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Summer thoughts

I finally gave myself two weeks off from posting on this blog. In the past I have made sure to have something to post even if I was going to be away from home.

Unusually hot weather (not as extreme as in much of England this year) made me think twice about switching on my computer. There were days when I didn’t leave the house either.

I am currently reading a very interesting nonfiction book, which I have renewed from the library a few times already. I hope to finish it and review it before I need to show the librarian that I still have it.

The hobby I began earlier this year of researching my family history is time-consuming, but interesting. Making discoveries about people is sometimes exciting. Other times there is frustration when there do not appear to be any relevant records.

In my quiet times this year I have read some of the minor prophets – Amos and Joel, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and I am currently reading Chronicles and John’s gospel. When I reached the point in 2 Chronicles when Rehoboam, son of Solomon, was king of Judah. One verse jumped out at me.

The news is full of reports of people doing evil. People doing good things rarely reach the headlines. Rehoboam did evil because his heart was not set on seeking the Lord. 2 Chronicles 12:14

How many people nowadays have set their hearts on seeking the Lord? Have you? Have I?

The state of the world is depressing. We hear of wars, people fleeing countries where they feel unsafe, weapon tests, pollution, global warming, unprovoked physical attacks on people in public places, unjust governments, people only caring about themselves and their nearest and dearest.

In the Bible we read that there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

Over and over again in the Bible the story is told of how people sought God and worshipped Him; then they forgot about Him. He often brought them back into a state of grace by bringing various hardships on them – plagues, wars or famine, for example.

We are living through difficult times. We have had plagues in the form of Covid-19 and other infectious diseases. There are wars. Global warming is bringing the threat of famine to many people.

In the Bible God relieved people’s suffering when they began to seek Him again.

Nowadays people ask, ‘How can a loving God allow awful things to happen?’

Another side of God’s character is that he is holy and just. I am not going to attempt to make a theological explanation. We have the example of God’s dealings with people in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

We also have the promises made there. Even if we give up on God, he doesn’t give up on us.

There are other pieces of advice, which do not come from the Bible. One I have been thinking about recently is, ‘Consider what sort of world it would be if everyone did what you do.’

This needs questioning. What you do…
…is how you behave, what you achieve and more.

There are some things which everyone might do, such as looking after themselves and others in their household, being polite and courteous, keeping their homes and gardens in a reasonable state, considering carefully what to buy, how to dispose of rubbish, how to use the world’s resources without negatively impacting others (including other species). There are also beneficial things that we may do, which others will not. They have different skills and interests.

My family history research began because I inherited historical papers and old photographs. I have been able to share some information with a local history society. This is not something that everyone would have the opportunity or time to do.

‘Do what you can, but don’t be too hard on yourself over the things you can’t’, might be good advice.

Perhaps we should make a habit of asking for eyes to see opportunities to help others day by day.

Two books I read during Lent

A friend gave me a copy of An Ocean of Grace by Tim Chester. This is a Lent book organised with an introduction followed by one reading for each day from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. The subtitle is ‘A Journey to Easter with Great Voices from the Past’.

The readings have been collected and edited by Tim Chester, who provides an introduction to each. The theme is God’s great love for us. The readings are full of praise and the original writers’ understanding of what God has done for us. They included the work of many writers new to me and some I had heard of but not read before.

As I wasn’t well during Lent I only read through each day’s reading once. I hope to use this book again next year and spend more time on it.

Photo of the two books reviewed in this post

The other book I read had been on my TBR pile for some time. I bought Hallowed be Thy Names: The revelation of God through His names by David Wilkerson in the local Christian bookshop. The title attracted me. Perhaps I should have read it before writing my series of posts for the A to Z Challenge in 2015! I was interested to learn about some Hebrew names.

Hallowed be thy Names is one of a series of Christian classics from Rickfords Hill Publishing (RHP) available at the price of £1.00.

David Wilkerson’s purpose in writing the book was to share the names of God, which had been most help to him during difficult times. The book does not claim to be exhaustive in the names explained, but takes us through the Bible concentrating on people’s encounters with God. The aim is to help readers to gain heart knowledge of God. I found it very interesting and helpful, reading a chapter at a time as the author suggested.

I have begun to read it for a second time and intend to look up all the Bible references this time.

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Zechariah #AtoZChallenge

This year my A to Z challenge is about Christmas, a major festival in the Christian Church. Another major festival is Easter, which I wrote about for the A to Z Challenge in 2020.

My A to Z challenge began with Advent and angels one of whom appeared to Zechariah. Zechariah became the father of John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus’ (Yeshua’s) ministry.

This Zechariah is not the same one as the prophet, whose name is given to the penultimate book in the Old Testament. The prophet Zechariah foresaw events which occurred in Jesus’ life. Zechariah 9:9-10 is one example. It predicts the events of Palm Sunday.

The New Testament Zechariah also appeared in my post for the letter Q. I rewrote Zechariah’s story in my own words for my A to Z challenge in 2017. Why not click through to read it there?

A Christmas carol which uses the letter Z is the Zither carol. Zither was my post for my A to Z about musical instruments. The link above to the Zither carol is a karaoke version. To listen to the carol being sung, please click here.

While this year’s A to Z badges by Anjela Curtis honour the late Jeremy Hawkins, I hope that my posts about Christmas honour Jesus Christ, ‘who was and is and is to come’. Revelation 1:4

I hope you have enjoyed looking at the Christmas story with me.