31 July 2011

A-Z of Sixties' Television

Well, it's time for my usual summer break from regular blogging; this August I am looking at some of the TV shows and series that made a difference to me during the first ten years of my life. Some say that the Sixties represented a 'golden age' for television. I'll let you decide. Regular followers may not be surprised to see a couple of notable science fiction shows in this mix.

Have a great summer.

23 July 2011

Elementary...

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip.

After eating and drinking well, they settled down for the night and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his friend. “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.”

Watson replied, “I see millions upon millions of stars.”

“You know my methods. What does that tell you?” asked Sherlock.

Watson pondered for a minute. “Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. I think it's highly probable that some of those other planets may have sentient life. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all-powerful and I'm simply in awe of the fact that He cares for us, even though we are so small and insignificant. Meteorologically, the blackness of the sky and the crispness of the stellar images tells me that there is low humidity and stable air and therefore we are most likely to enjoy a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?”

Holmes was silent for a minute and then spoke. “It tells me someone has stolen our tent!”

22 July 2011

Knowing The Truth

I'm a 'seeker after truth'. However, I'm sure you'll agree that it's not easy to identify what is true from a whole myriad of different 'facts', alternative viewpoints and opinions... it takes a bit of work. You have to sift through three other types of supposed 'truth' before you get to the real thing.

There's the 'truth' that some people truly, honestly believe - however, it's simply not the same as your world view, either because their reasoning is totally different to yours or they've arrived at it from a different perspective. Who is to say they are wrong and you are right? I love to hear their views, it helps you to strengthen (or correct) your own.


There's the 'truth' that people accept that is solely based on others; they think this way because that's just the way other people have told them to think!


And, then, of course, there is 'creative truth' - i.e., downright lies and misinformation.


I find it reasonably easy to handle the first two in the above list, but have a real problem with the third. I stumble across it in varying degrees every day. I struggle with the spin I read in the papers, the deception I hear about, the 'little white lies'. I feel betrayed when I realise that I've been lied to, often by people who I feel should know better...

Why do I feel so strongly about this? Possibly because I detest it most when I see it in myself. Yes, I hate it when I catch myself being less than truthful. I wouldn't call myself downright deceptive, there's no tangled webs of deceit in my life. I'm becoming increasingly uncomfortable when I catch myself bending the facts a little to justify an action or an inaction. To protect my family. To protect my privacy. Does telling what is essentially a lie justify a particular course of action - even if I did it for the 'right reasons'?

It's nearly time for the summer holidays. Over the next few weeks I'm going to read up on honesty. I'll try and write something up about this for the Autumn. Honest.


John 8:31-32 (NIV)
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

17 July 2011

Wait Upon The Lord

Isaiah 40:31 (The Message)
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don't get tired,
they walk and don't lag behind
.

My family and I went along to the Divisional Fiesta today. And I came back with plenty to blog about! The theme of the day was 'strength', so I wasn't surprised to see many references to strength throughout the day. However, it was the study on another aspect of the verse that has got me thinking...


We all get weary and need to renew our strength from time to time, but Christians are encouraged to do this by waiting on the Lord.


The word "wait" used in this passage is the Hebrew word "קוה" (qavah). Literally the word means to "gather together" or "bind together", in the same way that many strands are bound together to form a rope. The more strands that you use, the stronger the rope. No one strand does all the work. The rope's strength comes from combining with others.


So - those who "wait" on the Lord - that is, are bound tightly together with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - will have strength far beyond those of a single strand.


Hmmm...

14 July 2011

Suffering Longer... And Longer

Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

I've blogged about 'forbearance' before. The quality which is sometimes translated as 'long-suffering'. And it's a quality I'm thinking about a lot today. Sometimes it's little things, perhaps even trivial. Like when you take the effort to post a comment on Facebook revealing deep feelings and friends can only think of making jokes or even rude comments about it. More irritating than suffering, perhaps.

Sometimes it's a long term thing, like withstanding persistant and constant sarcasm or trying to succeed when conditions are less than satisfactory. It's so not fair. But you keep on going.

One definition of the term states this as "patiently enduring wrongs or difficulties". Patiently. Even though you may be wronged, you have to endure it. And keep patient at the same time!

It's not easy, but God's there to see you through it. It's character building! I keep coming back today to the following verses:

1 Peter 5:6-10 (New International Version)
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.


I'm looking forward to the restoration. Be strong, not long to wait. Just a little while, now... :)

12 July 2011

Waiting...

Psalm 27:14 (New International Version)
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.


Psalm 27:14 (The Message)
Stay with God! Take heart. Don't quit. I'll say it again:
Stay with God.


7 July 2011

Deeper Understanding

"Hello! I know that you've been feeling tired,
I bring you love and
Deeper Understanding"
(lyrics from the Kate Bush song "Deeper Understanding")

At last, the penny drops. Ever had one of those moments of realisation? A real 'light bulb' experience. Suddenly, you have got a clue about something; which puts a whole different perspective on the subject. A flash of 'deeper understanding'. Just what I have been looking for. Is this the answer, at last? Am I getting there?

Ease up. Hold on to that thought.

Continue to test it, ponder about it, pray about it. You're not quite there yet. This new information needs to be assimilated, tested, proved. If the answer came 'out of nowhere', definitely check it first. Maybe you are looking for answers in all the wrong places, so any answer you eventually come up with is bound to be wrong.

Of course, it may be the elusive answer that you seek. That's why you test it. However, the chances are, it's yet another red herring to throw you off track for a while...

Why am I blogging about this? Unfortunately, it's all due to personal experience this week. Another false alarm. Back to the start.
(sigh)

5 July 2011

Carpenter Needs Joiners

Matthew 13:55 (NIV)
"Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?"

At the weekend we studied various passages of scripture at the Corps about 'stones', and the subsequent discussion over a cup of coffee with the visiting officer has, once again, set me off on another interesting tangent. This one's all about the meaning of the word 'carpenter' in the above text. So what did Joseph do for a living?

Joseph is described as a carpenter by trade, and Jesus would have probably followed the same trade, learning by apprenticeship. But is that right? The Greek word being translated here as "carpenter" is τεκτων (tekton), which is a word that is from the same root as "technical" and "technology". This means Joseph was an artisan, a craftsman who was probably working with various materials, ranging from wood to stone. And since wood wasn't as commonly available in the local area as stone, most structural building was done in stone. Therefore, both Joseph and Jesus were probably the village craftsmen, working in wood, stone and possibly metal.

It's interesting, then, to consider Mark 12:1-12 in the light of this... the parable ends us with a good reference for a local building expert to use:

Mark 12:10-12 (NIV)
Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture: "‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.

4 July 2011

Decluttering : part two

1 Corinthians 7:29-31 : The Message
I do want to point out, friends, that time is of the essence. There is no time to waste, so don't complicate your lives unnecessarily. Keep it simple — in marriage, grief, joy, whatever. Even in ordinary things—your daily routines of shopping, and so on. Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out.

I've been collecting tips and hints about decluttering for a while, and want to share some of these with you now. Some of these I've been using for a while; others I'm trying out at the moment:

A good starting point is a realisation that clutter enters your house pretty much every day (e.g., free papers, junk mail, flyers, gifts). So you need to remove it at least once every day. Even if it's only 15 minutes a day. Start by keeping a bin by the door so that the junk mail goes straight into it. It may have got its way into the porch; a little determination will stop it getting any further!

Stop bringing new stuff in now. That may mean buying nothing new, but if you are serious about decluttering this is a step you have to take, at least for a while. If there is a good pressing reason why you have to buy it, then use the 'one in, two out' rule. When you bring one item in, you have to throw two out!

If you haven't used in in a while, throw it away. Chances are, you won't miss it... If it's too good to throw away, sell it or give it away. Support your local church or charity and donate it to them. I've found that Freegle and Freecycle are very useful groups for giving away items that are otherwise difficult to donate. Your unwanted yet valuable items are doing nothing in your house; set them free to do their work. Hoarding them is a selfish act!