S04E087, Accepting things is a good thing! Andy B 2 Minute Video

Some wise advice from Andy here. How well do you accept praise?

When people say well done, do you try and deflect that compliment? I know this is something I’ve always struggled

S04E087, Accepting things is a good thing! Andy B 2 Minute Video

The Berean Approach – Andy Brown

I don’t want you to just take my word for it… We take a little break from our current series on Psalm 103 to discuss something important. It is an immense privilege to share God’s Word with you through this blog, and I take that responsibility very seriously. But you, the reader, have a responsibility…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2018/04/12/the-berean-approach/

How To Be A Welcoming Church – Andy Brown

I happened to catch an episode of “Veggie Tales” the other morning while my children were watching it. If you are not familiar, it is a kids show starring Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber. In this particular episode, Bob had taken on a job of Chief Greeter at a local shop. He started…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2019/03/28/how-to-be-a-welcoming-church/

What is Prayer? – Andy Brown

Recent news has reported a big increase in the number of Google searches for the term “prayer.” The stories suggest that the increase in these searches is in step with the spread of Coronavirus and in general perhaps reflects people’s growing fears in recent times. Just yesterday I caught a video on Facebook of Russell…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2020/05/15/what-is-prayer/

One Thing I Ask (Re-post)

andy-brown.org/2022/01/29/one-thing-i-ask/

Plumb line

I really enjoyed this post which I read a couple of days ago. So I thought I would share it with you today for some Saturday reading

Have a blessed weekend!

If you search for the definition of a biblical plumb-line then the reference to the book of Amos will often come up. “Thus He showed me: Behold, the …

Plumb line

Turn Your Ear & Fix Your Eyes (Proverbs 4:20-27)

My son, attend to my words.

    Turn your ear to my sayings.

21 Let them not depart from your eyes.

    Keep them in the center of your heart.

22 For they are life to those who find them,

    and health to their whole body.

23 Keep your heart with all diligence,

    for out of it is the wellspring of life.

24 Put away from yourself a perverse mouth.

    Put corrupt lips far from you.

25 Let your eyes look straight ahead.

    Fix your gaze directly before you.

26 Make the path of your feet level.

    Let all of your ways be established.

27 Don’t turn to the right hand nor to the left.

    Remove your foot from evil.

Proverbs 4:20-27 (WEB)

The other day my wife was talking to me, and like a dutiful husband, I was nodding and saying “Uh-huh…” in all the right places. My mind however, was somewhere else! I had to hold my hands up and admit that although I was hearing the words, I wasn’t really listening.

Verse 20 of Proverbs 4 is a rather eloquent way of saying “Listen up!” Attending to someone’s words is not simply to hear them, but rather to engage with them. Likewise, turning one’s head in the right direction (so that the ear is pointed at the speaker) is not nearly enough to ensure the instruction hits home.

Solomon is again entreating us to listen, to take on board and to respond to the wisdom of his teaching.

In a similar way, verse 21 encourages us to keep Wisdom’s teachings before our eyes and thus planted in our hearts. This idea of God’s Word and wisdom not departing from our eyes is an exhortation to be both regular and consistently reading and studying the Scripture.

A 30-minute sermon on a Sunday is not enough. A 5-minute devotional each morning may be encouraging, but it may be insufficient to receive the full counsel of God’s Word.

For me at least, little and often may be the key. I have followed “Bible in a year” plans before, and while useful in some cases, it can become a burden or even chore as we wade through six or more chapters each morning.

Better to read and meditate on a few Bible verses regularly, than read a dozen pages without taking it in.

Better to read and #meditate on a few #Bible verses regularly, than read a dozen pages without taking it in.

That is not to take Scripture out of context, I hasten to add. There is just as much danger in reading your favourite few verses all the time, and not engaging with the wider text or understand its place in the big picture.

Verse 22 says:

For they are life to those who find them,

    and health to their whole body.

Proverbs 4:22 (WEB)

Verse 22 has always been a verse which fascinates me. It says that God’s word, or the instruction of wisdom, provides life to those who find them and even health to our physical bodies. We touched on this in previous posts on the book of Proverbs, and clearly living wisely will lengthen your life. Smoking, drinking or eating to excess, or not looking after oneself is not wise, and as a consequence will of course reduce one’s lifespan.

The word translated as “health” here is the Hebrew word marpe’ and is most often translated as “health” (as above) or “healing.” It can also be rendered as “cure” or “remedy” also.

Could it be that the very studying of God’s Word can bring health to us, and I mean in some supernatural way rather than as a natural consequence of living right? While some would give a definite yes to that question, others would dispute it. I would encourage you to study its meaning for yourself.

The WEB translation of verse 23 is a little confusing, to me at least! Here it is from the NLT:

Guard your heart above all else,

    for it determines the course of your life.

Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

Despite talking of the health of the body in the last verse, this one is not referring to our blood pump, but rather our inner self. Guarding our heart is very much in line with what this passage has been talking about. Too few of us take seriously what we allow into our hearts and minds. Instead of keeping the Word of God before us constantly, we fill ourselves with ungodly entertainment or gossip. We are foolish if we think our hearts can go unscathed by such continual battering.

Your heart, that is, your inner self, will determine how your life goes. It is like a child who is constantly criticised or put down, they will struggle in life to overcome such negativity. Our hearts, in a similar way, cannot be soaked in negativity and produce positive results.

Verse 24 deals not with what we put into ourselves, but rather what comes out of us. It strongly advises us to be careful about how we speak, and I cannot emphasise enough the power of our words.

Paul also instructs us to:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

What a challenging verse this is! I say a lot of things in a day, but can hardly confess to all of it being helpful for building others up. I try to add value with my words, always having in the back of my mind that one day I will give account for them to the Lord. Yet too frequently I find my words are not wholesome, but instead are negative, critical or just wasteful. How about you?

Verse 25 to 27 all echo the same sentiment. Keep your eyes fixed ahead, and your feet on level ground. This is clearly not to advise us against turning our heads nor to ascend inclined ground in our hometowns! Instead, the Proverbs are warning us to keep fixed on what is right, and not to turn aside to evil.

If we do not do this, if we just wander along aimlessly, then we will find ourselves in trouble. Our focus and our determined purpose must be to seek after what is right and good. Our sinful nature has been programmed into us since birth, and despite the new life Christ brings, we do tend towards selfishness and evil unless we are set against it.

What are your eyes fixed on? Are locked ahead, gazing upon God’s Word, or do they wander and lead you astray? How about those feet? Are they shod with the Gospel, and following after Jesus, or do they stumble or meander away?

Make a decision right here and now that you will seek after wisdom all day long. Fix those eyes and discipline those feet, and you will life in God’s Word.

Broken Dreams, and Hope! Now available on Amazon!!

This brand new book from another Andy is well worth a read! I sat down to read it yesterday, finished it in almost one single session!

It’s a very encouraging read, and Andy’s honest and approachable style of writing is very enjoyable.

Andy does not just point out that life is hard, but shares his genuine experiences of times of trial. He gently points his readers to the Lord, and shows how Jesus understands our suffering.

Do check out the below post, and grab yourself a copy of the book! You won’t regret it.

We had the pre-order open up last week, and now you can buy the book in either format – on eBook digital readers like the Kindle, and in Paperback …

Broken Dreams, and Hope! Now available on Amazon!!

Andy B 2 Minute Video, Resting Is Proactive! Season 4, Episode 41

I understand that I may have inspired this post… As someone who often feels guilty when resting, I can see why!

In this post, another Andy B reminds us of the importance of stopping and resting.

While you are there, do check out the other wonderful resources from the Berry Bunch family

We love accomplishing things. Perhaps, like me, you use a digital To Do List. It is immensely satisfying clicking that little tick box, and having …

Andy B 2 Minute Video, Resting Is Proactive! Season 4, Episode 41

A Dawning Light (Proverbs 4:10-19)

Listen, my son, and receive my sayings.

    The years of your life will be many.

11 I have taught you in the way of wisdom.

    I have led you in straight paths.

12 When you go, your steps will not be hampered.

    When you run, you will not stumble.

13 Take firm hold of instruction.

    Don’t let her go.

    Keep her, for she is your life.

14 Don’t enter into the path of the wicked.

    Don’t walk in the way of evil men.

15 Avoid it, and don’t pass by it.

    Turn from it, and pass on.

16 For they don’t sleep unless they do evil.

    Their sleep is taken away, unless they make someone fall.

17 For they eat the bread of wickedness

    and drink the wine of violence.

18 But the path of the righteous is like the dawning light

    that shines more and more until the perfect day.

19 The way of the wicked is like darkness.

    They don’t know what they stumble over.

Proverbs 4:10-19 (WEB)

I have read this passage a few times now, and feel there is little I can add to it. It is clear, and echoes themes we have previously covered.

It has become my habit, over the last two or three years, to read a chapter of Proverbs every day. There are 31 in all, and so the recommendation is to read one for each day in a month. That means there you read most of the book twelve times per year. I do this by podcast, and so you get a slightly different take on the text than if you read with your eyes.

I should be familiar with Proverbs by now, and yet, passages like this do not leap out or stick in the memory. Why not? The honest answer is that listening to this by ear can mean we do other things, and do not give the text our full attention. This can also be true with our eyes. Our eyes move over the words on the page, and yet our minds are elsewhere.

When verse 10 calls on us to “Listen,” it does not simply mean to turn our ears on, but to focus our attention also. Again, it reminds us that wisdom will lengthen our days and add years to our lives. That is reason enough to pay attention!

Verse 12 tells us that if we choose wisdom’s way, we will not stumble or fall. When I have done things my own way, or allowed myself to indulge the whims of the world, I have tripped over my own feet. The world offers shortcuts, but God’s word offers true wisdom in paths of righteousness.

Verse 13 reminds us to take a firm hold, and to not let go. Imagine dangling over a chasm and holding on for dear life! That’s the way to hold on to wisdom. Hold on to it as if your life depended on it!

We have examined similar verses over the course of this series, and yet I am not sure if I have fully persuaded you that we must indeed hold on to wisdom as though holding on to our very lives. That is the extent to which Solomon encourages us to grasp instruction.

It is humbling to realise that although I red Proverbs most days, I do not depend upon it to such degree. Wisdom may well save our lives both here and now ,and in eternity. So let us not dabble with it, but dive into its depths and never let go.

Verse 14 again warns us of the dangers of evil, and verse 15 to not even pass it by. We are to avoid it at all costs. Again, this is a real challenge. Too many of us toy with evil, even in small ways. We might watch “evil” entertainment. We might speak “evil” over colleagues or worse, Christian brethren. We sometimes ponder “evil” thoughts, imagining the worst of people or hating them in our hearts. The Bible warns us to avoid such things, and not even pass by them. Stay well clear!

Verses 16 and 17 shows us that evil men and women eat, drink and sleep all things wicked. It may be hard to relate to such a description. Few people I know, even the unsaved, are seemingly so vile and sinful. Yet, without the cleansing blood of Christ, we are all as detestable to the Lord. Sin is a stain on our hearts and souls, and nothing but the sacrifice of Jesus can make us pure.

It matters not if you are a little evil, or a lot, you fall short of God’s perfection. Sin corrupts completely, and only Christ can set us free.

Verse 18 and 19 make the contrast between the wise and the wicked. The righteous walk by the light of a dawning day, and the wicked stumble in the dark of night.

Wisdom is a lamp to our feet. It shows us where we go wrong, and helps us avoid that which would make us fall. If you tire of always falling down in life, one way or another, then acquaint yourself with the light of wisdom, and let it show you the way.

Lent 2022

The season of Lent is approaching once again, with ash Wednesday next week.

Christians celebrate Lent in many different ways. Some give something up, while others try to pick up a good habit. in a previous church I belonged to, we tried to read a Christian book during Lent and discuss it as a church family.

If you wish to follow this practice, then may I humbly suggest my own book.

As you can see, it is a devotional book which you can read over the 40 days of Lent. it was written with lent in mind, and tries to think about some of the things Jesus would have considered during his time in the wilderness.

It is available to buy on Amazon, in both paperback and kindle formats.

A Journey with Jesus: 40 Day Devotional https://smile.amazon.co.uk/dp/1798136317/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_i_GZ8880VGPRE9ZD8KG2CH

If you decide to take the plunge, I do hope you enjoy it and that it challenges you. Please also leave an honest review on the site, as I value your feedback!

Happy reading!


The More You Have (PoW)

Pearls of Wisdom

The more you have, the more you have to take care of.

This Pearl of Wisdom challenges us to really think about what it is we want.

We might say we want a bigger house, but do we also want to clean all that extra space? Do we want to pay the higher electricity or gas bills that go along with it? Do we really want the large mortgage or rental payments too?

We might say we want that promotion at work, but do we also want the longer commute that goes with it? We want the pay increase, but do we want to deal with the responsibility and associated stress?

The more we have and want, the more we have to take care of, pay for and devote time to.

I am not suggesting you become a minimalist, unless that is what you want, but I am asking you to carefully consider what new things you buy or what additional responsibilities you take on.

The Bible warns us to count the cost before we begin, and that is good advice! Putting it another way, try not to get caught up in the excitement of a new purchase or liftsyle choice without first thinking about all of its implications.

The good thing about this advice is that it can also be applied retrospectively. It is not just about what you take on in future. If you have failed to count the cost in the past, biting off more than you can chew, you can make changes now. Admittedly that’s harder if you’ve bought a house, as selling up and downsizing is no small decision. If you have bought items of furniture or a car even that is just too much to handle right now, you can sell them on or even give them away. You might lose some money in the deal, but you may gain peace. Peace is worth more than gold.

Before we commit to anything new, let each of us consider whether we really do want it. What we have needs looking after, and if our time is already stretched, adding to that to-do list will not help.

Are you on the verge of a decision – big or small – and need to consider this? Does your diary, bank statement or cluttered home scream that you have more on your plate than you can handle? Only you can make the change.


In case you missed it…