Wednesday, 21 February 2018

They are all wrong

As I walk into town I often go through Church Lane. It's a short alley way from the car park at the back of Viscount restaurant up to the Market Square in Dungannon. It may be a steep climb for some people but it's a shortcut for me. I cannot help but notice the writing on the wall there. The words 'They are all wrong' are painted on the wall there. When I pass by them, they spark a train of thought, of which I'll share a little bit now.



The words have been there for several years now. I do not know who wrote them or what they are referring to. Are they just the words of some song or are they a cry for help? Does the word 'They' refer to a specific group of people, eg politicians, town planners, religious leaders, or some rights activists?? Does the word 'All' really mean that everyone is wrong or does it mean that just some people have got it all wrong about some matter? (Mind you if it was about the mess the planners made of the Market Square a few years back I would tend to agree but thankfully they have rectified it a bit now). But what if it is a heart rending cry from someone who feels completely misunderstood by everyone around them?

Then my thoughts turn to the fact that we are all wrong by nature (Psalm 14v1-3; Romans 3v10-12). We have all been born in sin and therefore we all do wrong. Yes, we have ALL sinned and fall short of God's standard (Romans 3v23; 5v12). Criminal, self-righteous, good-living, immoral, religious,
atheist, whoever and whatever you are, we have all sinned.

But my thoughts do not stay there for they must turn to Christ the Only One who is not wrong. "In Him is no sin." (1 John 3v5). He was tempted as we are but He is without sin (Hebrews 4v15). He is Holy and undefiled (Hebrews 7v26). He is the Sinless Saviour. He was made sin for us to reconcile us to God (2 Corinthians 5v20+21). Read about His sufferings when He died to save us (Isaiah 53v3-7).

The Lord Jesus is my Sinless Saviour. As a little girl I realized that I was born a sinner and that was why I did wrong. I could not take away my own sin, no matter how good I tried to be but I looked to Christ the Sinless Saviour and repented of my sin. What a wonderful Saviour He has been to me ever since! Do you know Him as your Saviour?

Yes, it's amazing what a few words painted on a wall can make me think about!

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

You are so loved

At this time of the year when people's thoughts are directed to LOVE, perhaps it is an appropriate time for me to say that I believe that marriage is to between a man and a woman as God ordained and that I am pro-life. (Those of you who know me already know that anyway!) But I am writing this blog to remind you that God so loves us and we are to act with love towards others.



God SO LOVED us that He GAVE...
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3v16 KJV).
Stop and meditate on the unfathomable love of God. Then, think about how we can emulate that love in our lives. Love gives sacrificially. True love bears good fruit. Yes, we are so loved but God expects Christians to love one another as Christ has loved us (1 John 4v11).

OK, that's all very good but what has it to do with the above picture? Well, I just cannot help but think of the little defenseless baby in it's mother's womb being so loved by God. What right has anyone to kill it? And yet, millions have been murdered. Then, I must go on to say that it is not only Pro-lifers and those who are anti same sex marriage that God loves. We have ALL been born sinners and we ALL deserve eternal death and WHOEVER believes on Christ can have their sins forgiven and have eternal life.

So, how should we treat those who disagree with us and even vehemently oppose us when we stand up for the life of the unborn children and for marriage as God ordained it between a man and a woman? Read 1 Corinthians 13. There is no room there for being abusive, disrespectful, arrogant or hateful towards those who support SSM and abortion. Remember, love never fails and our love ought to point them to Christ. That does not mean that we cannot stand strong for the truth. Never forget that the vilest of sinners (and there are many others besides homosexuals and abortionists) can be cleansed from their sins by the blood of Christ.

I rejoice that I am so loved and that I will one day stand with that great multitude of redeemed sinners which no man can number before the throne of God (Revelation 7v 9-17). I believe that the millions of unborn babies will be there and that there will be many redeemed homosexuals and redeemed abortionists amongst that great crowd praising God. Praise God you are so loved and make sure you will stand among that great multitude of redeemed sinners, too!

Thursday, 4 January 2018

2017 Reflections

I read this little statement recently:
"You are one of a kind - designed to glorify God as only you can."
What a tremendously encouraging and challenging thought to take with us into 2018!


I want to hold my head high like the seagull in this photo as I enter this New Year and glorify God despite any hurt and discouragement or difficulties I may face.


But first I just want to reflect a little on 2017 by simply adding photos of a few highlights of my summer.

I always enjoy teaching at Holiday Bible events for children but I particularly enjoyed it this past year as I presented the boys and girls with some very simple choices that they each must make in life.
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Theme of Lifeboat Holiday Bible School July 2017
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Day at Amy and Andrew's wedding



My boy reached one quarter of a century



Just a few Photo Memories of my Holiday in Cornwall August 2017

Port Isaac beach
Doc Martin's house
Happy group at Port Isaac with school in background


Cotehele




Loved the big flowers in Drake Centre Plymouth

I absolutely loved those beautiful big flowers hanging in the Drake Centre, Plymouth. Just as they brightened up the shopping centre, so the beautiful memories of 2017 brighten up my ordinary life. Isn't it amazing that our minds are created to major on the lovely, good and beautiful things in life, rather than dwelling on the things we would prefer to forget? I look forward with anticipation to what God has for me in 2018.

I do not know what sort of year you have had but if you are a child of God, take this Bible verse with you into 2018. Remember you are designed to glorify God as only you can. He will instruct you and guide you as to how to fulfill that purpose. Trust Him!
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"I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye." (Psalm 32v8)


Wishing you every blessing for 2018
Rhonda

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Singing Christmas Carols

'Stop playing traditional Christmas carols in public. Santa songs are fine but not carols. They may cause offence. We want Happy Holidays but we don't want Christ to feature in them at all.' Ever heard people express sentiments like these? I have but I want to emphasize that I love some of the great old carols and delight to hear them in public. On Saturday in Rushmere shopping centre it was really lovely to hear an orchestra play some of the traditional Christmas carols and songs. One that particularly took my notice was 'The First Nowell.' Another night I had heard it being sung and those wonderful words "Born is the King of Israel" rang through the shopping centre.


I grew up with Christmas carol singing being part of Christmas. We learnt them in school and we sang them in church. I even went carol singing a few times too! Older people always did seem to appreciate the carols....whatever about our ability to sing lol. I remember an old family friend to whom we brought a Christmas present every year asking us to sing a verse of a carol as she received her gift. As I have matured a bit since then, 🤣 I have come to value Christmas carols even more and I do appreciate their beauty in a carol service.

May I suggest that you take time to listen to the words of carols and see just how filled with Biblical teaching about Christ that they really are. Here are just a few things sung about Christ:

Glory to the newborn King
Jesus our Immanuel
Begotten, not created
He is God and Lord of all
True God of True God
Word of the Father in flesh appearing
Offspring of a virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the Incarnate  Deity
Born that man no more may die
Born to give us second birth 
He rules the world with grace and truth 
He made heaven and earth of nought and with His blood mankind hath bought
God and sinners reconciled
Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today 
Redeeming love
Redeeming grace 
Set at God's right hand on high

Need I go on? Is it any wonder that they are being objected to? This month on Facebook I am taking some carols and giving Bible references to show where carols are so Biblical. Please follow along these short little studies each day. They are not in depth studies and certainly not exhaustive on the subject. It has been a challenge and a blessing to myself to think of Bible verses for them. If you are blessed by them, please like and feel free to share them.

Search the Word Facebook Christmas Carols album

I also encourage you to share your favourite Christmas carols on Facebook in the 2 weeks leading up to Christmas. Why not fill Facebook with these beautiful songs about our Saviour?

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Look out your window and pray

I don't know about you but I like to do things with the help of visual aids and believe it or not I use them in prayer too! Yes the Lord Jesus told us to go into our room and shut the door and pray (Matthew 6v6). In the morning I go to my room to be alone with God. And yes there's times of intense pleading with God when no visual aid can help but when I shut the door and close the window I worship the Lord for who He is!

It's often then that the visual aids kick in for me to help me pray. As I look at things they prompt my thoughts of things to pray about. I look at the bed and thank Him for a bed to sleep on and all His daily provisions for me. I look at the map of the world on the wall and pray for people and needs around the world, not forgetting the little country Israel in the centre of the world. But when I look out my window.... what a host of things I see to pray about!

Now the view from my bedroom window is so much better than that photo gives and I can see so much more. Here's just some examples of what I see to pray about:
I see the fields, the trees and the cattle on the hills and on a clear day I can see the mountains of Mourne. I praise the Lord for His creation.
When I look at the many houses in full view from my window I cannot help but be reminded that I am in a little mission field in Dungannon at this moment in time. So many different nationalities and how few know my Lord. I must pray for them.
A bus passes on the road below. I picture the bus going round the town on a Friday night to collect the kids for children's hour and pray for the children by name who get on at each stop on the route.
I can see Lough Neagh and think of the children near the lough shore that I taught earlier this year.
I watched the wind turbine in the distance turning slowly this morning to make energy. My mind went out to a family near the area where it stands, to pray for strength and energy and comfort for them in their bereavement.
Then, there's the things nearby. The trampoline and play house in the garden across the road prompt me to pray for the little girl who plays with them. The neighbour's car pulls up....pray for my neighbours. Perhaps someone who walks by. The bin...pray for the bin men. And so the list of visual aids for prayer goes on.

Now I do have to say that this is not the only way I pray nor are these things the only things I pray for but I think you get the idea of my visual aids for prayer.

Prayer is a battle but as I read my Bible I find precious promises and my faith is strengthened to gain the victory through Christ and His precious shed blood.

As I finish, I do not know if you have a view like me from your window or if you would benefit from praying this way. But just remember: Don't forget to pray!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Treasures in Heaven

There has been much discussion this week after the BBC published the salaries of their big stars. Opinions vary and questions have been raised as the public consider how their TV licence money is spent. Is it right that the big stars of the BBC should be paid so highly? Should they have to take a pay cut? Is it fair that doctors, nurses, paramedics, teachers, police, soldiers, fire service workers are paid a fraction of those salaries? What will the BBC do to close the gender gap for the big pay? etc. etc. However the reality is that most people would neither complain about nor refuse the offer of such big salaries.

I am not a regular listener to Stephen Nolan's radio show but last night I actually took time to look up and listen to Jim Allister interview Stephen Nolan in relation to his big salary. To be honest I did not learn much from it, other than to come away thinking the BBC did not allow Stephen Nolan to answer many questions regarding a breakdown of all the income he gets from them. Also, I may be wrong but he did not present to me as being really contented with his life. And so, this all got me thinking: how that, apart from the fact that I wouldn't be able to do their jobs, I would not change places with any of them for all the money in the world! The Bible verses about laying up treasures in heaven came to my mind.


"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6v19-21)

How can I lay up treasures in heaven? I simply invest time and effort for the extension of God's kingdom on earth and ultimately glorifying God, not self. I seek to live with eternity's value in view. There is deep peace and real contentment in doing so. I do want to hear the Lord say to me one day, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Another Bible passage that came to mind is 1Corinthians 3v11-15. I want my work to endure the fire of God's judgement like the gold, silver and precious stones, rather than be destroyed like wood, hay and stubble. God has called me to be His child and to live for Him. I will receive my reward one day. How so, so much better that will be than anything I can imagine. Why would I want to stoop to being a BBC employee with a big fat salary? God loves me and He is worth living for!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Joyful Memories 2016

'Joy to the world' is the vein of thought I was trying to present during December 2016 in my Search the Word Facebook page. There was so much joy surrounding the first coming of Jesus into this world when He was born as a Baby in Bethlehem....Mary, angels, shepherds, wise men, and many others rejoiced and praised God. One night in particular after meditating on the joy and praise to God, I went to bed and fell asleep just naming out so many things before the Lord for which I am thankful and praising Him for them. Some of these are just ordinary everyday things that I so often take for granted. I do encourage Christians to take time to rejoice and thank the Lord for all the good things we have, despite the fact that there are so many terrible and fearful things happening in the world.

As I look back over 2016 there is so much I can be joyful about and praise God for: big things, little things, physical and spiritual blessings, temporal and eternal things, family, friends, help in children's work, and so, so much more. They are far too numerous to even list here. So, I wish to highlight just three special joyful occasions for which I praise God.

Our Pearl wedding anniversary
The first was my pearl wedding anniversary in March. Adrian and I celebrated 30 years of married life. Yes, he really has put up with me for 30 years! But for me, it's been 30 years married to my best friend, the man I love. Over these years we've had times to laugh and times to cry. seen good times and bad times, experienced struggles and trials as well as blessings. We've moved house five times in our journey from Cork to Dungannon to Kerry to Dungannon....and the Lord knows where next. Adopting and raising Isaac and Jemima has been such a privilege for us and such a special part of our lives. We praise God for them and for all the love we have shared together as a family. To mark the occasion, Isaac and Jemima treated us to a lovely meal.

Adrian and I in Crete

The second was our holiday to Crete in May. It had been a long time since we had a holiday abroad but being married for 30 years was a good reason for Adrian and I to enjoy a week in Crete. We stayed in a lovely hotel, relaxed in the sunshine, enjoyed the food, visited the nearby towns each day, and soaked up the atmosphere of this beautiful island. I, even, had my first ride on a quad: Adrian driving as we traveled up to a mountain village on it!


Holiday in Crete

Thirdly, Jemima was 21 years old in June. Although, we did not get to meet and adopt Jemima until she was 10 months old, we are very proud she is our daughter. She has grown up to be a very pretty young woman. We love her and rejoice for all the joy that she and Isaac have brought us. To celebrate her 21st we had a lovely Chinese meal in Cookstown.

Jemima's 21st birthday
The Lord has been so good to us. In writing this I am not suggesting for one minute that we have never had a trial, problem, pain or heartache during 2016....but I am saying that I praise Him for all His goodness and rejoice for what He has done for us in 2016.
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4v4)
Wishing you blessing throughout 2017 as you obey His Word and rejoice in Him.
Rhonda