Prayer: Don’t Give Up

So what has God qualified you or myself for?

There are I suppose many answers to that one question. Perhaps the initial thoughts of many reading it are going to be about their gifts and the talents they believe God has given them, and the role or service they have within the life of the church to which they belong.

Eternal Life however, how are we qualified for that?

I can hear one answer to that one being offered up even as I ask it, by many brothers and sisters around the world, offered as a joyful shout….

“Through the Blood of the Lamb”

Only through the Blood of Jesus. Amen

However, If we think of earthly callings, in order to get on we need to have at least some kind of educational qualifications to even get a foot on the ladder to success. Some kind of Degree is always to be preferred… I am going to suggest that our heavenly calling also calls for enrolment in a school, or college. A school or college which is open to all students who apply, Christ having paid the fees up front.

The School of Prayer

With such a gentle, patient Teacher as Christ, every enrolled student should do well here and at the end of the life-long lesson produce ample proof that they have paid excellent attention by the fruit of the Spirit grown in them as they go on…..

There is only one thing which could possibly work against any student/disciple in this school, and that is we disqualify ourselves by GIVING UP!


Each day should be seen like a fresh start.

This life is a short preparation for the Reality (life in heaven) ahead.

Do not lose heart! Glory is waiting to be revealed in us.

Look for the signs:

Discretion, justice, courage, and understanding, love, faith in Christ, concern for the poor, hospitality and freedom from anger.

St Antony of Egypt (c AD 300) advice given to others determined to live as close to Jesus as they possibly could

Jesus tells his disciples in Matthew 21.22 “if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” … after coming across a fig-tree with no fruit to offer him for breakfast …. if we are discouraged and feel we have nothing to offer Jesus except our daily failings.. Antony says, “Don’t give up. Treat each day as a fresh beginning, don’t lose heart… the Glorious fruit of the Spirit is just waiting to show itself … you must persevere in prayer… never doubting that the One who forgives us all for Christ’s sake will with Him freely give us that Spiritual fruit, that abundant life that is Eternal Life.

I remain confident of this:

I will see the goodness of the LORD

In the land of the living.

Wait for the LORD;

Be strong and take heart

And wait for the LORD

Psalm 27. 13-14 NIV
Trust, believe have faith. You will receive the answer to your prayer

Lord, the giver of all good gifts, and the True Gardener,

You know that in the world, we have troubles, difficulties and

We confess we often cannot do what is right

And often we are tempted to give in

To walk away from the fight

To let the enemy of our soul win,

To stay down when we fall

Keep us strong Lord, keep us praying

Teach us to know that Jesus is with us in all our trials and that He

Will bring us out stronger, grown taller and closer to Heaven,

The fruits that are hard won through prayer are those,

the Gardener is patiently waiting for,

For it is you, Lord God who works in us to will and to act

To fulfil your good purpose.

Always Jean

Light and Warmth and Covenant of Grace

Anemone De Caen

May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from His glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the Saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1: 11-14 NRSV

October, and the rainy, dark days are here. And if that were not enough to plunge us into gloom this year we have a Pandemic as well.

My older friend sent a message “Been thinking of you she said. Wear something bright with lots of colour… work with some colour… if you have some spare time.”

Many years ago I discovered for myself the therapeutic power of my watercolour paint box and my waterproof coat is bright red. The last of the red roses sing out to me in the garden, and my red breasted friend the Robin is there every morning waiting for his breakfast to appear through the kitchen door.

I chose the red Anemone de Caen which are planted out from September to November in the U.K. to flower around March to April (around Eastertide) for this post simply because when I look at it I think of the Lord who has rescued us from the power of darkness and bought us into the kingdom of light.

Now that makes my heart sing out for joy however dark the day! I hope yours also. Moreover I find that the warmth and light of Adonai are not just on the outside but inside also. The Lord of all grace is not waiting for some future date to transfer His sons and daughters into the kingdom of His beloved Son, it is done now …. the red blood of Jesus has bought for us Eternal Redemption.

Oh dearest Lord,

In the shelter of Your wing,

You cause our heart to sing

Out with joy.

In your light we see light.

And we are warmed in your love;

Wrapped around in Your embrace,

And Your covenant of Grace.

Always Jean

Golden Glory/Autumn Rain

Autumn in the City (Birmingham U.K)

I love Autumn it’s colours, it’s smells, the air. The carpets of leaves under my feet which sometimes crunch as Corn Flakes do, I love Autumn’s Promise, “Look, I am just touching everything with sleep for a little while…. “Get ready for Spring and waking up”

I have always trusted God to keep His promises, especially the one that as long as Earth remains Springtime and Harvest won’t fail to show up on time. But that doesn’t mean to say, that I should be careless and disrespectful to Mother Earth, she is the home that God gave me … full of wonders that I will never see, full of creatures, great and small, bright, beautiful and trees that can count hundreds, some thousands even, of candles on their birthday cakes. No. I cannot be disrespectful to Mother Earth.

I have watched a cheeky little family of dunnocks splashing water over one another in the giant flower pot saucer I fill with clean water every day. I think to myself, “now they’re good baptists” I watch tiny squirrel kittens learning from their parents the art of nut storing and the frantic antics to find them again! I wonder at the smallness and fragility of the little nest I found amongst the Ash Branches, I wonder and I marvel…

This year, I have picked an old habit up again … every Autumn I would plant some new bulbs…. an act of faith, trust in the Lord that come Spring the little bulbs will poke their little heads from under their winter duvet, daffodils will begin work on their Easter Bonnets…

I cannot disrespect Mother Earth nor any of the things, times and seasons which God has ordained even rainy days bring with them news from heaven.


Today has been a day of rain. Not just a little rain. It’s ok for me I can just look out of the window and watch the rain and the people go by, although it is true not many walk nowadays, but some still do especially schooldays; when moms push buggies and prams with older children at their side or dawdling behind, then the pavement is empty again until the great turn around time, and back home walk.

Autumn rain

Look around
Look around, look around
Is there something I'm missing here?
Is there something I should know?

And just listen to the sound
All around there's people living their lives
People passing by
As I catch their eye

It doesn't matter where you're from
'Cause wherever you are from
You got a long walk home
You got a long walk on

And I've walked for many years
And I've never shed a tear
For a place called home
'Cause in this place I roam...

Everyone's the same
When you're walking in the autumn rain
Walking in the autumn rain

When you're walking from your past
You can never walk too fast
Think you got away at last
Think you got away at last

And we all have to live with our mistakes
But what would it take
To make things right
To feel good inside?

It doesn't matter what you've done
'Cause whatever you've done
Life has to go on
Life has to go on, yeah

And my conscience is always clear every time I am here
Because there is no blame
When you're walking
In the autumn rain
In the autumn rain

I don’t know if you know that song?

Do you remember walking to and from school.

I do. All of my life my feet and legs have been my way of getting there from child to adult and my experience of rain is sometimes it’s been a delight and others ~ cold, wet and miserable. Another thought is how we feel when walking in rain is not really governed by the feel of the cold rain on our skin; but how we are feeling on the inside. I can remember walking with others and sometimes yet feeling alone: sometimes walking alone but yet feeling carried along in a crowd.

One day, sooner than they think, the little children, their moms and dads might be asking themselves what it would take to make things right and to feel good inside, as I draw the curtains on rainy, dark evenings I say a prayer that sometime in the walk of life someone will take the time to share with them the trust and faith which we were taught as little children, tell them Jesus is just a prayer away and that our Father is holding out His hand with a longing to make things right and let them feel good on the inside. We don’t remain as children forever; there is nothing so sad, so forlorn as a grown up with a hurting, empty heart which doesn’t know the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit of God.

Lord, let the Autumn Rain bring your blessing

Let the Autumn Rain fall warm and with tenderness

Fill the heart of young ones, that they may never,

Walk alone in the Autumn Rain,

Nor miss the loveliness of Golden Glory

Amen

Always, Jean

Autumn Rain, lyrics by MATTHEW HARDWIDGE, PHELIM BYRNE [Universal Music Publishing Group

I See the Moon

Psalm 89:37 – ‘Established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky

Therefore will I trust you always,

Though I may seem to be lost

And in the shadow of death,

I will not fear, for you are ever with me,

And will never leave me

to face my perils alone

Thomas Merton

September will soon slip quietly through the door to let October in. This has been a strange year; an upside down year with no season or month appearing ‘normal’ For many it has been a year of great loneliness, despair and at times a fearful one. A year of sorrows and loss and as I write, with the days shortening and nights lengthening, so many of us will be looking at the approach of Autumn and Winter with trembling and fearfulness.

The opening words of Psalm 89 tell us that the Psalmist (Ethan the Ezrahite] intends to sing out about the Lord’s great love forever. He sings of the Lord’s great faithfulness …. he sings of God’s eternal covenant with David (the Messiah] whom God will appoint to be His firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth. (Verse 27). God declares (verse 37) that His covenant with David will be “established for ever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky”

I look up at the Moon in Autumn skies and have a little whispered conversation with her Creator, often very conscious of the Good Shepherds presence, I am comforted. I pray that any who might read these words will be too, and very aware of the nearness of the One who has promised, never to leave or forsake us.

I see the moon, the moon sees me.

O thou lantern great of grace,

O white moon of time and space,

Who gave light and shape to thee,

Life and death He did decree,

Who created thee is He

Who likewise created me.

God bless the moon, and God bless me.

Anonymous.. Scots Gaelic. Trans by G R D Maclean Celtic Spiritual Verse: Poems of the Western Highlanders from the Gaelic (SPCK London 2002)

May the Lord who made heaven and earth, placing the Sun to rule over the day, and the Moon over the night, that they might be for signs, seasons, days and years watch over you, whoever and wherever you may be and bless you with His great peace.

Always, Jean

Prayer: The Good Way

“Look to the crossroads”

“Stand in the ways and see,

And ask for the old paths,

Where the good way is,

And walk in it:

Then you will find rest for your souls.”

Jeremiah 6:16 (NKJV)

Whether our years are few or many. All of us at some time in life come to a crossroads and often we find the ways are not as clearly marked as we would wish for and there are no guarantees that we shall find what we desire by following this path or that.

Perhaps we may look and choose the “Road Less Travelled By” (Robert Frost) setting off hopefully and Cross Roads left behind, then suddenly we aren’t so sure… How do we know just which is the good way?

Many set off with a strong sense of vocation, and certainty of the road to take. Many more do not.

How do we find certainty

Mark’s Gospel, full of immediately’s, or straightaways, has this little account:-

“Now in the morning, having risen a long time before daylight, he (Jesus) went out and departed to a solitary place and there He prayed.

And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him.

When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.”

But He said to them. “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth’

Mark 1. 35-38 (NKJV)

When the Holy Spirit points out to us the good way, of Prayer way we should “immediately” take it. It is a quiet way and a lonely way but it is the way our Master took, His feet never left it not even surrounded by great crowds …. and from that good way…. He gained direction for the coming days.

Lord be with us today in the good way

That we may leave behind yesterday’s town and regret

And see tomorrow’s town, purpose and hope

Amen.

Always Jean

Lamps for the Light of the World

Whitby Abbey
Yorkshire U.K.

When I first looked at this photograph, I wondered whether the sun was rising or setting? It looks like a great golden lantern, a light for our path,

Visit https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/whitby-abbey/history-and-stories/st-hild/ to find out more …

These ruins are an 11th century building on the foundations of St Hilds original double monastery, which was most likely several much smaller buildings of timber, wattle and straw. St Hild, known nowadays as St Hilda was a great niece of King Edwin of Northumbria and a key player in the history of the Church in England. She hosted the Great Synod of Whitby in 664 AD which meant the adoption of the Tradition of the Church of Rome and a movement away from Celtic Christianity as bought to our shores from Ireland. Hild herself, leaned more to the teaching of St Aidan than St Augustine.. but that is how the Synod went.

Today, when we think of monasteries, Monks and Nuns we possibly have very fixed views about them. But truth is, the lamp for our feet-the message of the Gospel was held carefully and bravely in their hands for many, many centuries they were the Evangelists and Missionaries of those centuries, they guarded the light, kept it burning through dark times, and were themselves on fire for the salvation of men, women and children

So what do I see when I look at the lamp in the photo.

I see in my Spirit, the faithfulness of Christ the Light of the world, the Everlasting Light, Hilds Abbey has long since gone, and the 11th Century Ruins are just that. But the same Sun still rises, still sets, and will go on doing that, long after you and I have folded up our mortal tent. Yet one day, science tells us that the Sun will be gone as well.

But not Christ our Sun and Lamp, He was the same yesterday, inspiring Aidan, Hild, Augustine, Martin Luther, Charles and John Wesley, Billy Graham and before all these, Peter, James, John… He went before Israel in the Wilderness, met with Abraham and Sarah. He is the same today, pouring out His Light and Spirit on me, on you and

He is the same tomorrow, when

“The city has no need for the Sun or the Moon to shine on it, because God’s Sh’khinah gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Revelation 21;23

Father who wakens us, calling us

And bringing us safely through darkest night

To fairest, brightest day,

Grant that we may be pure and holy, clean

And clear as crystal-glass letting your glory shine through,

We do not ask that we might be known, simply

That we may be the vessels your light shines through

As lamps to lighten the world.

Amen

Finding A Special Place

Sometimes, the Lord surprises us in unexpected ways. We know, that He knows all about us, each word before we even think to utter it. At some time or other, these words from Psalm 139 have rung gloriously true for most Christians

“How precious to me are your thoughts, God!

How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them,

they would outnumber the grains of sand-

when I awake, I am still with you”

Psalm 139.18 (N.I.V)

During these ‘Coronavirus’ days, I have felt, as you have also, no doubt that the Lord has been very present in many situations, in many ways, great and small.

I chose the picture of Julian of Norwich with the well loved words that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well, because reading her Revelations of Divine Love we feel we almost ‘know” this homely lady born in 1342. She speaks comfortably, from her heart to our heart. The little cat sits comfortably on the window sill joining in the conversation with the odd purr from time to time. As I read Julian’s writings I feel assured that Julian knew our Lord God very well and that He knew Julian very well. In fact they were very close friends who shared heart to heart thoughts of each other.

Sometimes people who know each other very well surprise each other.

My first thoughts each morning are spontaneously with God. No effort involved. I know that I am awake and with God, that God is with me. Just over a week ago I was surprised as into my head came a fleeting glimpse of the computer work station, as it arrived new with my first home computer in the year 2000.

When my late mother became ill, she just wanted, needed me to be always in her sight, so abandoning the work station and its little den, I switched to a lap top so I could type up Church Minutes and stuff in the room where she was, Mom would look up from time to time, and we would exchange little thoughts… presence is comforting. Well, my Mom died 17 years ago and the work station on wheels, was never given a second thought. The little upstairs room, which I had turned into a den all those years ago, had slowly become a storage room for boxes and boxes of files that Martha has busied herself with down through the years.

Well, seeing the fleeting picture in my head, I knew, just knew that I was being prompted to do something.

Something like finding the tape measure and finding the work station a new corner elsewhere in the house. It, was, as I vaguely recalled, comfortable to work at.

Not for one moment did it occur to me that the room might be cleared of boxes. A couple of days later, tape measure in hand I entered the room. The work station had been pushed into a corner blocked neatly in by a box, or two.

It was so quiet, restful in that room. I ventured over to the window, opened it, and looked out into the back garden, where the little birds were busily having breakfast.

I just knew. This is my new ‘prayer closet’

The Lord and I are going to be comfortable here.

Of course, there are the boxes to sort, and made ready for their new storage home in church, the Martha side of me has already taken first steps in arranging that!

God, of your goodness, give me yourself; you are enough for me, and anything less that I could ask for would not do you full honour. And if I ask anything that is less, I shall always lack something, but in you alone I have everything.”

The prayer above comes from Chapter 5, Revelations of Divine Love

Thank you Lord, that you see all our needs and recognise them when we do not.

Thank You for your many thoughts towards us, your wise provision.

You carry us, dear Lord throughout all our days; teach us to know when we are being carried that all shall indeed be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

Teach us also, to recognise that following You does not always mean a journey of miles, we do not reach your throne by any other means than Jesus who is the way, and though our bodily strength may fail us…. it is always by your Spirit alone that we are empowered.

My own prayer on finding a special place.

Every Creature is a Word of God: Elephant

Many of my posts have been centred on my younger self, well this one is from very recent days, as recently as 2018 a little baby of an elephant presented herself/himself? The lord knows. During my morning prayer time. I was charmed, fascinated. Momma elephant stood nearby, watching as baby raised a courteous trunk in greeting.

We All Have to Learn
To Trust the Water

They stood by a roadway constructed from logs, all neatly and perfectly laid

I still find the image of baby, mother and Mahout stirring in my mind from time to time. Yes, I did say Mahout, elephants do not naturally lay logs to construct roads, but they are capable, very capable of learning much and teaching much, passing on knowledge and experience gained down through their generations.

We say, don’t we, that an elephant never forgets? Memory and learning go hand in hand. With people not all learning comes from books, classrooms, teachers, the internet, much of it like that of elephants is from experience. From the moment we are born we are learning from mothers, fathers, siblings, all of our senses, touch, taste, smell, hearing, sight inform us .. we are fearfully and wonderfully made. All God’s creatures are wonderfully and delightfully made – yet all must learn, and to a certain extent learning to all creatures is instinctive, so much is gifted to us before we are even born. Yet… there is always so much more to learn.

I captioned the picture we all have to learn, simply because we do Baby elephants need Momma on hand the first time they take a bath; and a fledgling’s parents are not far away when baby wings are tried out; water for a baby elephant, air currents for a bird. What about a child of God?

Just the same? We need the Holy Spirit. All the way along, on looking back we will find that even before we tried the water of baptism if we were baptised as older persons, the spirit was carefully helping with the construction of the road, present, although we may not have been fully aware of it, in our choices and decisions .. especially that big decision of trusting our very self to our Saviour and Lord to a new element .. the water of Life in Jesus.

Momma Church can teach us a lot, but not all because when it comes to choosing which logs to lay, which direction to go in, Momma church like Momma elephant needs Mahout, and Mahout is the Man Christ Jesus.

It is through Jesus, that the Spirit, and instruction is given.

I invite you to think about this “showing” with me, share your thoughts please if you will. I know that I still have much pondering on it to do for myself. But one final thing. If you will accept them, the words of Jesus to the little elephant

“Don’t be afraid. I must touch your head as well as heart.”

Lord, there are times

When our biggest need is for your

Touch on our heart, to warm our coldness,

Inspire our thinking.

And

There are times when you understand,

But we do not yet comprehend it, that

Our greatest need is the enlarging of our understanding

Your touch on our head, your gift of understanding,

To the heart you inspire with your thoughts

To bless and willingly to serve in the way You direct.

Jean

Strawberries and the Kingdom

Notes and Prayers from life

Strawberry Nets (Eric Ravilious 1932)

Strawberries, delicious. Round, red and sweet. Very desirable to thieves

The bible mentions fruit and thieves in several places. Thieves not only steal, they damage and spoil.

“Catch the foxes for us,

Yes the little foxes!

They are ruining the vineyards

When our vineyards are in bloom”

The Bride – Song of Songs 2. 12

Foxes, even little ones are renowned for their artfulness and for the damage they wreak in the attempt to obtain what they want. In connection with red, ripe strawberries 🍓 the usual suspects are of the feathered and beaked kind.

Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed!

As he sowed, some seed fell alongside the path and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky patches where there was not much soil. It sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow; but when the sun…

View original post 218 more words

In Praise of God’s Patience

The fragrance of time

It takes time to grow a rose. Time for buds to firm, open. It takes time to take in its fragrance, to enjoy its sweetness. Such a pity to be in such a hurry that we have no time to simply look and notice the subtle shading of its petticoat, to touch and smell.

At the beginning of Lockdown in the U.K. I just simply didn’t realise how tired I was. It wasn’t until two weeks in that I came to a stop with trying to get some important things in order – even that stop came as the result of being blocked as necessary communications with various official offices closed down. Telephone queues became hours long, replies to emails were likewise delayed by several days…. so I came to a stop, found content in my little wilderness garden, and found joy in just being still in one place,

Silence will speak more to you in a day than the world of voices can teach you in a lifetime.

Find silence. Find solitude – and having discovered her riches,

Bind her to your heart

Frances J. Roberts… Come away. My beloved (Barbour Books)

And in the silence.. the sound of the rain, the gentle soft rain of the Holy Spirit that refreshes, restores and brings new growth.

Not, the hard, loud, rain of a deluge that causes panic as the flood waters rise to overwhelm a distressed soul.

Not the cold, persistent rain that chills to the bone.

But the soft, gentle, showers of blessing, that leave rainbow crystal drops on herbs, grass, thirsty flowers: rain to swell the buds, causing them to open.

As I rested, I was aware that the Lord was never going to chide me for sitting, and just sitting, because I was sitting with Him, and this was what He wanted, and what He purposed.

As we sat, so my understanding grew, and grows of many things shown and given, through the long years.

He showed me a box, a golden box, a bejewelled box, which I thought must contain some fortunate ladies precious treasures.

“I gave you the box, many years ago!

I gave you the key,

But you were careless with it;

You put it aside, out of sight:

Too busy, Martha to sit awhile,

This to do …..

That to do ….

You gave me back the key.

And the box?

The box you forgot. Placing it

Conveniently, at the back of memory’s closet.

My sweet girl,

I let you,

Allowed you to do this,

Because, I your loving

Friend and brother, watching jealousy

Wanted the pleasure of sitting with you,

To watch you open your gift and taking

Out every treasure reward me with your

Pleasure.

Me and Jesus sitting together

Yes.

The story is true but praise God for His Grace, the Lord and I sit together, and even when Lockdown is done and tiredness done. We will still be sitting together.