Month: July 2006

Keeping the commandments

Q: Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
A: No mere man, since the fall, is able, in this life, perfectly to keep the commandments of God; but doth daily break them, in thought, word, and deed.

Q: Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?
A: Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

(Questions LXXXII and LXXXIII from the Westminster Shorter Catechism.)

Happy Birthday Beth!

Went to the Ask restaurant in Uxbridge for Beth’s birthday this evening. Most people opted for the spaghetti bolognese, but I decided to go for the ravioli with seafood stuffing – mmmmm. A nice way to wind down in the evening, catch up with friends and celebrate the birthday of a fine young lady. I think she might’ve enjoyed herself as well – bonus! 🙂

Sight reading

I appear to be getting better at the violin – I can actually sight read pieces I’ve never seen before (rather than those I have)! Admittedly they aren’t difficult, but a year ago, it would’ve taken me a good few days to be able to play them half competantly, but now I can play them in such a fashion as they are pleasant to listen to, and even have some dynamics and musicality in them!


“Second star to the right, and straight on till morning” Peter Pan

a.m.: Mark 5:1-20 p.m.: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

When Jesus came across the man possessed by demons, his power over even demons was demonstrated. Before Jesus came along, this man lived amongst the dead, for no one would associate with him. He was out of control, both by himself and others. He was dysfunctional, unable to do what he was intended to do, even so far as to be self harming. Jesus was able to take this man and cleanse him of his illness, to remove the demons from him completely, to restore him to a completely right mind.

Whilst we may not be demon possessed, we are all possessed by sin. This sin permeates everything we do. Sin makes us dead before God, because of sin we are unable to associate with a holy God. Far from being self-controlled, we are controlled by sin. Sin causes us do things which are not for our good, even to take pleasure in it. Sin ultimately stops us from being able to do what we were intended to do. Yet, in his power, Jesus is able to cleanse us from sin, to remove it from us and take it upon himself. This is not to say sin is removed completely straight away, but if our faith is in Christ, not only will he cleanse us from sin, but his Spirit will dwell in us and strengthen us that we might be able to do his will. Through the power of the Spirit, we are able to do what we are intended to do – to glorify God, and through that, we find our chief enjoyment.

Janacek, Mozart and Dvorak

Woke up this morning slightly earlier than usual – for a Saturday anyway – it had rained during the night and now it was really, really warm and humid! Ah well, good thing I guess, as it meant I got up, did my food shopping and then trundled into London with Sam to do some wandering. The plan was to meet up with others later on to go to a Proms concert at the Royal Albert Hall, and it seemed a long way to go just for a concert, so I thought I’d make a day of it.

The afternoon was spent attempting to do lots of little chores in Chinatown, some of which I succeeded and some just fell flat on its face. The remainder of the time was spent perusing masterpieces in the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. I hadn’t realised so many works of art were on display there!

A quick hop on the tube and we were sitting under the Albert Memorial, with the others, eating sandwiches before the concert.

The concert itself was superb, although I wasn’t keen on the Janacek – my favourite being the Mozart Piano Concerto in E flat for two pianos, followed by the Dvorak Symphony no. 7. I was surprised that some preferred the Janacek over the Mozart. I guess I’m just a fan of Baroque/early classical music. 🙂

Sleeping bear

One of those weeks where I’ve been busy doing things which aren’t interesting to read about. Very useful things, but quite mundane. Fortunately, this evening was spent playing Diplomacy with some of the usual suspects.

After a slight mix up with the tokens, and a redistribution, I ended up being Russia. Fortunately, I hadn’t got the short straw as Dave had drawn Italy. Quite early on, the alliances were made, with Russia allying with Turkey and Austria-Hungary, France and Germany became inseparable and England allied with Italy (!) It became evident that the Franco-German alliance was the one to contend with, as England and Italy fumbled and eventually collapsed without too much effort by 1904. I seemed to spend most of the game watching the world go by as Russia was too remote from any of the action to really be active. However, a little provoking produced a slight tactical blunder through a premature attack on Warsaw by the Germans allowed a swift march into Germany and the fall of Munich. As with most games of Diplomacy, we never came to an end, although it was looking interesting. A fun evening none the less.

a.m.: Mark 4:35-41 p.m.: Luke 5:1-11

Does God really care about me?

It’s a question which can crop up far too often for the Christian. Even for the disciples, when Jesus was in the boat with them – they wondered if their Lord cared for them. They had forgotten who was in control of the storm. They were so taken up with the immediate storm which had arisen around them, that they had forgotten who Jesus is. This becomes even more apparent when Jesus’ awakes, and with just a word calms the storm. Then their understanding of Jesus becomes ever greater.

How often do we panic when we think we’ve been abandoned by God? How often do we forget how great God is, how faithful he is and how caring he is?

After all, he cared so much for us, that he sent his Son to die for us, that our sins might be forgiven. Why would we doubt he could do anything? For this is the God who can do more than we can ask or imagine. If our hope is in Christ alone, our hope is well founded.

Ship shape

…but not Bristol fashion, as I spent the day, with some of the usual suspects, in Portsmouth to celebrate Karen and Nige’s birthdays. After a rather early start for a Staurday morning, we arrived in Portsmouth with vague ideas of what we wanted to do. First port of call was lunch, and then a wander along to the Spinnaker Tower to have a rather impressive view of the city. From the observation decks you can see pretty much all of Portsmouth, with its naval history dotted all around the city. We then wandered more, with plenty of sunshine, scenery and social interaction until it was time for dinner at a local Harvester restaurant. The day ended with us relaxing back at Nige’s with a DVD.

A fun day spent with friends, old and new.


Well, I know I’ve been classed as homophobic in the past. For some reason, because I believe the bible states that homosexuality is a sin, some people equate belief that with believing that all homosexuals should be assaulted/abused/have all sorts of nasty things done to them. If anything,

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Mt 22:37-40

so regardless of whether I agree with someone about anything, I’m still to love them.

Of course, this becomes even more interesting when I see something like:


As placed in the Independent on 29th June.

Then something like

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you Mt 5:43,44

becomes ever more appropriate.

An interesting observation of the ad can be found at Hacking for Christ.

Third position

“I should try and practice more”, ran through my head as I attempted to play a study intended to be played in third position throughout. Admittedly, the week since my previous violin lesson had been rather hectic and short of practicing time, but as my violin teacher says, even just ten minutes a day is useful. Saying that, it might take a while to get used to playing in third position, let alone playing anything which requires shifting position a lot! I did seem to spend a lot of time concentrating on what I was doing, instead of concentrating on the sound I was making. The finger work might’ve been correct, I’m not sure the intonation was though…

On the up?

The gap is closing – lost 4-3 frames to Ed this evening. The first couple of frames started badly, with Ed pulling away with comfortable wins, but the games slowly turned and I was eventually firing on at least three cylinders before the end of the evening.

a.m.: Ecclesiastes 12 p.m.: 1 Kings 19

Remember your Creator…Ec 12:1

…because God is our creator, we are his and not our own. It would be foolish of us to forget him who created us. Not only should we remember him, but we should give him the place in our lives he is worthy of occupying – God should be first in our lives.

The writer of Ecclesiastes then says we should remember God in our youth, as we get older and long into old age before we eventually die – we should always remember God for as long as he lends us breath, for none of us know how long our lives will be.

If we are to place God in his rightful place in our lives, we are to obey his commandments for anything else, well, is meaningless.

Happy Birthday Callum!

Hmmm….one of those busy weekends! Travelled to Bristol on Friday night for my nephew’s birthday, although slightly earlier in the day than usual. I reached my destination in good time, and had a good night’s sleep.

The sleep was necessary – the birthday party was loud and frantic, with lots of children running around and testing their lung capacity to their fullest! There was even a magician, who was actually rather cool and he captivated the children with his show – even I thought he was entertaining.

After that, I had a short kip in the afternoon and spent the evening at my sister’s helping my nephew play with his birthday presents. 🙂

Music for a summer’s evening

…..or almost not! The weather was looking a little dicey during the day – very stormy, and the plan to attend an open air concert at Kneller Hall looked like it might be washed out. Fortunately, the the rain held off, it remained warm, and we were able to enjoy a selection of British light music, from the likes of Vaughan Williams and Walton, moving to some not so British music from Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, with the odd Irish folksong thrown in for good measure.

A pleasant evening spent relaxing in the cool of a summer’s evening.