How Green Was My Valley

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I have been reading ‘How Green Was My Valley’ again after many decades.  Totally different reading this as a mature married mother and wife.  Below is a bit of a quote from the Father of the family in the novel.  Huw, the youngest son has just seen a neighbour woman give birth, he wasn’t supposed to be there, being only about 12 at the time.  I love that this family are deeply committed church-goers, although not born again Christians.  I also love that the pastor of the village, Mr. Gruffydd is also a man of action who takes care of the poor and needy, detests unfairness and immorality and is able to stand up to an abusive and Pharisaical elder with gusto. This book is a tear jerker in more ways than one. 

Right then,” my father said “Listen to me. Forget all you saw. Leave it. Take your mind from it. It had nothing to do with you. But use it for experience. Now you know what hurt it brings to women when men come into the world. Remember and make it up to your Mama and to all women.”

Yes Dada”, I said.

And another thing let it do,” my father said. “There is no room for pride in any man. There is no room for unkindness. There is no room for wit at the expense of others. All men are born the same, and equal. As you saw today, so come the captains and the kings and the tinkers and the tailors. Let the memory direct your dealings with men and women. And be sure to take good care of Mama. Is it?”

Yes Dada”, I said.

God bless you my son”, he said, “sleep in peace”.

 

Richard Llewellyn ‘How Green Was My Valley’

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Shame

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Shame is about being  exposed down to your very inner thoughts, no covering whatsoever. Often it is not physical nakedness which brings shame, but soul nakedness. But who hasn’t had a dream where you are naked and embarrassed trying to find something to cover yourself. We strive so hard to hide our true selves. We cover our sins, we cover our wrong motives and intentions and our wrong thoughts with explanations, defenses and arguments. Often we use lies to do this. We lie to ourselves, we lie to others, we even lie to God. The result of all of these stratagems is confusion, pain and a web of intrigue which traps us. We can’t move beyond that web because that web must move with us wherever we go. We must continue to explain and defend our actions because we are ashamed of our sins. If this goes on for long enough we begin to believe our lies. In fact our lies begin to propagate. Our lies beget bigger and more intricate lies. Then our lies depend on other people believing our lies. In order to get others to believe our lies, we must either coerce or flatter and cajole and sometimes manipulate and bully. Eventually our consciences are seared, we become desperate human beings and so deeply committed to protecting our own web of intrigue that the slightest provocation creates a hostile response. We become experts at discerning the intents of others. We begin to assess whether somebody poses a threat to us and our house of cards. We are not fully aware of it, but that house of cards is constructed so flimsily that really it will take very little to destroy it, so we must protect, protect, protect.

How ridiculous we have become.

All that is necessary is for us to go to Jesus, the lover of our souls, and confess our sins and He takes our shame, that shame that He bore on the Cross on our behalf, and gives us in exchange His freedom from shame. That is all that is needed to have that burden of sin removed and the terrible pain of humiliation that we carry to be taken away. We become free and our shame is gone. We can walk with our heads high, praising God who has given us His life, His glory, His righteousness because of His grace and His love for us. Who is it who claims that only a God who is a pathological murderer would place His son on the cross for us? This is truly a lie from the pit. God is no man that He should either lie or that He should murder. His own law states ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’. He did not kill. We did. He allowed himself to be murdered on our behalf. Christ’s death on the cross was not the act of a murderous God, it was the act of a loving merciful God who allowed his murderers to do what they willed in order that as a man He might be killed so that as God He might rise again and bring glorious life and salvation to all men. Anyone who rejects this act as the act of an insane God and then rejects God on the basis of that is not only deceived, they are being driven by demons

12 Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that hath endured such gainsaying of sinners against himself, that ye wax not weary, fainting in your souls. 4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin: 5 and ye have forgotten the exhortation which reasoneth with you as with sons,

Hebrews 12:1-5

Internet Blues

 

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(A Reply to Wordsworth)

 

 

My heart leaps up when I behold

 

An email ‘dressed to me

 

So was it when the net began

 

Yet here I am an also ran

 

Suspended in the web’s dark hold

 

So let me die!

 

The facebook following makes the man;

 

And friends who are not friends I see

 

Bound each to each by unnatural temerity

 

Short Stack – Honest To God

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Philipians 4:6-7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

This is the first in a series we will entitle “Short Stack”.  A ‘word bite’ of sorts where you don’t have to digest too much but still fill your soul with encouragement.

This short stack is something which struck me a few days ago, and something I shared with my son when he was struggling with an issue which he thought he had already decided upon.

Quite often you think you have worked through a concern with God only to find that it begins to worry you days or weeks later. Its as though you hadn’t prayed at all.

Here’s what the problem might be.

Sometimes we pray from our minds not our hearts. Sometimes our minds don’t have a full grasp of what we really believe.  Scripture tells us that with our hearts we believe and with our mouths confess.  I  have found that our hearts often hide truth that even our own thoughts can’t fathom.

God is truth.  He wants and expects truth from us.  Sometimes we need to tell God what is in our hearts not our minds.  It requires some deeper meditation, some real honest open discussion with God about how you feel, both good and bad, and may even involve some confession.  You may have a bad attitude without realising it.  You might just be blaming God for something.

The really exciting thing about God is that He isn’t offended when we share honestly with him.  He listens and appreciates truth.  When we speak from the heart and confess what is contained therein he is able to take the burden (especially if it is sin) and give us rest. Our heart has been called ‘deceitfully wicked – who can know it’ (Jeremiah 17:9).  We are also told to guard our hearts above all else because from out of our hearts flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23).  Jesus said he came to heal the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61). So if our hearts are broken or tainted or affected by sinful attitudes, we are not going to have an abundant and fruitful prayer life.  We need to get our hearts right with God and not just pray prayers from our knowledge and opinions.

I find that every time I go back to God and really examine my heart and speak from the truth of the matter, I come away from my conversation with Him with an uplifted heart and a quietness and peace which stays with me for the day.

Bless you and may God help you to know Him in a deeper way.