Month: May 2006

Sun without the sun

Another bank holiday in a long string of bank holidays, another opportunity to sample the delights of the English weather. Fortunately I took an umbrella and a warm fleece with me to Hyde Park to meet up with lots of other young people from churches in and around London. We sat around, chatted, ate food, played games and generally caught up with each other. Interpersing all this was sunny periods, rainy periods, and cloudy periods, with cloudy periods making up the most of the day. The day was completed with a meal at the Spaghetti House in Duke Street, with a fine dish of fresh mussels and pasta in a tomato and chilli sauce. A good time was had by all, and Dave even managed to get sunburnt somehow.

a.m.: Mark 3:22-30 p.m.: Joshua 9

What is it to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit?

It can’t be to misuse his name, for whilst the misuse of God’s name is a sin, it is not unforgivable.

Looking at the situation Jesus was in, it appears more likely to be rejecting the work of the Spirit. For Jesus used the power of the Spirit in his ministry. Yet, the teachers of the law attributed the Spirit to be the work of Satan, and so rejected the work of the Spirit.

Jesus points out the absurdity of their argument. After all, how could Satan succeed if he fought against himself, especially on such a public level. Instead, the accusations were merely a wilful persistent rejection of the work of the Spirit. Today this culminates in the rejection of the Gospel, which the Spirit worked to establish in the word of God, which tells of all that Jesus Christ achieved for sinners.

On the flip side, Jesus remarks that everything else is forgivable. Such is the love and grace of God that any who repent of their sin and trust in Jesus Christ for forgiveness will be forgiven.

The New World

Saw The New World this evening with some of the usual suspects. As Sarah had chosen the film, I went in with no preconceptions, only knowing it was a differing (and allegedly more accurate) story of Pocahontas to the Disney offering (which I’ve never seen anyway). I was very pleasantly surprised to see a film spend time setting the scene, developing its characters and telling the story at a pace which allowed you to appreciate what was going on. The actual story itself is fairly simple to explain, but the film concentrated on the character of Pocahontas, in her various experiences, the situation the settlers were in and the sheer natural beauty of this new world. I thought it was a good film and worth seeing – some of my fellow viewers thought otherwise. Probably good if you’re an adult. 🙂

It’s Slough

Friday night was spent surrounded by teenagers at the Slough Ice Arena. I must admit, I’m beginning to feel my age as everyone rushed along around me, leaving me to trundle along in their wake. I think I’m actually getting better at it though, managing to avoid falling over and staying away from the side for the majority of the time. I eventually had to retire thirty minutes early as I just ran out of energy, and left the teenagers to continue on until it was time to go home. A slightly different evening.

I wonder why people spend Bank Holidays looking in sofa shops, after spending Saturday afternoon looking at things for my new flat. I can’t say the experience in and of itself was fun, looking at sofa upon sofa. It gave me a good idea of how much money I’d need to furnish my new abode, and Ally was there to give me a much needed female opinion on how things would look. I might need to give some aspects of furnishing a little more thought…

Code breaking

I seem to be spending a lot of time (and money!) in Italian restaurants recently! Last night was spent at a little Italian place in Ashford called “Volare”, to eat food and listen to a chap from Focus Radio explain what was wrong with the ‘facts’ portrayed in the Da Vinci Code. I’d already attended a seminar earlier in the month on this subject, but it was interesting to listen to a talk aimed more at non-Christians. With the facts of history laid bare, one could be in no doubt that the Da Vinci Code was nothing more than fiction.

With all this fuss about this book though, I may have to go and see the film to actually know what it says!

This evening was another spent learning the intricacies of the fiddle – complete with a sight read of an Irish folk melody. I think I need to spend time just practicing the things I have already learnt to allow things to ingrain themselves in my brain and so allow me to play the violin as naturally as I play the piano.

a.m.: Luke 23:32-43 p.m.: Joshua 8:30-35

As Jesus hung on the cross, he was flanked by two criminals. On one side was one who hadn’t grasped who Jesus was and so mocked him, to the other side was one who knew who Jesus was and so trusted him. He realised that he was a sinner, and his sin needed dealing with. He also knew Jesus was sinless and could forgive sin. The man trusted Jesus with his life, even though he could only see another man dying on a cross. It’s true this man might well have seen Jesus performing miracles and heard reports of Jesus’ sinless nature. There was nothing to suggest any certainty in Jesus rising from the dead.

We know later in Luke’s Gospel that Jesus rose from the dead and is alive now. How much less of an excuse do we have for not trusting in him. From the account, we can see that it is never too late to repent and that no one is beyond saving.

This is not to say we should put off repentance until the last minute, for none of us know how we are going to die, only that we will die.

That repentance must be real though. A last minute repentance might not be anything of the sort. How many people have thought they were in their last days and ‘repented’ only to live on and live a life far from God?

The time for repentance is now, for Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jn 10:10

Happy birthday Marjorie!

A fine Saturday sitting around doing nothing during the day. A very nice way to recover from a rather hectic week. The day was completed with an evening celebrating Mim’s birthday at a little Italian restaurant, The Amalfi, in Windsor. The food was very good, and I left feeling very full. It was great to be able to spend time with friends, catching up and sharing some happy moments together. We even had a piece of birthday cake with a candle in it brought in with a chorus of happy birthday – albeit with a waiter wishing Marjorie a happy birthday. 🙂

The ninth commandment

Q: Which is the ninth commandment?
A: The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Q: What is required in the ninth commandment?
A: The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbour’s good name, especially in witness bearing.

Q: What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A: The ninth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own, or our neighbour’s good name.

(Questions LXXVI, LXXVII and LXXVIII from the Westminster Shorter Catechism.)

Long blues

Played Ed at snooker again yesterday evening. 5-3 frames to me in the end. Whilst the first few frames were atrocious – I put it down to having a new tip on my cue, I improved along the way to go into a comfortable lead with plenty of long pots, and even the odd short one.

Shame my hand eye coordination didn’t persist until this evening, as my fingers had the odd moment in my violin lesson! Spent a while revisiting old scales and pieces. It’s amazing how quickly one forgets details about things!

a.m.: Ecclesiastes 9:13-18 p.m.: Joshua 8:1-19

Sometimes, the little man is forgotten. Regardless of the great deed he has done in saving the city, in Ecclesiastes the poor wise man is forgotten whilst the rulers are remembered. Yet, were it not for this man, the city would have been defeated for it was small with few people to defend it. History is littered with such instances, of course in some cases we may not even know about it. One particular event in history is neglected by many people though.

Whilst the world’s rulers strutted across the world stage, God the Son gave up his heavenly riches to become a poor man, that he might save his people. Whilst the Caesar’s wielded great military might, he didn’t use power and might, but through his death on the cross and eventual resurrection. This may seem to be foolishness to many, but through this foolishness the sins of the elect were dealt with. Through this great sacrifice of love, we can be made righteous before God, and can enter into a relationship with a holy God.

Spam be gone!

You may have noticed I’ve turned off comments – or you may not… Anyway, it would appear I need to put up some comment checking into my blog, as I was spammed to the tune of around 1300 comments by some online poker spammers. A short moment with a text editor removed those, but rather than spend five minutes every night removing comments, I’ve removed the facility until I implement some comment checking. Many apologies.

An acre of America

I’m slowly getting used to the possibility of living alone. I looked at a couple of flats and could picture myself coming home from work, and doing whatever I liked – play the violin, piano, computer games, cooking, read, watch telly, in the comfort of my own living room. Given enough impetus, I might actually get around to moving.

I met up with the usual suspects in the evening for a walk around Runnymede, to see the Magna Carta monument, the Air Force memorial and the JFK memorial – which sits in an acre of land given to the United States. It was good to have a chance just to chat and enjoy the countryside. The evening even had a moment of excitement as one of our party had become separated and so we spent a not so inconsiderable amount of time trying to find her! Thankfully she found us, although how we didn’t find her first is a mystery to me.

Assisted dying bill…

After much public debate, Lord Joffe’s bill was put before the Lords, and defeated.

I think this is a triumph for the notion of sanctity of life. As far as the bible is concerned, we are all made in the image of God

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Ge 1:27

and the taking of life is a very serious thing.

You shall not murder. Ex 20:13

The only time the state is sanctioned to rule on whether someone lives or dies is in the administering of justice.

For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Ro 13:3,4

There is no other remit for taking someone’s life. If this bill had passed, life would become more of a commodity, with people’s lives determined more by what they think they’re worth in their ability to contribute to society and family, rather than their actual worth as a loved one – both by their friends and family, and by God.

…observing the law…

A definite feeling of deja vu this evening. I’ve spent most of the past few Friday evenings explaining that justification before God is by faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Imagine my dismay when I touched on the ten commandments this evening and, when I asked why the ten commandment exist, I got the response that if we tried our best to keep them, we’d go to heaven…. :crazy:

This is all a bit new to me…

Well, I’ve started looking for a property to purchase. I’ve never done this before, so it’s all a bit new to me. I’ve talked with a lender about a mortgage, found out how much I can borrow and I had a look around some flats last night.

Afterwards, I discussed the ins and outs of the property markets with many friends and have a much better idea about what I’m doing.

I’ve come to the conclusion this could be long and protracted, and possibly slightly stressful. I’ve also decided that houses converted into multiple flats is not for me, purpose built flats – either small blocks or maisonettes – are the way to go.

Fortunately, I spent this evening away from the property market, with a violin lesson and a few frames of snooker. I revisited a piece I’d learnt a while ago, the theme to Star Wars, and was pleasantly surprised at how well I played it – ok, the fourth note of the opening took a little time to accomplish, but the rest was all good. I guess I must be improving, at least something good has happened today. 🙂