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My word for 2017

In 2016 I decided that the word I needed to concentrate on was Rest. It is difficult to say how successful I was. It was a busy, stressful year in many ways. I found it helpful to have a word to work towards – if that is the right expression. So I have chosen another word for 2017. There were a few words, which vied for my attention. I wondered about sticking with Rest. New words I considered included generosity, steadfast and obedience.

In the end I settled on Trust. My reasoning was that learning to trust God more would help me to be more generous, steadfast and obedient.  I believe that God is worthy of our trust. In the words of a hymn, “There is no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.”

A page from Images of Grace by Jacqui Grace

A page from Images of Grace by Jacqui Grace

It sounds easy, but there are so many distractions and I am not always as attentive as I ought to be to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

Here are some things I must remember to trust God for:

His forgiveness, even when I am still annoyed with myself for getting things wrong,

His unconditional love,

His peace, even in unsettling and uncertain times,

A joyful, thankful heart (mentioned in another hymn)

Opportunities to serve others,

To be able to live in His strength rather than my own,

Protection for those I care about,

Guidance, and wisdom.

Have you settled on a word for 2017?  If so, what is it?

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Do you get Twitter?

Several people have said that they don’t “get” Twitter.  It seems a shame.  Twitter can be fun and it can be useful for keeping in touch with people, ideas and looking at beautiful pictures.  I learn a lot from Twitter!

So what is there to get?

I have written before about joining Twitter.  Finding my first few people to follow was a real challenge.  I only knew of one person among my family, friends and acquaintances, who was on Twitter.  However, once I had set up my account, I took to it like a duck to water.  Perhaps having an owl as my avatar here on WordPress made me a natural twit. (Woo hoo!)

I am a voracious reader.  At first I clicked on lots of links on Twitter and learned about effective use of social media.  I have trouble detecting irony and sarcasm.  When people offer tongue in cheek advice I become confused.  Jokes on Twitter frequently use sarcasm.  That is not my style.

Twitter produces a stream of short posts (micro-blogs).  Although there are now features such as “while you were away” or “some Tweets you may have missed”, the active life of a Tweet is said to be 20 minutes.  Older Tweets are accessible by looking at individual profiles or searching hashtags or keywords.

Hashtags are hyperlinks (clickable links).  Using a small number of appropriate hashtags helps your Tweets reach more people.  Some hashtags are very popular.  The most popular ones appear in the list of trending topics on Twitter.  There are different trends in different geographical regions.  Hashtags may be registered on Twubs.  It is important to understand how people are using certain hashtags.  #MondayBlogs is one of many hashtags with rules.

Some people follow everyone who follows them.  I actually spend a bit of time each day reading Tweets.  I don’t want to read lots of things which do not interest me at all.  If someone follows me I have a look at their profile and read a few of their Tweets before deciding whether or not to follow them.  Some people mainly retweet other people’s Tweets.  If this becomes annoying I turn off retweets for that person.

I also check the profiles of people who like or retweet my tweets.

It is easy to spend too much time on social media.  I have still to find the best way of cutting down on this.

There are things that annoy me about how other people use Twitter, so I try to avoid these.  Some people use apps to increase their following and send out a greeting every Monday to their 10s, 100s or 1000s of followers. They waste my time.  People, who send direct messages just because you followed them are irritating.

There are lots of good things about Twitter as well.  One of my followers turned out to be related to someone I met through a Bible study group.

And that leads me to something else that some people don’t get – religion, faith and in particular Christianity.  Religion is about rules.  Faith is about trust.  The Old Testament of the Bible sets out the rules.  People found they could not keep them.  The New Testament tells about God’s great love in sending his Son, fully human and fully divine to live on earth and die and rise from death.  Through Jesus Christ we can know God and live our lives in fellowship (relationship) with him, strengthened and guided by the Holy Spirit.  This involves communication with him through prayer and learning about him through Bible study.  It involves communication with other believers and worshipping God regularly.  The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:38-39, about his belief that nothing can separate us from the love of God.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIVUK)

I pray that my readers may grow in the knowledge and love of God and have the peace that only he can give.

Looking back and looking forward

In our society much is made of anniversaries.  The recent anniversary of the Battle of the Somme led to many broadcasts and live events.  In the village where I live there are a number of War Memorials.  Sons of the parish gave their lives fighting for our country. Some Church members interested in local history decided to honour their memory with readings and songs.  One of the choirs in which I sing was involved at short notice.

It happened that I was otherwise occupied (with family) at the times of the practices.  Although I recognise that it is important to remember what has happened in the past and to learn from history, I believe that it is necessary to find a balance between looking back and looking forward.  We can only live in the present, but what we do now is affected by what has gone before and has power to affect the future for ourselves and others.

A friend invited me to a meeting the local Youth Church at exactly the same time as the commemoration of the Battle of the Somme.  She is one of the leaders and I am almost a generation older than she is!  As I do not drive I needed a lift to the neighbouring parish.  I made enquiries from one of the youth leaders at our church about the intentions of people to attend the meeting.  Another friend was going, so I texted her to see if she could take me.  After some time she let me know that she was unable to attend.  Hubby came to the rescue and dropped me off at the other church.  One of the youth leaders from our Church was able to bring me back.

We began with a time of worship and a reading from 1 Samuel, which demonstrated how older people and younger people can help each other discover what God is saying.

The young people had made a video in which they explained, what are the most important things for them.   Most of them included family and friends.  Some mentioned Church, God or the Bible.  Some explained why money and education were important as they looked towards a time, when they would provide for a family of their own. One of the young adults, a worship-leader, explained that without Jesus there would be no point in having a church.

I have been thinking about the expression having other fish to fry.  It is used when someone has different priorities.  I was reminded of the story about Jesus after his resurrection.  (John 21) The disciples were fishing and had not caught anything.  Jesus told them where to cast their nets and they caught 153 fish!  He was making breakfast for them by frying other fish over a charcoal fire.

If words and sayings interest you, why not explore Sue’s considered trifles?