Journal give away!

As regular readers will know I’m a big journaling fan, so I was excited when the lovely peeps at SPCK sent me 4, yes 4, copies of this lovely new journal to give away! Want to be in it to win one? Then read on…

If you love journalling but are a bit bored of blank pages; or you’ve had a secular journal but need something to help you draw closer to Jesus; or maybe you just want to try something new, then this journal is for you!

When I asked author Carol Petley if she had written books previously she guffawed with laughter; ‘no Jules!’ she said. Then she told me how she had searched for a Christian journal that would challenge her, get her thinking and help her grow closer to Jesus but couldn’t find one. Instead God sent her on a journey to produce one herself, surprising her every step of the way.

Carol first had the idea after buying a secular Q&A journal for her daughter-in-law a few years ago. She liked it so much she bought one for herself too, so they had something to talk about together. But it turned out that the journal was going to be so much more than a talking point as she found that, as the years went on, it really spoke to her about her life as she reflected on each year gone before.

This inspired Carol to think about writing a Christian Q&A journal. As she notes, what better way to end each day than thinking about your relationship with Jesus? And each day the journal helps you to do just that, with a short scripture to read and a question to get you thinking. From life questions like ‘what major task have you accomplished recently’ to the more overt ‘how are you trying to draw near to Jesus?’ there are great prompts for each day and, because the journal covers 5 years, you can go back and reflect on the year(s) gone before too.

God’s journey to production was full of surprises: Carol helps runs an organisation called Waggy Tails that uses dogs to help teenagers with learning disabilities (do look it up, it is completely fab!) and when she first met with SPCK they had assumed that was what she wanted to write about. Carol felt she was there under false pretences! But God had a plan and her idea passed all the approval stages, even with SPCK admitting they had not published anything like this before. And it seems like God’s plan for the journal is already playing out. Carol told me how she took a pre-release copy of the journal along to a group of friends who are not Christians and she saw how it was a great conversation starter, as they were keen to look up special dates like birthdays and ended up having the most evangelistic conversation she’s ever had with them!

So that’s where the give away comes in. We have 4 copies of this beautiful book to give away, so to enter, we’d love to hear who you would choose to give this journal to if you won a copy and why? You can send your answers by commenting below or via the blog Facebook page here.

 

The Q&A bible verse 5 year journal is published by SPCK and released on 16th November, priced £14.99 and is available from Eden and Amazon (at, it has to be said, varying prices!)

 

Give Away T&C

To enter the giveaway you must suggest someone you would like to give a copy of the journal to and why. Entries will only be received via comments to this post or the relevant post on my blog Facebook page.

You may enter as many times as you like.

Entries must be received by 11.59pm, Saturday 18th November 2017, any entries after this point will not be included.

The 4 winners will be decided by Jules and Carol and notified via social media by Wednesday 22nd November. Winners will need to provide a postal address to where the prize can be sent. They will be sent out within 3 days of receiving this information.

Family members of Jules and Carol may not enter this giveaway

 

Losing my marbles…

'Marbles' photo (c) 2010, John Morgan - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

…or not as the case may be…
So I saw my spiritual director this week and had a rather emmotional and revealing chat about various things.
Anyway at the end we had the usual quiet and prayer time. During this I was sat with my hands open on my lap and I had a sense of God putting a bag in my hands. It was an old white drawstring bag, a bit grubby, looked like it was made of linen or muslin, and was tied with a simple bit of string. When I opened it, it contained lots of marbles. Not just normal marbles. These were big and all different colours. They were beautiful with all different designs. As I looked one was put in my hand. It was clear but inside had the most amazing flower, all red and orange. It was stunning. Then the bag was taken away leaving me this one in my hand.

I asked God was this was for and I felt him saying that every marble represents something that has happened in my life, but more than that, each one was a gift, a gift of understanding and wisdom from God, each marble being what I have learned through my life experiences. The one in my hand represented my friend Nix and what I had and am learning through her. I felt God saying that I needed to contemplate it further and I will do.
What I loved about all of this is the idea of the gifts from God, that what we learn through our experiences whether hard, emotional, or less diffciult to bear, are gifts from him. The bible says that God uses all things for good and sometimes its really hard to see good when there is suffering, but I guess then we just need to look a little harder.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
Romans 8:26-28 The Message Version

 

Don’t you realise where you are…?!

Today I was reminded of this passage from the Message version:

Woe to you who turn justice to vinegar
and stomp righteousness into the mud.
Do you realize where you are? You’re in a cosmos
star-flung with constellations by God,
A world God wakes up each morning
and puts to bed each night.
God dips water from the ocean
and gives the land a drink.
God, God-revealed, does all this.

Amos 5:7-9

Love this! Just a gentle reminder – do we realise where we are? Half the time it’s so easy to just be bogged down in the day to day, but I love getting a fresh reminder of the wonder of God’s creation. Love the line about God giving the land a drink.. the land must be particularly thirsty right now ;)

Bible vs Quran

Just had an interesting session with some sixth formers at a local school. The same one I went to last week to talk to the year 10s. I had been warned they might be feisty as half of them study philosophy. Actually it was very interesting, and there were only 3 of them as lots of them are doing exams. One admits to being a committed Christian, one says he is but some of his statements made me wonder and the other was probably an atheist judging by his questioning. 
Actually I liked him the best, (in a non-weird way, I should point out) he was intriguing, I wanted to spend time talking with him further to see where he is coming from, he frowned a lot and that made me wonder about him as a person too. But anyway some of his questions were quite pointed. For example, there is just as much historical evidence for the bible and existence of Jesus as there is the Quran, so why should I chose Christianity over Islam (I’m not sure if he is actually correct but let’s just look at his question). In my head I was thinking, because of what Jesus did, because he did that out of love and without expecting anything from us in return. But actually that isn’t an answer is it?
If someone totally unchurched in any faith studies both Islam and Christianity, which should they chose? The answer I guess is the one that speaks to that person as an individual, not what anyone else tells them, and that comes from them as a person. The one that appeals most will depend on their upbringing, their state of mind, their knowledge. I realised it was pointless me saying, ‘well Christianity of course, for this reason and that reason’, because we each have to make that decision for ourselves don’t we. And ultimately God has to guide each person to make that decision.
I don’t know enough about Islam to have gone into a theological discussion about it with him and anyway would it help?
It seems, in a way Christianity is the easy option. God accepts us as we are, he loves us no matter what, someone can turn to God on their death bed and still be ok with God. Other religions require people to do specific things, to stick to the laws, to spend a lifetime in service to a God who may or may not accept them.
When you look at it like that it seems simple, I want to know the God who loves me for me, but when someone can’t even be open to the idea, it’s hard to describe to that person how I feel and how they could feel if they would be open to it.