31 July 2009

A-Z: Watching The Detectives


This year's A-Z is on the subject that has increasingly become 'common-ground' within our family when it come to choosing what to watch on the TV - we end up 'watching the detectives'...

A detective is an investigator of mysteries or crimes, either a member of the police or a person who works on his own. In fact, private investigators ("Private I's", hence the phrase "Private Eyes") are such a part of our popular culture that is requires no explanation.

The first actual detective agency was reportedly 'Le Bureau des Renseignments', established in Paris by Francois Eugene Vidocq in 1833. Detective fiction has been a popular genre since Edgar Allan Poe wrote his stories of master French detective C. Auguste Dupin in April 1841, less than a decade later. Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary 19th-century character Sherlock Holmes is no so famous, some even think the bloke actually existed! 20th century private detective characters such as Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe and Mike Hammer became enormously popular. The genre also extends to fictional 'government agents', such as Ian Fleming's James Bond, and comic-book creations like Dick Tracy and Batman. Amateur detectives like Miss Marple and Jessica Fletcher complement the forensic specialists like Quincy.

We start with A tomorrow.

23 July 2009

Love

1 Corinthians 13: 1-3 (New International Version)
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

The imagery of 'moving a mountain' in my own life has been an increasingly regular theme within my devotions lately, and it's now starting to crop up in meetings, so I know this is an important concept for me to grasp. I know that God can do anything, so the movement of mountains within my own life should not be an issue. God can do it, I believe he can. I'm taking this thought with me when I go off to SAFE this coming Saturday, stepping out in faith once more, pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone. No matter what I do, if I have God's love, I can face anything with certainty.

20 July 2009

Hope

I've been looking at the concept of 'hope' today, and am reliably informed that there are two separate words used for hope in scripture:

The Greek word is elpis, which means:
- What is possible
- What we can imagine in the future
- What is wished for
- Expectation in the light of an uncertain future
- The opposite of fear of evil
- Characterised by uncertainty dependant on luck, fate or impersonal destiny

the Hebrew word is tikvah, which means:
- What is promised
- What God reveals of the future
- What God makes a reality
- Confidence in the light of the promises of God
- The firm expectation of good
- Firm relationship of trust in a loving God who determines the future according to what he has promised

(thanks to Richard Harvey's recent feature on WordLive for this information)

What sort of hope do you hold on to?

15 July 2009

Faith

"Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees
And looks to that alone;
Laughs at impossibilities
And cries: It shall be done!
And cries: It shall be done!
And cries: It shall be done!
Laughs at impossibilities
And cries: It shall be done!"

Chorus 118, SASB (Charles Wesley)

14 July 2009

Who is this superhero?

It has been announced that yet another classic superhero is making his way onto the big-screen, and he's our "number one super guy". According to reliable sources Alcon Entertainment are in the initial stages of producing a live action version of 'Hong Kong Phooey', with Alex Zamm directing. The original Hanna-Barbera 1970s cartoon TV series only ran for 16 episodes. Our mild-mannered janitor/kung fu crime fighter is planned to be CGI, with everyone else live action. It's in early development stages, so there's no release date as of yet.

10 July 2009

Stay Alert! Don't Quit!

Matthew 10:16-23 (The Message)
"Stay alert. This is hazardous work I'm assigning you. You're going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don't call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove.
Don't be naive. Some people will impugn your motives, others will smear your reputation—just because you believe in me. Don't be upset when they haul you before the civil authorities. Without knowing it, they've done you—and me—a favour, given you a platform for preaching the kingdom news! And don't worry about what you'll say or how you'll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words.
When people realise it is the living God you are presenting and not some idol that makes them feel good, they are going to turn on you, even people in your own family. There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate! But don't quit. Don't cave in. It is all well worth it in the end. It is not success you are after in such times but survival. Be survivors! Before you've run out of options, the Son of Man will have arrived. "

5 July 2009

One year on...


It's just about a year now since I started 'blogging' - 2nd July 2008 was my first attempt at it - and I have found it quite a useful exercise. The discipline of taking my thoughts, having to structure them and put them down in print has really helped me get things into proportion. And more...

You see, it's rekindled a few yearnings from the dim and distant past. I've always had a love of the printed word, but my need to write kind of got buried along the way. When I was at school there was always a possibility that I could have gone to journalism college - but that never worked out and I ended up in an office. I used to write short stories in my late twenties (usually light-hearted and packed with bad puns), which got published in some SF fanzines (usually under a pseudonym, I've never been comfortable with fame). When the kids came along, other things always got in the way.

Blogging has changed all that. Now I'm heading towards my fifties and looking for a new challenge. Perhaps I need to dust off the mighty word processor and have another go?

2 July 2009

The Total Perspective Vortex


Douglas Adams' classic 'Hitch-hiker's Guide To The Galaxy' talks about a machine called the Total Perspective Vortex, a wonderful piece of technology which is used to represent 'the most horrible torture device to which a sentient being can be subjected'. What is so horrible about this machinery is not what it might do to your physical form, but what it does to your spirit. As Douglas himself describes:

"For when you are put into the Vortex you are given just one momentary glimpse of the entire unimaginable infinity of creation, and somewhere in it a tiny little marker, a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, which says 'You are here'."

I've recently been through the Vortex. The Vortex tried its best to make me look small. It showed me glimpses from my past where I had made decisions which have affected me right to the present day. Career choices, that sort of thing. It tried to ridicule me about the various 'issues' that I'm wrestling with at present, telling me how different it could have been. How it could be again, if only I would ditch my Salvationist principles. It demonstrated to me times when I had clearly been made to look small in front of others. And today, it showed me a website which presented me with details of a former mate of mine who I used to see regularly over twenty years ago. He's now a science-fiction author with a string of books to his name.

And what about me?

I'm looking at the future, not the past. I'm assured that the best is yet to come for me. I know that it's not fame, or glory, or even riches. So I'm excited to know what it could be.