God and ASDA

Stories and thoughts: past, present and future


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Feelings

I wanted to write a blog about “Feelings” and to go with it I wanted to add the Morris Albert song “Feelings”. As I trawled the internet, I discovered this delightful little ditty about feelings. Watch it and enjoy!

The way we act and react with those around us depends on our own feelings. Sometimes, as the song says, we’re a bit grumpy so we put on our grumpy face. If we’re happy, out comes the happy face. (I have a cupboard full of different faces for all occasions!)

Sometimes, though, we might prefer to keep our feelings to ourselves, but our eyes will always give us away. Look in a mirror and put on a (pretend) grumpy face. Your eyes aren’t smiling, are they? No, the lids droop, the brow furrows and the “grump” spreads all over your face. Maybe your shoulders sag a little, too. There is a long-held belief that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile, but I can’t imagine how they would be able to calculate that one. (Picture the researcher frowning whilst concentrating!!).

Have you ever said something, quite innocently, and the person to whom you’re speaking is offended – you’ve hurt their feelings? It’s called “putting your foot in it”. However, whilst it’s not easy to physically put your foot in your mouth (don’t try this at home!), it’s often not difficult to upset someone’s feelings.

So what’s the answer? Well, you just go to the person you’ve upset, say you’re sorry and promise not to do it again. But you no doubt will!!

The reason I’m writing this piece is that I’ve often wondered what Jesus was feeling during His trial and crucifixion.

He knew that it was going to happen and He knew the exact time it would happen. He gave Himself up to His accusers in the Garden at Gethsemane. Imagine the feelings He must have had. He was human as well as God, so He felt all our emotions. As you read the Bible you’ll come across several passages where it tells us of His feelings.

He wept when He heard that Lazarus had died (John 11 verse 35)
He slept in the boat with His disciples (Mark 4 verse 38)
He was hungry because He had fasted for forty days and forty nights (Matthew 4 verse 2)
He was thirsty whilst on the Cross. (John 19 verse 28)

He felt all the things we feel.

Imagine the pain and agony He went through on that Cross, just for YOU. He was the only sacrifice good enough for God to forgive us all our wrong-doings, past, present and future.

At this Christmastime, when thoughts of the Baby Jesus are in people’s minds, think about what He did for you.

I make no apologies for ending with, probably, the most famous verse in the Bible.

“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life”
(John 3 verse 16)

Now how do you feel?

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No Signal!

Returning from a holiday recently, I switched on the PC in order to catch up with our email messages that would have come in whilst we were away. Imagine my surprise when I tried to connect to the internet and the screen remained blank – nothing – no signal! It was as if I’d suddenly lost some important faculty – sight, feeling, mobility. For a few seconds I was completely stumped. “What’s happened,” I thought.

We set to and began checking all the connections, plugs, sockets – even the mains switch. But they were all securely plugged in or switched on. Then we looked at the hub. It was blank – dead! Whilst there should have been a series of four blue lights, each one telling us that a particular function was operating, there was, in fact, nothing! Now what? (And we hadn’t even unpacked the suitcases!!).

We tried to get online (just in case the hub was fibbing!), but all we got was a huge exclamation mark and a message telling us that it was not possible for us to be connected. I wanted to shout at the screen, “We know that already!” However, all was not lost as also in the screen was another message taking us step-by-step through an elimination process to discover the problem.

Eventually it transpired that there was a break in the connection between our house and the phone company’s box 50 metres away. The final message read: “Please contact your telephone company………” “We haven’t got a phone that works”, I shouted at the screen. But, of course, I do have a mobile phone, albeit a very ancient model, and this proved to be our final hope.

It took two days and three phone calls on my mobile (in an area that receives practically no signal at all), but we got it sorted and it was great to be back in touch with the world once more.

Hoorah!

And, once again, this set me thinking about how much we take things for granted.

Just stop for a moment and imagine living in a place where there is no electricity, running water or sanitation? There are no shops in this place (no, not even an Asda!). There are no roads to get from one place to another. And yet, there really are places like this in our world today. It’s hard for us to imagine if we’ve never been there, because we are surrounded by all these things. I’ve often wondered how people living in such places manage without all the mod cons that we take for granted, but they do because they’ve never had them.

I was born at a time when none of the modern household gadgets was available to us. We had no phone, no car, no washing machine, no fridge or freezer. In my early life we had no T.V. and, of course, no computers. The list of the things we didn’t have is endless, and yet, ask anyone who is my age what it was like, and they will probably say the same as me – “we got along O.K. without them”.

But there is one thing that I didn’t know about when I was little and that was just how much God loves me. Yes, I went to Sunday School and yes, I heard about Jesus but since I gave Him my life thirty years ago, I now know Him as my Lord and Saviour. Jesus died for me and He died for you, also.

In our mid-week Communion meeting at Church this week, our Pastor read the account of Jesus’ Last Supper, arrest and crucifixion. He didn’t just read it – he made us be there. We stood beside Jesus as He was mocked, beaten, whipped and insulted. We walked with Him up the hill to the place where He was crucified and we stood at the foot of the Cross and looked up at Him. It was so very moving and made me realise just what He went through for each and every one of us. Throughout it all He never once spoke ill of His accusers. He knew that that is what He’d come for – to take all our guilt and shame and to die for us.

Your guilt and shame is nailed to that Cross. Jesus did it for you.

May I suggest you read the following verses from Matthew’s Gospel?:

Chapter 26 verses 17-29; then verses 36-46;
Chapter 27 verses 27-50

It’s a lot to read I grant you, but it may be the best read you’ll ever have!


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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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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.


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Parcels From Canada

When I was a child in the 1940s, there were no such things as beefburgers, pizzas, chicken nuggets and no-one owned a home freezer, so shopping had to be done regularly. During the Second World War food was severely rationed in the U.K. and many families often had to go without some of the most basic provisions – things that we take for granted in these affluent days of the 21st century. Ration books were issued and families had to register in order to have one, and the coupons were handed over to the butcher or grocer in order to ensure that no-one was hoarding food.

At this time, there were organisations that arranged food parcels from abroad, and people in Canada and America could be linked with a British family and send the occasional parcel of items which were not available in England. Recipient families had to qualify to receive such parcels and my family was one of those that did. It was probably because my Dad had served in the Auxiliary Fire Service during the Blitz. I think that maybe he was classed as being unfit for military service. I’m sure there was some kind of means test involved, too. But I have no idea how the system worked, or how it was set up. All I remember is the excitement in the house the day a parcel arrived.

We would all gather around the table as Dad opened the box and we looked inside to see what had been included. The box contained dreamed-of luxuries like tea, sugar and coffee packed in little wooden containers, tins of jam and a selection of tinned fruits and sweets. I think the thing Mum liked most of all, though, was the nylon stockings which were always included. That was her treat and no-one else’s. It was a really exciting time and, for a few days following the arrival of the parcel, we had tinned fruit for tea perhaps twice a week instead of only on Sundays.

The donor family lived in Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario, and they kept in touch with my parents after the war. When they visited England in the early 1950s they called round to the house to look us up. Unfortunately there was no-one home but me and I was forbidden from opening the door to anyone, so they left a note to say they’d called. How sad that we weren’t able to meet them after all their kindness over the years.

These parcels were a free gift from one kind and loving family to people they didn’t even know, and eventually never got to meet.

There is another sort of love available, free, to all. God’s love, which is unconditional. He loves you and me even though He knows all about us and sees all the things we do and hears all the things we say. We might think we’re the bees knees because we don’t commit murders, or steal, or damage people’s property. But we ALL do bad things, called sin, and God still loves us. In fact, He loved us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to live amongst us and teach us the right way to live.

Jesus died on the Cross at Calvary for each and every one of us. That was the price God paid for us to be saved from an eternity of darkness. We who are believers know that we will one day be with Him in Heaven. And Jesus is coming back soon. If you leave it any longer to get to know Him and accept Him as your Lord and Saviour, it may be too late. The Bible tells us quite clearly what will happen when He comes back. Check it out. NOW!

    Brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (Thessalonians 5 verses 1-3)

And we’re told how much God loves us:

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3 verse 16)

    For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3 verse 23)

    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14 verse 6)

    (All scriptures taken from the New International Version 1980)


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Locked Inside Woolies

When I was in the W.R.A.F. in the early 1960s, one of the places to which I was posted was R.A.F Mount Batten, Plymouth in Devon.

My Dad was delighted when he learned that I would be stationed in the same city where he served as a Fire-fighter during the blitz on the city in March 1941. During my stay in Plymouth, Mum and Dad came to visit on one occasion and my Dad was visibly moved to be there again almost twenty years after his heroic wartime action . He sat on Plymouth Hoe looking out to sea and I knew that I must just let him sit there and remember. But my time in Plymouth was much happier than Dad’s.

Now that I’m living in Devon again, my husband and I visited the city quite recently. Before we left home, I planned to show him all the things I remembered from my time there. I knew that the city had changed quite a bit but I also knew that the two main shopping streets were almost as they were.

I was telling him about the times we used to go into “town”, meet up in the mezzanine cafeteria at Woolworths (or Woolies, as it was affectionately known), and have a really good time for the price of a cup of tea (about 1p in today‘s money!). We’d look over the balcony, calling to our friends or maybe even calling to lads who weren’t (yet) our friends!! (Some things never change!). It was a good time to be in Plymouth. The city was beginning to grown again and the horrors of the war were beginning to fade.

So you can imagine my surprise when, on arriving outside Woolworths we discovered that it had closed its doors for the last time in January 2009. Since that day, the building has been left empty, shuttered up and left to decay.

Plymouth Woolies

As I looked at that well-known façade I noticed that a bird was nesting in one of the letters of the name. At least he’d found a use for it!

IMGP9625

I felt extremely sad. All my memories of those wonderful Saturdays gone forever. Or, are they? Those doors that were shut have enclosed every single one of my precious memories and, as my fertile imagination works overtime, I can still hear the laughter, music, chatter and hustle and bustle of those days. They’ll never go away, they’re locked inside until someone opens those doors again. What a cacophony that will be!

But thinking about Plymouth itself, how it was damaged almost beyond any hope of regaining it’s former glory, reminded me that Jesus was beaten, spat upon, whipped and crucified – practically damaged beyond all hope. But He rose again, as He said He would, and we can know that Resurrection joy if we follow Him.

    Jesus said (to her), “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” Do you believe this?

    (John 11 verses 25,26)

Whatever your situation, no matter what you’ve done or how broken-hearted you may feel, turn to God and He will restore you.

In Psalm 51 verses 10 – 12, when the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba, David wrote:

    “10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
    11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
    12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”


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Price Guarantee

I was doing my shopping the other day – nothing unusual in that, you say! Well, no, but I realised that almost everything I bought that day was on “special” – buy one get one half price – three for the price of two – £1 off usual price. You get the picture. And this set me wondering how it’s all worked out.

The many and various supermarkets in U.K. all have special offers of one kind or another, in order to attract people who might not otherwise go there. Once in the store they hope you’ll buy loads of stuff you never knew you didn’t want!

There are four main supermarkets in our area – Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrison’s. They regularly compete on the same item which makes it most confusing. (I thought supermarket shopping was intended to be easier -just walk round and select what you want!).

My supermarket is Asda as my husband works there and staff have a discount on their shopping. It would be silly not to take advantage of this, now wouldn’t it?

The latest idea from these four retail giants is that they have come up with promises of “if you can get it cheaper elsewhere, still come to us as we’ll give you the difference” or words to that effect. (Are you still awake at the back there?!).

Asda calls theirs the “Price Guarantee”. Quite simply, if Asda isn’t 10% cheaper than any of the other three, they will give you the difference (to be redeemed from your next shop – cheeky!!).

Shopping was never like that when I was young. Just after the war there were shortages of just about everything and, of course, we had rationing. So, whereas now I need the car to go and do my weekly shop, Mum would take us all on the ‘bus into town and then we would help her to carry the shopping home. We didn’t have much money but we always had fresh meat, vegetables and a cake for Sunday tea. There were no special offers that I can recall – the prices were marked and that was it – take it or leave it!

I well remember the two old sisters who ran a small greengrocers’ at the top of our lane. They always seemed so grim, probably because the shop was very dark. Mum had to buy our potatoes loose by the half stone (7lbs or 3.17kg), not pre-packed as nowadays, and I can tell you that was very heavy for a little girl to carry! However, having said the old ladies were dour, they would sometimes give me an apple for free.

There will be lots more tales of me shopping and going to school in the future, but for now I want to concentrate on the Price Guarantee. Asda may think that they were the first to introduce this promise but I can assure you that they were not.

As we approach Easter, let’s just give thought to the Price that Jesus paid to Guarantee forgiveness of sins.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5 verse 8)

Jesus went willingly to the Cross at Calvary on that first Good Friday. He died for each and every one of us who repent of our sins (wrong-doings).

“Many think the word repent means “to get your act together” or to “get religion” or “fly straight”; as if we could. Repentance requires taking in a whole new point of view; looking at it God’s way. God simply asks us to turn. This is the way we accept His gift. When we do, certain outcomes are promised. If we don’t, or we “turn back”, alternate outcomes are promised.”

http://www.acts17-11.com/repent.html

I make no apologies for the following picture.

Happy Easter!