Category: Picturing it

Be Joyous, other brothers and sisters will come…

There are times, and this is one of them, when I wish I had time and the skill to draw and paint some of the things shown to me by the Lord from time to time, please read this very short post: it is truthful and not presented boastfully in any way at all; perhaps it will speak to someone who has been feeling as I have lately, or maybe it will speak to them about something entirely else. Please don’t feel shy about expressing your thoughts via comments.

I hunted for a suitable image, and thought the one above most suitable, the credit says “by anonymous artist” but if anyone has information to the contrary I will be very pleased to give credit…

I have been praying with a deep sense of loneliness, that the Lord will send brothers and sisters to build up Fellowship, Worship and Prayer at my church…. ours is a congregation made of older people without the energy and ability to do many things: this is what I saw.

It was morning and I woke up to find myself in the Craftsman’s workshop, He was busy at an extremely long bench, marking out measurements on a length of wood, he was happily, totally absorbed in his work, and did not see the little child who came in, and stood silently gazing up for sometime, before asking,

“What Father doing? Why wood so long?”

At this point, a gentle voice called to me, “Be joyous, listen and receive what is said.”

The Father turned, looked down on his son and answered,

“Building another room.. other brothers and sisters will come.”

I have been reflecting on this for a few days, it was a happy, contented scene, and I can see, two Fathers one Joseph, Earthly Father of Jesus and the other His Heavenly one. Joseph preparing for the enlargement of his family and God our Heavenly Father preparing for the enlargement of His family also:

We are well aware that God works with those who love Him, those who have been called in accordance with His purpose, and turns everything to their good. He decided beforehand who were destined to be moulded to the pattern of His Son, so that He should be the eldest of many brothers; it was those so destined that He called; those that He called, He justified, and those that He has justified He has brought into glory.’

Truly, I do believe that God has a purpose and a plan.. we just don’t have access to His calendar and schedule, or blueprint!

Whatever we pray for we can be confident He hears, what we need to do is watch like Jesus in Joseph’s workshop, like Jesus at the Father’s side and listen. Heaven still speaks, and look!

Outside, posted to the door of the Craftsman Shop a sign:

THIS FAMILY BUSINESS IS EXPANDING AND TAKING ON LABOURERS, PLEASE APPLY. TRAINING GIVEN.

Scriptures from NJB

The Illustrated Bible

cropped-img_0424.jpgI stood behind the Scripture Gift Stall, which looked a little different to the other stalls at the Church Christmas Fayre; no elves, no Santa Claus, no glitter balls, cuddly toys, bags, shawls, scarves – just Bibles, book marks, books, journals, pens, all kinds of everything but all with a scripture verse, or Christian Message. I just didn’t want the Nativity Story, or the true meaning of Christmas to be forgotten – is Christmas really about Father Christmas in his Grotto, the Elves packing Christmas Gifts; or shouldn’t there be a child in swaddling clothes somewhere.

Lots of people came and went, and I am happy to say took with them a little gift for someone who couldn’t be here, this afternoon.

Then as I was absorbed in a child’s picture bible, my first Advent Blessing arrived; in the form of a tall young man, dressed in leather jacket and warm woolly jumper;  he stopped to buy ‘Footprints’ bookmarks and noticing the colourful picture books, took out a mobile phone,

“Look,” he said and showed me a photo of Christ wearing the crown of thorns, and another of the Virgin Mary.

“I have this one tattooed on my back,” He said with twinkle in his eye, “And Mary on my front” – he somehow managed to lift jacket and jumper high enough for me to take a look, then very quickly covered up again.

“Oh,” I said, “You are an illustrated bible!”

He just grinned, “Don’t tell everybody” and walked briskly away.

Well, I have thought about it, like this.

Jesus and the Crown on thorns on his back – because Jesus, wearing that crown, carried us all on His back as he carried that cross to Calvary, our redemption to win,

and because the infant Jesus needed a little help to arrive into this world, in order to do that, Mary who said yes on his heart.

Somehow it all made perfect sense – we are all called to carry our cross following closely our Saviour up front, but first we all have to agree with our Father and say our yes as Mary did hers.

With every blessing this Advent Season, from the Illustrated Bible and me!

Don’t judge a book… or church mouse

People like things are not always what they seem; I learnt not to judge a book by its cover a long time ago. The most wonderful, wise and beautiful things may be hiding within battered, frail covers of an old book, the one with the broken spine thrown on to the charity shop book shelf.. may be the one containing the priceless word treasures to restore your broken heart or spirit.

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover or believe you can tell the man or woman beloved by God by their appearance, education or by what they boast. I learnt that lesson long ago as well.

Once upon a time, there was a small Christian, very quiet but always happy to lend a hand when a hand was needed. Her friend was outgoing, bubbly and super confident, as often happens with friends, they both found themselves choosing new, different paths in following Jesus; and as the Lord often arranges it, they came together, for a time, many years later. When the quiet one, answering a call from heaven to watch over a newly born Christian accompanied her to the church where the bubbly, confident one had become a “founding member”

The night before the first visit, the quiet one was wakened from sleep by the sound of dripping water, drip, drip, drip,… was there a leak, raining in, bathroom tap left running? Quietly, the quiet one switched on lights and investigated.

Nothing! No rain drops under the eaves, no leaky pipes or taps. The quiet one snuggled down under the covers. Drip, drip, drip…

“Oh I get it. Is that you Lord?”

“…. do something for Me. Be a mother to my children”

Never overconfident, she replied doubtfully, “Oh Lord Jesús, I don’t think I can ever be a mother to your children… ooohhh”

He was showing her a young girl, from her childhood, carefully tying her headscarf in a tidy bow under her chin. “At least be a big sister.”

“I will try. Where are the children?”

“Everywhere you will ever go.”


So, first steps into a new church, reunion with an old friend, who hugged and announced to all present that here was “the church mouse” … the quiet one did not deny this but with customary quietness took a seat. It took just about 5 minutes for her to realise that this church was charismatic, red hot, on fire for God another 5 and someone was calling out “the children are here.”

Another 5 and she knew this lovely, vibrant, enthusiastic family had a problem that would finally result in its scattering … the Holy Spirit was plainly saying there was a thief in the midst.

It puzzled the quiet one, that the children were being taught, insistently that the Holy Spirit never reveals anything which might cause the children to feel ashamed. It puzzled her further that a picture received, was counted as “a word from God” that a meaning could be attributed in a matter of moments. That these pictures were always promises of good gifts and financial blessing for the church … when plainly….

To cut a long story short, less than two years after this new church had formed its Pastor and teacher went to prison for theft.


I posted this true story, because there are still “children” out there who are being conned, duped, deceived by people who look “alright on the outside” … they boast of many gifts, but deny the Spirit of Truth when He witnesses against them.

Many of those “children” lost faith and broke faith with the Lord when finally the truth came out … the bubbly confident one lost a lot of sparkle…

The quiet one carried on being a “big sister” and says wherever she goes “the children are always there”

My dear friends, not every Spirit is to be trusted, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets are at large in the world.”

1 John 4.1 (N.J.B)

Knowing

Thank you dear friends, for your faithful comings to this blog, while I have been away, away in the sense of not writing, I wish I could say that I have been travelling to distant parts, but sadly that is not the case – the only journeys made have been to places just around the corner, yet, sometimes just around the corner is just the place we should be, and, after all Jesus did not travel very far either.

I have a new friend on Word Press who left a lovely comment about fancy altars, and she is quite right, our surroundings, and church trappings can be a distraction and draw our thoughts away from the One we visit church to worship. The Sacred Space that He would choose is our heart, the worship He prefers  our awed silence, following those special glimpses of Himself which he gives when we pray.

I hope that your Pentecost was special and holy to you, Pentecost Sunday in the U.K. was followed by a Bank Holiday on the Monday, and for once, I was un-busy and  found time to make a picture of my own, just coloured pencils, my watercolours, don’t get much of an airing nowadays – and yes, its a Mandala, nothing to do with Zen in this case, just me, musing on the dove pictured in a small round stained glass window. I expect you know that the large, round, Rose Windows in cathedrals and churches are in reality Christian Mandalas, cut a nice, big, round and juicy orange into two, and you find yourself with 2 Mandalas.

Now, I know that some of you are very deep thinkers and into all kinds of things, so if you think my mandala gives you an insight into my personality – you are welcome – and if you choose to comment – that is welcome too.

Knowledge, self knowledge is very important to a Christian, and to know another in a deep friendship – a sacred thing – the most sacred thing (at least to me) is God’s knowledge of us.

If I can share from a favourite Psalm.

“How precious to me are your thoughts, God” How vast is the sum of them! Were I too count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with you.” (Psalm 139; 17-18) (NIV) – Precious thought, even while we are sleeping, He is with us.First Light 001May you be blessed.

 

Bad News?

I haven’t much time to post, but thank the Lord, I do feel fine, and my life is full of many good things and I am grateful for every new day, even ones like today when rushing too and fro, up and down the hill was too say the least a little tiring. The placard with today’s headlines from a local newspaper was just standing there, minding its own business, outside the little shop. I found it just invited comment

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Bad news?

I am afraid the real high cost of dying, is losing your life.

Good News!

Often overlooked, at this time of year when we are assailed on every side with costly, often unnecessary and unwanted luxury items, is this

ETERNAL life is a free gift.

Thanks be to God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.

And love, peace, goodwill to all who are finding this present, earthly life difficult right now!

Sunday. A Kind Day

Psalm 133 (NLT)

How wonderful and pleasant it is
When brothers live together in harmony!
For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil
That was poured upon Aaron’s head,
That ran down his beard
And onto the border of his robe.
Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon
That falls on the mountains of Zion,
And there the LORD has pronounced his blessing,
Even life everlasting.

I like how this translation of the scriptures uses harmony to translate the Hebrew word, other versions use ‘unity’ but there is something about harmony … Perhaps I am thinking of the rainbow where the colours of the spectrum evoke feelings of peace, there is no clashing in the rainbow band, no colour claims dominance .. There is no competition .. If one colour decided to go solo, then the rainbow would not be the rainbow.

I like the generosity this psalm brings to mind. The precious oil is not sprinkled on, a drop here and a drop there, but is poured out like a river, a deluge of grace.

He anoints my head with oil, my cup runneth over.’

Sunday is a day that overflows with kindness, kind words spoken, smiles exchanged, and brothers and sisters coming together to praise God in harmony, as we remember Jesus who was anointed with the Oil of Gladness for us, and was himself poured out, like fragrant oil on us …. not just on me … But on the whole rainbow.

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Should one of the rainbow colours go missing?
Well, surely the good Shepherd would go looking for it?

Prickly me

I read somewhere that 5 minutes just looking at an object such as a flower or even a single leaf was beneficial. So, I thought I would give it a try, and this little cacti garden in a pot was sitting right there.

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Yes it was intriguing, 3 different little cacti all with one thing in common -the prickles. If I had more than 5 minutes I would have been tempted to take a pencil and draw each one. A botanical illustrator spends a lot of time studying a subject carefully, measuring, making colour notes, thumb nail sketches … getting the hairs on the hairy one might present a prickly challenge, but I only gave it 5 minutes and at the end of my time, concluded that most people have prickles, we all need handling with care. Better still handling with prayer. I also concluding that I am fast becoming like the white haired one!

Oh dear! I need handling with prayer!

Poppies to say it all

Not really much to say. Today, with five friends opened the church, to let anyone who would come in, to say a prayer for Peace on earth, to reflect on the Great War, light a candle … Yes even in these days the lights are going out … Where is compassion, where is love, in these days of great knowledge, why is it so dark? It is not that God has turned His face away, but perhaps we don’t seek it. My friends where ever you are, I light a candle for you .. In your darkest night .. May there always be hope.

These flowers were placed on the steps to the lady chapel in honour of all who fell 1914-1918.

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“Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ”

(Book of Common Prayer)

Snow Lady

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I took this picture of Leucanthemum ‘Snow Lady‘ before planting her outside in the back garden, she is rather lovely, clean, white, bright, fresh as a daisy, but how will she fare now she’s outside; will she stay clean and white, will she survive! Greenfly, slugs, snails, wind, too much rain, too little rain, planting anything is an act of faith, and also of hope. Once upon a time ‘Snow Lady’ was no more than a grain of hope, a seed which a gardener took and sowed…

Three babies were bought to be baptised yesterday, clean, fresh as daisies; they were bought in faith, in hope with prayer to receive the sign of the cross, to be baptised. I know, not all Christian churches receive little ones like this, many parents desire to let their children make their own decision when old enough, yes, it is true, some will never get around to doing that; yes it’s equally true that not every parent or godparent is going to keep the promises made on a child’s behalf, it’s vexing and arguable, but, if these three little ones had been carried to Jesus, would He have turned them away with no blessing, no prayer?

When the first baby photos are taken we can’t see, we don’t see what will be, we don’t see how a child will turn out that is the truth, and it is also true that in creating human beings, although the Almighty had more than an idea of what would be, and how things would certainly turn out – He still did it anyway!

What do you think?
Is God the best example we have of sowing in faith and hope?
What does that say of the value, the promise the potential of all of us, what does it say about the Love of God for the whole of creation?

I leave these questions with you, as seeds for your thoughts or otherwise?