Your works are wonderful

Today was a really nice day as I was nominated for a “you make a difference” award at work, where staff are nominated for doing work above and beyond their normal duties. With some colleagues I helped get £200,000 into the district of Bradford to be spent during the winter months, on people who are cold, poor and hungry. It has been a huge honour to be part of it, as we’ve known our efforts would go directly to those who needed it most. We hope to run the project again next winter, if government funds are forthcoming.

I work in social care and am particularly interested in older people, but work with colleagues who care for people with a range of needs. We spend alot of time thinking about the needs of other people, and there are some really dedicated people around. Today it struck me that it really was nice for someone to know how hard I’d worked on something and to recognise my individual contribution, and for all the other people in the room, it was just really nice for someone to look at you on your own and say, yes that was a good thing you did there! It doesn’t happen very often, and we all enjoyed it!

I also felt that God was with me today, particularly, and I couldn’t explain why. I do know though, if I was cold and hungry and pregnant or in a wheelchair and unable to heat my house, or older and  just didn’t think I could affor a warm coat in the cold months, I would love to know that someone up there cares especially for me and noone else, so maybe that’s why I felt honoured today, as I’d had a small part to play in some of god’s people who really need to know his love, being blessed with material help.

I was reading a book about children written by a christian recently and came across this passage from Psalms, and felt it was something I might share with a colleague who is pregnant, but I think it’s just a lovely poem which speaks to all of us, of God knowing everything about us before we even existed, and loving all of us completely…

 

You have searched me, Lord,

    and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise; 

    you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;

    you are familiar with all my ways. 

4 Before a word is on my tongue

    you, Lord, know it completely. 

5 You hem me in behind and before,

    and you lay your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, 

    too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?

    Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

    if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me, 

    your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

    and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;

    the night will shine like the day,

    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being; 

    you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

    your works are wonderful, 

    I know that full well.

15 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. 

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;

    all the days ordained for me were written in your book

    before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God! 

    How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them, 

    they would outnumber the grains of sand —

    when I awake, I am still with you.

Sibling Rivalry

Hi,

I’ve been working hard recently to try and improve my parenting as our son has a tendency to do big tantrums and get very upset, and I don’t always handle it as well as I could. In the process I have noticed that if I make a special effort to talk to him whilst I am with his sister it really helps, and small things make a difference, like not checking my mobile all the time whilst I am with them! 

I am pretty sure there is alot of sibling rivalry between me and my brother and sister, but nowadays it’s not an every day thing. Sometimes I experience it more with friends or colleagues who I compare myself to, in an unhealthy way, or I notice myself having a whinge with my mum, when I’ve had a good day really! 

I had a look at Genesis this week where the classic sibling rivalry takes place, Cain and Able. Basically Cain murders his younger brother, because Able was out-shining him, and he was jealous. Being the first-born of the family Cain was used to alot of attention, in this case he is supposedly the first born son of Adam and Eve! Not sure what Richard Dawkins woudl have to say on that one! 

I love the verse when God asks Cain what he has done, and Cain says “I don’t know, am I my brother’s keeper?” In other words, why are you asking me? Cain forgets he is talking to God.

God doesn’t keep count of our failings, but he also doesn’t want us to keep count of our colleagues/rivals, boss’s failings either, and he certainly doesn’t want us to resent people who have done really well, or committed their lives to God in a way we might find over the top! He is much less tolerant of committed christians doing other christians down than someone who is living a life of sin, but doesn’t know a way out of it. His punishment of Cain wouldn’t go down well in modern parenting guides, but speaks to an age old problem that us humans have of hurt and resentment creating divisions and problems in our families.

 

Genesis 4: v1-12

 Adam[a] made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.[b] She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth[c] a man.” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.

 

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

 

6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it. ”

 

8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”[d] While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

 

9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

 

“I don’t know, ” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

 

10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth. ”