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Christian Thread

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JustJohn Report 2 Mar 2014 12:38

The bells toll, Cynthia. How lovely it is to wake up to church bells. That is something I really miss in the Rhondda. There are one or two churches that make an effort, but not round where I live.

I was very pleased to see what had been written about St David. He was indeed a Welshman and a great Christian - who went out and about evangelising.

Our Minister is a Welshman and went to school (In Heath in Cardiff, I think). He described what it was like in schools on St David's Day and that there was weeks of preparation and parents had to see what their children had done, and lots of singing and glee.

He said the verse (which was his text this morning) was a favourite of St David. It is Jeremiah Chapter 31 and verse 33:

"But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people."

And he introduced a hymn that I had not heard before. It was by Gerhard Tersteegen (1697-1769) and translated into English by John Wesley:

"Thou hidden love of God, whose height,
Whose depth unfathom’d no man knows,
I see from far thy beauteous light,
Inly I sigh for thy repose;
My heart is pain’d, nor can it be
At rest, till it finds rest in thee.

Thy secret voice invites me still,
The sweetness of thy yoke to prove:
And fain I would: but tho’ my will
Seem fix’d, yet wide my passions rove;
Yet hindrances strew all the way;
I aim at thee, yet from thee stray.

’Tis mercy all, that thou hast brought
My mind to seek her peace in thee;
Yet while I seek, but find thee not,
No peace my wand’ring soul shall see;
O when shall all my wand’rings end,
And all my steps to thee-ward tend!

Is there a thing beneath the sun
That strives with thee my heart to share?
Ah! tear it thence, and reign alone,
The Lord of ev’ry motion there;
Then shall my heart from earth be free,
When it hath found repose in thee.

O hide this self from me, that I
No more, but Christ in me may live;
My vile affections crucify,
Nor let one darling lust survive;
In all things nothing may I see,
Nothing desire or seek but thee.

O Love, thy sov’reign aid impart,
To save me from low-thoughted care:
Chase this self-will thro’ all my heart,
Thro’ all its latent mazes there:
Make me thy duteous child, that I
Ceaseless may Abba, Father, cry!

Ah no! ne’er will I backward turn:
Thine wholly, thine alone I am!
Thrice happy he who views with scorn
Earth’s toys, for thee his constant flame;
O help that I may never move
From the blest footsteps of thy love!

Each moment draw from earth away
My heart that lowly waits thy call:
Speak to my inmost soul, and say,
I am thy love, thy God, thy all!
To feel thy power, to hear thy voice,
To taste thy love, be all my choice."

It was very powerful this morning, I thought :-) :-)

Tomorrow is Lent Monday. Then Pancake Day :-D :-D :-D. Followed by Ash Wednesday :-( :-( So prep, feasting, and penitence - all in 3 days. The roller coaster life of a Christian ;-)


Cynthia Report 2 Mar 2014 08:19

Good morning all....... and I hope everyone is well :-)

The Collect for today:

Almighty Father, whose Son was revealed in majesty before he suffered death upon the cross: give us grace to perceive his glory, that we may be strengthened to suffer with him and be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Off I go to start getting ready for church Cx :-)


kandj Report 1 Mar 2014 09:26

Happy Saint David's Day to all our Welsh friends. Hope it is very special and an especially happy one for you all. Gather the daffodils in, they are so bright and blessed


Cynthia Report 1 Mar 2014 08:33

Good morning and yes, I do find it encouraging and helpful to know that others are looking in because it's always lovely to see friends. :-)

A very Happy St. David's Day to all our Welsh members on GR and a fitting prayer for the day....

Almighty God, on this special day for the people of Wales,

we remember Saint David, your servant.

We give thanks for his passion for the Gospel

which helped to spread Christianity;

We give thanks for his purity and simplicity of life

which enabled his pursuit of Christian perfection;

We give thanks for his gentleness, but clear spiritual leadership.

Grant that we may learn from him

and respond to the words that are thought to be his last:

‘Be steadfast, and do the little things’;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

- Anthony D. Miles

Enjoy your day.........Cx :-)


JustJohn Report 28 Feb 2014 23:19

Sorry Emma. I did notice your kind comment and never thanked you. But I really appreciate it when you write a word or two of encouragement. And many thanks to others (too many to mention) who write lovely words when the spirit moves. :-D :-D

And a big thankyou on behalf of us all to lovely Cynthia, who seems to be so tireless and dependable - whether on this thread or helping in her church. Sometimes there are so many baptisms that my computer screen gets drenched :-) :-)


kandj Report 28 Feb 2014 23:06

Another hymn we haven't sung in our church for some time John. This one we do clap to though, it's just so catchy I think.

Nice to have you join us Emma, thanks for your kind words and I hope you are well.


JustJohn Report 28 Feb 2014 20:15

And of course

"Lord, the light of your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness, shining
Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us
Set us free by the truth you now bring us
Shine on me, shine on me

Shine, Jesus, shine
Fill this land with the Father's glory
Blaze, Spirit, blaze
Set our hearts on fire
Flow, river, flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth your word
Lord, and let there be light"

(Graham Kendrick)

I can see you waving now :-D :-D


GoldenGirl1 Report 28 Feb 2014 13:00

Don't add often but I do look in everyday.

I love your contributions Cynthia, kandj and John :-)

Keep up the good work.

Emma :-)


kandj Report 28 Feb 2014 12:46

Cynthia, your daily words are varied and always interesting, thank you.
Could we pray please for the GR members who are struggling with illness?

John, Hope you enjoyed your time in Manchester (a change is as good as a rest).

Isaiah 60 v 1-2 reminds me of an Evangelical church I have visited locally where these words were sang with loud dancing and clapping. A real genuine worship and praise. No doubt that the Holy Spirit was present at their services.

Arise and shine for your light has come
Arise and shine for your light has come
The Glory of the Lord is risen upon you
The Glory of the Lord is risen upon you.

For darkness has covered the earth
And darkness has covered the people
But the Lord will rise upon you
For the Lord has risen upon you
And you shall wear His Glory
And you share bear His Light.

The Chorus is repeated again..... and often again and again and again!!


JustJohn Report 28 Feb 2014 09:43

A lot of the chat traffic now is on one thread. So those who like to contribute on other threads are probably very busy and other threads are very quiet. Almost dormant. And we probably all like to feel that out words are not wasted.

I was away all yesterday (in Manchester - how I live it up :-D ;-)) and notice some of the threads I was looking at on Wednesday night have hardly moved off Page One.

Here is a message to all those who love God from Isaiah Chapter 60:

"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee."

That verse and the subsequent passage applies to a great number of people in our generation. And a goodly number who watch and/or contribute to Genes chat. Friends, we are especially blessed. :-) :-)


Cynthia Report 28 Feb 2014 08:32

Good morning.....we seem a bit quiet on here. If anyone has any requests or likes a certain type of prayer or story, please let me know and I'll do my best to find something suitable. :-)

Mind you, the whole Chat board seems very slow these days. I can remember when it used to whizz round and you couldn't keep up. I only pop in once or twice a day now myself though, so I guess others are busy too.

A thought for today:

Each Day Brings a Chance to Do Better

How often we wish for another chance
To make a fresh beginning,
A chance to blot out our mistakes
And change failure into winning—
And it does not take a special time
To make a brand-new start,
It only takes the deep desire
To try with all our heart
To live a little better
And to always be forgiving
And to add a little “sunshine”
To the world in which we’re living—
So never give up in despair
And think that you are through,
For there’s always a tomorrow
And a chance to start anew.

- Helen Steiner Rice.

Spring is on it's way! Cx :-)


kandj Report 27 Feb 2014 23:08

So much more than the widows mite Cynthia..... that made me smile. Thank you.


Cynthia Report 27 Feb 2014 08:42

Good morning everyone..... :-)

I love church bells - we are fortunate that we have some which are used regularly by a team of volunteer bellringers. :-)

Talk about bedlam last word! We had our new priest-in-charge in church taking evening prayer with the lay reader; we had the organ chamber buzzing away with a couple of folk printing the parish magazine and the meeting room was hectic with families as they arrived for Baptism Preparation classes. It was lovely to be part of it all though and I'm sure our late lamented vicar would have been delighted to see us getting back onto an even keel. :-)

After the class, I always take the parents into church to show them where they will be sitting etc. At one point, I realised that a dad was looking round for something and then I realised what he was looking for - a little curly head suddenly emerged from under one of the front pews - the little chap had crawled away and was exploring the church. :-)

A smile:

God Winked

She'd go to church each Sunday morning,
And afterwards, she'd grocery shop
The requirements of both events
Determined how much cash she brought.

The church was neither rich nor needy,
But was entitled to support,
The pastor's words were most uplifting,
Thus she must not sell the good man short.

A Ten dollar bill? Yes ... quite enough,
A good deal more than others,
And it would not clink, like coins do,
In the plate and make her shudder.

Then she checked out her cupboards,
And found them nearly bare,
That called for major shopping,
So many things not there.

She made herself a grocery list,
Which grew to several pages,
The poor soul was out of everything,
Which was really quite outrageous.

So she grabbed a Hundred dollar bill,
Which she had put away,
For just such type occasions,
As grocery shopping days.

Now with her Ten and Hundred,
Tucked snugly in her purse,
She felt very well prepared,
For shopping and for church.

The sermon was inspiring,
The hymns stirred her to the depths,
And brimming with emotion,
The woman sang and wept.

When the collection plate was passed,
Still in tears, she sought her Ten,
Oh Oh ... you're way ahead of me,
That's right ... she dropped her Hundred in.

Her error not discovered,
Till she reached the grocery store,
Thank God she had her credit cards,
(Yep, that's what they are for.)

For in her purse, all by itself,
Sat a lone Ten dollar bill,
The Hundred dollar bill now gone,
Resting neatly in the church's till.

If you think she was surprised,
Imagine how the pastor felt,
Some parishioner, he thought,
Must be loaded down with guilt.

Such a large amount for anyone
To drop into the church's plate,
But if it eased a guilty conscience
The pastor guessed that would be great.

The Lord works in mysterious ways,
The preacher took the bill and smiled,
A homeless family on the streets
Would find that cash worthwhile.

When the lady later told her tale,
About the money and its path,
At first folk sympathized with her,
But shortly they began to laugh

Her friends and family teased her,
About the communion wine she drank,
Re its potency and quantity,
And had she drained the church's tank?

They ribbed her about how much she paid
For a reservation up above,
"But dontcha' know," they further teased,
"Cash can't buy the good Lord's love?"

They taunted her about the credit,
She'd now built up at church, perhaps,
Now, she could attend for "free,"
And let the plate go right on past.

She denied their accusations,
Though she was flustered and red-faced,
Of course, she knew her way to heaven,
Was strictly through God's grace.

But good naturedly she took their gibes,
And basically had no regrets,
The cash had gone to a worthy cause,
So how could she be upset?

When she reached into her purse that day,
God took her hand, I think,
And guided it to the proper bill,
And then ... I think ... God winked!

Enjoy your day.....Cx :-)


kandj Report 26 Feb 2014 09:43

A long time since we sang that hymn in church Cynthia. Now I may well be singing it in place of the Calon Lan tune lol.

Next Sunday we will have a baptism during the morning service and then after tea and biscuits a poorly baby will be baptized and at 12noon 3 families will come to bring babies for baptism........ so it will be a busy Sunday and I know Rev Jan will make each child feel very special and will remind the families that all their babies are now a part of our church family. It would be good to have them join us, but that rarely happens which is very sad imho. We desperately need young families to be as committed as my generation has in serving the church and the village for years.

What I forgot to mention previously (blame my age, senior moment ha ha) was we have the church bells pealing out once again on a Sunday morning. The church warden was pulling on the ropes and the bell is in the belfry....... ask not for whom the bell tolls?? came to mind last week. Another step forward and thanks to Jan.


Cynthia Report 26 Feb 2014 08:41

Good morning everyone... :-)

kandj's lovely reminiscence from yesterday, made me think of the following hymn which we sing occasionally:

1 When I needed a neighbour were you there, were you there?
When I needed a neighbour were you there?

And the creed and the colour and the name won't matter,
were you there?

2 I was hungry and thirsty, were you there, were you there?
I was hungry and thirsty, were you there? [Refrain]

3 I was cold, I was naked, were you there, were you there?
I was cold, I was naked, were you there? [Refrain]

4 When I needed a shelter were you there, were you there?
When I needed a shelter were you there? [Refrain]

5 When I needed a healer were you there, were you there?
When I needed a healer were you there? [Refrain]

6 Wherever you travel I'll be there, I'll be there,
Wherever you travel I'll be there.

And the creed and the colour and the name won't matter,
I'll be there.

- Sydney Carter

The words are inspired from the following bible readings:

1 Corinthians 12:13; James 1:27; Leviticus 19:18; Luke 10:25-37; Luke 10:33-34; Luke 19:19-31; Matthew 28:20; Proverbs 25:21; Psalm 107:5-9

There are many recordings of this on You Tube, but I thought this was a little different....

Another hymn to rattle around in my brain all day..... :-)

Hoping to get a walk in this morning as it looks so nice out......and then it is Baptism prep class tonight .......... five families I think....... :-S

Take care all......Cx :-)


kandj Report 25 Feb 2014 10:46

Wonderful and profound words Cynthia and so, so true.

John, having the ability to listen is a gift from the Holy Spirit (imho). It gets better with practice, and God loves a trier.

I have been told many times that I am a good listener and feel blessed when others share their innermost thoughts with me. It is even more of a blessing to spend time listening to elderly folk who are confused and disorientated.

For the past 16 months I have visited a wonderful couple who have lost their independence and now live in our village Care Home .They are my Catholic friends and I used to attend special Masses with them over very many years. I pray with them both at the end of every visit, it just feels right and I need the closeness of God

H is a wonderful gentle man who will be 95 in August. He is in a world of his own, bless him. He recognizes my face but is no longer able to tell me my name. H has no recollection of the many happy years we have all shared together over the years, but I go each week and sit and listen to H talk about his past life. He repeats himself constantly but I listen and reply as if I am hearing his news for the first time ever. H always thanks me profusely for spending time with him. It is my privilege.

His wife F was 84 last Tuesday. They have been married for 65 years. F is very alert in her mind but has chosen to remain in bed for so long that her muscles have wasted and F is now skeletal. It upsets me but I am committed to visit my friends
I have to stop myself from getting angry when I see F wasting her life when she has received so many blessings and graces throughout her 84 years.

It is a learning curve for me to witness my Catholic friends now and see how their lifestyle has changed so drastically in a relatively short time. The priest visits fortnightly, F tells me which priest but H has no memory of the visits, bless him.

How blessed we are to be in a position to live in our own homes but can reach out to others who are now so much in need of a helping hand and also a listening ear.


JustJohn Report 25 Feb 2014 09:27

These thoughts this morning, Cynthia and kandj, are so wonderful.

And I speak as one who is a terrible listener. But one who appreciates when people empathise with my problems.

One of the worst things (and I know I do it a lot) is when someone gives you a problem and you say that you fully understand - because a distant niece in Bechuanaland had exactly the same problem - and this is how she coped. :-( :-(

I would just throw in one from my own experience (yes, I know I am doing it again). About 10 years ago, we had a close family member who was very ill and we all had a lot of counselling and it was very professional.

At ther beginning of the process, we attended a very professional power point presentation. Four health and social services experts in front and about 30 in the audience. It was 2 hours long and covered the whole history of counselling techniques, and how each person was an individual and responded differently..

Yet I had to ask a question at the end. Do you not think that prayer is a very important counselling tool? The experts dealt with my question politely and abruptly, quickly changed the subject, as if some Neaderthal was in their midst. But I noticed a number of the audience of perhaps 30 nodded in agreement.

And, whilst pills and modern techniques can help, I would still maintain that prayer is the most important and oldest technique. It worked for us. :-)


Cynthia Report 25 Feb 2014 08:05

Good morning everyone. It sounds as though Betty must have been a very special person indeed kandj - what lovely memories you have of her.

The words kandj quoted reminded me of something which I will share with you all. I find these thoughts incredibly powerful and they certainly made me think when I first read them:

Please Listen

When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving advice,
you have not done what I have asked.
When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel the way I do,
you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do or say something to solve my problem,
you have failed me ... strange as that may seem.

When I am feeling angry, depressed, worried or discouraged let me express my feelings while you simply listen, and care.
Do not try to change my feelings.

You may feel uncomfortable in the presence of my pain, but please just be there with me.
I’m uncomfortable, too.

When you try to distract me with humor or premature optimism, I start to feel ashamed of my negative feelings,
as if they are unimportant or a sign of weakness on my part.

You do not need to tell me if you feel my pain and understand what I am feeling.
I will be able to see that in your eyes.
Trying to tell me when I do not see it in your eyes will only assure me that you really do not understand.

Let me be weak or angry.
I am struggling with pain and I need support ... not advice.

Do not appear impatient or disinterested.
This just compounds the pain and makes me doubt myself even more.

When you reject my emotions as unimportant,
harmful or even unspiritual, this merely adds to my feelings of isolation and failure.

When you listen to my pain and frustration with tender-hearted compassion
it strengthens my faith more than quoting a million Bible verses would do.
I know the spiritual truths already, that God cares and will guide me.

I need to experience God’s love and compassion through your caring and listening and ministry of presence.
I need God in your flesh to hug me, cry with me, and assure me of your concern, love, and support.

I do need your prayers for me and with me, but to be there with me is the best answer to prayer.

I do not need professionalism ... I need a friend.
Do not try to help me analyze my feelings and understand why I am feeling them.

Do not reassure me by using cliches such as “Time will heal all things” or “God is in control.”
I know these things, but at the moment I need to express my pain and hurt to someone who cares that I hurt.
The truths that I already know will surface later when the raging emotions are calmed.

Be a help to me in the storm, even when you would rather not enter into the pain with me.
Often the feelings of rejection and loneliness are the most painful of all the feelings I have.

When you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel, no matter how irrational it may seem,
then I can quit trying to convince you and can get about the business of understanding what’s behind my pain.
When that is clear, the answers will be obvious and I can move beyond the anguish.

So, please listen and just hear me.

And when you find yourself in pain, please let me be your friend, and listen to you,
for I have learned just how important listening really is.

~ Author Unknown ~

Food for thought indeed. Love to you all....Cx :-)


kandj Report 24 Feb 2014 12:35

Appropriate words to share I think, given Cynthia's poem.


Thank you for joining me in my world.
Thank you for stooping so low to enter.
Thank you for standing here with me
while I show you my little collection of pictures,
memories, mistakes, triumphs and sadnesses.

Thank you for not being too eager to get home,
Thank you for not telling me about your
front room: thank you for not bringing your
collection of pictures and memories,
knowing they would crowd out mine.
Thank you for not feeling the need
to give me advice.

Thank you. You are a friend, who, for me,
Looks and feels very much like God.
(Simon Parke).


kandj Report 24 Feb 2014 12:06

Can't get the Calon Lan tune out of my head John,and singing along again this morning.
Well worth a look Cynthia, we have kept it on the recorder and will no doubt have another good old sing song another time (or three lol). A real spirit lifter.

I do recall The Crabbit Old Woman poem and feel it's so sad when the elderly are perceived as being OLD and never having been young.

I visited my elderly neighbour for 8 years as she had Dementia and needed to be in a Home for 24x7 care. Betty was a hard and willing worker in our church before this illness took away her mind.
When she was no longer able to hold a conversation with me I used to hold her hand and sing hymns and Betty would join in and sing all the verses..... just very strange but wonderful to witness.

Betty's favourites were As The Deer Pants For the Water and You Are The Vine, We Are the Branches, she was word perfect, God love her.
It is 3 years since she passed away, with me at her side and I find it difficult to sing these hymns in church now without thinking of Betty who was a very special Christian lady. We shared our journey in faith and although she was married, but had no children, she had many within our church family who loved Betty dearly.