: “(At the time of writing some fallen tress had blocked this path. The council has been alerted but if the blockage is still there……continue straight up the path etc etc). It was still blocked!!

Route barree

I think it was at this point that we began to despair of ever having taken this on! After hiking over such rough terrain it had been impossible to call it a “walk”; I would say it was even more than a hike. (I can now empathise with the soldiers on training exercises!!).

But, as with all things it came and to an end, and what was the best view we saw on the walk?

Our car

We arrived back at the car 4½ hours after starting – and enjoyed our picnic in comfort.

When I arrived home I began to realise just how much that walk was like our daily lives . We have ups and downs, too, even as Christians. We may wonder why this or that is happening, but if we hold firm to God’s Word then He will see us through these times of trial.

    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”(Jeremiah 29 verse 11)

    And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8 verse 28)

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
    (Proverbs 3 verses 5- 6)

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The First Day

All of us have experienced a “first day” in something or other, whether it’s the first day at school, the first day at work or the first day of a holiday – there are always “first days” in all of our lives.

I can’t remember the very first day I started school because I was only three years old. At that time (1945) there was a scheme in place for working mothers, especially those engaged in war work, to be able to send their very young children to school before the age of five years. It was, I suppose, something like the modern play school or activity group, but at that time it was ground-breaking.

The men were, mostly, in the armed forces serving their country and the women, mostly, stayed at home. However, in 1941 women were called to do war work. Mum worked in a munitions factory, filling bomb cases with phosphorous – a most unpleasant task, you will agree. But it was a necessary job and someone had to do it. Because of the dangerous nature of working with ammunition, nobody was allowed to take anything into the workshops that could cause an explosion. This meant no matches, coins, hairpins, rings or anything metallic. They were searched as they entered the factory. She often told us that at night her fingers would glow from the phosphorus that remained under her nails. Needless to say, I don’t remember any of that.

And the same goes for my first day at Junior School. All I can remember is the playground and it seemed massively large to me. We could run around, skip, chase each other but when the whistle was blown by the teacher we would all form a line and march back into the classroom. I must have eaten school dinner that day, but have no memory of it whatsoever.

I’ve mentioned in a previous blog (Big School) my first day at Grammar School, which I remember with vivid clarity. Whenever I think about it I can still feel the excitement combined with trepidation.

My first day at work was in 1957 when I was 15 years old. I had left school with no qualifications and had always dreamed of being an air hostess. The idea of travelling to places I’d only read about in books appealed to me, but there was not much chance of that job with my school reports telling how I must try harder! So, for me, the next best thing was to work in a shop. Something of a step down from my dreams into reality, but I thought it would be fun. My shop was a sweet shop.

I’d often played shops when I was much younger and it seemed to be quite good fun. Mum or Dad must have seen an advertisement relating to the job because there I was, on the bus, going to the next town to start work. My pay was to be £2.5.0d (£2.25p) a week from 8.45 a.m. until 6 p.m. six days a week. I was so excited and for the short time I was there I really enjoyed it. The owner taught me how to wrap a box of chocolates that was to be given as a gift and how to speak to customers and recommend “just that little bit extra” to buy. I do remember three ladies who came into the shop every Friday evening at 5 o’clock to buy their sweets for the coming week. They always had the same order and I was soon able to remember how much each one cost and what the total would be. (They thought my addition skills were superb!). Sadly, after six months, I left as we moved house to another town.

Again, in a previous blog (18 to 20) you can read of my first day in the W.R.A.F., travelling up to Grantham for the basic training and how I was admonished by the corporal before I’d even set foot on the training camp!!

Since then I’ve had many first days. First day as a Mum, first day in an airplane, first day as a grandma, my first day as a Christian and so it goes on.

But have you ever thought about the very First Day?

Imagine, if you will, nothing. Absolutely nothing. That’s not easy to do because we’ve always been surrounded by “something”. But try to imagine NOTHING. Close your eyes. What can you see? Nothing. But you know when you open them again you will see something.

The very first chapter of the Bible tells us of there being Nothing.

Read the following slowly and imagine each thing mentioned happening.

We’ll begin at Verse 2 of Genesis chapter 1:

2. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
4. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
5. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

The earth was formless – no shape – nothing.
Darkness was over the surface of the deep – there was nothing.
And God said: “Let there be light” – suddenly there was something.
God saw that the light was good and He separated the light from the darkness – day and night.
And there was evening, and there was morning – The First Day.

Everything has to start somewhere. Only God can make Something from Nothing.

If you haven’t thought much about this before, read those four verses again, slowly. Take it all in. God is our Creator. He made everything.

And, what’s more, He sent His Son to die for us so that our wrongdoings can be forgiven.

Check it out. It’s worth it. He’s worth it!

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Go For It!

A few days ago I joined the Facebook community. Now this might sound a bit silly to those of you who’ve been there since its inception, but I think it’s pretty cool (for an old ’un!).

I had always steered clear of anything that smacked of “mass hysteria” – not for me, I said. I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. But everyone was doing it. I had toyed with the idea at times, but always resisted. Something told me it wasn’t for me. Why follow the crowd? Why do what everyone else was doing? Actually it was just plain stubbornness and in the end I relented.

At first I was completely baffled by what I saw. What’s all the fuss about, I thought. I just couldn’t get into it. What do I do next? O.K., put up some photos, but which ones? Deciding was quite difficult as there were so many to choose from. I opted to give as little information about myself as was necessary in order to proceed. And that was that – sit back and see what happens.

Wow! Within a few minutes I’d got a couple of “Friends” (people from my church) and then I was asked if I knew their friends – and just like Topsy, it grew and grew.

So, I’m having fun and I wish I’d done it ages ago. One thing I will say, though, it’s very addictive! Once I’d been on and had seen what happens I wanted to keep going back to see more. I’d suddenly found that something I considered to be only for people with nothing better to do with their time was, in fact, pretty O.K.. I now belong to a huge world-wide family who share their thoughts, hopes, dreams and ideas and I love it!!

And this made me think how much my experience of Facebook is like my pre-Christian life. I couldn’t understood what people saw in it all. Surely if God is everywhere, I thought, why do they have to meet together?

Are you in that situation right now? Not sure what happens behind the closed doors of a church. Why do these people keep going each week? What’s it all about? Well, I’ll tell you one thing. If you choose the right church, it isn’t a bit like you might imagine! In our church we have people of all ages, from one to eighty-eight, our worship group is brilliant, we have birthday parties, we have film shows – and we all love Jesus.

Even if you don’t believe that Jesus died for you, you must have some sort of belief – it’s the human condition. If you only believe the “Big Bang” theory, tell me who lit the fuse? If you don’t believe in a Creator God, then just think of the birth process of all humans. It’s an amazing miracle that a baby grows from a tiny seed and is unique – there is no other person on earth like that child. YOU are unique, God made YOU special. And He loved YOU so much that He gave His only Son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins (wrong-doings, that’s all that is).(John 3 verse 16)

Please don’t sit there wondering what goes on inside the church. Step inside, meet the people, sit at the back and watch. You might even get hooked – as I was with Facebook. Let me know if you want me to pray for you – He answers ALL prayer.

God Bless you.