Sunday, 19 December 2010

Control Freak

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.
Psalm 37:23-24

This blog isn't for everyone. If you are not a control freak or highly organised what you are about to read will make no sense to you. Even if you are I accept that I might just be quirky and you will think whoa after reading this.

A life out of control is a difficult thing. I know choice is always available to you. But really when all you can do is choose to feel better about the situation but not change the actual situation, frustration can follow. So this is where I find myself feeling helpless to change my circumstances. I have plenty of ideas, plans and action but change is not forthcoming.

I am a person that likes to be organised and in control. I can admit that. It doesn't mean that I am constantly battling for power because I am not. I accept that there are times when others need to be in charge but in my personal space and life I don't leave it to chance. Even if you came to my home you will notice a distinct difference in space. My husband space creative zone my space ordered and tidy.

In the past 12 months however my life has taken a total 180. I went from planned and organised to living with chaos and no direction. So I should as a Christian take comfort in Psalms 37 and for the most part I do but very so often I get just a little frustrated with it. That might not be the right thing to say it's the truth.

Knowing that God has all the answers. Knowing that he can see the big picture and can see what moves I should make should provide comfort. In fact however there are occasions where I just find it frustrating. I get that I should feel happy that God who has my best interests at heart and loves me beyond all that is in this world knows what's best for me. However most days I just want to jump up and down like a little child and scream tell me the answer. I have of late been resisting the urge to do this, problem is the urge is becoming more frequent. So what do I do about it?

Proactive, it's a word you here a lot especially by driven people, be proactive. In this case it's the only way for me to survive. Inside of waiting for those feelings of frustration to come upon me and just take over my mind I have decided to fight before it happens. So now the text that causes me so much frustration I have begun to see the joy in.

It's not that difficult really once you see that God loves you, him walking with you is a real joy. For me the real joy comes in the last part of the text

"for the Lord holds them by the hand"

He is not leaving me to wonder aimlessly alone he is holding my hand right in it with me. Should I stray or wonder to far, his hand is there to bring me back. See the first part of the text might tell me he knows something I don't know. But the last part says with what he knows he stands right beside me facing the world.

So it's OK I think for me to get a little frustrated that life isn't going quite as I imagined because that doesn't matter. What matters is that God the creator of all, the sustainer of all and the God of the universe comes down and takes my hand and stands with me through it all. I hope for anyone feeling the way I do that you take comfort in the fact that God is there hand outstretched waiting to take yours through this journey of life.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Time, Babies and Mothers

I just put my beautiful little angel down for his nap. This normally lasts long enough to get the dishes washed and check emails and not much of anything else. Normally as soon as i do anything else up pops his little head from his nap. Today however he has done something he does every few weeks, sleep for hours. Now you might say this is brilliant you have some time but and it's a big BUT I am on edge waiting for him to wake up. I have spent the last two hours doing odd tasks because I am afraid that if I start anything my little angel will awake and the task will never get finished. I have finally taken the challenge after two hours and decided that really this is wasting my time waiting for my little angel and I must do something. Today that task is to write a blog.

The most precious commodity you have as a mother is time. You cannot underestimate the value of time as a mother. First you want time to sleep. Then you want to time to do your hair. Then you need time to tidy up all the dirty nappies that you realise are causing that smell despite the little baggies you have been diligently using. Time you don't realise is very important, before baby running out of time in the day meant not doing the millionth thing on your list. Post baby you are struggling to find time to pluck your eye brows and really who shaves their legs anyway.

I have learnt every single day to value the time I have and to celebrate each achievement I make no matter how small. You might be thinking typical Pastor Purple any excuse to have a party. But do you know what? I think it is better to celebrate than to be depressed over the things you are not doing. Before my little angel I was an organised slight neat freak. In the first few months we moved what felt like a million times and suddenly my organisation was all I had to hold onto. I wasn't doing it well but it was getting done. Those small things like moving him up a size in clothes from 0-3 to 3-6 and actually putting the stuff that's to small away warranted a major celebration.

For each mother the gift of time will manifest itself differently. For some mothers it's a good night sleep, for others it is getting a pedicure and for some it's the opportunity to read a book. Whatever it is for a mother you know, try and help out it might just stop them going loop de loop.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Crazy Women

I had packed up for the nit and said non more blogging for me I will watch a silly romcom and go to bed. Unfortunately the movie I decided to watch was Knocked Up. I know I am not supposed to take films seriously but oh my days the female characters in this are little of the wall ok a lot crazy. Then I remembered this is not the first time I have seen women portrayed as crazy on film. Earlier this week I watched Why Did I Get Married 2 and let me tell you good female leads there was not.

As I sit here writing this blog I guess I am frustrated that so called strong female leads are not actually strong but crazy. It's subtle and we are supposed to side with the women after all the men are just bad or losers but truth is none of these women make any sense to me.

Here is another question why is having emotions a bad thing. I am sick of watching these films where women express their emotions badly and you hear men say ah emotions like you are talking about pure evil. You know emotions are not the problem it is the use of them that can be just like money isn't evil the love of it is. Frustration is an emotion and right now I am. Frustrated someone recommend a film where there are emotions from a woman and it's not condescending.

I don't think thankfully God holds this opinion of women and emotions therefore I feel safe in the knowledge of Gods love. But I do wish that the world would be better at dealing with women we are really not all stereotypes!

Life as we Know it

I have just seen the advert for the film Life As We Know It. It is released this year and I have no idea whether it will be a good movie or not. However the advert cracked me up. In it the mother character is upstairs in the bathroom while the father character is downstairs with the baby. Excitedly the dad screams upstairs the baby is walking and the mother flying downstairs in her towel says stall it. The dad not knowing what to do gives the baby a little shove he falls on his bum and starts crying just as the mother arrives and he has to explain his actions. It really is a great little moment.

Parenting comes with no rules and a lot of things you will want to be there for. This is not always possible. There can be nothing worse than getting a phone call from someone looking after your little angel and guess what, they passed another milestone without you. While this territory used to be the domain of fathers with the world the way it is many mothers are experiencing this for the first time. Is it easy to miss a milestone, no way, but does it happen, yes.

Here's the thing children are great and each time you see them learn something it can be magical. So while I don't expect you to be shoving the baby over so you can see the first step we all understand the pressure of just wanting to see them walk for the first time. Thank God for mobile phones with video cameras in them woo hoo. So I think I might go and watch the film because Lord knows as a first time mother I need to see someone else stumbling through it too.

Scrapbook Sabbath

I love scarp booking or having memory boxes or photo albums. So I have a chalking for this week. This challenge can be done with friends or family or even neighbours.

The idea
Create a group/family scrapbook memory of the week

How it works
For a week everyone should keep a photo diary and collect items from their week. At the end of the week someone should get the pictures developed and source a book for everything to go in. Then on sabbath everyone should get an opportunity to share their week and add things to the book.
To make the book as pretty as you like there are varying stickers and craft items you can gather together to help decorate the book pages. In addition you can collect bible verses from the weeks devotion and add them to pages.

This activity can be as creative as you make it. If you think well I am not arty then put together a photo album. This is an opportunity to see the week from someone else's perspective.

If you have children this can be a real insight into their world. This is an opportunity to connect with them on their level and not just impose your world view on them it might surprise you the way they see the world.


The survivors guide to being homeless: part 5

Have you ever done that thing just as you were getting into bed at night where you had this awful feeling that something was left open. Then you ran around quickly checking everything only to realise you checked it already the house is locked up like fort knocks. Well when you are homeless it is a new experience.

At first you are completely paranoid about safety because after all you don't know anyone and there is only a flimsy door that separates you and the whole house. Then you don't want to offend anyone by making a song and dance about locking up because you don't want them to feel no trusted. Finally you just conclude that you gotta do what you gotta do.

My husband and I probably differ on this quite a lot but as a woman I feel my safety is always a consideration. Not only do inbox want my stuff stolen because believe it or not I actually like the stuff I have. But I also don't want anything to happen to me so taking risks with my safety just doesn't seem sensible. So when I am staying alone in the bedsit I lock myself in the room oh yes I do. There I said it I am proud to say that despite the whole argument about fire safety I am more afraid of waking up and finding a stranger in the room so in lock the door with the keys behind me when I go to sleep at night.

Now this is how bad it is and I will admit it's bad especially as I watch every crime show known to mankind. The secrets out I am obsessed with all the CSI and Criminal Minds and Jessica Fletcher's I can get. But watching this stuff unfortunately makes me a little paranoid. So last night I went to bed with my usual routine of locking the door. Then proceeded to imaging how someone could knock the keys out of the lock and suck them under the door to get in. I know it's crazy but I am sure it was in an episode of CSI or something. I then remembered that was crazy thoughts and promptly went to sleep. I am obviously just fine so there was nothing to worry about at all.

The morale of this story, safety is important but don't go so far that you cannot sleep.

Quiet there are other people

The survivors guide to being homeless: part 4

Is there anything fun about living in a bedsit? Probably all the fun you have trying to be quiet because your neighbours hear every breathe you take. If you have been out seeing a friend the most fun is trying to get you, the buggy, the baby and the bags in the house up the stairs round the corner and into your room without disturbing everyone else. Many a silent giggling fit has been started by me almost tripping up the stairs on the fourth trip as I tried to silently put down a buggy.

Living in close proximity to others can be difficult. This is not like flat sharing when you are at uni. Mainly because generally you opted to live in a flat share with people from the uni. You kith not know them yet but you will meet them and for better or worse enjoy their company. A bedsit is totally different. There you are living in the smallest room in the free world with all your earthly possessions and then you realise that your neighbours who you don't know just said bless you cause they heard you sneeze. 

So silence and quiet become a commodity to be bargained with day and night. Everyone I happen to live with are very young and me well I may as well be ancient. Don't you find that you feel young right up until you spend too much time with a teenager well that's how I live. The one lesson living like this has taught me is that do unto others can be the most challenging words. My husband always reminds me that even though they are not doing it we would like them to so we must set the example. You have no idea how difficult this is. Most days I just want to stand and scream but then I remember it's not just me. I have a little boy who is watching to see how I handle adversity and learning how to deal with it himself. If I want to raise the kind of young man who is kind and considerate and loving then I need to demonstrate those things daily. 

Living in a bedsit provides us many challenges and being quiet is definitely one of them. However it also provides many opportunities to learn new skills like not stepping like an elephant :0) No seriously the opportunity is there to practice all those things we tell others to do especially children like be kind to others no matter what. Let me tell you I have a new found respect for the kids that actually manage this as it's not easy. As for the adults well we are not often challenged that way because we live in our own space and can block others out but when you share your space with others then it becomes real. 


The survivors guide to being homeless: part 3

I remember being a teenager and my mum gave me my first set of keys. This is the rite of passage for all young people. There comes a certain age when your parents think you are responsible enough that they allow you the keys to their home. I remember the excitement filling my veins as mum took me to go and get the keys cut for my very own set. I remember the thrill of coming him from school one day and being able to open my front door. I remember the first time my mum could forget her keys because I had mine. It truly was amazing and then one day the thrill wore off and my own keys just became a part of my life. The first keys to my own home. Every time I moved opening the door for the first time with my keys. Then a bad thing happened and I had no home and my keys were gone. 

I remember the first time I had to hand my keys into the reception of the place where we were staying and realising that I no longer had my own front door. I cannot put into words the pain it caused in my heart to do that. But it was worse when my husband arrived. It was one thing to go through this alone with the baby and worry about the safety of my child. But to put my husband through this, made me feel so guilty that I had taken away this right of being an adult from someone else. Now I didn't do it as such it happened as a product of my circumstances but nevertheless there it was we had no keys to our front door. 

The system is set up to do what they think is right for the majority. But if like us you were a product of circumstance and find yourself homeless with no keys of your own. Then you need to find a way to survive through a system that dehumanises you. For me I found strength in numbers. I still had keys to my mums house and so could get a shower when times got rough but more than that I had someone who shared the experience with me. But if you are going it alone how do you cope? Well I think your biggest source of strength is your friends and family. Instead of allowing the keys to control our lives everyday we got out and walked. Whether we had somewhere to go or not made no difference just the defiant act of leaving the room in God's hands and going out gave me strength. 

Keys may not mean the world to you in fact you might just lose your keys all the time. But when they are gone and there is no getting them back for a while you can feel a lose of control. There are so many ways that are destructive to keep control but I suggest that instead of trying one of those share your pain with your loved ones you might be surprised at how they can help support you at times like these. 

Do not let the lack of keys control your life till you stay in all the time. I know so many people who in that situation stayed in and locked the door just to feel secure. The danger is that when you close that door to the sunshine outside not only does the vitamin D not come near you but feeling depressed can come all too close. The dangers of being homeless is that you can slip into oblivion, off the edge and out of contact. The important thing to remember that although your circumstances change you are still you. All the things you liked before you still will you might just have to be a bit more creative about them.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Mummy it's Me

Someone told me during my pregnancy that I should write down my experiences as a mum to be. Then when my little darling was born someone shared that I really should write down my experiences. To be quite frank I thought they were nuts. Quite a few people said it and finally I thought well I am writing a blog anyway so it wouldn't hurt every now and then to write a thought about being a mummy,

Question though, when does a new mum have time to write?

Between a hyper active little darling, family who want to see said hyperactive little darling and trying to maintain a good relationship with the hubby. Do you think I have time to write? I barely have time to think. I must say I play little mind numbing games on my phone but writing well that's a different matter.

Writing requires a certain amount of concentration in order that the reader may understand what your saying. Well that is something I struggle with always have. Good at talking, OK at writing. But I am determined that I will do it because if one person reading this quick note finds some hope to hold onto amidst the chaos of being a mother then for that I am happy.

Just as I am getting started my little darling wakes from his nap so in true form I gotta run and deal with my little darling. So I guess that's what makes me a mummy the rush to be with the little darling...

Location:Upper High St,Epsom,United Kingdom

Monday, 13 September 2010

Children, Young People and Adult Truth

Today the papers are covering a story about Davina McCall who has revealed that she told her daughter the truth when asked about drugs. McCall a former drug addict said when her daughter asked her about drugs she said they felt good but the after affects were horrendous. The British media have jumped on this and for the most part have given her a really hard time. Let me state I think the British media on this point have lost their minds!

My husband and I as youth leaders are constantly asked to do programmes, host discussions and counsel young people about sex, drugs and rock and roll so to speak. Our constant discussion is over this very question that McCall faced with her daughter. Do you tell the truth that actually all the things you shouldn't do feel good? After many years of working with young people in varying capacities we both came to the conclusion that honesty is the best policy.

This position has not been an easy one to come to but like McCall we have had to weigh up the consequences of not telling the truth. My husband always tells me that when he was younger "the church" would tell him and his friends that the world was bad bad bad and you should steer clear and not partake. But when they got older and realised it was actually fun and enjoyable they felt lied too. Now my husband is quick to follow that with the story doesn't end there and the consequences of your actions can often not be fun. But by then it was too late for the relationship between them and the church to be repaired the lie had already been told.

Often adults struggle to interact with teenagers and as a teacher I have seen this from both sides of the story. Parents, teachers, youth leaders and adults in general struggle for numerous reasons but one reason I realise is truth. Children and young people have a unique ability to see through lies. As a young person grows they begin to investigate life for themselves and see for themselves what their parents have been teaching. At this point the young person faces the world armed only with the education they have received and no real experience so if the adults lie about their experience what then for the young person.

You cannot make decisions for young people but you can arm them with the correct information. It's not good enough to tell a lie or half truths in the pursuit of what you think is best. In the end the truth is always going to better.

Location:Upper High St,Epsom,United Kingdom

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Thick Tights are not Leggings and Leggings are not Trousers

While I was pregnant I rediscovered the joys and comfort of leggings. To me leggings are a pregnant woman's best friend. The comfort and ease with which you can wear them are just amazing. They stretch round the belly with ease and comfort. Leggings were my best friend.

Post pregnancy I still love my leggings especially because I have a bouncy 8 month old who requires mummy to be just as bouncy as him. However now I have to be slightly more conscious of what I wear with my beloved leggings. During pregnancy all my tops came down long as they needed to go over the belly and be comfortable so by default the covered the bum. Post pregnancy my tops can be of varying lengths but when wearing leggings this is not advisable.

Today while walking back home I saw a young lady who was in shape toned and slim wearing leggings with a cut-off t-shirt. It was not a pretty sight. When will people learn leggings are not trousers. No sooner had I passed this young woman than there was a girl in a nice coat and top with thick tights on. If the wind blew I would have seen more than I should off. Tights are not not leggings.

I know this might seem silly to state the obvious but there is nothing worse than seeing more than you should on a young lady. From underwear all too apparent through leggings and who knows what through tights it seems that somewhere in our quest to be individual we have lost the plot. A short skirt and some colour pop tights look great but a long top with tights looks tacky. Leggings with a long top looks great but leggings with a short top just looks tacky.

It doesn't matter so much your size or shape no one wants to see your underwear or your private bits. Please for the sake of those around do us a favour and cover up it won't hurt your style I promise. Below show us how it is done.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Less Than 0.01 Percent

9/11 brings up strong feelings all over the world for very different reasons. But for one small town pastor and his congregation the way of dealing with these emotions is to burn the Koran. Condemnation has come from all quarters and there is a lot of fear over retaliation. I have even joined in the condemnation on my Twitter and Facebook page. But I decided I really needed to think about this situation and what it means for Christians.  

Counting numbers in religion is fraught with difficulties. However there are accepted approximate figures that are often used. So here they are 

2.1 Billion Christian approximately 33% of earth population
1.567 Billion Islam approximately 22% of earth population

Can one man make a difference? Well apparently a church congregation which makes up less than 0.01 percent of the Christian church are having a profound affect on the world. People are worried about the retaliation for Christians the world over. People are worried about the effect on troops in the Iraq and Afghanistan. 

I am curious.  Do we not think that Muslims have common sense? I am positive that the vast majority of muslims know that Christians don't feel like burning copies of the Qu'uran. Or is it that since we are intolerant of the minority violent fanatics who profess to be Muslims, that in turn Muslims will be equally intolerant of the fanatic Christian minority?  I am sure that the vast majority of Muslims and people have dismissed this man for being an extremist with serious issues. Those that would take him seriously are just looking for an excuse to act upon their anger. Terry Jones just happens to be it. 

What this man is doing is wrong.  He is doing something in retaliation with no real understanding of the consequences of actions, of Islam, or dare I say it, Christianity. But when i look at what this man is doing and the reaction from others it seems to me that yet again christians are apologising for Christianity instead of this man being outed for the prejudiced human that he is. 

In today's society Christianity is generally marginalised and ignored unless there is something negative to be said. All this negative attention on a minority of people who do not represent Christianity make the God I believe in to be a liar.  Something I am sure God is not. 

So with this man about to do his best to desecrate another religion so to speak, I will stand firm in my faith, denounce his actions and I will not feel ashamed. He does not represent me or my faith or my God. So I will not be hampered by this man but will continue to love my God and my neighbour. 

A Good Summer Dress

A little late I know as summer is setting but if your off for a bit of winter sun then now is the time to grab a bargain. If you head onto all the major high street stores websites you will see great little summer dresses

for sale at huge discounts. Shop around cause there are real bargains to be had.

If your like me and like to stock up for next summer for some classic dresses end of season sales are the way forward. Being a fashion leader not follower means buying clothes you love not what it fashionable. So shopping at end of season is great.pp

I say all this to say I just had a look through Pearl Lowe for Peacocks and saw that there were some items left especially this yummy dress. It is the classic summer dress, great fabric, brilliant cut and can be worn dressed up or down. If like me you love a good dress this could be the one for you. Add a pop of colour for a beautiful summer day or if your thinking of being daring then try out leather accessories. Either way this dress is bound to tickle your fancy. If I had money I would snap one up especially since it's on sale woo hoo.

Silence is Not Your Friend

The Survivors Guide to being Homeless: Part 2

Yesterday while watching a morning news programme they reported that the reason that some people end up on the street is silence. They showed the story of a young women whose relationship ended with her partner in bad circumstances and she had no where to go. So she stayed with friends for some nights and then slept on the street when she felt she was outstaying her welcome. She never told any of them what was happening and all of her friends assumed she had somewhere to stay. No one ever knew her situation because she stayed silent. She walked the street and put her life in danger, and she did it all silently. It wasn't until someone found out that she received help. 

In our situation we were vocal about our circumstances; our friends and family knew upfront that we were going to be homeless. The result? At every turn someone offered support, a hot meal, a bed to sleep on or just a listening ear when it was getting tough. My favourite was one day when I was feeling very low and a friend called to cheer me up and she shared a secret, she was wearing big knickers! I cannot tell you how we laughed and laughed and how much it cheered me up. It was a small thing but it got me through that day and the next actually. 

Silence is very powerful. Sometimes people think that if you just say nothing it will all be ok or the problem will go away. Sometimes people think that silence is better than the shame of someone knowing the problem. But silence can be destructive. Yes it is prudent to be mindful about who you tell things to but if you tell no one about your situation you will struggle alone with a burden that could easily he halved by others. 

The other thing that surprised me about our situation was that because we had spoken about our situation how many of our friends had been through being homeless. So many people shared with us the pain that they had been through not having a home. We were able to minister to others because we had shared our story. When there is silence it not only can make your own situation worse but it can make others suffer too. 

Silence is not your friend when your homeless or being made homeless. There is help available and all you need to do is ask but if you just stay silent then you can never get help. 

The Straw that Broke the Camels Back

The Survivors Guide to being Homeless: Part 1

My experience of being homeless has really taught me so much. I remember when I was younger i would wonder to myself how do you get to the position of sleeping on the street. It wasn't until I went through a situation that I realised how easy it would be. As a result of our situation I feel I want to pass on what I have learnt that is helping me to survive. 

It seems that each day some new challenge comes along that just makes it that much harder to remain positive in the situation. So I am writing this survival guide as much for myself as for someone else who mitt be going through this. You see the small things in life that just wouldn't phase you ordinarily can just push you that step too far making it seemingly impossible to cope. Let me give you an example. 

We live in a bedsit which means there are communal areas, shared facilities and people with which to share all of this with. This week our buggy tyre has been slashed, I found blood in the bathtub and it wasn't my families, and the people broke into a room in the building which we have all been told off for. But do you know what the straw is that almost broke the camels back? Well it wasn't the fact that we sleep on a sofa bed which now seems like it's breaking. It wasn't that I have no funds so even going to the store to buy a bottle for the baby is impossible. It was the rice cooker breaking down! Let me tell you the story. 

My husband had gone out with a friend, I had put the baby to bed and it was my turn to get some food. I thought the easiest this was some rice so off I went put the rice and water in turned it on closed the kitchen door went into the other room and closed that door and sat down and waited. Now you have to close each door because you don't have a flat you have rooms and so privacy is just not an option unless the doors are closed and even then you can hear inside each room. But as I sat there I knew something was wrong so I got up and went back into the kitchen. Upon entering there was a strange smell that hit my nose and I realised the lights were not on the rice cooker I checked the plug and sure enough it was broken. Now I know your sitting there thinking hey how can a rice cooker be such a big deal, well it is. When the kitchen space you have been given is the size of a box the rice cooker it a life easier and now it's gone. Now since in this story I am the camel I happy to tell you my back didn't break but should I let you into the secret of why? Well because I laughed. 

You see the first thing that you need to survive the homeless situation is a friend with whom you can laugh about the silliness of the situation. Without that there can be many a crazy day. 

So if you are ever in the position of losing your home for whatever the reason I think there are a few tips that should help to keep you sane and I plan to share with you my tips to surviving being homeless and first up is laughter. Trust me this one will come up again and again but that's because you cannot underestimate the power of laughter. 

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Your Love Divine

This week has been one of those where everything seems to come together in your head. The challenges of the past year and also the joys seem finally to have settled in my mind. Do you ever get those moments of realisation when the story of your life just hits you? Well maybe that's where I am. Not a negative place just a place of contemplation of where we go from here.

During the week there have been times of crying out to God for answers, relief or change. The real answer is I have heard silence, nothing, no response, zip. Has that left me sad? I don't know, when you are talking to God and wanting an answer and there is silence it can be unnerving. But then when I thought I would just quit asking and let it go a song came.

This morning my husband started playing Richard Smallwood songs as he loves them. Then when he went out I listened to Your Love Divine and really slowly I realised God is with me. On the live version the lead vocalist says your love divine Jesus. Now call me slow but I never saw that link before. But there it is in the song a word for me that God sent me Jesus as his answer to my problems and pain.

I don't know if the song means anything to you but the lyrics and a link are below for your own contemplation.

Your Love Divine by Richard Smallwood

Lord, you know the pain, pain we bear
And Lord, you know the toils, toils and snares
Send your direction, send your protection
Send your compassion
And your love divine

Help us love those who do us wrong
Send your cleansing power from above
Unite our hearts as one
Make us a vessel to flow through your love


Your love divine
Your love divine
Your love divine

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Bible Thought for Today: Acts 21

Mob mentality. Most days I think that I am strong enough to stand apart from the crowd for what I believe in. But every now and then I remember that it takes confidence to do that. 

A few years ago after I had joined a work place some bullying took place of my colleagues from ethnic minorities. At the time it all happened in front of me and peoples jobs were lost. At the time it was so subtle that I really didn't see what was happening. By the time I realised what had happened I kicked myself for allowing such a thing and not standing up. 

Mob mentality can happen in many ways. Mostly people think of violent crowds getting carried away but I was a part of something worse. The power of silently condoning bad behaviour. I can give numerous excuses for what I did but in the end as a Christian it is our responsibility that when we see wrong doing we act to make it right. Passively allowing things to happen is not the way forward. 

In the text the mob get carried along. There were probably honest, hardworking people in the crowd. People who normally would say they were rational beings but there they were in a mob growing so violent that the army had to be called in. Do you think all those people believed with their whole heart what the Jewish leaders said or did it just sound good at the time. 

I guess each day we are faced with small decisions each day not to join the mob. When we here a piece of juicy gossip we can choose not to join the mob in co deeming the person we here about. When faced with someone telling us how we should think about someone else we can choose not to join the mob. Basically not joining the mob means standing apart and doing something that requires courage. 

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Bible Thought for Today: Acts 20

I love it when you are in church and you see people sleeping. It brings out the small child in me. You guess who is going to snore first, or whose head is going to roll back or who is going to dribble. It's a whole lot of fun but I am sure your not supposed to think that sleeping in church is serious business, or at least that's what all the preachers tell us. You know the horror stories they tell just to get you to pay attention to the sermon or my other favourite. Touch the person next to you and say don't sleep through your blessing. But Acts 20:7-12 is the honest to goodness story of sleeping in church. 

Imagine preaching so long that people fell asleep in dangerous places. There you are crammed into a little room so you think I will sit on the windowsill at least I will get some air through here. It's a good spot the cool breeze should keep me awake. But instead he warm air and the long preaching you fall asleep with no support you fall out the window. Imagine the response of the preacher. I would be mortified personally and would probably be seriously embarrassed. But Paul no he goes down hugs the man and simply says he is alive. Everyone goes back inside and the tired boy is taken home. 

Now as a child this would have been the most exciting church service I had ever been to. As an adult it poses me a number of questions. 

Do we as church leaders think about the peoples needs when organising a service?
When we go to church are we prepared for church?

My guess is that sometimes both for fall short. My thought is that worship is important and when going to church for worship or when organising worship for others we should think about what we are doing not just bow to tradition. 

Friday, 6 August 2010

Quiet Time

This week I decided that some reflection time wouldn't hurt us. So this weeks sabbath activity involves voluntary silence ;0) 

The challenge is simple find a spot that you like, away from your home is preferable. Take with you a bible and a notebook. The activity is easy spend some time reflecting on your week with God. 

Should I tell you how to do this? No I think it is simple enough. However if you have small children this will present a challenge. Therefore try taking them to the park armed with a notebook or sketchbook and see what they can co e up with. If they are very young this maybe difficult but ask someone around to babysit for an hour while you take a time out. You might find that it hellos you recharge for the week ahead. 

Well the challenge is simple in a hectic world take some time for silence and see what happens.  

Family Outing

So today we are on a joint family outing. You know the kind where the children are so excited they are not hungry but the minute you sit on the train it's 
"mum can we have something to eat" 
Or when you told everyone to go to the toilet before you left but your teenager still turns round at the coach station and says
"mum is there a toilet?"
That's us on a road trip from London to Liverpool to watch a football game. E kids are excited the dads are over the moon and as for the mums well we are trying to get some sleep. 

This kind of trip is great though because even though there will be whining and complaining and someone is bound to graze a knee. The experience will be a great memory for the children and to that end we endure the trauma that is the road trip so that the dads can share a passion with their children. 

But I am sitting on the coach wondering about the role of fathers. In today's society it seems more confused than ever as to what a man plays in his own home. You could say that this question has been around longer than me and will probably be around long after I have passed on but it does bear thought. 

Each family is a unique entity just like each person so what works for one might not work another. For my family it works that we are involved equally in everything. I do hear often that I am blessed that my husband can look after his son but to be honest it has taken a little work and a conscious effort to make it so. Let me give you some examples to make it clear what I mean. 

My husband is disorganised, he ilk freely admit that is not his strong point. So in order to facilitate his being able to cope with the baby I keep everything as organised as much as I can. Something as simple as a baby bag can frustrate him so when I changed bag to something more stylish that I liked, it frustrated him so much that we had to switch back. That might seem simple but if it's difficult for him to take the baby out he will be reluctant to do so without me which means I have to go everywhere with the baby.

Another thing is I refuse to jump in to help. I see so many women who because it is taking their partner long or it's frustrating them they just take over tasks from their partners and end up doing everything. In our family it's a rare day when I am doing that. If my husband is putting baby to bed and he is fussing I am not going in to rescue the baby under any circumstances. It has been difficult to hear baby crying because it's not mummy and that's what he is used to because of breastfeeding. But let me tell you I got over it and so did the baby who is happy to be put to bed by daddy now.

Having your partner involved for me has meant making a conscious effort not to take over just because I am mummy. Learning about the role of the father is an ongoing process for me and I take it one day at a time but at no point do I think that because I am a mummy do I have all the answers or can do it all. It is a tiring job being a mother, it's hard work and often thankless but a little bit of effort on all parts can make both roles a little easy. After all once the children grown up and move out I am stuck with the man I choose to be with. 

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Bible Thought for Today: Acts 19

Have you ever been to church and been asked do you speak in tongues? Then if your response has been no that there is a look of disgust or pity and then comes the comment well your not really converted till you do. Have you ever wondered where that theology comes from? 

Well there it is in Acts 18:1-7. It's a small story but has caused a lot of people to believe a myth. The myth that everyone who is converted will speak in tongues. It simply is not true and even that text proves it but somehow it gets lost. 

Paul asks a harmless question in order that a problem be corrected. Many people in the early church were not sure what they should be doing. Understandable really since it's not like they had a bible to go with. Look at the problems Christendom has today and all the differences and we do have the bible. Imagine what it was like back then Jesus had just been there before he came the Jews were an exclusive club then their religion had been blown wide open by Jesus but now what. What stays what goes? What's necessary what's not? What happens when the religion because a choice not a birthright? It's all very confusing. 

The people of Ephesus had just this problem they believed and did the best they could but unfortunately they were not getting it all right. So along comes Paul to steer them in the right direction. It's gentle it's supportive and it's non judgemental all you want from your leaders. So here goes, Paul asks if they have received the Holy Spirit and challenges their baptism. So they get baptised the correct way and receive the holy spirit and the result some speak in tongues and others prophesy. So should we be expecting that from our baptism? 

Well I will be honest about mine it wasn't like that at all. Does that mean I am not really baptised? No it means that God is with each of us in the way that suits us. Not everyone has the same gift of the holy spirit but each of us do have one. All you have to do is open your heart to him and accept the gift he has given and put in practice. That's all that was happening back then and it is happening all over the world today. 


Recently I have had a number of conversations that have made me glad that I am feeling like Switzerland. My husband informs me that the most accurate description of Switzerland is that they are neutral because they may have an opinion but they don't act on it making them neutral. I think that feels like a good description of me. As I am doing an independent ministry that God asked me to do it feels like I am the Switzerland of the church world.

It's been really nice to feel of use to people. I get calls, emails or messages asking questions about how they manage their faith with the church and because I have no agenda I can answer more freely without prejudice. I do wonder however what it is about church that drives people so crazy that they need Switzerland.

What is a church? Well in essence it is a collection of people who believe the same thing or at least try to. Contrary to popular belief it isn't the building and that is what causes the major problem. People are unpredictable and more often than not we are self centred therefore our behaviour can impact on others negatively. We couldn't argue with a building but you can control the building I guess the major difference is you can do all those things with people except control.

Churches are like any other group of people full of differences arguments and love. The difference should be that among the church should be a sense of grace, mercy, and forgiveness that comes from a relationship with God. Unfortunately from the problems I am hearing this is often not the case. Don't get me wrong I think that it is a difficult path to walk with us trying to uphold Gods standards and being a forgiving community but as difficult as it is we must try.

I might enjoy being Switzerland but shouldn't each church be a Switzerland from the world. Shouldn't people be able to come in and find a place of acceptance regardless of who they are. I dunno maybe it's easy for me to say that because I work online and I can work with anyone I guess but I live my life in the real world too and as such I still want to go to church and find an accepting community not a judgemental one.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Bible Thought for Today: Acts 18

Today I almost got lost in the text, I thought I might write about the fact that Paul had a job to pay for his preaching so what do we want from our preachers today. I thought maybe I might write about Priscilla and Aquila who were both leaders in the church ha there is a woman leading. But then I got to the final portion and came across Apollos. 

Apollos was a good speaker, he was one of those people that are able to construct a point in such a way that all people understood what he was saying. You know he was a great orator able to capture the imagination but had the knowledge to back up his points. There was however a small problem Apollos did not study hard enough and wasn't up to speed on current theology so when Priscilla and Aquila saw this they approached him and schooled him on what he should be teaching. 

Apollos could have reacted in so many different ways. But instead of doing what so many people do when they get corrected which is get mad. Apollos just used it to become even better. As I sit and think about this story it makes me wonder how we react to constructive criticism? I can honestly say I am the last in the queue for taking it well but it is a necessary part of life. I have always wanted to be one of those people that take criticism with grace but too often it makes me defensive. So today my prayer is personal and simple God give me the grace of Apollos to accept constructive criticism that will come my way. 

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Bible Thought for Today: Acts 17

For the past few days I have been trying to write this bible thought unsuccessfully. Everyday I read a little more of the text and then get distracted with life and no work gets done. So far the baby has been an excuse, watching a movie, doing some counselling and all sorts of other things but I can avoid it no longer. Sometimes when you read the bible it seems that all they do is be a good witness for God. In the case of the disciples it often seems like all they do is preach. Let me tell you this chapter is no exception.

In Acts 17 Paul and Silas visit Thessalonica, Berea, Athens and Areopagus. In each of these places they head straight for a temple or meeting place and start preaching. Each of these places has something to teach us about sharing the message but what struck me was what would life be like if we did that. So here is my average day and let's see how it might change.

Wake up and meet neighbours on stairs, show genuine interest in them and remind them that God loves them. Go out to the shops and speak to the sales assistant show genuine interest and tell them God loves them. Meet up with family make sure they remember God loves them. Oh I forgot public transport, speak to the person next to me and tell them God loves them. Wow that really is a different day to my normal one.

I love God and I think I share the love of God as much as possible but do I spell it out to people? No often I am reluctant to mention the specifics because I don't want them to get offended or upset or whatever. However is that all that God requires? Yesterday my husband and I were discussing what we would like to pass onto our son and one of things we would like to pass on is the respect for human life. For him to be a generous person to notice those who are not in a good situation and to give what he can to help and more than that we would like him to treat all people with respect. But as i sit and think about it I guess as a Christian there is more to being a good person than just being nice for us it is the desire to see everyone we meet in heaven.

The challenge for me now is how to incorporate that into my life. In a way I have it a little easier and harder because as a pastor it is my job so I have a natural source of conversation. The other side of that is that people naturally switch off because they expect it and they don't want to hear it because they think well it's her job so she has to do. So each of us face the same challenge how do we share the Good News with all that we meet so that if it were possible everyone would be saved? Easy answer is we remember that mission and never forget it.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Cupcakes and Fairy Cakes

I love thinking of fun sabbath activities because not only does it keep me creative but it gives me great ideas for spending time with my family and friends. You see the main point of sabbath is to honour the creator by taking rest from work and enjoy the company of God and our friends and family. To be honest it's great and I feel like it should be celebrated every single week. 

So this week I am going to follow fashion. In the UK at the moment the cupcake craze is going strong. Bakeries have popped up all over the place offering brightly coloured, sparkly, yummy cupcakes. So this weeks activities centres on these locally little delights. Are you ready for a cupcake party?

Here is what you need:
A person who knows how to bake (be inclusive ask a senior member of the church or family to join your party)

Cupcake ingredients or a cheats mix pack - make sure you have lots because you will want lots of cupcakes

Cupcake foils or cases
Baking trays
Toppings galore

Lots of people this is an all age activity so the more the merrier

Cupcake Party
The idea is simple make the cupcakes together. While they are in the oven have fun discussing a bible text or actually ask everyone how they are and expect them to answer truthfully. You might be surprised at what you find out if you expect someone to say more than fine or ok. 

When the cupcakes are ready decorate to your hearts content. The only limitation is your imagination. Now you have two choices here eat the cakes yourself and enjoy the fellowship with your friends and family. Option two give the cupcakes to people less well off than yourself.  Either find homeless people or if there are families in your church that are struggling give them the cupcakes. These small acts of kindness will go along way especially since you took the time to make them special yourself. It's a good lesson for little children, although you might want to keep one back for them to enjoy after the good deed ;0)

Well I thunk I am going to try and do this next week as I am hungry just writing about these yummy little cakes. Ok that's it I am off to bake! 

Friday, 23 July 2010

Why can't we keep quiet?

When you ask your girlfriend how church was do you receive this response:

"Yeah it was good but when I was leaving this woman said something rude about the way I was dressed!"

Unfortunately all to often I hear something similar each week from a variety of friends or young people who have been at church. Some person thought they have a right to tell someone in the most negative way about what they are wearing and normally in front of others to ensure that there is maximum embarrassment caused. The reasons people give for this are shocking.

"It is my duty as a Christian to tell these young people or women about their clothes because I am my brothers keeper after all." 

"Well I say it like this because it's cultural we just say it how it is and since I am my brothers keeper then I should tell them."

These are just a few of the excuses I hear for bad behaviour. I have a number of problems with people who think it is ok to have a go at someone for their wardrobe choice. 

Firstly the fact that it is done in a way that is an accusation. I understand the modesty argument and I have been to various churches where I have almost fainted at what some men and women were wearing. However unless they were exposing themselves I have felt no need to approach these people. On one occasion a young lady was sitting with her legs open and did not realise that you could see up her skirt so I politely pointed out to her that she was exposing herself. Another time a friend of mine was in the habit of wearing tight trousers. So one day while we were out during the week I asked him about this to which he replied he was finding it difficult to find trousers that fit his thighs and with money tight that was making it difficult. I don't think it ever bothered me again and when he got some funds his trousers were upgraded. To me there are reasons for the way people  dress and to simply accuse them of indecency is not a fair reflection. In addition modesty may stay the same but fashions change. What was fashionable in one generation is not necessarily going to work forever.  

Second clothes are subjective. The elusive modesty argument is true we should as Christians be modest not for the sake of others but for God. How would God have us be? That really is the question that each of us must answer, do we honour God with all we do? That is a hard mindset to be in 24/7 but it is what we should all be striving for. Therefore the attitude that you can tell me off for my clothes seems positively outdated instead you should be encouraging me to understand that God is a part of my whole life not just my sabbath morning. 

I guess my final grievance with this type of behaviour is that people have to be at war when they go to church. Why should I wake up in the morning in the mood for a nice bright pink summer dress only to realise that when I get to church I better have a matching pink sword and shield. It drives me to distraction that people think they need to say anything on a day of a rest. I come to church to have some fellowship with other Christians and to worship God. I do not go to church to have a confrontation with other people. If you feel that strongly about what I was wearing give me a call on Tuesday, oh you would need my number for that wouldn't you!

I think clothes are an emotive issue and the way we dress reflects not only who we are but also has an affect on those around us. It is naive for us to believe that our clothes, the way we dress and present ourselves does not have an impact on anyone else we are after all visual creatures. But while we should remember our modesty in clothes maybe it's about time we remembered our modesty in speech and instead of having a go at people we should try building relationships with them. 

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Friends are for Life?

Friends are in your life for a season, reason, or lifetime. 

Most days I think I understand this but lately it really has had me thinking. I have had friends for a season, people whom I loved as my friends very much while we worked together or were studying together but when one or other of us move on then the friendship fizzles. When I see them it's great and we have amazing friendship chemistry and catch up is awesome but they aren't necessarily that close. They would be counted as friends and I consider them part of my friendship circle even though I don't see them regularly. 

There are some friends for a reason and I know these are harder to pick out. People who I never really talk to but were there for a purpose at that time. To me these are all the good people I know. The people who make good decisions and choose against the odds to do what's right and therefore have earned the badge friend. For me I guess they are still in the friendship circle but I understand that these are not people I see hardly ever although they are still very precious people. 

Then there are my lifetime friends now these I love and understand fully. They are people who for whatever reason become a part of your soul. I am convinced that there is something spiritual about friendship. I know you think i am crazy but think about your circle of best friends (I believe there is always a circle never just one). Think about how you met, how you have stayed in touch through the years, it's amazing isn't it? I have friends from childhood, from college, from work, from all sorts of places that no matter what we are friends and I trust them. 

But then there seems to be a mysterious fourth category that have been playing on my mind recently quite a lot. They are people who are part of the lifetime circle who one day just walk away no explanation. Now I could just let it go and for the most part I had but recently they have been playing on my mind a huge amount. What would make someone who is your best friend (I know it seems like a childish term but it best describes the relationship) just stop returning your calls and move out of your life. It's really strange if it was a guy I was dating then I would not have a problem see ya later your gone. But because it's a friend there's a connection in my soul that just hasn't let them go. Do I sound strange? Maybe I do but my friends are important to me and are like family I guess, so they each have a place in my heart. 

I have been asked questions by those that know of these missing friends all sorts of questions about my behaviour, views and generally what happened. I have examined all of those things and have come up empty so what now? I guess I should just let them go to my scrapbooks and remember the good times but I am finding that really difficult because I miss my friend. What to do, well for now I will pray about it some more and hope that one day the opportunity presents itself to resolve my unanswered questions until then I will cherish the fiends I have. 

I Miss Home: London

Yesterday I went on an innocent visit to London, I visited with my mum and then went out to shoot some photos with my husband. After we finished with my mum we headed for St Paul's and as we walked around I was beginning to remember the London I loved. Have you ever been away from home for a while and when you get back to visit it doesn't feel like home anymore? Well that was me, every time I visited London recently I just ended up frustrated and didn't enjoy the visit. It was frustrating as it is my home city and I loved and missed it often.  

In the past year we have had so much upheaval and as we have moved all over and lived with boxes and still live with boxes home seems a distant memory. It used to be that whenever I went back to London I would immediately feel centred again but in the past few months that has not been the case. It is quite unnerving. But yesterday as we walked over Millennium Bridge and I stopped to look out, the wind picked up and as I looked across the Thames to Tower Bridge I felt at peace.  

Who knew that something so simple would be so liberating. I am not sure how you reconnect with yourself after a time of difficulty but for me that was the moment. Don't get me wrong I am shattered after yesterday but it was very rewarding. I am not really sure why I am telling you this but I guess I am just sharing with you my most awesome moment. I even have a picture that I will try and work out how to post with this. I hope that if you ever have a moment and need to find yourself that you can have a Millennium Bridge that you can go to. 

Monday, 19 July 2010

Bible Thought for Today: Acts 16

A call from Macedonia. A number of years ago I was involved with an outreach programme at a church and the pastor wanted to inspire the people to action preached this sermon. I have to say it worked a treat as over three years later I still remember that this was preached. I will be honest and say I don't remember everything that was said but the general gist is there. 

So here I am reading about Paul's call to Macedonia and I wonder how many times have I ignored my own call. When God has instructed me to go somewhere do I go? Going at God's word is not easy sometimes it flies in the face of everything you want to do. 

Recently my family have had an awful lot of upheaval and at each stage I wanted to do the complete opposite of what I was being asked to do. In the end through gritted teeth I did as I was told. If I am really honest at the end of the process I harboured a lot of resentment that I had to do something that God had asked me too. I worked through the issues and now am ok with everything but it was a hard road to follow. 

Paul is quite the opposite when God calls him to go somewhere no matter his plans or what he wanted off he jumps and hops to it. I would drag my feet and ask why among other questions. But here is my lesson going as asked seemed to work for Paul, it was hassle and stress free. Maybe if I did that more often instead of arguing for ages with God the whole process would be more pain free. 

Friday, 16 July 2010

The Book of Eli

I had the opportunity today to watch a film that I can honestly say passed me by when it was released. The Book of Eli was released at the beginning of the year but as I had just had the baby my usual film buff moves missed this one altogether. I will be honest and say that the apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic genres are not usually my cup of tea but I have definitely made an exception for this film. 

I really don't want to spoil it for you but I do want to share my thoughts. The only way I can do this is to share some of the questions and thoughts it left me with. 

Firstly why do all post-apocalyptic movies depict the people as completely devoid of a moral compass. It really is quite scary and in this movie it is actually quite gross what the people do. But it always seems to me that if you strip the people back they have two choices live in cooperation or kill everyone around, I am concerned that we imply that people will always plump for the latter of those statements. 

A world without God is a scary place. In the film the people blame God for everything that happened and burned everything that reminded them of God. This lead to a world that I cannot even begin to describe how bleak it is. If you watch for yourself it really does raise the question what is a world without God? 

The bible is full of power and in the hands of the wrong man it can be manipulated for evil. In the hands of a misguided man it's real purpose can be forgotten. The importance of the bible cannot be underestimated and the film highlights it in a sensitive way. 

Is the film a preachy film that rams religion down your throat? No it is not and maybe that's what made me love it. The viewer can make up their own mind and come to their own conclusion. The film prompts thought and discussion and for that reason I think it's a good film. 

Sabbath Activities: Art

Creative arts are good fun, messy but fun. If you are feeling like having some art in your life might be fun then this might be the activity for you.

What is needed
Paper or canvas
A favourite bible text
A little imagination and a lot of fun

This works for children, adults, art pros and first timers. The idea is simple take a big piece of paper or canvas and either paint an image inspired from your text or your text itself. If you are working with a group of people make it more interesting by having each person contribute a small part of the image. It will add to the image to see each persons part add to the whole. If you have children it might be an idea if they are small to draw an outline of something really big they can have fun colouring.

Simple ideas to get you started

Text: The Lord is my Shepherd
Image: little children sitting with lambs

Text: Noah's Ark
Image: have each person contribute their favourite animals as an image

Text: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Image: clouds casting a shad own on the earth or over a person

Have fun and if you do get a chance take a picture of your artwork and post it on the page I would love to see how it goes.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Bad Advertising

I can confess that I love fashion to the point that I have the most awesome scrapbooks that I have made out of cuttings fro magazines with the most amazing dresses among other items :0) So it's no surprise that I have a magazine I love and today my husband bought me a copy as a treat and I was delighted as I looked through page after page of fashion. Well eventually I came to the end and then to my horror there was an advert that made me so mad. I was so mad that I immediately wrote the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) about how deeply offensive I found this advert. 

Antonio Federici an ice cream manufacturer have created an advertising campaign full of double entendre. The strap line says "ice cream is our religion". The advert depicts two male priests intimately close looking like they will kiss and the words across their body are "we believe in SALIVATION". I cannot tell you on how many levels this advert offended me. It really almost ruined something that was a treat for me. But in usual fashion wasn't about to let it go unchecked so off I toddled to the ASA website and made my complaint to have the advert removed. 

I was later discussing my annoyance with my husband and we again noted that our society talks about protecting the rights of religious groups but that generally means everyone but Christians. I guess the other annoying thing we discussed was the fact that many Christians let insults to our faith go unchecked. My husband pointed it out that as we have so many denominations we sometimes are so divided that we don't see that it affects us as well. 

Personally I cannot see things I feel are wrong without opening my mouth. It often gets me into trouble but injustice is not right and don't feel we should condone it so for better or worse I will always stand up when I can. I am not sure my one complaint will do anything about these adverts but at least I am trying. I am going to pray on what else I can do. I am considering contacting the company themselves hmmm maybe that's what I will do tomorrow. 

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


I was recently asked by a friend if I could write a blog about jewellery. Apparently there was an after church discussion that had lead to this request of me. I did not want to ask to many details in case as per normal I was disappointed in some Christians yet again. Therefore I set about on a journey of discovery for myself on a topic that I find rather personal and also rather irritating.

To give you some background about my position and let you know my bias here goes. I am from a strong Christian family. Both my great grandparents were pastors and leaders in the church in Barbados. They were deeply committed Christians and raised my mother likewise. My mum always told me that how her grandparents were not into excessive jewellery but as a fashion loving young person my mother did not hold the same position. While growing up my family attended most denominations in the Christian faith and in the end settled on one that happened not to wear jewellery.

Jewellery is not the centre of my life but I happen to be a jewellery designer and make and used to sell my pieces. But this posed a problem for the church I attended and I spent far to much time with people confronting me about the one ring I chose to wear. It was an on going issue as I did not agree that it was a biblical mandate that we don't wear jewellery. There maybe many mandates about our life from the bible but I didn't believe jewellery was one of them. The texts that were used I felt they were inappropriate and misused. However when I got called into ministry I stripped all of it off and boxed it all up and gave up my work. So being asked about jewellery was an issue that I never really dealt with properly.

So first I looked up which churches do not wear jewellery and it was a minority that I could find. There are some Pentecostal churches that do not wear jewellery, the Amish, some Quakers and Seventh-day Adventists. For the Amish and Quakers it is a way of life, the Amish make everything they wear and each piece has significance. For the Quakers it is a lifestyle choice not a denominational mandate they wear cheap or fair traded clothes and simplify their lifestyle including jewellery. For some Pentecostal and the Adventists it is a biblical decision not to wear jewellery.

The difficulty I have is that within each of these faiths (Pentecostal and Adventist) there is no consistency. Yes the belief is stated in their doctrine but Not all people in their churches agree with the theological point that jewellery should not be worn. Some people are at the highest levels of the church in respected positions that disagree. So what do we do with the information? This is where the difficulty lies for me.

I believe wholeheartedly in modesty which some people use as a argument for no jewellery but I think that's a misinterpretation. Modesty can be applied to jewellery as well so no over the top stuff. See simple. But if you go a church that has a no jewellery policy I guess you have two options sign up to the policy and be respectful of the wishes of the church body by staying quiet whether you agree or not. Or option two wear your jewellery and deal with the fact that there will be people who find it wrong.

If you wonder what my personal opinion is then that's easy I am a jewellery designer and am hoping that like Paul this work will finance my ministry. When speaking in churches that have a no jewellery policy then respectfully I will remove mine but in my personal life I have no issue with jewellery. But if you want to know more then there are a few websites below you can check out to make up your own mind.

Bible Thought for Today: Acts 15:36-41

Short tempered. 
We have just discovered that our precious little angel of 6 months has a little temper on him. To be honest it's not surprising as my husband turned to me and said do you think a temper can be inherited? Food for thought really. 

Being short tempered, hot headed, unforgiving or quick to anger are not character traits that are positively thought of. However there are many people who carry these traits and the disciples are not exclusive of this. 

James and John were known as the sons of thunder (Mark 3:17)
Peter was notorious for his quick temper and even caused Jesus to tell him get the behind me Satan (Matthew 16)

Paul the apostle was no exception of this. This passage is one example of Paul's short nature with people. We aren't told all the details but we do know that while Paul preached forgiveness and love he often found it difficult to execute it. John Mark had made a mistake, was weak some might say or alternatively we would say he was young. Barnabas wanted to give him a chance and continue to train John Mark but not Paul. Paul may have been given a second chance by Barnabas but he was not prepared to do the same. It just reminds me that God can change our nature but we have to remember we are human and sometimes we fail. 

Those traits that we struggle with can be changed by God in a twinkling of an eye but that is not always the case and we have to be careful about our own behaviour. If Paul who we look up to as this amazing preacher can struggle with his own behaviour then how much more can we. As I look at my son and realise the struggle he has ahead of him the same one I did I pray that he will find strength in God to be the best person he can be.   

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Bible Thought for Today: Acts 15:1-36

I love this text, in fact I could shout about this text from the roof tops repeatedly. In truth I would preach on this every other Sabbath if I could. It really is a powerful text. Unfortunately I have heard many bad sermons on this text and by bad I mean with poor theology or poor interpretation however you want to put it. 

The text tells how the disciples make the transition from an exclusively Jewish faith to one inclusive of all people. It gives us a real insight into how the early church worked in resolving the deep theological questions. Here we find a solution that leads to harmony but is clear and decisive. The conclusion of the matter that the salvation of the people is most important and the honour of God. So all the guidelines that honour God stay along with the people and anything considered not necessary for that can be left. This leaves a major question for the church today as it undertakes many what seem to be life changing decisions. 

When I read this text I find it so easy to say ah ha I know what to do. But when I really think about it I remember that as an individual dealing with God it can be easy to talk to him about stuff and reconcile where to go but when we live in community it can be difficult. Recently I was asked to write a blog about jewellery and I am working on it but this is one issue that for some churches pose a real problem. It may seem trivial to others but it speaks to the issue of modesty and therefore can be a real problem. 

For a number of years I attended a church that had a policy of no jewellery. As I only joined and had never experienced it anywhere else I found it a difficult rule especially being a jewellery designer. In fact let's be honest I managed it periodically and this has followed me around for a while. It never ceased to amaze me how upset people would get over a ring or a bracelet but there it was. Then they would quote texts that say well if it offends your brother take it off. It used to make me so mad because they were offending me by being rude to me constantly but yet I was the person that had to change. 

It never ceases to amaze me how people get consumed with rules. It is what happened to the Jewish people and they had to change to move forward in their faith to Christianity. What about us today? There are definitely guidelines and rules that God has but are we so hung up on power that we force everyone to follow what we want instead of remembering it is what God wants that is important. Sometimes in being righteously indignant over things we forget that we should be a mirror of Christ not just of a judge. Maybe when we read this text instead of being elated that circumcision is out and we don't have to be bound by that or thinking oh how exciting there are still rules how about we look at the principle that God is the one who needs to be honoured and anything that doesn't do that should take a back seat in our life including our behaviour to others.   

The Ugly Side of Beauty

I watched Channel 4's show The Ugly Side of Beauty. The show is there to investigate the cosmetic surgery industry and looking at the real side of the industry. As the show unfolded they gave the stats for how much surgery goes wrong, how dangerous it can be and basically how the industry is poorly regulated. What caught my attention was not so much the industry and the lack of care etc but what surprised me was the volume of women unhappy with themselves and seeking to fix this through plastic surgery. This is not a problem exclusive to women but it is a large problem for women. 

The part that made me the most sad was the teenagers. The presenter went into a group of teens and asked how many wanted plastic surgery and all the girls put their hands up. Summed up by one young lady who said she wanted it for herself to make her feel better about herself. I cannot tell you how my heart sunk. I have had the privilege of working with young people for over a decade and there is nothing sadder than having young people with no sense of identity and seeking it in all the wrong places. 

The presenter of the show said to one woman there is nothing wrong with wanting plastic surgery but.... I guess that really does put it into perspective. My mum always told me that not everything we want is good for us. But I am guessing not everyones mother told them that. 

I really don't know what to say about the sad state of a world that judges us only it seems by our outward appearance. It has turned our youth into people without a sense of identity or purpose or long sight. It seems that they are only interested in the here and now and that can lead to dangerous consequences for the rest of their lives. For me personally I will work wherever I can to help young people to realise their value and place their energies in something at will bring lasting joy. Too many times I have seen the pain of this lifestyle in people of my own age group if we can help those younger than us not experience this then we should do everything to stop it. 

What a weekend

I am back to work after an eventful weekend and instead of starting work promptly I tidy the room like a crazy person cause my mind doesn't work if it's messy. My lovely husband says I am Monica from Friends. I do not agree but it is true that if the house is untidy then I cannot function. My brain mulls over and over the different ways of tiding it all up until it's done. It might sound crazy but there it is I am a sort of neat freak. 

Right then back to the weekend on Friday my family and I joined other students in making the journey to University of Wales, Lampeter for graduation. Leading up to graduation I was not really excited at all. Normally if anything is happening I get so excited and start acting like a five year old leading up to the event. I get silly excited and you know what I enjoy it but somehow graduation had lost the sparkle and I was not excited. It had been a long time coming and I had been through a lot to get there, so excitement should have followed but instead there was nothing. 

When we got to The university I went upstairs received my gown then was sent next door to have someone help me with it. As the lady helped me with my gown she said oh my you have a masters. I suddenly turned and looked at this woman I had never met before and it was like ding there it was. I started squealing with delight I have my MA. I was so excited and almost ran (I was wearing 5inch heels), downstairs to my family where I continued to act like a crazy person with excitement. It was finally all over, the handwork, the heartache, the pain and the years of study, I had my MA in theology. 

I Think sometimes when you work really hard for something and it's been a long time coming when you finally get it you can find it really difficult to comprehend. That was definitely true of me. But I have official documents and letters and pictures to say that I have my MA in theology. Woo hoo!!!!

As a treat for graduation my husband took me out on the Saturday evening to see Strictly Come Dancing - The Professionals. Let me say that all day long I jumped up and down like a loony tunes with excitement and it didn't disappoint at all. I loved loved loved it. Then the next day it was off to College to finish the graduation celebrations with a graduation ceremony at the College I attended. It was super duper fun and this time I was prepared for the excitement. To be honest while I feel elated that I have my MA it's not for the reason of having a masters but more for the fact that despite my circumstances over the past few years. Despite all the trouble and pain we have been through we have something to show for it. The hard work was worth something. When I tell my son about what we went through I can show him what we achieved also. So I am very pleased. 

Now to put it all to good use and continue to build the online/Internet pastor work. Here goes... 

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Bible Thought for Today: Acts 14

It is fitting that this morning I start the bible thought and half way through there Paul is stoned. The people leave him for dead but against all odds the disciples gather him up and the next day he is preaching the Word. This week it has come to light that there will be a stoning happening of a woman who has been found guilty of committing adultery

Today it has been revealed that Iran have lifted the death sentence against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and will not be stoning her although there is some speculation that they will find another way to exact the death penalty for now it has been lifted after pressure from the international community.

At first this seems like good news this woman's human rights will not be violated and she will not suffer for a crime that in the West would only merit a divorce a most. But I have a number of questions what about all the women we don't hear about. Somehow Sakineh has come to the public attention but what about all those that have not. Second if she really did com mitt adultery and I am not convinced that she did because after 99 lashes you might be about ready to confess to anything just to get them to stop where is the man she did it with? It all seems a bit dubious to me.

But this is the first time that I have come close to hearing anything that resembles what Paul would have been through. It seems hard for me to fathom that this is what should happen. We live in such a different time from a time when stoning should be accepted or do we?

Recently a number of churches have pledged to giving attention to equal rights for women and seeking to end violence against women and children. I guess I sit reading that text wondering what I can do in the light of what happened with Sakineh.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Day 11: Flakey

I am having one of those days after typing a semi descent entry for today my lovely little thing deleted it by accident and so here I am typing again. Today's bible reading is a bit intense so I will have to give it some thought and a little research and try again tomorrow. The reading is below as always if you have any contributions let me know, they are all welcome.  

But here is a thought I watched a film called Pastors Kid and let me tell you I was discussing loudly with the tv all the way through. I am not sure I would recommend anyone watching it or not as the case maybe but it did make me think that there are a lot of people who make some really poor choices especially with the opposite sex. I am sure we all know people have done that and dare I say that includes ourselves. I do wonder though how much our lives would be better if we learned from others mistakes instead of trying to repeat them ourselves. There might be a lot of mileage in that. 

Ok my thought for today try not to make every mistake myself and learn from others. This might be hard ;0) 

Get reading
Pastor Purple: Day 11: God Answers Job

Day 11: God Answers Job

Elihu's observes the power of God
Job 37:1-13
 1 "At this my heart pounds 
       and leaps from its place.
 2 Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice, 
       to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
 3 He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven 
       and sends it to the ends of the earth.
 4 After that comes the sound of his roar; 
       he thunders with his majestic voice. 
       When his voice resounds, 
       he holds nothing back.
 5 God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; 
       he does great things beyond our understanding.
 6 He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,' 
       and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.'
 7 So that all men he has made may know his work, 
       he stops every man from his labor. [a]
 8 The animals take cover; 
       they remain in their dens.
 9 The tempest comes out from its chamber, 
       the cold from the driving winds.
 10 The breath of God produces ice, 
       and the broad waters become frozen.
 11 He loads the clouds with moisture; 
       he scatters his lightning through them.
 12 At his direction they swirl around 
       over the face of the whole earth 
       to do whatever he commands them.
 13 He brings the clouds to punish men, 
       or to water his earth [b] and show his love.

Job required to explain the works of nature
Job 37:14-20
 14 "Listen to this, Job; 
       stop and consider God's wonders.
 15 Do you know how God controls the clouds 
       and makes his lightning flash?
 16 Do you know how the clouds hang poised, 
       those wonders of him who is perfect in knowledge?
 17 You who swelter in your clothes 
       when the land lies hushed under the south wind,
 18 can you join him in spreading out the skies, 
       hard as a mirror of cast bronze?
 19 "Tell us what we should say to him; 
       we cannot draw up our case because of our darkness.
 20 Should he be told that I want to speak? 
       Would any man ask to be swallowed up?

God is great and is to be feared
Job 37:21-24
 21 Now no one can look at the sun, 
       bright as it is in the skies 
       after the wind has swept them clean.
 22 Out of the north he comes in golden splendor; 
       God comes in awesome majesty.
 23 The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; 
       in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.
 24 Therefore, men revere him, 
       for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart? 

Discourse with Jehovah: God calls upon Job to answer
Job 38:1-3
 1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:
 2 "Who is this that darkens my counsel 
       with words without knowledge?
 3 Brace yourself like a man; 
       I will question you, 
       and you shall answer me.

God questions Job
Jib 38:4-41
 4 "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? 
       Tell me, if you understand.
 5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! 
       Who stretched a measuring line across it?
 6 On what were its footings set, 
       or who laid its cornerstone-
 7 while the morning stars sang together 
       and all the angels [a] shouted for joy?
 8 "Who shut up the sea behind doors 
       when it burst forth from the womb,
 9 when I made the clouds its garment 
       and wrapped it in thick darkness,
 10 when I fixed limits for it 
       and set its doors and bars in place,
 11 when I said, 'This far you may come and no farther; 
       here is where your proud waves halt'?
 12 "Have you ever given orders to the morning, 
       or shown the dawn its place,
 13 that it might take the earth by the edges 
       and shake the wicked out of it?
 14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal; 
       its features stand out like those of a garment.
 15 The wicked are denied their light, 
       and their upraised arm is broken.
 16 "Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea 
       or walked in the recesses of the deep?
 17 Have the gates of death been shown to you? 
       Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death [b] ?
 18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? 
       Tell me, if you know all this.
 19 "What is the way to the abode of light? 
       And where does darkness reside?
 20 Can you take them to their places? 
       Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
 21 Surely you know, for you were already born! 
       You have lived so many years!
 22 "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow 
       or seen the storehouses of the hail,
 23 which I reserve for times of trouble, 
       for days of war and battle?
 24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, 
       or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?
 25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, 
       and a path for the thunderstorm,
 26 to water a land where no man lives, 
       a desert with no one in it,
 27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland 
       and make it sprout with grass?
 28 Does the rain have a father? 
       Who fathers the drops of dew?
 29 From whose womb comes the ice? 
       Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens
 30 when the waters become hard as stone, 
       when the surface of the deep is frozen?
 31 "Can you bind the beautiful [c] Pleiades? 
       Can you loose the cords of Orion?
 32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons [d] 
       or lead out the Bear [e] with its cubs?
 33 Do you know the laws of the heavens? 
       Can you set up God's [f] dominion over the earth?
 34 "Can you raise your voice to the clouds 
       and cover yourself with a flood of water?
 35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? 
       Do they report to you, 'Here we are'?
 36 Who endowed the heart [g] with wisdom 
       or gave understanding to the mind [h] ?
 37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds? 
       Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
 38 when the dust becomes hard 
       and the clods of earth stick together?
 39 "Do you hunt the prey for the lioness 
       and satisfy the hunger of the lions
 40 when they crouch in their dens 
       or lie in wait in a thicket?
 41 Who provides food for the raven 
       when its young cry out to God 
       and wander about for lack of food?

God inquiries of Job concerning several birds and animals 
Job 39
 1 "Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? 
       Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?
 2 Do you count the months till they bear? 
       Do you know the time they give birth?
 3 They crouch down and bring forth their young; 
       their labor pains are ended.
 4 Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds; 
       they leave and do not return.
 5 "Who let the wild donkey go free? 
       Who untied his ropes?
 6 I gave him the wasteland as his home, 
       the salt flats as his habitat.
 7 He laughs at the commotion in the town; 
       he does not hear a driver's shout.
 8 He ranges the hills for his pasture 
       and searches for any green thing.
 9 "Will the wild ox consent to serve you? 
       Will he stay by your manger at night?
 10 Can you hold him to the furrow with a harness? 
       Will he till the valleys behind you?
 11 Will you rely on him for his great strength? 
       Will you leave your heavy work to him?
 12 Can you trust him to bring in your grain 
       and gather it to your threshing floor?
 13 "The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, 
       but they cannot compare with the pinions and feathers of the stork.
 14 She lays her eggs on the ground 
       and lets them warm in the sand,
 15 unmindful that a foot may crush them, 
       that some wild animal may trample them.
 16 She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers; 
       she cares not that her labor was in vain,
 17 for God did not endow her with wisdom 
       or give her a share of good sense.
 18 Yet when she spreads her feathers to run, 
       she laughs at horse and rider.
 19 "Do you give the horse his strength 
       or clothe his neck with a flowing mane?
 20 Do you make him leap like a locust, 
       striking terror with his proud snorting?
 21 He paws fiercely, rejoicing in his strength, 
       and charges into the fray.
 22 He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; 
       he does not shy away from the sword.
 23 The quiver rattles against his side, 
       along with the flashing spear and lance.
 24 In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground; 
       he cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.
 25 At the blast of the trumpet he snorts, 'Aha!' 
       He catches the scent of battle from afar, 
       the shout of commanders and the battle cry.
 26 "Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom 
       and spread his wings toward the south?
 27 Does the eagle soar at your command 
       and build his nest on high?
 28 He dwells on a cliff and stays there at night; 
       a rocky crag is his stronghold.
 29 From there he seeks out his food; 
       his eyes detect it from afar.
 30 His young ones feast on blood, 
       and where the slain are, there is he."

Job humbles himself before God
Job 40:1-5
 1 The LORD said to Job:
 2 "Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? 
       Let him who accuses God answer him!"
 3 Then Job answered the LORD :
 4 "I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? 
       I put my hand over my mouth.
 5 I spoke once, but I have no answer— 
       twice, but I will say no more."

The Lord reasons with Job
Job 40:6-14
 6 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:
 7 "Brace yourself like a man; 
       I will question you, 
       and you shall answer me.
 8 "Would you discredit my justice? 
       Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
 9 Do you have an arm like God's, 
       and can your voice thunder like his?
 10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor, 
       and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.
 11 Unleash the fury of your wrath, 
       look at every proud man and bring him low,
 12 look at every proud man and humble him, 
       crush the wicked where they stand.
 13 Bury them all in the dust together; 
       shroud their faces in the grave.
 14 Then I myself will admit to you 
       that your own right hand can save you.

God's power shown
Job 40:15-41:34
 15 "Look at the behemoth, [a] 
       which I made along with you 
       and which feeds on grass like an ox.
 16 What strength he has in his loins, 
       what power in the muscles of his belly!
 17 His tail [b] sways like a cedar; 
       the sinews of his thighs are close-knit.
 18 His bones are tubes of bronze, 
       his limbs like rods of iron.
 19 He ranks first among the works of God, 
       yet his Maker can approach him with his sword.
 20 The hills bring him their produce, 
       and all the wild animals play nearby.
 21 Under the lotus plants he lies, 
       hidden among the reeds in the marsh.
 22 The lotuses conceal him in their shadow; 
       the poplars by the stream surround him.
 23 When the river rages, he is not alarmed; 
       he is secure, though the Jordan should surge against his mouth.
 24 Can anyone capture him by the eyes, [c] 
       or trap him and pierce his nose?
Job 41
 1 "Can you pull in the leviathan [a] with a fishhook 
       or tie down his tongue with a rope?
 2 Can you put a cord through his nose 
       or pierce his jaw with a hook?
 3 Will he keep begging you for mercy? 
       Will he speak to you with gentle words?
 4 Will he make an agreement with you 
       for you to take him as your slave for life?
 5 Can you make a pet of him like a bird 
       or put him on a leash for your girls?
 6 Will traders barter for him? 
       Will they divide him up among the merchants?
 7 Can you fill his hide with harpoons 
       or his head with fishing spears?
 8 If you lay a hand on him, 
       you will remember the struggle and never do it again!
 9 Any hope of subduing him is false; 
       the mere sight of him is overpowering.
 10 No one is fierce enough to rouse him. 
       Who then is able to stand against me?
 11 Who has a claim against me that I must pay? 
       Everything under heaven belongs to me.
 12 "I will not fail to speak of his limbs, 
       his strength and his graceful form.
 13 Who can strip off his outer coat? 
       Who would approach him with a bridle?
 14 Who dares open the doors of his mouth, 
       ringed about with his fearsome teeth?
 15 His back has [b] rows of shields 
       tightly sealed together;
 16 each is so close to the next 
       that no air can pass between.
 17 They are joined fast to one another; 
       they cling together and cannot be parted.
 18 His snorting throws out flashes of light; 
       his eyes are like the rays of dawn.
 19 Firebrands stream from his mouth; 
       sparks of fire shoot out.
 20 Smoke pours from his nostrils 
       as from a boiling pot over a fire of reeds.
 21 His breath sets coals ablaze, 
       and flames dart from his mouth.
 22 Strength resides in his neck; 
       dismay goes before him.
 23 The folds of his flesh are tightly joined; 
       they are firm and immovable.
 24 His chest is hard as rock, 
       hard as a lower millstone.
 25 When he rises up, the mighty are terrified; 
       they retreat before his thrashing.
 26 The sword that reaches him has no effect, 
       nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin.
 27 Iron he treats like straw 
       and bronze like rotten wood.
 28 Arrows do not make him flee; 
       slingstones are like chaff to him.
 29 A club seems to him but a piece of straw; 
       he laughs at the rattling of the lance.
 30 His undersides are jagged potsherds, 
       leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge.
 31 He makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron 
       and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment.
 32 Behind him he leaves a glistening wake; 
       one would think the deep had white hair.
 33 Nothing on earth is his equal— 
       a creature without fear.
 34 He looks down on all that are haughty; 
       he is king over all that are proud."

Discourse with Jehovah continued: Job humbly submits to God
Job 42:1-6
 1 Then Job replied to the LORD :
 2 "I know that you can do all things; 
       no plan of yours can be thwarted.
 3 You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?' 
       Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, 
       things too wonderful for me to know.
 4 "You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak; 
       I will question you, 
       and you shall answer me.'
 5 My ears had heard of you 
       but now my eyes have seen you.
 6 Therefore I despise myself 
       and repent in dust and ashes."

He intercedes for his friends
Job 42:7-10
 7 After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. 8 So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has." 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job's prayer.
 10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. 

His renewed prosperity
Job 42:11-17
11 All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought upon him, and each one gave him a piece of silver [a] and a gold ring.
 12 The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. 13 And he also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. 15 Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job's daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.
 16 After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. 17 And so he died, old and full of years. 
New International Version