Sandyline, Daddylion – wot so funee?

A few weeks ago when we were at our local children’s centre at a group, the fire alarm went off. To be fair, it was very loud, and we hadn’t been warned so it wasn’t just a practice. Andrew was playing across the room from where Joel and I were sat, so I looked immediately over at him and he started to scream! So I rushed over to him, and as I did, a kind member of staff who was in the room offered to take Joel, who hadn’t batted an eyelid at the noise, and I picked up a howling Andrew with his hands over his ears. We filed out into the playground, of course without coats, so Andrew ended up wearing an adult denim jacket and Joel a blanket from a friend’s buggy that was outside. It turned out to be something like they’d burnt some toast in the kitchen, so it wasn’t too long before we filed back in again. Andrew calmed down after we’d got out of the building way from the noise. You may be wondering what’s so funny about that?

Well, ever since this incident, Andrew has managed to recount bits of this story at least once a day. He is now obsessed with spotting fire alarms in other buildings – “Look, Mummy, there’s a fire alarm! Fire alarm make a big loud noise. Andrew cried fire alarm. Andrew in playground outside.” He can spot them in places I didn’t even notice, like shops, cafes and other places we go to for groups. He’s of course noticed the one we have at home, and lets me know this at frequent intervals, just in case I did’t know we had one. This fire alarm observation skill started off quite cute to my mind, then turned into being rather funny; now I’d say we’ve reached the slightly annoying stage, when I find myself apologising to people we meet at groups who have to endure yet another rendition of his fire alarm story when he spots one for the umpteenth time!

The other obsession of Andrew’s at the moment is one that surfaces in the garden. A few weeks ago when Granny and Grandad came to visit, Grandad found a few of those flowers that you can blow on and the seeds fly away in the wind. Of course Andrew learnt the word for them, or so I thought, until earlier this week when we were in the garden where there were still quite a few left that he hadn’t picked with Grandad. As Andrew picked one himself, I asked him what it was, to which came the reply: “a sandyline”. Although I thought this was rather cute, I thought I’d better gently correct him, by saying “Yes well done, that nearly right, it’s a dandelion”, which he repeated back to me as “a Daddylion”. Again, he was winning me over in cuteness, but I replied similarly to the last time, and his third attempt was perfect.

Just like I think this picture is perfect! (Grandad took this one, it’s far too good to be one of my snaps)

Dandelion

Wot So Funee?

A helper for life

Every Thursday morning, the boys and I go to a group at church – it’s for women of any age, most of us have children of various ages, and there is a lovely student who looks after the toddlers (who love her!) whilst we read a passage from the Bible, discuss what we’ve read, and pray with each other. This term we’ve been looking at the book of Acts (short for Acts of the Apostles – they were Jesus’ first followers), which was written as an account of what happened to Jesus and his followers after He had died and risen from the dead.

The first chapter of the book describes how Jesus stayed with his followers for 40 days after he rose from the dead, then, as they were all eating a meal together, Jesus went back up into heaven. We were discussing in our group how the followers might have felt at this moment; I think I would have felt like a complete emotional wreck – I’d have been through the grief of seeing Him killed, the joy and amazement of seeing him alive again, and now he goes and leaves again by disappearing up into the clouds – what’s that all about?! The followers’ response was to pray together, which is probably the only response that could make any sense of their situation.

However, Jesus had promised them something which would appear after he had left them, and we see what this was in chapter 2 of Acts. The followers had gathered for the traditional Jewish festival of Pentecost as they would every year. During this celebration, God sent the Holy Spirit to them, which is described as being like a violent wind that whooshed among them and like flames of fire that came between them and fell upon them. As Christians in the present day, it is this sending of the Holy Spirit into the world that we celebrate and remember today (and every year) on Pentecost Sunday. So it is very apt that our group has been looking at Acts leading up to today.

We can read an account of how the Holy Spirit was sent to Jesus’ followers back in the first century AD, but what relevance is this to our lives today? God’s plan was that the Holy Spirit would stay with anyone on Earth who believes in Jesus and what He did for us, throughout the centuries until Jesus comes again. As the Holy Spirit stays with us and we are filled with Him, His role is a ‘helper’ – there are several ways in which He helps me in my life. Here are a few examples, along with Bible verses that refer to these too:

  • How to live my life….
    • He leads us and guides us (John 16:13; Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18;)
    • He teaches us (John 14:26; 1 Corinthians 2:13), and specifically to pray (Romans 8:26-27; Jude 1:20)
    • He speaks to us  (Acts 8:29, 10:19, 11:12; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Hebrews 3:7; 1 Timothy 4:1; Revelation 2:11)
  • How I’m feeling….
    • He puts God’s love into our hearts (Romans 5:5)
    • He gives us deep down joy even in suffering (1 Thessalonians 1:6)
    • He encourages us in good and hard times (Acts 9:31)
  • How I interact with others….
    • He speaks through us to others (Matthew 10:20; Acts 2:4)
    • He gives us the power to do what God wants us to do in helping others (Luke 4:14;  Acts 1:8; Romans 15:19).
    • He unites us with each other in peace (Ephesians 2:14-18, 4:3)
  • The big and deep bits….
    • He shows us who Jesus is, that Jesus is present in our lives (John 16:14-15, 1 John 3:24; 4:13), and He transforms us to be more like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18).
    • He lets us draw near to God the Father, and shows us the profound and amazing things He has done for us and given us through Jesus’ death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 2:10-12, Ephesians 2:18)

For me, the Holy Spirit is key in how I became a Christian and how I continue to live for Jesus. As a child and a teenager, I felt like I knew a lot of the theory about God and Jesus as I read about them, but it wasn’t until I experienced the Holy Spirit that I really knew what it was like to live a life for Jesus – it’s difficult to describe this because it’s an experience rather than something tangible like a book to read. Life isn’t always easy, Jesus never promised that it would be, in fact He told us it would be hard at times, but He also promised that the Holy Spirit would be there to help, and I’m so glad that He is!

Here is a song that I have in my head for today – it is a song asking God to please ‘send the fire’, and the fire it refers to is the Holy Spirit, just like it was first experienced by Jesus’ followers as described in the book of Acts.