Monday, May 28, 2018

Read the Instructions

by Linda Cliff

During a recent sermon the minister stated "when in doubt, read the instructions.”  This comment really resonated with me.  If you have been reading this blog you know that I have promised my friend to write one blog a month for her.  This was to be her birthday gift for 2018.  Since I need something to write about I realized I have been reading the instructions and as a result I feel blessed.

I thought I would share with you how easy this has been and maybe you too will take up the challenge. 

  • Bible App on your ipad or any hand held device. My husband and I travel so packing books can be a challenge.  The Bible app goes with you easily and also gives you a selection of reading plans. 

I am now following a "read through the Bible in a year" plan which tracks your progress and encourages you to keep going.

  • The Bible Project:  if you find reading a chore or want to enhance your Bible reading I suggest you look at their web site.  The developers have made videos on the individual books of the bible and themes of the Bible.  I use these videos along with my read through the Bible in a year plan.  When I start a new Bible book I watch the video to get an idea of what I am about to read.  I find this enhances my understanding.
  • Group Bible Study: meeting with others gives you an opportunity to discuss and share your ideas of what you are learning.  Also you meet new friends! Wednesdays at SPPC, 9:30 am or 7:00 pm.
  • Read a Book:  search your church library, the public library or go on line.  I discovered the books of Diane Moody and was able to download her books for free!  Once you go to one web site you will be directed to other sites.
  • Pray:  you can start simple by praying the Lords Prayer.  I found by doing this more than once a day it became something I wanted and needed to do.
  • Challenge yourself:  writing a blog for my friend is a real stretch.  I do not like to write.  I was the person who left her essays to the last minute.  But, I am now being blessed by the reading I do each month. What will be your challenge.
  • Find a Church:  yes there is a congregation that will meet your needs.  Go looking you will be surprised.

Since January I have been reading the instructions! The points I have mentioned were always available to me but the difference is that I am doing them.  Spending time with God however you chose to do so will enrich your life and your walk with Him.

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Book that Matters Most

My book club recently read a book titled, "The Book That Matters Most," by Anne HoodThe premise of the story is a book club where members chose their books for the year as the "book that mattered most" to each member of the group.  
I found that idea intriguing and tried to answer the question for myself.  My answer -- The Bible, no contest.  This book describes the life of Jesus, our Saviour. It includes his instructions to us on how to live, loving God and our neighbour, how to pray, how to forgive and how to trust in our Heavenly Father. 
     It contains the writings of early Christian leaders to guide the church as it proclaims Christ in the world today, and it ends with a vision of heaven.

 And that is only the New Testament.  Going back into the Old Testament we find a whole range of terrific stories, heroes of the faith like Daniel, obedient servants of God like Noah. Rahab, who risked her life to help the people of God.  Sarah who became the mother of a nation.
Then there are the beautiful psalms, songs of adoration, supplication, joy, sorrow, fear and thanksgiving.  If you can't find the words to express how you feel, read the psalms. I'm sure you'll find the verse that makes you say, "yes, that's it!"  
Of course, I've only given a few examples of the wonderful words and stories of the Bible.  If you had to choose a "desert island book," the Bible would be it.  You could read it again and again and find something more on each pass through the text.
 In fact, that is how Harry Swiggum, developer of the Bethel Bible Series found his life's work.  Stationed on a Pacific Island during World War II, he read the only book at hand, The Gideon's Bible issued to every serviceman.  When he'd gone from Genesis to Revelations, he started over, and over and over.  The Bible changed his life. When the war ended, he became an ordained minister.  He developed the Bethel Bible Study Series and changed the lives of millions of people.
In Hood's book the readers choose books like Anna Karenina, Pride and Prejudice, and Catcher in the Rye, among authors. According to the author's story, these books were important to particular people at a particular time.  It's a fun concept and we had a great time discussing favourite books at our meeting.
 But even the greatest classics, are a dim flicker of life compared to our Holy Bible.  You can pick up a copy, at SPPC.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Newcomers Lunch


We found another excuse to have cake after church -- actually, we had a whole hot lunch. 

   The occasion was to welcome newcomers and to thank volunteers.  Of course, we welcome newcomers any time, but now and again, the fellowship committee likes to offer a corporate welcome,  That's what happened last Sunday.

    As for the volunteers . . . they made the lunch!  The church, indeed the whole of society, cannot function without those who give of their time and talent.  At SPPC we have people who make coffee, do dishes, cut the grass, visit the sick, bring flowers, sing in the choir, keep the books, count the collection, run the sound
system . . .  Just off the top of her head, our clerk of session (another volunteer) made a list of thirty-six functions filled by volunteers.  She said she was sure there was more and there is.  She left off the blog, and I'm enormously grateful to anyone who contributes, as a volunteer, to this page. 
This year Linda has blessed us with her book reviews every month.  Her offering started as a birthday present to me, but everyone, including Linda, has benefited from her gift. 

   That's the way it is with volunteering.  Most often the one who benefits most is the volunteer him/herself.  I hope our newcomers will soon feel at home and ready to share their gifts with the "oldcomers."  Then our congregation will grow in spirit as well as numbers.

   Welcome everyone, and thank you.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Book Review by Linda Cliff

Confessions of a Prayer Slacker
By Diane Moody

This book was a new venture for me in that I got the book as a free download from the internet.  This did make me wonder if the book would be worth reading since it is “free”.  The good news is you too can download the book from the net because the book is well worth reading!

I have to admit that at the start of this book, I really thought the author came off as a little too casual and flippant for my tastes. I thought I would not like this at all. However, after persevering, I found much that was helpful, in spite of her writing style. I was reminded how important it is to carve out of our busy and distracting days, a special time of devotion. I was challenged to not neglect my personal time of prayer and conversation with the Lord.

Early in the book the author asks the question “just how badly do you want to spend time with God in prayer” I found that this question helped me to change my attitude to subsequent chapters.  If you are serious about spending time in prayer then the "how to" information about setting up a prayer journal and how we can set aside time for prayer will be helpful.  I found the chapters “When God is Silent” and “Prayerlessness” interesting as the topics were discussed in a way that was easy to relate to. 

Moody uses Bible references and references from other Christian authors to illustrate her points witch stimulated my interest in doing some further reading.    She was also very open and honest in sharing her own successes and failures in her pursuit of prayer.  This helped to make the book feel more like a conversation with a friend rather than a "how to" book that had to be followed to the letter.

Well, the book has made a difference to my prayer life.  The biggest take away for me was about finding and taking the time for a regular prayer life, and understanding that this is time spent with God;  time for me to learn more about Him, to grow in His love and to develop a personal relationship with my God and Saviour. 

Good read and only a download away!

Linda Cliff