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Monday, 19 November 2018

The Book of Lamentations Essay

The Book of Lamentations Essay:

The book of Lamentations is a poetic and reflective memorial book , with 5 poems of Lament. The author is anonymous, although often attributed to Jeremiah.  The historical context is around the time of 586 BC, just after the fall of Jerusalem; the city was under siege and taken into exile by Babylon.      There are 3 voices in the book, the author, the City Zion and the people.

The poems have an acrostic style; this literary pattern adds interpretive depth, for example, in the last book, the chaos experienced was even written into the structure of the writing.

The main messages found within this book are about the deep personal suffering bought about by consistent sin, and the physical, emotional and spiritual agony in the aftermath of long-term disobedience.  It shows too how the whole community is affected.

The beloved city and people of God are devastated and the book highlights the catastrophic consequences and the aftermath warned of by His prophets, giving a memorial voice to those who journeyed through these heart-wrenching events.  God's restorative justice is seen as He finally pours out His wrath and brings in His judgement. 

We also find the message of hope that springs from remembrance.   The author recognised that he has come to the end of himself; however, hope dawns within him, as he recalls the character of God .   God has walked with them, He has steadfast love, His mercies are new each morning, and that His light and faithfulness is always available.  In reflecting, he also considers how much pain could have been avoided, had he listened to God in his youth.

There is also the asking for Israel's enemies to be punished, saying they were equally deserving. He also reminds God that many innocents are caught up in the disaster.

God is verbally silent throughout the narrative, and the book ends, with no explanation to the heart-wrenching questions asked, as it is for so many who grieve and are left with unanswered questions.
The book is a stark warning to remember that disobedience is walking into darkness and obedience is walking into the light.  God is just and He will act.

Why was the book written and how does it contribute to the Old Testament Story?  (150)
David Pawson  suggests it was so others could lament with them, suggesting these writings were taken to their fellow Israelites in Babylon, uniting them in the grief over distance with verse and song.

These writings contribute to the Old Testament with reality about God's chosen people and God's justice and faithfulness.  He had made covenant with them and they were supposed to be a light to the nations, yet they were not.  The Promised Land and the city lies devastated; even God's dwelling destroyed in the two-year siege, they were hoping God would intervene but He did not.  Even though God seemed silent, He had not abandoned them.  In remembering who's they were and what He had done for them in the past, a doorway to hope flickered.

God's judgment and justice was also shown to be final, yet also restorative.  It caused an awakening to sin, shows how to deal with guilt and a turning back to God. In its own way, it outlines and shows the gospel basics.  The severity became necessary for leading one into true repentance and in so doing a convergence occurs; conviction helps to open a door of hope.

What Questions did the book raise in my mind:
There were many questions, surprises, disturbances and encouragements in this book.
The extremes in the book were quite shocking and very disturbing.  I saw, extreme devastation, extreme emotions and extreme measures.  I think because it is a book of extremes, it shows the result of living a life turned away from God - it is a stark warning from a loving God that there will be a time of judgement, so turn now.

I think there are glimmers of answers.  Looking back shows the long distance outcome of walking in selfishness and following the other nations, God has a different path for His people.  I think this is memorial book, so that we don't make the same mistakes and remembering the walk and journey of God's faithfulness, showing us there is always hope, even in the darkest of times and even when there is no understanding of how or why devastation has occurred.

 The laments are disturbing, describing incredible suffering, physically, emotionally and spiritually, as Gods, chosen people face the loss of everything they held dear. The laments offer heart and soul felt protests, about the shattering events and are expressed both to God and to others.  The laments let the readers in to witness emotions being processed, guilt being dealt with, bringing into focus a better understanding of selfishness and the cost of sin in a fallen world. There is also hope found in the midst of judgment, the restorative nature of judgment, as CS Lewis would say," God's megaphone to a deaf world". 

I was surprised at how much this book can help us to understand grief.  It prompts us  to remembrance, it has warnings that jump out of the pages, engage the heart and imagination, thereby helping those who grieve to have a renewed hope in God and the future. This also speaks about how vital it is to express emotion, how cruel it is not to allow grief a voice. It is also instructive in pray both for the individual and for intercessory pray.

Encouragingly, the book shows the faithfulness of God, even when He seems silent.  It presents a way through grief and back to a God where always hope can be found. Disturbingly, within its heart, the book speaks of the cost of disobedience and the devastation it causes and that it can be a slow fade, one little mistake not addressed after another, finally leading to complete breakdown and devastation. Encouragingly, it does however, offers hope and shows that there is a way back, when we think there is not. The glimmer of this restoration is found in the middle of the book however its outcome is not seen in Lamentations. Disturbingly whilst realistically, the book ends leaving open questions, just as so often our own grief does, in so doing it is honest and gives a sacred dignity to the human experience.

Throughout the book, we see God's character; a future hope is found when His character is remembered.  His justice, His patients and long-suffering prior to judgement.  His wisdom and redemptive nature, as we witness the outcome of the judgement, turned hearts. God's faithfulness to His name, even when His reputation is on the line, He associates Himself with His rebellious people.
In looking for Jesus within Lamentations, I see the glimpse of the story of the prodigal son.  Here we have the prodigal nation and God waiting for them to come to their senses. In Lamentations, it seemed God was silent but in His wisdom, He was waiting for His people to be in a place that they could hear; His compassion in the waiting, He carries them silently and mysteriously.

I also see the gospel message here for the individual, so often it takes catastrophe to awaken a soul to their need for God.  He sends out his people to invite, to warn, to explain, but people ignore and continue in their selfish ways.  Eventually, their life unravels and devastation envelopes their life and in the midst, they remember the warnings, the seeds planted, they turn, seek God and find that He can be found and is waiting for them. 

I also see Jesus in Lamentations 2: 13 it says, "For your ruin is vast as the sea; who can heal you?  Now we have the whole bible in place, we know this is Jesus.
Matthew 7.7 "….. knock, and it will be opened to you. " The doorway of hope in the middle of the book, reminds me of this passage.   The peoples deep exposed sin and the shock of their plights, was like a loud knocking.  For many it takes the loud knock of catastrophe, for them to open the door.

2 Practical points for Application
This book helps to remind us that at times some will feel that there is no way to recover, no way to restore the past and all they can do is lament.  I am reminded of a Selwyn Hughes lecture, "you don't bury emotions dead, you bury them alive".  Lamentations helps us see that God can handle these emotions and how important it is, to pour them out to Him.

This book has much help on grieving. It shows that at critical times, most don't need advice and probably can't even pray and are considering the silence of God?  This book helps to point out that God is there. Below I found some grief language and advice:
" Time to process without suggestions
" Grief is very tiring
" No energy for normal things
" Incapable of logic
" Emotional language: crushed, devastated, desolate, lonely, afflicted; mourning ; isolated, suffering; helpless; defenceless; no companionship; no comforter; no rest; no power; loss of dignity; painful pictures that flash
" Feels like there is no way to rebuild the future; survival worries
" Joy is vacant even doing things that usually bring joy.
" The process of grief and in no particular order nor for any particular time frame:  shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing, acceptance. Then all over again.
" Questions, where are you God, what are you doing God? Did I do something wrong?

In the valley of despair, is the doorway of hope . The book ends without answer, keep reading, keep going, keep hoping. The story is not over.

Bible Project: Internet Source
Book of Lamentations: The Bible
Unlocking the Bible: David Pawon
How to Read the Bible Book by Book : Gorden Fee

Friday, 16 November 2018

Week 8

The last two weeks have been very full on, lots of assignments and lots to do just generally.  I have started getting a bit more involved in some of the student life, joining the choir for the Christmas presentation and joining a small group of the Artist students,  we just meet and show what we have been working on in the last week.  I have not been able to do much art work as I can't get wifi in my room, so that means I can't listen to the Bible there.  I am hoping to find something to draw soon and then will do that during lectures.

We have had a very rich time in our lectures over the past two weeks, we studying the Holy Spirit, Ecclesiastes and Lamentations and this week also included Mark.  We also have a talk about same sex attraction.

I have many assignments due in and this week has also been full as my church group is taking the full service at church this Sunday, so I am about to dash off to guitar practise.

My assignment is to write and essay on Lamentations 1500 words, My other one is to write to someone who is afraid they have blasphemed the Holy Spirit and is also confused about her Christian faith and has questions about talking in tongues, so we have to address all those issues and explain to her in a pastoral way. 

The last assignment is to produce a Christa in track. I have my idea but its still far from finished, so this weekend I will be busy.
I must dash but will write more when time permits.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Book Review

Alive with Christ


This book is about the inner work of God within the life of someone who has surrendered their life to Him and who is reliant on His Holy Spirit and Jesus atoning work on the Cross to live the new life.  Price explains that it is a life of surrendering to God’s authority and leaning on Him for the power to accomplish the day-to-day life.  This new life infuses and unites us with Christ, bringing re-creation and refreshment for the believer and causes their life to be instrumental in being part of usher in His Kingdom here on earth.

Price begins the book by explaining about the empowered life,
He uses a few great examples and analogies, which are very helpful to give an in depth understanding of what is available to us in Christ and how hard it is when we try to do it under our own strength. 

He explains well about the indwelling presence of God that, we gain our strength through Him and that we can rely on Him.  He explains well about our need to face our own moral failure, give up our rights and surrender to His will.
Price goes on to talk about the Art of the Covenant; referring to this as “God in a Box”, symbolising God’s dwelling place in the Old Testament and that the contents describe the meaning of his presence.

The symbolic objects, he says gives hints to what will become reality in the life and work of Jesus.  God can only be approached on His own terms: Jesus blood. It explains, we too walk in some of the promised reality and can rely on Christ to bring us into the full reality.    He also introduces the contents of the Ark.

Firstly, Price looks at the jar of manna, explaining it was actually never satisfying to them, how each day must have its own supply, thus connect freshly with Jesus each day.  He helpfully explains that it looked like milk in the early morning and it tasted like honey, a daily reminder of the promises that He would give them a land flowing with milk and honey.

Aarons staff that budded represented God’s power and we also see that the blossoming our faith produces evidence to the world of what is going on in the inside, this is the bud that he mentions that grows out of the soil that has been fertilized by the Spirit within us, and nothing of our own doing. 

He has a great usage of story and biblical imagery of picking up the snake by the tail; he explains that this leave the dangerous part, the head, for God to deal with.   Within his analogy, he explains how in our own hands, even the good things in our lives, relationships, careers etc.,  can become dangerous for us, if we try and hang onto them when He has asked us to lay them down.   He explains that sometimes He will give them back and if He does, they will have the dangerous parts taken out, the message being that is His will that we must seek and keep an open hand and hold things lightly trustingly.
Thirdly, Price speaks about the tablets of stone and the law including why God gave the law.  He explains how the law displayed the actually character of God and His glory and that humankind on their own would always miss achieving its mark.  Using narrative, he tells the story about a new convert, who prior to his conversion always read the law as unachievable commands that made him feel guilty.  He read the same law after his conversion, as a promise to him from a faithful loving God about the man he would become, but not alone, not at once, but under His training and guidance. He speaks of God’s law representing God’s character and Glory.

Price moves on to list the items in the Tabernacle and giving their significance:
·         Altar of burnt offering, a substitutionary payment for the penalty of sin,  work to unite us with Christ, by removing our guilt and placing it on Christ, our old self is now also crucified with Christ. 
·         The grain offering was for the persons fully consecrating themselves to God
·         The bronze basin he explains symbolised washing, a total cleansing of the person coming to the cross in repentance and faith.  He explains this is a one-time completed action that places the person is in right standing with God. He explains the on-going need for cleansing.
·         The table of bread of presence for our sustenance and strength.  Jesus is the bread of life. Christ Himself is where our sustenance and strength come from.
·         He explains, the Golden Lampstand needing renewing every-day, bringing light with immediate effect, explaining how oil is a picture of the Holy Spirit throughout the bible and like in [1]Psalm 119:105, that the Holy Spirit brings us light, guidance and direction.  We are the lampstand but the source of the light is the Holy Spirit and we must remain totally dependent on Him so that His life and beauty can be expressed through us. 
·         The Altar of Incense: Christ sin offering evaporated the stench of sin and instead produced a beautiful aroma to God, which permeated through the barriers.  He also explains how our prayers that ascend into heaven, are a sweet aroma that comes from our intimate communion with Christ, and out of that time spend with Him, our prayers are formed in unity with His purposes and provide a sweet aroma to God. 

Price explains that due to these fulfilments in the life and death of Christ, we can enter boldly yet humbly into God’s presence, fully confident in Christ finished work for us.  He explains toward the end of this chapter a list of substitutes that people often turn to instead of Christ.  It ends by calling us to give the only thing we can give to God, ourselves.  In “The Indwelling Life of Christ” [2]  it also explains that heaven is not someone we go when we die, but a new life that starts at rebirth, the new life is found in Jesus.   

Towards to the end of the book, Price illuminate that the temples redundancy and how the new dwelling place of God is within His people, engraved no longer on mortar but the human heart and mind.  He develops the illustration by showing that this outworking is seen in increasing or decreasing measures based upon our trust and obedience in Jesus sufficiency to handle our lives. The degree that His light and glory is be displayed has a direct correlation to the extent we are willing to hand over.

Price helps us understand that once the Holy Spirit has come into our hearts, the door is closed to His leaving us.  However, what His union with us deposits, should not just stay with us, rather, he writes, the aim is that His life will flow outwards into the world towards the people and creation He loves and came to redeem.

My Evaluation


I enjoyed many of his illustrations and narratives that were used throughout the book, they bought some spiritual truths into a fuller light.  I loved the message of the book and felt throughout reading it, that I wished I had more time, it had so much richness and depth.


It was a very hard read for me and I found the chapters long.  I also found some of the examples hard to follow and had to reread them a few times to process the information.

Would you recommend to others to read yes/no and why/why not

I would highly recommend the book to others to read.  I would however recommend it with a warning.  My comments would be a very worthwhile book but with difficult readability. It’s has a rich depth and well worth the effort.

The Reason God' is Not Shocked At our Failure

Price explains that God doesn’t want us to follow techniques, that it is God Himself that produces the power and effectiveness in our life when we rely on Him.  To illustrate this, He uses the analogy of pushing a lawn mower over across the lawn, when we have not engaged the engine.
I agree with His analogy and it explains why so often the work we do, fails, is difficult, or does not produce fruit. Life without God’s authority and power just does not work. God knows that without His Spirit’s power and authority at work in our lives, we are powerless to live the life He asks of us. 

The Old Testament and New has many stories of the strong being defeated with weakness topped up with God’s strength. Gideon [3]is just one example of someone who was weak, trusting in God’s strength to accomplish the greater work.  There is also the story of David and Goliath [4] were David went in the strength of the Lord. 
In the New Testament, it also says that we have treasures in jars of clay[5]. 

Possibilities of being dissatisfied as a Christian, Even though we have received the Holy Spirit

Price explains that God’s purpose was to bring his people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land, to give them an inheritance. He explains that God did not mean to satisfy them in the Wilderness. I agree, as whilst we are still drawing from old wells, our satisfaction will be temporal and non-sustaining. 

The other main message is in relation to being forgiven but not filled.  He explains that it is a progressive journey, one of daily coming to Christ, learning and moving on with Him.  Price is saying that we have a guaranteed inheritance once we receive forgiveness, but we need to grow in our dependence on Christ who is the sustainer of our faith.  In Chapter 16 of “The Indwelling Life of Christ”, it mentions that “we are saved by His life[6]” He goes onto explain that our relationship with Christ is our daily deepening and broadening of our faith. Price also mentions Ephesians 3:16 which is about gaining our strength from Christ and that this is a continuous need that we will never outgrow.  I agree and refer to Colossians 3, it says that if we have been raised with Christ, then we must set our heart and minds on what is above and not on things on earth.[7] It goes on to say where Christ is seated at God’s right hand. This points us to Christ and our inheritance and that by doing this, we will be sustained. 

The Secret of Living the Christian Life

According to Price, the only way to live the Christian life is to allow Christ to live His life in us. He explains about the supernatural life that God’s makes available and how that releases the power and authority to live a new way.  He explains that if we give Christs Holy Spirit access, He will “fill our lives and express His own power and beauty through us.”[8]

I agree with his explanations and examples for the following reason: In looking to the bible, I understand these truths to be reflected in Paul’s exposition in Romans 7 & 8.  In Romans 7 he speaks about us being released from the law and goes on to explain that because the law is spiritual, humans can’t achieve its perfection on their own, as it reflects God’s glory and character, it needs His essence.  [9] In Romans 8 as he explains about life in the Spirit, explaining some of his own struggles with sin, (similar to Major Thomas explanation on how we spoil the picture on our own), Paul says how hopeless it seemed, but goes onto say that its not hopeless and points us like Price to whom and where our hope is found.  Paul gives a victorious declaration as he explains Jesus Christ is the way to achieve the heart of the law[10]  I think that Price explanations reach agreement and assist us in understanding these truths.


The books conclusion is that through Christs sacrifice, we have a restored relationship with God.  The invitation is into a friendship and partnership with Him to help in accomplishing His purposes. We ourselves are changed and empowered with authority in the process; we can also be part of His plan to bring the whole of creation into a state of recreation and redemption.   

Reflect on the Indwelling Life of Christ can be applied to your life.

From Chapter 1:  There was a section that was asking the question, help me be where you are today, not be with me where I am today.  I found this very helpful to change my perspective, the days I do this invites His presence in a more powerful way and my thoughts are moved outward and upwards.

I liked how he explained about Gideon going in the strength that he had, this really helped me to realise that Gideon was just trusting in God's ability and so must I.  I do not have to have it all sorted or have all the ability, God comes in and does what we cannot. In believing in His transforming power, I can put my perceived weakness's in His hands and trust Him to help me do my best.  In accepting any limitation as His design for my life, my relationships, my work, and all that I am.  I can trust Him to grow me, that He will come through for me but perhaps not in the way I can perceive, this assist me to accept the mysteries and unknowns.
The part in the book that speak about the law and how it was written on stone, but now within our hearts and minds. I reflect back on an earlier time in my life when I pondered this and I said to the Lord, Lord, please place the law in my heart, I felt Him tell me, He already had but I need to grow into it. 

The message I found within the book was that Jesus Christ Himself is the source of our inheritance and the source of the new life that we live.  The Christian's new life is lived in the dependence on Christ for our daily source of work, wonder and wise counsel.  He takes us by the hand and leads us on.  The message from Ephesians comes through to us in that the works that He has for us are indeed a gift that He has prepared for us in advance, in order to bring us and the work he has designed for us, is a blessing to us as well.  In us, the works lead us into a life that brings God glory and transforms us into the character of Christ, indeed a gift to us.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Week 6

This last week was a good one with regard to teaching, we had Jill and Steve Briscoe to teach us on Romans and Prayer and they both were wonderful teachers.  
This last week was quite touch on me with regard to academics, we have to write a book review and I really did find that quite tough.  I tend to think in analogies and the book was full of them.  The stories and message of Alive with Christ was amazing but it was a touch book to read, it seems small but the chapters seemed to go on and I found that the more I tried to summaries, the larger the review got.  I lay it down over the weekend and will pick it up again tomorrow.  I have not had much time to do much else, even my morning walks have had to stop, as I have changed my duty from office duty in the afternoon to bathroom and toilet cleaning duties each morning and this has thrown out my schedule. 
Saturday I went to Manchester to a Mercy Ships Conference on presenting the talk to churches.  My phone was playing up and nearly got me into big travel trouble coming home as it was discharging the battery quicker that it could charge and I was still far from home and reliant on the Satnav to get me home.  I was grateful for prayer, as I suddenly realised the Satnav was not working and I didn’t know where to go.  I turned off and decided to head for the next services so I could quickly write down the next few turns, I then found that I was one the right road and managed to get the next few steps of the journey writing down and this got me home safely. 
This next week we are studying Ecclesiastes, Lamentations and some other Wisdom literature.  We had an intro tonight and the speaker is has a Scottish accent which is great to listen to, he seemed good.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Week 5

Week 5
Sheep Rescue:

Heading out for a walk and reflecting on the great teaching of Ephesians that we are covering this week, I came around the corner and to my surprise saw a sheep that looked quite sheepish and managed to get herself to the greener grass around the pond area; how she got in, I do not know.  I felt concerned and out of the corner of my eye, I saw another three sheep also on wrong side of the ponds fence, there was no shepherd in sight.  I opened the gate create an exit route for them and then edged forward slowly thinking about what options I had to try to get her to the gateway.  I decided to just try to get her to move along the fence line, and thankfully it worked and out the gate, she fled.  Now to try to get to the other three on the other side.

 I remember thinking to myself how I had heard that sheep tended to watch with no interest, if other sheep got into trouble and it seemed for the moment that this was the case.  The three suddenly decided to make a dash for it and one of them got herself into serious trouble and went straight into the pond, as she had under estimated the width of the ridge they were walking on, which had been my concern.  What to do now, I  looked around for anyone close by, I saw a few people in the distance and shouted out for help as I tried to climb over the fence to see if I could get into or near the pond to help, all the time scared of scaring her even more.

What happened next surprised me, the other two sheep turned around and came back, one of them was almost ready to jump in to help, or was she just being stupid and doing what sheep’s do and follow the flock – it honestly looked more like concern to me.  The sheep in the water looked quite desperate but gratefully the water was not deep (although it was touch and go to her being able to stand and she looked ready to get into deeper waters.)  at that point and she thankfully for all of us, she managed to clamber out the pond and onto the path again.  In her frightened state, she dashed past me and managed to get through the bushes and found the open gate – what a relief.  There were also a few other sheep in the field behind me that had also braved getting close to us, they looked distressed and were very concerned for their friend.  They too seemed to relax back, as they saw her dash out of the pond area, back into the green pastures of home.  She had a brown bum to show for her adventures but apart from that she seemed fine and her other two friend also managed to find their way back to the pastures old were there were safe again.  The lessons within the sheep story has captivated my week. 

Autumn shuddered and the leaves headed for cover wherever they could, winter was seen approaching in hast and came looming over the hills one morning, approaching as if she had her marching orders and in a fresh wardrobe of grey.  Was autumn trying to cover summer or was she providing some nourishment to the spring, two season away?  The roses seemed to be in the last stage of rebellion, in the true form of heaven, by gifting all who would take the time to come close enough, the most glorious smell which invaded any hint of the gloominess of winter.

This week at Capenwray was a study rich, at this point, in line with the season, we seem to be squiring away scriptures and like woodpeckers, we are hammering away slowly, burying treasures in our hearts.  We looked at the book of Ephesians, which really was a wonderfully inspiring and helpful series of lectures.  Today, just before the travel weekend, we finished with the most beautiful study – the subject was the heart and compassion of Jesus.  He was always so moved with compassion to people in all circumstances in life:  The confused, discouraged, depressed; the hungry and tired; the sick and diseased; those who most people avoided; those attacked by evil spirits; the lonely and hurting; those suļ¬€ering emotionally; those struggling to come back to God;

The most moving part was getting to understand the word that is used in the original text,  Compassion = SPLAGNIDZOMAI - It has the idea of pain, producing life, coming out of the depths of your being. It is the deepest word that can explain compassion, being moved from the depths of everything that you are.  This is what moved Jesus to help all the people He did. I guess that explains the depth of His compassion, that led Him to give His life on the cross. His compassion moved Him beyond feelings to the most sacrificial action. What love.

I find it easy to fall in love with Jesus when I study the gospels.  I get captivated by the gospels forward flowing uphill river, that reaches into the darkest valleys, pulls me upwards and has the power to take me with it and asking me to put my hand out to help others on the way.

This weekend is a “travel or long weekend” I was hoping to get a little ahead with a project and to rest and refresh as well, so sleeping at bit later that normal and a trip to the lakes are part of my plans.  I tried to get out yesterday but struggled to arrange were to go and got myself lost, but saw some beautiful areas on the way.  I have never got used to trying to plan things on my own.  I have however found a place I love, not too far from here.  The coastline is stunning, so I think I will take the stress out of it and just hang out in that area in future.

We had to do our Walk Through the Bible presentation and we all passed, so next time you see me, remind me and I will take you through it – with the actions too – it doesn’t take too long unless details are added, its just the basic chronology of the bible stories.  We have only done the Old Testament so far. 

Next week we have Stuart and Jill Briscoe coming to give us lectures.  Stuart is giving us lectures on Romans and Jill on prayer, and then we continue with personal Evangelism with Rob Whittaker who's teaching style I really like.  

Friday, 19 October 2018

Week 4

Week 4 :  Eeekk Assignments

This week I had to hand in a teaching plan on the prodigal son and I found it just got larger and larger and more and more ideas as I tried to condense it.  So finally, I just drew a line under it, it had tons of mistakes, like this mailJ, it did not reach the criteria for the age group, but it got me thinking and I have got to know more about the Father Heart of God.  There were so many threads of thoughts, for example, how I so often let the temporary things in this world draw me away from what is best, which is a relationship with our Heavenly Father.  I think to myself, how would I feel if those I loved knew a lot about me but did not spend time with me and I am challenged? 

This week’s main topics have been the book of Hebrews and Evangelism.  Hebrews is a beautifully complicated book with such deep truths that I know I will go and look at it further when time permits.  It explains how the entire Old Testament Sacrificial system was a blue print and just a shadow of what was to come. It all pointed to Jesus and was like a holding pen and a school that would teach people that, they could never keep God law on their own, that it was only if this law was embedded deep in our hearts and it caused us to walk differently from the inside, that it could make any difference and that of course, under our own steam, its impossible.  It explains how the word perfect in the bible when it says we are called to be perfect, that it actually means qualified, and it is great to know that Jesus qualifies us judicially.  I love to discuss these topics as it helps me process, so if you do to, let me know. 

So what am I reading right now, well, The Far Side by Gary Lawson.  I decided that I needed to lighten up a bit, so thanks to my son’s birthday gift, earlier in the year, I bought one and I turn to it on occasions and have a giggle and the young people continue to make me smile and bring joy to me, most of the time.
I feel this week that I have walked many miles in climbing to the valley’s edge and can see Jesus clearer.

As for Capenwray, autumn has finally stamped its mark all around, the trees have taken off their summer clothing and leafs have settled and sit waiting, sometimes being rustled up, as they try and run away as they anticipation the winter stepping in to take over. Last night I came down the path towards the conference centre, I place I am coming to love.  The conference centre calls with the wonders of the ancient world and the teachers we have, are so helpful and to the right on the hill, the hills seemed alive with the sounds of snoring, it may have been my imagination but I could almost see the zzzz coming off the heads of the restful sheep and they too are wonderful teachers if you just watch them for a while, they teach of stupidity and the protection their need of their shepherd.  The sheep look a bit bleaker but quite smug too – with built in jerseys but little feet, they seem amused as we walk by, I have started to name them as I walk by.  

I love autumn and spring and will be looking out for a place to have a coffee with a fireplace soon, and am hoping that Capenwray too may light up a fireplace one evening.  I am slowly getting to know people and try to sit at a different table each day, to say hello to different people, apart from the mornings when I just do not want conversation, well I could try but it’s is more peaceful in my room. Lunch and Dinner are full of chatter and I love that.

I hear poetry flittering around in my head for some reason – I think it’s the bliss of not working with those computer things; I wake with the songs we have sung during the day, going repeatedly in my mind, the psalms we heard and the richness of Christ’s love comforting me.  

We have British night tonight and my contribution to the evening was to suggest we make everyone queue for no reason at all.  I think perhaps that I will do some reading in case they let out it was me.
I am hoping to find some people to play my guitar with, I really would like to learn how to play some of the beautiful songs properly and just need others peoples rhythms to come into.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Week 3 – Small reflections

Week 3 – Small reflections

Sunday and off to church, I am attending the Morecombe Community Church, it has a ministry to the poor and it has an artistic flavour in that they have an art shop and use art therapy.  Many of the community are very poor, suffer from additions and mental health issues, so the art is meant to be an outreach and the idea is family and loving support.

The young people continue to be delightful. I had a enjoyable sewing session with someone yesterday and just chatted away. 

Winter seems to be trying to push its way in this week, although spring did try hard to give what I think may be a final hollow earlier on in the week and it was a beautiful day.   It was certainly a day of surprises for me too.  I was sitting I lecture, head down and pen scribbling as fast as I could when the lesson ended and  felt a hand on my shoulder;  turning around I looked into the face of dear Patricia, one of the Chaplains from the African Mercy, she was in the area and decided to come and visit Capenwray and see me.  I was so delighted to see her and it was a special time showing her around, her visit ended to shortly, but I am hoping she may come back.  With these seasonal changes taking place, I am reminded that spring, nor summer, have a change, God has set the season in place and they will come, be that  they come mildly or heavily and as I look out the window, I see  Autumn’s leaves are testifying to that fact.

This evening they are having a movie in the Conference Hall. This afternoon I had a swim and now I am off to plan my studies, as they are starting to weigh me down.  It is not the doing of them, but some of them would fall into that category but it’s the organising of  when I will be doing them and how much time each needs and it seems to be an ever moving puzzle, as I think I have the right pieces in place, I find another piece.
I am going to have to start being much more intentional with my time and also my correspondence or else I will be catching balls being thrown out a machine rather than hitting one ball back at a time.

This week I read Leviticus and I started Numbers

Our sessions we studies the following:

  • The Father Heart of God : very beautiful and bringing one into a larger trust
  • I am in Christ and He is in me : extremely helpful 
  • Youth Outreach 
  • Continued: Transforming Friendship : How Jesus reached out to the  brokenhearted, and those physically and spiritually unwell : bringing hope
Next week : We have a project to be in by Wednesday: we have to put a lesson plan together to explain the story of the Prodigal Son (an hour lesson - eek)

We will also have teaching on the book of Hebrews, the NT companion to the book of Leviticus:  I am really looking forward to this.

Tommorrow I plan to do some homework, have a good English breakfast at 11 (we have this each week)  and then I am off to town to get some chores done and then will take a drive to one of the Lakes were I plan to walk, sit and read a chapter of Alive with Christ (I have to do a book review of this soon.  My first 3000 word essay.  I am not too sure if it will be more stressful for me or for the person marking it.  I suspect me.