As a teenager and then as a young adult what little bible study I did was always guided by a lesson plan or a study book which would lead me through what I was meant to read and what the scriptures meant. Now I am sure these guided studies have helped a lot of people but having realised how little of the Bible stayed with me I realised that these types of studies don’t work as well for me. I say that because shortly after reconnecting with my faith I started to do an online study which would take me through the Bible in a year, yet after a couple of months I found myself doing them to keep up but not really taking it in because again I was being told what the scripture meant.
But it was then, on several Christian blogs, I found mention of the SOAP Bible Study method and I have to say that right now I am a huge fan of using the SOAP Bible Study Method, although in my case I add a P before the SOAP, as in prayer to open my mind and heart to what God wants me to learn and remember. Continue reading
Many, many moons ago when I was a lot younger and my family would go on holiday, the maps would come out and be spread across the dining room table. Routes would then be meticulously planned along with little detours if there was a place we wanted to visit, okay that should be if my parents wanted to visit. But it was a skill that we were pretty good at, thinking about and planning out which way to go so we got to where we were going on time. Of course times have changed and whilst my parents still use maps most people will use the systems in their cars or on their phones, following the instructions of a device which tells them what is best instead of thinking about their route for themselves.
Jump from my childhood to my 20s and I got a job working in the I.T. department of an insurance company where I learned core programming skills and went on to become a web developer. Those web development skills have stayed with me like those map reading skills Continue reading
I ask that question because I remember when I was at junior school and certainly during the first couple of years at secondary school we said The Lord’s Prayer every day during assembly. Although I am sure like many I only learned to say The Lord’s Prayer parrot fashioned rather than really taking to heart the words, well I was young and more interested in playing marbles at the time.
But the other morning I found myself not just saying The Lord’s Prayer but also contemplating the words. Truthfully it had been too many years since I had last said it and forgot the exact words of one line. But that contemplating of the words led to me digging in to them deeper as I found myself thinking about them over and over again, kind of like having the most beautiful prayer ear worm. So this post is simply how The Lord’s Prayer has ended up speaking to me and what I learned as I delved deeper.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;
I don’t know whether it is some thing that other Christians have discovered but I often find myself coming up with analogies for messages within the Scripture, especially those which connect with me on a deeper lesson. And this is one as “Drifting Down a River” came to me when I was reading a Christian blog post which in relation to 1 Timothy 4 the author had used the word drift. It was only a casual use of the word, there was no focus on it but it made me think back to my younger years as a Christian and gave me a picture as an analogy for it.
Imagine you are out canoeing with friends and you are drifting down a river which is littered with hazards. For a while when ever some thing would come along be it a rock or a thick patch of weed you put in the effort to navigate around it or go over it, or catch up with friends when they seem to be getting ahead. But then you start to not bother, you happily drift along looking at what is happening on the river banks and allowing the current to carry you, not putting in any effort at all until BAM Continue reading
A while back I was doing some shopping in my usual supermarket and as per usual there was only one of the eleven checkouts open, yes there are those self serve checkouts but every time I have used one I end up having to ask for help so tend to avoid them as much as I can. But on this day there was a gentleman going through the checkout in a mobility scooter and whilst I don’t know his situation I would hazard a guess that at some point he may have suffered a stroke. Now behind him was one customer, then me, and then a growing queue was forming behind me with some customers clearly getting impatient at having to wait.
But here is the life lesson which this shop assistant taught me that day without him even knowing it. He focused on serving this gentleman in his mobility scooter, never rushing him, in fact going above and beyond to make sure his shopping was secure, he had put his change away and was ready to move on rather than starting the next customer before he had moved on. Now the assistant whilst focussing on the gentleman would have had to have been blind not to see the queue which was forming as well as being aware of the impatience of some of the customers Continue reading
I have mentioned before that for my 21st birthday, many many and a few more years ago, the pastor and his wife gave me a New Century Version youth bible as a present, maybe they were hinting at something with it being a youth bible. Anyway, inside the front cover alongside all the presented to, by, on this date stuff they had inscribed 2 Tim Chp 1 – 6 & 7.
This is why I remind you to keep using the gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. Now let it grow, as a small flame grows into a fire. God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NCV)
It is because of that inscription 2 Timothy 1:6-7 has stuck with me all these years even when I wasn’t overly connected with my faith because I always thought that the pastor had judged me spot on. He knew that I was someone who preferred to be behind the scenes, in fact often hiding behind the scenes, and I was not the most courageous or confident of young Christians when it came to talking about my faith. Continue reading
Looking back on my life you could say I was a bit of a know it all as a child or at least the sort of child who would quickly think he understood something and would not be told any different. It makes me wonder how on Earth I would cope if I was a parent to a child who was anything close to how I was when I was younger as I am sure I must have frustrated my parents no end when it came to being told anything.
One of those things I thought I knew was the story of Jesus feeding the multitudes with a few fishes and some bread because I don’t know how many times as a child I heard the story of Jesus taking a few loaves along with some fishes and performing a miracle. Yet years later I discovered that there were two separate occurrences of Jesus performing this miracle first feeding five thousand (Matthew 14:13-21) and then later on feeding four thousand (Matthew 15:29-39). Yes, I took time to read the Bible rather than just half taking in what was being said in church.
Not far from where I live there is a pub called The Angels and at the entrance to one of the car-parks is a sign which says “The Angels – Food served all day”. I must have walked past that sign hundreds of times and never paid any attention to it until the other morning when for no reason it grabbed my attention and made me smile. Now this isn’t the reason why it made me smile but whilst writing this blog post I thought to myself what a wonderful name and slogan it would make for a facility providing food for the homeless.
Getting back on point here is what came across my mind when that sign made me smile and inspired this blog post, “Thank God for his all day nourishment”. It was simply those four words “Food served all day” which made me smile, which made me grateful, which made me start to sing because 24/7 we not only have God on tap through the power of prayer but he gave us the Bible Continue reading
As I sit here at my computer, on the shelf next to my monitor, is a collection of Bibles; there is the Good News Bible I had as a child, the NIV Bible I got as a, there is a New Century version Youth Bible the pastor and his wife gave me for my 21st birthday and there is also the Handbook to the Bible which I received for having perfect attendance at Sunday School one year. Considering I spent over 20 years not going to church it amazes me that I still have these Bibles, and they are not the only ones as there are others scattered around in cupboards and on book shelves. But the Bible I use most often is a small NLT version which I bought more than a decade ago when I briefly returned to church. It is now looking a bit battered with the faux leather covering worn away in places but it is the one which has all my highlighted scriptures and notes in and it fits perfectly in my jacket pocket when I walk to church. Continue reading