Tag: Bible

Tree

“Whosoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple”

Luke 14. 27

It’s just a tree. Gnarled, twisted, battered by the winds… but still standing.

A bit like you and I have often felt….

We all endure our share of storms in one way or another, we all get conflict and some of us at some point in life will know pain and agony in our mortal bodies, some will fall victim of wrong doers, some will be found guilty of a crime they didn’t commit… do you remember the story of Joseph?

Joseph sold into slavery by his brothers out of envy. Joseph falsely accused by his master’s wife and turn, turn again promoted to high office and power by Pharaoh, Joseph who became the rescuer of those same brothers and his fathers whole family. Joseph who being begged for forgiveness by those same brothers, said simply this:-

“You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good”

I have been reflecting on the picture because I see Jesus Body borne on the cross in it…. I think I shall go on reflecting on it for a very long time and praying that when troubled, and when assailed by that oft asked question

“Why me Lord? What have I done to deserve this?”

That I shall remember these words also:-

“All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

Romans 8.28

Father,

If you would,

Give me Grace, and fortitude

That blown about in the Gales of Conflict,

To just hang on and take it. Courage,

Lord to withstand Howling Storm – bitterest grief

And pain of every kind.

Grant me the sweet, sweet, love and compassion

Of Joseph, and of other Cross Bearers before me

Most of all, grant that I also may be ‘conformed’

To the image of your most dear son,

That most Beautiful of men,

My Saviour

Thy Son,

Jesus Christ

always Jean

Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods,

So is my beloved among the sons.

I sat down in his shade with great delight,

And His fruit was sweet to my taste.

Song of Solomon 2:3

All scriptures are from NKJV

The Testimony of a Tree

One Life Lived and Given for All

What kind of year have you lived through since this time last year?

What would the label read on the branch if you drew up a Diagram of your life so far?

Lately, because of the slowing down in the pace of life for me, my memory has been throwing up all kinds of shoots, memories of every kind… but in all of them, no exceptions, “there has been that of God”

Some memories have been of people who have crossed over the River, before me. Some have been of places, some of buildings, houses .. some of those changed beyond recognition now. I am a woman who is grateful for the gift of years and thankful for the presence and comfort of God in times when life was rough and tough and downright painful.

This week many throughout the whole world will be seeking in times of quiet and prayer to catch a glimpse of Jesus during His last precious days with us. I have found that Jesus is living out my life with me.

Jesus is the sap. The life-blood of the tree

Without Jesus I would have had no life at all. Without Him there would be no living .. no life.

At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you

John 14. 20 KJV

I am not a preacher. I have done and will do what I can. What I am is blessed, all that I have is the life that I have been given, the life that I have been given is Eternal Life, thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ.


The illustration is a page in one of my oldest bibles (a lot collected through the years) the bible printed in 1954 is a KJV Thompson Chain Reference Bible… the page shows the recorded events in the life of Jesus as a Tree.

With all my love and blessings for Eastertide and always

Jean

The Counsel of a Friend

The Counsel of a Friend

In recent weeks I have lost a friend, a true Christian friend, generous in every respect, but most of all wise in counsel. The little notebook was a last gift; she passed into the Lord’s nearer presence on the 14th December. I feel absolutely certain that Mary is one of those who will hear these words from the Lord Jesus. “Well done, good and faithful servant”

Besides the notebook I received from Mary over the years many small texts and messages. “Felt sure this was for you” she would say; often I would look at the Bible verse (Mary loved her Bible) and puzzle over it, not so sure that it was … but I kept them all … and often find that tucked away safely in within the pages of a Bible or some other book, coming upon them months and years afterwards that they were just the words of support, encouragement and counsel I needed right then.

Do friends make our life better just by being in it?

Yes they do!

Especially that Most Excellent Friend of all, our Saviour and God. You know Jesus said “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” How special is that! I cannot think of any greater joy. For me there is no greater joy than to receive the wise counsel of such a Friend, a Friend who told us He did not speak on His own, but the words, the commandments He gave the works which He did, were from His Father and our Father… here are more words of wise counsel….

Ho! Everyone who thirsts,

Come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you- the sure mercies of David.

Isaiah 55. 1-4

Our God does not choose us for our wealth. Position , or rank are not important to the One who chose David for his heart and raised him up from keeping sheep to protect and keep Israel pouring into David’s heart the songs and humble petitions to Himself that we use in worship today. David inclined his ear and listened. My friend inclined her ear and listened. I will incline my ear and listen.

Will you? Do you?

Lord,

Teach me to be still, to incline my ear and listen.

You do not require anything else, no treasure, great or small

Can buy from you that gift of Wise Counsel,

Your Blessed Word who when the right time was come,

Came into the world, a humble sower of seed, not requiring any

Other thing than to do Your Will.

May the blesser and the multiplier of the loaves and fishes,

Bless and multiply His Words of Wise Counsel in us, and amongst us,

And ourselves abide in His Grace, Your Love, O God, and Fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Jean Harcourt — for Mary G. a friend and sower if the Word.

A Lamp Shining in a Dark Place

…A lamp shining in a dark place (2 Peter 1.19)

The mornings are dark, wet and cold.

I wake in the dark and wait for the first silver-grey signs that Dawn is on the way. Often scriptures wake up within me, as I am sure they must do for many reading this. We are now 7 full days into Advent and nearly at the end of 2020 which has surely earned more than one page in the World History in a day and age where there are no shortages of either chroniclers or media in which to record the events as they unfold. Do you recall this word from Ecclesiastes who complained,

“All things are wearisome” (chapter 1.v8)

“There is no remembrance of earlier things;

And also of the later things which will occur,

There will be for them no remembrance

Among those who come later still.”

Ecclesiastes chapter 1. 8, 11.

Sounds a dismal fellow, doesn’t he this Preacher who grew very wise because he was so thoughtful and took care to remember. He says about that (v 13) that it is a grievous task which God has given the sons of men to be afflicted with, and I think as time goes on that when those personal memoirs appear on bookshelves and in media archives there are many who will give a little shudder and pass them over .. for something brighter, cheerful less solemn, and leave it to the scientists and statistics people to make sure it never happens again.

This is the way of the world. The world forgets easily those things which are wearisome and doesn’t take easily to grievous tasks

The world can be forgetful.

I say that with sorrow. The world is full of people who need comfort at this time, it needs comfortable words. And yet, those who live in comfort and are comfortable ought not to forget those who have no such comforts as food, clothing, shelter or medicine, or those trying to find a refuge from poverty, or war. This is one of the messages of Advent which is not so popular, but rather grievous and wearisome to bear. Such unpopular, grievous, wearisome messages have been delivered by God’s faithful messengers down through millennia. Are they being unheard today?

May the Lord bless those who He finds faithfully hearing, remembering and acting on His word, when He comes.

‘So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.

2 Peter 1.19

Lord, when you come,

As you will come,

Silently, and in the night,

May I be found

Watchful, wakeful and trusting.

May I be found as one with a loaf of bread to spare

For a traveller in need, a coat to give away,

Straw for a Manger bed;

A lamp to hang up high

That no feet slip in the dark, cobbled alley of

Forgetful Street.

Jean

All scriptures taken from N.A.S.B.

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

By the Way of Easter…the Cross Roads of Life

“We are not just human beings but human becomings… For us to be is to have a lifetime, a development… our lifetime is a life story.”#1

“When we seek what is truly good, then we are seeking God who is the source of all good”#2

We come, by way of Easter to the Cross, which is for all of us the Cross Roads of life, we come together with Christ, the Living Way …. there are many junctions, joining points from the world and all are called repentance …. but those who truly come to Christ …. never seek to leave the Living Way, nor to turn back even though that way (the past) seems easier, since it is a gentle descent and the way straight ahead (to the New Jerusalem) is a steep uphill climb.

Soon after joining the Way we come to Pentecost, and just in case, we are thinking of taking the next Junction off, the Wind is at our back and sweeps us forward, upward, Pentecost is where the Holy Spirit joins us, just as Christ said, He would …

And then we come to Trinity Sunday, and then we find, that God, The Father whom we seek is not so very far from us at all, that He is truly in Christ as Christ is in Him that Christ is in us and the Father in Christ.. that is the revelation of the Holy Spirit … and why none of us should treat His presence with us lightly, the Way continues upwards but we do not walk it alone…


“Nothing is so distant that love cannot reach it”#a

#1 Herbert McCabe O.P – God Still Matters (Continuum 2002)

#2 Jean Marie Dwyer O.P,

#a Sonnleithner


And look I am with you always; yes to the end of time”

(Matthew 28: 20)