30.3.20

5 Positive Thoughts (Positive Thought #5)

OK I'll admit it I have found it hard to post a positive thought everyday. This is a combination of tiredness, busyness and anxiety distractions. This will be my last positive thought post for now. So I decided I would just send out a link from the BBC. The article says "amid all the worrying news, there have also been reasons to find hope." I encourage you not to get dragged into other links on the BBC just now if they are negative. At least for now. Rather let's focus on these 5 Positive Thoughts in this article.

For now I am trying as a person and as a health professional to simply follow the rules. Keep myself and others safe. This is one of the only news articles I will share on this. I will follow some government statistics and NHS advice pages. However, on the whole I am trying to avoid talk of the C_19 word. Especially from media sources and unauthorised rants. This is my own personal choice and an act of self-preservation. I will draw my Positive Thought series to an end here at #5.

And for no reason other than because I love pictures of nature here is one for you to enjoy. I took this years ago on Kilravock Castle grounds. It reminded me of a picture that was used as a cover for a Strings for Barbers Adaigo rendition (and possibly a classical chillout album). Love that tune. Anyway, this is me signing out. Stay Safe and God Bless.


25.3.20

Positive Thought #4

I took a pause from my positive thoughts blogging the other day as my anxiety was in extremes. I just wasn't in the right head or heart space. I'm back today and I'm not going to rammble on. Rather here is my thoughts for today:

God seems to be restoring family time a bit. People are having to pause and find child friendly shows, to do crafts of hope and display them in windows, to talk and eat together. Many are using the one exercise a day rule as an opportunity to exercise as a family.

Though this may be a frightening time for many and a time of sadness also, there are lights of hope in the darkness.

Even if we have to stay home to save lives and the NHS we can still share beautiful pictures from before this strange time in history. 

23.3.20

Positive Thought #3

Of late I have found it hard to stay positive. Those on social media (which is both a wonderful and awful place just now) may have picked up on that if they saw the rant about some things. I'm reserving this space on my blog for something positive. So whilst undeniably it is not all sunshine and rainbows all the time we or at least I need to find at least one positive thing each day.

My light in the darkness for today is this -

Whilst washing hands so much drys the skin (especially for health care professionals with soft skin) and the birthday song is now a song constantly stuck in our heads, there is now lots of times a day we can use to not only get physically clean, but also pray. I had an idea to replace the birthday song with The Lord's prayer (as long as you do it enough times to cover the correct amount of time required).

This prayer is my positive thing for for today. When I know not what to pray or how to pray I say:

Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV)

9 After this manner therefore pray ye:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

We who are of the faith have a great opportunity to pray and in so doing reaffirm our faith or calling and also see God move even as the world is engulfed by trial.

Philippians 4:5-7 (ESV)

"Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."


22.3.20

Positive Thought #2

As I mentioned in my previous post I intend to share some positive thoughts in this time of need. In no way is this to say negative or reasonable sadness are wrong, but rather to say that some nuggets of positivity are needed now more than ever. These are little lights sent out into the darkness. My thought for today is that the church has an opportunity to shine.

Where ever two or three gather that is church. No one is taking anyone's pulpit, it's just that church is coming home. The temples built with men's hands are becoming less important. Instead a focus is on the people worshipping in spirit and truth.

Even as crowds swell in shops and some pubs the church has an opportunity to live above the world's ways and support "alternative" church. To set an example.

Many will be gathering in new ways today for worship:

Some will perhaps stand the correct distance apart outside in an open space.

Some may sit in their cars in a car park and listen to a sermon at a distance.

Others may separate into small house groups of two or three (most likely housemates or family members).

Some will be online with zoom so everyone can see each other.

Other churches are online by livestream.

There are also lots of sermons to listen to in the form of videos, recordings and on Christian channels.

Some may gather just as family units as the father of each household is already ordained by God to minister in family worship.

This is a great opportunity for church to stop worshipping their worship (buildings, bands, styles etc) and start worshiping God.

My glass half full for today -

It is time for the church to come home and that has perhaps begun. An opportunity is set before us. There is hope for the church and the land:

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)





21.3.20

Anti-War Poster Competition

* The competition is now closed, but you can download all 88 entries here. *

Here is my entry to the Anti-War Poster contest. To join in see this link.


* I didn't win the poster contest, but came 8th with an honourable mention. *




Positive Thought #1

Is the glass half full or half empty?

At this time the media and social media has lots of negative stuff. You can imagine why. Whilst there is actually nothing wrong with negative feelings or well informed sadness, still there needs to be a level of positive thought also. Admittedly I swing from "there is no cup" to "my cup runneth over" at times.

I was trying to think of something positive today and it actually wasn't as hard as I initially thought. I wish to start sharing some positive thoughts. This is not in any way to make light of tragedy, but rather sending a light out into the darkness.

Here is one positive thing, one glass half full-

As some may know I care for the environment. Reducing climate impact is now happening on some level amid the chaos of what's going on in the world. Whilst it may be sad for people who pilot planes or cruises, these vessels are grounded in lots of places. This means they are neither pumping fumes into the air or sea for the time being. In some places the roads are also silent and the birds can be heard singing in the trees again.


8.3.20

The Sunrise of His Grace

Behold the Sunrise of God's infinite Grace.
In an age of war, disasters and all out wickedness, a child was born.
In an age of war, disasters and all out wickedness a boy stunned the religious elite.
In an age of war, disasters and all out wickedness a man preaches love and performs miracles.
In an age of war, disasters and all out wickedness he is humiliated, mocked, tortured and killed, his body on display.
In an age of war, disasters and all out wickedness he is buried by followers, crushed, forsaken.
In an age of war, disasters and all out wickedness HE RISES AND DEFEATS DEATH!
In an age of war, disasters and all out wickedness he forgives the followers who abandoned and denied him.
In an age of war, disasters and all out wickedness he is still forgiving.
In an age of war, disasters and all out wickedness HE IS COMING AGAIN!
Behold the sunrise of God's infinite Grace!

This piece won a prize at All Poetry.


7.3.20

Darkness has not overcome


John 1:5 (ESV)
"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

Some much needed perspective: Even if there is darkness there is also light. Recently I shared a sense of loss of faith in humanity in light of the Vanier scandal and life in general. Yet at the same time I have also shared thoughts on original goodness, the divine image. Effectively that of God within us and around us. In truth we need only open our eyes.

I recently watched the New Amsterdam season 1 finale (warning: graphic accident and spoiler in video). The monologue actually spoke into some of my downcast feelings of late.


A song from years ago also came to mind, Outrageous Grace by Robin Mark. The words are powerful.


If you feel your faith in humanity fail, put your faith in God. His light never goes out.

5.3.20

Culloden

(A piece of historical fiction from the point of view of a victim of war who finds the whole idea of war abhorrent).

Culloden, Scotland, April 1746

All around was the awful sound of moaning. It was not just mournful, but the sound of immense suffering, the cries of dying men. The battle had waged on, and the day was far spent. In dirt and blood, the soldiers waded on. Horizontal rain, snow, and wind made the normal battle conditions much worse.
Near the edge of the field I stood holding a gun, pointing it at the lad who had once been my best friend. He was dressed in the red coat of a government soldier; I was not.
“You won’t do it!” he yelled.
“What makes you so sure?”
“You don’t believe in violence.”
I felt the anger rising within me. “How could you?”
“It was orders. I had no choice.”
“So that makes it all right? We took you in, and you betrayed us!”
“I didn’t know what the redcoats were planning. I swear I didn’t.”
“They are not liberators as they claim. They attacked our village and killed everyone!”
With a growl my friend retorted, “We need to stop the rebels at any cost!”
“No remorse! You think they can police the world by force, that might is somehow right? You claim God is on your side. Don’t you think he knows what you have done? Did he tell you to help those who killed my family and friends? We aren’t even part of the rebellion!”
The images of my whole family flashed before me as the words burst from my mouth. I recalled Mother helping me up after I had fallen down when I was a little boy, playing in the trees with the other village children; Father showing me how to ride a horse for the first time; the kind pastor who had taught me many Bible stories—and my beloved.
“I didn’t know this would happen . . . I’m sorry. Please . . . put the gun away and we can talk. Please!” he cried as I advanced with the gun still pointed at him.
“I’m through talking!”
“Please . . .”
“Get on your knees!”
Trembling, he dropped to his knees.
“Please . . .” 
“It doesn’t feel, good does it? No power. Helplessness.”
“No!” he began to cry.
“Close your eyes and pray for forgiveness.”
Still shaking all over, he closed his eyes and began to mumble.
“I can’t hear you!”
“Father, forgive . . .”
“Good-bye!”
I paused. Could I do it? This was another child of God, no matter how far he had fallen. Who had made me judge, jury, and executioner? Suddenly, I joined the chorus of crying. I couldn’t do it. He looked so cold and helpless kneeling in the dirt like a sinner such as he was, and such as I was. His hands were clasped tight; his fingers had turned red, and his lips were curved with fear and dread. What good would it do to kill him? Across the fields, the howling continued as the slaughter of the wounded commenced.
“You were right, I can’t do it. I, unlike you, have a conscience!”
I threw the gun away in utter disgust that I had come so close to using it, and then I fell to my knees and embraced my prodigal friend.
“I’m sorry,” he whimpered.
“I know . . . as am I.”

As the severe weather beat against us, we continued to cry, holding each other. The battle had waged on, and the day was far spent.

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