Thursday, 31 December 2015

It's that time again to make targets for the year ahead.

Every year comes. People make resolutions. Reason behind that is to either get fit or be happy person really is to make a better person. Aren't they good intentions? It may come across surprising but only 8% actually achieve their New Year's resolution.

Every year I try and cut down on my hot chocolate intake, or how much chocolate I have. Does it work? No not really. It does until February then I revert back to my old ways again. It is easy right.

This year I had an intention to read more, one of my friends and I loved reading but never really had time with the revision we had to do in year 11. To overcome this problem we had set a challenge to read 17 books this year 2015. Drum roll please. The answer is yes we did the challenge. I actually read 18 books. I do not know the exact number my friend read.

Let me guess, you want to lose weight, or maybe just eat healthier. Perhaps you want to spend more time with your friends and family.

I know I do.

Right since you got the your new resolution for 2016. You might be thinking how can I succeed this year? Well read on then.

I  do not like having one resolution for the entire year, I like to have mini targets if I achieve them I get a reward like a book. Yippee! You can also try that. I particular find it helpful to analyze my mini month resolution by asking these questions to myself Why? Why not? working.

I am very competitive person. If you and a friend got a same resolution then compete with each other. If you are keen on running then why not see who can run 5k the fastest? You sure will keep your resolution.

Sometimes changing behavior can be challenging. It’s simple in theory, but when the rubber hits the road, we can easily fall back on old bad habits. Light a fire under your goals to make yourself accountable for what you really want to accomplish.

Consider using negative consequences when you don’t complete the action steps you’ve committed to. I will let you decide on that one.

If you are very busy person or forgetful. Hey, do not point me! What I am trying to say, if you need some thing to nudge you. You can always put a reminder on your smartphone. For example, if you want to start running, You can then always put running in your calendar and set a time. This makes sure you do it and get a rest day in between.

Now you have the key things to accomplish your New Year resolution. You may wish to make your New Year resolution as a target in which case. Read on and I will explain how can you write one that will work!

Specific- The target must be clearly stated, saying exactly what is meant, such as walk for 20 minutes a day for one week. This is clear and cannot be misunderstood or used as an excuse.

Measurable-Is it too vague too say do more exercise, an amount must be stated, therefore you can prove that you have met the target.

Achievable- You must feel it is possible to achieve the target set otherwise you will give up. If someone said they would like to exercise for 4 hours a day is not achievable but 20 minutes a day is reasonable.

Realistic-Target must be realistic, you must be able to do it. It is unrealistic to to expect who is older and not very fit to run for 30 minutes a day, but it is realistic to ask the same of a fit younger person.

Time-related- You should set a deadline set by which you reach the target therefore the progress can be assessed.

I might as well share you my two resolution. Most of you know that I like to run. But only when I would like to. I am going to make running a part of my life. I am training myself to do 5k run in about 20 minutes after I done that. I also want a challenge and going to do 10k run.  Hopefully I can train myself to run 10k before the Yateley 10K run. If you are available to, comment downstairs what is your New Year resolution/

The New Year is a time to hope and dream and to make those dreams a reality, but it takes work. You can set yourself up for success by starting early, setting up realistic action steps, and engaging supportive people so 2016 becomes a year of great accomplishments for you.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Christmas scribbles

Merry Christmas! Or shall I say happy new year? So Christmas. Gone as a flash. I got my head down with college work and doing never ending assignments not forgetting hope is on the way. Most of the ones done towards the end was not me that wrote it. Thanks to my wonderful two friends Cherry and Crazy Rachel. Has wrote it for me, all I had to do was upload it.

I was going to upload some Christmas things but never got round to it. So here is your very late post about Christmas decorations.

A big Christmas tree

We got this Christmas tree well more my parents while I was doing my assignment on Saturday 12th December. How I remember that, you might be asking. No! I am afraid to say I am not a genius. Even thought it would be pretty cool to be one though. No quite frankly it was the same day when we had my grandparents over for a little Christmas celebration. I got no photos of this night. Though it was a good evening. 

All three of us helped to decorate this tree. I am no good at taking photos as I forgot to take them. Please do not hire me to take photos.

We had roast beef. I mainly talked to my Mom while she cooking so I have no idea what happened in the living room with Dad and Grandma and Grandad apart from talking. While we were eating our marvellous dinner cooked by my Mom we had music playing. Organized my me with YouTube. If you are still in the mood to sing along with Christmas songs then here is the link. (I hope it works.) Of course we had crackers. For quite some time now, I used to keep the cracker jokes, then remember them and tell them to people. You are glad to know I have not kept them. Still here is one of my cracker jokes. Drum roll please!! What happened when Santa's cat swallowed a ball of wool? It had mittens.Another joke if I may. What goes Oh, Oh, Oh? Santa walking backwards! 

My desk tree

To end our family Christmas celebration. We had coffee and some mint chocolate. Oh, just do not trust my Mom to hold a mint chocolate. Funny enough the mint chocolate disappear. More like my Mom ate it. 

This little pink tree used to be my Mom's so she can get the festive spirit at work. Couple of years ago she did no want it anymore. So I have it on my desk. Least I can get the festive mood while doing my assignments. I do not get hyped up about Christmas. I tend to get really excited about Christmas on Christmas eve! Especially when you can track Santa by using NORAD, this year Google also tracked Santa virtually. One of my friends, no name and shame here. But she asked  Siri this question“Where’s Santa,” she just replies with her standard joke of “The North Pole of course!” 

Our Christmas cards collection on the Christmas door

This is our Christmas door. No its no door that just appears at Christmas. Though that would be awesome. This is where we put our Christmas cards on so we can see them. Your Challenge is to find your Christmas card! Good luck with that. If your Christmas card is not on there then have a look let your eyes peer over here. 

No this is not it. Though just admire the photo. 
Misty photo

If you could not find your Christmas card in the first photo that actually shows the picture then have a look at this photo if you could as this photo does not have a good light. 

Now you have caught up with the Christmas decorations. 

To the lead up towards Christmas you can either call me the Grinch or the Scoorge. I am not all into Christmas. I celebrate it with family and sleep. Of course presents but I do not mind how many presents I got. All I care about is that family come together and the thought behind each present. If they wish to get me something. I do not ask for presents. 

Right, we got a new TV. We had to downgrade to a small one as the either TV decided to not work. So annoying. No more watching the big bang theory. Such a good TV programme. 

You have to wait a bit longer for the Christmas and New year post. 

I am off to watch the big bang theory. 

Friday, 25 December 2015

Hope is on the way 27: Here is why you need Christmas day!!

Well has it not gone quick? It is Christmas day. No more chocolate in the advent calendar, which means no more hope is on the way, well that is this series. Of course, hope on the way always happens. Hope you enjoyed the series as much I did writing it.

Today there is no book club as everyone is having far too much fun with his or her family. Therefore, Elizabeth decided to write her last email for this series.

Time off work, a year-end bonus, receiving gifts on your wish list... none of those things are bad in themselves. But you can get all of those things without Christmas. So, they can't be the ultimate reason you need Christmas, right?

Maybe you're on the opposite side of the spectrum: you don’t think you need Christmas at all. The decorating, awkward family gatherings, shopping, and traveling add so much stress. Or maybe Christmas makes you feel incredibly lonely. You’d love to sleep straight through Christmas and wake up just in time to ring in the New Year.

What both these mindsets have in common is that they each focus on things that are ancillary to the true significance of why Christmas happened and why we celebrate it.

Why do we really need Christmas? What does Christmas do for us, and how should Christmas affect us?

The answer, you may be surprised to know, does not lie first in the Christmas stories of the gospels. The reason we need Christmas goes back to when it was originally 
announced, in Genesis chapter 3.

Our Need for Christmas in Genesis 3

The third chapter of Genesis is the sad account of how the human race fell into sin. Adam and Eve, having been tempted by the serpent, desired to “be like God” (3:5), and therefore they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is interesting that, after the sevenfold refrain of “God saw that it was good” in Genesis chapter 1, that here “the woman saw that the tree was good” (3:6). She has taken the prerogative of the Creator and determined what the creation is good for. She, and Adam with her, has attempted to dethrone God and make herself like God.

The results are tragic. Adam and Eve, expecting illumination, immediately experience humiliation, seeing their nakedness. They fear God’s presence, and throw each other under the bus to avoid his wrath. The serpent, Eve, and Adam are cursed. Death enters the world. They are forbidden from entering God’s paradise.
Despite the darkness that shrouded that day, one beam of hope shone through – and this is where we come back to the topic of Christmas.

God promised that a special child would be born, who would defeat the serpent: “I will put enmity between you [i.e., the serpent] and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). God promises that someone among Eve’s offspring will win the ultimate victory over the serpent.

The promise of this offspring is fulfilled in Jesus.

Are you a sinner? Then you need Christmas.

This quick exploration into Genesis 3 reveals the real reason we need Christmas. This holiday of holidays doesn’t exist because we need vacations, presents, and extra church services. Christmas exists because we have sinned.

If Genesis chapter 3 didn’t happen we wouldn’t need Christmas. If we had a pure, true relationship with God, we wouldn’t need Christmas. If mankind had trusted God to determine what is good and evil, we wouldn’t need Christmas.

But because Genesis 3 did happen, and because rebellion against God happens in our hearts every day, we need Christmas desperately. Matthew, in his account of Christ’s birth, wrote, “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). We needed God to intervene in our lives, and that is exactly what God the Father did by sending God the Son to be born of a virgin by the power of God the Holy Spirit. This is what Christmas is all about.
Why This Changes the Way We Celebrate Christmas?

Coming back to the purpose of Christmas makes celebrating the holiday a reminder of why Jesus came, not only that he came. This should change the way we celebrate Christmas. We celebrate being rescued from certain condemnation. We are amazed that God would extend his grace to rebels like us. We are again by mystified at Jesus, Immanuel, God with us.

Focusing primarily on the stuff that comes along with Christmas—lights, songs, shopping, etc.—completely misses the point. Those things can be great when viewed in their proper, secondary place, but when they become our focus, they inappropriately determine our view of the Christmas season, whether that be positive or negative.

Let’s be intentional in remembering why it is we need Christmas in the first place. Then we’ll be truly merry over the fact that Jesus came to save us from our sins.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Hope is on the way 26: Lessons from the manger

Today Cherry was the leader and got everything planned.

“Christmas is full of surprises.” Somewhere in my reading this week, I ran across that sentence. While I am sure it is true, it doesn’t always seem true. Christmas poses a yearly challenge to those of us who have heard the story since we were children. After you have attended 20 or 30 or 40 Christmas pageants, and after you have listened to at least that many Christmas sermons, and heard (and sung) every Christmas carol a few hundred times, what more is left to be said that hasn’t been said before?

If you know about Christmas at all, you know about Mary and the angel Gabriel, about the dangerous journey to Bethlehem, about Caesar’s decree, about Herod’s insane jealousy, about the inn with a “No Vacancy” sign, about the angels and the shepherds, and about the mysterious Wise Men from the east, and the last-second flight into Egypt. All of these stories are so well known that when we hear them again, we don’t really hear them at all because we’ve heard them all before. We hear but we don’t hear.
That is indeed a problem. Familiarity can breed, if not contempt, at least a kind of casual disinterest. Which is sad because the story of Christmas is indeed full of surprises. There are unexpected miracles on every hand. And after all, it tells the most amazing story: That God invaded human history in the form of a tiny, helpless baby.
One of the best ways to fight against the tendency to sleep through a Christmas sermon is to focus on the details. Sometimes it helps to take out the microscope and study just one tiny fragment of the story. By looking closely at a small part, we may see the whole thing in a new light. With that in mind, let’s focus our attention on just one verse of Scripture and see what it says to us. The verse I have in mind comes from the first Christmas sermon—preached by an angel to some very frightened shepherds. After announcing that a Savior had been born in Bethlehem, the angel tells them how to find the baby.This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger”(Luke 2:12).
Bells in My Head
Before we jump into the text, let me add a personal note. I suppose I have heard this verse read hundreds of times, usually as part of a longer quotation from Luke 2. Whenever I hear this verse, a little bell goes off in my mind as if to say, “Something doesn’t sound right.” Context is important at this point. The angel has just declared the best news anyone has ever heard:For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord”(Luke 2:11 KJV). We forget how utterly unprepared the shepherds were to hear those words—and how awesome they must have sounded. A Saviour has been born! The Messiah has come! The Lord from heaven is here! And in Bethlehem, no less!
But where in Bethlehem? How will they find the baby? That’s where verse 12 comes in. When the angel speaks of “the sign” (the Greek contains the definite article), he uses a word that generally refers to a supernatural sign from God that no one could miss. Like the parting of the Red Sea or walking on water or (in the ultimate sense) rising from the dead. Those events are “signs” that the God of the universe has intervened in human history.
And that’s why verse 12 has always sounded a bit strange to my ears. “This will be the sign.” And I expect the next sentence to read, “The moon will turn to blood and the stars will spell out his name.” Or something like that. But it’s not like that. The “sign” from God is this: You will find a baby wrapped in “swaddling clothes” (the King James terminology) and lying in a manger.
Several questions come to mind. In what way is a baby a “sign” from God? Why did God choose to enter the human race like this? And why does the text mention the part about “swaddling clothes?” And what does the manger signify? After all, Jesus was almost certainly not the only baby in Bethlehem that night. We know that later on Herod had all the baby boys under the age of two put to death. So there must have been other infants and toddlers. What’s so special about a baby in a manger?
Luke 2:12 is telling us that the particular circumstances of Jesus’ birth are important. They are part of the message from God. After all, Jesus could have been born in any circumstances God chose. What is the message of the manger? What is God saying to us? What do we learn about the way God works? About who Jesus is?
The “Sign” of the President
Perhaps an illustration will help. Let’s suppose that you have just come to America from another country. You know that our chief executive is called the president, but you don’t know who he is or where he lives. You’d like to meet him if you could but you don’t know where to find him. When you ask for help, I tell you something like this. “Go to Washington and look for a large building called the White House. Look for a plane called Air Force One. Listen for a band playing “Hail to the Chief.” When you see a man coming out of the White House surrounded by police officers and plainclothes detectives, that’s the sign that you’ve found the president. You’ll know for sure when you see him get in the presidential helicopter and fly away. He’s not hard to spot because he’s always surrounded by cameras and reporters. The “sign” of the president is the pomp, ceremony, security, and publicity that surround him wherever he goes.
And what is the “sign” that an heir has been born to the throne of England? The answer is: Look on the cover of People magazine and you will see a picture of Prince William. That is the sign. And read the gossip columns. That’s part of the sign too.
And what sign did God choose to signify his coming to the earth? He chose a baby wrapped in strips of cloth lying in a manger. The early church father Chrysostom called it “a tremendous and wonderful sign.” He referred to I Timothy 3:16, which tells us thatGreat is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.He goes on to say that we should love this holy day (Christmas) because it means that the Word was made flesh and came to earth to dwell among us.
But somehow the world missed God’s sign. We know that the Jews were looking for a Messiah. Even Herod’s scribes knew that Micah 5:2 predicted that Christ would be born in Bethlehem. Why didn’t they recognize him when he came? They could not see the divine in the ordinary. They missed him altogether! They wanted something spectacular, a political messiah who would deliver them from Roman domination. The Jews wanted “a sign,” but they weren’t expecting a baby in a manger. God gave them a sign and they missed it. It was too simple then and for many people it is still too simple today.
Just for a moment, let’s suppose we don’t know anything else about Christmas. If Luke 2:12 were the only verse we had, what would we know about the birth of Christ?
First, we would know something about
I. His Humanity—"You will find a baby”
“A baby.” That’s all the Greek says. The word means “an infant” or a “newborn child.” It is a totally ordinary word used to describe the birth of a child.This tells us that Christ came into the world just as we all do. Even though we often speak of the virgin birth, it should be remembered that the real miracle occurred at the moment of conception nine months earlier. Jesus’ physical birth was completely normal—or as normal as it could be given the unique circumstances.
To say that Christ was born as a baby brings us face to face with the truth of the Incarnation. Although he was fully and truly God from all eternity, the Son of God took on true humanity when he was conceived in Mary’s womb and born in Bethlehem. He was not half-God and half-man, but fully God and fully man. He did not cease to be God, although he laid aside the outward glory of his deity. In some way mysterious to us, the Lord Jesus Christ was the God-man, two natures joining together in his one Person.
This is the central truth of Christianity. God has entered human history in order to provide for our salvation. What we could not do, he did for us through his Son. Everything else flows from this truth. If he had not been born, he could not have died for our sins. And he would not have risen from the dead. He had to become like us in order to save us. There was no other way.
Many battles have been fought over this basic truth. In the first century the battle raged over his genuine humanity. Did God really become a man? Some people said no. But 1 John 4:1-6 reminds us that to deny the humanity of Jesus Christ is to place yourself outside the boundary of Christianity. In our day the debate tends to be over his deity. Few people deny that Christ was a man, but many deny that he was also fully God. They believe he was a teacher, a leader, and even a man sent from God but they do not believe he was (as the creeds say) “very God of very God.”
The Jews do not believe this, even though many hold Jesus in high esteem. The Muslims do not believe this. They say he was a great prophet sent by Allah, but they vigorously deny he was the Son of God. Such a thought is blasphemy to them. The Hindus do not believe this. In their religion, Jesus might be a god, one among millions of gods, but they do not believe that Jesus is the one-and-only Son of God who is God manifest in human flesh.
But this is what Christians believe. And this verse teaches us that the Lord from heaven entered this earth as a tiny, helpless baby.
Second, this verse teaches us about
II. His Helplessness—"Wrapped in cloths”
In that day newborn babies were wrapped in strips of cloth to protect them from the harsh elements. Usually mothers would wrap the arms and legs separately and then wrap the torso until the baby looked liked an Egyptian mummy. This seems cruel, and indeed it severely restricted the child’s movements, but in a world with little medical care, where babies routinely died before their first birthday, it was a way to provide a crude kind of protection.
What do we learn from the binding of baby Jesus? It reminds us of another time, years later, when he would stand before the Jewish authorities, bound and guarded as if he were a common criminal. When falsely accused, he made no reply. When reviled, he refused to answer in kind. He stood before his accusers with his hands tied, awaiting the verdict that would end his life. It is no coincidence that he entered the world as he left it—bound and helpless.
Looking at the baby this way, no one can say he came only for the rich and powerful. And no one can say that he used his heavenly prerogatives to make an easy entrance into the world. He came not for the faith of a few but to be the Savior of all. He was bound that we might be set free.
III. His Humility—"Lying in a manger”
One problem we have with the story is that the word “manger” doesn’t easily communicate a clear image to us. Many of us get our concept of a “manger” from watching the yearly Christmas pageant at church. But the word itself means something like a stable or perhaps a feeding-trough. In the first century, stables were often nothing more than a circle of stones around a hollowed-out cave in the side of a hill.
Is there a hint here of his upcoming death? I believe there is. Even in the feeding-trough, he was already bearing the only cross a baby can bear—extreme poverty and the contempt and indifference of mankind. In the words of Francis of Assissi, “For our sakes he was born a stranger in an open stable; he lived without a place of His own wherein to lay his head, subsisting by the charity of good people; and he died naked on a cross in the close embrace of holy poverty.”
This baby lying forgotten in an exposed stable, resting in a feeding-trough is God’s appointed “sign” to us all. This is a true Incarnation. God has come to the world in a most unlikely way. This is what Philippians 2:7 means when it says that he made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Nothing about the baby Jesus appeared supernatural. There were no halos, no angels visible, and no choirs singing. If you had been there, and if you had no other information, you would have concluded that this was just a baby born to a poor young couple down on their luck. Nothing about the outward circumstances pointed to God.
The God of Great Surprises
This is what I meant when I said that Christmas is full of surprises. The other day as I pondered the mysterious ways of God, the thought occurred to me that, in the great events of life, nothing God does makes sense. That is, I cannot tell by looking why God does what he does. Romans 11:33 reminds us that his paths are beyond tracing out! Before he died a few years ago, my friend Peter Blakemore explained it this way. You can look at the sky and see a star but you can’t tell where it has come from or where it is going. The same is true of the God who made the stars. We see God at work in the world but we cannot tell where he has been or what he will do next.
To me it is profoundly reassuring that behind Christmas stands a God of great surprises. He does what he wants and he doesn’t ask for human counsel. And from our limited perspective, his ways sometimes make no sense at all. This is a great comfort because it reminds me again that he is God and I am not.
Let’s go back to our original thesis for just a moment. What if Luke 2:12 were the only verse we had regarding the birth of Christ? What would we know and what could we fairly deduce from this one verse? Here are a few answers. We would know
1) The depths to which Christ stooped when he joined the human race.

2) The disinterest of the world that had no room for him.

3) The foreshadowing of the cross while sleeping in a manger.

4) The simplicity of the gospel.
That night if you had walked by, nothing would have seemed supernatural. Mangers were not the beautiful, clean places we see in our Christmas pageants. They are lonely, dirty, smelly places made for animals. If you are looking for Jesus, don’t start in the nursery. Go outside to the barn and find the oldest part where the boards need repair and the ground is covered with dirt and the air smells of manure. When you hear the baby’s cry, you’ll know you’ve found the Lord. He’s not in the nursery with the rest of the children; he’s out in the barn with the animals.
What about the Elephant?
No wonder the world missed him then and still misses him today. It is only by the eye of faith that the majesty of Christ is seen. Recently some friends brought several visitors to a special service at Calvary. Although they are religious, they do not know Christ personally. In the discussion that followed the service, it was clear that the visitors just don’t “get it.” Although they have heard the story time and again, somehow it has never sunk in.
Why? I believe the answer is simple. Faith is a gift from God. Without faith it is impossible to see God, to know God, or to understand the things of God. Without faith you can watch a thousand Christmas pageants and never be converted. The unsaved heart is blind and simply cannot “see” the gospel. Until God takes away that blindness, no amount of argument (or beautiful music, for that matter) will make any difference.
Recently there has been lots of discussion in the Chicago area about the need for religious dialogue. This is usually offered by liberals and by mainstream religious types (basically the same category) as an alternative to evangelism. Instead of preaching Christ and calling sinners to repentance, we are now asked to “dialogue” about our religious differences. While I am all for open discussion with others, the whole notion of “dialogue” strikes me as a smokescreen. When you dialogue, you end up talking about everything except the one thing that matters.
It’s like the man who is invited to a formal banquet. Upon entering the room, he is shocked to see that the middle of the room is occupied by an enormous gray elephant. Not a picture of an elephant or a stuffed elephant, but a real, live, moving, breathing, enormous gray elephant lumbering around the room, knocking tables over and generally creating havoc. When the man goes to the head table, he asks the emcee, “Why is that elephant in the room?” “What are you talking about?” comes the reply. “I don’t see any elephant.” “But he’s right in front of us,” the man says. “I’m sorry, old chap. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Down the line he goes, asking each person about the elephant, and getting the same answer. Can no one else see the elephant but him? Finally, he comes to a man who can see the elephant too. “Why is that elephant here?” Answer: “We don’t talk about the elephant. That’s too divisive. Some people say there’s an elephant, others say there isn’t. So we decided to leave the subject alone.” So the banquet commences and they spend three hours talking about the meal, the service, and the lovely tableware. But no one ever mentions the gray elephant.
That’s what contemporary religious dialogue is like. We get together to talk about ethics, morality, the sad state of the family, the need for better education, our hopes for the future, the vast possibilities of the ecumenical movement, and anything else that comes to mind. But we don’t dare mention Jesus. We talk about the silverware instead.
Not a Likely Beginning
So we come to the end of the story. God’s surprising sign is a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and resting in a feeding-trough in a cave behind a village inn. It’s not a very likely beginning for a movement that will change the world. What a rebuke to those who love pomp and outward glory, to those who despise the small things of the world. Jesus was once a “small thing” himself. To borrow a phrase from Martin Luther, “He whom the worlds cannot enwrap yonder lies in Mary’s lap.” This is surely a strange way for a Saviour to enter the world. Even the poorest child would not be found in a manger, but there he was, God’s appointed “sign” from heaven.
If the world had needed education, God would have sent a teacher.

If the world had needed an army, God would have sent a general.

If the world had needed more money, God would have sent a banker.

But since the world needed a Saviour, God sent a baby! And that is the surprise, and the wonder, and ultimately the delight of Christmas. God did what we would never have done, and in so doing, he opened the door to heaven for all of us.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

I cannot write a poem

 I have to write a poem
It Wednesday, that is why.
Fine, I will write a poem,
But it will have no rhyming unless
  It has dumb rhyming words like ‘cow’

Fine I will write about a cow
But that’s so commonplace
I think it will have to be moo awesome than that
  It’s got to be a cow in a Millennium Falcon

   My cow will need a  lightstaber 
 To hurtle the galaxy so far away
  He would also need to see R4 red
  And R2 blue
  If I was the force,
Then I’d be with you

   Different, we are
 A nerd, I am
Yoda he is!

 I hope you like my tale
“Yoda the cow”
Yes, that’s the poem I will write
   As soon as I learn how, 

The poem says is all really. I am big star wars fan and I watched the Star wars Awakens yesterday with my Grandma, I will not spoil it in case you wanted to see it. Here is a Christmas poem that I have not because I cannot actually write a poem today.

Two letters to Santa

I wrote a letter to Santa
To make sure he would know
It's only two weeks until Christmas,
And we still don't have any snow.

Just didn't want his reindeer
To have to work too hard.
I was afraid they might get stuck
In the mud outside in our yard.

I mailed my letter on Monday,
Only two days ago.
As I dropped it in the mailbox,
It slowly started to snow.

It's been snowing ever since,
More as each day goes by.
I'm getting kind of worried now
That Santa will think I lied.

I'll write another letter,
And mail it off today.
Tell Santa not to worry,
There'll be lots of snow for his sleigh

I read this poem at Family Friend Poems and really wanted to share it with you. If you fancy reading other poems such as this one then check the website out. 

Hope is on the way 25: How can you have genuine joy and hope this Christmas

Today, the book club was in the Morning. As normal, Tia knocked out for Rebekah, and then went to Emily then to Lawrence. Today Louise and Pete decided to participate again. Louise, Pete, Elizabeth and Cherry were waiting for Rebekah, Tia, Lawrence and Emily at the chapel they already had two coffees.

Cherry started the book club this morning by saying, “It’s that time of year again.  Decorative signs, advertisements, and commercials encourage us with the familiar messages.”

“Just Believe,” said Tia
“Have Faith.” Said Elizabeth

“A Season of Hope,” said Pete

Pete said, “At first glance these tidings may warm our hearts as we go about our way, humming Christmas music as we shop. “

Cherry carried on what Pete was saying, “Yet, as I stop to reflect upon these phrases, I wonder, What exactly do they mean? Each of these statements is missing an essential element - the object of one’s belief, faith or hope.”

Elizabeth said, “One could read these messages and easily interpret that we are to “Just believe in Santa” or “Have faith in the goodness of mankind” or this is “A season of hope” because we are looking forward to lovely times with families or gifts around the tree.”

Louise said, “Understood in this way, these messages fall flat and bring little encouragement.  Believing in Santa can be somewhat unsettling when you consider the songs we sing about him:”

Elizabeth said, “We should sing, Santa Claus in coming to Town?”

That is exactly what they did

He's making a list
And checking it twice
Gonna find out Who's naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town
He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!

“Isn’t it rather sobering to consider a large bearded man, dressed all in red velvet and smoking a pipe, keeping watch over us to see whether we’ve been good enough?  Such a Jolly Old Elf’s works-based righteousness might be more cause for fear and trembling than happiness and joy.” Said Tia

Cherry said, “The same is true as we consider placing our faith in mankind or hoping in family gatherings.  As we look around our world, terrorism, racism, greed, discord, and disease dominate the news.  We are a human race plagued with many struggles, and often these show up in our own families. And, it’s not just the world “out there”, but also the person I look at in the mirror that causes me to pause before placing my faith in mankind or hoping in perfect family gatherings.”

Rebekah said, “These phrases are problematic because they are incomplete. It’s not enough to simply be a hopeful person or be full of faith.  It’s essential for us to consider exactly where we are placing our belief, faith, and hope.  The object of our faith is the essential substance of it.  When we loose sight of the actual meaning of our faith, then we lose the very thing that is able to sustain it.”

Elizabeth said, “The joy of the Christmas message is so much richer, deeper, and more beautiful than any other story that has ever been told. Glory was wrapped in flesh and dwelt among us, so that we could be wrapped in righteousness and dwell with God. Jesus lived a perfect life so that He could be the perfect sacrifice for all that is wrong both in our own lives and in the world.”

Pete carried on what Elizabeth said, “Without Jesus our belief has no merit, our faith has no basis, and hope has no anchor. In Jesus, we find the joy of believing.  In Jesus, we find the substance of our faith.  In Jesus, we know this to be a season of hope.”

Cherry said, “As I rush to and fro, I hope to hear songs reminding me of the object of my faith. I want to be humming about Jesus, singing the gospel to myself and others.”

Elizabeth ended the book club with, God rest ye merry, gentlemen song.

God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

In Bethlehem, in Israel,
This blessed Babe was born
And laid within a manger
Upon this blessed morn
The which His Mother Mary
Did nothing take in scorn
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

From God our Heavenly Father
A blessed Angel came;
And unto certain Shepherds
Brought tidings of the same:
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by Name.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

"Fear not then," said the Angel,
"Let nothing you affright,
This day is born a Saviour
Of a pure Virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him
From Satan's power and might."
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm and wind:
And went to Bethlehem straightway
The Son of God to find.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

And when they came to Bethlehem
Where our dear Saviour lay,
They found Him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His Mother Mary kneeling down,
Unto the Lord did pray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Hope is on the way 24: Two Nativity stories

Tia picked up Rebekah as normal. They then picked up Emily then went to pick up Lawrence. Lydia and Elizabeth was already at the chapel. Oh and do not forget Louise nor Pete.
Rebekah said to Elizabeth, “How can we reconcile the differences in the nativity stories found in Matthew and Luke?”
Elizabeth replied back saying, “The nativity story, as we've come to understand and celebrate it at Christmas time, is really a combination of both Matthew and Luke's stories. But it's important to recognize their differences. Each gospel's unique purpose and viewpoint contribute significantly to our understanding of Jesus' mission.”
Pete told the Matthew's gospel Christmas story,
  • Begins with Jesus’ genealogy (1:1-17).
  • An angel of the Lord tells Joseph about Mary’s pregnancy and that the baby is the saviour, and Joseph follows the angel’s direction (1:18-25).
  • After Jesus is born in Bethlehem, the wise men come to King Herod the Great looking for the “child who is born king of the Jews” (2:2); present gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the child (2:11); and are “warned in a dream” not to tell Herod (2:12).
  • The angel tells Joseph to go to Egypt because Herod wants to destroy him (2:13-15).
  • Herod orders the killing of children two years or under in Bethlehem, which was most likely not a massive scale murder, but still ruthless (2:16-18).
  • The angel tells Joseph to go back to Israel, and Joseph settles in Nazareth (2:19-23).
  • Then Matthew takes us directly to John the Baptist proclaiming the “kingdom of heaven” (cpt 3).
Elizabeth interrupted Pete, by saying this, “All of this is done to fulfil what the prophets had been told by the Lord.”
Pete told the Luke's gospel Christmas story,
  • Begins with a dedication.
  • Prepares the stage for the birth of Jesus:
    • The angel Gabriel tells Zechariah, John the Baptist’s dad, about John’s birth (1:5-24).
    • Gabriel tells Mary about being the mother of Jesus, the “Son of God” (1:26-38).
    • Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth who is pregnant with John, who “leaped in her womb” when Mary arrived pregnant with Jesus; Elizabeth recognizes the fulfillment of God’s words (1:39-45); and Mary magnifies God (1:46-56).
    • John the Baptist is born (1:57-66), and Zechariah prophesies about John’s role (1:67-80).
  • Roman Emperor Augustus calls for a census, and Joseph and Mary travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem (2:1-5).
  • During their stay, Mary gives birth to her “firstborn son” and puts him in a manger (2:6-7).
  • The shepherds in the fields are startled by an angel of the Lord standing before them while the “glory of the Lord sh[ines] around them” (2:8-9; the “good news of great joy for all people” that the angels proclaim makes them search for and find Mary, Joseph, and Jesus (2:10-16); then they spread the great news (2:17-20).
  • When Joseph and Mary take Jesus to have him circumcised, Simeon and Anna recognize that Jesus is the savior and make prophesies (2:21-38).
  • They return to Nazareth (2:39).
  • Then Luke includes the following narrative after the nativity story:
    • When Jesus is twelve, his family loses him while he’s speaking to the teachers in the temple (2:41-52).
    • John the Baptist is preaching and baptizing, including baptizing Jesus (3:2-22), and then we are told about Jesus’ genealogy (3:23-38).
Rebekah then went on saying, “So what can we learn from all of this?”
Elizabeth said, “Clearly, the authors of Matthew and Luke have different reasons they wrote their gospels. They highlighted what they thought was important for their specific audience.
Scholars argue that Matthew was writing primarily to Jews. There's evidence that the author was writing to a very specific group of Jews (along with some Gentiles) to encourage them. His message: Jesus fulfills the Hebrew prophecy recorded in the Scriptures; Jesus is the Messiah.
Luke, on the other hand, was probably written by a Gentile, a God-fearer (a Gentile who appreciated the Jewish teaching). Though it is addressed to Theophilus, which means lover of God, Luke's message is universal: Jesus' mission and the church founded upon Jesus' teachings are for everyone -- Jew and Gentile, alike.
Matthew points out that Jesus is the "son of David, the son of Abraham" (Matt 1:2), showing his Jewish roots. Luke traces Jesus' ancestry through David back to Adam as the "son of God" (Luke 3:38), emphasizing the universal appeal of Jesus' heritage.
Both Gospels were most likely written by subjects of the Roman Empire, which does influence their work. As a result, they both make political and social comments, though that is not their primary goal.”
Pete said this, “In his introduction to Matthew in The Harper Collins Study Bible (HCSB), Dennis C. Duling points out that Matthew takes a subtle anti-Roman stance. His lineage of Jesus records kings. He shows Jesus as a King of the Jews as opposed to Herod being the king appointed by Rome; he speaks of the "kingdom of heaven" rather than a kingdom established by Rome.
According to David L. Tiede and Chrstoher R. Matthews in HCSB, Luke is concerned about showing how Christianity is not a threat to the Roman Empire. Rather, Christianity is for everyone -- again the universal appeal. And, as other scholars point out, Luke does more than any other Gospel to include the outcast.”
Elizabeth then went on to say, “The nativity stories reflect these differences in purpose. Going along with the kingly theme, Matthew includes the magi "from the east." Luke has the shepherds, who, by Jesus' time, were looked down upon. Matthew shows that the angel of the Lord talked with Joseph. Luke reveals that Gabriel spoke with Mary. There's so much information about Mary and her family in Luke that some people affectionately refer to Luke's record as "Mary's baby book."
Rebekah said, “So what do we learn from the account of Jesus' nativity in these two gospels?”

Pete said, “The kingdom Jesus shared with us all was not a princely or a political kingdom; it was a spiritual kingdom. And this kingdom is for everyone!”