What will the world be like, once the present Pandemic is over?
Some are dreading the future. For the very many it will be a case of rebuilding the lives they once had, reclaiming lost livelihoods and overcoming problems of physical and mental health. Doubtless the few may come out if it all in much better shape than many; there is that saying, “it’s an ill wind that blows nobody good” – there have always been those few that come out of a crisis better than when they went in..
“Once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain; when you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm is all about. – Haruki Murakami
I don’t believe that I will be the same person who said goodbye to so many aspects of my own personal life last March, I think they are lost in the storm, but not my faith. Indeed my faith and inner convictions have grown stronger – there has always been something about a storm at sea which has grown strength and trust in the sailors.
“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destiny – C.S. Lewis
There is that about starting over and rebuilding which has always been good for the soul.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future – Jeremiah 29: 11 N.I.V.
No. Starting over and rebuilding never easy, but essentially those Israelites who went into the storm and exile in Babylon were not the same persons who came out but their knowledge of the LORD and trust had changed them for the better, the lessons learnt in adversity may bring us tears but “joy surely comes in the morning”
Let’s keep following and walking with the Lord, looking up and not down, keeping eyes fixed on the Throne of God, not allowing them to stray.. that way we can walk on water even in these days and times.
Lord in whose hands are all our days and our times,
“Carrying His own cross, He went out to the place of the skull, (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha”
To wait is to hope for, expect Colonel Cook’s handwriting told me… not sure what it was I did hope for in those days, but am sure that I did expect that my prayers would be heard and answered. In fact I was convinced that they would be. There was a solid reality behind those words of Jesus concerning asking, seeking and knocking.
Yet, I asked myself what did Jesus, Himself hope for,expect?
Well, he did not expect that life for him would be easy, comfortable and without its sorrows. He accepted whatever it pleased his Father in heaven to send or give. As a young woman he impressed upon me that I should do the same following Jesus meant accepting a share in difficulties, uncomfortable and sorrowful experiences.
Young people these days do hope for, and expect so much more than I did, in the worldly, material sense; I get the impression that it is common to believe that following Jesus, today is to be able to “have it all” in the worldly sense and still be a “celebrity” in the discipleship game.
First principles still apply.
“Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it”
Mark 10. 38 (N.I.V,”
Not the kind of thing which people wish to hear anymore, and even less popular the Bible Teaching on Holiness. The Teaching of the Beatitudes has sadly become simply “beautiful words” to read but not to practice. I think that is a deep sorrow for many Christians who find themselves labelled with all kinds of hurtful and discriminatory words, yes in this modern age of our where all kinds of discrimination are legislated against it is still possible, and highly likely that the faithful, devout, meek, gentle, kind sincere soul will be spoken against, called names and persecuted because they have committed the crime of following Jesus.
You did teach us to expect our share of troubles in the world
You did tell us that in you we would find peace:
Give to us courage, endurance in the waiting and always your gentleness, love and forgiveness in times of opposition and persecution.
For love of us, your tears flowed in Gethsemane’s Garden:
For love of us, you accepted the Cup your Father placed into your hands.
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
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.
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
Autumn Rain, lyrics by MATTHEW HARDWIDGE, PHELIM BYRNE [Universal Music Publishing Group
I am fortunate, I am blessed with a large garden~ My own little wilderness
During the past few few days, I have spent much time out in my wilderness, chopping, pruning, digging, planting and just sitting, looking, listening
Just sitting, I have been visited, by small elusive birds, cheekier and noisier larger ones and the butterflies
Birds, looking for food in their eating place, the little ones careful to avoid the bigger, bossier ones and a squabble, and the spring butterflies searching for nectar amongst the flowers. All at peace. All at rest.
Why can’t the world always be so quiet, so calm at rest?
I am distracted by thoughts of Elijah being fed by the ravens and because it is sunny, and hot my butterfly thoughts flitted back to a visit to Italy, Subiaco and Santo Speco where Saint Benedict lived as a hermit, in a rocky wilderness of his own. Saint Benedict also had help from Ravens. A hard, difficult climb to his cave, here was another man of God … on the run: like Moses from Pharaoh, like Elijah, like David from King Saul. Sometimes harsh, wild places are to be preferred to harsh, wild, angry kings and enemies.
I recalled thinking at that time, what a hard and difficult way to live! Sitting in my chair, with my kitchen door and food and clean water a few feet away; it was not easy to picture, to imagine the rigours of life lived in such unfriendly environments of true wilderness. From the beginning the wild places, wilderness and desert have been not only the hiding places but also the birthing places of God’s people. It was in the wilderness that the people of Israel were shaped, where John the Baptist cried out to make straight the way of the Lord, where Jesus was tested by Satan and prevailed.
I have an idea that no one truly chooses to live in the wilderness but that our Father chooses them and then the wilderness to prepare them until ready, equipped, character formed, strengthened and empowered they are ready for the next stage of their life, and Life in Christ is never going to be easy.
Right now, there are millions of God’s children who with no regular public worship, feel kind of lost, in some kind of wilderness of our own. We are not lost. The Shepherd knows where each lamb is. In His time, the Lord will bring us out, a people ready.
Father, through all our wandering be our guide. Teach us that the safest place to be, is that place where You are. You are, and You alone our Rock, our Strength. It is You who provides our Daily Bread and water from Living Fountains. Neither fierce heat by day, frosty cold by night, plague, storm, the enemy withoutorthe enemy within can overcomeyourchildren and You make us more than conquerors through our Lord Jesus Christ.
My church, part of the Church of England, and our sister churches have now paused Public Worship Services, following the guidance from the U.K. Government. Strangely this has meant a week of frantic busyness for one or two of us. Our church is an older church most are over 70 years old, and we do have a large proportion of those at risk, yet for many, no church service is a great disappointment
I have hope, and it is I feel it is more than hope that out of and through the present circumstances, the Lord will draw His church as the master sword smith, tempers the finest blade, by drawing it from the flame and then by plunging it in water.
‘Be still, and know that I am God, I will be exalted amongst the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalm 46.10)
As my tasks diminish, I know, that it is time for me, personally to ‘Come, sit awhile’ in the Presence of the One who cares for me, and for you.
I shall be praying for all my loved ones, and for you – Coronavirus has called us to battle – but the virus will not have the victory – the battle is the Lord’s
I found the flowers on my return from Grocery shopping, they didn’t much look like flowers at all, packed in a long flat box and posted through the letter box, they stood slightly, upended against the wall. Carefully I removed the tightly closed buds, placed them in a vase and waited….
All good things, are worth waiting for, so the saying goes.
Watching, as these pretty flowers unpacked themselves from tight buds has been in itself a pleasure; and watching as the promises of God enfold in my life another, better one.
My friend Vera says, every time she takes my hand to offer the peace, “God bless you, Jean.” And then, she adds, very quickly, “Go on. Say it”
I reply, “He does, I let Him!”
She laughs, content, “I love to hear you say that.”
It is true. I love to be still, and feel that I am just like a peach ripening on the wall, warmed in the sunshine of His smile.
Truth is, I am not able to be still as much as I would like to be. But stillness is not always a physical stillness. There is that special stillness of just being stayed, carried on the Lord’s arm in busyness, in the certainty that whatever happens, however things are unfolding, or running He will get us there. He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey.
While it was still dark, before my birthday dawned I had a word-gifted, from heaven just a single bud. That Word was AIM, I intend to carry it with me this year, together with this words from Paul,
“I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”
“To win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.”
Scriptures: Phil. 3. 12-14 (N.I.V.)
Image: My own
I praise God for the gift of years, 71 of them and although like the peach I have known rain as well as sunshine, winter as well as summer, they have been blessed; may yours be also.
A New Year but last year still remains with us in many ways, like the litter of autumn leaves that linger in the garden, if autumn leaves were troubles and problems, it seems we never clear them away neatly for a pristine start for a New Year. Because of the mild weather not all of them have even fluttered down to earth yet. Life like a garden is always going to be, just a little untidy.
Life for an adopted child of God, is also always going to be a little untidy, a little messy: yet always hope-full, like tender plants we are always under the Heavenly Gardeners watchful eye.
Our Father in heaven knows the things that trouble us, and all that we fear.
We can like David say with confidence “You, O Lord are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head.”
We can lie down and sleep and awake for He does indeed sustain us.
Ten thousand troubles, ten thousand problems, ten thousand enemies?
Look to God.
I have always had a tender, longing for the first glimpse of the Snowdrops, beneath all the debris of last year, in spite of heavy clods of earth pressing them down and under and even the tread of heavy feet, faith tells me, that they will break through and throwing off in triumph all winter’s vain efforts to keep them down, they will lift up their heads: God will sustain them as He will sustain all His own who are crying out to Him with a troubled heart.
Always when I have been crying out to the Lord, yes I cry, often. Not just with my voice, but with real tears that leave handkerchiefs wet and eyes redder than the holly berry, God has heard, and blessed me with the gift of sleep and then,
God speaks and His Word lifts up my head
Lord, teach us
Not to be afraid,
Not to despair.
But, teach us to call on You, to cast all our care on the One who cares for us.
Teach us to trust You and so we shall lie down and sleep, for Your knees are the pillows You made for your beloved and what shall disturb us while You are keeping watch. You have taught us not to worry about what tomorrow may bring, and that you know already what we need.
Those who wear the Armour You provide will surely overcome in Your Strength, Your Power in the Name of the Lord, who heaven and earth has made.
Scripture: Psalm 3. 3-8
Prayer: my own
I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, so shall I be saved from my enemies. (KJB 2 Samuel 22.4)
Church is looking forward to the arrival of a new Vicar in around 3 months time. Most people are thrilled, filled with positive, expectant and hopeful thoughts; new beginnings are exciting.
A few are filled with negative, uncertain and doubtful ones. Maybe people won’t like the new man, maybe church will change, ways of doing things, worship, prayers.
This is my old note book, it’s not a Journal, not a Diary … it’s simply a practical, and nearly full book ofall kinds of things,seed thoughts, busy hen thoughts and jottings, secret glimpses received in prayer times, glimpses into what the Lord may bring to pass… He often does show the way forward, often, often, sometimes the glimpses need more light and I have to wait in patience for fresh understanding, and when that comes revise my thinking. It is a book of prayers that flow as I allow myself time to rest and reflect.
It is a book of all things.
New paths, new ventures,I find are often helped by looking back through it’s pages.
Old paths, old ventures?Well here I find wisdom; I don’t believe that in the economy of God anything is ever wasted, our failings and weaknesses are all things His Grace can use.
My church has been without a leader for two years, my notebook is two years old. During this two years, I have been called on to take and make the Leadership decisions. I have only been able to do this with the Lord’s help. By His Grace and Guidance alone. My notebook is nearly full, around the time our new Vicar arrives I foresee that I shall be beginning another ………..
Please continue to Coracle and Tide to finish reading.
I am praying and looking forward to what lies through the little gate and narrow path that runs straight and true into 2020 and farther than eye can see.
Scripture says we are all members of one another. So we are but sometimes it is necessary, to push away from river bank or shore in a little boat (Coracle) of our own. The Lord Jesus did this often by waking early and taking Himself to a lonely place to seek His Father’s face and pray.
We don’t all pray alike,
A word that I ponder on frequently, came as I prayed, a word for me, not for speaking out, and I don’t think it has been pondered on enough yet, for me to write in any depth about, but I will share it now:
“I don’t sprinkle all alike”
Well, no the Lord doesn’t sprinkle all alike. There are many differing gifts and many differing callings. Your journeys will be different from mine… yet for all of us Christ is the Way.
Praying for all my WordPress friends that as you come to the little Gate that is the Beginning of 2020, you too may find guidance, grace and wisdom and can say Amen to the statement that “nothing in Gods economy is ever wasted… our past failings and weaknesses… can be in His Providences the successes and strengths of the Year ahead.
The days are counting down to St Giles ChristmasFayre, this coming Saturday and for the very first time the Flower Ladies are having a Festival over in the Church on the same day. Which means double the amount of work with Friday as busy as Saturday. Perhaps Ishouldexplain that the Church Hall, where the Fayre happens is separated from the Church by a very busy road.
I am not a flower arranger by any manner of means ~ so non-plussed, totally when told,
“We decided you are doing the baptistery!”
My first reaction was… Ican’t do that.
Putting two flowers in a glass jarwould be my limit. So I decided to take an easy way out and turn the Baptistery into a stable, using thefont as a manager. Linda sent text this afternoon to tell me her husband has left me a bale of straw in thebaptistery, Olwyn says going to leave me sacking, other ladies are loaning shawls for thebaby; the baby is 61 years oldso Iris proudly told me, “But he is a little bit dirty….”
She was quite right, the Baby needed a bath, and I gave Him one this afternoon, taking the greatest of care. It has been such a long time since I washed a doll, let alone a live baby, and that I can assure you under his/her mom’s careful supervision. I have never married, always found that Jesus was enough, still do; washing the baby bought thoughts of Mary washing Jesus to mind, as I carefully washed each tiny finger and toe nail and behind His ears. Perhaps Mary had to borrow to wrap Jesus snuggly in those swaddling bands and to make the manager warm enough.
So here we go on course for the beginning of Advent, an Adven(ture).
(Chorus) Cloth for the cradle,
Cradle for the child,
The child for our every joy and sorrow;
Find him a shawl that’s woven by us all
To welcome the Lord
Of each tomorrow.
Words from John L Bell (b. 1949) and Graham Maule (b.1958)
…..And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Lord, you livedamong us as a homeless stranger,
As a helpless child, carried in yourmother’s arms in flight from a ruthless king,
Grown to manhood, you had no place to lay your head
And in your death your tomb wasborrowed
Grant that every day, in everything I may be willing
To place all that I have, all that I am into your arms,