the lost ring

wedding ring

This is my wedding ring. Actually it’s the ring Sally gave me when we got engaged: I had given her an engagement ring and I too wanted an engagement ring in order to show everyone I was engaged to her. For our wedding she got it engraved with the date of the wedding so that it would become my wedding ring. 1-7-89.

No, cynical peeps, the date was not there in case I forgot it. It’s a date that is engraved in my mind – I counted down towards it for about 6 months in my diary! The date is purely there to show the change of use.

The observant among you will have noticed that I have a different, much chunkier, gold band on my wedding finger. The reason for that can be seen if you look closely at the ‘9’ in ’89’ inside the ring. Eventually the ring cracked and broke. I wore it out! So we got a second, chunkier wedding ring to replace it and the original was put in a safe place. I had planned that one day I would get it restored.

The problem is that as time passed I completely forgot where that safe place was. I thought it was in my bedside cabinet, but even though I have emptied it several times and looked inside every place and container inside the drawers (and behind the drawers) it wasn’t there. I looked in Sally’s bedside cabinet as she has some precious things in there – some of our children’s milk teeth that were returned to us by the Tooth Fairy (in case our children read this and are worried); letters and poems that I have written to her over the years and other things that have no intrinsic value but lots of sentimental value. I thought that probably my old wedding ring would have been in there with those things. But no, it wasn’t there either.

I had even resorted to asking Sally to look for it – she is the looker in our house – but she couldn’t find it. So we assumed that somehow it had been lost in one of the house moves or accidentally thrown out in one of our tidying sessions. I forgot all about it.

Until today.

I was rummaging in one of the sets of drawers in my study – looking for a bulldog clip – when I noticed a section in an organising tray in the bottom of the drawer that had been covered over by a piece of debris. When I lifted it up I was thrilled to see my old wedding ring!

Wooo Hooo!

It’s not because it is very valuable (although as Sally was a student when she bought it for me it was relatively expensive).

It’s not because it proves that I am married to Sally. I have almost 27 years of being together with her, two wonderful children and lots of people who know that we are married to show that.

It’s because it was given to me by her at that special moment when we were wed and when it had gone missing that link to that amazing day had vanished. The value was in the giver and what the gift represented. It meant so much to me.

Some people treat their faith a bit like that ring. It was really important at first. It meant something. Perhaps you were baptised. But over time it became a bit tarnished and perhaps even was a bit damaged by other people or circumstances and eventually, rather than getting it restored, it got put in a safe place and forgotten about.

And then, when you least expect it, perhaps when you have forgotten about it, you rediscover it. You find that it had been nearby all the time. God hadn’t gone anywhere, but you’d had been looking in the wrong place. He’s just been waiting for you.

I am going to get the ring restored now. It is going to be made as good as new.

How about you?

Be blessed, be a blessing.

 

Black Friday deal

image

Great news. I’m pleased to be able to announce an incredible Black Friday deal. You won’t be able to find a better one!

You can get a fresh start in life, forgiveness for the past, a relationship with God, a helper who is always with you, live life in all its fullness, a global family of billions, the sting of death drawn so you can experience eternity in God’s presence, and a promise that it won’t be easy.

And for one day only you can get all of this ABSOLUTELY FREE.

That’s right, it won’t cost you a penny. The price has already been paid (see Good Friday).

Terms and conditions apply – you need to be willing to allow God’s Spirit to change you, admit past failings and turn away from them, acknowledge that your fresh start in life is a gift from God made possible by Jesus and live your life accordingly.

This offer has previously been available at any of God’s outlets (aka churches) on any day of the year at the same price.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

singin the bloooz

guitar“Well, I didn’t wake up this morning.”

That is the shortest Blues song in the world. Perhaps it was written by a teenager on a Saturday…

I felt a bit like a Blues song this morning:

“I woke up this morning, and sat up in my bed. I yawned and I stretched and rotated my head. I felt a sharp stab in the side of my neck. For the rest of the day the pain’s had me wrecked. I’ve got those stiff necked, cricked neck, pain in the neck blues [guitar solo].”

It wasn’t as if I was doing anything unusual, but somehow I have managed to acquire a ‘cricked neck’ which hurts a lot if I move it too far to the left. It doesn’t always bother me, but this afternoon I was in a meeting on an uncomfortable chair that made me slouch in such a way that the pain in my neck was constant.

It’s not the end of the world. I don’t need sympathy (although chocolate would be nice). It was interesting that those sat opposite me in the meeting could tell that I was in pain. It was difficult to hide.

So with some heavy duty ibuprofen gel on my neck I wait for my body to realign itself.

I am about to pre-empt those of you who were about to send me a link to a Bible passage (Exodus 33):

Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, “I will give it to your descendants.” I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.’

When the people heard these distressing words, they began to mourn and no one put on any ornaments. For the Lord had said to Moses, ‘Tell the Israelites, “You are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go with you even for a moment, I might destroy you. Now take off your ornaments and I will decide what to do with you.”’ So the Israelites stripped off their ornaments at Mount Horeb.

Yes, I could be described as a stiff-necked person at the moment. (And I am not wearing any ornaments at the moment either). As I well know at the moment someone who is stiff-necked does not find turning around very easily. The Israelites were stiff-necked because they struggled to change. They kept reverting to old habits (ignoring God) and were trying his patience.

Have you ever been so angry or upset with someone that you have had to leave their presence for fear of what you might say or do? That was what God was saying here. These people had tried his patience so much – Moses was up on the mountain receiving the 10 Commandments while they were at the bottom of the mountain making an idol of a gold calf and worshipping that!

Later in the chapter Moses interceded for his people and God relented.

Please God help me not to be stiff necked (literally as well as metaphorically). Help me not to resist change that you want to bring, help me not to ignore you and do my own thing.

And thank you that you do relent, you do forgive, you have unlimited grace and give me so many fresh starts.

Be blessed, be a blessing.