Going Up. Coming Down

As a young Christian I had the pleasure of knowing Colonel Cook retired. He and his wife had also been Missionaries, they were inspiring to listen to, supportive and encouraging in every way to a young woman who although belonging to the big parish church on the top of the hill, shared with them in the mid-week prayer meeting at the small New Testament church at the bottom. I learnt many things from Colonel Cook, he kept bees and one memorable day, treated my curiosity to a close look at the queen in the hive! I was, so he said, a true Englishwoman and could be relied on to be calm in all situations!

I don’t know about that. I do know that in their long lives the Cooks had many adventures in The Lord where calm and cool courage was called for. A look in the Colonel’s bible was revealing, his must have been amongst the most marked up bibles in the world. He always got ones with wide margins, read and wrote down insights received. When there was no room to write more, he bought a new bible and started over again. Somewhere, I hope there is a book shelf filled with his lifetime’s study notes.

Yet, surprisingly this man of the book, once told me, and seriously, that he considered the Lectionary readings of the Anglican Church were something to be treasured, because, he said you actually get to read and consider the whole of the Story, “There is a lot,” he said,” that is good about keeping set days.”

Perhaps you may have a different view?

This Thursday, our Lectionary Readings and Prayers are for Ascension Day, as far back as Church Records go, this day has been kept to mark the final departure and return of The Lord Jesus to heaven. For 40 days he had appeared after the resurrection, teaching, strengthening and preparing his disciples for their work of witnessing and carrying forward the work of the Kingdom of God.

I have noticed that we always seem to get rain either on Ascension Day itself or a day or two either side, maybe that’s because like a true Englishwoman I notice the weather. The rain of Ascension Day prepares the soil for the sowing of seed at Pentecost, my gardening uncle would absolutely forbid me to plant out Runner Beans until Whitsun (another name for Pentecost), it was reckoned that once Whitsun arrived the frosts would finally be done, the soil is friable. Things sown grow then. The teaching of those 40 days between the Easter Day and Ascension Day, prayed over, pondered over in the next 10 days was sown in the Spirit’s Power when the Day of Pentecost had fully come.

My nephew used to call Ascension Day “Going up Day” while Pentecost was “Coming Down Day” Jesus was taken up into heaven to receive a crown and gifts to shower down. (Luke 24 v50-52.Eph. 4 v8).

Although the Ascension is often ridiculed, it is worth remembering, what ever kind of mental picture you have, that the church from its earliest days has acknowledged its belief in this as an actual event in its creeds, we declare that we believe Christ ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God,

The painting is the work of John Singleton Copley ( 1775) an American born artist.

20140526-213351.jpg

“Take my Rose, and not a thorn!”

Take my Rose and not a thorn!”

I was twenty when The Lord Jesus whispered those words to me; his Rose, I recall the picture as vividly as the words, was a deep, deep red. Although I could see no thorn, my cynical mind supposed there just had to be one. We are like that, aren’t we, the best, most beautiful things are just too good to be true.

There was and never has been, down through the years since, a thorn – not a single one. The Love of God has no thorns; we cannot say the same of our own love, either for God of each other. Human love needs the the work of the Heavenly Gardener.

I write this because as I read so many beautiful words from beautiful souls on the internet,I see that many often impale themselves on thorns that just aren’t there. What I mean is that looking inwardly they see and know many faults and because they cannot overcome them by self will or strength. They agonise, suffering pricks and scratches. One way out is to credit and blame others with our faults; if only so and so hadn’t, if only this or that hadn’t happened, then I wouldn’t be the person I see in the mirror.
The other is to believe that God can’t love us or forgive us, and so we hate ourself and absent ourselves from fellowship.

Please give it up!
Give all the agony, excuses and blame, give that person reflected in the mirror to The Lord Jesus. He will accept you, and receive your love as a precious rose. Yes, The Lord sees your faults, they are the thorns that scratch; he has given us the mirror of self reflection so that we might see them, but, if he had not given us the Light of life to see them by, we would not see them at all! No one sees anything in pitch darkness.

“If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his son purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1.7)

We are God’s children if we walk in the light, take his rose, his love, and not a thorn, Christ wore the thorny crown so we should not. Confess, say sorry, do these things, but don’t hide your cheek from his kiss of forgiveness and peace.

I use a pink rose here, because I could not find a red one. No matter, the best of all human love is pale in comparison with the Divine Love of God.

Please share your roses if you wish.

20140519-083406.jpg

Love Must Be Sincere/Mind The Light

I pass by them every time I walk up the hill, sometimes in the grey light of early morning, they are curled up in sleepy balls; sometimes the night dew has sprinkled them with crystals. But I can offer no painting by renowned artist, no poem, not even a good photograph (this one’s my own making). No florist is going to display these wayside flowers in the window, but these little flowers have a message and a lesson for me.

They are simple, sincere, honest, no pretence, no fussiness. They are beautiful because they are what they are. Once the sun is up and they are basking in the light they are wide open and what they reveal is their heart.

Often, people are not like that and neither is the love they seem to offer. Yes they put on a good show; over zealous with hugs and kisses and their love can be costly to them as they shower others with expensive gifts, promises and words… Yet there are those things which they never reveal to the light.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good” (Romans 12.9)
“Love must be without dissimulation.” (KJV)

To dissimulate, so the Oxford Dictionary says, is to hide or disguise our true feelings.

Sad isn’t it? That these are words written for the guidance of Christians, but necessarily so.

From time to time we all need to look inside and to our Teacher within us, and to set our minds on those things which are pure, they guide us to God; oh so very much we need to “Mind the light” to learn from the Light, learning from him; we will find ourselves growing in the light, learning to love aright; no need to hide or disguise our true feelings then.

Your opinion welcome!

20140510-195712.jpg

Jatropha integerrima – Peregrina – Ajaytao

Please visit Ajay’s new blog a treat to for eyes and your soul!

Ajaytao Botanical Photography

Jatropha integerrima - Peregrina - Ajaytao Jatropha integerrima – Peregrina – Ajaytao

Botanical name: Jatropha integerrima
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Jatropha
Species: integerrima
Common name:Peregrina, Fire-Cracker, Star of Bethlehem and Spicy Jatropha

Peregrina is native to the West Indies, and is especially well known from Cuba. It has escaped cultivation and become established in disturbed areas in extreme southern Florida.

The flower clusters of this Jatropha are a brilliant scarlet red, or sometimes pink in color. Each individual flower has star-shaped petals with small yellow flower parts. But there’s something unusual about this plant – the male and female flowers grow in separate bloom clusters, either at different times or on different parts of the same plant. It is strongly attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies, especially to monarchs, swallowtails and zebras.

Female flowers that are visited by bees or caterpillars produce a seed capsule that is filled with three smooth speckled seed. While all…

View original post 434 more words