Friday, 28 January 2011

Bargain hunter

Poundland: King of shops.

Yesterday I was out for some bargains and if it's bargains I'm after there's only one place I'm headed - Poundland.  It is crammed full of all sorts of stuff from eggs to ipod covers and everything is just £1 - fantastic!

But it's so much more than just a cheap shop it is the crucible of human life, it is the great leveller. Everyone loves this big brand budget buster.  Dressed up to the nines or dragged through a hedge backward, arrived in your 4x4 or got your mate to give you a backie,  ox-bridge or school-of-life; it doesn't matter what you look like, how you've got there or what your background is you're sure to find something you like at Poundland.

Anyway, enough of the advert.  I overheard a conversation between a customer and an emplooyee at the above shop yesterday. It went like this.

(The customer had just bought an underbed storage box and discovered the lid didn't close properly.)

Customer:  "This box is s**t.
Employee:  "Well what do you expect for a pound?"


The premise is that you get what you pay for - you get nothing for nothing.  This is not true in every case. Jesus gave Himself freely for us; it was very costly for Him and he wants nothing from us but our love.  Everyone loves a bargain don't they? and yet so many refuse to take up the offer of the greatest bargain of them all.

But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23


And now this, just for fun.

I have an NIV with a ribbon bookmark.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Everybody hurts

PostSecret describes itself as 'an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard.'  It makes for truly fascinating reading.

Some of the secrets are funny, some share regrets but all give an insight into the unspoken world around us.  The postcard below is up on the site at the minute and it is very hard-hitting, it may also be offensive or upsetting to some people.  I'm not reposting it here to shock or to annoy anyone rather I just want those of us who are christians to remember that trite resposes to major issues like the one below just won't cut it.

God is real, He is everything he claims to be.  Let's not make him out to be nothing more than a fun gift-giver.  He is not an imaginary friend there to make us feel better when we get a little lonely.  He is a real Father who gives real support and guidance.  He is stronger than the heaviest burden.

When someone shares a story like the one below we need to witness to God faithfully and in a way that is helpful to a hurting person.  So what would you say?


Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Every second counts

I grew up wanting to be a hero, didn't everyone?  I never quite made it.

This realisation struck me recently, the one that says, 'You've grown up and you are not what you dreamed you would be.'  This disturbed me for a while but I'm glad.

What I once thought of as a hero I no longer do.  Scoring the winning goal in an FA cup final does not make them a hero - it makes them a good footballer.  Getting to number one with your debut single does not make you a hero - it makes you a good singer (or a good marketing tool).  Delivering a box of chocolates through an open hotel window to a beautiful scantily clad woman while you're dressed all in navy does not make you a hero - it makes you a social deviant. 

You may look at your life and see it slipping past unnoticed.  You may think that you do nothing of worth, that no good comes of you. You get frustrated, down-hearted, panicked even.  If you feel this way the antidote is not far from you.

To make your live worthwhile make every second count, devote every second to God. Live fully how he would have you live.  Help that lady with her shopping, refuse to gossip in the workplace, stand-up for the vagrant in the street, work hard, be trustworthy and honest, share your love, share God's love.

There is one hero worth the worship.  His name is Jesus and he gave all  that He had, his very life, for people who did not ask for it, who did not want it and who, in many cases, rejected His love even after He had given all for them.  Jesus Christ is my hero, imitate Him.

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.
John 15:12-14


A little mid-week music for you now:

Two hands by Jars of Clay.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


We all have regrets don't we?

Watch the video below if you can (the sound is not neccessary). You may be able to identify directly with what it says or it may stir up your own unique regrets.

You don't have too but if you wish you can share (anonymously) the regrets you have from the last year.  But don't stop there, give them to Jesus so that he can lift the burden from you.  Use this process to spur you on so that next year you may not have cause to regret the same things again.

My guilt has overwhelmed me
   like a burden too heavy to bear.
Psalm 38:4

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
(Jesus Christ)
Matthew 11:28

Monday, 24 January 2011

Spaced out

The world is jam packed full of people, over crowding is a serious issue, right?

According to National Geographic (As supplied by the Sage on the Hill) If every one in the world were to stand bunched together for a photograph they could cover an area comparable in size to the city of Los Angeles.  The City of Angels could be the home of all the humans.

Of course no one wants to stand shoulder to shoulder with over 6 billion people for too long - just imagine the smell - but it does raise questions over the whole over-crowding issue.

But so what? So there is space for everyone on earth, some of it good, some of it bad. There is useful space and useless space, rich space and poor space, fertile and infertile, lush and barren, beautiful and basic but there is space.  

Everyone can have there home and enough food to feed themselves and their family, we are not under-resourced but rather under-distributed, under-shared.

It will not always be this way; heaven will not be unfair.  There will be no barren land, no hunger, no pain. Jesus Himself has prepared a place there for us there.  The thing is though that not every one will reach Heaven, some don't know the way, others do know the way and just refuse to take it.

[Jesus said,] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Jahn 14:1-6

So you know the way to the promised land - through Jesus; but will you follow the way.  So many recognise the pain and suffering in this world and are rightly outraged by it but ignore the reality of an end to suffering in the next life.  I can't claim to understand why anyone could hear the message that Jesus brought, hear about His sacrifice and simply carry on regardless. 

There is space for you on earth but there is also space for you in heaven, Jesus is preparing it for you; are you prepared to accept it?

Friday, 21 January 2011


It was one of those days.

Well it was one of those evenings anyway.  We were at Anchor Boys which is the section for the youngest boys in Boys' Brigade, P1-P4.  These boys can be great fun but they can also be hard work as well.

Last night they were very excitable and not in a good way.  There were tantrums, over-zealous game playing and even a couple of bumps.  The 'Timeout Chair' had to be used on a couple of occasions, boys will be boys.

One of the wee fellas though, had been complaining of a sore tummy, he's only P2 and it was obvious he wasn't bluffing so he sat out of the games.  He loves to chat and so we did.  Chatting is what this particular little boy does very well.

The night wore on and eventually it was time to go home so the munchkins were loaded onto the church bus and we took them home.  Somewhere along the way and despite all the hustle and bustle all around him, our little sick boy fell asleep on his seat.  There he was, dead to the world, slumped over and only held in place by his seat belt.

The wife tried to rouse him when we reached his house but to no avail. He was done out. 8 o'clock is a late night if you are 6 and feeling a bit peaky.  So we did what we had too, we parked the bus and I came into the back and scooped him into my arms.

He half woke up and wasn't entirely sure were he was.   I assured him he was OK, that he had fallen asleep and that he was home now.  He put his head on my shoulder and let me carry him.  As we were going out of the bus and without moving his weary little head he said to me, 'I didn't know you were so strong that you could carry me.'

I didn't reply, I couldn't for fear of welling up.  In that moment, for that split second I felt like a king, like this is what life is for.

We're like the little boy.  We can be good, pleasant, helpful.  We can try hard, struggle on and be brave. But no matter who we are, eventually and sometimes with out much warning it becomes clear that we cannot do this, we cannot live this life by our own strength.  We get tired, weary, we become done out.  It often takes us to get to this stage that we realise we're going to need someone else to help, someone bigger, someone more capable - God himself.

When we give ourselves over to his care it is such a huge relief that we wonder why we didn't do it sooner.  We rest in his arms and in our restful bliss whisper to him, 'I didn't know you were so strong that you could carry me'.

He is.

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8


Phil Wickham feat. Bart Millard: Safe

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The bigger picture

Today's blog is written by Jill Harkness. She is a well educated, well travelled and well respected woman of God.  She is also my sister-in-law, which is possibly her greatest achievement.
I love doing jigsaws. Especially around Christmas time. I always get a new jigsaw for Christmas (this year, I got two!)
For so long - my approach to reading the bible was a bit like doing a jigsaw without seeing the picture. I would approach it - piece by piece - perhaps fitting a few bits together, but without looking at what it meant as a whole.
Reading the bible in 90 days has been an altogether different approach - which I feel has allowed me to see and appreciate the bigger picture.
In the Old Testament, we read about the Kings - most of whom were corrupt, and "did evil in the eyes of the Lord". In the end, the temple was destroyed, Jerusalem fell, and the people were taken captive and sent to Babylon.
In the midst of this apparent defeat - we see God at work. God continues to work through people like Esther and Daniel and eventually the temple is built, through the work of people like Nehemiah. The point is, none of these events were happening in isolation. God was aware of everything that was going on, and working in the lives of those who trusted in Him - to write history.  And (although we so often forget it) the same is true today.
Before I started this 90 day challenge - I had been working my way through the book of Psalms. Again, reading through the story of David has put some of the Psalms I had read in context. Each Psalm (in my Life Application Bible) is given a theme and some information about the author. Comments such as "written by David, possibly during the days of Absolom's rebellion" - began to make more sense, and take on more meaning - once I read through the life of David.
So, all in all, it has been an interesting exercise, intense at times, but definitely worthwhile.
Doing a jigsaw when the picture is available makes so much more sense - it is all about context, fitting things together and seeing how the individual pieces fit together to make up the whole.
What do I do with my jigsaws once I have finished? Well, I don't step back, admire my work and say I'm finished. For me, once I have finished, it is an opportunity to take it apart, and start again.
Jigsaws, like reading the Bible - something you can't do too many times!!


Some mid-week music now. This is Sanctus Real and a song about a husband and father's responsibility to his family.  Women, demand this from your men.  Men, demand this of yourselves.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

An exciting tale

Rocky loves going for a walk.

Now when I say love I mean love, there is nothing that gets him more excited.  We only have to whisper the word and he is thrown into trembling fits of exuberant joyousness.

We now no-longer say the 'walk' unless it has been established that we are ready to leave immediately, however that doesn't always work.  In fact, it seems that Rocky has learned to spell the word.  It's seems to be now that we don't even need to talk audibly for him to realise a walk is on the cards it's almost as if he can hear the thought formulating in our minds and that flicks his 'disproportionate excitement switch'.  (We all have one just not necessarily for walks.  My switch is triggered by the thought of KFC, the wife's is all about 'Larkrise to Candleford' being back on the TV.)

When Rocky gets excited he puts his all into it.  His eyes widen, his eyes pin back.  He starts to gyrate like a Rodeo Bull doing half moon-jumps at the door.  He trembles and quivers all over, whining slightly.  All this is incredibly cute but it does have it's downside - the tail.

Rocky does not normally bother with ornaments and the like so we have no fear about little bits and bobs about the house.  However the tail is not as discerning as the brain.  The wife has a small collection of Willow Tree figurines.  You may have seen them, they're freaky-looking wooden people with no faces.  We have three on a low-level shelf in the hallway.  Rocky got so excited the other day that his tail knocked the three of them flying leaving their expressionless heads facing in directions unbecoming of a lady and a very concerned husband frantically checking for chips and scrapes (thankfully there where none).

The point is that in his excitement Rocky lost focus, lost control and did unnecessary damage.  How often in our excitement over doing something good do we end up causing harm.

It is right, for example, to be concerned if our friends are having a difficult time with their kids, that does not make it right to charge in offering uninvited pearls of wisdom.  It is right to help those in financial difficulties if we can but not to the point of public embarrassment.  It is right to want to help quarrelling friends to heal their relationships but not to apportion blame and massage our egos.

In these instances we must ask for wisdom (God gives it freely to those who ask without doubting) and recognise that we are not the solution to everyone's problems, that it is not always the case that we must be the ones to teach and instruct and meddle.

It is a fine line to tread and each instance must be considered independently.   These things are difficult and therefore the only logical thing is to ask for help from someone who knows better, someone who knows best. God Himself.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
James 1:5

Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears
   is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own.
Proverbs 26:17


Tomorrow sees the first guest post of Jill Harkness.  She is a woman of wisdom and it'll be worth reading so be sure not to miss it.

Monday, 17 January 2011


Today is the most depressing day of the year, apparently.

'Boffins' (what a lovely word that is) have figured out that due to credit card statements arriving and other such factors, that this day, Monday 17th January, is the day when the country's morale is at it's lowest ebb.

Can this really be true?  Surely there are things in your life on this day that are not depressing, somethings may even make you feel hopeful, or loved, or dare I say, happy?

Maybe we can buck this trend, let's decide to be positive, to see the good in the bad, to see the light in the gloom, to see the silver lining in the cloud. 

If you can think of one thing, just one, which causes you to feel optimistic or positive or joyful, then please share it.  Let's remind each other that our mood does not have to be dictated by the money in our pocket or the clouds in the sky. Forget your troubles and just get happy!

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.
Psalm 28:7

EXCITING NEWS: This Wednesday will see the first guest post from Jill Harkness.  It's not to be missed, tell all your friends to check out what this women of wisdom has to share with us.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Accidentally in love

I told a woman, who isn't my wife, that I love her.

Let me explain.

I was in the act of getting ready to take Rocky out on one of his thrice daily walks.  My coat went on, then his harness thing, then his lead.  It was cold so I needed a hat and finally I picked up the all important poop-scoop.

In the midst of this commotion the wife called out to me (both because it is her habit and because she means it), 'I love you'.  I replied but not very clearly, probably because I was facing the other way and talking into my hat.  So not hearing my response the wife called out again, a little louder, 'I love you!'.

By this time I had opened the door, and Rocky was eagerly straining at the lead.  I simultaneously turned, stepped out the door and, a little too loudly, called back, 'I love you too!'

Just as I was thinking to myself, 'That was a little louder than neccessary' I lifted my head to see my neighbours partner standing on next door's doorstep only a few yards from me. 'Ah'.

For no logical reason I panicked slightly and started babbling like an idiot. 'Em... h'h' yeah I was, em, talking to the wife. Not that I don't love you too, I mean I don't but that's not because you are not lovely, you are lovely, it's just I don't think of you in that way...'  on and on I went. My mouth seemed to get drier in direct proportion to the redness of my face.  She just looked at me bewildered.

'I didn't actually hear what you said the first time anyway.'  She said matter-of-factly.  My redness increased as I scurried away down the street.

I think that sometimes I accidentally give my love for God to other things.  When I should be loving God I love my church instead, when I should be devoted to Christ I an instead devoted to works of service.  When I should find pleasure in His company I take my pleasure from spending time with other Christians.

Christian living and a life with Christ aren't always the same thing, make sure you're love goes to God first and you are not simply dedicating your life to feeling good about doing good or enjoying a comfortable life surrounded by like-minded people.  God certainly lavishes us with good gifts at times but The Giver is who we should worship not the things He gives us.


This post cold have a whole sound track, here's just two songs for your listening pleasure.

Counting Crows: Accidentally in Love

The Searchers: Don't throw your love away (This isn't really relevent at all, I thought the lyrics where different but sure, it's still a good tune!)

This one is for those trying the 90 Day challenge, rock on!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

All I need is the air that I breathe

Freediving is the practice of diving for long periods of time without the use of breathing apparatus. It is dangerous but it is beautiful.

This is a clip shot for the BBC of a freediver in Malaysia, he does this for a living.  I find it hard to watch this clip without wanting to gasp for air myself, it is a truly amazing skill.

For me too it just makes me marvel at the robust and versatile design of the human body.  How amazing it is that human can interact with nature as part of everyday life.  How lack of possessions doesn't neccessarily mean a poor standard of living and how beautiful the earth is. 

Of course all this is just my perception.  Maybe life for this guy and his people is too hard, maybe he would love to drive a car and watch Sky TV and buy his fish from the supermarket. Maybe.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Because you're gorgeous

It feels like a long time since we had a fix of mid-week music so here we go.

This song is by Jonny Diaz and it speaks the truth.  There will never be a better version of you than the one God created.  to want to be someone else is to be something less.  Realise you are God's and you are exceptionally, mind-blowingly, beautiful. Made by a God that doesn't make mistakes in a way which fits perfectly with His purpose for you.

There could never be a more beautiful you.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

All the small things

When something big hapens and we want to fully express the enormity of it's bigness we compare it to the Bible.

It's not suprising though, the flood, for example, was pretty big.  The beginning of the world was too, not to mention the upcoming end of the world.  The plagues seemed to be large scale and some of the miracles would definately get noticed. However not everything good in the Bible was celebrated because of it's enormity.

The people of Irsael, due to an endless round of unfaithfullness towards God, got taken captive and whisked off to Babylon.  After some time some of them returned to Jerusalem and wanted to rebuild.  One of the big projects was the Temple.  This was the centrpiece of their worship and the original Temple was a masterpiece of design and beauty - and it was big, real big.

The guy in charge of rebuilding was called Zerubbabel  (it's a name that is sure to catch on again) and he set to work rebuilding the Temple fit for the modern Israel.  When the foundations had been laid the folks all decided to have a party to give thanks for God's graciousness.

This is all good but some old the older guys where dissapointed because the new version of the temple was a lot smaller than the original.  Between the celebrating and comiserating the noise could be heard from miles around, it's all there in the book of Ezra.

They shouldn't have complained.  God does not get dimensions wrong.  If something is small, if numbers are few, then it is that way for good reason.  In the church these days we often judge success or failure by the numbers in attendence, it is a very hard habit to break.  But we need to remember that God is in control; and, if He thinks we can handle a lot he will give us a lot, if it is the time for small then we will have small.

Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb-line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
Zechariah 4:10

Don't despise the small things because the small things are the Lord's.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Back to porridge

The wife is back to work. The long holiday period is finally over as the house returns to normal. 

Even though I was working last week it still felt like a semi-holiday due to my lovely other-half being about. The occasional lie-in, hour-long lunches, chats over a cuppa - good times.  But now I must again face what the vast majority of you faced over a week ago.  Normality has returned.

To be honest I expect productivity rates to rise now that my favourite distraction is no-longer about but it's just not going to be as much fun. Or is it?

Why does work have to be a chore; can't it be the best part of the day? It's certainly the longest part of the waking day for most people so lets all make the most of it.  Whether you are a student, a tech guy, a high-flyer a low-flyer or someone who hands out flyers, make the most of your day.  Do it with all you've got, make it count and see what happens.

I've got a great job, I do what I love doing and I love doing what I do.  I know that's not the case for everyone and many of you probably would much rather be doing something else.  But tough, for today you are doing your thing, that's where you are at this moment so give it your all and, even if you are not there for ever, you can sleep soundly knowing you earned that pay-packet and made a contribution.

Porridge?  I love it.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.
Philippians 2:14-16


Here's some porridge everyone loves.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Two coats

Roger's got a new place.

He's having to move for work to the great metropolis of Ballymena where the buns are cheap and the girls are pretty. In order to do this he needed somewhere to live and, praise God he's found a nice place.

The wee house he's renting in nice, solid, well put together.  The rooms are well-proportioned, bright and well looked after.  It ticks all the right boxes, except for one - decoration.

To be frank the house was a little old, tired even.  It was decorated well but that was a long time ago and it's getting worn. You could say the house was shabby and by that I don't mean in the urban, uber-cool, shabby chic kinda way, I just mean shabby. The paper is that heavy embossed type which is a good practical choice but it was in the style of an old aunt with a penchant for the flamboyant.  Lots of pinks and greys, very 1983

With a tight budget a grand designs style refurb was never on the cards so really there was only one thing to do - paint.  An quick assessment was made as to the security of the wallpaper followed by a run to B&Q for some paint and equipment and the freshening-up could begin.

One of Rogers very few faults is his lack of patience with a paintbrush so I was tasked with the 'cutting-in' and he got on with the rollering.  It is amazing what one coat can do, there was instant change, an immediate revival of the room.  When one of us would leave the room and come back in we would comment on the great work we had done in transforming the room.  Just one coat and the room was perfect.

But then of course on closer inspection we realised that while the change was indeed remarkable and the room would never be the same again it was still a long way from prefect.  Some pink still showed trough, the old was refusing to be hidden - it was going to take a second coat.

If you become a Christian you are changed immediately.  You are saved from your own rebellion and made fit for heaven.  When you become a Christian you are instantly assured of eternity with God.  But after time and on close inspection it becomes clear that there is still work to be done.  Some of the old sin is showing through, imperfections are everywhere.  We are revived but not yet completed.  A second coat is needed.

Don't despair if you feel that you are not yet complete if sin stubbornly persists in your life.  While we're still in this life we just have to work at it in partnership with the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit enables us to overcome these things and we have to have a willing heart.  But then, when this life is over, we get our second coat.   We are made perfect in heaven, we live with God, no pain, no suffering, no blemishes.

Jesus is the completer, He will finish what he started.  The second coat will come in time but even after the first you are looking great!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3

Thursday, 6 January 2011

The lost boys

Is there a lost generation out there?

Last night was the first night of our youth drop-in at our church in Rathcoole. Now to be honest, our wee church is no oil-painting, it's hitting sixty showing it's age.  Over Christmas, what with all the snow and all, we had a burst pipe or four round in the halls and now the heating is on a go slow.  Despite the valiant efforts of a few very hard workers it will never be more than adequate.  But sometimes good enough is good enough.

Five came.  Five precious souls.  One of the five is a regular at our church, she has been rescued from the clutches of sin and lives life like she means it.  The others are not there yet.

But they are not new faces, in fact we know them all pretty well but they've always been fringe players, always about but never committing, always listening but never hearing.

Why is it that our church, the church, struggles with these people in their late teens who don't really fit in anywhere?  Not high achievers at school, maybe some issues at home, poorly motivated, no hope.  These are our people.  These are the ones that fit in best to the church.  These kids are you and me, right? 

If you have Jesus you'll recognise how lost you were without him, how you needed someone to love you purely, not selfishly.  If you have Christ you know what it is to be brought from the outside inside.  This is our great message - this is the good news.

So why is it that we fail so badly at reaching people on the fringes of society, are we going to just give up on another generation.  We do fairly well at reaching educated, polite, church-ready people and God knows that those people need Him as much as anyone.  But what about the others, the ones that need more grace, more patience?  Is there enough love for them too?

Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.
Luke 14:23

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Monday, 3 January 2011


Some things bring out the best in people, some things bring out the worst.

The Amish appear to be a mild mannered lot but boy do they know how to invent a card game.  Yes that's right, last night myself, The Wife, the Girl from Down the Street and the Dehli Diva decided to have a game of Dutch Blitz. (Not sure what this is? click here!)

Now I'm not great at this game as I am slow of hand, eye and wit but I am pretty competitive when I want to be.  The Wife on the other hand is a passed master and matches, even exceeds, my competitive streak.  The Dehli Diva has international experience in the game, plus she owns the cards so she's at a definate advantage from the get go.  This left the Girl from Down the Street, she had never played before - easy pickings.

In all games, if good humour is to be maintained there is always the need for a fall-guy.  Someone who will be roundly beaten but with a good excuse.  This can be due to arriving late, temporary disablility or, in this case, vast inexperience.  I was guaranteed third place, all was going to be well.

Not so.

GDS turns out to be a fast learner, after a couple of shuffles she was banging the table, screaming injustice and cackling at the misfortune of others like an old pro.  Tensions rose.  The females at the table where most definately in the zone, thumping, shouting, pouting and some mild violence were all happening with frightening regularity.  I was struggling to keep up, Rocky just looked on perplexed (it's a look he does well).

Eventually, despite playing fast and loose with the rules in the latter stages I was condemned to a miserable last place, barely reaching a positive score while others romped into triple figures. One was not amused.

God made complex creatures when he made us.  We are not mono-emotional robots, we are not yes-(wo)men, we are not easy to understand.  I don't now about you but I struggle to understand myself at times let alone understanding other people.. Why does it matter if we win a silly game or not, if we sing better than others, if we can jump higher, think-quicker or know more than our neighbour?

Truth be told I'm not entirely sure. Perhaps it is because inside us is the desire to be perfect. 

Perfection a great thing to strive for, in fact the Bible commands us to 'be perfect'. Unfortunately we, in our folly, don't quite get what perfection means.  It is not found in physical achievement or mental dexterity but instead it is found in the yearnings of the heart.  If we seek our own pleasure we will never find perfection but rather perfection comes when, with the help of the Holy Spirit, everything we are seeks to please and glorify the God who made is. 

What a relief. I will probably never win olympic gold.  But a prize more precious awaits those who love, obey and honour the Lord.

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5:48

For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
Hebrews 10:14