Testimony Tuesday

I’m starting to blog a series of true stories of how people came to know Jesus, or of other significant events. We call them testimonies. This one by a friend of ours called Dave is the first to kick off the series.

No longer an Ostrich

Up until the age of 33, Christianity for me was a target for ridicule, the name of Jesus a swear word, the existence of God as remote as the moon, and the thought of eternal life – far fetched.

Working in sales, selling machinery, since the age of 19, I considered my life reasonably successful. I enjoyed sport, meeting with my friends, drinking beer and having a loving wife and family.

Like everyone else, life gave me my share of kicks in the teeth; broken relationships, redundancy and the death of my much loved mother. Adopting the ostrich position or joking my way through things generally worked but when my wife became a Christian and I saw new joy in her face, I knew something was up.

It was not, however, until God spoke to me that I ever doubted my atheist views. After six months of resisting God, I gave up running from his love. I asked God to forgive me for the many things I had done wrong and to take charge of my life, not knowing what would happen.

I met Jesus Christ for the first time and He changed my life wonderfully – the past hurts dealt with, a new joy and intimacy with my wife Lesley, renewed self confidence, and best of all, experiencing the love of Jesus Christ.

No longer do I curse Jesus but I thank Him for His free gift of eternal life, His friendship and new hope for the future. To know the creator of the universe is the greatest privilege of all.

Hope

but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles,
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

(Isaiah 40:31)

…when I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God whose word I praise, In God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?

(Psalm 56:3-4)

There are so many more words in the bible about hope. real hope is Jesus. In who he is, what he’s done and does, and just him really. Hope is so much more than what we see, what we plan, what we wish for.

Hope is the big picture. Why are we here? What is our purpose? What are we? Who are we? What happens when this life ends? I was reading John 6 this morning and this shot out at me:

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast  out. 

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has  given me, but raise it up on the last day. 

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on  the last day.”

(emphasis all mine)

Now that’s hope…If you come to Jesus, he will never cast you out, you will have new life with him and not only new life but eternal life…this is what you were made for….

I need to go now, it’s getting increasingly hard to do these posts whilst the babies are up..due to the youngest climbing on me and trying to either tap the keyboard or sit on it. 😀 and also the oldest has just come downstairs and told me I need to wipe his wee off the floor of the bathroom..!(tmi?)

We have someone from a removals company coming round on Monday to assess how much stuff we have and quote us a price for moving…things are moving slowly!…

 

 

 

Not stressed again

But strangely yesterday I had two short moments of what felt like pure terror. Literally seconds long but both were when I was in our house and I was looking around and suddenly froze and felt really scared when I realised we really were leaving. Think I’d be a bit weird though if I never had any moments like that.

That scripture I put up, two days ago, about Jesus not giving as the world gives really helps me. I can just read it and think about it and sit with God and it all becomes right again. Everything becomes still and calm again.

Another one is from the beginning of John where He says ” …and in Him was life and the life was the light of men. Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it” – that’s always one to remember. The darkness does not and will not overcome the light, no matter how much it feels like it does. Jesus is the victor.

I’ve also realised that the blog has a tendency to be a little (just a little) one sided. As in mainly from my perspective, so I may be putting a couple of posts up to do with Chris, in the future – blokey Thursday??? Hahaha. Maybe!

Stressed

The stress is kicking in today… just everything really, waiting, life – negotiating the twist and turns of life…turns out there were more things our buyer’s solicitor’s had asked that we didn’t know about… and the solicitors of the one we are buying haven’t yet answered the questions of our Irish solicitor…It will turn out fine, but it’s difficult to answer a phone to a solicitor when your baby is crying and you’ve just sent your pre-schooler up to his room and the dog is barking outside…just as an example…and I know there’s worse things… but life is very full on and all I want at this moment is a silent room all to myself…

But onwards!….Tomorrow is a new day…..

Jesus says….

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

I love this verse.

 

 

Happy Sunday again!…

Hello! I had the most beautiful experience at church when we were worshipping Jesus this morning. I had my eyes closed and was singing to him and just had the sensation of him taking my hands and then putting his arms around me and resting his head on top of mine and just dancing with me pulled in close. It was just so reassuring and fatherly and beautiful. I can’t really explain it any clearer than that. He pulled me in close and loved me, in only the way God can. I’ve tried to find a picture that would represent it but can’t really find anything that represents it properly.

I’ve also just realised that when I did the update the other day, there was one other common question I did not answer and that was “is there a church that you can go to in the area?”.  The answer is – there are a few different gatherings in the area, a few different denominations, including Methodist, Catholic, Baptist, Church of Ireland and there is even one a bit like the group we are currently part of about 45 minutes away in Sligo (They also do something called healing on the streets which I would love). However, ideally we would want to be part of a community fairly locally and intend to look more locally to start with. I personally feel that it will become clearer when we are there, and we intend to listen to God closely and go where we feel he wants us. No matter where it is or what denomination.

As I said a few days ago, it was our 5th wedding anniversary this week and our wedding was sooooo good. Firstly due to God just being so awesome, secondly because our church and family just pulled together and it was a huge group effort. If I ever need reminding of what they are like, I remember our wedding…Someone acted as our wedding planner, someone else did the flowers, someone else did our invitations and yet again, someone else printed them, loads of people brought food for the meal, another friend did the photography (and it was really good), people transferred the flowers from the church building to the Whitworth where we had our reception, they acted as ushers, the church was decorated and the hall where we had the reception was also decorated by our friends, our worship band played and sang in the church, one of our elders performed the marriage ceremony…it was beautiful…and special…the glasses were supplied, bubbly was gifted, friends prayed for us and there was just such a sense of joy and fun..We had a Ceilidh in the evening and it was a lot of fun and just about everyone joined in, even the Ceilidh band were gobsmacked at the atmosphere…(it’s only God that can do that). We have been blessed by God so so much to have been part of this particular part of his church.

A selection of photo’s which I feel captured the feel of the day.  It was such a good, good, God day. The start of a good life partnering together for Him, learning how to be and there is so much more to come.

 

Fire!

Fire needs oxygen and fuel to burn, Fire creates change – This tunnel is at Magna in Rotherham. It got me as soon as I saw it and thought of the perhaps obvious verse (if you read the bible) of “our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29).

Fire in general to me both fascinates and terrifies me. The thought of it in a home terrifies me, it spreads so quickly and often gets out of hand before anyone notices. We once left some wood too close to our wood burner and it hadn’t even ignited when we realised but had already filled our house with smoke. The only reason I realised was because Chris and I had an argument and I was awake brooding and smelt the smoke. (The argument didn’t seem relevant after that haha).

But also, like many people I also love setting and lighting fires, love the smell of burning wood, love watching the flames, they are just mesmerising, a fire can destroy or a fire can clear the way for future growth, a fire can also purify. I believe farmers sometimes burn fields to get them ready for the following year. There’s also the story of a silversmith who holds the piece of silver in the fire to remove impurities and has to hold it and watch it the whole time, he knows when it is purified, because it is when he sees his reflection in it.

There’s also Malachi 3:3 – He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord

(This isn’t going to be a very deep or researched post – I’ve got the baby throwing himself at me at every opportunity and trying to attack/sit on the keyboard)

When I was a new Christian and going through some tough times and felt very alone, someone sent me the analogy about the silver smith, the part about how he never took his eyes off the silver in the fire really spoke to me about God and who he is and his heart for us. No matter what we are going through, he is still with us, always…always holding us too.

Also, in relation to the start of the post, fire needs oxygen and fuel, this had me thinking? are we the fuel? or does it just relate to God? Is he the fuel and the oxygen too? Maybe the Holy Spirit is the oxygen. There is a worship song that comes to mind with the words “you are the air I breath”… he is, I sometimes take a deep breath and feel as if I am inhaling his goodness again, his love. It is good (good is a very underated word). I used to think it was insipid, but it most definitely is not.

Bye for now…baby needs me…:)

It’s a busy time at the moment…and uncertain…but exciting!

Update on the move so far because we keep being asked. We sold our house subject to contract back in June, but have not yet exchanged, we have now sent the signed forms off so exchange of contracts can take place.

We are buying a cottage in Leitrim in Ireland (all being well) which needs a little work, but is liveable, which also has 3 acres of land with it. Our Irish solicitors are brilliant and are keeping us up to date well, they have asked the sellers a few questions and are currently waiting for answers. It is pretty certain we will be moving, we have paid the deposit and had an engineer’s report.

In order to buy a house in Ireland (it is Southern Ireland), we need PPS numbers, (personal public service numbers) and these should be coming either this week or next. An absolutely lovely lady rang me this week from Ireland just to check the details. She was very friendly and said she was originally from the area in which we are buying and seemed really pleased when I said we were moving there.

Another question we keep being asked is about work/jobs. The answer to that is, no, we don’t currently have jobs waiting there for us. We have subscribed to various sites which advertise jobs in the areas we would be fairly close to. To those who may worry because we haven’t got work waiting – don’t worry, we will be fine. Chris is an extremely hard worker, who will work hard at absolutely anything he does and has been in constant work for years and if necessary I would get part time work to subsidise us, but that will probably not be necessary. I do intend to be at home with the children as long as it is possible.

The last commonly asked question is schools – yes there are schools nearby, as far as I am aware there is a little village primary school about four miles away. It is also legal to home school in Ireland if it became necessary or we decided to do that. Unlike here, education is only compulsory from the age of six in Ireland, but apparently most children do go from the age of four/five.

We are really looking forward to moving but whilst we are still here we are trying to make the most of the time left. We have been going out as a family at weekends, talking together more, spending more quality time together really, making good use as far as possible of  our time here. We went to a place called Magna on Saturday. It was so good, J (our 3 year old) and Chris were absolutely enthralled and there is a really good playground there too, which we went to afterwards. It’s also good, because if you pay full price once, you can then get in for a year for free afterwards. We also belong to the National Trust so we have been making the most of being members, getting out to various places as a family.

I’ve also met an old friend today at a local playgroup at the Baptist Church Hall, it was great! There were also two ladies there who looked after my daughter when she went to the after school club maybe about 17 years ago and another fella called John who is part of the Baptist Church who may have taught her at school (I only realised this after he left, I never got a chance to ask him). It was a very friendly, relaxed group and we all enjoyed it. J doesn’t always like indoor groups but he seemed to quite enjoy this one.

Chris and I are also actually going out!!! tomorrow!!! It is our wedding anniversary so we are celebrating God’s goodness in our lives and each other. Five years! It doesn’t actually feel like five years, even though we have packed it full. I loved our wedding, it was a good, good day. God was in it completely and utterly. Thank you Lord Jesus.

wedding 018

 

 

 

 

 

 

So much I could write on….

I have so much going round in my mind at the moment, so many different subjects, so many things! I could write a lot of stuff…but I’ll try not to…I try to write what’s relevent and filter out the stuff that doesn’t need sharing. I usually ask God whether it’s right to write what I’m writing or not and if it feels like it isn’t, I don’t write it.

In your anger, do not sin…keeps going round in my head at the moment, mainly because I’ve just had the revelation that I can actually be angry, I’m just not entitled to take it out on anyone else. The ESV (English Standard Version) puts it as “Be angry, and do not sin…” (Ephesians 4:26). Stuffing anger down is so bad for you, but unfortunately for me, I try and then have a tendency to blow. So I think, this is changing slowly, God is changing how I think about it and how I think about people. Somehow, I felt I had the “right” to be however I was, with whoever I was with and that isn’t right.

I’ve been reading about lamenting, it was a book by someone called Esther Fleece and called “no more faking fine”. It was great (I’ve now given it away) and reinforced to me that with God we don’t have to stuff anything down, we don’t have to fake fine and he actually wants us to give him our all, including our questions, anger, grief, everything…and in turn we learn more about Him, we get to know Him properly, no holds barred so to speak. It made me think of when I had a miscarriage in March 2014. I found it utterly heartbreaking, it took me a long time to recover and in some ways I feel like I am still recovering. I feel like I grieved to a point and then sort of thought you need to pull yourself together now and put a seal over it. Well meaning people said, don’t ask why, don’t question God. I think this advice was given in love, but I now think it’s wrong. We probably won’t be given the answers, but get it out there, ask God why!??! let rip to Him and see what He does. I can guarantee He will meet you with love and compassion (and that is an understatement). Allow yourself to grieve or be angry or whatever you are, and come to the God who loves you, tell Him everything, ask Him anything… He can take it…

(The move is slowly moving along by the way, hoping to have more news by the end of the week).

 

Getting there I think!

Embarrassingly, our PPS applications got returned because I didn’t enclose the address of the place we are buying. So off the applications have gone again. They were really quick though. They only got our applications last Wednesday, so that’s a good sign.

Forms to do with our house sale have now come through as well. So we’re just waiting for a couple of questions we have to be answered, then they will be sent off and hopefully exchange of contracts will soon happen. I can’t believe how complex house selling/buying has got.

We went to the beach today, it was fun. I love just getting in the car and going off somewhere. I like driving, specially when the weather is like it has been today. Both boys fell asleep on the way there, so it was also quite relaxing. They were both in their element on the beach – so happy! So good for us!