Month: April 2007

Little things with so many possibilities

I lay in bed last night, eyes shut, slowly drifting off after a busy weekend, and became slightly disturbed. There was a scratching noise coming from above me. What’s going on here? Then it dawned on me – I have invaders in my loft!

I heaved myself out of bed, sauntered over to the landing, opened the loft hatch, switched the light on and popped my head through. I glanced around a little, not a thing. I remained still for a few minutes, and then there was rustling coming from a box in the corner. I grabbed a length of wood and started prodding the box. Fortunately, I wasn’t confronted with a load of angry wasps, bats, birds or anything else airborne. It would seem my intruders are landbased, fast and small as I didn’t see or hear them make their escape. Rats, mice or squirrels. Given it’s the loft – I reckon squirrels. I figured there was nothing I could do about it at midnight – so I went back to bed.

A quick chat with various friends, as well as consulting the web has led me to learn a few things about squirrels – grey ones in particular. According to DEFRA, I’m legally allowed to lay down traps, but if I get a non-lethal trap, I then have to kill the squirrel anyway as it’s illegal to release a squirrel into the wild! Additionally, I’m not allowed to drown the squirrel, but the suggested method is that, “They can be run into a sack and killed by a sharp blow to the head.” The other suggested alternative is to shoot it. Apparently, drowning is inhumane. Alas, I don’t have a gun (crossbows and bows are not allowed), and I can see myself making a huge mess with a squirrel, a sack and a spade. Maybe a non-lethal trap isn’t such a good idea after all.

Another search on the net has unearthed an electromagnetic/ultrasonic electronic deterrent. A quick trip to B & Q, and the device is now operating in the loft. I can understand how the ultrasound part of the gadget works – squirrels have much better hearing than me. I’m a little puzzled about the effect of the electromagnetic part. Do rodents have a capability to sense electromagnetic waves in ways that humans cannot? Can squirrels detect more than light and infra-red? How do I know this won’t affect me? Will I wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat (or worse) caused by an EM induced nightmare? We’ll see. All that remains to be seen is if this little gadget does the job and deters the squirrels from my loft. Otherwise, I may just buy some lethal spring loaded traps. I can see myself losing a finger to one of those! I’m hoping the gadget works!


a.m.: Hosea 1,2,3 p.m.: Romans 5:5-11

I must admit, when the preacher posed the question, “Who is Gomer?” I had to think for a bit before turning to the minor prophets. It can be far too easy to take God’s salvation through his Son too lightly. Looking at the story of Hosea, helps one regain a proper perspective on what God has done. For Hosea was a prophet, a man of God, but was told to marry an adulterous woman, Gomer. Just the thought of a godly man contemplating such a thing, yet alone being asked by God to do it. Even after the marriage, Gomer continues in her adulterous ways, bearing children who Hosea cannot be certain are his.
Despite all this, God asks Hosea to remain faithful to her, to even go and redeem her with his own money when she is in trouble, but not to treat her as his property, but as his wife.

This great display of faithfulness, patience and love is a picture of how God treated his people, the nation of Israel, and today is a picture of how he treats us. If we are his people, through faith in his Son, we are Gomer. Even though we have sinned against him, worshipped other things besides him, yet he offers us reconciliation. He has paid the price, through the sacrifice of his Son on the cross, that we might be redeemed, not to be treated as his slaves, but as his children.

How long will we test his faithfulness, his patience, his love?


Lydia

I’m not sure if I should eat full English breakfasts before playing football! I did spend most of the afternoon burping and generally holding back on sudden movements! I think this afternoon was the first time I’d played with the young people associated with church and been on the side which got a good battering. Saying that, quite a few people who we’d never met before joined in and we got to know more people from around the community. A great way to spend a warm Saturday afternoon.

After the match, a couple of us made haste to Hayes for Beth’s baptism. In a way, her testimony was not of Damascus Road proportions, but at the same time it demonstrated the magnitude of what God had done for Beth. In the city of Thyatira, almost 2,000 years ago, the books of Acts tells us of a lady by the name of Lydia who believed in the one true God and lived an upright life. Yet, when the apostle Paul visited that city, God caused Lydia to realise she was a sinner and only the salvation available through faith in Jesus Christ would make her right with that one true God. It was encouraging to see that God had enabled Beth to realise this also, and for Beth to identify with her saviour through baptism.

The rest of the evening was spent round Sarah’s chilling, eating and playing games. The only thing I possibly lacked was a shower!


Hallowed by your name, your kingdom come

Q: What do we pray for in the first petition?
A: In the first petition (which is, Hallowed be thy name) we pray, That God would enable us and others to glorify him in all that whereby he maketh himself known, and that he would dispose all things to his own glory.

Q: What do we pray for in the second petition?
A: In the second petition (which is, Thy kingdom come) we pray, That Satan’s kingdom may be destroyed; and that the kingdom of grace may be advanced, ourselves and others brought into it, and kept in it; and that the kingdom of glory may be hastened.

(Questions CI and CII of the Westminster Shorter Catechism)


a.m.: Mark 9:33-37 p.m.: Romans 5:3-5

As the Jesus and his disciples travelled to Capernaum, Mark paints us an interesting picture of the disciples bickering as they followed their Master. No doubt, Jesus was in front, and like children, the disciples are jostling for the best position as they vie for the top spot right behind Jesus.

Jesus had spotted this and so asked them what they were bickering about when they reached Capernaum. They didn’t respond, so he sat them down and explained that in his eyes, being first was different from how the world defines being first. The world pays attention to those with money, those with large militaries behind them, those who have influential friends. You can imagine the disciples arguing amongst themselves, Andrew claiming primacy because he was called first, Peter because Jesus had given him the keys to the kingdom, John because he was the closest and maybe even Judas as he held the purse strings.

Jesus turned the world’s ideas of importance on its head. He told his disciples that the greatest must be the least, that the one who serves would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus goes straight to the heart of the human condition. As people, we want to be important, to be powerful, to be selfish, to be God, this is the nature of our rebellion against the one true God. We would have to turn from our sin if we were to live a life of service to God. If Jesus had left it at that, we would be doomed, for in our own strength we cannot overcome our sinful nature.

Jesus not only tells us what we should be, but shows us. Though he is God, he humbles himself to become a man, to serve. His primary mission is not to teach us how we can please God, but to enable us to please God through his sacrifice on the cross. For by his sacrifice, we can be justified through faith in him. When we are justified, he sends his Spirit to dwell in us, to change us from within, enabling us to serve him.


An irregular regular day

No football today as four people were otherwise engaged. Gave me plenty of opportunity to do chores around the house. I managed to do two loads of washing, clean the bathroom, vacuum and file lots of papers. I even managed to play the violin and piano for a bit. (Well, practise the violin for a bit, playing might be too strong a word!)

The evening was spent in Pizza Express in Uxbridge to celebrate Nigel’s coming of age – he passed his driving test! It was also a good opportunity to catch up with Nigel and Karen after their honeymoon, and try out the Siciliana pizza. Afterwards, we visited the couple’s new abode to play some games and chill. Time for bed I think!


All the world’s a stage

I think my knee is almost back to normal now! This evening I managed to run around the football pitch for the usual time rather than hobbling. We won and I even managed to score a few goals.

The rest of the evening was spent round Sarah’s watching The Truman Show on DVD. Alas, this is one of those films which has been eclipsed by events, both in filmmaking and in reality. The whole idea of determining whether we’re living in a make-believe world has always been a philosophical question. Questioning the very nature of reality. The Truman Show is a modern day take on Shakespeare’s famous scene from As you Like It, and places the main character Truman Burbank in a reality TV show, except he doesn’t realise he’s in the show but accepts the show as reality. In 1998, the idea of presenting such a TV show as reality was a novelty. However a year later, The Matrix would soon show a darker, more intricate take on the ‘fiction presented as reality’ film, and television has almost fulfilled the prophetic message of The Truman Show in such ghastly programmes as Big Brother and the plethora of other reality TV shows. Saying that, The Truman Show is still a good film, and raises a lot of questions. The conversation after the film was interesting, with some differing philosophical views expressed. Will the truth really set you free?


a.m.: Mark 9:14-29 p.m.: Romans 5

As Jesus came down from the mountain and approached the rest of the disciples, he was confronted with unbelief of differing degrees.

Firstly there were the teachers of the Law who didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah, and opposed him and his followers where they could.

Secondly were the disciples who failed to use the powers they had been given to heal the boy.

Finally there was the man who had brought his son to be healed. It would seem he had a hint of faith, as he had brought his son to be healed, but his conversation with Jesus showed what faith he had.

Jesus’ initial response to all three groups was to berate them for their unbelief. He then focuses in on the man and his son. He chides the man for questioning his ability to heal.

“β€˜If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Mk 9:23

At this the man asks Jesus to increase his faith. Jesus, upon assessing the situation then heals the boy demonstrating the ability he had to the man, showing the man that his faith was well-founded.

As we go through life, we can be like one of the three types of believer. We can fail to recognise Jesus as our Saviour, and even seek to oppose him and his followers.

We can be like his disciples who have some faith, but fail to use the abilities he gives us to do his will. If this is the case we need to spend more time in prayer, that our knowledge of him might grow, and so might our faith.

For this is what the man who brought his son had asked. Even though our faith may be small, we can ask that our faith might be increased. Though we may doubt the abilities of Jesus, through his Spirit our faith will grow.


She ate the whole jar

Seeing as there was no youth club to run this week, I thought I’d take advantage of my free Friday evening to go and visit my parents and my sister. It was good to see everyone again, albeit briefly! I helped my nephew construct his new wardrobe, and fed my niece. I was surprised at how large she’s become in such a short time! She’d happily munched through the whole jar of baby food I was feeding her. The afternoon was spent chatting with my parents and then I was back in London by the evening.

The evening was spent at Feltham Evangelical church to listen to a talk on Heaven. As Christians we so easily forget we’re on a journey, that this world is merely a transitory stage as we head toward ultimate reality in eternity. The speaker likened it to a man sitting in a airport departure lounge, who forgets that he’s heading towards a destination and instead starts to wallpaper the lounge, get out his comfy slippers and set up home. How foolish of the man to replace the his original destination with the lounge. Of course, in order to be lined up for heaven, we need to be right with God, for eternal life is to know God. Since we are al sinners by nature, we cannot know God of our own attempts, but Christ offers us forgiveness and his righteousness, that we may know God. This can only be obtained through faith and not through anything we do ourselves. Much like stepping onto an aeroplane, trusting it will take us to our desired destination, we must trust in Jesus Christ to take us to heaven. This faith need only be as small, but it must only be in him, and not in anything else. An interesting and encouraging talk.

The evening finished off with some of us chilling and playing games. A good day. πŸ™‚


In the beginning was the Word

I appear to be waving my church history flag again…

There was a (surprisingly) good documentary on Channel Four on Bank Holiday
Monday evening called The Bible Revolution about the origins of the first translations of the Bible into English. Not only does it speak about the Bible translations in a very vivid and accurate way, it shows how these actions shaped English language and thought.

If you didn’t see it, C4 has it on their web site for download.

Go to:

http://www.channel4.com/4od/?hpos=4oD

Sign up, and then look for the documentary called “The Bible Revolution”.

Be warned, it’s huge – about 750MB, so only really a reasonable
proposition if you have a broadband connection. Worth seeing though.


First out, but usual outcome…

A few of the usual suspects came round this evening for a game of Risk and a DVD. Tim/Deanna and I had all our troops massed in Australasia, and only one of us would be left standing. Alas, the dice came out against me this evening. I spent the rest of the evening trying to enable file sharing from one Windows PC to my other PCs and failing. Eventually conceding defeat on a second front and watching Clueless on DVD instead. I hadn’t seen this for a while and I’d forgotten how good it was, even if it was lifted from Austen’s Emma! Eventually the Risk players called time, and unsurprisingly, the winner was Ally…again!


Dancing with Brahms

Started learning Brahms’ Hungarian Dance no. 1 yesterday evening. Currently playing it a lot slower than it should be. If I ever get the hang of this one, it’ll be cool! I’m slowly acquiring some party pieces! πŸ™‚


Ahhhhh!

Easter bank holiday Monday! No work, and no usual routine! Thorpe Park here we come! A small band of us (20 I think) descended on this theme park, to enjoy the sunshine, the rides and each other’s company. I’m not sure which of the rides I sampled was my favorite. My sample was reduced in size due to a bruised thigh, which meant I couldn’t bend my leg properly and so was unable to sit comfortably in any ride which involved a car. The only car ride I tried was Stealth, but decided the pain involved was more than the ride was worth afterwards.

Of more amusement (rather than direct adrenaline laced fear), was the various responses made by my companions to the rides. Ranging from the usual screams, to more rigid fear.

The day even gave us all the opportunity to catch up with each other and share the time together.

To top it all off, the weather was perfect, clear and sunny, but not too hot. A little sunburn was sustained by some, but it didn’t diminish the fun.


a.m.: Luke 24:13-35 p.m.: 2 Timothy 2:8

As two of Jesus’ followers walked to Emmaus after the Passover, there was an air of disappointment among them. Their messiah had been crucified and as far as they could tell, it was over. They found it incredible that the stranger who joined them had not heard of the events which had happened in the past week in Jerusalem.

They had discussed the events in depth before the stranger had come along, and now they explained their discussion to their new travelling companion. As they went along, the discussion changed from them explaining events, to their companion explaining the reason for the events from the scriptures they knew so well. He called them foolish and explained why their Messiah had been crucified.

Once they had reached their destination, they still did not know the identity of the stranger. They urged the stranger to join them, instead of continuing to his destination as night was falling, and so he joined them. Only when he gave thanks for the bread and broke it did they realise this stranger was their Messiah, their Christ. At this revelation they rushed back to Jerusalem to tell the eleven disciples what had happened.

Much like Cleopas and his friend, we can travel through life with Jesus right beside us yet never realising. We may even call ourselves Christians, but not fully understand what Jesus Christ did on that first Good Friday. We may need to receive a dose of humility, it may be uncomfortable as our attitudes and thinking are corrected from the scriptures. However, once the truth is revealed to us and we receive it by faith, we’ll not be able to keep this good news to ourselves, but will want to tell the world.


The little princess

A nice lazy Saturday, after the craziness of last Saturday! After a short lie-in and a fat-loaded breakfast of bacon and eggs, it was off for a game of footie in the park with some of the lads from church and some of their friends. The sun was shining, and the weather was warm. After running around for ten minutes, I figured I might be better off in goal and letting some of the younger players do the hard work. The teams were fairly even, ending in 8-7.

A quick bath and freshen up later and we were out to celebrate Sarah’s birthday with a walk and then a meal at the Wetherspoon’s in Stockley Park. I was slightly surprised when I was told by a gatekeeper that I couldn’t take photos of the buildings, especially as I was taking photos of the wildlife, but we cleared things up and he was happy with my wildlife photos.

I must admit to being impressed with the food at the Wetherspoons as well, which was plentiful and tasty. (I suppose you’d have to try really hard to get a steak wrong, but I’ve seen some interesting attempts in my time!) The conversation was good, with an opportunity to meet some new people. We later convened for a game of Articulate, resulting in victory for the birthday girl’s team, due to some quick thinking from Sarah on a clue about the Maldives. Result! A couple of us even got to sing her Happy Birthday! Above all, the birthday girl enjoyed herself.

A very good day. πŸ™‚