Thanks Giving

Today was my last Sunday Zoom service, I have been running one since just before Covid so for 3 years and 1 month. This week I thought we would finish with thanks.

1 Thessalonians 2

13 And now we look back on all this and thank God, a geyser of thanks!

When you got the Message of God we preached, you didn’t pass it off as just one more human opinion, but you took it to heart as God’s true word to you, which it is, God himself at work in you believers! 14-16 Friends, do you realize that you followed in the exact footsteps of the churches of God in Judea, those who were the first to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ?

Paul was writing to the Thessalonians and says how he thanks God for them as he looks back on his time with them and how he preached Gods word to them and that word was the same as the first followers of Jesus.

As a group we reflected on the last 3 years and what God has said to us and what we have each learnt.

We thanked God for His love, grace and guidance. We prayed for each other going forward and for the churches we will be going to. We dealt with the sadness of leaving our worship family and the anxiety of joining people again. We prayed about change and blessings. In all things we are thankful to God for the blessings of the last 3 years.

It has been a real joy and blessing for me to lead worship for this time, God has been wonderful to me over this time. He has supplied me with direction as to what to talk about each week, supplied information on that topic and led me to the right music for the service. I might have had to shield these last years to avoid the worst of Covid but as I believed it was right to withdraw from church before lockdowns came so I believe that now is the time to return. I might not have antibodies from the 6 vaccines that I have had, but my consultant tells me that I should be getting some protection from my infusions which will have antibodies in them now.

As to catching Covid, I will trust in my God to keep me safe as I start to mix more over the coming months.

Thank you Father; Thank you Jesus; Thank you Holy Spirit

‘Taken at the Flood’ a review

A review of Taken at the Flood The Roman Conquest of Greece by R Waterfield

I found this an enjoyable book, looking at how and why Rome conquered Greece back in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC

This is a in-depth look at the politics in Rome, Macedon and Greece which drove this conflict. It looks at Roman desire for influence, wealth and power as it came into conflict with other states and there desire for the same all wrapped up with a false idea of security.

In places it remined me of todays tensions, between the USA, Russia and China, each of them want security on their terms. Each of them want influence and power as well as wealth. This has been a constant throughout history and each time it ends in war between the conflicting factions.

It showed the brutality of Rome when states rebel against Roman control with whole cities destroyed and populations enslaved. It showed how Rome in particular fought wars to sustain it’s own population and allow the politicians to gain wealth and therefore power. It also of course eventually lead to Rome’s downfall when they ran out of nations to loot.

A good book well worth reading

‘Don’t Throw It All Away’

was this Sundays theme on my Zoom church

Hebrews 10

19-21 So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body.

22-25 So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

26-31 If we give up and turn our backs on all we’ve learned, all we’ve been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ’s sacrifice and are left on our own to face the Judgment—and a mighty fierce judgment it will be! If the penalty for breaking the law of Moses is physical death, what do you think will happen if you turn on God’s Son, spit on the sacrifice that made you whole, and insult this most gracious Spirit?

I talked about how easy it is to fall into following the path of the world rather than the way of Jesus

In Hebrews we are warned about not give up and turning our backs on all we have learned of Gods way.

Often it is a hard way, going against what the world has decided is the right way, although that changes all the time. Trouble is a lot of the time the world is only following the path of whoever is shouting loudest at that time. As a Christian, a disciple of Jesus a follow of God I try to follow His way not the worlds way or my way or anyone else’s way.

My Hope is in Jesus and His promises, I want eternal life with Jesus in God’s kingdom and only walking the way of Jesus will get me there.

In Deuteronomy 7 we are told

Do this because you are a people set apart as holy to God, your God. God, your God, chose you out of all the people on Earth for himself as a cherished, personal treasure.

7-10 God wasn’t attracted to you and didn’t choose you because you were big and important—the fact is, there was almost nothing to you.

He did it out of sheer love, keeping the promise he made to your ancestors. 

God stepped in and mightily bought you back out of that world of slavery, freed you from the iron grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know this: God, your God, is God indeed, a God you can depend upon.

The people of Israel had ended up as slaves in Egypt but God had chosen them as His people and so freed them. God chose me to be in a relationship with Him as He has many over the centuries, I do not intend to throw that gift away by turning my back on Him now.

Abraham was chosen by God and he and his family followed the path laid out for him. One family which became a nation, but often that people turned their back and threw away what they had to go there own way. However God continued to call them back into relationship and in the end came as a man, Jesus, to show us how to live and then again freed us from slavery to sin by dying for us.

As we approach Easter it is good to remember what God has continually done for His people and not throw it away to go our own way.

God Bless you

The Amassing chronicles of the Herald Cam Woodmonger

Chapter Two Part Six

Earlier parts here

Knights, Lizards and Kingfishers

As we head to the village of Ford Leatony talks with the Lady, he asks what she might know about the Green Archer and his men and about magic. She says that she is sure that the bandits were under his control rather than wanting to be there. The Green Archer is a tainted person with a chaos ability from the Forest. That is how he got my knights to kill each other; Leatony says that must have been what had tried to get him to attack Yogi. Yes says the Lady, it requires a stronger mind that the Simples have indeed you must have a better mind than my knights did as well. It also turns out that she knows Leatony’s grandmother so he can talk magic with her as well; he mentions his desire to learn more about magic and more than just a few folk spells. She listens and takes all of this in as he does with her wisdom.

The road to the village winds its way through the forest, we come to a bend and as Leatony rounds it… ‘Dear Lady I Griant-de-agot will free you from this knave,’ is shouted at him as said knight bears down on him with levelled lance. Leatony has little time to react and so throws up his shield to parry the blow, lucky for him the knight hasn’t the space to get up to full charge speed so he can manage a parry. The knights lance comes straight at him and at the moment before it hits Leatony he pushes it away with his shield. Then the words of the knight impact on his mind and he shouts back ‘you are to late I have already saved her from the bandits, ask the Lady herself if you doubt me.’ The Lady confirms this fact and Sir Leatony and Sir Griant exchange titles and pleasantries before he rides off into the forest; we notice from the side of our eyes something disappearing from the trees above us to the left. Maybe he had some men up there or was it magic? I do not know.

The rest of the journey to Fordvill is uneventful and we arrive late in the day, the Lady arranges for us to be billeted and the horses cared for but more importantly care for her husband who is in need of care and pain relief. After all is set and prepared we join the Lady for supper Yogi and I sit on a lower table while Leatony sits on the upper table, the Lady has her husband’s empty seat to her right, she asks Yogi to sit there he responds he is not worthy but she says the house is honoured to have a divine and a talking bear in it a rare honour. So Yogi joins her and she asks about his history and how he hears from his god. She also talks to the rest of us but mainly to Yogi as he is close so she doesn’t need to shout.

As the meal comes to an end the Lady quiets the talk in the hall, I am in debt to these three men who saved me and my husband so I must reward them. I can offer each of you the teaching of a Fae Spell or for Leatony the learning of the skills of casting and shaping more powerful spells. We chat with the Lady about what she can teach us and I choose to learn Vigor a spell to help combat fatigue when working hard, Yogi takes Witchsight to enable him to see active magic; magic items and invisible creatures. Leatony decides to advance his magical studies and asks to learn how to cast and manipulate more powerful spells. This training will take from a week to a month so we will be here for a while. The lady then says her husband wishes to reward them as well and will give us a couple of Gentle privileges or a mix of Simple and Gentle. After a discussion we decide to take two Gentle requesting two Heater shields and a battle axe, the shields are for Yogi and Trist, Leatony’s page, and the battle axe is for Trist as well, Leatony takes a Heavy Crossbow for himself. We head for bed and some rest knowing that we will be here for some time.

We break are fast next morning and the Lady when she joins us looks worried she ask Leatony to join her and says ‘Good knight could you help me? My husband is in a bad way and isn’t healing or responding and is declining. I only know of one way that he will recover from his injuries, I need you dear knight to get a pink apple from the tree on Lizard Isle. The apple will restore my love to health again. Would be grant me this mercy?’

Leatony says he will as she continues ‘the apple will retain its properties for up to a week getting less potent each moon rise so haste is needed once you have it.  Follow the river north for a day or so, don’t leave the river as you will get lost in the forest.’ Leatony comes to inform us of our new mission to aid this Lady. I decide that it would be a good idea to find out what the local villagers know about this Lizard Island. I find out that it is up the river as we have been told and is a wonder and that along with the pink apple there are other apple on the tree. It is guarded and looked after by a family of talking Lizards, the river is from 2m wide to 6 or more with wide flood plains beside it and the odd island in it. By morning we leave the village with Leatony, Trist and myself on horseback and Yogi walking. We take 6 days food and a few other supplies with us.

We follow the river on its left bank as it twists and turns and widens and narrows. After a while the river ahead seems to go in a loop and we can shorten the journey by cutting across the loop through the brush saving hours. However we remember the Lady’s warning about leaving the river and entering the forest so we take the long way. After we have gone further and it did take us longer it starts to get dark so we camp for the night. We arrange for Yogi to do the middle night watch as he can see in the dark while I and Leatony do either side with Trist being with Leatony. The night is peaceful well as peaceful as any night in the nosy forest can be, but we are not disturbed by any hostile actions by the forest.

We move off after sunrise and breakfast, and within a few hours we see the island ahead of us. We stop and Yogi offers a prayer to the Swordbrother for us as we want to engage with the lizard men by diplomacy rather than force. He gets a picture of a knight kneeling before an elder person, which we take to mean that Leatony must knell to the Lizard elder with courtesy. We move on up the bank with the island to our right. It is not a long island but big enough for a small group to live on with trees for shade and two rises one to south and one to the north. The apple tree is set on a rise to the north of the island; it has many apples on it red and green and one small pink one. The island has walking lizards and we can see some female and young along with a male guard by a walkway over the river. Leatony approaches and bends to his knees and announces himself and the party and our mission that he seeks a Pink Apple for a Lady to save her dying husband and Lord. The elder waves his hands around and speaks something we do not understand. A female comes up to him and casts a spell, Leatony can then understand the elder and vice versa. The elder asks Leatony to repeat what he said as now he will understand, Leatony does so.  The elder says that it is normal for gifts to be given for such a prize, after discussion we offer Trist’s hatchet, a spear and me to tell stories. This seems to be a fair trade and we are invited to join the family in a meal and storytelling.  We cross the bridge onto the island as some more lizards swim up to see what’s going on, another female, male and two young ones. Another female casts a spell on the whole group so that we can understand each other as we talk and tell stories. As I tell the stories I cast Ventriloquism to enhance the telling but forget they only understand what’s in our minds not what I throw so I drop the spell when they look at me. After my tales of bold knights the elder talks about the apples. It appears that the Green apples will restore some fatigue once it is eaten while the Red apples will restore body damage. He also tells us that as the tree is a wonder anyone touching it has some of their magical energy restored to them, very handy for his females who use magic.

We go and get the Pink apple and 4 Green apples so that we can move quickly to get the Pink apple to Lady Ford. By midday we are ready to leave and head back to the village, I cast mobility on Yogi so he can keep up with the horses as we jog onwards and Pathway on our horses and Yogi. After a short time we hear the voice of a women crying out ‘help me please help, don’t leave me.’ Leatony has no choice but to answer her call for help so we give Yogi the Pink apple and all the Green ones and tell him to run on to the village while we help the lady. As Yogi breaks into a run and disappears down the river bank we turn and enter the forest.

As we follow the calling of the lady we nearly lose sight of each other as the forest affects our perception but luck helps us to realise its happening and we move closer together. As we near where the voice is leading us to we suddenly hear a very high pitched giggling. It seems we have been the victims of a annoying luton. We try to work out the way back to the river but neither Leatony or I can work it out, it seems we are lost in the forest. We could do with Yogi and his forest sense senses, as we saying that Trist says he can still hear the sound of the Kingfishers by the river. He had been listening to them all this time as he enjoyed the sound, so he leads us back to the river by following their sound, cleaver lad.

 We head back down the river to the village, once we get their Yogi tells us his part of the story. He ran hard and although very tired by the time he got to the village and gave the apple to the Lady. He is still recovering while having a snack when we arrive at the village.

Growing in Faith

Growing in Faith was this Sunday’s theme

2 Peter 1 from the Message

May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.

Growing in Faith

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvellous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

Peter is pointing out that Christians know that they need to grow into the likeness of Jesus but oen forget to do it.

For many reasons we think we need to do it ourselves and just don’t have the time or knowledge to do it so just sit were we started.

Think about your favourite hobby; sport or interest. I bet you spend a lot of your time learning more and more about it getting together with like minded people to talk about it or play it out.

When I was younger my whole interest in life was the military and history, I would spend so much of my spare time going to military shows, buying and reading books on tanks and aircraft. Then building armies to play out some of the wars I was reading about. I joined clubs and went to wargaming conventions.

Now I am a Christian I spend just as much effort on reading the bible, listening to other Christians, on UCB radio or at church. Singing songs of worship and being in Gods presence on my own or with others.

I do this so I can GROW in FAITH and knowledge of Jesus and start to live more and more like Him.

Gaining knowledge; self-control to use my new knowledge properly; living a moral life and all this coming together in a more Godly life of love for everyone.

So to Grow in Faith what do we need to do?

Worship together

Spend time studying Scripture

Spend time with God and the Holy Spirit

Spend time with other Christians

Work out our new life in the world around us showing Gods love in action.

A Review of ‘Will I be Fat in heaven?’

Will I be fat in heaven? and other curious question by J John

This is one of those interestingly funny and serious books. Funny in the way it looks at some serious questions and Serious in how it looks at some funny questions.

Will I be fat in heaven is a funny question but has a serious answer which opens up other types of questions.

This book is evangelist J John looking at some of the questions he has had to deal with from Christians and non-Christians and his thoughtful way of answering them. A 179 pages for 38 questions from Will I be fat in heaven to Why do there seem to be contradictions in the bible? Why does God allow evil to Isn’t Jesus just an imaginary friend? Along side many others.

I found this a really helpful book, even as a mature Christian, It asked me questions I hadn’t thought of and gave me a different eye on those I had thought about. I suspect this is a book which will be of interest to many people who struggle with why questions about Christianity, followers or not.

Well worth a read or just a dip and think coffee table book.

Be Content

1 Peter 5 the Message

But all of you, leaders and followers alike, are to be down to earth with each other, for— God has had it with the proud,

But takes delight in just plain people.

6-7 So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.

8-11 Keep a cool head. Stay alert.

The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping.

Keep your guard up.

You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good.

Be Content was Sundays theme for our service

Peter tells us to be Content with who we are and what we have.

Jesus said

“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. Matthew 6:25‭-‬26 MSG

As followers of Christ we need to have a contentment with our life. Not to worry about what we do not have or want what others have. To trust that our Father knows our needs and will supply it, all we need to do is to walk in His path and do our part by work etc.

But we are also called upon to be content with who we are as a person. That is a more difficult for most people as so many are dissatisfied with themselves physically or mentally.

Psalm 139

13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
    you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
    Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
    I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
    you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

Scripture tells us that not only that God loves us but also that He created us as we are and He loves us as we are. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others as we are all supposed to be different and individual, not clones of each other.

Being Content brings peace to our lives as we are not trying hard to be something else or someone else. Or always seeking more stuff in our lives or ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ which only brings stress and anxiety.

God has had it with the proud,

But takes delight in just plain people.

So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs.

So Peter is only picking up what Jesus and the Bible tell us, know that you are Loved by God and He will give you all you need in life, it might not be what you want or what others have but it will be what you need and striving for more will only lead to envy, greed, disappointment and unhappiness. While knowing that God loves you and has your best interests at heart should bring you contentment and peace.

This song I used in the service

Live Like Jesus

1 Peter 4

The end of the world is coming soon.

Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. 

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 

9 Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.

10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts.

Use them well to serve one another. 

11 Do you have the gift of speaking?

Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you.

Do you have the gift of helping others?

Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies.

Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.

Live like Jesus was the theme for last Sundays service

Peter tells us that we need to continue to be eager and dedicated in our prayer life, just as Jesus needed time alone with His Father so do we. If we want to live like Jesus we need to do as He did.

Pray; Show Love; Share what we have; Use our gifts for the Kingdom not just ourselves; Live to bring honour to Jesus as we live like He did.

God will supply the strength and energy you need to do all of this by the Holy Spirit. I have found that no matter how my health is God will always give me the help I need to do what He is asking of me. So live your Life as Jesus did, walking in the Power of the Holy Spirit to bring the Fathers love to all.

The Amassing chronicles of the Herald Cam Woodmonger

Chapter Two Part Five

Earlier parts here

Bandit Camp

Battle is on, Yogi charges after the nearest bandit fleeing from him but the bandit he claws at manages to avoid both claws and keep running along with all the others running from a berserk bear screaming at them. I let go an arrow at the Green Archer, the leader I think, hitting him in the left arm past his buckler parry for no effect. Leatony rides after the fleeing bandits going south of us, spearing one down as he goes. Yogi feels the mind effect of the Green Archer telling him to attack the knight, Yogi later tells us that he heard the Sword Brother telling him to ignore the voice in his head. Odd considering he often hears the Sword Brother in his head. The Green Archer lets go an arrow at Leatony which bounces off his armour.

The bandits continue to run as I move back behind cover to reload.

Yogi becomes aware of movement and sounds from the big tent near him to the north, just as 6 bandits come out in formation 3 spears in front of 3 archers. Looks like they aren’t running Leatony lances another bandit as they continue running, he nears the wood in the south. The Green Archer moves to join his battle line as I move out of cover with a readied bow.

Yogi moves into the spear line in front of him prepared to parry any attack. Instead the archers all let lose at him all 3 hit but his thick hide and armour protect him the spears just stand prepared to defend. I let lose at the Green Archer and this time I stick an arrow into him, that will slow him down a bit. He shoots back at me with no effect.

Yogi attacks the middle spearman, the three working together cause Yogi to lose an action, his attack is wild and the spearman steps back causing Yogi to overextend himself. Yogi is now attacked by the 3 archers and the 3 spearmen. The arrows all bounce of his armoured body and he uses his ability to parry to block the only spear which gets close to hitting him. I draw another arrow, as Leatony moves his horse slowly towards Yogi. The Green Archer pulls the arrow out of his body doing more damage but clearing the hindrance to his moving.

Two of the spear attack Yogi and he ends up with a spear damaging his right leg but thanks to his Sword Brother Band of Brothers effect only takes a small cut while Leatony and I take some as well.

I manage a lucky hit on the Green Archer in his right leg slowing him again,

Yogi attacks the middle spearman again this time not only killing him but also grabbing his spear. The last two spearmen impale Yogi with their spears into his left arm and right leg. Again Leatony and I take some of the damage keeping him fighting but us starting to suffer. The Green Archer runs for it disappearing into the large tent.

Yogi kills the last two spearmen as the archers run for it.

With 7 bandits dead and all the rest fleeing Leatony dismounts from his flagging horse, Yogi pulls the spears out of himself causing damage to all of us and runs into the tent after the Green Archer. Leatony uses his magic to heal his wounds taken from Band of Brothers then he does the same for me. He then goes into the tent and finds a naked lady and naked man, he looks badly beaned and she looks distraught. It turns out that they are Lord and lady Ford from the village, their knights were killed by each other and they were captured by the bandits. Leatony covers her up and frees them, he casts heal on both to ease their pain and discomfort a bit even though the injuries are to bad for any healing from the spell. I try to track Yogi and see where he went to, I fail, I suspect due to the Mobility spell I cast on us it has protected him from leaving fur on branches which he snacks’.

Later Yogi tells me this story; He chased after the leader and caught him quickly due to his superior speed and the Mobility spell. Then he felt he needed to help the man and picked him up and carried him for a while to a stream where the bandit told him to put him down so he could drink and tend his wounds. He then asks me to hunt and bring him some food, so I went into the forest. As he got further away from the bandit the influence weakens and with the Sword Brothers help he breaks free of the influence and heads back to us. Deciding that going back after the bandit would mean he would lose control again so he doesn’t.

At the camp we put the Lord into a hand cart and attach a Sumpter to pull it the other handcart we put all the armour which we find, all claimed by Lord Ford along with the 5 horses. There is to much here for us to take with us and we don’t want to leave a base for the bandits if they come back so I, as its beneath Leatony, pull things apart and ready it for burning. This takes me some hours and just as I am finishing Yogi turns up. I knew he would although I was concerned for him. With all ready we set fire to the camp and head back to Fordvill.

Right Living

1 Peter 3

8-12 Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble.

That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm.

Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good,
Here’s what you do:
    Say nothing evil or hurtful;
Snub evil and cultivate good;
    run after peace for all you’re worth.

This was my theme for Sunday’s Zoom service ‘Living Right’

Peter is telling us much the same as Jesus and Paul that Right Living requires us to

Be agreeable,

be sympathetic,

be loving,

be compassionate,

be humble.

Each of these are not about just rolling over but taking the loving line.

We are not Agreeable to others if we are hostile and needy rubbing them up the wrong way etc.

Being Sympathetic is about really caring about other people understanding their needs and what they are dealing with in their lives. It requires hearing them and taking action on it rather than just listening and general conversation. We need to put ourselves in their shoes rather than our own.

Being Loving, Jesus said that we were to love even our enemies and to love them as you would want to be loved if you were in their shoes.

Being Compassionate really picks up on the above, Compassion comes from Sympathy and Love not from your own needs and wants.

This leads to being Humble, giving of yourself rather than expecting. Caring for others without fanfare and advertising. Just caring for others no matter there status, with no desire for reward or recognition.

Peter is telling us that how we live shows others Christ to them. By Blessing others we are Blessed ourselves.

SO lets start living as members of the Kindom of God by Blessings others in how we live.