Monday, 31 December 2012

Favourite Blog posts of 2012

So as I say Goodbye to 2012 and Hello to 2013 here are my favourite Blog posts of the last year.

They may not be to your taste, but I liked them

On God’s Grace

On Current Issues

On History

On Observations of Life (One man against the World!)


On Life

Here is a brief snippet of each blog post, just to wet your appetite:-

God's mind isn't thinking of our sin!  Wow, how can that be, when we know God hates sin and loves righteousness, and we know that sometimes we as believers still mess up and do things wrong?  Sometimes I have been filled with fear that God majored in my faults and was always thinking "why can't you do better" when He thought of me.  I felt the main thing He wanted from me was for me to stop sinning and do better.  And I kept failing, experiencing more and more failure the harder I tried to do rightly!  It almost made me feel God must hate me or at least be really disappointed in me!  Because I knew God hates sin, and I seemed to have so much of it in my life..But what is really on God's mind?  Not our sin (Christ washed it away!) but Christ and His perfection and beauty, and us in Him, beautiful and perfect, too, in Him!

Do you believe God so loved you?  It is easy to affirm it with the mouth, but deny it with thoughts questioning God’s forgiveness and acceptance.  We tend to define God’s love as a reward for good behavior.  We have no problem dropping to our knees in prayer when we are not conscious of having committed any serious (what we consider serious) sin(s) in that particular day.  God’s love tends to be nothing more than Him having a nice feeling or a general concern about us……….

Being a mechanical engineer, I am somewhat of a practical guy and therefore I knew there always had to be a purpose behind everything that happened. For years and years I would offer my wisdom to people who were going through a tough time: “Everything happens for a reason.”

That was until my eyes opened to the truth of Grace and the New Covenant. The Holy Spirit started shaking my beliefs and praise God I am the kind of guy that (still) enjoys being “shaked”!! So naturally after a while when I pulled out this magical phrase of wisdom to try and console somebody again, the following question popped into my mind: “So if everything happens for a reason, WHO is responsible for it?”

Only a recovery of the greatness, supremacy, sovereignty, brilliance, and “allness” of Christ will lead us to restoration and even revival. The wonder of Jesus as “all in all” is the only hope for igniting the flame of a new reformation and resuscitating a church that’s presently on life support.
The body of Christ is in dire need of a reconversion to Jesus, not as Savior and Lord, but as the awe-inspiring, all-inclusive person He is. To say that He is our Savior and Lord is correct, of course, but it’s inadequate. He is so much more…….

You see, I am a Christian. I am not just a ‘Christian’ in the generic sense of the word but I am one of those ‘evangelical, born-again, Bible believing’ Christians. I doubt there are very many people who could be farther apart on the religious/political/social spectrum than Geoff and me.

However, as a Christian I find my views, opinions, ideas, and philosophy becoming less and less popular and less and less respected. I sometimes wonder why that is the case. I wonder where the opposition comes from and, in my mind often wonder where the greatest opposition comes from. In other words, what is Christianity’s worst enemy? 

Before I had an interest in military nurses, I researched some local war memorials in considerable depth. During the course of that work I learnt a lot about the course of the Great War, and began to visit the Western Front, paying my respects to local men who lie in cemeteries there and taking many photos along the way.  It was a good grounding for what came later.  However, one important lesson I learnt was that not all those who died did so in battle, with many never meeting the enemy or even leaving the UK

The sight of a park bench covered and surrounded by a mass of bright fallen leaves brings to mind the days past when such a sight annoyed me.  That was at the Maida Vale Hospital where several trees lay at the front of the building, and a couple more in the rear.  This meant muggins and mates would have to sweep the blessed things up day after day.  However as I passed this lot I could not resist a picture, which is not as bright as in real life, and chortled at the man who has to sweep this up.  I'd love to help but.....

My house is built on the bedrock of sentiment,
my windows paned in rose-tinted glass.
I painted the door a grief-stricken blue
to welcome the refugees of sorrow.

I led each broken heart to rooms
linked together by universal truths.
I attended to the task
of washing their feet.

Many of us use them several times a day without really noticing. And yet the way we behave in lifts, or elevators as they are known in the US, reveals a hidden anxiety.
"Most of us sort of shut down.
"We walk in. We press the button. We stand perfectly still."
Taking the lift could be the least memorable part of your journey to work, but Dr Lee Gray of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte has made it his business to scrutinise this overlooked form of public transportation. People refer to him as "the Elevator Guy".
"The lift becomes this interesting social space where etiquette is sort of odd," he explains. "They are socially very interesting but often very awkward places."

So there you have it! My Favourite Blog posts of 2012.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

New to me by Adrian Plass

New to me
But old in years
When he came
Examined tears.
Antique love
Regard me now
Love so good
Kiss my brow.
Complete release
Chance to start
Forgive my heart.
Now the peace
Waits for me
Rest in hope
Maybe free.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

2012 gave me some life changing sermons.

Three sermons really influenced me and one by Duane Sheriff completely altered the way I looked and saw myself.

There have been countless other excellent sermons, but these are the ones that impacted me.

Andrew Wommack – Walking on the water

This is a fantastic series on the grace God has provided and how unbelief can limit God’s power in your life.

Jesus told the disciples to get in the boat and go to the other side, but fear and dread took over their minds when they saw felt the wind and saw the waves. God has provided everything we need by his grace but fear and unbelief in his promises stops us from enjoying the unmerited favor of God. It is all there for us, we need to receive it.

Graham Marsh – Possessing the land.

Graham Marsh – lead elder of Kings Church Eastbourne with an outstanding sermon on entering the Promised Land.
He mentioned four reasons why the Israelite s didn't go and possess the  land. - Unbelief, Wrong Perspective, Doubt and Wrong Response. 

Ryan Rufus – Entering the Rest

Ryan excellently explains that through Christ’s finished work, we can now enter into the rest God has provided for us. The New Covenant is an end to the law, our works and our performance. We just believe and receive all blessings of entering the promised rest.

Duane Sheriff – Our Identification with Christ.

This was the word that had the greatest effect on me in 2012. Duane preached on the Saturday Night at the Grace and Faith Conference in Telford, on Christ living and working through us. It was really an ultimate amalgamation of all the principles of the three other sermons mentioned above. His definition of faith:

F – Christ died FOR me.
A – Christ died AS me.
I – Christ lives IN me.
T – Christ works THROUGH me.
H – Christ in me the HOPE of glory.

Faith is all about living a thankful life from my union with Christ who lives in me.

Our Spirit’s have been made new and are united with Christ.
Our Souls are being transformed by the power of God and the renewing of our minds.
Our Body’s will be made new when we are resurrected.

Here is Duane in some old sermons talking over these truths:-

Friday, 28 December 2012

Friday’s Five - Review 2012 – Quotes that changed me.

I have read many books, listened to many speakers over the last 12 months.

But I thought I would give you 5 short quotes that have the most effect in 2012.

The first is the nature of faith by Andrew Wommack. I realized that faith is simply my ‘Thank You’ to all that Christ has provided for me by grace. Everything I need to live a victorious, joyful, fulfilled, forgiven and abundant life was made available to me at the Cross and all I have to do is say Thank You and receive it. Everything has been provided by grace.

True Bible faith is simply your positive response to what God has already provided by grace. Faith only appropriates what God has already provided. Faith doesn't move God or make Him do anything” – Andrew Wommack – A Balance of Grace & Faith.

Secondly, I realized that I am a son of Christ and he has filled me with his Holy Spirit. I can live a life of complete satisfaction in all he has provided for me. I am seated in heavenly places in Christ and he wants me to enjoy him forever.

“I’m not hungry anymore. I am fully satisfied. Hunger is the state of the prodigal son in the pig slop. Sonship is satisfied on Christ – the Father’s fatted calf……Our satisfaction speaks of trusting and drinking from all he has done. The flavor of faith is complete satisfaction, knowing that we sit at the King’s table.” – John Crowder – Living Grace.

Thirdly, that I am eternally forgiven, eternally saved, eternally united with Christ and eternally filled with the fullness of Christ. That my life is an overflow of all the powers, grace, glory and joy that Christ has poured into me.

“A Revelation of total forgiveness leads to confidence and a strong relationship with Christ. A Revelation of being totally united with Christ leads to eternal security and true motivation to live for God. A Revelation of having been totally filled with the fullness of Christ leads to a life of overflow and releasing rather than striving to get!”- Ryan Rufus – Extra Virgin Grace

Fourthly, that His love is forever flowing to me, that he is showering me with goodness and mercy all the days of my life.

"Rivers of Living Water are flowing to us - that is the Spirit of Love pouring out the Love of God in our hearts, our souls, our emotions, our lives.. bringing healing to all our insecure and wounded places." – Sparrow Girl – Under a Waterfall of Grace.

Lastly, that my Spirit is united with Christ. Christ in all his fullness lives in me. His Spirit and my Spirit are interwoven and he flows and lives inside me.

“Christ has become the very blood flowing within our veins and the breath within our lungs. This union is genuine and living!” – Benjamin Dunn – Living Grace.

There is also one phrase from John Crowder that has transformed my mind  

“Let the Cross be the only thing that mesmerizes you.”

God has poured out all the heaven has to offer through Christ at the cross. 

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Surely He hath borne our griefs by Christina Rossetti

Christ's Heart was wrung for me, if mine is sore;
And if my feet are weary, His have bled;
He had no place wherein to lay His Head;
If I am burdened, He was burdened more.
The cup I drink, He drank of long before;
He felt the unuttered anguish which I dread;
He hungered Who the hungry thousands fed,
And thirsted Who the world's refreshment bore.
If grief be such a looking-glass as shows
Christ's Face and man's in some sort made alike,
Then grief is pleasure with a subtle taste:
Wherefore should any fret or faint or haste?
Grief is not grievous to a soul that knows
Christ comes, -- and listens for that hour to strike.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

A Happy Home by Peter Fenwick

May the child laid in a manger,
Find a cradle in your care,
May the man who had no place to lay His head
Find rest under your roof,
And may the spirit of the risen Christ
Fill your hearts with joy
And your home with happiness.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone.

Last night my 9 year old Dani left a message for Santa

“dearest Santa

I hope you like what we have gave you, Some milk also choclate muffin

Hope your reindeers ant tird because you haft to get round eveyboddys house don’t you?

My name is Danielle

Do you want to write a mesidge.”

“Dearest Danielle, what a special girl you are. Hope you enjoy your presents but don’t forget the greatest present of all was God’s gift to you!

Thanks for the muffin and milk! Yum yum

S x”

Great excitement as we discovered the crumbs from the eaten muffin and read the letter together.

Christmas was complete now that Santa had come.

Have a really happy Christmas and may joy, hope, grace and all the blessings of heaven, fill you, overflow to you and pour out of your life now and for ever.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Grace Notes - Luke 2 v 14

Luke 2:14
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

The message of Christmas is Christ, the very God, creator of the universe entering into the world he created in flesh.
God became man.
God did it to reconcile himself to man and to end the war against man’s sins.
The angels proclaimed it, Isaiah prophesied it and Christ showed it in all he did.
God is not angry. He is not counting men’s sins against them.
God is love and all he does good towards us.
I will let Andrew Wommack explain better than me:

"What were these angels proclaiming?
They were announcing, “Peace. Good will toward men from God!”

Prior to the advent of the Lord Jesus Christ, God was at war against man’s sins. His wrath came upon people because of the sin in their life. Many Christians haven’t mentally separated this out and really looked at it. They just run everything in the Bible together. Yet a closer examination of God’s Word reveals that there was a wrath and a judgment from God against people in the Old Testament that is totally unjustified and wrong in the New Testament. Why? Jesus ended the war between God and man. He made all the difference!

Despite that, most people run all of this together. They still think of God as being angry at our sins. They mistakenly believe that there is still a war going on between God and man, and that every time they sin that somehow or another it’s a new affront against Him. You’ve probably heard people say, “God is ticked off!” and quote Old Testament scriptures about the wrath of God falling on people. “God is angry today,” they insist. “He’s dangling our country over hell by a thin thread that’s on fire, and He’s just about ready to turn us over to the devil.” 

Some Christians are proclaiming that God is the One who sent the hurricanes and tsunamis that have struck in recent years, and that He’s going to cause other disasters too. Several well-known religious leaders stood up and declared that God was the One who sent the terrorist attacks that happened in 2001, and that this was the beginning of His judgment on our nation. They’re still proclaiming that there is wrath from God towards men.

“God is not angry. There’s peace. He’s not upset with you!” In spite of that truth, somehow or another, people today just love to let others know just how “angry” God is, thinking that this will drive them away from hell. That’s simply not the way it works.

The Lord has given us the ministry of reconciliation:

God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Bethlehem Star by Dede Banks

Beautiful jewel in the dark velvet night,
Shining up there with a bright golden light;
Known to us all as the Bethlehem Star
Guiding three kings from lands afar,
To see with their own eyes the mother and child
She had laid in a manger, so peaceful and mild.
Sleep tight tiny babe, in your mother’s fond care,
Knowing naught of the troubles and pain you must bare,
Before you can show that death never wins,
But just marks the stage where new life begins.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Friday's Five - Simeon takes Jesus in his arms

Luke 2 v28-32

Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,
 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
    as you have promised.
 I have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared for all people.
 He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
    and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

Here we have five promises from the mouth of Simeon, who took Jesus in his arms and recognized him as the promise.

This is an amazing moment in time.

Here the prophet sees the fulfillment of all he has hoped and dream t.

As you have promised – Simeon held in his arms the promise of God foretold throughout history. God is 100% faithful to every promise he has made. He promised that he would never be angry with us again and that he is not counting men’s sins against them. We can trust God and his goodness.

I have seen your salvation – Jesus is the savior of the world. His death is the perfect sacrifice.  Jesus + nothing = everything.  He is all we need.

You have prepared for all people – The New Covenant is open to everyone, all people. No one is excluded. All we have to do is believe and receive. Sin is not an issue with God; it is not the barrier that stops us living in the full blessings of God. All our sins, past, present and future sins were forgiven at the cross. Sin does not separate us from God or his blessing, Unbelief in the finished work of Christ separates and causes us to struggle through life. Unbelief in the grace of God is man’s problem. 

He is a light to reveal God to the nations  - Christ is the light to everyone’s darkness. He illuminates everything he comes into contact with. Diseases are cured, sickness is healed, sins are forgiven, prisoners are set free, and chains are released. Christ is the light of the world. 

He is the glory of your people IsraelHe is the glory of God and that glory now lives in us. Not in a race, not in piece of soil and land. Not is a geographical area. Not is a city of stones and bricks. But in each and every believer, we are the temple of the living God. Living stones. A royal priesthood. A holy nation.

Christ the promise of the ages became man, entered into the world, so that God could live and work in each person that believes on him for their salvation.

We are righteous because he took our punishment, our condemnation and our guilt and paid a once and eternal price.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

I Wonder

I wonder if the shepherds understood the message they were told,

I wonder if the scribes and priests understood all the writing of long ago.

I wonder if Joseph understood that his bride didn't make him a fool,

I wonder if King Herod understood the new King brought a different kind of rule,

I wonder if the Innkeeper understood the young couple and took pity on their tale,

I wonder if Herod’s soldiers understood the orders as they murdered the newborn males.

I wonder if the Wise Men understood the child fulfilled the mystery that was hidden,

I wonder if Mary understood the destiny of the baby God to her had given.

I wonder if this Christmas I understand the impact of the child King,

I wonder if I understand the inheritance that his birth now brings.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Bygone Christmas - Matchmakers

Christmas time was one of those occasions when my parents indulged themselves and our family with boxes of after dinner style chocolates.

Sometimes they would get theses from distant relatives or church friends.

The chocolates that my parents always wanted and often purchased were Matchmakers.

These twig like sticks of chocolate had nobbly crunchy granules of mint in bedded into them and they were excellent when sucked.

The preferred choice was ‘Cool Mint. Although I can remember munching our way through a box of ‘Zingy' Orange.

There was something special about opening a box, finding the tag that opened the cellophane and diving into the special compartment.

Once started it was very difficult to stop until the compartment was finished off or you felt sick.

The tag line was ‘the manic munch that packs a punch.’

They were certainly very addictive. 

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Tuesday's Track - O Holy Night by Kenny Rogers

Tuesday’s Track is Kenny Rogers singing one of my favourite carol’s “O Holy Night”

I love the melody and the words of this carol. It takes me back to the days when I was first married when my wife and I would listen to the Kenny Rogers Christmas Album.

The lines “Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother, And in His name all oppression shall cease.” Have always been special to me.

Christ came to offer deliverance, to end the separation between God and man.

We all have chains around our hearts. Life has a way of wearing us down and the world infiltrates our mind with despair and hopelessness.

But Christ is the bread of life, the light of the world. He offers freedom for the captive, release for the prisoner and all the unmerited favour of God.

True freedom, true release is in a real interwoven union with Him and Christ living and working through us.

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the Soul felt its worth

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn'
Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine, oh-oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine, oh night, oh night divine

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
With all of them must praise His holy name
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we
His power and glory, ever more proclaim
His power and glory, ever more-ore-ore proclaim...

Monday, 17 December 2012

Grace Notes - Galatians 4 v 4

Galatians 4:4
“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.”

Christ entered into the world at the perfect time, when the fullness of time was come.

He entered as an Israelite and was born into the Old Covenant of Law.

Christ was sinless, he kept the law and fulfilled it all, on our behalf and in our place.

When he died in our place, he took all the punishment we deserved and we received all the riches and treasures of heaven that he deserved.

It was the great exchange:
His righteousness in place of our condemnation.
His sonship in place of our alienation.
His perfect health in place of our sickness.
His riches and inheritance in place of our poverty.
His new life in place of our death.
His life living inside of us in place of our separation.

We now are united with him and he lives in his fullness in us.

Andrew Wommack here explains the Father’s Plan:

When the right time came, God sent forth His Son from Heaven in His pre-existent state, into the world. He was born of a woman (virgin birth) and was made subject to the requirements of the law. Jesus was sent at a specific time. The entrance of Jesus into the physical realm was not a random thing occurring at a haphazard time. There were developments that had to take place before Christ could come to earth and redeem man. The Father sent His Son to the earth at the earliest possible time. Anytime prior to the time Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, would have been premature.

His purpose for coming into the world was twofold. First, He came to "redeem them that were under the law." He did this by perfectly keeping the law, fulfilling it, and paying its curse (Mt. 5:17; Gal. 3:13). Thus, Christ delivered us from the entire system of the law. The Greek word for redeem means "to buy OUT OF the slave market."

Secondly, Christ gave us the status of sonship with all its privileges. Not only were we redeemed from the bondage of the law, but we were redeemed unto sonship. Many people stop short, only realizing what they were delivered from, not what they inherit. Sure, we need to rejoice that we are redeemed, but we also need to move on, and realize the full benefits of our inheritance.

God created us for Himself but we sold ourselves into slavery to the devil. God bought us back through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. No amount of effort, human works, or man's own righteousness could bring the divine favor that we needed. It was the actual life of God  that purchased our redemption.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Bygone Christmas - Morecambe and Wise with Andre Previn

Christmas in the Stevens home would not have been Christmas without the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show.

Over the years there have been many memorable sketches but the one I remember and still almost uncontrollably laugh at is Andre Previn

It was the 1971 Christmas Show,  and is possibly the most popular Morecambe and Wise sketch of all.

The momemt when Eric Morecambe informs Andre Previn that he is ‘playing all the right notes’ is just brilliant.

Andre Previn was also wonderful and showed just what a true great he is. Spot-on comic timing with the great Eric.

Watch it all, enjoy every moment and I challenge you not to go away without a smile on your face.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Christmas Carol's - Silent Night by Andy Williams

Silent Night is so beautiful, a wonderful carol that oozes Christmas

It is a song that is immediately recognizable and loved.

The song was first performed on Christmas Eve 1818 at the St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf bei Salzburg. The small town on the Salzach river, part of the former Archbishopric of Salzburg, had just passed to Austria in 1816. The young priest Father Joseph Mohr had come to Oberndorf the year before, he had already written the lyrics of the song "Stille Nacht" in 1816 at Mariapfarr, the hometown of his father in the Salzburg Lungau region, where he had worked as a coadjutor.

The melody was composed by Franz Xaver Gruber, schoolmaster and organist in the nearby village of Arnsdorf. Before Christmas Eve, Mohr brought the words to Gruber and asked him to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for the church service. Both performed the carol during the mass on the night of December 24.

Here Andy Williams performs an amazing version

Friday, 14 December 2012

Friday's Five - Mary's Song of Praise

Luke 1 v 46 -55

Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
 How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever"

Fridays Five is Mary’s song of praise to God.

There are so many truths from this song but I want to concentrate on five grace promises that stems from the recognition of God’s goodness in Mary’s heart.

God entered the world and chose Mary as his vessel.

God's birth into the world in flesh.

He took notice of his lowly servant girl – God notices everyone, everyone is special to God. So special that he sent his son to die for every single one in their place. Everyone has had their sins forgiven by the Cross. Not a select few, everyone who believes and receives Christ’s finished work receives new life and are united with Him, in his fullness. There are no exceptions.

He has done great things for me – God is a great God, he has provided all we need to live a victorious new life through Christ. Everything has been provided by his grace. His grace is overflowing and overwhelming towards us. A cascade is goodness, mercy,  joy, love, security and adventures. All now living inside every believer.

He has filled the hungry with good things – God is good and he fills us with good things. He never gives us anything bad. Guilt and condemnation are lies from the enemy.  We are eternally righteous, eternally blessed and showered with his love.

He remembered to be merciful – We deserve nothing from God. God in his mercy has provided all things to us through grace. His mercy is forever flowing to a world that has rejected and scorned him. But he is great, great in mercy and has poured his love out through Christ’s death on the cross.

He made this promise to our ancestors – God is a God who keeps his promises. Just as he promised through the prophets he sent them a savior who took the judgment they deserved.  Christ fulfilled the law, every promise in the Bible is YES and AMEN to those in Christ. He is a God who keeps his promises and is totally faithful.

Just as God chose Mary to carry Jesus, he also chooses us and we have Christ living in us. God provided all Mary needed, gave her the strength and was with her every step of her journey, so God has also provided all we need in grace and is with us.

Gods grace overflowed to Mary and her heart overflowed with rejoicing, she is an amazing example and picture of God working inside each and every believer. 

Thursday, 13 December 2012


Better than a fairy tale
Beyond the wildest dreams
Hope became reality
Birthed in the blessed scheme.

The promise took on meaning
Once hidden in the plan
Entering in through time and space
God became a man.

Earthly bones took on flesh
The hopes of man confirmed
The answer with a newborn babe
God faithfulness affirmed.

All the desires of centuries
Are with the child conceived
And like those who once followed
God invites me to believe.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Bygone Christmas - Newberry Fruits

What is it with Grandma’s and New Berry Fruits?

Just a  glance at a box of New Berry Fruits and I immediately recall my Grandma settling down on Christmas Day evening in front of the TV with a box whilst watching Mike Yarwood.

My Grandma didn’t like chocolates, so she always bought with her a box of Newberry fruits.

My mother had a tin of toffees always on hand just in case, but it was never needed.

Tucking into the sweet jellies with the liquid centre was a real Christmas Day highlight.
Vibrant colors, pack full of sweet fruity yummiess was just heavenly.

Christmas would not be so delightful without these little treats.

I was in a Garden Center a few days ago when I spotted a box and it all come flooding back.

Great memories of happy times, well that’s how I recall them.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Tuesday's Track - Tender Tennessee Christmas by Amy Grant

Tender Tennessee Christmas by Amy Grant

There are some songs that just ooze Christmas.

When my wife and i were first married we spent many, many evenings listening to Amy Grant’s Christmas Album.

1984 was our first Christmas married and just the opening notes of Tender Tennessee Christmas takes me back to those days.

I have never been to Tennessee or to America, but i feel at home there because of Amy’s song.
Snow, family, gifts around the tree and being with the one you love sharing the magic of Christmas.

I love this wonderful song and all the memories i cherish.


Come on weather man give us a forecast snowy white
Can't you hear the prayers of every childlike heart tonight
Rockies are callin', Denver snow fallin'
Somebody said it's four feet deep, but it doesn't matter
Give me the laughter, I'm gonna choose to keep

Another tender Tennessee Christmas, the only Christmas for me
Where the love circles around us like the gifts around our tree
Well I know there's more snow up in Colorado than my roof will ever see
But a tender Tennessee Christmas is the only Christmas for me

Every now and then I get a wandering' urge to see
Maybe California, maybe Tinsel Town's for me
There's a parade there, we'd have it made there
Bring home a tan for New Year's Eve
Sure sounds exciting, awfully inviting, still I think I'm gonna keep

Another tender Tennessee Christmas, the only  Christmas for me
Where the love circles around us like the gifts around our tree
Well they say in L.A. it's a warm holiday, it's the only place to be
A tender Tennessee Christmas, is the only Christmas for me

Well I know there's more snow up in Colorado than my roof will ever see
But a tender Tennessee Christmas is the only Christmas for me
A tender Tennessee Christmas is the only Christmas for me

Monday, 10 December 2012

Grace Notes - Luke 1 v 38

Luke 1:38

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Andrew Wommack explains that just as Mary received God’s word into her flesh and she conceived. We also receive salvation is a similar way.

God has provided all we need through his grace, when we say ‘thank you’ to him and receive all his promises into our lives, our lives change from glory into glory.

We have everything already in our spirit, and our spirit is united with Christ. Our soul and body are transformed as we awaken our spirit to dominate the way we think and live.

His fullness of life is dwelling inside of us and we just have to let it work through us.

We are living stones, the temple of the living God.

Here is Andrew: -

Jesus is the Word of God ,  John 1:14 says, "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." First Peter 1:23 calls God's Word an incorruptible seed (Gk.-"spora" or sperm). When Mary humbled herself and received the Word of God here, she received Jesus into her womb and that's how she conceived. God's Word became the sperm instead of the sperm of a man.

God originally created mankind by speaking them into existence. Jesus' physical body was created the same way. However, after the fall of man, God no longer had direct access to the affairs of men. He had given authority over this earth to mankind. Therefore, He had to find men who had physical bodies who would hear His voice in their hearts and then speak His word through their mouths.

No one man was capable of receiving all the revelation that God had about the coming of His Son, so it took thousands of years for God to speak everything that needed to be spoken to create the physical body that Jesus was to inhabit. But when the fullness of time was come (Gal. 4:4), God sent the angel to Mary to announce that she was the one chosen to provide the physical body for Jesus.

When she received God's Word, then the Holy Spirit took all the inspired words spoken about Jesus throughout history and implanted them in her womb, providing the sperm whereby she conceived.

We receive salvation in a similar manner. God has promises in His Word for our every need. When we mix our faith with a promise of God's Word, then that Word becomes a seed in our spiritual womb and we conceive our answer. After a period of time, we actually see in the physical what we were believing for. When we see it, isn't when we actually received it. We receive "when we pray" and then we "shall have them" (Mk. 11:24).

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Christmas in Heaven by Adrian Plass

When I’m in heaven
Tell me there’ll be kites to fly,
The kind they say you can control,
Although I never did for long.
The kind that spin and spin and spin and spin,
Then sulk and dive and die,
And rise again and spin again,
And dive and die and rise up yet again.
I love those kites.

When I’m in heaven
Tell me there’ll be friends to meet
In ancient oak-beamed Sussex pubs
Enfolded by the wanton Downs,
And summer evenings lapping lazily against the shore
Of sweet, familiar little lands
Inhabited by silence or by nonsenses,
The things you cannot safely say in any other place.
I love those times.

When I’m in heaven
Tell me there’ll be seasons when the colors fly,
Poppies splashing flame
Through dying yellow, living green,
And autumn’s burning sadness that has always made me cry
For things that have to end.
For winter fires that blaze like captive suns,
But look so cold when morning comes.
I love the way the seasons change.

When I’m in heaven
Tell me there’ll be peace at last,
That in some meadow filled with sunshine,
Filled with buttercups and filled with friends,
You’ll chew a straw and fill us in on how things really are.
And if there is some harm at laying earthly hope at heaven’s door,
Or in this saying so,
Have mercy on my foolishness, dear Lord.
I love this world you made—it’s all I know

When I’m in heaven
Tell me there’ll be Christmases without the pain,
No memories that will not fade,
No chilled and sullen sense of loss
That cannot face the festive flame
Nor breathe excitement from the ice-cream air.
Tell me how the things that Christmas should have been
Will be there for eternity in one long, shining dawn
For all of us to share.
I love the promises of Christmas.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

A 70's Christmas

Casdon Soccer and sugar mice
Presents round the tree
Stockings filled with goodies
Faberge’s Brut Thirty Three

Cherryade and Tizer
Peardrax by the glass
Sausage rolls and mince pies
Drinking Shandy Bass

Clackers and Space hoppers
Hot Wheels track and cars
Looking through the Viewmaster
Watching Disney stars.

Hanging decorations
Making paper chains
Pulling Christmas crackers
Jokes that are so lame.

Eating roast turkey
Paper crowns on heads
Custard on the pudding
Everyone well fed.

Sleeping in the afternoon
Cracking stubborn nuts
Morecombe and Wise TV shows
The Goodies shown uncut.

Christmases from long ago
Where memories belong
Family times remembered
Recalled in Christmas songs.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Friday's Five - Isaiah 9 v 6-7.

Isaiah 9 v 6-7

For a child is born to us,
    a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
    And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor,  Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace
    will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David
    for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
    will make this happen!

Here is the Old Testament prophet Isaiah writing about the birth of Christ.

The New Covenant is all about finished work of Christ on the cross. His blood is the new wine of the covenant and he is the bread of life.

Everything has been provided through grace, freely available.

Every believer has the fullness of Christ living and flowing inside of them.

The promise of the Old Testament now lives inside every believer.

Five promises included here in Isaiah chapter 9 fills us with the knowledge that lives within us.

Wonderful Counselor – Whatever situation we are faced with in life, Christ in us is the solution. He is our wonderful counselor; he is our guide, our friend, our help. He can be trusted with every circumstance and with every problem. There is nothing that God has not provided for us through the cross.

Mighty God – He is the mighty God living inside us. He is our strength, our fortress, our deliverer.  He is mighty is every shape and form and is always there to build us up and make us strong.

Everlasting Father – He is our eternal father and we are his children. We are sons and daughters of the King, royal children, and heirs of all the promises. Everything that is true of the royal family is true of us.

Prince of Peace – He is our peace and the peace of God now resides in our hearts. Turmoil and trouble may besiege us from time to time but He is the peace in our hearts, the life in our spirits.

He is the King – We have the King of love living inside our hearts. He is our King and his rule and dominion is inside us. We are united with him and he is united with us. Eternally we are one with the King of heaven.

His government is now our hearts, His throne is our spirit’s, we are ambassadors of his kingdom to everyone we meet and we feast on the glorious riches of his eternal kingdom.

His Kingdom has come; it has come inside every believer.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Der Stollen by William Newton

I have a friend
Who every Christmas
Gives me a Stollen,
A marzipan-filled
Log-shaped German cake.

Each year I leave it
Exposed in all its
Sugar-snow dusted Teutonic glory.
On tables, ledges and odd trays
In the hope that
Someone will steal it.

This will enable me
To realize a boyhood ambition
To cry out loudly
“My Stollen’s been stolen!”

I think people sense this
And because it is such a weak joke
They leave the thing alone.

By William Newton


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