Heading to heaven??? Part 1

Leave a comment

I can’t tell you how many people I hear say that they are a “Christian” yet when asked about any particular tenets of the faith or indeed of their own Christian walk, are left speechless and unable to answer because they are little more than what I term “cultural Christians” – those who believe they have a right to the title because of where they live,  I vividly remember a conversation I had with a Roman Catholic lady in a staunchly Republican are of West Belfast.  We were all attending a meeting with a shared interest in a medical condition we each suffered from, so at least had that in common.  Somehow the conversation turned to religion – a dangerous topic at any time in our Province but definitely a no-go one in the heart of IRA Belfast for a Protestant at any rate.  Yet I stood my ground.  It went something like this…. Me “I’m a Christian”, “Her “Sure, isn’t everyone?”  Me “How so”  Her “Well, if we’re not Christians, then what else are we?” Me “But Christianity isn’t a right, nor a hereditary faith” Her “Well, I’m not a Muslim, not a Hindu, not a Protestant, nor any other religion, so I’m a Christian.  I live in a “Christian” country so I’m a Christian!!”.  After another 10 minutes bouncing the topic around by the end of which she was starting to get just a shade more antsy than I wanted given I was there to talk about my role as chair of a medical charity, I had to just let her have her view and hope that what little I did manage to say about “true” Christianity might be used to turn her around at some later point.   But sadly in this little part of the world, religion has come to be more than a hot button topic given how many lives have been affected by the actions of those insisting on using it as a weapon complete with actual weapons to back their views up.  But before I finish this little portion, let me just be very clear on one thing – the “war” here has never been about religion.  Sure, it’s been used to whip up sentiments and attitudes etc but the Troubles were always primarily about power, control & eventually money – on both sides.  Left to themselves, here as elsewhere, Protestants & Catholics can live happily together and often forge lifelong friendships (one of my very best friends currently is an RC girl who connected with me through my charity work.  In the very early stages of our developing friendship we started discussing our differing views on faith, and discovered we had polar opposite views on many important topics from abortion and sexual attitudes etc, to who the Black Pope was etc, yet never once did it impact our friendship to any degree.  If anything I think it’s strengthened it – we don’t discuss faith matters as much these days purely because of circumstances but are very comfortable doing so nonetheless).

Belfast itself has more churches and chapels per square mile than probably even the Bible Belt in the US and is only now beginning to see an odd one being taken over for demolition.  Yet during the “Troubles” it was still interesting to see how the Protestant paramilitaries (more than the IRA) insisted their part in the war was for “God and Ulster” somehow totally missing the 6th Commandment as if God would somehow be pleased with them for continually breaking it.  But while the IRA never openly put God anywhere in their statements much, they were many times equally tied in to religion in some sense usually through priests who had no problem burying “volunteers” having a firing “squad” sendoff or Chapels providing safe haven for others etc.  But aside from all of that, most of those involved on both sides saw themselves as “Christian” “good Catholics”, or at the very least likely to make it to heaven.  Even murderers often think they have a right to heaven!!

If you’re not a Christian in any sense of the word let alone a “true” one, think on this.   If everyone could just die & go to heaven, what would be the point of living here?  After all, if there is a heaven to start with, then obviously there is a God Who created it and logically also the universe, earth & everything therein, and He could have obviously just not bothered creating us to live on a decaying planet in decaying bodies etc.  He could have just kept us in heaven to start with and save all this hassle.  But He desired more from us than initially mankind (aka Adam & Eve who by the way were real people!!  I’ll write up something on why you can believe that soon) wanted to provide Him – love and a reciprocal relationship.  Should have been easy don’t you think, but sadly there was a fly in the ointment aka Satan, who told the first lie to Eve, who determined she then knew better than her Creator and His “rules”, and the rest is history.

So ponder on all those things and if you find you then maybe are intrigued enough to return for Part 2 I’ll outline a bit better on the dangers of assumption of your eternal future and guide you on how best to ensure you DO end up in the most desired final destination.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” Philippians 3:20-21

Advertisements

Changing times….

Leave a comment

Well after a lengthy break from writing, I figured it might be time to dip my toe back in the literary waters & see if I could ramble enough to be worthy of posting.  I’ve been around and for once, holding my own healthwise, but have added in another new hobby in the form of jewellery making, so that’s really been taking up way more of my spare time than ideal.  BUT it’s hugely relaxing and enjoyable, and another means of pushing my pain down out of thought which is always good.

But I’ve been gaining a sense of late that times moving very fast these days and not just time, but many biblical prophecies too.   There are really no major prophecies yet to be fulfilled before Jesus could return, but there are quite a few “minor” ones.  One of those that many are keeping a very close eye on is that of Damascus being reduced to nothing “Behold. Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap” Isaiah 17:1  To my knowledge that has never yet happeend in history thus far.  It’s been hammered many times through various wars but has always been there.   This scripture, however, talks of it being no more afterwards – hard to contemplate, yet you only have to watch the current war in Syria to realise how close the city has come to utter destruction to realise that the prophecy is closer now than ever to fulfillment.  The following verses speak of utter desolation in the land of Syria and beyond.  Certainly in the current climate of the Middle East that wouldn’t be too hard to see happen at some point.

Other verses have long made me ponder about certain events – in the Revelation, John speaks of a day when there will be 2 Witnesses sent by God to proclaim His judgements on Israel & beyond.  However, they will be killed but their bodies left on the street for the whole world to view:

When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our[c] Lord was crucified. Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow[d] their dead bodies to be put into graves. 10 And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.”  Rev 11:7-11

I used to wonder how would everyone in the world see this as not that long ago television would have been the primary means but not everyone has a TV – even today that is still the case, BUT, now in 2018, more people on the planet either own or have access to a smartphone and a good connection to go with it.  Heck, even ISIS terrorists in deepest darkest Afghanistan have the best and most sophisticated phones & software!!

The other verse that used to make me think “How could that ever be?” is where Jesus asks “………Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”   Luke 18:8.  Again, I used to think “Of course He will, how could He not??”  But now I know differently.  It’s estimated now that Islam is rapidly rising to overtake Christianity in many countries of the world, and even in so-called “Christian” countries, the volume of churches that are actually closing is on the rise as never before.   Christians now face persecution of various degress in countries where it would previously have been deemed unthinkable, and even where the faith is fairly strong, there’s a rapid decline towards secular humanism in the surrounding culture.   Where once, many children would have heard about Jesus from childhood, through school, and regularly at Sunday School, nowadays many children couldn’t tell you Who He is regardless of why He is important.  Many adults are no better off, as many of the current generation come from broken families, which led many to handle the resultant hurt through alcohol and drugs, and who have lost faith in everything and everybody let alone God.  Some, through the work of the AA and other organisations, do manage to gain faith but not all.  Many prefer to become atheists or at best agnostics as it makes for an easier life.   And even of those who if asked would say they are “Christians”, most are such in culture terms only, again having little or no true faith.  So it’s much easier to understand how, if that’s the situation at this point in life, & we know much worse lies ahead for the world to endure before Jesus’ return, that there may indeed be few with any true faith left on the earth.  Hard to believe it’s actually come to that point within a century or less – from a generation where life revolved around family and church, to one where neither features at all.

If I manage to squeeze another afternoon into my schedule to continue to write some more, I’ll certainly do so – I’ve a bit more I’d like to write yet to explore on this continuing topic.  But don’t worry if nothing appears for a while – as you can see, I’ll be around so feel free to get in touch, comment or point me to others who I might enjoy connecting with too. :).  Thanks for reading.

Tats, marks & all things unholy…..

Leave a comment

In this current generation of “anything goes” and the more outrageous it is the better, it’s not really suprising that multitudes of youth in particular but also some who should truly know better (60+!) are signing up in droves to have ink bored into their skin in all manner of designs, artisitic & otherwise.   Few bother to think ahead to the repercussions of some of these impulsive decisions and choices – many discover that having the name of an ex-partner emblazoned on their arm can cause huge problems when they meet a new partner.  I doubt the best of us would desire to contend with that.  But women in particular will soon notice that the design that looked wonderful on 20-year-old skin starts to look not just weird but sometimes plain ugly on 60-year-old skin, depending on where it was put.

But the more important aspect of this explosion of interest in tattoos and, in particular. providing the masses with the idea that having 1000 needlepricks can be enjoyable (as I marvel at how even those with supposed needle phobias can submit themselves to endure getting one). is the way in which society is being well & truly “set up” for what surely lies ahead.

This article caught my eye as a reminder to what the future holds: Biometric ID   It outlines the way in which we are all continually being bombarded with the idea that our finances and personal data etc are always in danger when they are provided in forms that make it easy for others to steal them, & ourselves to lose them.  With the arrival of smart phones people en masse suddently started happily providing more information about themselves than ever to providers who request it – name, age, DOB, gender, religion, location, likes, connections, etc, etc.   Each new generation from here on will become more and more heavily wedded to the digital age.  Most of society already is so trapped within it, there’s a huge rise in the volume of accidents reported because people were walking with their heads down looking at their phones rather than where they were going.  And many of us have either experienced or know of couples who text each other while only yards (if not inches) apart in a room.

The scriptural implications of this slide towards total integration with the digital world are huge.  There was a time only 20-30 years ago when some portions of The Revelation would have been quite hard to comprehend but which now, with the arrival of the digital age, are becoming more and more clear.  One in particular is the Mark of the Beast.   First, we need to gain some understanding on who or what the Beast is.  Jesus outlines it all in  Rev 13: 1-9 (not provided here for space) and on through to verse 18.

In the scriptures, God reveals Antichrist as the Beast, who derives his power from Satan, the Dragon. Together, they will use the False Prophet, the Second Beast, to help them accomplish their evil works on planet earth.  Remember, these are all people, most likely world leaders and most likely one or both are alive & working towards their purpose in the world today.

The Bible also tells us that in the end of days, the Antichrist will rule over the entire human race with an ecumenical and apostate global religion, in addition to ruling the planet through a global government, and economy.  This is where the infamous Mark of the Beast or 666 comes in – whatever the relevance of the number itself, the point will be that nobody and especially Christians will be able to obtain money let alone have any kind of normal life.

I could write another half dozen pages on the topic but suffice to say these are interesting  times and no doubt God has more up ahead to reveal in His Perfect Plan and time – so as the title of the blog says – KEEP LOOKING UPWARDS!! 🙂

 

Christmas Cards & Music

Leave a comment

After yet the best part of another year lost to goodness knows what I’m giving up apologising for the current lack of content on here.  I could blame time (the WORST offender by far), distraction (definitely a good 2nd) and health (thankfully not a major problem this year) but ultimately I just keep forgetting to put something up.

SO, while I try & get my spiritual thoughts into some cohesive state for a ‘proper’ blog post, I figured I’d just do my usual and share some of my cards from this year along with a couple of amazing Christmas songs to enjoy.

So cards first – unfortunately this year I somehow still haven’t managed to get caught up after last year’s wedding when I lost 2 months out of my Christmas card season, so I ended up having to do a lot more repeats than I normally like, and thus haven’t too many new designs to reveal.  But hopefully you’ll enjoy what few are here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Now on to music – I’ve only really listened to Paul Baloche an odd time before now, but his Christmas music is just superb!   If you’ve not heard him before, have a listen to these offerings from his Christmas Worship Albums.

Then a nippy one from Chris Tomlin

And finally a quieter but all the more beautiful rendition of another favourite.

And given how fast time is still flying in, I would doubt my ability to get another post out this side of 2016, so all that remains is for me to thank you all for your faithful support in visiting, & wish you a truly wondrous & peaceful Christmas and a blessed 2016.

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince Of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with Judgment and with Justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Still around…

Leave a comment

Seem to do nothing these days other than apologise for not keeping up my blogs – I suppose part of that is that like possibly many in the blogosphere, I’m not a natural writer.  I started the blog because of having particular viewpoints that I got irritated enough by to want to vent to the world, but once those were all written I sort of lost my mojo somewhat I settled down to do other things instead.  And many of those other things have overtaken my life and time so much more than I expected.

Time continues to race away at a crazy pace as I still struggle to get many things done in my days.  It’s not like I sit about all day doing little.  Despite my disabilities & health I keep ridiculously busy and active within my limitations.   Even those hours (more than I’m happy with) where I’m just sitting I’ll still be doing – usually work on the couple of websites I manage or learning about those things of interest on the computer, or else I’ll be making cards which is quite an active hobby surprisingly.  Lately I’ve taken up a renewed but deeper interest in all things bonsai which is really taking up most of my time currently.   People think bonsai is a sedate interest – not a bit.  You’re endlessly having to work with the trees to keep them healthy and shape & style them etc.  But I’m so enjoying it, especially as I now have a bonsai expert on hand to help me with the initial work which is often the hardest.  And of course I decided to start yet another blog to keep a diary of my progress on that front.  No doubt like this one, it’ll go great for a few years then I’ll probably move on to something else I can get obsessed about again.

So in the meantime, for those of you who keep hoping for something new of interest my apologies but it’s doubtful I’ll get back into this particular blog for much other than more personal updates now, and for those who’re new to it, I hope something of what I’ve already written will provide some measure of interest.  And please do keep checking as you never know when I’ll start up again given how things are in the world these days.  However, given my particular style of writing might put me in prison some day in the future as free speech continues to be eroded, especially if you’re a Christian, I’m not rushing to add to it too soon, but might be unable to keep quiet.

If you’re into bonsai or just curious feel free to check out my new blog on my travels – Itsy-Bitsy Bonsai or if you prefer card making have a squizz at my card site Tikvah Treasures (Name comes from my wonderful cat who I named after Israel’s national anthem)

As ever, please leave a note along your travels – always nice to know who’s finding what of interest if anything.

Thanks.

Christmas cards & music – yayyyy :)

Leave a comment

Oh dear – another few months gone & I never got around to making a single post on here – oops.  😦  No real excuse this year either (unlike last!) – just haven’t had anything worthwhile putting up.

And even now – all I have to offer are some of this year’s cards & a couple of my fav songs for the season, but hope you won’t mind that.

Ok – cards first.

Only a small selection of the 400 odd I managed to produce this year – still a good 100 short but that was thanks to a rather important wedding (my wonderful brother’s)  I had to do the cards for back in Aug & Sept – well worth the loss 🙂  Should you take a fancy to any of the above or would like any others created for you, feel free to check out my website for more – Gentle Touch Cards

And now for a couple of this year’s fav songs:


Instrumental but beautiful by Casting Crowns


Casting Crowns


Another take on the same song by Chris Tomlin


Richard Marx

That’s it folks.  Unlikely I’ll be on here again now before Christmas so all that remains me to do is to wish all my faithful followers a Peaceful & enjoyable Christmas celebration always remembering Jesus is the REAL reason for the season (as cliched as it sounds!) 🙂

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”
Isaiah 9:6-7
59c070f4c444d3b954779ddddeec2298

Cards for all occasions….

Leave a comment

Sadly as ever, time escapes me, and I’ve had no time to put into writing for the blog, so instead, figured I’d fire up a few of my current cards which have been keeping me ultra busy.   These are primarily one-offs so if you like one & would like to buy then better put your order in ASAP as once they’re gone I can’t guarantee being able to make a repeat.

If you’d like to see more either just to view more details or to buy then feel free to visit either my card blog or shop – links in the sidebar.

Hope you like them 🙂

Older Entries