God and us.

A tiny, unidentifiable bug was making its way on my laptop surface. Before I had to think much about it, my pointer finger crushed it, clearing the invader off! I would not hurry to tell my Buddhist friend about it, who delights in all insects, as well wild rodents, she reassured me. But, in contrast to that bug, I was empowered. It felt quite pleasant. I was in charge. Sometimes in life, we desire to have control, if not over politicians or celebrities, but at least, the bugs, for mercy sake. That invaluable, ignorant creature could not possibly accomplish anything whatever for me. It was quite worthless. What is a conclusion!

Several days later, as I went with my reflection on the matter, realizing how unimportant we, as humans are, compared to God. (For those who do not acknowledge there is God, there is yet a chance you don’t know, because no one possessing all knowledge.  God could be outside of your knowledge circle – don’t ask me who the clever person who said first, it was surely not me). I felt challenged to pray in a fresh, grandeur way, by addressing God as the creator of this World, the universes, the stars without number. I became so stunned by the questions that those statements raised in my mind (He always existed? Never created? Knows everything, in control of all things small or big? Wants to hear from me,  a fallen sinner?) that  I had to abort the questions by moving on to my petitions. I do not even know how powerful and knowing God really is, but I’m certain of one fact. God listens to and answers every prayer precisely correct after forgiveness through Christ is possible for me. So, we are pitiful and unimportant. But not at as the insect’s worth to Jesus. Phew!

Recently, a friend of mine and  I, went to the local coffee shop for a Christian concert. We had such a wonderful time: multiple guitars, and the piano were raising the roof! A freshly ground Italian coffee was being poured into our cups. The warmth of the atmosphere was engulfing, the delight of great music seeping  into the soul.  Enjoying myself so much, while walking passed the homeless lady, I even forgot to feel sorry for her for the first time! (There is a homeless lady who sits day and night just outside the coffee shop. She has a severe psychological disorder and not wishing anyone’s help. I battled with the thought ‘why no one helps her’ meaning authorities, for a while, but had to leave it alone. A few times she took food from me and it is as far as I could help her.)

Now, what bugs, coffee, and a homeless lady have to do with us? Even though we were as insignificant as bugs, God laid aside his great splendor and comfort of heaven, to come down to our sin infected place, communicating His love effectively. Gratitude for that touches many hearts. But some are yet untouched by what God of this World has done!  If you are one of them, think of the homeless lady who is a graphic illustration of homeless eternity. Why stay lonely, in the bitterness of cold, with no comfort or music, when you CAN sit  the King of Kings, sipping on the finest coffee paradise can offer? Jesus said: “In my Father’s house are many rooms… I go to prepare a place for you.” It doesn’t  get better than that!

Enjoy! ‘A maggot of a blue bottle fly’ 🙂

19 Maggot of a Bluebottle Fly_tn

Exodus: how to exit this world with least emotional damage.

There is so much information thrown at you the minute you wake up. My husband at times dreams about living in a hippy commune, far removed from technology and crowded places. At this season of life, there is more chance for us ending up on the Moon, to be frank! Therefore,we have to continue with our extraordinaire, phenomenal, modern living.

And if Britons thought they were busy as it is, behold, the government threw a Referendum in! Can be a good thing, still… I don’t watch TV. Shocking, I know. My son feels blue at times that he can’t watch a football match, but then he picks up a football and goes out to the park. We are doing him a favor, won’t you agree?!

The first time I’ve heard about coming up Referendum was on the radio while driving. The conversation was heated,radio listeners are expressing their anger, intending to ‘put the government’s leaflet straight to the shredder’ as soon as it reached them. Suddenly it got interesting and held it’s interest for me ever since. What a emotional hysteria though (I haven’t even debated anyone publicly, not sure how they do it on a regular bases,well, some do end up with a mental break down) So, many citizens, such as myself, who were in the billabong of politics, got sacked into the main stream of it: multiple debates on national TV, if you do not have TV, you can catch up on the Internet or even while in a queue at the bank. You get the point – there is no escape! I can’t even begin to imagine how much time, energy and money had been spent on presenting the views, arguing about them and trying to persuade people one way or the other. It should be a simple thing to work out in our modern, information laden lives, should it? Except a small ‘if the politicians were …. feel free to express whatever seems right to you about them.

Here is my take on the referendum,from someone who is based in the kitchen, mostly cooking and cleaning, ‘a Proper and Proud’ housewife. I have to admit an easy access to the net of news had changed this role dramatically. You can also converse with someone as far as Australia or Indonesia between cooking a dinner and washing up. Some people you talk to are like-minded and it is so joyful,like finding 20 or 50 pounds on the ground( all depends how much they agree with you). Others, make you feel suddenly very small,insignificant and less intelligent. Sadly, I’m sure I have done it, if often not intentionally, nonetheless, at times I’m also guilty of that. Then I have to pause and pray. Repent. Such conversations are heated, achieving absolutely nothing for participants in those debates except leaving them hurt and angry and above all frustrated. Why did I just spent 2 days or so trying to present my point of view?! People of the net (especially friend’s of the friends you have no right talking in the first place) more often than not, are not open minded or willing to learn a thing or two. One, a rather ‘intelligent lady’, she said so herself,(I must agree with her there, if you don’t praise yourself, who will?!) pointed out that Christians are ‘brain washed’. All right, I ADMIT it. Yes, I have been brain washed…. by the TRUTH.  Can’t imagine better deal, if you know of anything better going than Christianity, please get back to me, I’m willing to listen.

Let’s rewind to the very beginning. I’ve married a Briton. Prior to that I grew up in a Soviet republic of Georgia, Christian Orthodox since the 4th century; then spent six years in Christian Orthodox Russia. However, both places, politically were diverted towards utopian communism for seventy years after the 1917 revolution (you have to keep in mind someone from Morocco or Japan, for a example, doesn’t have similar historical background – I had many conversation with students from such places and at first I simply could not imagine that someone didn’t know who Moses was or what is 10 commandments?) three years in California in Bible college (a Christian bubble as it was called). So, in spite of socialism taking over and religious teaching, labeled ‘as opium for the masses’ by famous -you- know- who, I knew about the church and when the time was right God saved me right there in front of the crucifix, icons and candles. Truth that seventy years of socialism has done a lot of harm, and above all a thorough brainwashing. The conclusion is this – we are all brainwashed, but through different channels and means. But when you are brainwashed by lies, it can be undone. The truth-brain-washing always stays with you. Today I know that true and living God is at work, even in the darkest places such as communistic China or almost 100% Muslim country of Bangladesh!

But back to the politics! Before landing on British soil, naively, I knew absolutely nothing about it’s political parties or society at large (still don’t and the more I learn, the most I know what I do not know). Often Christians feel that the government is ungodly, so they tend to stay away from politics. It seems as a waste of time when you can be praying for the missionaries or being a missionary yourself. Rightly so, but it comes a point when you need to make a choice, for myself, I hate making ‘blind, being in the pitch black’ kind of decisions. So, at the last minute I try to squeeze tone of information and process it. Seriously, why did I laugh at my son when he said: ‘Mum, we have races tomorrow in school. Shall we go for a run today?’ I do exactly the same thing and I’m a grown up!

Recently, I had a few chats with a lovely Spanish girl, who became attracted to Buddhism. She is a theist, but to her divine power is just ‘a power’. She ‘feels it.’ I can’t imagine if God was just a power or a force. That’s why I think Christianity offers the best deal ever, it speaks of personal, approachable, friendly, all powerful, omnipresent being who longs for relationships with those He created. You can even dump all your frustration over politics onto Him in prayer. Hardly can do that to the ‘Power’ rather than a ‘Person’.

When I was growing up, I was a huge fan of Conan Doyle’s  writings. During my teenage years I’ve watched all televised series of the Sherlock Holmes on Russian TV. Both of my parents had to go to work and built a ‘better future’, so I  had a lot of spare time watching TV.  It is still a fiction though, but gave me some idea of Victorian Britain: fog and men in top hats – ignorantly that was all I knew about Britain prior to my arrival there. God does display a sense of humor like that at times…I had a chance to fill a gap in my education for 16 years now! But when we finally arrived to UK,in my late 20’s, to this very small island (compare to Russia and America where I spend a few years living) in 2001, Sherlock looking men in hats weren’t walking around at the airport, not even his distant relatives who remotely looked alike! I might have been sitting in Indian airport with Hindu men and Sikhs walking about in pagri (turbans)!Thankfully, neither did the fog prevented the landing of the plane, for that we had to take a drive all the way down to the Sussex downs, our final destination. At the airport, while my husband was sorting out the language, I sat next to a Hindu lady with the red dot (meaning she had been recently to a Hindu temple). I was a more fired up believer back then, thinking ‘what a chance to wish her a happy Eater’, in her turn, she explained to me,that Easter is a celebration of Spring and new life, when bunnies hop around, so we get to eat a lot of chocolate. Little did I know that this was only a faint prelude to what yet was to come!

Every Sunday we took a fast train up to London for church.  That’s where my eyes began to really open up. One Sunday,after a church service,my husband and I decided to visit Hyde Park. I was rather pregnant at that point, so getting away from the crowds sounded tempting. Except the crowd we fell in there was anything but peaceful. If you never been to Hyde Park before I will briefly explain what is happening there. In the park, there is a chunk of land intended for expressing opinions, where anybody and everybody can deliver, shout, proclaim – whatever your feel like on the day their views/political ideologies/religious ideas as long as you standing on some sort of stand, not bare ground! What a bizarre place if you ask, but, hey, that’s  part of exercising ‘demos’, right?! The Muslim brotherhood was well represented there. (You have to bare in mind that this was 2001 and we didn’t have new computer with the connection to the Internet). I haven’t heard about individuals, such as  Archbishop  Carey and Melanie Phillips, who spoke about horrors of  Islamism and pointing out that Britain being the hub of  terrorism ( if this is of interest, read further Melanie Phillips, ‘Londonistan: how Britain is creating a terror state within’ where facts, numbers and events speak loud for themselves). We came alone with faith in Triune God. Standing there and listening to Muslim clergy boldly proclaiming about Allah and Mohamed, the only true  prophet, being locked in that moment alone, you could hardly imagine Britain ever being Victorian with Christianity as a state religion. I guess time change things just as Russia was completely shaken up and thousand years of Christian Orthodoxy was wiped out in a matter of days…

However I was not prepared to just stand and listen. I was straight from the boat from Americas, if you ever came across American evangelicals, there is no one else like it under the sun. They will love you to ‘your death’ with the love of the Lord, they will tell you from the Bible as it is, they will smile the whole time and you have nothing left to do, but to surrender and receive all that they offer. True experience that is. So, I could not let them down, or more importantly the Lord who saw fit to bring us to this lovely, full or rain island.I’ve made a comment about my Christian beliefs to Muslim brothers. They weren’t prepared to listen or show respect, with a lot of noise and rude remarks,they shouted out insults and made me look like an idiot for even bringing up the name of Jesus. Of course, the fact that a woman was challenging them, only fueled their disgust. And the fact that I was heavily pregnant didn’t move them to be polite either!

Then, after I had my first child, I enrolled to Open University, an academic journey that lasted eight every long years. The ideology of ‘change and diversity’ penetrated through their textbooks every students mind. I could not understand then what I understand now it means, but it has made me suspicious I know that much. Sounded terribly familiar, I’ve heard it in my childhood, brainwashed by my teachers, ‘there is no God’. Really, for someone who doesn’t exist, you should do Him too much credit and energy disproving His existence!

What really was happening is clearly explained by Melanie Phillips in her bestseller ‘Londonistan’:

At a deeper level still, the underlying message in the classroom was that there was no historical truth at all,and whatever had happened in the past was merely a matter of opinion. Objectivity was bunk and so truth went out of the window – and with it went the ability to weed out lies. The educational system had been turned from the repository of disinterested knowledge to a vehicle for ‘anti racist’ and other propaganda. Instead of being taught how to think, children were now told what to think. The result was that, over a generation,Britain became less and less able to think at all.

At the heart of this unpicking of national identity lies a repudiation of Christianity, the founding faith of the nation and the fundamental source of its values, including its sturdy individualism and profound love of liberty. The majority of Britons still profess to be Christian…Yet Britain’s Christian identity is fast becoming notional. Few go to church;even fewer send their children to Sunday school. For the secular elite, Britain is now a ‘post-Christian’ society. It is so far not the case, but this elite is determined to make it so.’ Isn’t this prophetic, written in 2005, and now we have a ‘conservative’ Prime Minister who declared that ‘redefining marriage became the pinnacle of his career.’ Or no career in our government very soon, I do hope and pray.

Melanie Phillips words echo with truth for me when I look back to my time while with OU. My first year tutor denied any good that Christianity ever did for society;  my second year tutor of English language that Tyndale’s  Biblical language enriched every day speech, but he wasn’t too keen to discuss any further on the matter; for all of the rest of my tutors who criticized as ‘irrelevant’ when I’ve spiced up my  assignments with quotes from the Bible or simply my opinion from the Christian point of view (perhaps I was a bit too zealous at times, not every time surely). It became very diverse and politically correct to the point that you can speak about anything at all, hmmm, as long as you do not bring Christianity in the view.

I’ve previewed what I wrote so far, it turned out to be mainly ‘a snippets of the personal opinion’ and I haven’t even scratched the surface of what I really wished to say… But the bottom line is this, as believers are passing through this world, we are on our earthly exodus, it is like going camping, you can’t wait to get home in spite of beauty of the scenery and nice weather (definitely has to be in Corfu for that). While ‘ignorance is a bliss’,some knowledge of politics and our leaders is good, as long as it doesn’t drag us into insanity…. We must guard our heart. That what I find so very attractive about Jesus. Imagine, the one who created everything, turns up in a human body and His own subjects turn around and call Him ‘demon possessed’. What does He do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Doesn’t even answer them back. Wow! What a being, what self control! Plenty to learn from that….You will ever see that on the TV if you have one.
I will never forget how one homeless man changed my view about them. My husband asked the church what is the capital on Tanzania? He was about to travel there before his trip there. The answer was shout out: ‘Dar es Salaam.’ Did you know that?! Imagine, this came from a rough sleeper, who happened to be there that morning! I was proper ashamed cause I didn’t have a clue. After that incident, my interest and curiosity grew immensely towards the homeless. Turned out, that particular man was involved in politics, but had a mental break down. He cancelled his social security number, any benefits, perhaps didn’t even have an identification any more?! You also hear about doctors in the news who are, in vast numbers, committing suicides. Just yesterday heard a speaker who explained why people drink. He pointed that we are so depressed without knowledge ‘why am I here on this earth’ that we drink ourselves silly to forget this constantly present thought, trying to have a good time while it lasts. This sadly happens to a non believer who does not lean on the everlasting wisdom of our Creator and His victorious power in us for effectively productive life while in our exodus on earth…
In conclusion, back to the point on the referendum. We all can’t be right with our strong opinions and it is expected from everyone to have convictions. We just can’t be not always sure who is wrong and who is right and demand that our way is the only way.
I know in my heart, as a believer in Christ, that the saddest day in Britain ALREADY took place, the day Prime Minister, David Cameron made a decision (without any referendum or vote of the British population) to redefine marriage. I can hardly be shocked more… hold that thought, perhaps if a committed Muslim becomes our next Prime Minister, nah, you just can’t beat that wicked act by absolutely NOTHING. We know how God feels about that – marriage is for love and procreation just as much (let’s not omit that vital part only because men soon will be able to get pregnant).
Where are we? Ah ha, still at the referendum – isn’t your favorite word now… and my husband says I don’t understand sarcasm. I do, I just don’t like it
A good run, jumping on the trampoline or a cycle gets your bowls going.
Stagnation,in both a human and in an organization, both physical and moral, always leads to ‘cancer and death’. Any corrupt organization, such as EU need a good shake from time to time. If it was a mistake to leave EU, corrupted stagnation has been shaken when the whole nation went to exercise the right to vote. I just can’t call this NOTHING.
Some women wear very peculiar clothes. If you paid me, I would not wear it. But I absolutely love seeing them in it. I’m not sure why I wrote all this and in this style, but I KNOW I had to do it!

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One Spring Day.

Rachid felt relief. As the mission begins, his biggest trick will be to fool the security services still on high alert at the capital of Russia. ‘Freedom will be mine at the cost of other lives!’ A childhood memory  flooded in, one ordinary spring day when everything went dark. A tragedy, later reinforced with religious zeal, changed him. He knew he will be calm, avoiding suspension while getting aboard. Gaining people’s confidence was his  skill. The worst kind of fear, as a tiger, gripped him. The longing for the approval of his parents, always  wishing he  became a chess player, won’t go. He just had to pretend that it didn’t matter. Martyrs went straight to paradise. A carrot, that Allah had to sent to a poor soul before she nearly  fell into an abyss, won’t be his case.  He boldly met a customs officer’s look. The appliances were skillfully hidden. He smiled. A well tamed anger was safe, as in the cage. Standing  at the center of the mall, the eyes of suicide bombers met. The detonator’s rings will be pulled simultaneously. His gaze traveled after a boy, skipping carefree, basking in happiness. As a crow with her screeching , the magnitude of  the aftermath, doomed upon him. ‘How can I turn this place into a graveyard and enjoy paradise? A deity requires it? As ethereal light, logic struck, exposing  filthy lies, shouting: ‘Act’. Abort it’. Such explosion of thought gave freedom, killing the fear of his wicked, life demanding god.

The Gift beyond price.

A Gift Beyond Price

Nurturing five young children is anything, but easy. Our family had a routine dental appointment. My husband and I decided to walk by the beach first; the dental surgery was not far from the pier. It all ended up in a big rush. Parking in tiny street spaces was a challenge. My husband was repeating as a consolation: ‘When they were building towns in England, they didn’t have cars in mind.’

‘Yes, the world is changing.’ The children were already miles ahead when it came down to the computers.  I’ve prayed that they will be just as hungry for the spiritual knowledge.

The minute we came in, an elated receptionist enquired for our surname. There was a generous choice of magazines on the display. My four-month-old baby, who just recovered from a nasty chest infection, seemed content. The older children were already absorbed into an imaginative make up game.

‘What bliss,’ I thought, landing in a chair. I knew why God intended for believers ‘to be fruitful and multiply’, they will long for heavens rest more! My eldest, Laura, immersed in the world of fashion. She found it entertaining to look at the price tags. Maths is her favourite subject.

Soon Laura was tagging on to my sleeve.

‘Look, mum’, she pointing at a plain blouse with a tag of 180 pounds. ‘Why pay a fortune for a top?!’

‘Mum, have a look at this!’

She passed the magazine.  A framed tropical heaven, where women sat, with pearly teeth and ocean matching eyes, on white sand in UGG boots, lured you in. Turquoise water was shimmering in a distance.

Our holiday to Greece came to mind. We visited a Turtle nesting beach. The cigarette butts covered the sand. Turtles were nowhere in sight. Here, even if the sheep skins weren’t your preferred footwear, the boots reflected an ultimate fusion of comfort and fashion, with an inaccessible paradise as a backdrop! As almost implying: ‘Buy the boots and you feel the same as us.’ Looking at the price tag, I closed my eyes. ‘Who would not pay to imitate such a dream?’ I knew from experience. Exchanging looks with my daughter, we had a hidden secrecy flash between us.

My boys enjoy skateboarding. Comfortable shoes are vital. Re-energized, I faced the boys. I knew that when the Holy Spirit gets involved, it is a success.

‘Would you like to hear a fascinating story?’

‘What is it about, mum?’ – inquired Daniel, a fact collector.

‘Boots and faith.’

‘Go on.’

‘Look at this photo,’ I’ve passed the magazine closer to them.

‘These are genuine sheepskin boots. One of the best on the market.’

‘They’re pricey,’ – my fact-collector observed.

‘Highly skilled people worked hard to produce them.’

‘I would not mind having a pair, Laura cut in promptly.

‘We had tried to buy a pair on the Internet, but fell right into the fraud net!’ Laura’s face showed that she hasn’t forgotten about it.

‘Remember a parcel that arrived with a fake sheep skin boots?’

‘Life can be just like that,’ I continued. ‘Often we come across people who are not genuine. They will disappoint or hurt us.’

Seeing that I got all of their attention, I pressed on:

The Bible says: ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’

‘As long as you believe these words, you don’t need to fear. This fact makes all the difference.’

I’ve made an eye contact with Laura:

‘You might not have these boots. Remember what God offers – the pleasure of being in His presence forever. He sent His Son to be slaughtered as a sheep, that you and I have a chance of knowing and enjoying Him. God’s word says only faith is required. No price tag.’

They all were staring at me amused,  but illuminated in their thinking.

‘Who’s in?’ – I extended an invitation.

‘I am, I am, I am,’ all three boys shouting at once, while Laura seemed lost in her thoughts.

The Holy Spirit had unveiled eternally rooted, unchanging truth to their small, yet inquiring minds.

The dental nurse opened the door, with look of astonishment, staring at the boys:’ One at a time, please, you are eager to check your teeth!’

‘Seek Him while He may be found’! – precisely what we have done while waiting for a routine dental appointment.

My wish.

 

The campfire was dancing with glee, and so did we. The work on the family allotment, under intense sun burning on your back, seemed a hard labour. At last we had finished for the day. The meat was soaking in marinade, getting ready to turn into juicy shish kebab with plenty of fresh veggies ready. It is rather impossible to describe the  taste of a tomato and a cucumber, freshly picked and sun ripened. You just have to try it.

I’ve  decided to go and look for more wood to burn.

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The evenings near the Caucuses mountains were  wonderful. Warm after the dark; the aromas of the day somehow  more intense, infused by the various tropical plants and trees around, magnolias, jasmine, mimosa, lilac, the blossoms & scents  depend on the time of the year.  But the summer nights were special to me because of peculiar insects that accompany  evenings, fireflies and noisy cicadas. I could sit, listen, watch the fireflies, fascinated by them, into the dawn, if allowed.

The sun was about to set down, lighting up the skies in magnificent colours, as if they were done by a master painter. I treasure the memory of those trips to the allotment now. Picking up dry wood among the bushes, I suddenly saw the most beautiful bird! A blue bird! Quietly calling my mother over, we stared in disbelief, enchanted, as if we just truck on the gold mine!

What a bird,  you can only see  once in a life time! – she finally said.

Angela, quick, make a wish!

I didn’t have to be asked twice. Being in the last year of High school I knew exactly the right wish!!!

We ate the most delicious, succulent shish kebab ever, and burdened under the weight of our garden produce,  hurried home.

I don’t know if I actually believed that seeing a Blue Bird means anything , but I did make a wish. At exactly that time next year I wanted to be a University student!

The last year in school flew as a bullet.  Before I could blink,  I was standing in front of the old building of medical University in a fine city of Tver, far away from the Caucasus.

It has been pointed out:’ We would never imagine that getting our heart’s deepest desires might be the worst thing that can ever happen to us.’
 Oh how true this was of me at that moment particularly, but little did I know! The whole trip turned into one big disaster. It started off with the torrential rain, our plane tickets were canceled once, and it finished off with the flood of tears because I didn’t pass my entrance exams.

What I felt that day, describes most similar in Aibileen’s word’s from the novel, ‘The Help’.’That was the day the whole world went black. Air looked black, sun looked black. I laid up in bed and stared at the black walls a my house. Minny  came ever day to make sure I was still breathing, feed me food to keep me living. Took three months fore I even look out the window, see if the world still there. I was surprised to see the world didn’t stop just cause my boy did.’   She was mourning the real  tragedy.  I mourned my self-centeredness. The road to life is through the death to self. That was the very beginning of my walk with the Lord.

Now, looking back, it is amusing to see how naïve I was, full of my own ambitions, pride, self-sufficiency, self-centeredness and all together totally blind about the future.

That trip came to a dead end. Not only a blue bird, even both of my parents were helpless. I’ve stayed at home and learnt the basics – what to do around the house.

It so happened that while my mother didn’t read the Bible, she sincerely believed in God. Eventually, being bored or desperate, or both, I ended up in front of the Orthodox church, back near the old, good Caucuses. The church was a basic building, not as impressive as  Orthodox  churches with golden kupols that I just saw in Moscow, but still trying to reach out to the heavens. Most of the people at the church were old women in black, their heads also covered  with  black scarves. So depressing, but I had nowhere else to go for hope. I lit my candles. I saw the crucifix and  prayed to Jesus: ‘I want to know if you are real. Do you love me?!’

Almost immediately I knew and felt that God heard me. That day I went home with a peace in my heart. Somehow the future,  still unknown, seemed a lot better. I prayed to God every day after. I did ask for forgiveness, not sure for what though at the time – my own sin or just in general. I knew that somehow, somewhere I failed Him. I definitely felt foolish for not trusting Him with my life before.  The desire for unconditional love and  help from God to guide me into the future was burning in me now.

At some point, I got the Bible into my hands. I’ve asked for forgiveness for my sins. I got baptized, to tell the world that I follow Christ. I’ve never got granted that wish I had, when I saw a blue bird. I’m only grateful for that. I had many other wishes of my heart granted since, God blessed and approved! The Bible true when it says ‘taste the Lord and see that He is good!’

Supernaturally, I experience God’s ever-present help daily, whether in big decisions or small. I see unbelief all around me, but how can anyone take something if it is real and alive from you?! I enjoy my life immensely, still I can’t wait for Jesus to appear in His second coming in glory. And when He does, will you welcome His return?!!! The Bible says that ‘every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.’

My first picture book!

My first picture book based on the fifth commandment is available on Amazon in Kindle!

It is ideal for ages 2-5 years old. Enjoy it and  please leave a review if you’ve bought it. Thank you!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=BIG+AND+BRAVE

or

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_13?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=big+and+brave&sprefix=big+and+brave%2Caps%2C222

A poncho.

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             ‘He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.’ I. Watts

             for all my dear single friends – REJOICE – you do not have ‘ this itchy problem’!

My mum came to visit us this year.  She had brought knitting wool that  I thought would make into a lovely poncho. The minute my mum feels it is an inspirational idea, she is on it. Next thing I know she is already knitting away.  A couple of days later, voilà, a sheer piece of art, my new poncho, was ready!

It looked simply stunning. I could not wait to try it, but the minute I did, it felt so itchy. Unbearable to wear! The weather was still sunny and hot. I had a T- shirt on and the wool was rubbing on my bare skin. All I wanted  to do is to get rid of it.  A Russian wool.  It looked the best quality ever…. but at the same time you could not enjoy it.  I can’t wear synthetic ‘wool’.  Instantly I feel like a Sweaty Betty.  All I could do is to laugh through this disappointment. Russia, as a country, is an amazing place, but …… if you have  ‘an itchy problem’, you will be tested to the core and  you can’t  express your ‘weaknesses’ about it. I remember, before I left for California, the missionaries in Moscow were about to lose their place  to stay. It was a time of trials in the heart of  the winter, the weather outside was -30 C at least, not the best time for moving. … if you have somewhere to move! The doors were slammed  in our faces anywhere we tried. I could never forget that feeling when you desperately need help, you wait for it, pray for it, but it doesn’t come soon enough.  My prayer partner and I had to go on two-week fast because we weren’t ready to show our ‘weakness’ about it. At times like that people’s character and faith in God are on a  ‘wool’s core test’ !

So,  this time I wasn’t willing to give in to some insignificant ‘itchy’ problem that this wool caused. Even though often little ‘itchy’ problems in relationships cause great damage. Like those little foxes ruining massive vineyards. I kept taking to friends about this ‘little itchy problem’. A friend suggested I rinse it off with ‘Comfort’. Strangely enough I had a bottle of ‘Comfort’ just sitting in the kitchen. My mother in law kindly gave  it to me ( unlike many Californians, in Britain everyone dries their clothes in the fresh air. It saves a fortune on the electricity bill, but it makes your clothes, especially the towels as a ‘sandpaper’).  The sheer smell of ‘Comfort’ knocks me off my feet though. No wonder I’ve  used it.  The deceptive label on the front of ‘clear blue skies and flowers’ only adds fuel to fire my anger. But out of  desperation I considered it. I don’t know how I survived this synthetic smell (the whole country does)  that seemed to penetrate my entire house! But I love the name, it is 10 out of 10  for the marketing department. This makes me think of the Holy Spirit who alone is effective in eliminating the ‘itchy problem’ in relationships, no wonder he is called  a Paraclete (Gr. παράκλητος, Latparacletus) meaning an Advocate or a Helper or…. a Comforter!

While I dealt with the ‘itchy problem’, I got thinking about family life. That’s what my every day looks like – time with the family.  Thinking while cleaning (that’s one positive point to such a frequent activity) is so useful. I remember having the most profound thought while cleaning the bottom of my wedding dress right after my marriage. It seemed to become a good habit. Having 13 years of marriage behind me now, I had first hand experience of what it feels like for two sinners to be married.

Not so long ago, I’ve noticed that I’m ‘a true daughter of Eve’. It only took  me many years of prayer  to realize. May be because I was busy having babies. But when I do get enlightened on something specific at long last, it is a BIG BOOM  effect. I find it so incredibly hard to admit my faults to others, especially my immediate family. Human sinful nature desires adoration at all cost, so why ruin it with those you see  daily?  My first reaction, even before I think about it properly, usually was: ‘ No, that was not me. NO, it is not like that. I haven’t said that. No, I haven’t done it.’ When I think about it not being emotionally involved, I’m rather astonished myself. But as two sinners rub on to each other as a wool does on bare skin, it will create a ‘itchy problem’.

On the other hand, my husband doesn’t have this particular ‘pride problem’ in a large dose as I do. He says almost straight away: ‘Yes. it was my fault.’ It spoils everything: you can’t further blame him, you can’t argue to find him guilty, you can’t do any further emotional accusations’ that much  with the person who plainly admits his fault except praise him and appreciate him in your heart. Such person isn’t ‘itchy’ to be around.

I’m convinced that most couples that I’ve met, both Christians and not, were matched perfectly. They balanced and complimented each other in so many ways. The first couple that comes to mind were my parents. My dad was an extreme introvert and a very private person. My mum knew every neighbor and beyond. She is the one who was on parent’s school committee and everywhere else. Their characters, joined together, were complete. But the ‘itchy problem’ of sin that Satan had created in the garden of Eden (remember Adam and Eve sewing clothing out of fig leaves to cover themselves) never goes away…. until God Himself interfere. It doesn’t matter how well matched and suited couples are. They will suffer with the ‘itchy problem of sin’ cause the enemy will make sure of it. Perhaps He starts his attacks with Christian couples, gets nowhere with some, defeats the others and goes in circles again and again. He is a powerful spiritual being, in fact more powerful than any human. That’s why a perfect character match, physical attraction and even higher intellect is simply not enough to keep the family safe from his attacks.  God Himself had to sacrifice an animal and use their skin to cover the first disobedient couple. Universally, in spite of an incredible, unfathomable technological progress, this problem of marriage between two sinners  remains just as unsolved outside of Jesus and His sacrifice for the sin.

One gifted counselor noticed something. He had a couple in this office that needed some help in their marriage. The problem seemed serious, but no one was claiming responsibility for it.  He said: ‘This is rather fascinating: a big problem and two innocent people. Even I can’t solve it.’

What I believe is helpful is to learn from each other and copy each other good qualities. Ask for forgiveness often. ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ This is the best spiritual daily exercise I know of . So, the first thing you want to know about a person you are about to marry, how is their prayer life? I would.  Over time it is only going to get more difficult and complicated with children coming along. It will make a wife stationary for a while in life, will strip her figure for a time or for good, will limit the time a couple has to themselves and the list can go on and on and on….

A very good illustration about copying each other qualities is this.  When I was first married I could not stand French brie or Camembert cheese. I didn’t even know if I liked ‘curry’ either. My husband loved Indian food & French cheese.  Over the years I fell in love with those two myself. Likewise, what is more important, some of the godly qualities  rubbed off on me as well. My husband was  so quick to forgive. I loved to sulk. He hated arguments. I loved to prove my point. So, over the years I had a good, opposite example to copy and pray about it. In his turn, my husband became a bit more expressive in his emotions. Early on in marriage, he told me that he could not understand how his mum would cry while watching a film: ‘this is not real at all ?’ I thought to myself:’ Oops. I would do the same if the story was moving!’  He became more compassionate, patient and generous among other things. And that is  one of the purposes of marriage I’m sure – to become more like Jesus ‘who is sweeter than a honeycomb‘. There is no better way than rub against someone who will speak ‘truth in love’ to you day in and day out. When we got married we both thought that we loved the Lord and were spiritual people. Only after a short while together, we doubted whether we are Christians at all ?!!  I’m sure this doesn’t have to be so intense and dramatic for all couples, but refining fire is not a joke at times.  Just have to keep your perspective fresh on what is going to come out of this.

We are both far from perfect yet. But we understand the Lord is still chipping away extra pieces from His masterpiece. He wants to make sure it won’t have a ‘itchy affect’ at all.  In fact, no fashion would be necessary. Imagine how much money can be saved?! Hey, who will think about money then. Hard to imagine yet. We love out assets now.  Don’t you love the definition of ‘an asset’ = ‘ is a resource controlled by the entity as a result of past events and from which future economic benefits are expected to flow to the entity.’  

The reason why I even mention business here is because I’m still such a novice at it. I haven’t done much business in life. Buying and selling is just not my passion which must drive you to be successful.  But when your family grows as dough with the yeast you need to have some assets. After much prayer, I got myself involved in a small business. Naturally, I was worried at first. What was fascinating is that if you stay honest, apply what you know from the Bible through much prayer, you will have the best shot at it.  I knew about Christian business people who are doing well, but haven’t expected it to be that easy and straightforward. It is. The rest is just details and having a desire to learn will take you when you need to be.  The Bible does give the best advise to do any business successfully. Jesus, Logos, the Word was before any business ever was.itchy

The spiritual definition that I’ve worked out is this: Jesus secured His victory on the cross in the past to bring redemption of mankind in the future for their eternal benefit! Wow!!!

Let’s keep our family fire burning. It spreads warmth, love, hope for the completely victorious future, patience, fitfulness, perseverance, no matter what life and the enemy throws at us towards all. God has overcome the power of sin. So will we  by the power of the Holy Spirit. And if the Lord has you single, you life brings glory to Him just as much. At times it feels lonely, but it is ‘not unbearably itchy’ at least!  I’ve quoted above a line from Isaac Watts famous hymn ‘Joy to the world!’ He had to remain single all his life, (he felt in love with a poetess, she was naturally very fascinated by his writings, but when she met him, she decided that he wasn’t handsome enough to tempt her as Mr. Darcy puts it), but he had written sweet praise during his whole life to our Eternal, full of love and mercy, God! What a life that counted for Christ that was. Whichever your status in life is, with Christ – it matters even when time ceases!!!

Metal trees.

Metal+wall+art+tree-1[1]On  Saturday as I was driving on a country road, my left eye caught a peculiar sight. A house, just before the bend of the road, had metal trees in the garden. I kept staring at them, nearly swerved the car off  the road.

It is awfully convenient to have metal trees in your garden. Hardly any care required. Often, even without realizing it, often I want my life, health, well-being, spirituality to be  like those ‘trees’ that don’t need any care or nourishment.

I was on my way to the Saturday market to buy milk. From the start it had not been the best day. I got talking to my mum and lost concentration for just enough time to miss a turning. Consequently, it took us twice as much to finally get to the market. I would not even bother if I didn’t have to pick up milk for a friend. Even though after starting to drink raw milk my teeth back to normal (not being sensitive and unbearable to chew  on both sides of my jaw)  I still find it hard to make the effort.  Often I want  my health to be just as a ‘metal tree’. No care, no effort required. Often I just want to sound all healthy and right minus the sacrifice of time and money. I hear people say ‘oh, it is so much easier ‘to do good’ in life. And I can do it myself without anyone’s help.’ I find this incredibly unbelievable.  My faith must be too small.

Another thing that I found amusing was about ‘multiple promises’ that we make. Or others make. It caught my attention  that Waitrose supermarket starting to partner with Shell company.  For years they fought for cleaner water for cleaner fish, but this promise/conviction doesn’t seem relevant once Shell offered them partnership? How does it make you feel? I’m not a Green Peace activist, but still it left me with rather unpleasant feeling.  Who is among us doesn’t like when promises are kept? The truth is it is impossible to achievable by human efforts alone.  Here is a classic example. I tried to explain to one lady how only God can help anyone to do what is right; the fact that only through Christ and His righteousness we are able to please holy God. After all my explanations, this woman turned around and said: ‘Here is what my father used to say, whom I absolutely adored. ‘ I want to wake up each day and be able to look at my reflection in the mirror.’  Sounds very noble, but who can actually do it? It is just a matter of time before our deepest convictions and earlier made promises compromised or totally broken. What is interesting is that we are looking at the Lord’s Prayers on Sunday mornings at the church. Isn’t peculiar that Jesus could have addressed God : a Holy One, Eternal One or gazillion other names ? Yet, He addressed Him not ‘My Father’ , but as  ‘Our Father who are in heaven’ including and sharing Him with all who believe. Not only God is the Father to all who believe, but Jesus calls Him ‘Our’ father which makes it so much more personal. Some of us have fathers we adore, some of us, don’t. But it is only Our heavenly Father who leads us on the path of life in eternity . We must consider Him and what He says. His wisdom stands forever and it is supersedes time. May we read and meditate on our Bibles more often! To do that we all  must put some effort, have a desire and time to be consistent with it, have ‘waiting on the Lord period’ for specific prayer answers. That was the most convicting part of the Sunday sermon . I find myself so impatient these days, it is shocking.  When Christians stay up late reading their Bible and pray you can tell. You also can tell when they stay and watch YouTube or whatever other entertaining nonsense  the Internet offers.  This is first of all a challenge for me – to put to practice what I ‘preach regarding my body & soul’.  And I thank God that He delivers all the promises that He ever made!

He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.