Category Archives: sharing

Grandmother I

GRANDMOTHER I

My grandmother was a Christian lady. When I was a little boy (pre-teens) I used to visit with her, along with my mum and her son (my dad).

Her husband, my grandfather, died before I was born, so I never knew him.

How easy it is, when we start to write about relatives, to lose ourselves and those listening, with the necessary jargon needed, when explaining.

[e.g. My uncle’s grandmother’s son, and my cousin’s grandchild on their daughter’s side, or my mum’s mum’s brother – crazy!

Not amazing – just a maze].

So – my grandmother was my father’s mum. That’s simple enough. If you still don’t follow please ask a practicing historian.

She was probably in her eighties at the time of my visits, and was cared for by her daughter, who later became a missionary in Japan, and remained a spinster, until she went to be with Jesus in 2008.

My paternal grandmother would sit very still in her chair. And would ask: ‘if we were never going to make a cup of tea’? She asked this every ten minutes or so.

She would sit with me by her side, looking straight ahead. She couldn’t see very well.

As though unbeknown to everyone else, she would move her arm slowly across to me, and slip a sum of money into my little hand.

The large sum of one penny.

I would sense by the way she did so, that it was top secret, and I fought the smile that would try to break forth on my face, afraid of betraying her act of kindness, and exposing  this great secret.

She would sing a song from her younger days and I always remember the chorus: I did a painting based on the song, it is long gone. I forget who has it.

(As with many paintings a great curiosity comes to me at times regarding where a painting is. Lost in the world somewhere, like a long lost child.)

Here is the chorus, I searched it of course, and found it on the internet. ‘Riding on a load of hay’ (author unknown).

Oh someone stole my heart away

Riding on a load of hay

I looked up and he looked down

Handsome sunburnt Johnny Brown

She told me of her extremely naughty youthful antics. Extreme things like banging on people’s front doors and running away.

Hiding, while she and her co-conspirators, observed the reaction of the house owner, as he or she looked up and down the street, baffled as to the invisible visitor.

And that was about the sum total of her reported naughtiness. (Naughtiness? – My! – how times have changed).

I remember nothing of her passing. I was twelve years old at the time.

As she sang the song, her voice was still as sweet, as when she graced the platforms of Christian Meetings, being the invited soloist.

In Northern Ireland we designate some church buildings as Gospel Halls. And they still exist.

Her daughter went to be a missionary in Japan, as previously stated, and I often reflect on my aunt’s faithfulness in prayer for me.

Indeed I often query with The Lord, just how much a part my grandmother’s prayers, played in my mighty encounter with The Living God, seven years after her passing!

When my dad, was nearing his journey into eternity, though that is for another blog post, I remember him telling me, that his mother taught him how to pray.

How important that young lives are taught the Word of God, at an early age. It will impact them fully or partially – it all depends on how they respond to it as they journey through life.

The bible describes it this way:

Cast your bread upon the waters,

For you will find it after many days.

I’m sure everyone has the experience of failing to ask enough questions regarding their family history, and suddenly it is too late. Those able to furnish us with details are gone, we didn’t ask them.

Nevertheless we can cherish what we do know. And I can still see plainly my grandmother’s facial expression as she sat – ever so still – in her armchair.

I think I must have spent the pennies.

My name’s Ken from…

by Ken Riddles

My name’s Ken from…

I have been blogging since 2015. I’m not exactly a technophobe – but can think of better things to do with my time 😎.

By so stating I’m indirectly communicating that I take minimal interest in my ’stats’ regarding followers, viewers, etc. I commented recently to a fellow-blogger that I look at my stats about once a year! ☺️

A bit of a tongue-in-cheek remark but more or less true.🙂

[Notice: that is three emoji’s in a row. A record!]

Initially I posted my paintings more or less – all of the time.

Then I removed all paintings and settled for posting my Christian teachings, and poems, with the odd painting still displayed.

This is more or less how things are at the moment.

My idea back when I starting blogging was to let the work speak for itself. No need to proclaim ‘boring’ details about myself (?).

So that the art, the art appreciation, the poems, the Christian teaching would stand (or fall) on their own merit.

Up until this point little to no, personal references as to who I am, where I live, what I do (daily life), has been revealed.

I’ve decided to share along the above lines. I feel another emoji coming – 💡

My name is…

Well that’s already been revealed

What hasn’t been revealed is that I hail from Northern Ireland, that six county province on the island of Ireland.

[Maybe this ‘whereabouts reveal’ – comes as no surprise – maybe ‘I thought so’ might have crossed your mind – or you remain non-plussed either way?]

What has been revealed before, is that I married my sweetheart from The Netherlands. We celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary back in March.

Other snippets of ‘identity’ can be found somewhere in the fog of old blog posts.

I came to a revelation of The Lord Jesus Christ on the 20th November, 1970, when I was overwhelmed by the Presence of God. And fell to my knees in repentance in my bedroom, in a little terrace house in Belfast. The house and therefore the room no longer exist.

The house was demolished many years ago, as part of the redevelopment of the area.

So I was born in one of the three upstairs rooms. And was born again in one of the two remaining.

[Mostly natural births today, in western culture, are in hospital wards as you know – although don’t quote me].

So what difference does this beginning of further information make?

I’ve no idea.

But I must confess I find the personal story of others – interesting. So maybe time to explore that approach in some writing.

That’s about it – carry on eating your lunch. Any questions?

No? Well, have a nice day.

What is ‘being helped’?

WHAT IS – ‘BEING HELPED’?

Sounds like a strange question – one easily answered?

First port of call – the dictionary:

improve (a situation or problem); be of benefit to:

This is only one part of the definition, but perhaps the best part.

‘Be of benefit to:’

When you read one of the posts you follow – I’m sure it is usually ‘helpful’.

Placing money in the charity box – is helpful.

The child reaching out for the toy again, when you are trying to put their shirt on, can illicit the parental response of: ‘John this is not helpful’.

The Beatles gave us ‘Help’:

When I was younger, so much younger than today

I never needed anybody’s help in any way

But now these days are gone I’m not so self-assured

Now I find I’ve changed my mind, I’ve opened up the doors

[Younger – not needing anyone’s help. When really that’s probably the time we need it most].

What do we consider helpful? What remarks/blog post(s) do we find helpful?

Sometimes it can be someone’s post that is mixed with emotion. 

The blogger writes about some experience we have all had, and the person writing the post has an angle on it – that stirs us. Empathy arrives in our hearts and we concur (usually with a like-button-hit).

Help must be appropriate or concurrent with the situation of need.

Sometimes people try to help but their suggestion is not appropriate, lacking in sensitivity to the situation. 

Sometimes people are genuinely moved to help, but feel inadequate and blunder into doing something more unhelpful than helpful.

1 Corinthians 1:22-24

22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

In this passage of scripture we read of different mindset-responses to preaching. In simple terms some perceive it as helpful and others?: ‘‘Paul this is not helpful’.

We read that the preaching for some was a Stumbling block (difficulty) or foolishness. This can be the perception of some who read a Christian-themed post, — and the post will get less like-button hits than a painting of a ‘bird’.

The other response is: ‘This is so helpful – please give me more of the same’.

The gospel message, referred to here in the above passage,  is meant to be 100% helpful. It is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

This present post, I believe to be helpful – it might even fit the category of ‘helps ministry’ (I Corinthians 12/28). 

It is encouraging you to hear and respond to the gospel wherever you hear it.

But I know also it is a stumbling block and foolishness to others.

I hope this clarification is helpful?

talking to AMSTERDAM

Talking to AMSTERDAM

Once again coming across old literature, caused me to look back on my evangelistic visits to Amsterdam.

Flying to the Netherlands, my wife’s home country.

I would ‘tithe’ a week per year, of my holidays from work, to go on the streets and into cafes etc. to engage in conversations with all kinds of people. Wherever I found a willing, listening ear.

And of course it takes all sorts to make a world.

I took an 8-person team there once for the same reason.

Otherwise I usually went with a friend or a few times on my own. I of course acquired friends who lived in Amsterdam and would sometimes work with others in local churches.

‘Gossiping the gospel’ as it is sometimes referred to.

It’s been a while since I was last there, on such a mission.

I wonder how empty Amsterdam is at the moment?

Those were enjoyable times. It appealed to my ‘hippie’ personality, (if there is such a thing).

Any Christians reading this post, might inform me, if hitting the streets (pre-covid 19) to spread the gospel of Christ, is still on the agenda?

If so, let me know of such outreaches that you know of, so my enthusiasm for the younger-generation-servants-of-Christ, can be boosted, knowing the baton is still being carried.

Putting seeds-in-motion, was my foundational  motivation, in going to the streets of Amsterdam.

The bible tells us that one sows, another waters – but God alone can give the increase of the shared message of the gospel. (I Cor. 3/6)

If there was ever a time (though there always has been), when the good news of God’s love is greatly needed in a world staggering around in zombi-like fashion, needing answers – it is now.

Now indeed is the accepted time (II Corinthians 6/2).

I enjoyed my times encountering all kinds of weird and wonderful people, and of course, had the bonus of going to visit the art galleries.😎

As the old cliche goes: ‘I’m not as young as I used to be…’

But watch me as I slap my wrists and tell myself: ‘That’s no excuse – get out there.’

Anybody want to go with me?

See you post-covid 19!