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The Cross “✟” or the cross “❌”

I am saddened…..No grieved to see just how many “professing Christians” have filled Facebook, Twitter and the rest with endless ramblings on where we need to put the cross “❌” on our ballot papers, Without mention of THE CROSS “✟” on which our whole Salvation and Hope is vital!

Have we really elevated politics to a Saviour level?

We are living in a day when the message of the church is changing. Churches, and even whole denominations, are moving away from the old message of salvation through the blood of Jesus, and are moving toward a message of salvation through social activism and good works. The old bloody message of the cross is quickly being replaced by a bloodless message that lacks power and that lacks hope. Instead of hearing the devastating, but life changing news that men are sinners, people hear a message that tells them, “I’m OK and you’re OK!”

When the Apostle Paul went to the great and intellectual Grecian city of Corinth, he said, “I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). When Paul described what his message was, he said, “We preach Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23).

The Christian looks beyond this dying world to his eternal home in glory. The cross of Jesus enables him to soar on high, and leave the world behind him. He looks forward to the glory that is to be revealed in him. He sets his affections on things above. Oh, keep gazing on a crucified Savior, and the world will lose its charms. “Be of good cheer,” says Christ, “I have overcome the world.” We also shall overcome it, through his cross. It is a sight of the cross of Christ that weans the affections from sublunary objects, and centers them on heavenly and divine things. In this wicked world, the Christian thirsts for God, and pants to reach the mansions of glory.

O that every reader would imbibe the spirit of Paul, and boast only in the cross of Christ! The cross of Christ is the Christian’s boast. In every age this has been his song. Every true believer glories in Christ and him crucified. A ray of heavenly light from the cross beams on his soul, filling it with joy unspeakable and full of glory; enabling him to sing in the ways of the Lord and boast in the rock of his salvation. He sees the moral grandeur of the cross; its attractiveness; its dazzling glory. He is thus led to place all his hopes in the cross of the Man of Calvary, and to glory, before an ungodly world, in that atonement made by the blood of Jesus.

“Far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14

The Most Serious and Severe Departure from the Faith in Our Day

Amen!

Already Not Yet

lamb-slaughterSam Storms:

Heresy abounds. It always has and always will, until such time as Jesus returns and exposes the misguided theological fabrications of men and women and vindicates the truth of his Word. In our day, there are many heretical and deviant notions circulating within the professing evangelical church. But I am persuaded that the most serious and severe departure from biblical faith in our day is the repudiation of the truth of penal substitutionary atonement (together with the wicked, childish, inexcusable, or as J. I. Packer has put it, “the smarty-pants” caricature of penal substitution as “cosmic child abuse”).

There is much that could be said about this, but today I restrict my comments to the declaration of Revelation 1:5b where John predicates of Jesus Christ “glory and dominion forever and ever.” And what is the ground for this doxology? Why is Jesus deserving of such praise? It…

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Not Sometimes, But Always

Amen!

-Word- pictures by DLink

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God hates gossip.  He wants our speech to be pleasing to Him-and He certainly does not consider idle talk or mean-spirited words pleasant (Col. 3:8).  Sadly, gossip is practiced so freely that even some believers participate and try to justify their chatter.  But hearsay has no place in a Christian’s life.

Romans 1 contains one of the Bible’s lists of sins.  The book’s author-the apostle Paul-is reminding believers that God has revealed Himself to all mankind.  Those who reject Him and chase after idols are turned over to their evil worship and the immoral practices that go with serving self (vv. 24-25).  Gossip appears in the middle of the list; God despises it because malicious talk destroys lives whether the stories are true or false.  The person who is targeted by the rumor often loses the respect of those who listen to it.  Hurt feelings may not be the only…

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Becoming Whole

😀

-Word- pictures by DLink

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Romans 8:33-39

Modern society has many “solutions” for unhappiness.  For example, a lot of people turn to prestige, love, or various substances to counteract emotional emptiness, but the happiness these things offer soon drains out again.  Only God’s transforming power can change someone with a broken spirit into a content Christ follower who understands his or her value.

To find wholeness, a person must start by receiving Jesus Christ as Savior-the sin that stands between him and God has to be removed.  Then, with the Holy Spirit’s strength, he will be able to find the courage to confront past disappointments, hurts, and sins that may have contributed to his feeling unworthy of the Lord’s love.

Someone with a sense of wholeness feels satisfied with life.  He knows he is loved, which leads to a good self-image and the ability to love others.  Hardship is inevitable in this world, but it…

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Of First Importance: The Priority of the Cross and the Empty Tomb

Amen…..another fantastic post by Peter! 😀

Already Not Yet

r-albert-mohler-jr-baptistsAl Mohler:

The Christian faith is not a mere collection of doctrines — a bag of truths. Christianity is a comprehensive truth claim that encompasses every aspect of revealed doctrine, but is centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And, as the apostolic preaching makes clear, the gospel is the priority.

The Apostle Paul affirms this priority when he writes to the Christians in Corinth. In the opening verses of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul sets out his case:

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was…

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10 Things You Should Know about the Resurrection

Already Not Yet

Resurrection-of-Christ-713x509

By Adrian Warnock, author of Raised with Christ: How the Resurrection Changes Everything.

1. The resurrection is the core of the Christian message and should never be neglected or assumed.

Sometimes today, when we hear the gospel preached, the focus is on the cross. The resurrection is often ignored, assumed, or mentioned only in passing. In contrast, the preaching recorded in the book of Acts emphasized the resurrection of Jesus, and barely mentioned his death. The apostles were preoccupied with the resurrection and emphasized it much more than the cross.

Sadly, the church only seems to get excited about the resurrection once a year at Easter time. In reality, every Sunday should be Resurrection Sunday. The reason why the early church began to meet on the first day of the week was to celebrate Jesus’s defeat of death. Imagine what church would be like if we consciously gathered

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Unseen

Amen! Such Wisdom shining through a beautiful photo! 😀

-Word- pictures by DLink

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Have you ever visited the Grand Canyon?  Standing on the rim, peering down into that immense chasm with its vast width and dizzying depths, it’s easy to be awestruck.  There’s an overwhelming sense of majesty and downright terror that we feel while standing on the edge-especially if we’re afraid of heights.  The fear of God is like that.  It isn’t an unhealthy fear, but an overwhelming sense of sheer greatness of God himself.

Touring the Grand Canyon doesn’t diminish our sense of awe; it increases it.  In the same way, having a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ doesn’t lessen our fear of God; it enhances it.

The angels in heaven are in God’s direct presence, and their song reflects their worship,  “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

Familiarity with the Lord never…

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If this is happiness—then give me misery!

“If this is happiness—then give me misery!”

(Thomas Sherman)

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen, and lived in luxury every day.” Luke 16:19

How apt are many at the sight of a rich worldling—to envy him for what he has. But, for my part, I rather pity him for what he lacks!

He has a talent—but it lacks improvement;
he has a lamp—but it lacks oil;
he has a soul—but it lacks grace;
he has the creature—but he lacks the Creator;
he has a mansion—but he lacks heaven.

In his life, he floats upon a torrent of vanity—which rolls along into an ocean of vexation!

And after death, it will be said of him, “Take this unprofitable servant, bind him hand and foot, and cast him into outer darkness! Consign his soul to the eternal lake of fire and brimstone!”

Where now is the object of your envy?

It is not his gold that can then rescue him,
nor his mansion that can then satisfy him,
nor his friends that can then comfort him.

Therefore, if he is worth the envying—then who can be worth the pitying?

If this is happiness—then give me misery!

Lord, rather make me poor with a holy heart—than rich with an evil heart of unbelief!

“Have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue—because I am in agony in this fire!” Luke 16:24

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment—but the righteous to eternal life!” Matthew 25:46

Who is he?

Amen! 😀

-Word- pictures by DLink

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How happy is the man

who does not follow the advice

of the wicked,

or take the path of sinners,

or join a group of mockers!

Instead, his delight

is in the Lord’s instruction,

and he meditates on it

day and night.

Psalm 1:1-2

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Treasure

Amen! 😀

-Word- pictures by DLink

This Book, to me, is literally like finding a chest full of precious gems, every day.  It contains endless wisdom, that we desperately need.  Today the theme for Developing Your Eye is Treasure.  I know you can’t see it with your physical sense of sight, however this photo is that of a mountain of precious jewels, gold, and silver-the value of which cannot be calculated.

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Seven breathtaking privileges of being a child of God

Already Not Yet

tim_keller_tgc11Tim Keller:

Feeling weary today? Distant from God? Anxious? Uncertain? In this article Tim Keller warms our hearts with seven breathtaking privileges of being a child of God set out by Paul in Romans 8:14-17:

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

1. Security

We are not to fear, but enjoy sonship (v 15a). An employee or a servant basically obeys out of fear of punishment, loss of job, etc. But a…

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A Funeral Playlist

🤔My Thoughts… 

Last Saturday Sarah & i were buying Christmas cards at our local Christian book store when a man asked the worker “Do you have a CD which has funeral songs on? I conduct a lot of funerals and i’ve tried all the other shops in town, then they told me to try the Christian shop:. He said it wouldn’t be for a Christian though….

My mind was racing by this point and i said to Sarah “Now that’s a question you don’t hear very often….if at all”. 

On leaving the shop i said to Sarah “That could be a difficult playlist to make as for us, it’s a Glorious celebration as death has no sting(1 Corinthians 15:55). And to know we will be absent from body and present with the Lord(2 Corinthians 5:8)……Or for those without God and no Hope(Ephesians 2:12)”it will be the most terrible time of their life”,

The shop didn’t have a CD funeral album…

I said to Sarah “I only have 1 Hymn so far that i would like to play at my funeral and that’s ‘When i survey the Wondrous Cross(Isaac Watts version)’, i need to find a couple more…i will have to make a funeral playlist”. 

Can you help me?? I’d love to hear about your fave  Hymn/song suggestions. 😀

True Rest

-Word- pictures by DLink

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The Lord is my shepherd;

there is nothing I lack.

He lets me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside quiet waters.

He renews my life;

He leads me along the right paths

for His name’s sake.

Psalm 23:1-3

“If you want rest, O weary souls, ye can find it nowhere until ye come and lay your burdens down at His dear pierced feet.”  Charles Spurgeon

We will not find true rest in anything or anyone else in this world.  Period.

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Balancing Grace & Discipleship

Hi all! I’ve just finished reading this interesting yet important article(see below) about Leading the Worship Team in a local church, and thought i’d love to hear your thoughts and expieriences on how you/your church approaches these issues.

I’m amazed by the wisdom, knowledge and diversity of all who connect with me on this blog…so i’d just love to hear and learn from you all through your comments! 😀 

The article…

If you lead worship, you know the feeling.

You’re in need of musicians and oftentimes you settle for someone who can breathe and has hands to hold an instrument. You don’t care about their standards or morality as long as you have musicians to help you lead worship.

And with a variety of people comes a variety of standards.

On the one hand, you want to challenge people to come higher – disciple them to grow in Christ. You feel a responsibility to lead worship with a team set apart to holiness. But at the same time you want to have grace for people to grow.

I mean – who wants to have standards so high that no disciples are ever made?

So here we go.

Today’s post is a question I want to ask you: What are your worship team standards? What is OK? What is not OK? What would warrant confrontation? What doesn’t really matter?

A Small List of Standards

I’m thinking of things like:

Are your musicians allowed to drink alcohol?
Are your musicians allowed to smoke?
Do your musicians need to be a born again Christians?
What if one of your team members is living & sleeping with their boyfriend/girlfriend?
Do you have a formalized dress code?
Are your musicians required to be in a small group?
Are your musicians required to be a member at the church?
What if a team member tells crude jokes or swears?
What if someone has a small drug problem?
What if a musician is homosexual?
I’d love to hear from you. It’s awesome that so many worship leaders from unique churches across the world read this blog. And to get your insight into how you approach these difficult areas will be enlightening.

I’m not trying to create a blanket of standards that every church will adopt. Every church is different – its demographic, location, vision, and goals. So one church may look completely different than another.

What is important is that you make a decision on what you believe and what you stand for. It’s important to communicate clear standards so as to minimize future awkwardness.

Adultery

Proverbs 6:32 Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul. Good Morning Men. As we all know, broken families and divorce are running rampant toda…

Source: Adultery

Cheapening the Gospel

Please click the metal quote logo so view many more quotes on iChristian

“In an effort to gain “converts,” Christians often refrain from telling the full story. We want people to follow, so like cheap salesmen, we share the benefits without explaining the cost. We tell them about Jesus’ promises of life and forgiveness, but we don’t mention His calls for repentance and obedience. We avoid His promise that we will experience persecution. When we do this, we cheapen the gospel.”

Francis Chan, You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity

Saviour, Sobbing & Sharing my Testimony ~ Amazing Grace

Grace logo

I was asked by our Minister Nik if i would share my Testimony in yesterdays parade service. The theme was ‘Faith through Adversity’, Nik said “i can ask you some straight forward questions, it will only take about 5 minutes(or so we thought)” “Yeah, ok, if you think it will help?”.

Sunday 8th May 2016…

Walking into the church building Sunday morning, it was quite full, as it was parade service, the scouts and other uniformed groups were there, but Nik found us seats at the front, then showed me up the steps and where i’d stand to speak, after testing the microphone i remembered the steps and sat back down. 

As i’m blind, i can’t use any notes, so i spent a little time trying to etch some answer headings into my mind, hoping i’d not veer too far off track. I then prayed that i’d use this time to Glorify Him, as i talked about the Truth that sets us free, and how i’m not ashamed of the Gospel, it’s the power of God unto Salvation to all who believe…please make it real(be careful praying this).

It;s time…

Steve, we are looking at people who have showed faith in difficult circumstances and I have asked you to share some of your story with us.

Many people here, even those who have seen you around at various church events may not know that you are blind.

My Testimony…

Nik stood next to me at the microphone and started with the first 2 questions:

Have you always been blind? How and when did you loose your sight?

I explained i’d been fully sighted until i was 24, and after 2 brain haemorrhages(March 2000) that burst my optic nerve, i’m now registered blind and have Severe Hypertensive Retinopathy.

“How did that change your life?”

I said “I can only scratch the surface this morning, but if ever you see me walking around here or in town, please ask me anything. But now i’ll try and sketch you a quick picture and give you a flavour of what happened…”

“I went to the gym 6-7 days a week, played football most evenings and was quite violent, acting the tough guy.  I wasn’t a Christian, i hadn’t been born again, or even been inside a church building…so… as i stepped out of the eye consultants office after being told i’d be blind for the rest of my life, i collapsed on the floor crying out….and this was the easy bit”.

“Following this was pure isolation… all my football mates left me, i lost my job, my car…everything, i was completely broken, and on top of that i was left to my acusing thoughts “Nobody wants you, you’re useless now, unwanted, rejected, unloved and unlovable!!”

Suddenly…

It was about this time where my mouth was silenced, an image of Jesus in Glory(Revelation 1) filled my mind, it was so clear(not blurred by my blindness) I could see His flaming eyes of judgment…then…the image changed, it was Jesus on the cross, now His eyes were filled with Mercy, Compassion & Grace, and while looking down straight at me he said “I did this for you, so that you can live. I…LOVE…YOU!!!

I started sobbing uncontrollably…i’d never sobbed like this in my entire life, and it took a couple of minutes for me to try and start talking again….but more sobbing…i was completely undone.

I knew He’d given His life so i could live. He’d come down so far to save me it is immeasurable. His blood washed me clean, white as snow. He’s forgiven me all my sins, past, present and future, and there is no more condemnation for me(or you), it is finished!

I’d been  praying for so long for God to “Break my heart for what broke His” and sang the songs many times, but never had i caught a glimpse of the true cost of His Love, and His free gift of Grace to those who Repent and Believe in Him. I knew He wanted me to share the True Gospel to people listening(and now reading), as it alone is the only Hope. It is the Power of God unto Salvation for anyone that believes.

Still sobbing, i continued…

My every word was a different pitch but i said “My pit was so dark, my accusing thoughts were too heavy, and this led to a daily cycle of waking up and trying to kill myself…failing, which made me feel worse…then drinking so much i could drown them out for the rest of the day, until i woke the next day, then it started again. 

I didn’t have the strength to kill myself, and i didn’t have the strength to live…i was without God, and without Hope!

Nik, who’s hand was rested on my shoulder asked question 4 “I know you were deeply unhappy at the time, what changed that?”

The world followed it’s pattern and sent me to Counselling, then Psychotherapy & finally Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, they didn’t work, they all had no answer for me, they couldn’t reach far enough down to pull me out. I needed a Saviour, I needed the light of the Gospel! 

The Good News & Lovely Sarah

Meeting Sarah changed my life! I have no idea how she’s put up with me. She’s  been so patient and long suffering as i tried attacking her Faith and this Jesus! But she kept on loving me. Sarah always seemed to have a rock she was standing on no matter how bad things got for her, she always had this Blessed Hope that i didn’t,

Jesus worked through Sarah to shine the light of the Gospel, the Good News i was dying for.

Words failed me as i was trying to describe how much i love Sarah, so when my mind filled with thoughts of how far we’ve grown together in love…i broke down again. 

I then wanted to talk a little of what John Wesley describes as “Prevenient grace”, but the sobbing was still making me pause every few words, but mentioned Jesus doesn’t want to see anyone perish, but he pursues you, He loves you and wants to save you, and no matter how bad or hopeless you think you are, He’ll keep coming with His free gift of Salvation!

Nik asked Question 5 “some people would say that your life must be worse now, would you agree with them?”

I’d gone way over my time slot, and i was almost pulled away from the mic as i was so overwhelmed…BUT i knew these tears were not about me, or my losses. I had 1 focus and that was to share the Truth that sets us free. I had no feeling of sorrow or pain. I knew it must have seemed like this to the congregation, and i thought they’d stick me in a counselling room when i’d finished!

The Holy Spirit was filling me like never before, and made the Power of the Gospel so real to me i almost exploded.

I continued “I wouldn’t agree with anyone who thinks(or measures) life by how good our circumstances are. I’d lead them to 2 Corinthians 4 & 5 where it talks about living by Faith, not by Sight, and now that we are born again in the Spirit, we should walk by the Spirit. Not living for things that are seen which are temporary(like my sight loss), but living for the unseen which is Eternal”

“I used to hate this song, but now i’d play it every service if i could…have you heard Amazing Grace, the Chris Tomlin version? If you pass me in the street you’ll normally hear me singing or humming these words:”

“Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see. My chains are gone I’ve been set free. My God, my Saviour has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy reigns. Unending love, amazing grace”.

Nik then walked me back to my seat next to Sarah. The church was completely silent, it had been silent since i first started sobbing. I could feel Sarah was upset as she didn’t react for a while, then she said “People kept on running up and passing me tissues”. Nik sat down next to Sarah, and Sarah said “You’re not borrowing him again to speak”. 

After the service people came over and said they really connected with the things i said, although i think everyone thinks i’m back in dark depression again.

He showed me the reality and Power of transformation in His Gospel, and how vital it is to share it, as Jesus is the  Way, the Truth and the Life and no-one gets to  the Father but by Him. He’s the forgiver of Sins, breaker of chains, and the only Salvation for Eternal Life in Heaven.

John 3:14-21 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but[a] have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

I felt i needed to share this post to try and explain a little more of what was happening to me, and maybe reach out to someone who is struggling with the creeping death called Depression,or who is just simply lost and without Hope.

Related Posts:

My Testimony

Captivity of Negativity

Striving for Health in the Dieting Wilderness

Wow…convicted and encouraged by Ellie…again! 🙂

New Creations Ministries

thHSB5SKZH“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”      (John 3: 1,2)

John the Baptist was born specifically for one purpose: to proclaim the coming of the Lord. He knew the way to Salvation and proclaimed that Truth to anyone who would listen.

But not many listened, preferring to live as they always had. Few turned away from their destructive path to find real JOY,  preferring to wallow in the destructive or apathetic lifestyle they had chosen, content to be spiritually sick.. They fail to reach out to the Great Physician for eternal life.

 “But when Jesus heard that, he said to them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.”   (Matthew 9:12)

Now I don’t claim to know all the answers to health problems. As a nutritional counselor, I believe…

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Transatlantic Sunset Tour: Day 18 ~ Alicante

Click Alicante logo to begin the Transatlantic cruise

🌴 Day Navigator 🌴

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10 – 11 – 12 – 13 – 14 – 15 – 16 – 17 – 18 – 19

After about a week of sleepless nights, to say Sarah & i were tired is an understatement. Also Sarahs cough is a lot worse and her lungs feel like a boa constrictor has coiled around them. Her erratic blood sugars are making her sick too…but apart from that, we are excited to find out what our last shore excursion has in stall for us! 🙂 

The coach was waiting for us from the bottom of the gangway(phew…at least we won’t get lost around the dock, lol) and we set off towards the castle. As we drove down narrow windy streets lined with vivid green palm trees, with cafes splashed with orange i said to Sarah “Wow, it’s like were driving through one of your fave tracks from Gran Turismo 4 on the Playstation 2!!” “Ok” she said ”Not sure i’d have thought of that, but now you’ve mentioned it, that is exactly what it looks like”. 🙂

 Santa Barbara Castle…

As we stepped off the air conditioned coach onto the sandy/dusty car park, the first thing to hit me was the intense heat. The Caribbean was very hot but there was always a lovely cool breeze, but this heat seemed focused on burning me to a crisp! 🙂 

I’m sure it was just a short walk to the castle and to my surprise i was already halfway down my bottle of water, so when we arrived to find a big climb to the top of the castle which included slanty slopes and invisible rough steps etc, it was time to start the thought process “I think we’ve done something stupid again, and taken on an excursion we should’ve never taken on”. But as usual my thoughts were quickly defeated as my Warrior Wife took my hand and relentlesly attacked the slopes! Sarah always leaves me speechless, as i know she is feeling much worse than me, yet she battles on and fights when most others would give up. This is one reason why i’m so proud of her and love her more than anything! 🙂 

The view…

Once we reached to top and found the nearest wall, the view was fantastic and well worth risking our  lives, lol 🙂  

Alicante 1

A view looking out from the top of the castle down onto the coastline of Alicante

A view looking out from the top of the castle down onto the coastline of Alicante

A view looking out from the top of the castle down onto the coastline of Alicante

While stood admiring the view, i could hear a noisy flag flapping above my head. I thought “I havn’t tried taking a proper flag photo in motion before”. It took about 5 minutes to try and get my camera to focus, but i finally got my first! 🙂  

Spanish flag blowing in the wind

The tour guide was great, telling us all about the gruesome, bloody history of the castle(history never changes) told us we had an hour of free time to have a look around the castle and we’d all meet up at the bottom.

Yay, we had more time to look around! 🙂  

A view overlooking parts of te path quite a long way down from the top of the castle

Sarah sitting at the top of the castle

Another view looking down from the top of the castle

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Alicante 7

It really was stunning up here, and i was excited to find Sarah getting her phone ready for one of her breathtaking Panoramas! 🙂   

Sarah looking at her phone preparing for a panorama at the top of the castle

Wow Sarah has treated us with 2 breathtaking Panoramas again!!! 😉   

Alicante Panorama 2

Alicante Panorama 1

After Sarah “Top Trumped” me again with her amazing photos, we decided to begin our adventure down to the meeting place. We knew it was going to be much harder on the way down but we were going to enjoy it anyway! 

Alicante 9

As we still had about 30 minutes, we tried to look at everything we hadn’t seen on the way up. 

Sarah and the gift shop

When turning around, i thought Sarah had found a gift shop and was carrying a huge present for someone, lol. But thankfully it’s one of the statue things we found on the way.

Sarah and the castle 3

We then found a cool little alley way.  

Sarah stood directly behind a warriour throwing a spear pretending to throw it too

This has to be one of my favorite photos!! I’m glad to see Sarah(The Greatest Warrior” parting some of her knowledge and instruction to an inferior ranked warrior on how to correctly throw a spear! 🙂  

 After many more laughs, we did eventually make it back to the meeting place, and then on to the coach, Ooooohh, air conditioning! 🙂 

 The Town Hall Square & Cathedral of Alicante…

 Walking through the town was hard work as it was very busy, but Sarah did find a local craft store that were selling handmade daisy broaches out of wicker etc. So while she was looking, i thought i’d quickly snap a couple of photos.

Alicante Market Square 1

Alicante Market Square 2 Sepia

The Cathedral of Alicante… 

Alicante church 1

Alicante church 2

 On leaving the Cathedral, the tour guide said we have 30 minutes free time, then could you please find your way back to the coach, i’ll be in the bar down this side alley getting a cold drink if anyone wants to join me? Sarah said “Come on quickly, we need to get to him before he gets swallowed by the crowds, as we don’t know our way back to the coach” “Okay, let’s go” i said as we zigzagged our way towards him. We caught up with him and he told us the easiest way back to the coach.

But before we headed back, Sarah had a chance to try the only Spanish phrase she could remember from her childhood holidays with her Dad.

“It worked!!! I must have said it right” Sarah said as she brought 2 bottles of Lager to the small corner table in the little bar we’d stumbled upon. 🙂

The Explanada, one of the most beautiful waterfront promenades in Spain…

 On leaving the bar, Sarah saw this stunning pavement lined with palm trees. It reminded us of the incredible pavement in Horta, Azores.   

Sarah on the Alicante palm tree art path

Me and the pal tree art path

Shortly before leaving the coach back at the dock, we had one final laugh when the tour guide told us he was from California, works in Alicante and is married to his Wife from Doncaster, South Yorkshire. “Wow” I said “That amazing, the guide yesterday was from Derby(my hometown) and Today the guide stays in Doncaster(Sarah’s hometown) a few months of the year, and when he finally said”I’ll be outside the French Gate in Doncaster in November, we all burst out laughing. 🙂 

Back on the ship…

We had just enough time to capture the coastline of Alicante from the ship before Thomson Dream sailed away to Palma, Mallorca for us to get the plane home.

Alicante Dock 1

Sarah on the ship at Alicante dock

After getting changed for the evening meal, we knew it would be the last time we’d see our Orion Restaurant friends. We met them at our usual time and table and had a lovely evening talking about all the adventures of the day. 

Who knows? We may bump into them again on a future cruise, which would be great! 🙂   

Our Friends at Orion Restaurant

Leaving the Orion Restaurant, we headed to the delo bar to enjoy our last cocktail with great music. 

Alan Davidson playing piano and singing in Delo bar

After a really long day, we arrived back at our cabin to find a new fantastic towel creature on our table. Sarah quickly moved it into an arty position ready for a humorous photo! 🙂  

Lobster Towel

Just one more day to go before we head home, and Sarah and i spent the sleepless night talking about the highs and lows of our 1st cruise, and only my second time abroad! 🙂 

Thanks once again for joining us, it’s a blessing to share with you. 

⬅ Previous Day 🛳 Next Day ➡

 

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The Wasteland Wanderer & The Power Armour Of God

A screenshot of a Brotherhood of Steel member in power armour stood in a apocalyptic background

 📖 Verse 4 2day ~ Ephesians 6:10-18

 The Armour of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Wasteland Wanderer… 

With the recent announcement of Fallout 4 (released nov 2015) there is a lot of buzz about armour, especially the “Brotherhood of Steel” power armour (my fave). 

Every time i read or hear about power armour or surviving in the wasteland, i think of putting on the full armour of God. 

There is no way at all i’d step out into the wasteland without armour, only the foolish would do that. So why do we think we can stand firm against the dark forces in this world (the true wasteland) while forgetting to equip God’s armour??

Easily defeated…

How easy we make it for the evil one and his dark forces to defeat us without any fight at all. We need to put on each piece carefully and securely making sure it’s pulled tight with the belt of Truth, so we can be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 

A little about Fallout 4… 

Fallout 4 takes place approximately 200 years after a war over resources that ended in a nuclear holocaust in 2077, roughly the same time of events of Fallout 3. The setting is a post-apocalyptic retro-future, covering a region that includes Boston, Massachusetts and other parts of New England known as the Commonwealth.

The player faces all kinds of moral choices, situations, people, mutants and feral l ghouls (and worse), As you encounter more powerful enemies without much armour yourself, you keep wishing that you will find the location of the power armour. The game (like life) is full of choices,  you can choose to do good or you can choose to do bad, and the consequences of these choices send ripples throughout the game and change the way people receive you. 

Each choice determines your destiny!

Putting on…… 

 For us to stand any chance of surviving against the devil’s schemes, powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, we MUST choose to put on the spiritual armour. Unlike the game we know the location of this armour is in prayer. 

 

Ready…..Aim..…Pray!

 

I’m writing this post to urge you to pray on the spiritual Armour of God Ephesians 6 (as listed above). Take a moment and carefully consider the power, purpose and reality of each piece as you put it on. Whether you pray this prayer or a prayer like it, make it a routine that you take seriously.

🙏 Prayer 4 2day! 

Lord, please help me today put on the Full Armour of God so i can stand firm in this spiritual warfare.

Help me put the Helmet of Salvation on my head that I might always remember I am saved, and who I belong to, that my mind is guarded in Christ Jesus, and that I may have the mind of Christ and that I may think the thoughts of Christ and reject all others that flood my mind daily.

Help me put the Breastplate of Righteousness on so that I may walk about in Righteousness and others may see your Righteousness in me, and that my heart is guarded in Christ Jesus, and that I may have the desires of Christ and reject all others.

Help me keep the Belt of Truth securely buckled on my waist, that I may always be secure in the knowledge of the Truth, always speak the Truth and especially…live the Truth.

Help me fit my Feet with the Readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace, that I may stand firm in the Gospel, and spread the Gospel of Peace wherever I go.

Help hold the Shield of Faith with which to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one, strengthen my arm and help me hold it high, that I may use it to protect myself, my family, my household and those under my care, and help me use the Shield of Faith to press ahead and push forward for the kingdom of God.

And Lord, help me take up the Sword of The Spirit which is the Word of God, and use it every day, help me us it to protect myself and others from the evil one through the power and authority of Your Word, and to strike the hearts and minds of those who do not know You calling them towards repentance and salvation, help me use Your Word – the Sword of the Spirit – to cause those who know you but are backslidden to repentance, obedience and service, and to help awaken those who know you, but are asleep so they may obey and serve you, and please help me use your Word to bring, encouragement, strength and wisdom to the Remnant of God through your Word.

Help me serve you this and every day. Please use me Lord. These things I ask in the Name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

I Don’t Belong Here

God does reassemble shattered pieces

  As Christians, we were not intended to live in agreement with the way the world views right and wrong. I have a renewed desire to be a known as someone of peace in a violent world. Someone of forgiveness in a society full of hate and anger. I pray that God’s people will take a stand, together as a community, to loudly declare the Gospel that Christ gave His Life for us to have. What has happened to many who claim to have been set apart for the gospel of Christ?

As Christians, death no longer has a hold of fear for us because we know that death is not our final destination. Everyday we learn anew how to trust God for our every need because He already knows all of our needs even before we ask. We should have no desire to be defined by our looks, our…

View original post 459 more words

Transatlantic Sunset Tour: Day 1 ~ London – Jamaica

Jamaica Logo

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Yay…Caribbean here we come!!!

All our bags are packed and ready to go, and it’s only 5:30am! Thomson included a chauffeur to take us to(and from) Gatwick airport, “cool” i said “I’ve never used a chauffeur before”. She promptly arrived at 5:50, put the bags in the boot and off we went! Really hope we havn’t forgotten anything, but too late now! 🙂 

The driving was the smoothest i’ve ever witnessed, the acceleration and the cornering were like silk. didn’t move a inch in my seat, well impressed! lol.

London Gatwick Airport…

After a slightly less smooth check in, Sarah bought a fantastically colourful Swatch watch(pic coming soon), then we drank a nice coffee and waited to board the 787 Dreamliner! Sorry i couldn’t take the photo below, but i couldn’t get the window open! 🙂 

A photo of the Thomson 787 Dreamliner in flight above the clouds, flying from left to right

The Thomson 787 Dreamlinerimage from Google images ⇧ 

 As i’ve only been abroad once(Tuscany Tour 5 months ago) and only been in an Airbus A320, i was interested in this 787 monster, as our flight is 9 hours. It was huge inside, plenty of seating space and legroom, and had remote dimmers on the windows, instead of a plastic pull down blind! Impressed again! lol. The Air conditioning was fantastic and the time just seemed to fly by! 🙂 

 Montego Bay, Jamaica…

Who turned on the massive hair dryer?! It was hot, but we managed to get through the airport and get on the bright yellow bus that will take us to the ship. The bus was fantastic, super soft suspension bouncing us along to loud reggae music, with stunning vividly saturated colours painting the landscapes. 

Wow that’s a big ship…

After having our photos taken and registering for our on board payment cards, it was time to board. Again i’d only ever been in small speed boats when i was little, so this was another huge 1st for me! 🙂  

A colour photo of the Thomson Dream cruise ship standing from the dock and looking up

The Thomson Dream Cruise Ship ⇧ 

 As it will be my 40th birthday tomorrow(15th April), and we needed a fridge in the room for Sarah’s insulin, we booked a suite which we eventually located on Deck 7. 

A Towel Elephant using the towels from our suite

⇧ A folded towel Elephant ⇧ 

 We were welcomed by a fantastic folded towel elephant, and a bottle of Champagne chillin in an ice bucket, fantastic! 🙂 

a photo of the lounge area in the suite

Suite bedroom with excellently folded bed covers

The cabin crew said that we had beaten our suitcases to the ship, so we went for a little exploring.

Well i said exploring…we found the fantastic “Coffee Port” on Deck 8, a quiet oasis with stunning views overlooking the Jamaican coastline. Oh and it has sofa’s too! 

Sarah relaxing in the Coffee Port on deck 8 with a lovely view of Montego Bay, Jamaica through the windows

Sarah relaxing in the coffee Port with views of Montego Bay

 After beautiful and strong coffees we waited for the emergency drill at 6pm up on Deck 9. 

Me in life jacket on the left of the photo, with a lot of other people on deck 9 stood around with life jackets

⇧ Me on left wearing a life jacket ⇧

 Once out on deck we were guided to our posts and shown how to put on our life jackets. It took me longer to squeeze my head through the tiny hole of the jacket than it took for the whole drill. lol.:)

It was really hot and humid out there, and after hearing a bit of a shuffling panic, a person had passed out near us and was stretchered away, I heard the person was fine shortly after and it was due to heat etc.

 Returning to the cabin, our suitcases had arrived, so we spent the remainder of the extra long day(as Jamaica is 5 hours behind the UK) unpacking. Sarah was pleased to find a huge walk-in wardrobe and promptly started filling it. 🙂 

I’d hoped to get more photos of the day, but as we were always on the move, being hustled to and from transport, i had to concentrate on walking instead of taking photos. 😦 

Tomorrow will be my 40th and a full day at sea as we head towards La Romana, Dominican Republic. We have booked an excurtion around Altos de Chavón(mediterranean style European village) and a paddle boat ride along the Chavón River where they filmed scenes from Rambo pt 1 & 2, and Jurassic Park.

Hope you enjoyed Day 1? Hope to see you at sea on Day 2! 🙂 

Next Day ⇏

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Wow…What A Rollercoaster Of A Trip!!

Sarah  i in Caribbean

⇧ Sarah & i at St Kitts ⇧ 

From stunning, breathtaking views, horse riding in paradise, dancing with dolphins, River paddle boat trip, various island bus tours, 4×4 volcano ride, cable cars, OH…. and Sarah’s medical emergancy in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, it’s been an unbelievable few weeks on our cruise holiday to the Caribbean, Azores & Spain. 

Sarah & i arrived back on Saturday, but after going to our local A&E on Monday, we both have been suffering with respiratory tract infections for a couple of weeks now.

So please be patient with me as i’m trying to import all of my photos and sort them out ready for posting here for a daily tour of our trip. But the computer is burning my eyes at the moment so is slowing me down a little, also the headaches, coughing and loss of energy is not helping, but that won’t stop me! lol. 

I’m not sure how long each post will take, and still not sure whever to post on Rebus Photography & iChristian or just on Rebus Photography…I don’t want to duplicate, but i know i have different friends on each blog, so also don’t want anyone to miss the posts. What do you think??

Please join Sarah & i on this incredible journey:

Transatlantic Sunset Tour: Day 1 ~ London – Jamaica

My 40th Birthday! :)

40th

On Wednesday 15th April, i will be celebrating my 40th birthday! 

I’m sorry but i won’t be blogging for around 3 weeks, as Sarah & i are going to the Caribbean to celebrate, then onto Portugal & Spain! 🙂

If you’ve read my about Steve page you’ll know i should’ve died when i was 25….but the Lord gave me a second chance, and doing something like this was beyond me! But i’ve charged up my big Nikon and i hope to get lots of photos to share with you all when i get back. I want to do a day by day tour simular to my Tuscany Tour posts.

This is the biggest adventure of my life, and i hope to see you soon! 🙂 

The Beauty of the Cross

O’ Lord, we thank you! 🙂

Wings of the Dawn

sunrise cross march 2015 020 (2)

I headed out early into a cold morning.
I found myself at the foot of an empty cross.

I am overwhelmed by the Love of God,
who allows me to look at an empty cross.

My sins have been cancelled.
That which stands in the way of my relationship
with the Lover of my soul
has been paid for – in full.

The cross is empty!

sunrise cross march 2015 038

Come to Jesus.
He is real and alive.
He overcame death – your death.
Your sins demanded this payment.
Know the worth of your soul.
Know that the Lover of your heart
would pour out His blood for you.
Repent, dear soul, and give your life to Christ
while there is still time.

sunrise cross march 2015 036

 “He committed no sin,
    and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
T
hen they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate;
when he suffered, he made…

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Posting Problems! :(

MarsEdit Error

Hi Brothers, Sisters & Friends!! 

I just thought i’d update you on my absence of late…

My trusty 2010 iMac started to freeze and stutter, this has happened only once in the last 5 years. But it got so bad that i needed to reinstall the operating system. The reinstall went smoothly apart from the error message(see image above) that kept showing up every time i wanted to post to WordPress! 😦

I use MarsEdit to do all of my posts as it’s much easier for me (and less clunky) as it’s a simple clean interface, so with my massive screen zoom its simpler and much faster to post. But for the last couple of weeks i just couldn’t post anything, i tried to learn the WordPress website posting screen, but it takes me much too long to figure out the posts the way i want them! 

I’ve just pressed a few buttons at random as a last chance attempt before i really have to struggle with the websites way of posting, and MarsEdit simply refreshed and posted!! Yay!! 🙂 

Now it’s time to try and catch up with you all! 🙂 

How Do I Love Thee?

Poetry Logo

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. 
    I love thee to the depth and breadth and height 
    My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight 
    For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. 
    I love thee to the level of everyday’s 
    Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight. 
    I love thee freely, as men might strive for Right; 
    I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise. 
    I love thee with the passion put to use 
    In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith. 
    I love thee with a love I seemed to lose 
    With my lost saints,–I love thee with the breath, 
    Smiles, tears, of all my life!–and, if God choose, 
    I shall but love thee better after death

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

🎄 Hymn “Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus” by Charles Wesley

In between the Godless secular songs like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Up on a Housetop,” you may hear the strains of an old hymn by Charles Wesley called “Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus.” It was written in 1744:

Come, Thou long-expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in Thee.

Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth Thou art;
dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver, born a child, and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever, now Thy gracious kingdom bring.

By Thine own eternal Spirit rule in all our hearts alone;
by Thine own sufficient merit, raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Tuscany Tour: Day 3 – Pisa

I forgot to mention in my older 2 posts in this Tuscany Tour series, that i didn’t take any of my DSLR’s with me to Italy (you’ve probably already noticed, lol). All of the photos taken were using my iPhone 5s or Sarah’s iPhone 6 Plus. 

I’d like to split Day 3 into 4 separate posts, as i don’t want them to get too long, and dare i say boring! If you’re just joining the “Tuscany Tour” for the first time then you can click here to start from Day 1.

Christmas Tree in the lobby of the Hotel Brunelleschi

Sarah & i were up bright and early, excited yet anxious for today’s big adventure. As we were in the reception area admiring the beautiful Christmas tree (see image above), the entrance doors opened as our taxi driver entered and escorted us to his taxi. It was still very dark (especially down the narrow side street) and already raining, and when i noticed the black minivan with blacked out windows (which only appear on episodes of 24) and the voice of the driver say “Get in”, i had a funny feeling that this could be anyone and we were in some kind of movie (this didn’t do my slight anxiety any good at all, lol). 

The driver was very friendly and nothing like the man i was imagining, he dropped us off at the exact collection point for the ‘My Tour’ coach stop where we were met by Chiara, the tour guide. She already knew we were blind & partially sighted and said it would be easier for us if we sat on the front 2 seats of the coach. “Yes!” i said as they’re our fave seats too, good start! 🙂

It took about an hour until we arrived at Pisa, Chiara was telling us lots of interesting facts and history of the Tuscany regions we were passing through, this (and my excitement) made the journey seem really quick. The coach parked right near the Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo) and after a short walk in the group Chiara said “Now you have one hour free time, then meet back here”. This was just perfect for Sarah & i as we now have a point of reference to go from and to return.

Welcome to Pisa!

First for my tourist pose! 🙂

Me stood in front of the leaning tower of Pisa

And now it’s Sarah’s turn! 🙂

Sarah stood in front of the leaning tower of Pisa

Everyone was rushing straight for the tower, so we hung back and got a few photos of the Baptistry and the Cathedral.

Pisa Baptistry

Pisa Baptistry 2

The Cathedral  the tower

Lookin up at the Pisa Cathedral

Me looking at the tower

Sarah sneakily snapped me tower gazing and trying to soak up the atmosphere, and the fact that i was actually in Pisa, looking at probably the most famous bell tower in the world! 🙂

Pisa Tower

A zoomed in photo of the top 3 layers of the tower

There was only one small cafe opposite the tower, so Sarah & i went to check it out. We ordered 2 Cappachino’s and to my delight, a slice of pizza. I know you might laugh, but i just had to try the Pizza at Pisa! 🙂

Tower from the cafe

The image above is the view from the open windows at our table, it was just amazing being sat with the leaning tower of Pisa as the backdrop. 🙂

A panaramic shot of the baptistry, Cathedral & the tower in one shot

After this final panoramic photo, we met up with the group and headed back to the coach. 

This visit already made my day and i’d of been happy if that was the end, but this was only the beginning!!

Oh by the way…..The pizza was fantastic!! 🙂

Hope you’ve enjoyed the first stop of this “Tuscany in a day tour”. Please take your seats and see what’s coming next! 🙂

⇍ Previous DayNext Day ⇏

 

Tuscany Tour: Day 2

As Sarah & i were about to leave the room to try our first breakfast, we suddenly heard a faint sound of bells. We quickly rushed to the window and opened the inner windows and the outer shutters, and the sound was immense! I wanted to record the sound but the video below doesn’t do it justice.

The Breakfast…

Breakfast, i can only describe as an amazing taste sensation. The chef must have only had one knife though, as everything was sliced about an inch thick! What seemed like a block of cheese to us, was a slice to them. lol, but i didn’t want to seem rude and waste any! 🙂

The search for the Palace…

After filling up with breakfast, we started out on our primary objective for the day…to find the Palazzo Medici Riccardi where my photos will be exhibited in a few days time. 

Once out on the main street, i stood facing north (towards the Cathedral) and opened the Blindsquare app on my iPhone. I had save 2 locations to the favourites – the hotel and the palace, so they would b read out instantly and hopefully tell me (if the cellular network is good) where the locations are using a clock face description. It said “Palazzo Medici Riccardi is at 11’o clock at 350 yards”. Right let’s go! After passing the Florence Cathedral it was just a straight road until the Palace was on our left. Now to find the entrance which was another mammoth task for us …

A black and white photo of the amazing brick work of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi 1

We started walking around the outside of the whole building finding everything including a cash machine (very useful, clothes store & even a McDonalds (the poshest one we’ve ever seen). Finally we found it but we couldn’t see any sign of the Art Senses posters anywhere. We went inside anyway to have a look around where we’d maybe stumble across a tiny room being set up for the exhibition.

Inside the Palace…

Black and white photo taken from the inner courtyard looking up to the roof of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi arches 2

Black and white close up of the arches in the inner courtyard

Palazzo Medici Riccardi 3

As we were walking around, we both kept saying “I think we’re in the wrong building, there is no way the exhibition will be in here somewhere. But this place is amazing so we’ll keep looking”.

A photo of me looking upwards towards some amazingly designed door frames!

⇧ We totally need to get door frames like these!! 🙂 ⇧ 

Then a few minutes later i found a ceiling design for our home too!! lol.

an increible fresco ciellin g

As we entered the next couple of rooms, Sarah was oooing quite a lot, and now as i’m looking back over the photos to see what i was actually looking at, i should’ve known there were shoes!

Sarah shoes gallery

After being amazed for a while longer, we decided to double check outside to see if this really was the Palazzo Medici Riccardi….It was! 

I said “There is no way my photos are being exhibited in there, just no way”. 

Then as we turned to find our way back to the hotel, we suddenly realised there was a marathon going on!!

Yes a marathon, actually the 31st annual “Florence Marathon (Maratona di Firenze)”. Now the streets were not only packed, but worse still for us, blocked off so we couldn’t get back the way we came.

Photo of theFirenze Marathon

After a few hours of getting lost, trying different coffee shops and of course the clothes and shoe shops, we found ourselves by the river. Sarah said “oh, this is the river!!” I said “But isn’t the river south, way past the hotel in the other direction?”

Firenze River

We both realised we had no idea which way to go and we were both really tired from dodging people and with all of the noise, so we just decided to pick a street and walk up it. Then to our complete surprise as we were getting really fed up, Sarah said “That’s the sign to our hotel”, “No way, i had no idea we were here, now let’s get a takeaway coffee from our new local and rest for a while”.

A blue light shaped as a bell hanging over the street

After an eventful and tiring day, we decided to try heading east but only down one street as it’s dark now and we really don’t want to get lost again. The hanging street lights were beautiful and we found lots of clothes shops and a nice little sandwich/coffee bar to relax in for a while. 

As we returned to the hotel we booked a “Tuscany in a day” tour for the morning. We knew it was a lot in one day but it will be ideal for us. Now we were getting even more excited. I could be stood next to the leaning tower of Pisa!! No way!! 🙂 

Please join us on day 3 to see how we got on!!

⇍ Previous Day — Next Day ⇏

Tuscany Tour: Day 1

Wow, wow, wow!! What a fantastic and surreal experience!! 

Apologies for anyone who has already read this post on Rebus Photography, my plan was to Reblog it from there but the reblog button has disappeared, so until i can get it sorted i’ll have to post it on here too. 

After spending 1 week in Italy pretending to be a photographer, and being blown away by the beauty and simply magnificent sculptures, architecture & History of this amazing part of the world. I’ll try and bore you to death with my day to day experiences. 🙂

I’m trying to create a post for each day we were there (maybe extra ones too!) as we did a few tours which included Pisa, Vinci, Chianti, Siena, San Gimignano & of course Firenze. 

First i’d like to give a big thanks to our brother Ben who kindly managed to wake up at 4:15am and drive us to the airport, guide us into the airport, check in our case and take us to the assistance desk, thanks Ben, we’d still be wondering round the airport now! if it wasn’t for you! 🙂

A screenshot of my iphone showing the Voiceover cursor surrounding the enabled airplane mode button on the control centre.

⇧ Airplane Mode ⇧
 
The airport assistance was fantastic and couldn’t of made it any easier for us. We even got to ride on the buggy that takes us all the way to the gate! I was the first to board the plane, and i couldn’t wait to finally enable “Airplane Mode” on my iPhone whilst sat on the plane! This may seem like a small thing, but remember this is my first time out of the country! 🙂
 
A photo looking out of the window onf the plane overlooking the wing and engine, with a beautiful coloured sunrise panarama!
 
I think my wide eyes and silly grin throughout the whole plane journey was getting tiresome for Sarah (she has been on planes lots of times). But it was fantastic! The best part is when the pilot “Gives it the beans” and accelerates down the runway when taking off, i’ve felt acceleration simular to this in different cars, but when you think just how big and heavy this plane is, it’s just amazing! 🙂
 
Once we landed at Pisa airport, the assistance were already there and waiting to escort us from the plane. They also sorted out our passports and picked up our suitcase. Now it was time to get our first Italian coffee while we wait for the bus to Florence. 
 
A photo of the beautiful hills taken from our seat on the bus from pisa to florence. Also Siena is written on the road.
 
Sarah described the beautiful panoramic landscapes from the bus (i couldn’t see them until i got back home to zoom in on my large screen) as it took about an hour to get to Firenze. We then got a taxi to our hotel, as i read on trip advisor that although it’s only about half a mile, it’s tucked away in a small courtyard.
 
A sepia effect of hotel Brunelleschi at night with the old tower glowing out in the dark
 
Wow, the hotel was fantastic, and the staff were unbelievably helpful.  Once we were settled in to our amazing room, and logged onto their WiFi. We decided to venture out a little and try and figure out where we were in relation to the duomo and the palace where my photos were being exhibited. We knew we were close but as Sarah & i can’t see enough to read a map, we could easily get lost and never find anything! 🙂
 
A black and white photo of the top of cathedral of Florence
 
Shortly after leaving the hotel and finding the main street, we heard the thunderous sound of the bells from the north (i think) coming from the Cathedral of Florence (Il Duomo di Firenze), The bells would make our navigation much easier for the rest of our holiday as the Cathedral was only about 300 yards away from our hotel, thank you bells! 🙂 We then headed back to our starting point and headed west, where we found an ever better point of reference!! (see below)
 
A whole building completley covered in sparkling blue lights
 
The twinkling lights on this department store were simply amazing to just stand and look at, but it was dark now and we didn’t want to get lost on our first day! All of the streets were decorated beautifully with illuminated stars, borbals & bells so after one more photo (see below), we headed back to the hotel. What an amazing, exciting and tiring first day. 🙂
 
A twinckling star street decoration in Florence
 
I hope you’ve enjoyed being with Sarah & i on my first trip abroad? Hope to see you on Day 2 as we explore a little more…!!!

You’ll Never Believe This…. (Part 4)

Wow, the time has come…I’m off to Florence, Italy to visit the exhibition where some of my photos will be exhibited! The exhibition is being held at The Prestigious PALAZZO MEDICI RICCARDI, Florence, Italy. I still can’t believe this! It is my first time abroad and i’m really excited!! 🙂

I’ll be away from my blogs for a week or so, but i’ll be taking hundreds of photos to share with you all on my return!! 🙂

See also: You’ll Never Believe This…. (Part 1), (Part 2) & (Part 3)

The Simple Way

A couple of weeks ago, Paul (one of our preachers) asked if i’d like to share a song that’s on my heart before his sermon (which was yesterday). It’s not a full band song, but one where i accompany a single singer, a prayerful and reflective song. My first thoughts were “Oh yeah i’d love to go up to the front and terrify myself while i share some words and try to play a song”. So i said “Yes i’d love too”. He said “Great, the theme is unity”. 

As i went away i said “Wow, thank you Lord” as for nearly 2 months now i’ve been doing a personal daily expositional bible study on Ephesians 4 & 5, which is all about unity. Verses suddenly flooded my mind about unity in the Spirit through the bond of peace, unity in the faith, unity in the body and on and on they came. I started getting excited and thought instead of sharing a song, i’d share all of the things i’d been learning for about 6 hours instead! lol. 🙂

Then the more sobering verses and thoughts came along…

“If we are not growing in the knowledge and understanding of Christ, if Jesus isn’t the head, and if He is not leading the way, then unity is impossible!” Jesus who is The Way, The Truth and The Life, simply said “FOLLOW ME!”. 

✞ Song “The Simple Way” by Sara Sargent

I then went to ask my loving sister in Christ Sara if she would bless us with her beautiful voice while i accompany her on acoustic guitar, and to maybe show me some of the songs she had written but kept quiet. So last week Sara came and showed me “The Simple Way”, wow! 🙂

This is a short section of the song which i recorded on my iPhone as i was learning the guitar chords. The quality isn’t brilliant, but i hope you too are blessed by Sara’s beautiful voice. 

After the service people were saying that we should record it. I’d love to go to the local recording studio and record this song (and maybe a few others) What do you think?

The Blind Man Knows…

Wow! This is fantastic, and how i choose to see life after spending so long focusing on what i no longer have! True Joy & Happiness is in the Lord and not in your possessions or situation! I’ve never seen more clearly since i’ve been blind. 🙂

Morning Story and Dilbert

Morning Story and Dilbert Vintage Dilbert
November 18, 2008

A new resident arrived at our Nursing Home; a 92-year-old, petite, poised and proud man, well dressed, his hair was neatly combed and his face shaved perfectly smooth with a pleasant cologne applied. Even though he is legally blind, he decided to move to our nursing home. His wife of 65 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.

As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I verbally provided a visual description of his tiny room. As we entered, he was ecstatic and said, “I love it,” with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy. “Mr. Roth, please calm down, you know you have a vision problem and cannot see the room.” “That doesn’t have anything to do with…

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Christian & Gospel Genre On iTunes

A screenshot taken from my iPad of Christian  Gospel iTunes

⇧ Screenshot taken from my iPad ⇧ 

Ephesians 5:19-20 New International Version – UK

speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Yay! I’ve just found out that iTunes now finally has its own Genre for “Christian & Gospel” music. Praise the Lord! 😄 🎸 🎶

✞ Music “Starts With Me” by Tim Timmons

“Starts With Me”

What could I do to leave a legacy?
How can I speak with authority
When I can’t see You, I can’t see You
How can I know the dreams You have for me?
How can I believe beyond what I have seen?
When I can’t hear You, I can’t feel You now
No, no, no

[Chorus:]
You’re my revival song, You start where I belong
On my knees, on my knees
When I am weak or strong You meet me here
When I’m on my knees, on my knees
Oh, it starts with me

Why do I try to work outside of You?
Knocking down doors I should be going through
But I’m so tired, I’m so tired
You take my burdens off of my shoulders
You break the lies that hold me back
I’m not sure enough

I really wanna change the world
I really wanna sing Your song
But I know revival’s got to start with me
I really wanna change the world
I really wanna sing Your song
But I know revival’s got to start with me

Grace Infused

Amazing insight! 🙂

hisimagenme

image

Romans 12 1-3

I exhort you, therefore, in view of God’s mercies, to offer yourselves as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God. This will please Him; it is the logical “temple worship” for you. In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the ‘olam hazeh (this world; this age). Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what He wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed. For I am telling every single one of you, through the grace that has been given to me, not to have exaggerated ideas about your own importance. Instead, develope a sober estimate of yourself based on the standard which God has given each of you, namely, trust.

Butterflies are such a magnificent display of being…

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i C Photo Challenge: Cars & Trucks (my Brother in law Ben’s cars)

A huge thanks to my Brother In Law Ben for contributing in my i C Photo Challenge this week. He isn’t part of WordPress so i’m posting his images for him. He loves cars, so he sent me lots of photos of some of the cars he’s owned in the past.

 These are fantastic for me as i don’t get to see cars in the real world, only when i’m zoomed in on my 27” iMac. I still love cars and miss seeing them, even all of the geeky bits too!! 🙂

Fire Up The Quattro!! 

Audi A6 1 9TDi  265bhp

⇧ Ben racing his Audi A6 1.9TDi – 265bhp!⇧ 

Audi 90 quattro sport 20v

⇧ 
Audi 90 quattro sport 20v  ⇧ 

Audi 90 quattro sport 20v

⇧ Ben racing his Audi 90 quattro sport 20v ⇧ 

Rev Counter

⇧ Through the red line! ⇧ 

Audi A6 2 8 quattro

⇧ Audi A6 2 8 quattro ⇧ 

SEAT Ibiza 1 4TSi twin charged 275bhp

⇧ SEAT Ibiza 1 4TSi twin charged 275bhp ⇧ 

Golf V6 4motion

⇧ Golf V6 4motion ⇧ 

MG ZR 1 8 160

⇧ MG ZR 1 8 160 ⇧ 

 Do you have old (or current) images of the cars you’ve owned or currently drive, i’d love to see them!! Just link your post to i C Photo Challenge: Cars & Trucks Thanks! 😀

i C Photo Challenge: Cars & Trucks

I C Photo Challenge Logo“You don’t need sight to see, you need vision”

As a “Blind Photographer” I love taking part in photo challenges and seeing how creative other bloggers can be with their images. This has fired my imagination and prompted me to host a photo challenge of my own!!!

The “i C Photo Challenge” will have a theme each week – To get you thinking about the things you’d miss if you lost your sight and provide a chance for you to be as creative as possible – Taking photos you may never have considered taking before, of things you would usually overlook. I’d like you to show me things you think I’d love to see…. things I’ve missed since loosing most of my sight.

Use any camera you have available … it’s about the thought going into the image not the image quality… although high quality will make it easier for me to zoom in and see. 

And above all ENJOY 😀 taken from my “i C Photo Challenge” page.

Week 1

i C Photo Challenge: Cars & Trucks

Pickup Truck

 ⇧ Looks like Mater ~ Photo taken using iPhone 4s ⇧ 

I chose ‘Cars & Trucks’ as my first challenge, as when i was fully sighted i used to be a panel beater in a body shop, where i repaired, restored and customised cars. I’ve driven many cars ranging from Citroen 2CV’s unto Rolls Royce’s and a lot in-between.  I love american cars and love the sound of a V8! It’s just not the same listening to cars but not seeing them! 

For this weeks challenge, create a new post with a photo/photos of any car or truck you think is interesting or i might not of seen before. This can include close up shots of engines, badges, lights…… anything relating to the theme, be creative!! 🙂

 Please remember to include a link back here so i can see (and not miss) your creations. New challenges every Friday!

Mooned

So blessed to se that Julie kindly used one of my photos in this fantastic post!! 😀

Where Did You Find God Today?

moonThis is a photograph taken by The Blind Photographer, a Christian named Steve Rebus who has an amazing blog. I hope you check out his other photos and blog entries as well.

As I gazed at the moon through “his eyes”, I discovered I want to be more like that moon.

Created by God, the moon is dead until it reflects the sun’s light. Then, it shines into the darkness and often provides direction for people on earth. As Christians, do we not strive to do likewise? With the Light of Christ bringing us to life, we can deliver hope to a hurting world enveloped in the darkness of sin and strife.

When I was little and looked up at the moon, I saw the “man in the moon” smiling back down at me. My mother used to sing us a lullaby popularized by JAMES MERRILL BRICKMAN,  –

“God bless the moon and God bless me. God bless the someone I…

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God shows His Plan

 I received this fantastic poem via email from my brother in Christ Ben, hope you enjoy!

Blue shadow poetry logo

When God wants to drill a man and thrill a man and skill a man…

When God wants to mould a man to play the noblest part;

When He yearns with all His heart to create so great and bold a man

That all the world shall praise,

Watch His methods, watch His ways!

 

How He ruthlessly perfects whom He royally elects; how He hammers and hurts him,

And with mighty blows coverts him into frail shapes of clay that only God understands.

How his tortured heart is crying and he lifts beseeching hands….

How He bends but never breaks when His good He undertakes.

How He uses whom He chooses…. with every purpose fuses him;

By every art induces him to try His splendour out

God knows what He’s about!

 

When God wants to take a man and shake a man and wake a man…

When God wants to make a man to do the Father’s will;

When He yearns with all His soul to create him large and whole…

With what cunning He prepares him… how He goads and never spares him!

 

How He whets him, He frets him and in poverty, begets him…

How often He disappoints whom He sacredly anoints!

With what wisdom He will hide him; never minding what betide him…

Makes him lonely so that only God’s high messages shall reach him…

So that He may surely teach him what His heavenly Father planned.

 

When God wants to name a man and tame a man to do His heavenly best….

When He tries the highest test that His reckoning may bring…

How He reins him and restrains him so his body scarce contains him…

When He fires him and inspires him, keeps him yearning,

Ever burning for the tantalizing goal.

Lures and lacerates his soul… sets a challenge for His spirit;

Draws it highest, then he is near it!

Then makes a jungle, then he clears it;

Makes a desert that he fears it, if he can…

So does God make a man!

 

Then to test His Spirit’s wrath, He throws a mountain in his path,

Puts a bitter choice before him and relentlessly stands o’er him…

Climb or perish, so He says…. But watch His purpose, watch His ways!

God’s plan is wondrously kind… could we understand His mind?

Fools are they who call God blind!

 

When his feet are torn and bleeding; yet His Spirit mounts unheeding…

Blazing newer paths and finds….

Lo, the crisis, lo, the shouts that would call the leader out…

When the people need salvation does he rise to lead the nation;

Then does God show His plan… and the world has found its man!

 

(Anonymous author)

Cry With Us

This powerful poem was read out yesterday at our morning service as we prayed and reflected on the situation in Gaza. It was deeply moving.

Yohanna has written a poem, Cry with us (see below), which he is happy for churches to use as they pray for the situation and cry with them at this difficult time. He believes people in the UK and around the world can help change the situation in Israel-Palestine… read more

Blue shadow poetry logo

Cry With Us

This is a season of weeping and mourning, but it is not void of hope.

Our tears are the bridge between brutality and humanity;

our tears are the salty gates for seeing a different reality;

our tears are facing soulless nations and a parched mentality;

our tears are the dam preventing rivers of animosity.

For the sake of the mourning men, cry with us to reflect your amity.

For the sake of the poor children, cry with us demanding sanity.

For the sake of lamenting mothers, refuse violence and stupidity.

Love your enemies and cry with them is the advice of divinity.

Bless those who curse is the path to genuine spirituality.

Pour tears of mercy; compassion is true piety.

Pray with tears, for the sake of spreading equity.

Followers of Jesus: crying is now our responsibility.

But don’t cry for your friends only;

but also for your Enemy.

Yohanna Kanatacho

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

 This weeks challenge reminds me of the 6 years (starting with our honeymoon) that we stayed in the lovely Old Hunstanton Lighthouse. It was a fantastic chapter in our sumer holidays that we’ll never forget! 🙂 

If you’d like to join the challenge, click here.

Sarah Sunflower

 ⇧ My Sunflower Sarah ⇧ 

Sarah eating a sugar doughnut

⇧ Sarah enjoying her yearly doughnut! ⇧  

The old lighthouse2

⇧ The Old Hunstanton Lighthouse ⇧  

The Sun on the Cross  PNG

 ⇧ Sunset taken 100m away from the lighthouse, on top of the cliffs ⇧

Immersed in Love

“Other people’s opinion of us is finite and often fickle.”

Flourish

iStock_000033541504SmallIn life we can try so hard to impress people. We change what we wear, what we do, what we say all in hopes that people will approve of us but the truth is no other person on the planet can validate us. Other people’s opinion of us is finite and often fickle. Other people’s opinions, good or bad, never change who we are on the inside.

As we come to the one being in the universe whose opinion of us is infinite, unchangeable and constantly good, we get a glimpse of who we really are. God created us special for a loving relationship with Him. He made us unique and for a purpose greater than we can conceive.

Now as we receive Jesus Christ into our life, we can stop striving to attain people’s idea of perfect. We can now easily receive Jesus’s perfection and righteousness by simply believing…

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Paul's Redemption

My recovery from obesity and mental illness

Real Christianity

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)

Voyages Of Mine

Travels, photography and travel tips from Knoxville, TN to cities across the US (and Canada!)

This, that and the other thing

Looking at life through writing and photography

Cee's Photography

Learning and teaching the art of composition.

A DEVOTED LIFE

Practical Daily Devotions for the Real World

Travelling with Lyn

My experiences in Italy and the world

The Isaiah 53:5 Project

Life: the time God gives you to determine how you spend eternity

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