Wee Scoops

Measure for Measure

Summer of Swaps #2: Plastic to Glass #zerowaste #plasticfree #food

Overall, this has been a very easy swap.

The plastic Hellmann’s Mayonnaise bottle was a terrible design anyway. It always managed to get the top/bottom thing cracked or smashed; when you squeezed the mayo out, the air couldn’t get back in, so the whole bottle went kind of concave and then would lose its balance and fall out the fridge. The glass jar is all good, although one does tend to come into contact with the mayo between the jar and the food, but never mind. Having a spoon with a decent length of a handle is key, I find.

The switch to glass ketchup is more annoying because the glass bottles are tiny and we go through ketchup like water, so a mahoosive glass bottle of ketchup is what is required. It is vastly more expensive per dollop also.  And you are also triggered back to the 80s when all the ketchup bottles were glass and the whole shoogle shoogle shoogle sudden-woosh thing happens. We are still perfecting our getting-the-ketchup-out-of-the-bottle strategies. I think it would be good if Heinz had ketchup come in bottles like the glass jars of Hellmann’s. That would solve it.

Salsa, olive oil – easy swaps.

Wine in bottles might not seem like a swap, but I was a fan of boxed wine because it keeps forever, but the bag inside isn’t recyclable although the box obviously was.

It’s not glass, but a similar swap was from plastic golden syrup bottles to the original lovely tins. I am going though a lot of syrup these days as I am trying to perfect flapjacks with seeds as a less-waste alternative to the wrapped cereal bars I take to work for my morning coffee. I have made one perfect batch and countless disaster batches. They are all delicious though, because of the butter, syrup, sugar etc, so it never really matters. We have also learned how to make brownies this summer, so we have not bought cakes in plastic boxes from Morrison’s for months now. All good.

 

Summer of Swaps Part 1: Plastic-free Meat #zerowaste #plasticfree #food

Buying meat does tend to involve plastic. Going vegan would cure this, but that’s not happening (although we are having “vegan week” next week, apparently, so we will see…).

Normally I would buy meat in a 3 for £10 deal at Morrisons – maybe breaded chicken goujons or mince or meatballs or bacon. The deal is pretty good. I also often buy the sirloin steaks at 2 for £7 as they are handy to go tsss tsss on the grill and throw at a passing teenager. Or a stationary teenager.

However I am having a summer of less-waste swaps, so here’s how things are going on the meat front.

Morrisons are encouraging a take-your-own-container thing.

So, I packed a couple of boxes in with my bags and headed to the shop, hoping that I wouldn’t be too self conscious about the non-pristine state of them, what with their “I’ve contained bolognaise before” hue.

Gearing up for verbal interaction at the butcher counter, I try to remember what I want and what you call it. I am very ignorant about meat and what to do with it. That’s the joy of plastic. The meat comes with instructions on it. There’s also always a risk with butchers that the patter might go awkward. If they are chatty I might not cope.

So I wanted some beef for a beef balti and some bacon.

The beef thing worked out well. Instead of having to root around for a plastic packet called “stir-fry beef” I just asked for the exact amount of grams of beef I wanted, said it was for a stir-fry. Then, when I got home, I just tipped it out of the box into the pan and it was exactly how much I wanted and cut to the right shape. Happy days. There was a sheet of plastic film in with it though – so not entirely plastic free – but definitely less waste in terms of both plastic and food.

The bacon was not straightforward. He didn’t have any, like, “bacon” bacon. Just “round”? bacon – which was made of (I think) a bit of back bacon and a bit of streaky bacon? Maybe. Anyway. While it was more expensive, it was lovely – and, because it was round, it fitted in our bacon rolls perfectly. Delicious.

Chicken at Morrisons is more complex. On the next occasion, I presented my box, asked for four chicken fillets, waited for the butcher chicken-fillet gag (that didn’t come – hurrah!) and then the butcher (unprompted) unpacked two two-fillet plastic pre-done packets and put the fillets in my box. Not a raging success, as the butcher just ended up with the plastic waste rather than me; it wasn’t eliminated.

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Then – today, I went to a different Morrisons, asked for a kilo of chicken fillets and he looked completely confused. What it this chicken fillet of which you speak?…

I explained that it was possible to buy chicken fillets at another local Morrisons – so he took that as a challenge and he started scouring his barcode manual and scurrying around his fridges.

I ended up taking away a 1.2 kilo plastic box of pre-boxed chicken that I think he had been intending decant into smaller trays-with-plastic, such as the ones the other guy had already done and had to undo for me.  So that was a bit of a fail: I need a better chicken strategy.

The best thing about less-waste meat is (perhaps unsurprisingly) the less waste part. You get exactly the amount of food you need and don’t get sucked into a three-for-whatever deal that can result in food waste.

It is also tidier in the fridge, and there is also less bogging meat-juice-ridden plastic sitting in the kitchen bin.

 

Just about to watch the plastic show on the BBC… @lesswastelaura #zerowaste

I’m about to watch War on Plastic. Some street or other are about to put all of their rubbish in a pile and we are going to see how to get rid or our equivalent problems.

I should be ahead of the game. My lovely niece @lesswastelaura is gearing up for giving a TEDx talk on Friday in Glasgow and as a result of her tweeting, blogging and living, there’s a lot I know about what one can do to refuse, reduce, recycle and stuff.

Here’s where I am so far with it:

I am all over charity shops. Unbelievable bargains and a thrift cycle that one can see works. Dresses that would have been £65 are £7.99. Same stuff; same brands. I now feel slightly addicted to the charity shops – but there’s only winners out of it, I think. (Unless one feels bad for the “high street” – which, in some respects I might, but in other respects, I can’t).

And the milk thing. Technically, we get milk in glass bottles delivered. It has not been a raging success. I think they just took the postcode as a rough idea. I’ve even drawn a big “7” to help indicate which house is ours… We pretty much get milk delivered to the house next door and my long-suffering neighbour brings it round and then collects his from his other neighbour… My milk bottles are stacking up on the front step…  Never mind….

We still buy a couple of plastic juggy things every week, but the reduction in recycle plastic is very obvious. Our wheelie was only half full for the first time ever on recycling day. Our front step tho….

We have also ditched bottled soap for bars of soap. And that is a win-win. I have hardly had to buy soap at all, instead of putting four bottles of carex in my trolley every time, I just pass by, safe in the knowledge I have bars of soap that last for ages.

Here are my failures:

The shampoo/conditioner/shower gel thing. Haven’t been to LUSH yet.

Fruit and Veg. I decided not to buy oranges today at Morrison’s as they were only available in a plastic net bag that really would choke a dolphin. But I bought a lot of plastic wrapping today – my strawberries, grapes, raspberries, plums. And my breaded chicken, my cheese twists…. loads of it. And even my carrots and leeks were pre-bagged in plastic. Apples I managed to get in a paper bag. But that was about it, food wise.

Hopefully Morrisons will bring in the plastic-free fruit as I believe they intend to.

Then tonight I failed in the dessert shop (arguably being there was a fail, if this were a diet-related post) but she said, “Do you want cutlery in the bag?” and I said yes. That was daft as we were eating the Belgian Waffles at home. For which there is no excuse on any level.

So, that’s where I am with it so far.

What plastic-free switches have you made? Which ones do you find more tricky? Or do you think it’s all a pointless endeavour?

 

I can sing a rainbow

Teal? Pink? Orange? Gold?

For some reason I thought that getting three rooms painted at the same time was going to be a good idea. Now there are just things everywhere.

Marie Kondo wouldn’t have to go through this. She would just say to the painter man, “There are my fully accessible walls. Knock yourself out.”

It is different for me.

Cascade? Mint Mist? True Blue?

The painter man was coming. The walls were going to need to be accessible. Husband moved a single wooden elephant ornament from the lounge into the kitchen and skipped off to work.

I emptied bookcases and moved them; I emptied chests of drawers and moved them; I moved beds; I took down paintings; I emptied the sideboard and moved it (with help – many thanks!).

Three rooms with things in the middle of each room. An overspill of stuff in the kitchen. Stacked stuff in the rooms not being painted. So much stuff. Marie Kondo would not be impressed. A trip to the tip, a trip to the charity shop and filling the car with ragbag donations has, once again, not made a blind bit of difference to the kipple situation.

Raspberry? Kinna Beigey?

I am not very good at picking colours. I am better to leave that to people with an opinion. We are three days into the painting and have yet to pick the final colour of the main room. My pitch for teal, pink, orange and gold was knocked back by the majority, which is a relief to everyone, including me. Instead, we are heading towards a colour scheme in tribute to my O-Grade History teacher.

It’ll be fine.

The daughters have picked most excellent colours for their walls. They looked at the paint chart and picked a colour they liked.

That’s the way to do it.

Hopefully when the walls are finished and I am returning the furniture to wherever I dragged it from, I can try my hardest not to re-stock it all with things we don’t need or want.

As long as we have the elephant in the room I’m sure we will be fine.

Adventures in Ratatouille

My diet has stalled.

Fortunately it hasn’t crashed and burned – just stalled. But it has stalled for three months, so I figured I needed to reboot it.

What better strategy could there be than to immerse oneself in weight loss shows? It has been an education. (Not that I need to go and see Dr Nowzaradan. (What a guy.)) I only want to lose a further 5lb  (but they are stubborn wee blighters).

After a Sunday afternoon of (faintly ironic) binge watching of “The Big Ward”, I went to Morrisons and bought some groceries and then started to mentally categorise them as we put them on the conveyer at the checkout.

Hot cross buns, bread, other bread, crackers, crisps, biscuits, carbs, carbs, chocolate covered carbs, other carbs…

When I got to the end of the trolley there were some proteins and veggies there – but my percentages were, I suspected, way off. So, we went to the cafe and googled the Eatwell Plate (which has since become the Eatwell guide) and yes, my shopping habits and subconscious meal planning is quite carb heavy. A bit.

If I was a real fit person, I would know all about macros. But I don’t.  If I was a real dieter, I would know all about calories. I just don’t like numbers. So, the Eatwell Guide should suit me, with its (faintly ironic) pie chart approach.

Which finally brings me around to ratatouille, and lentil soup.

I finally learned how to make lentil soup, having been under the misapprehension that one had to soak ones lentils for a considerable time before use. This meant I never used them as that would have involved knowing what I was going to eat before I ate it. But it was a myth. You just give them a wee rinse, and away you go. Half an hour and the lentils, which say “red” on the packet but are actually orange, go a warm and comforting golden colour and soup ahoy. This has been great. The children, well, two of the children are fans.

Then there’s the ratatouille. Mediterranean veg in a pan. Half an hour and boom. Ratatouille.

So, tonight, after a lunch of lentil soup, I was doing salmon and ratatouille for the dinner. One child came in the back door and said, “Is it ratatouille? Would you be offended if I went with friends to get take out?” while absolutely simultaneously, a smaller voice from the other room said, “Can you shut the door? It stinks.”

Not a very encouraging moment.

Anyway. I feel that it has been a good couple of days in starting to turn the carb tide as I work my way from plate to plate towards a normal BMI.

Nearly there.

Ish.

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This is a tiny tiny bit of the ratatouille. I forgot to take a picture of a proper portion before I ate it This is the tiny tiny bit I put on the plate of a reluctant child. It’s still there.

 

The Irony of Strength Training

Geughhhh….! Awyah!…… Mphoooff!

Of late, I have had the pleasure of more kit classes than seems usual; so much so that I am gazing through rose-tinted spectacles at HIIT and cardio. How weird is that?

A semi-static session on kit does carry some risks. When will someone’s resistance band get prematurely released and pjjjoyng into someone else? What is the likelihood that one of these times the point of failure will come swooping in just as you are attempting to hold kettlebell aloft, resulting in you klonging yourself in the head?

As for slamballs – they are so awkward. It’s such a bad shape to carry. You can hug it to your front and run along while having flashbacks to late pregnancy; you can hold it into your neck like an extra head…

One would think that the purpose of strength training would be to get stronger. Wikipedia tells me that the primary reason is actually “increased physical attractiveness”. Hilarious. Here’s hoping hirpling and wincing are this season’s indicators of attractiveness, then I’ll know it’s all been worthwhile.

Between the kettlebells, the bands and the balls it is fair to say that everything hurts. Pain in places you never knew you had places and all that.

It’s a “good pain” though; it’s the kind of pain that makes you sit on the couch fantasising about inflicting even more pain on yourself with your foam roller, when there’s not a chance you are getting off the couch to go and get the foam roller out as the rummage in the cupboard under the stairs would just exacerbate everything.

My strength benchmark for my arms is my capacity to play the violin. Strength and resistance training makes me imagine me with gorilla arms, knuckles dragging on the floor, unable to lift my arms to the required violin-holding position. It’s never quite that bad, although I do have an occasional point-of-failure moment, but I just act like I wasn’t planning to be playing at that part anyway, or encorporate my knee as an elbow prop…

The only cure for strength training is to do more training; it’s the only way to ease off the DOMS. If this type of training makes me crave more running and more cardio, that’s got to be a “good thing”, if INSANE.

And if I end up with physically attractive muscle definition, I’ll eat my hat – as long as I can lift it to my mouth.

We need to talk about Kipple. #konmarie #mariekondo #kipple

So, I have set about redeeming the Marie Kondo method for the Kingdom.

Some parts of the Kondo thing are either madness or incompatible with my worldview or both; instead of thanking my t-shirts, I thank God for my t-shirts and so on. I don’t talk to the house much either.

It turns out that moving all your possessions onto pastures new wasn’t in fact Marie Kondo’s idea; it was Jesus’. But you knew that:

“Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18 vs 22.

The thing is, getting rid of all your possessions isn’t as easy as you might think. And this isn’t because you want to keep the things.

The more things I bag up in the categories of “donate”, “rag bag” and “tip”, the more stuff seems to accumulate behind it.

Enter “kipple”, as described in the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”:

“Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers or yesterday’s homeopape. When nobody’s around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you go to bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up the next morning there’s twice as much of it. It always gets more and more.”

That’s a true fact. I emptied a child’s jacket pockets this week and the amount of kipple that came out was quite impressive. All very Captain Caveman.

I emptied half of the attic and tried to send it all to the tip/recycle, but some of it came back, claiming to be worth something or of sentimental value. (Don’t worry, I am not going Kondo and personifying my possessions – other people claimed these things should not be binned, having gone the length of driving to the tip…)

So now my hallway is an obstacle course of plastic boxes filled with dusty papers, photo frames and fifteen-year-old kipple. In the novel, Isidore explains his parallel situation:

“No one can win against kipple,” he said, “except temporarily and maybe in one spot, like in my apartment I’ve sort of created a stasis between the pressure of kipple and nonkipple, for the time being. But eventually I’ll die or go away, and then the kipple will again take over. It’s a universal principle operating throughout the universe; the entire universe is moving toward a final state of total, absolute kippleization.”

I, however, will win against kippilization, at least, that’s my aim, although the unlikelihood of getting a camel through the eye of a needle seems to fit in with Dick’s dystopian vision of one’s attempt to distance oneself from one’s stuff.

As an experiment, today, I am not tidying, washing or categorizing anything for pastures new. It will be interesting to see how deep the kipple is this time tomorrow…

 

Sucking it up, Forgiveness and How to Cope with 2019

Sometimes, when things annoy you, you just have to suck it up. You need to think, “That’s just the way it is.” Then you need to move on. (Speed bumps just are on your road; parking spaces at ASDA just are too small with the daftest one-way-system, telephones, facebook thinking you are a robot having fleeced you for £14 before blocking your robotic self, events I’m not speaking at… you can make your own list.)

Sometimes, when people annoy you, the same thing applies. You box up the weirdo-irritating characteristic, accept that it’ll never change and then move on – working with the parts of the personality that you’re okay with. (I am not naming names – but don’t worry, I know I am more annoying than you; I annoy myself.)

Trying to change things that can’t be changed and trying to change people that don’t want to change (why should they?) is a waste of time. People that live this way are like the protagonists of every high school novel ever taught – each with the fatal flaw of being unable to deal with reality being reality.

Reality is reality; we have to deal with it.

I was wondering whether forgiveness is, in fact, sucking it up. I hope, in a way, that it’s more profound. I had a superficial google, and it turns out that there is a difference:

suck it up: accept something unpleasant or difficult

forgive: stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offence, flaw, or mistake.

You don’t want to do laundry; it needs to be done. Suck it up. The lights are at red? Suck it up. They’ll go green in a mintue. The result of a vote annoys you? Suck it up. Find a way through. You want to pass an exam but can’t be bothered to study for it? Suck it up and start studying.

Forgiveness is for dealing with situations with people. It is like sucking it up – but without the anger. Sounds liberating!

So, the paper towels aren’t in the paper towel dispenser. Harumph! Someone hasn’t done a thing! Put the paper towels in the dispenser. Then they are in it. Drop the anger; move on; dry your hands.

Some people are moaners. Some people are contributors. Moaners don’t want to contribute; they want to moan. Contributors can moan too, about the proliferation of moaners and dearth of contributors. But hey – I’d rather be a moaning contributor than a moaning moaner. (Maybe the architects of CfE could have come up with more realistic “capacities” for the Scottish population to aspire to : moaning contributors; delusional learner; fickle/entrenched citizens; narcissistic individuals… ?)

So, we drop the anger, trade it for love and acceptance – and it’s all a bit like the “serenity prayer”:

“God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference”

This then presents me with a challenge – with all this accepting and forgiving going on – the prayer mentions “courage to change the things I can” – so maybe some things can be changed and should be changed … what things are they?

Me. My stuff. My time. My activities.

Perhaps people (Perhaps? Of course!) are boxing off the annoying and difficult parts of me and trying to ignore them when trying to deal with me. Perhaps there are systems I’m in charge of that irritate people and could be changed. I am awkward, thoughtless and many other things. I need forgiveness – forgiveness for every poorly executed social interaction, for my acceptance of my own foibles that I have cast in steel and present as optimal. And other stuff.

I have been binge-watching two tidying shows: “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” and “Consumed” on Netflix. In the shows, people are overwhelmed with their stuff and then they chuck half of it out, tidy the rest and feel amazing. Most of the time. Sometimes they can’t change and the stuff wins. Then it’s not so good.

As a result, my socks are all rolled like sushi, packed in drawers like I am Mr Sleeping-with-the-Enemy; my t-shirts and leggings are stowed vertically; my kitchen all ready for a visit from a pre-children Bettina-and-Max …

Dealing with things in the house that annoyed me has been great – the sense that the house is filled with things that need dealt with is reducing day after day as the Netflix-inspired order that has been imposed seems to be holding… very exciting… I have been finding laundry fun for a whole week!

So, in 2019 there will be things that are annoying; there may even be a series of unfortunate events; there will be things that will have to be sucked up; there will be things that have to be forgiven; there will be tricky moments and feet put in it… Waaaa!

But there will be things that can be changed, built, developed, recycled, tidied; there will be opportunities to help people, to fill paper towel dispensers for the next person, to “be the change” and all that.

So, my top tips for this year: forgive people and chuck out half of your stuff.

“Casserole your gran; disembowel yourself with spears…” #cooking #slowcooker

You’ve caught me in a state of mid-late-November overwhelm. So I am procrastinating, avoiding my work and attending to my “next step” in my personal improvement plan: COOKING.

Great! I can turn this into a food blog….

Perhaps not.

The children put in a formal complaint that my food offerings were utterly repetitive. I think the meals are “balanced” insofar as there is a protein, a carb and some vegetable type thing – but they are, admittedly utterly monotonous. I go to Morrison’s, buy one of everything I ever buy, pay for it and then churn out the same things week on week.

So, I asked my facebook friends what foods are foods I have forgotten – and they were very generous with their helpings of advice and suggestions and three things are apparently the answer to my problem:

A slow cooker.

Here’s my beef with slow cookers: you need to be organized. Clearly, if you are going to be eating it hours and hours later, you need to know what it was going to be hours and hours in advance. Imagine that!

In addition, there is meat and veg prepping to do at unnatural times of the day or night. Sealing meat and all that. I don’t fancy handling raw meat at the best of times, let alone early or late. And then there seems to be a lot of messing up a pan then transferring it to the slow cooker. I think the “one pot” idea is perhaps a myth.

Do we trust the slow cooker, in the way that “we trust the fridge”? What other appliance would you leave on, cooking, when you are out? Can you ever relax? Is it not like thinking “Did I leave the straighteners on?”, but knowing full well you did?

 A good casserole dish.

I thought casseroles were just a dramatic convention in Australian soaps of the 1980s, used to justify unjustifiable visits to the eponymous neighbours. But it seems that some of you, in fact, everyone except me, would use a casserole dish once in a while.

(Confession: I do have a casserole dish. It is very small and very cute. I use it to make nachos when I am having a party-for-one. I layer up cooked chicken, salsa and cheese; I repeat to fade, then heat, douse with sour cream and inhale.)

So, it looks as if I will have to go and get a casserole dish and put some things in it. Then it will be stew and tagine city round here.

Vegetables in a box, delivered.

Some say: “Don’t get sucked into the vegetable delivery thing; it is a scam.”

However, a good many people argue that having surprise ingredients turn up on your doorstep is liberating and life enhancing. I am wary of new vegetables. I mean, they might send me an artichoke and I won’t know what to do with it; they might send a beetroot and give me traumatic childhood flashbacks to gagging on vinegary veg; they might send me fennel; they might send me kohl rabi…

We eat broccoli, corn, peas, green beans. That might be it. Might that be it? Onions, I suppose. And occasionally soup with more random vegetables.

So, I am supposed to be branching out into uncharted culinary territory on Tuesday, but what with one thing and another, I think I might struggle. I would love to blog about a triumphant stew moment on Tuesday night, but I’m not sure it’s going to happen.

I am very appreciative of all the tips and advice and look forward to widening my repertoire in due course.

In the meantime, we can continue to enjoy our haggis, potatoes and baked beans; our chicken tikka with rice and green beans; our spaghetti carbonara…… repeat to actual fade….

A Missing Grace? #ananiasandsapphira

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Let me tell you the story of Ananias and Sapphira.

The early church were living in God’s grace. Everyone was being selfless and generous. It was all going swimmingly.

Ananias and Sapphira didn’t really get it, though. They figured they could look the part; they could appear to be selfless and generous in their community – but they didn’t have it in them to go the whole hog and keep up with the Joneses, or the Josephs, as it was.

They conspired to compromise. They figured they would give over a big wodge of cash, and give the impression it was everything they had received for a particular sale of property. Ananias came and presented it to the Apostles.

Peter pointed out that this was a deception – an unnecessary deception. If God is omniscient, he would be able to see through this false display of generosity.

Ananias fell down dead when faced with his hypocrisy.

Then, with dramatic irony hanging heavily over the gathering, Sapphira, his wife turns up and compounds the lie. She claimed that the donated money was the price paid for the land. They told her that her husband had died and that she was about to die too.

“At that moment she fell down at his feet and died.”

So, the question for the modern Christian is, eh…. where’s the grace in that?

This story reminds me of Genesis, where we have the first couple, Adam and Eve, who bring about a curse.

They too were living in a time of grace:

“You are free to eat of any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will certainly die.”

They too conspire and attempt to cover up the truth.

However, instead of the immediate conclusion of the death curse – “when you eat of it you will certainly die” – Adam and Eve are shown grace. They are removed from the garden so that there is no possibility of them eating from the tree of life and living forever; they are mortal – and their earthly life is grace.

Both our couples were living in a time of grace, but did not live as if they lived in a time of grace. Both couples were sinful – and “the wages of sin is death”.

So, is grace missing from the story of Ananias and Sapphira?

They sinned and they died. This should not surprise us. But it does. Surely they should have had a chance to repent of their hypocrisy and to live in grace?

That was the opportunity they had already had – and that they missed.

It was all going so well: devotion to the apostles teaching, prayer, signs and wonders, sharing. The people had “glad and sincere” hearts. “and God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there was no needy person among them”.

This glad sincerity was lacking in our unfortunate couple. They must have felt inadequate, unable to give, unable to live up to the generosity on all sides. What they missed was the grace. They didn’t have to give their money away:

“Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal?”

Ananias and Sapphira could have lived freely – they could have received from others if they were in need; they could have given freely if they had wanted to.

There was grace there – but they decided to spurn the grace offered and construct their own safety net – keeping a little back for themselves and kidding on they were better people than they were.

The difference between Adam and Eve and Ananias and Sapphira is the delay or otherwise between the sinful act and physical death. Ananias and Sapphira are cast out of the place of grace as they had not accepted it, as Adam and Eve did not accept the grace afforded to them in Eden.

The truth is, sin brings death – be that immediate physical death, metaphorical death, spiritual death, death of relationships, death of what is right…

We just get so used to living in grace that we don’t appreciate it – we forget that we live on a gift of time. We try to concoct our own plans to ensure that our futures and those of our children are secure in our own strength – be that by affiliating ourselves with churches and charities, getting good jobs and pensions, protecting our own resources, our own reputations – our egoism has no bounds.

Ananias and Sapphira are a very familiar couple, trying to appear well meaning – and actually being well meaning in some respects – but they were ultimately self-serving.

Their fundamental problem was that they missed the grace that was theirs.

You don’t have to do anything to appear great in front of God.

You can’t, in fact.

You are not great, in front of God.

You can do things to appear great in front of people. God sees straight through that.

We need to accept his grace and live in it.

(I should do a line by line on Romans 6 now as that is where all the answers are to this one. Another time perhaps.)

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