God and ASDA

Stories and thoughts: past, present and future


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Tomorrow

Yes, I know I said my previous blog was to be the final one – I know! But, when you are given a new subject to write about, you just have to go with it. So, just for this one time (?) I’ve resurrected it. (Another idea has just popped into my head!)

When I was young I could never get my head around “tomorrow”. Mum or Dad would tell us we had, say, six more tomorrows then we’d be going on holiday. Or, whilst anxiously awaiting Christmas Eve, Dad would say it’s only another week – just seven tomorrows. I thought that there were seven days in a week, not seven tomorrows.

To confuse me even more, when “tomorrow” arrived it became “today”. So what happened to the today gone by? Well, of course, it became yesterday! All very baffling for a young, active mind to take in.

My Gran used to tell us that “Today is the tomorrow you were worried about yesterday.” Now that’s confusing, too.

And there’s an old saying: “Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can do today.” Ah, I understood that – I think.

Putting off until tomorrow does nothing to ease a problem; if a problem it is. Whatever we “put off” will still be there two, three, four days later. Putting it off only exacerbates the worry.

The Bible tells us not to put things off until tomorrow:

(James 4 verses 13-14 N.I.V.)

(13) Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— (14) yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

We don’t know what will happen tomorrow – only God knows . However, one thing’s for certain, when Jesus comes back, as He will, to judge the living and the dead, will you be among those who wish they’d listened when someone told them the truth?

Being a Christian is not wearing leather gloves on Sunday and being holier than thou. It’s about knowing the Person of Jesus, having a real relationship with Him and, as a result, having the knowledge that one day we will all be together in Heaven with our Heavenly Father – for ever and ever.

There is only one way to get to Heaven, whatever you may think to the contrary:

The following verses are from John 14 verses 2- 6:

2. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5. Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6. Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Don’t put it off any longer. Find a church, go to a service and be amazed.

God Bless.

    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/269934571385416592/


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The End

I was wondering what to write about this time, and, as I was looking at the Blog, I realised that it is almost a year since my first article was posted. How time flies!

During that year I’ve covered a range of different subjects, most of them relating to growing up in the Midlands just after the war (that’s the Second World War, not the First!).

Several times I’ve sat in front of the PC and wondered just what I could write about. It was never pre-planned – it just flowed.

But, this time, I’m stuck and there is no inspiration whatsoever. And so I’ve decided that this will be the last post on this Blog. It’s the end.

I feel rather sad about it ending. It’s reminiscent of old movies that always had THE END across the screen. The fairytale was over, the dream shattered – back to reality. It’s similar to reading the last page of a book and you don’t want it to end.

But all good things must come to an end and before I go I believe that I have one important piece of writing to do.

As a Christian I know that this world will one day end, when Jesus comes back. It’s written in the Bible that this will happen and the signs are already there. The clock is already ticking.

Walk with me, if you will, through Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 24, verses 3 -14 and you’ll see what I mean. (The # in brackets indicate this has already happened)

“3. As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. ‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’

4. Jesus answered: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you.

5. For many will come in my name, claiming, “I am the Messiah,” and will deceive many. (#)

6. You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, (#) but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

7. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. (#). There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. (#)

8. All these are the beginning of birth-pains.

9. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, (#) and you will be hated by all nations because of me. (#)

10. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, (#)

11. and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. (#)

12. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, (#)

13. but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

14. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

So, you see, it’s all there. It’s happening NOW. One day we will all have to stand before God to be judged and then He will decide where we spend eternity – with Him or in Hell.

You won’t be able to say “I didn’t know. No-one told me.” You’ve just read it here – I told you. Do something about it NOW, otherwise, on that Day, it really will, for you, be…………

    THE END


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I Can’t See

A few years ago I awoke one morning to find that my eyes were both tightly closed and there was nothing I could do to open them. A very scary experience, I am sure you will agree. I bathed them gently with warm water, to no avail. I rubbed them, again no good.

So I went to the doctor later that day (when I was able to open my eyes and find my way there!). She told me that this was a common condition among older people and was, in fact, nothing to worry about. She gave me a prescription for some ointment to put onto my lower eyelid before going to sleep. It was ghastly stuff!! Firstly, it was difficult to apply (I kept poking the applicator into my eye!), and secondly, although my eyes opened a little the next morning, they were so bunged up with this rubbish that my vision was blurred.

For the past fifteen years I have tolerated this condition and each morning I have to feel my way round the bedroom into the bathroom (making sure I don’t head towards the top of the stairs) and in time my eyes do open. But it’s alarming. You never get used to it.

This daily occurrence has led me to compare it to my spiritual life. Until I became a Christian, I was, effectively, blind to the truth. I would do my own thing, not really caring about what would happen if I didn’t attend to thoughts of the future. Sooner or later it had to be addressed.

But, of course, God has all things under His control and I was to meet a young lady whose friendship led me to believe in Jesus and to ask Him into my life. My eyes were opened. I saw everything in a new light. No longer was I thinking only of myself; Jesus gave me a new heart with a love for others.

And so I began my walk with Him which has just got better and better. I know that in everything that’s happened to me since that time, God has been there with me. I’ve experienced a few twists and turns in recent years that I would never have imagined could have happened to me, but I realise now that it was His plan for this to happen and today I am where I am supposed to be. If I tried to go in a direction that wasn’t planned for me, I’ve been brought back, sometimes by a circuitous route, and here and now I am the happiest I have been in my whole life. Thank you, Jesus!

There’s a beautiful old song “Amazing Grace“, written by John Newton, which talks about being blind to what God has done for us.

Incidentally, I still have to put up with this “morning blindness” so if you see an elderly lady walking down the street one morning in a state of undress, you’ll know I missed the bathroom again!

“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)

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5 verse 7)

God Bless you.


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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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My Life in the 1940s – 1950s

Growing up, as I did, in the industrial Midlands of England in the 1940s/1950s, we were surrounded by the filth of chimneys, belching out all manner of foul emissions. This often caused terrible smog, bringing cars and buses to a standstill as it was impossible to see further than a hand in front of you. Domestic fires added to this through the coal and coke that was burnt.

This atmosphere, of course, was the cause of many health problems for lots of families. I suffered terribly from bronchitis for most of the year and had to wear something called “Thermogene“. This came in a roll of pink material like cotton wool, which was pinned inside Liberty Bodices and vests, to keep my chest warm and help banish winter ailments. Research on the actual ingredients of the material have proved fruitless, but whatever it was, it worked!

We also had to have daily doses of Cod Liver Oil, provided free by the Health Department, as well as orange juice. The cod liver oil was ghastly and almost made me choke, but if I managed to keep it down I was rewarded with the orange juice!

Another therapy I had to undergo was sun ray treatment, which took place in a large room in a local clinic. In the centre of the room was a huge lamp and we had to stand facing the lamp, wearing just our knickers and a pair of goggles, for about fifteen minutes. I remember feeling very warm. This course of treatment lasted for no more than four sessions. At least it was one way of getting time off from school!!

It’s also a well-known fact that children in the 1950s were often under-nourished due to food shortages, rationing or just hardship. We always seemed to have plenty to eat and I looked forward to our Sunday roast. Having bought all the necessary ingredients the previous day whilst out shopping, Mum would set about roasting the beef joint in her tiny gas oven.

When it was finished she would drain off the juices and leave it to set; this made the most delicious dripping which we would spread on toast. (Oh, my mouth is watering at the very thought!!)

On the top of the cooker she had three gas jets and these would be used for the various saucepans of vegetables. I found a picture of one almost identical, except that this picture is of a doll’s cooker!!. At least it will give an idea of the kind of equipment housewives had at their disposal in the 1940s.

So, to continue – we always had a sweet (or pudding as we called it) and my favourite was bananas and custard. During the war bananas were unavailable and so, when they were finally to be had again, they were something new to us. It was a special treat to have a banana. How we take things for granted these days, with such wonderful fruits from all over the world available in the supermarkets all year round.

Sunday tea usually comprised fish paste sandwiches, a fruit cake or ring of buns and a dish of peaches in syrup. We weren’t allowed to have the fruit until we’d eaten at least one half slice of bread and butter. This was probably to make it go further, as one tin of peaches would have to suffice for the whole family of five.

Incidentally, Monday’s evening meal consisted of minced meat left over (or put aside specially) from the Sunday joint, made into a shepherd’s pie. Pastry left from making that would be used to make an apple pie for pudding, probably lasting two days at least. (No fridges then, either!!). Very little food was wasted in those days!!

But, throughout all those days of hardship and shortages, I know that my parents did their best for us kids, no matter what. We always had warm clothes and even treats of comics (albeit second-hand ones from the market) and oftentimes Mum would pass her dish over to one of us saying that she’d had enough to eat. We never realised that probably there wasn’t enough to go round, so Mum or Dad would forego their own food for us.

These days, 63 years on, I live in a comfortable, warm home and to do my weekly shopping I just jump into the car and drive (less than a mile!) into Asda’s car park. I haven’t yet succumbed to home deliveries though!!

In the 1950s shops were certainly not open as long then as they are now. Opening times were usually 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. five days a week and on one of those five days all the shops in the town closed for half a day. There were no businesses open on Sundays back then. I often wonder what my Dad would think of my life these days compared to what he knew just before he died in 1972. So much has changed in the past 41 years.

Sometimes I think it’s moving too quickly. One day a new gadget appears on the shelves and within days it’s superseded by something bigger or better. When I was young a tablet was something you took when you were ill, an eye pad was something you put over an injured eye and a mobile was something that was suspended over a baby’s cot. Times have certainly changed since then, but much as I remember being very happy when I was young, I certainly wouldn’t wish to go back and live like that again. I like my comforts too much!!

And yet, you know, whatever happens in our lives, whether it be good or bad, is part of God’s plan for us. If we choose to follow Jesus and give our lives to Him, then we shall understand why all these things happen to us. Sometimes we might think of going somewhere or doing something but for some reason it just doesn’t happen. That’s God working in our lives, probably because what we wanted to do wouldn’t be good for us.

Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 11: “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.”

Romans chapter 8 verse 28: “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.”


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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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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.