Where Good Things Are Forever

Look, Lord, some spider has dared to spin a web across the gate, just above the lock…
I can just manage to turn the key, gently, so I won’t disturb it and break its fragile form…
It is beautiful, Lord, with rain drops caught in it; jewelled lace, sparkly in autumn’s golden light.
But,
Only here for a moment; then gone.
Sometimes I think that it is the way it always is with this world’s loveliest things.
We can’t get a sunrise or sunset to stay,
rainbows don’t last a day,
snowflakes melt in our hand,
and, smiles don’t linger.

But it’s good to know that a day will come with no more crying!

Lord, hear a prayer for those whose suffering and pain just won’t go.
Comfort them,
smile on those who care for them and yearn for relief for their distress,
Remember lives here are fragile, Lord, like spider webs and snowflakes;
help us to trust the word of the Angel standing at the Gate, pointing to where the River flows from Your throne, and the Healing Leaves of the Tree of Life.

Autumn leaves are falling here, Lord but there, in Your Garden, all beautiful, all good things last for ever.

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A Black Bird Cannot Become a White One

I keep a journal of those things which God shows, and careful notes of every word the Spirit breathes; often it is only after several weeks, month and sometimes years before I fully understand their significance.
Sometimes, I find they are words of personal guidance, stepping stones. Sometimes I consider them as being more like Way Stones which mark the place where I am; I mean, I may be puzzled or troubled by an event or circumstance, and at such times I am led to just the right page in my journal and find what I need for the present day. The LORD goes before us and provides; He is Jehovah-jireh (Genesis 22.14).
In this way, over many years, I have learnt the value of watching and listening, patience, waiting, trusting and obeying. I have never been disappointed in my ‘Personal Trainer’

However, I don’t always have to wait. Sometimes the Lord’s pictures, (Julian of Norwich called them shewings) are easily understood and the word relating to them immediate, like this one:

I was shown a Blackbird and the Lord said, “Know that a black bird cannot become a white bird, but a white one can be soiled-black. Soiled by sin, therefore God’s people are counselled to keep their garments white. Evil people will never receive warning and change their ways and can never do good; good people can be tempted and fall.’

Hmm! Sin is a dirty word these days; as are discipline, patience, trusting and obeying.

Shortly after this the Spirit showed me a Gymnast and I watched as she launched herself into the air, turning and tumbling like an elegant bird in flight.
Now Eagles know that their young can fly, and that tipped out of the nest their young ones will spread their wings and soar: an Olympic Coach knows what his protege can achieve; the Coach knows how to cultivate the best in his student, how to correct bad habits of posture and technique. The Coach is teaching an eagle how to fly… but his student has to trust, accept guidance and the discipline being laid down … before gold medals are won.
God knows his people better than we know ourselves, the Lord alone is Judge of all hearts, all thoughts and motives are open to him, he wishes only the best for us all.. why is it that we find it so hard to discipline ourselves and avoid that dirty word, sin?
I think I will always remember that a black bird cannot become a white one, but a white one can become a black bird.

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Empty pews and building bricks

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established;
Through knowledge the rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

So says the writer of Proverbs (ch 24 v3,4. Proverbs is full of down to earth wisdom applicable to worldly life and also our spiritual life, and over the last few days, the two verses quoted above have been whispered afresh in my Spirit’s ear.

An empty church fills me with sadness, like an empty house an empty church cries out to be filled. This Sunday morning our little church was empty, well at least the pews were, if you have ever unlocked the door of an empty church and knelt down for a few moments, you will have been aware that you are not quite alone… A consecrated place is not an empty place,but all the same it is sad that more and more church buildings are not as full as they might be for the times of gathering, those times when God’s people meet together to celebrate His Presence in worship, in joy. Strangely, a church like ours can be full to capacity, standing room only for a funeral service, for a baptism service, but not on the Sabbath.

This Sunday, we were invited as a congregation to join the worship at a neighbouring Parish church, leaving our own church empty but even the church we visited had room and room to spare even with three congregations coming together. The church is becoming a lonely sparrow on a house top. During his sermon the Minister thanked the Lord for all His activities outside church walls, for God is still working through all kinds of individuals of all kinds of faith, even through those of no faith at all, but, all the same the sadness remains.

I sigh and see, once again, through the Spirit’s eye a new brick, this time a new brick dressed well with mortar, ready for laying in place, and hear a gentle whisper,

“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down”

And I read the word inscribed on the brick, ‘Understanding’

I think that now, this time is not the time when God’s people should be tearing down but building, a time when we should be coming together not drifting away. And, my new brick, well, tomorrow I shall be opening the doors of the empty church to welcome a group of school children .. And I think once again of those chattering children who nearly a hundred years ago pulled out good bricks from the rubble of a burnt down church to rebuild the present one, and I am holding my breath…..

Lord by the wisdom you gave the church is built, by your understanding it is established, grant that by our knowledge of you, it’s rooms may be filled with rare and beautiful treasures.