Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What *really* matters

Today we were given a pitch by a company who deal in financial products for doctors and dentists. They were advocating a product that aims to insure the salaries and earnings of doctors and dentists, in case they suffer injury or illness that means they cannot work.

I am not agains insurance as a principle (at the moment) and do hold insurance for most of my belongings, however I do draw the line at insuring something I do not even have yet. More than that, this insurance was sold like this:

"Your most valued asset is not your car, nor your home..."

(At this point, I have to admit, I muttered, in a way that was less under my breath than I was expecting, "nor your career")

"... but your ability to earn money..."

This was followed by:

"If you had a machine that could churn out £30,00 a year wouldn't you insure that machine?"

There are a number of deeply flawed arguments here! Your most valued asset is your ability to earn money?! I assume there are people out there, maybe even reading this blog, who believe this, for why else could the lady selling the product use that line? I would encourage you take a deep look at yourself, and at the financial world around you. Look at how fickle money is - how quickly things can change (the current 'credit crunch' for example), how unreliable it is, how it can easily take over your life - becoming the thing you long for, the thing that provides your security, having a little means you want more, and you can never have quite enough. Not only that, but take a good look at yourself. Are you really only someone who is most valuable for the money they can make? I would beg to differ, and more importantly so would God, your Creator.

Listen to what God says in His Word, the Bible, about people;
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1v27)
""Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man." (Genesis 9v6) -
God values the people He makes - as can be seen in the second quote, where He shows that man should not shed the blood of man, since man (here used to represent both male and female) is in God's image - man is precious to God, yet not because man can earn money, but because man is created in God's image.

God knows and created each of us, in another book of the Bible, the author says this, " I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139 v14-16)

Surely a creature so "fearfully and wonderfully made" by Someone Whose "works are wonderful" is worth so much more than their ability to make money?

The next flaw is the attitude to money - listen to Jesus speaking about our anxieties, and worries. "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (The Gospel of Matthew 6 v28-33)

God knows all our needs, but tells us there is something much more important than what we eat, drink or wear - it is more important to look to God, to seek His kingdom - that is His Name being honoured on Earth, doing His will and living in joyful obedience to Him.

All in all, many reasons that we do not need to insure our careers - we are people far more valuable than our careers, far more than the money we earn, and we have so many more important things to do than to worry about what will happen if we get ill and cannot earn. God cares for His children, and whilst He makes no guarantees that we will not suffer illness or injury or lose our jobs, He does promise to look after us, and shows how He looks after birds and flowers, which are so much less precious than we are! So, don't trust in an insurance company, trust in God, who can provide, whatever happens to us, and remember that you are *more* than your ability to earn money!

A few imperfect and incomplete thoughts on the matter, do comment further!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Green Soup

Two posts in one day. It's obviously the start of the summer break!

I thought I'd share this recipe for a very quick, easy, healthy soup.

25.g butter
1/2 an onion, finely chopped (I pre-chop onions and pop them into boxes in the freezer to save time later)
1/2 head of broccoli, cut into florets (or one bag of those ready cut broccoli florets!)
1/2 a pack chargrilled chicken pieces (those chunky pieces of ready cooked chicken)
450.ml chicken or vegetable stock
Two handfuls ready washed spinach, rocket and watercress salad
50g mini pasta shapes
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt the butter in a pan, saute onions until translucent and soft (not coloured)

2. Add the chicken, the broccoli, and the vegetable stock, bring to the boil

3. Boil for 4-5 minutes (until the broccoli is just tender)

4. Add the spinach, rocket and watercress, stir until wilted. Remove from the heat.

5. Using a handheld blender, blend until smooth.

6. Add the mini pasta shapes, return to the heat and cook for 5 minutes (or for as long as the packet says for the pasta shapes)

7. Season and serve!

Deep Cleaning

Today was day 2 of the "deep clean". As a result of exams and end of year tiredness, the housework has been rather neglected, resulting in a shamefully untidy and rather unclean flat. Since exams are now over and a friend is coming to stay, it is now necessary to deal with the mess! As usual, the old adage of "little and often" would have been a better idea, but since that is no longer possible, the "all at once and really thorough" has begun. For those of you (like me) who tend to save up all the cleaning into one bout, here are some things I've realised (most efficient people will have realised these things already).

1) Open *all* the windows. In my flat this requires the removal of Bob (the spider plant who remains alive in spite of my efforts, rather than because of them) from the window ledge, as he is prone to jump off at the slightest breeze, making more mess rather than less. The opening of windows has two-fold benefits, firstly, that all the chemicals you're probably going to have to use to get rid of the dirt aren't going to asphyxiate you, secondly, it gives that nice "freshly aired" smell to the flat. Unfortunately in London it tends to also bring in lots of black London dust, and the smell of traffic, but the idea is nice in theory.

2) Put on old clothes or an overall, this could get messy. If you have long hair, tie it back, and consider the use of a protective scarf - blotchily accidentally bleached hair, or dusty hair - not a good look! A good pair of well-fitting rubber gloves are invaluable - if you ever read the ingredients of some household cleaners, you will not want them on your skin, even the "Eco-friendly" ones can be quite potent (think how much plain lemon juice stings when it goes in a cut), they will also protect against occasional abrasions from over-enthusiastic scrubbing (I prefer the ones *without* cotton flock lining, since they seem to give me a rash, but they tend to be harder to find). Also, you don't have to touch the icky dirt if you're wearing gloves!

3) Remove all clutter first - bin the rubbish, and remove all removable items to another room so that they will not get in the way of the deep cleaning. This can be an good time for hoarders to realise how much stuff they have and recycle lots of unnecessary bits of paper. Since today was the living room, and because "living" is literally what I do in there, this required shuffling piles of ironing that haven't quite been done into neat piles on the bed, and resolving to do them once the flat is tidy! If any of these items need cleaning or polishing, now is a good time to do them, so they don't bring dirt back in when returned.

4) Hoover... everything - sofas, tabletops (to prepare the way for dusting and polishing), the floor. Don't forget skirting boards and that 2 inches of carpet that no hoover seems to be able to reach with the ordinary floor hoovering head on.

5) Dust and polish furniture and other objects not previously removed, sweeping along with spray polish and a cloth, making sure that all remnants of polish are removed (they tend to accumulate at corners)

6) Remove fingerprints and dirty marks from walls, door handles, light switches, around light switches, anywhere else that they might appear. (I find spray polish and a cloth is the best way to tackle these marks!)

I like to combine 4)+5)+6) using a "divide and conquer" technique - dividing the room up into quadrants or thirds (depending on the size of the room), hoovering, dusting, polishing everything in that quadrant before moving on to the next.

7) Replace all previously removed items.

8) Admire the lovely clean room.

9)Realise you smell terrible, make a cup of tea and draw a lovely hot bath, retire to bath with tea and a good book.

If it all gets too much at any point, take a break, put your feet up, do something else for a few minutes and come back to it... No cleaning is worth that much stress!

Now this post has made me sound delightfully middle-aged, but there we go!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A song for the weary and downcast heart

An old 'un but a good 'un - "Turn your eyes upon Jesus" - a reminder to the downcast soul, not to look within for the answer, but to look without - upwards to a great and glorious Saviour, who has been there before us, knows our troubles, knows our hearts, and has the best ever remedy.

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's a light for a look at the Saviour,
And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Monday, July 06, 2009

I want to be like Jesus!

It might be a childrens' song, but it's a great one, new from Sovereign Grace on their children's album, To Be Like Jesus:

Love, joy, peace, and patience too
Grow in those who trust in You
All who put their hope in Christ
Kindness, goodness, faithfulness
Self-control and gentleness
Live in those who have new life

I want to be like Jesus
To walk and talk like Jesus
I want to live like one who follows Him
I want to love like Jesus
To give my all like Jesus
I want to live like one who follows Him

I don’t always do what’s right
Jesus lived a perfect life
And for sins like mine He died
Teach me to obey Your Word
Help me to put others first
Holy Spirit, change my life

© 2009 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)/Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)