A rambling blog by a Christian in Northern Ireland

"If you find me short in things, impute that to my love of brevity. If you find me besides the truth in anything, impute that to my infirmity. But if you find anything here that serves to your furtherance and joy of the faith, impute that to the mercy of God bestowed on you and me."
John Bunyan
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Monday, 25 January 2016

Studying our Bibles is always more fruitful when we have help. We are all like that Ethiopian eunuch; needing explanation of the texts. Here's a simply roundup of helpful aids
Here's a breakdown for the differing sites i use and why:

Facebook - Personal page (increasingly about family & friends)

Facebook - Boal Photography page (about Boal Photography)

Instagram - This started off to be a general sort of thing, but is increasingly becoming a portfolio for my portraiture and pro-photo-work.

Flickr - Again I have general stuff here, but mostly you'll find I only use it these days to upload images from the Christian Mission i'm involved with.

Twitter - I used to use this a good bit, but have found i've neglected it and don't really enjoy it that much anymore. It, when used is general.

And of course there's www.boalphotography.com

Thursday, 21 January 2016

A few of us were chatting the other day about church, sermons and personal study when one of the guys (a very genuine guy, who would never puff himself up) said a strong statement. It was one we sort of made fun of at the time but also one that was challenging and should probably be the norm' for every Christian.

He said that no sermon preached could come close to his own personal study.

He went on to clarify that his study involved a lot of commentaries, reading and hard work.
But the fruits of that are that he is drawing close to Christ day in and day out, the experiences of closeness with God that this friend has is astounding and to see the overall direction and impact of his life upon those around him is amazing.

He's not a pastor so he's not paid to study, he holds a full time job he has to travel the length of the country to each day and he's also been sort of care-taking a church while they've been without a pastor. So he doesn't have a lot of time, in fact he probably has less time than most.
But he has sacrificed time given to many other things like tv...

I mention this not to puff my friend up, in fact he'll probably ask me to take this down if he sees it, but because it's been on my mind and challenging my heart since. Have we become too reliant on the preacher (and others) to feed us, when the main source of spiritual food and growth is to be found on our knees with an open Bible, on our own with Christ?

This is not to say we neglect Church and corporate worship, or the sermons. But i thought his statement had a richness to it to point to a means by which every one of us can grow in our knowledge and love of Jesus Christ more than ever.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

It's that time of year we find ourselves browsing through devotional books and plans. We may be looking for ourselves or as a gift for someone else. We may be looking an app on our phones, or a conventional book. But we should look for gold.

What do I mean?
If we are going to spend time every day over the next year reading a devotional plan we should look for something that is going to challenge us as well as raise our affections towards Christ.

Here's a couple of examples of what i mean: Recently I was in a group devotion where a book (I won't name the author) was used, a devotional book. This was a book full of daily stories and very light thoughts.
In the same group a few days later (I'll name this author - J.C Ryle) and while reading time was very similar on both books, Ryle had much more weight, more of a challenge and caused our minds to think about Christ and what was read.

Some devotional books give little ear massages, some are feel good, but the golden ones are those plans or apps that are Christ centred, cause thought and contemplation long after they're closed and drive our hearts to long for our Saviour.

Have you any recommendations?

Friday, 27 November 2015

One conversation I seem to be hearing a lot recently, and reading about on fb, twitter etc is in regards to God's provision, blessing and making 'a way' through difficulties.

I read this morning "if he doesn't part them, He'll make you walk over them" (read that in your best prosperity preacher voice).

There's a lot of truth to this, but I also think we give a wrong perception when we don't also talk about how we may/will suffer.

Hebrews 11 is a fantastic chapter of faith and victory through faith, God's deliverance and being with His people . . . up to vs 36:

"Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about destitute, afflicted, mistreated..."

Will our nice 'blessed' 'God'll make a way' theology hold up when we face destitution or suffering or being killed? Yes he does deliver...but not always.
What if the pain and suffering lasts until the sword hits your throat and the blessing isn't deliverance in this life, but entering into the Kingdom and declared someone of "whom the world was not worthy."

Is that the deliverance we have in mind when we talk about God's provision?
Is that the blessing we are thinking of?
Or is it financial, health, comfort, no pain, or a final deliverance from the blade to live the rest of our days in freedom?

Maybe the waters will part.
Maybe we'll walk over them.
Maye we'll drown.

Will we still trust Jesus regardless?
Will we say with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego that our God is able to to deliver us, but if not, we will still worship Him.

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