Monday, 2 June 2008

Secretary's Soapbox

I was reminded of God’s sense of humour the other day after writing about it in last month’s Soapbox. I always go up to bed at around 8 p.m. and there I have my quiet time surrounded by our dogs. I am reading through “The Message” (the Bible in contemporary language) and I’d been slowly going through Jeremiah and finding it very difficult. Even written in today’s language it seemed to go on forever with warnings from God to His people about what was going to happen to them if they didn’t pull their socks up.

Anyway, as I was undressing I was just asking God to show me the verses that had an important message for me to learn. I have to say that I don’t usually do this but I felt I was missing the point and wanted to be shown that Jeremiah had some thing relevant to me.

So I got comfortable, settled the dogs, opened The Message at the place I had left off the night before and there in front of me, at the start of Jeremiah chapter 49, in bold capital letters, were the words…..


I laughed out loud, because here were the words I had asked for! Thanks a lot, God, the joke’s on me.


I have now gone on to Ezekiel, another prophet, but somehow, his words are jumping off the page and seem to point to everything happening today. In the past few days we have had Parliament first of all voting for the right to produce animal x human embryos, and then keeping the upper abortion limit at 23 weeks, both of these Bills are destined to cheapen human life and cannot be pleasing to God. I have also watched a Dispatches TV programme showing some Christians praying against things that seem to be against the wishes of God, the reporting was so biased against Christians I just couldn’t believe my eyes. What is happening to the world? But of course it was foretold that all these things would happen.

In contrast to my first comments about my difficulty reading God’s Word, last night’s reading really hit me….. It’s from Ezekiel 12 verses 21-25

God’s message came to me: “Son of man, what’s this proverb making the rounds in the land of Israel that says, ‘Everything goes on the same as ever; all the prophetic warnings are false alarms’? “Tell them, ‘God, the Master, says, This proverb’s going to have a short life!’ “Tell them, ‘Time’s about up. Every warning is about to come true. False alarms and easygoing preaching are a thing of the past in the life of Israel. I, God, am doing the speaking. What I say happens. None of what I say is on hold. What I say, I’ll do—and soon, you rebels!’ Decree of God the Master.”

Saturday, 10 May 2008

10 Commandments for Peace of Mind

**. Thou shalt not worry -- most of the things we worry about never happen.

**. Thou shalt not try to cross bridges before coming to them -- it simply can't be done.

**. Thou shalt face each problem as it comes -- you can only handle one at a time anyway.

**. Thou shalt not take problems to bed with thee -- they make very poor bedfellows.

**. Thou shalt not try to relive yesterday -- just live today.

**. Thou shalt not carry a grudge -- it is a worthless thing, and a terribly heavy load.

**. Thou shalt not hate -- nothing is more damaging to the heart.

**. Thou shalt look for goodness -- beauty and truth are all around.

**. Thou shalt listen for wisdom -- almost everyone has a valuable lesson to teach.

**. Thou shalt count thy blessings -- the more we treasure them, the faster they multiply!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

What a great lesson! We complain about the cross we bear, not realizing that it is preparing us for the dip in the road that God can see and we cannot.

Whatever your cross, whatever your pain,
There will always be sunshine, after the rain.
Perhaps you may stumble, perhaps even fall;
But God's always ready, to answer your call.
He knows every heartache, sees every tear,
A word from His lips, can calm every fear.
Your sorrows may linger, throughout the night,
But suddenly vanish, by dawn's early light.
The Saviour is waiting in heaven above,
To give you His grace, and send you His love.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

You Live

You live your life as you see fit

According to your strain

You feel it is quite normal

For your days to wax and wane

Hoping that the weeks go by

Surviving grief and pain

You know there's something missing

That you really can't explain.

You are what you've grown to be

A flower without a bloom

Because you do things your own way

You haven't made the room

For God's direction in your life

His Spirit you contain

Let go, let God, let Him invade

Release His living rain.

by Mike Bullock

Tuesday, 29 April 2008


A few weeks after my first wife, Georgia, was called to heaven, I was cooking dinner for my son and myself. For a vegetable, I decided on frozen peas. As I was cutting open the bag, it slipped from my hands and crashed to the floor. The peas, like marbles, rolled everywhere. I tried to use a broom, but with each swipe, the peas rolled across the kitchen, bounced off the wall on the other side and rolled in another direction.

My mental state at the time was fragile. Losing a spouse is an unbearable pain. I got on my hands and knees and pulled them into a pile to dispose of. I was half laughing and half crying as I collected them. I could see the humour in what happened, but it doesn’t take much for a person dealing with grief to break down. For the next week, every time I was in the kitchen, I would find a pea that had escaped my first clean up. In a corner, behind a table leg, in the frays at the end of a mat, or hidden under a heater, they kept turning up. Eight months later, I pulled out the refrigerator to clean, and found a dozen or so petrified peas hidden underneath.

At the time I found those few remaining peas, I was in a new relationship with a wonderful woman I met in a widow/widower support group. After we married, I was reminded of those peas under the refrigerator. I realized my life had been like that bag of frozen peas. It had shattered. My wife was gone. I was in a new city with a busy job and a son having trouble adjusting to his new surroundings and the loss of his mother. I was a wreck. I was a bag of spilled, frozen peas. My life had come apart and scattered.

When life gets you down; when everything you know comes apart; when you think you can never get through the tough times, remember, it is just a bag of scattered, frozen peas. The peas can be collected and life will move on. You will find all the peas. First, the easy peas come together in a pile. You pick them up and start to move on. Later, you will find the bigger and harder to find peas. When you pull all the peas together, life will be whole again. The life you know can be scattered at any time. You will move on, but how fast you collect your peas depends on you. Will you keep scattering them around with a broom, or will you pick them up one-by-one and put your life back together?

How will you collect your peas?

-- Michael T. Smith
Received from: Life's Adventures
Life's Adventures comes out every Tuesday and Thursday. Each issue features a short story. Some of these are of the warm and fuzzy variety, some are sad, some are a little of both, but they all deliver powerful messages. Sign up today and see what you're missing. To subscribe: and select "Life Adventures" found under "Other Newsletters".

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Life .....

Just when you think those stories you read in the paper apply to "other people," life hits you between the eyes . . .

* Your child is suddenly taken from you with no warning. SIDS, cancer, automobile accident, abduction. Unprepared, and lost in a myriad of emotions you feel lost and alone. What did you ever do to deserve this?

* The job you've held for 20 years ends with only a couple week's warning. A buyout, mismanagement, bankruptcy. How will you make it? You're already living paycheck to paycheck. This can't really be happening!

* The person you've loved all your life tells you they love another and walk out. You knew some things needed attention in your relationship but had no idea things were that far out of hand. Why don't they want to stay and work things out?

* The one person you've looked to for a shining example of faith falls with a fury. Adultery, financial indiscretion, child molestation, homosexuality. Or maybe they just walk away from God and the church. If faith couldn't keep them on track, who has a hope in this world?

* Fire destroys your home and all your most personal belongings. Even though no one gets hurt, you've lost things that can never be replaced. No
insurance, no relatives that live anywhere close. How can you leave for just a few hours and come back to nothing?

It's then that you realize that those newspaper stories are about real people. People just like you. People just like me. Coming to that realization never takes away the pain, or the anguish, or the loss. It only confirms a reality. We're at war. At war with the forces that seek to tear us away from God. They know our pressure points and our comfort zones. They know what tempts us and what has no allure. Their only concern is to win the war.

Revelation 17 reminds us that there's a war going on. It vividly describes the enemy... and the outcome. May the words of verse 14 remind you of a victory that can be yours when you remain faithful in the midst of the battles of life:

"Thy will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome
them because he is Lord of lords, and King of kings -- and with him
will be his called, chosen and faithful followers."

Friday, 21 March 2008

The Highest Ransom Ever Paid

A few years ago there was a true story about a man in New York City who was kidnapped. His kidnappers called his wife and asked for $100,000 ransom. She talked them down to $30,000.

The story had a happy ending: the man returned home unharmed, the money was recovered, and the kidnappers were caught and sent to jail. But don't you wonder what happened when the man got home and found that his wife got him back for a discount?

Calvin Trillin was the writer of this story. He imagined what the negotiations must have been like: "$100,000 for that old guy? You have got to be crazy. Just look at him! Look at that gut! You want $100,000 for that? You've got to be kidding. Give me a break here. $30,000 is my top offer."
I can sympathize with the kidnapped man because I wonder how much the people in my life think that I'm worth. But I am flattered beyond description to realize that I was worth enough to God that He was willing to pay the ultimate price for my ransom, my redemption.

As Peter put it:"You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot." (I Peter 1:18-19)

Ultimately, the value of something (or someone) is determined by how much someone is willing to pay for it. A piece of art that may be worth millions of dollars to someone else may be worth less than a hundred dollars to me. The worth of something is determined by how much we're willing to pay for it.

What that means is that we are of tremendous value to God. He didn't quibble about the price, but was willing to pay the full ransom amount -- the highest ransom ever paid!

Have a great day!

Alan Smith