2

What will the New Year bring?

The numerous posts on social media at the beginning of 2019 setting out people’s goals left me feeling unfocused. This was partly because my health and fitness were low. After an outing in beautiful countryside on a sunny day, I feel more like getting to grips with the New Year. I took far too many photographs and have the material for a number of posts on Sue’s Words and Pictures. I had been considering abandoning that blog, but for the time being it will continue to have a new post each Saturday. I am posting a taster picture here.

Derwentwater

Sue’s Trifles has new material on Thursdays.

The category cloud for this blog indicates the main topics, which I have blogged about. The ones I return to are blogging, books, craft, faith, seasons and travel – and blogging from A to Z in April. Many of the others are projects, which have been completed (such as #psalmtweets) or prompts, which are no longer available or which I have tried and found to be too demanding. (I do have things to do away from my computer!)

In the last year books have been the main focus of Sue’s Trifles. There have been some craft posts and very little about faith. As there is a link to this blog on Bible Gateway’s Blogger Grid, perhaps I should bear that in mind when writing my posts. The hashtag for the blogger grid is #bgbg2. That will appear as a tag rather than a category.

One project I have in mind for this year is to do a deeper study than the Ladies’ Bible study group is doing. This will require discipline. I do not intend to publish it online. The books we have been using recently featured in another post.

It was Epiphany on Sunday. I still had the aches and pains I had been struggling with for a few weeks. I moaned to a few friends after the morning service. I hope I didn’t make them feel miserable. There is a time for being honest about one’s struggles. I don’t want to make a habit of being miserable and moaning, but saying, “I’m OK”, when it isn’t true prevents others from knowing how to give prayer support. Galations 6:2 

To conclude, in 2019 I am going to try to

  • be more focused on my writing
  • communicate better with the people around me
  • listen more
  • be less irritable
  • improve my fitness by spending less time sitting down
  • use my skills to help other people
  • remember to trust God and not to rely on myself
  • rejoice in the Lord always Philippians 4:4
Advertisements

What else I read in 2018

Bible study books

I once complained to my mother, as she removed the cereal packets from the breakfast table, “You have taken my reading away!” Now you know that, it may not surprise you that I have not yet written about everything I have read this year. I have read instructions, messages, letters, the local newspaper, the free local guide, National Trust magazines, English Heritage magazines and numerous blog posts and Tweets.

Some of the books I have read during the year have escaped from my regular bookish posts. They are not books, which I have sat down and read from cover to cover; some are daily Bible reading notes, others are books which help untrained people study the Bible together.

The Bible reading notes I use are New Daylight published by the Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF) and The Upper Room also published by BRF in the UK, but also available in many languages and countries around the world.

Scripture Union/IVP publish Life Builder Bible studies. This year the Ladies Bible study group has used Daniel, The Fruit of the Spirit and is now part way through Angels. Because the studies are intended for use by untrained (lay) people, leadership of the group can be shared between those members, who are willing to chair a study. These were written by people in the USA. Some of the examples in them are less appropriate to UK culture and general knowledge.

The study of Angels barely scratches the surface of the subject. I hope to set aside some time to study it in more depth.

Some of the group read The Daniel Prayer by Anne Graham Lotz. (I first became aware of this book via Bible Gateway.)

I have also continued to read through the Psalms as part of my daily reading and have begun to use Evelyn Underhill’s Prayer Book.

Religion and faith

A rehearsal for choral evensong may not be the first place one would go to look for inspiration for writing. Nevertheless a comment made by the visiting choirmaster struck a chord with me!

At the beginning of one work, our entry was not confident and together. He likened it to people trying to use a moving walkway and acted out the way that they might hesitate before getting on. Our walkway was the introduction on the organ; we had to get on at the correct point without hesitation.

The thought which occurred to me was that taking a step of faith is very similar.

I remember as a pre-teen being convinced that Christianity was the best religion. I had been brought up in a family where both parents were confirmed members of the Church of England and I had attended Sunday School from an early age.

At (day) school we studied comparative religion, looking at the major religions at that time – Judaism, Islam, Shintoism, Hinduism and Buddhism. Humanism may have been mentioned as well. It seemed to me that if everyone practised the teachings of Jesus Christ the world would be a wonderful place.

What I didn’t understand at that time was the difference between religion and faith.

Religion is concerned with rules. Judaism, from which Christianity arose, is full of rules. Christianity includes the Old Testament (similar to the Hebrew Bible) and the New Testament, which begins with four accounts of the life of Jesus Christ, the story of his early followers (The Acts of the Apostles), letters (Epistles) to Churches and individuals and a vision of the future (The Revelation of St John the Divine).

The letter to the Hebrews lists people of faith from the Old Testament and explains how they lived out their faith. Hebrews 11

Christianity differs from other religions in an important way. Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Messiah. Adherents to Judaism are still waiting for the Messiah. As far as I am aware in Islam Jesus is regarded as a prophet, but not as the Son of God. In the Old Testament the Spirit of God rested on a few individuals, sometimes only for a short time, while they performed an important task or prophesied.

The prophet Joel looked forward to a time, when God would pour out his Spirit on all people Joel 2:28-29

Christians believe that this began on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given to those who believed in Jesus Christ. Acts 2

It is easy to mistake Christianity for a set of rules. Anyone who tries to be a Christian by obeying rules is bound to discover that it is impossible. However, Christianity is a way of living in a relationship with the living God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Through this relationship, which is strengthened through worship, prayer, Holy Communion, Bible-reading and fellowship with other believers, Christians are changed from within to become more Christ-like. We need to trust God to give us his strength rather than act or speak in our own strength.

Our society emphasises self-improvement, but Christians should be looking to God to improve them. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Christianity can only be proved to be true from within. Without taking the step of faith and beginning to trust the God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, it is impossible to know whether Christianity is true. There is no benefit to those, who do not believe and trust.

It is like knowing that the moving walkway would save time and effort, but failing to step onto it.

Have you taken the step of faith?

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8