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  1. "I'm afraid the prognosis isn't very good!" Said the veterinary practitioner as he finished examining the limp body of our faithful old cat of 19 years. He had suffered another stroke like episode leaving him without the capability of using his back legs. He was helpless and very stressed.

    My husband and I had earlier discussed that if ever this type of thing happened to 'Teddy' we would have to make the decision to have him put to sleep. And here we were at that point and I was the one asking the vet to attend to Teddy at home instead of the surgery. 

     It felt as if I was giving my consent to end the life of a child of ours!

    Teddy came into our lives when our children were young. He has been there all the way through those troublesome teenage years. And now that our family have left the nest to marry their own loved ones Teddy is still with us. By the way, Teddy is STILL with us :-)

    You see, it was arranged that the vet would come to our home at 5:00pm, so we had the best part of the day to do all we could for our beloved furry friend. Our son came and spent some 'quality' time with Teddy - on the floor where we had been spending most of our day. He was groomed, petted and fussed, which Teddy appeared to relish while time ticked on relentlessly to that dreaded hour.

    To anyone who has never owned a pet our behaviour might appear to have been rather peculiar but it's at a time like this that you realise just how attached to a pet you can become.

    I glanced at the clock for the umpteenth time, it was just gone 5 but no one had showed up yet! After a few moments the phone rang - it was the vet calling to enquire about Teddy and about ourselves.

    b_A VERY Close Shave 1 

    "Well," I told him, "Teddy still seems the same to me but he has calmed down after the injection he was given in the morning. He can do everything a cat does but only with assistance and he's hungry! As for us - well, we are in a dilemma! Earlier, having him put to sleep seemed the right thing to do but as the day has progressed we're not so sure."

    I asked if he would come anyway to see Teddy for himself, and help us to know what to do to which he agreed. I no sooner closed the conversation when Teddy surprised us all with an impressive effort to rise to his feet and head over for a drink of water! What a pitiful sight, Teddy looked like he was well and truly 'tipsy' but he made it - well, after a fashion :-)

    When the vet arrived we told him what had just happened. He took a look at Teddy now lying back on the floor like he had been doing all day and to our surprise and encouragement he told us:

    "Do you know, I think he is going to recover!

    I'm not sure to what degree his recovery will be but I believe that if you are prepared to wait 24-48 hours you will have a clearer idea what to do because Teddy will let you know."

    After a further small conversation the Vet left. And so 5 o'clock came and went but our Teddy remained. I'm not sure how many lives he has left but he surely had the closest shave I have ever known in a long while.

    On that sad day I lost a day's pay, and paid an extortionate veterinary bill and although Teddy has made a partial recovery he is still very wobbly. I wonder why all that happened a few weeks ago. But even as I am writing about it I realise that all this may have been for your benefit; for as you read about the events in our family you may recollect some 5 o'clock events in your own life.

    ~~~~~

    Everyone's life is very precious you know, but there is something you possess that is even more valuable than life itself, and that is your soul and spirit! If '5 o'clock' was the time of the day when your life was going to end where would that part of you that is eternal be the moment after your body has died? The Bible puts it like this:

    "What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
    or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
    Matthew 16: 26

    Did you know that you may have been preserved by God Himself from many a close shave without you even realising it? And you are still here! Isn't that amazing? If only you would value your soul like God does then you would make sure that all is well with your soul for time and for eternity.

    God values it so highly He has made all the provisions for its eternal well being. He sent His only Son into the world to ultimately go to the cross and die in the place of sinners like you and me. When He died He took away the power that sin has to separate us from His very best and a home in His glorious heaven. All that for you and for me! What amazing grace! What love!

    "The redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever.
    Psalm 49: 8

    Seeing as you and I do not know when our 5 o'clock is going to come, it would be wise to turn from the sin for which He died and trust Him wholly for the security of your never dying soul. You will be eternally glad you did :-)

    "Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."
    Proverbs 27: 1 

    b_Teddy

    Teddy ♥

     


     

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  2. Passion! Well, we've seen quite a bit of it lately haven't we?

    For the last few months and more intensely for the last few weeks we have been listening to the passionate campaigning of both the 'remain' or 'leave' the EU parties.

    Each side has put forth their arguments and expressed viable points and as a result, the British public have now voted to leave the EU once for all!

    A long period of transition will occur before we all discover whether or not this was the right decision. However, whether right or wrong, there's no turning back. We must trust that the turmoil within the high levels of government will soon settle and that a strong and sensible leadership will prevail.

    Personally, I feel that if everyone had of brought the living God into the equation, then as a country we would be guaranteed to have made the right decision and would look forward to the promised blessing of all who seek to give to Him the preeminence!

    Because this has been such a emotive subject, resulting in such great impact on all of our futures, I couldn't help but notice the amount of passion behind the campaigners appeals.

    It is understandable of course, that from their standpoint there would have been nothing more important than persuading the public to decide either to remain or to leave the EU - depending which side of the fence they were standing. But I wondered if any of these people were just as passionate about the destiny of their never dying souls! 

     In fact, I wonder how passionate you are about yours!

    Time is running out you know! It's running out for all of us for varying reasons.

    Firstly - because we are, after all just human and we are not going to live here forever. Wouldn't it be a wise thing to make sure all is well with our soul before we leave?

    Seeing as I am writing to some who are clearly ready and to others who aren't, I appeal to you from the bottom of my heart to value your soul like God does and trust fully in the One who paid for your sin on the cross when He died there as yours and my substitute.

    There's nothing on earth more important than seeking to get on the right terms with the living God who is waiting to richly reward those who search for Him diligently.

     b_Passion

    Secondly - those of us who are God's people have been left a promise from the Lord Jesus Himself:

    "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
    In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
    And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
    John 14: 1-3.

    Now, that is an amazing promise indeed! 

    But did you notice that He didn't tell us when He was thinking of coming again?

    He did this on purpose because if He were to have told us when this great event was to take place, then we would have been complacent; because after all ... we are just human!

    And because we don't know when He will come again, we are expected to be ready every moment of every day. We have the grand opportunity to be passionately occupied with His business while at the same time be on the lookout with expectation for His promised return. Isn't this also something worthy of our passion?

    To all I suggest that it is the very best thing to be among those who are joyfully anticipating His imminent return rather than to be found among those sorry folks who will find to their great and eternal loss that they have been left behind.

    The Bible teaches that when all is well with our soul and we have the coming of our Lord and Saviour to look forward to we will really know what it is like to live!

    Don't waste a moment; for He could come ... PERHAPS TODAY!

     


     

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  3. b_And the Floods Arose

    "Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them,
    I will shew you to whom he is like:
    He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock:
    and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house,
    and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock."
    Luke 6: 47-48

    Those of us who are truly 'born of God' will know and appreciate the wisdom of the above words the Lord spoke concerning the foundations of our faith.

    O, how good it is to know that no matter what, all is well with our soul!

    How thankful we ought to be that the price of our soul's security has been fully met in the accomplished work of our beloved Lord Jesus on Calvary's cross.

    I couldn't help but notice that the floods and storms were expected regardless of the types of foundations upon which each builder built their homes. Good times and bad times are the general lot of each member of the human race regardless of our spiritual foundations. But what an immeasurable difference being a child of God makes when those floods arise in our lives. And believe me, they certainly do!

    It is a season of storms and floods in our lives at present and a loved one going through the trial with us said on reflection: 'my, it never rains but it pores, doesn't it?' In this case that is definitely so but I was able to lift the mode of conversation a little by mentioning that in spite of what's happening, there's always something to be truly thankful for. There we were sitting in a spotlessly clean hospital waiting room surrounded by lovely people attending to my Mum who was brought in by the paramedics!

    As a believer I know that the stormy season in our lives at present is definitely not without reason or rhyme. I've been through too many times like this not to have learned this by experiment. After all, pearls don't just appear do they? They are indeed the result of the suffering of the oyster, which can only yield its treasure by giving up its life! The things that have been learned as a result of past experiences of suffering are treasures that are eternal, and I'm on the lookout for more!

    With TWO elderly Mums now in hospital needing special care and those around them needing so much help it is easy to wonder why this is all happening at the same time.

    At the moment life is not a matter of living one day at a time but by taking one step at a time. Thankfully those steps are confidently placed where the beloved Lord and Saviour tenderly leads.

    After all, what's the point of swimming against the tide when the floods arise beyond our depth? Just go with the current; for the Lord and lover of our souls will carry His people through the rising tide until the storm abates and the sun shines once more.

    This rather reminds me of those who sheltered safely in the Ark as the floods arose back in Noah's time. Being safe in the ark enabled them to ride over the flood while others drowned.

    The secret is, (which, by the way is no secret at all,) it is to be 'in' the ark when the storm comes - or rather to be 'in Christ' when the floods arise; for being in Him means that you get to see the rainbow once the trial is over and life settles once more.

    ~~~~~

    "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet,
    moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house;
    by the which he condemned the world,
    and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith."
    Hebrews 11:7

    The same gospel that saves those who believe, also condemns the unrepentant.
    Noah built the ark as a refuge for whoever would heed the warning; sadly only eight people did.
    His ark consigned the unbelieving world to judgment. Christ died to save you. Have you received Him?
    K. R. Keyser

    From Choice Gleanings Daily Calendar

     

    Related link - He Knows, and He Cares (Poem)

     


     

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  4. Suffering ... there seems to be a lot of it around doesn't there?

    You don't have to look far to find it. It's on the news, in the papers, on the radio, in social media, may be just next door or even in our own homes!

    Seeing as this unfortunate part of life visits us all at some time or another, what can we do to prepare ourselves for it? What can we learn from such adverse experiences?

    I have noticed that suffering can affect us in different ways. Some grow weary, angry or nervous, while others going through something similar grow stronger, more patient and more confident.

    How can this be?

    Perhaps it all depends where we have our focus.

    We live in a suffering world and without an upward look, and without the living God, our lives would be very bleak indeed!

    A little while ago I heard a small motivational secular message about our attitude towards suffering and I had to pen down the following words which I felt were significant:

    "It's never what happens to us in life,
    it's always the meaning we choose to give what happens to us that makes the difference."
    Peter Sage

    I totally agree; for suffering can affect us in one of two ways - it can either make us bitter or better!

    Having gone through a number of crucible experiences of my own I have learned to look out for the gems to be discovered along the way. I found treasures in those dark hours that I will never lose. For me those treasures are appreciations of my beloved Lord and Saviour that are far too precious to keep to myself.

    I now spend my life seeking to share what I know about Him with as many as is humanly possible.

    O, that you might know the Saviour like I know Him - then you would know for certainty that no matter what the circumstance - He is able!

    Having spent a couple of Sunday lunchtime Bible studies in our Church covering the great and emotive subject of suffering and answering that soul searching question many people ask: "If God is a God of love, why doesn't He do anything about all the suffering there is in the world?"

    Among the many answers that came to the surface,

    This is the one which I felt was like a beacon shining a ray of light into the darkness ...

    God is not aloof to human suffering.

    Two thousand years ago He came to this earth and lived here in a human body for thirty-three years. During that time He knew what suffering was all about.

    He lived in abject poverty. He knew what it was like to be famished, exhausted, weary, worn and sad.

    He knew the sorrow of betrayal, rejection and ridicule.

    His experience of torture and crucifixion was more acute than anyone who has ever gone through such an experience before.

    b_bitter or better 1

    Alone in a garden hours before He died on a cross He pleaded with His Father to remove from Him the suffering He was anticipating - if it was at all possible!

    But heaven was silent to His agonising cry and He conceded with this answer: "Not my will but thine be done".

    The blending of two perfect wills was accomplished and He would go ahead with all that was necessary to save poor sinners like you and me from sin and its consequences.

    You see, even Christ had to suffer!

    He suffered for our sins and He understands our all of our troubles and trials firsthand! And this is what makes our God unique apart from the world's other gods which are lifeless images, statues or imaginations of the human mind.

    You can do one of two things when the winds of adversity blow your way. You can turn your collar as it were to the wind and rain and muddle through on your own but you can be sure that doing this for too long will have adverse effects. This kind of lonely suffering will make you ugly and bitter.

    Or you can turn to the One who knows and sympathises with your sufferings and allow Him to strengthen you through those trials. With His help you can be sure you will be the better for it.

    Perhaps you will learn a thing or two you will never forget. Treasures of your own you can keep - forever!

     b_bitter or better 2

     


     

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  5. b_blue sky thinking

    "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance:
    but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken."
    Proverbs 15: 13

    We have had more than our fair share of gloomy weather this winter. It has rained almost constantly for weeks and often been accompanied with strong to gale force winds! It was difficult at times not to allow the gloomy weather to affect my mood.

    A very welcome break in the weather came a few days ago for a little while. Three days of unspoiled sunshine brightened up everything and brought a welcome relief to those long gray, wet and windy days ... and nights!

    I thought 'what a difference a bit of sunshine makes!' it makes everything look so colourful and brightens up our spirits. Everyone it seemed was sighing with relief and feeling the benefit of the warm rays of sunlight. Even the birds had something to sing about :-)

    I looked up into the clear blue sky remembered how wonderful it is to have an unsullied walk and relationship with the living God.

    How wonderful it is to be truly 'born again'!

    There are plenty of clouds in the life of someone who needs to be saved from their sin and reconciled to God. So much comes between a lost soul and the sunshine of the Father's love. So many poor folks in this sad predicament. But thankfully there is a wonderful remedy and separation the Father's care need not be something that is permanent.

    The precious Son of God came to the rescue when to the cross He willingly went in the place of lost sinners separated from the love of God by their sin. There He felt all the waves and billows of the wrath of God we deserved.

    There He felt keenly the clouds of separation when He suffered, bled and died all alone.

    But thanks be to God, the Saviour in whom we need to trust in order to enjoy a relationship with Him now lives in the power of an endless life. There isn't a soul living today that ever needs to live or die separated from God. All that He requires from those for whom Christ died is:

    "... Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
    Acts 20: 21

    Though this is in essence something very simple it is also profound because God is looking for repentance and faith that is sincere, and no one who ever comes to Him with a sincere heart will He ever turn away!

    Now I know that the phrase 'blue-sky thinking' is an expression used, (courtesy of Collins English Dictionary), to define 'creative ideas that are not limited by current thinking or beliefs', but it seems to have a perfect place right here in expressing an unclouded frame of mind. What a difference a frame of mind like that makes personally and to the lives of those around us.

    Lest we should lose our focus as believers and  become 'puddle glums', it is important to look beyond the clouds as it were and adopt that 'blue-sky' way of thinking. Therefore; let us allow the promised presence of the living Lord Jesus warm our souls. And may the promise of His coming again fill you with joyful anticipation.

    Remember, He could very well come - 'Perhaps Today!'

     ~~~~~

     

    Related Thought from Choice Gleanings Calendar

    "Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.
    But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head."
    Psalm 3:2-3

    David’s foes were saying there was no hope for him,
    but he confronted this notion by declaring that God was his “shield” and the “lifter” of his head.
    It is our natural tendency to hang our heads in discouragement during difficult trials.
    But David chose to peer heavenward and to wait for deliverance.
    The Lord uses pain so that believers may better identify with Him in His sorrow.
    Exercising deliberate confidence in the character of God when it seems unreasonable to do so,
    delivers our minds from the grip of depression.
    W. A. H.

     

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