God and ASDA

Stories and thoughts: past, present and future


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Use Your Imagination

I was watching a T.V. programme recently about Australian Art. With all due respect I thought that this title was an oxymoron, but I was pleasantly surprised to see some really beautiful works of art by Australian artists from years ago. More modern stuff exhibited was, in my humble opinion, rubbish!! As I was muttering to myself about the exorbitant prices charged for paintings that an eight-year-old could do, I was reminded of my art lessons in school.

If you’ve been following my Blogs you will already know that I was not good at much at school and included in the list was art. I had no interest whatsoever; therefore, I made no effort – until one day when I had no option!

We arrived in the art room to find a large piece of drawing paper on each desk. We took our places and the art mistress came into the room. “Good morning, girls”, she said in an unusually bright and bouncy voice.

“Uh, uh, “, I thought, “what now?”

Another Masterpiece completed!

“This morning I want you all to use your imagination.” she said. “You can paint anything you like but it must be your own work and entirely original. I will give you no ideas, suggestions or assistance on what to do – in fact, I’m having the morning off!” And with that, she left the room. We sat for a while in stunned silence and then gradually, as we decided something had to be done, we set to work. That is, all except me! I had absolutely no idea at all what to do. I just sat there looking at this great expanse of paper waiting for me to fill it with some wonderful creation. “What can I do”, I thought.

Perhaps not! How about this one?

No, perhaps a bit too much like Van Gogh!

But, in the end, I knew I had to get something done, so I decided to do a beach scene, but my way. I divided the paper into three horizontal sections for the sky, sea and sand and set about daubing paint all over it. For the sea I used purple, then I made an orange, green and yellow sky and finally I added a bit of wish-washy brown for the sand. That was it! I had spent all my energy and imagination – it was all I could offer. It only took about fifteen minutes to do!

Imagine my surprise when I received a “Well done” from the art mistress the next time I saw her. “You really must have put a lot of thought into that painting.” she remarked. (I have never managed to work out whether she was being sarcastic or genuinely magnanimous !)

I had been given a blank canvas on which to create something which someone (apparently) thought was good.

So now it’s your turn. Close your eyes and imagine complete darkness – nothing. Absolutely nothing and nothing to go by. No-one to tell you what to put where, which colour to use, what compliments another thing. The blackness is everywhere and you are in charge of making something from nothing. You have to create the earth.

We can all imagine what we would do, because everything is already there, so we have images in our mind’s eye. But imagine how God created the heavens and the earth from nothing. Absolutely nothing.

The Bible tells us that God created all that in six days. Six Days!!.

Have you ever wondered how the planets, stars, sun and moon all spin in space without falling? How is the earth suspended? How was water made? I know that scientists give glib answers, but for me there is only one answer. God made all this Himself, without any help, plans or drawings. Don’t you think that’s just awesome?

How sad it is to think how much we are harming His beautiful Creation with our selfish ways. It won’t always be here, because when Jesus comes back it will all end. It is all vividly told in the last book of the Bible – Revelation. If you haven’t ever given much thought to the End of the World I urge you to read Revelation. There are modern translations of the Bible, so no-one can say that it’s all in archaic language.

Don’t get left behind on that Day. There won’t be a second chance.


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The X Factor

It’s quite possible that you’ve done a Google search for the “X Factor” talent show and come up with this, but please read on!

Almost five years ago I returned to U.K. after having lived in France for some years. Whilst we were there we became used to living without English language T.V., so you can imagine what delights awaited us on our return! Amongst many changes that had taken place in our absence was the arrival of “The X Factor” talent show. Thinking about this recently I began reflecting on earlier shows in the same genre, but 1970s style not 2010s. In those days we were less sophisticated than people are nowadays and these talent shows would send a modern audience to sleep in ten seconds flat! I was watching some of those old programmes whilst researching for this blog and, oh my!, they really were cringe-worthy! It merits a visit to You Tube to see them. Look for “New Faces” and “Opportunity Knocks”

Today’s X Factor (and Britain’s Got Talent) are so very different to the ones I’d remembered. Now there are huge audiences, star-studded judging panels, mentoring and heats taking place in exotic locations, but when it all boils down to the final analysis, nothing really changes. It’s all fake – the tears, the drama, the “tension” – and what is there afterwards for these people? Maybe a lucrative career, maybe not.

But, in actual fact, my blog has absolutely nothing at all to do with talent shows. It’s the title “X Factor” that’s important.

With Christmas fast approaching I’ve been noticing things in the stores that have changed from last year. We all know that for years that Christmas has become less to do with Jesus’ birth and more to do with retailing. This year I’ve noticed that cakes and mince pies are labelled “Seasonal Cakes” or “Festive Mince Pies”. No more Christmas cakes it seems! We’ve already had the Yule Log with us for years. However, the one thing that’s been around the longest and hurts me the most is the use of the word “Xmas“. Everywhere you look on packaging, signs, cards – almost everything is “Xmas” Why replace Christ with an “X”? Can people no longer say His name? And if they don’t believe in Jesus or have no time for Him, then why celebrate the time of His birth at all?

    The very purpose of Christ’s coming into the world was that He might offer up His life as a sacrifice for the sins of men. He came to die. This is the heart of Christmas.
    Billy Graham

Yes, we all like to receive gifts at Christmas. Just remember, the greatest gift that was ever given was when God gave us His Son, Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin, lived in obscurity until He was thirty, died on the Cross, rose again and is now seated at the right hand of God.

Make Him part of your Christmas this year.

Nativity Scene

(Luke chapter 2 verses 8 to 20 N.I.V.)

    “8. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
    13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
    14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”
    15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
    16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”


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Supermarket Trolleys

You might think a blog post about supermarket trolleys is a little odd to say the least. Well, stick with it and you’ll see where I’m coming from.

When I was a child in the 1940s there were, obviously, no supermarkets in the U.K. and so we had no trolleys (makes sense!). Most women went to town on the ‘bus every Saturday, did their shopping, putting it into their basket or carrier bag (and I doubt much of it would have been packaged as we know it today).

In this modern world shopping is much easier. Jump into the car, park at the store, grab a trolley and off we go. We give little or no thought as to what happens to a trolley during its daily life; I know I never did. That is, until my husband started working for Asda and sometimes has the job of sorting the trolleys. And, you know, it’s quite interesting. You’ll be amazed where some of them end up!

    Or this one

    or this one

And we’ve all marvelled at some of the parking we see when we go to the supermarket – but this, surely, takes the prize.

This train of thought led me to thinking about how much we undervalue and take for granted the things around us just because they’re always there, handy to use, conveniently awaiting our purpose. We take so much for granted and very often don’t give a second thought to the very thing that’s so useful .

Just think about all the household gadgets you use every day – cooker, fridge, freezer, iron, vacuum cleaner – the list is endless. We don’t really value them once the novelty of newness has worn off. They’re just there. Am I right?

But the one thing that almost all of us will undervalue time and time again is God’s love for us. He’s there all day, every day (and night time, too!). If you just spend a minute or two thinking about what He’s done for you, you’ll be amazed. God made everything. Nothing was made except by Him. And He’s always there, caring for us, just as an earthly father would care for his children. He wants only the best for us and we shouldn’t take that wonderful Gift for granted.

Speak to Him every day; He loves to hear from us. Bring a smile to God’s face.

    Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
    you formed me in my mother’s womb.
    I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
    Body and soul, I am marvellously made!
    I worship in adoration -what a creation!
    You know me inside and out,
    you know every bone in my body;
    You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
    Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
    all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
    The days of my life all prepared
    before I’d even lived one day.
    Your thoughts -how rare, how beautiful!
    God, I’ll never comprehend them!
    I couldn’t even begin to count them –
    any more than I could count the sand of the sea.

    Psalm 139 verses 13-18 (The Message)