I is for I AM!

Jesus Said:

I AM GENTLE AND HUMBLE IN HEART I AM THE SON OF GOD I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD I AM FROM ABOVE I AM WILLING I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIGHT I AM THE VINE I AM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA, THE FIRST AND THE LAST I AM THE LIVING ONE I AM THE BRIGHT MORNING STAR I AM HOLY I AM A KING I AM HE WHO SEARCHES HEARTS AND MINDS I AM IN THE FATHER AND HE IS IN ME I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE I AM TEACHER AND LORD I AM THE GATE FOR THE SHEEP I AM THE MESSIAH I AM THE ETERNAL ONE

I say:

I AM COMPLETE IN GOD I AM A FATHER, SON, BROTHER AND HUSBAND I AM ALIVE IN CHRIST I AM FAR FROM OPPRESSION AND FEAR I AM ABLE TO DO ALL THINGS IN CHRIST I AM GOD’S CHILD I AM A NEW CREATURE IN CHRIST I AM MORE THAN A CONQUERER THROUGH HIM WHO LOVES ME I AM PART OF THE CHOSEN GENERATION I AM A TEMPLE FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT I AM FORGIVEN I AM DELIVERED FROM THE POWER OF DARKNESS I AM GOD’S FELLOW WORKER I AM COMFORTED BY GOD, SO I CAN COMFORT OTHERS I AM GREATLY LOVED BY GOD I AM CHRIST’S

 SO, THAT’S WHO WE SAY WE ARE, WHO ARE YOU?


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H is for Ho, Ho, Ho!

Before we start, let’s just get one thing straight from the beginning…. I’m not an idiot, and I do know that ‘Ho, Ho, Ho!’ isn’t strictly speaking a three letter word, but as I don’t pronounce my H’s, I think you’ll find the way I say it, it is.  Ok?  Good!

Annnnyways, I was going to have ‘H is for How?’, because to be quite honest that is what I want to be asking right now, because I’m angry.  This week has been quite a bummer, and you know what, I am angry on other peoples behalf.

For example, HOW can it be, that a colleague of mine who has welcomed and supported me for the last 12 months or so has recently been diagnosed with throat cancer at 52.  This would be bad enough, until you learn he’s already fought off testicular cancer twenty odd years ago.  He’s one of the kindest, mild mannered men you could hope to meet, always ready to help his less experienced colleagues, and do anything for anybody.  He has constantly been having regular checkups and all has been good, until about 6 weeks ago when he found a lump in his neck.  Lots of tests and biopsies were carried out very fast, and last week he had an operation to remove the lump.  On Thursday, he had results from the tests carried out on the bits removed, and that was when he and his wife got the news.  How can it be?  God knows.

Another example, if you’d like one, HOW can it be, that friends of ours who have been trying for a baby for so long, and eventually after lots of tests and starting to use IVF, had the joyous news that the treatment was successful, only to have the rug pulled from under them a few days later with the unfortunate news that they had miscarried.  A couple that could give so much to a child; a potential mother who is so caring and loving, committed to God and willing to do anything for anyone and a potential father who, apart from being a little strange, would love and bring up his child in God’s ways and truths.  With two larger external families that have so much to give to a new grandchild, niece or nephew and cousin.  A Church family that is ready, and let’s face it has a history of, supporting the family unit.  How can it be?  God knows.

I know Nick and Anna, the couple above, have being told on a number of occasions that they would receive the desires of their hearts.  The thing is, I believe that if you asked them what the number one ‘Desire of their heart’ was, I am as certain as any person other than they could be, that they would say that their number one desire would be that God’s will be done.  And that to me could be seen as agonising when you desire so much else.

And that’s where I was going to leave it.  An angry sound off at how unfair it all seems.  But then I remembered the season we are at.  The hope that is attached to a small child, born a couple of thousand years ago, in humble beginnings, and went on to create and give hope throughout, and indeed long after, his life.  A gift that is available to all.  And we give gifts to this day.  So that’s where we are at now, me about to tell you what I’d like from you this Christmas.  So here goes:

  • If you are a Christian, I ask that you pray for John, my colleague, and Nick and Anna.  Pray that God’s will be done, and the strength to accept His will.
  • If you are an intercessor, then I ask that you intercede on their behalf.
  • If you are a member of a Church, I ask that you either pass these prayer requests to your congregation, or better still perhaps put a link (buildblocks.wordpress.com) to this in your newsletter so the net of people praying spreads.
  • If you are on Twitter, Tweet; if you are on Facebook put a link in your status.  If you Blog feel free to post this on your Blog.  Get this request out to as many people as possible!
  • If you are not a Christian, then I ask you to think about Christmas.  Think about a school nativity play, think about a Mid-Night Mass, think about Christmas Carols, and think why it is that Christians carry on those thoughts all year round.

Merry Christmas, and thank you!  See you in the New Year!

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G is for God!

Our Father, Father? Father? I have often heard it said that anybody can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad.  Well I think it is just as easy to imagine God as a father figure, and just as hard to imagine him as Daddy.  I want to be able to know him as Daddy. A Daddy whose lap I can sit on and just bury my head into his woolly jumper that he undoubtedly would be wearing.  The word ‘father’ to me creates an image of the middle class, suited, and stiff upper lipped gent leaning against the fire-place with pipe in mouth.  He would remove the pipe to ask the nanny how his children were.  A daddy on the other hand would be out in the garden celebrating as his child had just scored another goal past him, which without his footballing protégé knowing, he had just ‘accidently’ let through his legs!
Who art in Heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Perhaps I struggle to have this sort of relationship with God as He can seem so far away. Whilst I know the truth that He is all around us, and I do not and cannot deny that His presence is obvious to see in life, I still struggle sometimes to accept that He walks that close to me. Perhaps I struggle to accept why someone as special as He would WANT to walk close to me. And before you all start telling me that He wants to spend time with me, and point me in the direction of numerous verses, save your breath. I know the theory…..
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. It would be so much easier to have ‘real’ things to look at; real stuff that we can put our hands on to show those that find it hard to believe instead of having to talk about this thing called ‘faith’, which to all intent and purpose can come across as a bit of a cop out to those that don’t believe. If only we could all gaze upon the skies and see.
Give us this day our daily bread, I know that He provides for our every need, and we only have to ‘look at how birds in the air are provided for’ whenever we require reassurance, but, just once in a while I’d like to get what I want, not just what I need. I want so many things, and whilst some of them are a little out there, some are just a desire for the things that other people get without much effort. Whilst I don’t think I have a right to everything I want, I do want everything I have a right to.
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us. Why would I get what I want? I mean, I am not the purest of people, and struggle often with things that I know are outside of His will for me. There are obviously times when I am ashamed to come near to God, and often wonder whether it is because of these wrong doings that I don’t qualify to get the desires I so crave for. I know that He forgives me, and I find it easy to forgive others. It just seems so difficult to forgive myself.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. I need help to stay away from those things that call out from the darkness to me. I need to hear the voice from the other side of the road saying, ‘Son, come this way today.’ I need my Daddy to take me by the hand and gently lead me in His direction. I need Him to keep me from the turmoil of disappointment and despair, and to take me to a place of contentment and peace.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory! And I know He can. I know he can help me to battle against all things for all that I see belongs to Him, and he has the biggest left hook I know of! All things will fall at our feet with Him by our side, and often one step in front! And that’s where I am going to stay. By His side, out of the dull throbbing that life can bring and in the glorious light of His beauty.
Forever and ever, Amen! Forever and ever, Amen!

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F is for Foe!

The world tells us that you should keep your friends close and your enemies even closer.  The logic of this is that you can trust your friends whereas you need to keep a very close eye on your enemies!  Now, this might seem like sound advice, but is it really the best philosophy?  Do you really want to be in the company of people that only want the worse for you?  How can that be a positive experience?

And who is our real enemy.  Indeed is it a person at all?  I know my ‘enemies’ include pride, distraction, envy and a host of other problem areas that I’m sure some of you may relate to.  And these problem areas can get very restrictive in our everyday life.

Imagine if you will, walking along life’s road with a spring in your step when the little gremlin of pride jumps up and sits on your shoulder.  Now the walk gets a little heavier, but still a forward momentum is maintained.  Then, with a high pitched whistle, pride beckons his best mate jealousy to join him.  They have a great time chatting as your walk gets that little bit harder, and each step becomes more difficult than the last.  A few moments later you realise that actually you are not moving forward at all, despite the fact that you are making the effort to pick your feet up and put them down.  You look behind you in desperation only to find those little blighters of confusion and hurt clinging to your coat tails with their mingy claw like fingers.  All seems pointless.  What is the point in the making the effort to move your feet any more.  So you don’t.

So much for keepings your enemies close!  And what’s worse is that by allowing them to stay close, you’ve left no room for your friends.  They’re cut off by the barrier that is created by your negative guests.  And guests are what they are, because they need to be invited to come and remain with you.  It seems to be a lot easier to invite them as well than it is to get rid of the squatters!

So, what do we do?  What we do is take our effort, all our effort, every single iota of effort, and we call on our friends.  With one single breath, shout for Jesus.  Watch as He smashes His way through the dull barrier of our enemies.  Watch as not one them is able to stand in His presence.  Watch as all of them cower and whimper away back to the dark shadows. 

And please, please, PLEASE keep your friends close forever more and your enemies absolutely nowhere near!

“May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him. As smoke is blown away by the wind, may you blow them away;  as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God.  But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.”  Psalm 68:1-3

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E is for Ego…

“When it comes to Ego, I could quite easily open myself up to all the world, telling all and sundry how I struggle to keep everything in perspective.  I know that any gifts I have I shouldn’t take credit for, but most of the time do.  I could go even further than this to show my shortfallings.  I could, or I could skirt over mine and ask someone else to discuss theirs! So, on that note, over to you Nick!”  Building Blocks

In what can only be taken as a compliment I have been asked to write this guest blog. And it is entirely correct that I should have been, after all, as we all know I am a much betterer writer than the main author of Building Blocks, my grasp of the English language is exquisite, my understanding of, grammar; famous. In fact if you saw us side by side you would also note that I am far more attractive, then if you sat with us a bit and chatted you would further find me infinitely wittier, greater with the gifts of generosity and love. It’s not that this guy is an awful human being, far from it. I’d probably rate him as above average, it’s just that, you know I’m exceptional. It’s not even like I try that hard, it just happens.

It’s not just me who thinks this – ask Jesus. He gave me all these gifts you know? And you know what else? He expects me to use them, why else would he give them to me? Look at this verse in Luke 18:

9-12He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’13“Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.'”

The Pharisee knew what was going on. He knew he was unique. He fasted twice a week and wanted the world to know it! What’s wrong with that?! Look at that disrespectful tax collector, not ever looking up! Show some self respect and pride boy. I think Jesus had something to say about this in verse 14, but to be honest after reading the above I just wanted to come straight here and tell you how great I am.

Nick is the main writer for Ebs and Flows… a blog talking about trying to be real and Christian.

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D is for Die…

D is for Die

I don’t want to die….

I did consider that being all I wrote for ‘D is for…’, but was worried it may look a bit arty and pretentious.  The irony is, that at no point would it have been meant as either, it is simply how I feel; I DON’T WANT TO DIE!

I felt it was appropriate to expand upon why the idea of dying doesn’t appeal.  There is a simple reason for this.  It is not fear of death itself, after all as Christians we have an eternity planned that to be quite honest has got to be high on the list of awesome things to do after I die!  It’s more to do with the fact that I have a list of things I need to do whilst I am alive!!!  I have a loving wife, two great sons and a bunch of mates who I know I could call on in any time of need.  I love my job; we have a nice house, just ordered my new car and everything to live for.  Why would I want to die?  So there you have it, that’s settled then… 

I am going to live!”

So why is it then, even with this declaration of living, there is often unfortunately a realism of dullness.  An underlying feeling of lethargy.   Why is it that life is not full of smiles and giggles?  Perhaps it is because on review, our priorities are not as they should be.  The house, the car, the money; all of these are great but none can cure the feeling of emptiness.  The bible tells us that life is given by an acceptance of Christ, and without this acceptance we have to live with death.  And an acceptance involves picking up the rule book and following the guide.  Not just signing the ‘insurance policy’, but keeping up with the instalments.

I still don’t want to die just now, but am not afraid of it, which is just as well as there is not much I can do about it.  Being dead however, that does scare me, and perversely that I can do something about with help.  Whilst I don’t wake up every morning saying I don’t want to die today, I’m going to try and wake up each morning and say I don’t want to be dead today.  I’ll let you know how it works out.

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C is for Cog!

October 2010

For those of you that don’t know me, and some that do but don’t know what I do, I thought I’d tell you a little about me.  I am employed as a General Manager, and even if I say so myself, I think I am the best General Manager I know.

My department runs like a beautifully oiled machine since I started. The errors have reduced, profits have gone through the roof and all the directors are happy with the way things are moving forward. Whilst I accept we’re a team, I think it’s fair to say that I’m the big cog that makes all the other components do what they’re meant to. And whilst I know that no business runs around one man, I am sure that no-one is under any disillusion that without me, the place would fall apart. Some would say I’m important, but I’m too humble to mutter those words about myself.

The thing is, I’ve been there long enough now to get to grips with the place and make everyone aware how dependant the company is on me, and I think it’s about time I got my just rewards. I intend to march right in to the MD’s office and lay my cards on the table. I’ll obviously do this when everyone is in earshot to get maximum effect, after all, the upset and fear that is shown by my staff will force the directors to meet my demands. More money, sporty new motor, an office with a view and 12 weeks holiday! In fact I’ll do this tomorrow….

For those of you that don’t know me, and some that do but don’t know what I believe, I thought I’d tell you a little about me. I am a Christian, and even if I say so myself, I think I am the worse Christian I know.

I constantly struggle to do what I know is right, my mouth speaks utterances that would cause distain, my mind has impure thoughts of anger, and if I ever get cut up by someone whilst driving there are times when I manage to utilise all of the above at once.  I struggle to bring myself to church, my prayer life is none existent and I have not one, but many dusty bibles!  And whilst I know that everybody has a part to play, I feel like the smallest of cogs in this Church machine.

The thing is, I’ve been away long enough now to get to grips with the fact that I won’t be missed, and that this state I find myself in is probably my just rewards. I intend to slip away. I’ll obviously do this whilst nobody is looking or in earshot, as no one will miss me or be upset.  I just can’t meet their demands. In fact I’ll do this tomorrow….

October 2040

I hear that they soon got over me leaving at work. 3 months in fact. It appears that whilst people acknowledged the good I did, I was not irreplaceable after all. There was no upset, no tears. I was a big cog, but they weren’t prepared to meet my demands. Shame really, it transpires that as much they needed me, they didn’t particularly want me…. The Church on the other hand; I understand that God still misses and sheds tears over me. Turns out that although I was just a small cog, I met all His demands. Shame really, it transpires that whilst He didn’t need me, He particularly wanted me….

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