thought

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Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best – when something electronic freezes, hangs or stops working, turn it off an on again is often the simplest way to help it reset and start working again.

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Vinyl records were once at the height of technology for listening to music at home. Later CDs took over, and now digital music is streamed to us in better quality than those discs we used to play on record players.

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A friend in the US sent me a photo from her garden. And it struck me just how much the old vegetation had protected the new flowers growing, because the old had literally covered over the new, during the winter.

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While being the awesome husband I am, I kindly drove jo to work again. It meant I could do some shopping without making a second trip, and we could some time together in the car. She got to have a couple of hours in the office and come home again.

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Beards need grooming. They need care and attention, or they can look pretty scruffy rather rapidly. That may be the look you want, but in our house that wouldn’t fly! So, since I can’t shave at this time due to a medication I’m on, I’ve now bought myself a beard brush.

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Jesus travelled about a lot, and was wonderful at the one to one ministering we so often read about. But it struck me that He was, and still is, the master at the virtual ministry.

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Darkness often feels like it is greater and has more power. People love to do bad things in the dark because, I guess, they think it can appease some of the evil of their actions. Or, just because they don’t wish to get caught – which really amounts to the same thing.

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Temporary or permanent. You might see this in an advert for a job. But there are many temporary things in the world, that became permanent features. From the Eiffel Tower to a bridge built after World War II and “pre-fab” houses in the UK, some temporary things last well, but others show their age quickly.

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Time. The one sure thing we can be certain of is that time cares not for how we’re doing. It doesn’t go faster when we need it to. And no matter how much we will it, it won’t slow down either. Times marches ever on! For our online Ministry we’ve taken to doing the bulk of our weekly filming on a Saturday. It doesn’t take up the whole day, but it saves loads of time overall. We’ve given that day over to filming our work – the editing comes later during the following week.

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It’s a great thought to seek to only give God our best. But we need to check whether giving God what we have, and making sure that is the best we can offer, doesn’t become assigning human values to what we think God will want from us. While grabbing some time with Jo, Andy B drove her to work. This meant they had some time together while Jo worked a half day, that they wouldn’t have otherwise had together. And we should want to give God our best. We should desire to set aside quality moments of deliberately set aside time with God, each and every day. But God doesn’t time how long we spend with Him. He doesn’t check which bible version we have open or if we have a bible open at all. He doesn’t verify whether our prayers are spoken, or written, or whether we’ve watched the latest devotion from an ordained minster before sitting down God for a set period of time. Because what God desires is our heart.

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Are you hurting inside? Do you feel alone? Do you feel lonely, even if you’re surrounded by people? Have your emotions left you feeling tired and like you have nothing left to give? Have you lost your job? Or a friend? Or a precious member of your family? Are you left wondering where hope will come from? Do you feel different from everybody around you – like you’ve got struggles they wouldn’t, and couldn’t understand? From being a victim of childhood abuse to enduring unemployment as an adult, and the tragic death of a daughter, Andy B has lived through some pretty testing pain, but, always, God was there to walk alongside Him. And if God’s plans are for our good, how can we trust that God really loves us, when bad stuff happens around us and to us?

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I love how inspiration works. Truly! A friend and I were exchanging some comments on his blog, Devotional Treasures. He was talking about meds, or medication, and that made me think of my alarms – that help me take my meds at the right times. Medication needs to be taken carefully, having considered all the potential risks and side effects. You expect your doctor to have checked that whatever medication you’re being prescribed is either safe, or at least that the side effects are worth while should they exist. But, when you start mixing medication, that has multiple applications, you can end up in a world of trouble. Again, this is where we put a lot of faith in our doctor to have thought that through as well, and to warn patients about common side effects, or the issues of other drugs and mediation you could take which might mess with the medication you have already been prescribed.

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With life it often seems like we have just two choices to make - wrap ourselves in plastic bubble wrap to protect us from falls and pain. Or we can wear a crash helmet and keep charging on! Actually, I think there is a third option – a little bit of bubble wrap, a crash helmet, and some time planning out what is in front of us. There’s always gonna be stuff that knocks us for six! However, more frequently if we’d simply taken a pause before charging along, we could have spotted the issues, or busyness, and figured out a better plan or route!

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It’s really healthy to look back at what we’ve accomplished. It’s good to remember what we’ve done, or how we tried to do something last time. It’s great to reflect on where we’ve done amazing things, and even not so amazing things. It can even be healthy to remember the foolish things we did and managed to escape serious injury. However, if we look back too long, we end up risking falling over. Because we’re still walking forwards at the time!

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Today is a good day! We’ve got two loads of washing on our washing line blowing in the gentle breeze and sun. As a stat at home dad, this makes Andy B very happy! Inside the home, the hoover has been finally repaired and the carpets have been thoroughly gone over. As has the stairs, and lots of dusting has happened too. In our homes, and in our Spiritual lives we need lots of maintenance. Dirt and dust appear no matter what we do, especially if you use a wood burning stove a lot! In our walks with Jesus Christ dirt and dust constantly appears too, blocking our ability to see God, and who He is.