Tag: encouragement

Golden Glory/Autumn Rain

Autumn in the City (Birmingham U.K)

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.

Autumn rain

Look around
Look around, look around
Is there something I'm missing here?
Is there something I should know?

And just listen to the sound
All around there's people living their lives
People passing by
As I catch their eye

It doesn't matter where you're from
'Cause wherever you are from
You got a long walk home
You got a long walk on

And I've walked for many years
And I've never shed a tear
For a place called home
'Cause in this place I roam...

Everyone's the same
When you're walking in the autumn rain
Walking in the autumn rain

When you're walking from your past
You can never walk too fast
Think you got away at last
Think you got away at last

And we all have to live with our mistakes
But what would it take
To make things right
To feel good inside?

It doesn't matter what you've done
'Cause whatever you've done
Life has to go on
Life has to go on, yeah

And my conscience is always clear every time I am here
Because there is no blame
When you're walking
In the autumn rain
In the autumn rain

I don’t know if you know that song?

Do you remember walking to and from school.

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

Amen

Always, Jean

Autumn Rain, lyrics by MATTHEW HARDWIDGE, PHELIM BYRNE [Universal Music Publishing Group

Fortunate and blessed

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

Orange-Tip
(Anthocharis cardamines)

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.

Statue of St Bendict
Entrance to the cave where he lived.

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 without or the enemy within can overcome your children and You make us more than conquerors through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Come, and sit awhile

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

AIM and Birthday Flowers

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.


God Speaks and Lifts up My Head

“But You, O Lord, are a shield about me,

My glory, and the One who lifts up my head.

I was crying to the LORD with my voice,

And He answered me from His holy mountain.

I lay down and slept;

I awoke for the LORD sustains.

I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people

Who have set themselves against me round about.


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)

Thinking Ahead: Faith From A little Boat

Please follow the link below.

Where are you in your reflections on the coming year

https://coracleandtide.wordpress.com/

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 of all 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.

Lord make it so, in Jesus’ Name Amen”

The Baby is washed~ Getting ready

The baby is washed

The days are counting down to St Giles Christmas Fayre, 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 I should explain 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… I can’t do that.

Putting two flowers in a glass jar would be my limit. So I decided to take an easy way out and turn the Baptistery into a stable, using the font as a manager. Linda sent text this afternoon to tell me her husband has left me a bale of straw in the baptistery, Olwyn says going to leave me sacking, other ladies are loaning shawls for the baby; the baby is 61 years old so 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 lived among us as a homeless stranger,

As a helpless child, carried in your mother’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 was borrowed

Grant that every day, in everything I may be willing

To place all that I have, all that I am into your arms,

Your service,

Your keeping.

Amen

Bible verse: Luke 2.7 (NASB)

Prayer: My own

In Christ Alone

There are times, when I feel totally overwhelmed and perhaps you do too; like those times when I am caught up in a group of God’s children, and hear what they have to say about those of another group; you know what I mean, those who go to this church or that church which is different to our own.

Social Media is full of criticism and comments, warnings that this church or that church Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Quaker, Happy Clappy are all so wrong, in what they believe, in what they do, what they say.

Happy Clappy.?

whoever they may be… I am possibly one of the quietest, most serious persons you could ever meet – but, I have been labelled Happy Clappy. Reason? Singing to myself in the hall kitchen… “Give thanks to the risen Lord”

Well, now that the Lord is risen I do believe and that He gave up His life, dying a horrific death on the cross for my sins – that I don’t doubt, not surprisingly I shall continue to give thanks to the Risen Lord.

And I shall also continue to pray that the day will come when the whole Christian Family gives thanks to the Risen Lord and recognises that the Lord who loves me and us, loved him, her and those others as well.

Christ Jesus died for us!

When we were still far off in our sins, God met us in His Son.

Not just us up here, over here, but them them down there, over there.

While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!

Not the theologian, not the tradition, not the doctrine,

It wasn’t, the Archbishop, the Cardinal, the Pastor,

The Priest or the Evangelist, but

Christ Jesus died for us!

So, I ask, why can’t we be civil, why can’t we speak the truth in love, share the Truth of His Word, “it is written in the prophets (see Isaiah 54.13) they shall all be taught of God, everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to me.) Jesus tells us this in John 6.45.

So, I ask in my simple, naive way, “Why don’t we all go into our secret (closet) room, shut the door and listen to the One who sees and hears and hold our criticism back until we have heard what the Heavenly Teacher has to teach us first…

Perhaps He May whisper, “Speak the truth in love”

While we were yet sinners,

Christ Jesus died for us


In Christ Alone

(Stuart Townsend)

Christ alone my hope is found,

He is my light, my strength, my song

This Cornerstone, this solid Ground

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace

When fears are stilled, when strivings cease

My Comforter, my All in All

Here in the love of Christ I stand.

You know what?

Those other folk, they who are not us, may just be standing in the love of Christ as well as us!


Grant to me, O Lord, to know what I ought to know.

To love what I ought to love,

To praise what delights Thee most,

To value what is precious in Thy sight,

To hate what is offensive to Thee.

Do not suffer me to judge according to the sight of my eyes,

Nor to pass sentence according to the ears of ignorant men;

But to discern with a true judgement between things visual and spiritual,

And above all things to enquire what is the good pleasure of Thy will.

(Thomas A Kempis c1375-1475)


Off to my secret (closet) place now..

Good night, God bless

‘The roses Jesus gives’

My life gets busier and harder at a time in life when things should become more leisurely and the mountains less steeply inclined.

Yet, I recall a word from the Lord, saying that my real work for him would begin when I was old. Like Mary I have tended to keep his words and ponder them. The rose is just a rose from my garden. Just a rose. Not the most beautiful, not the most fragrant it is just a rose. A rose that spoke to me, as I tidied and weeded, it spoke peace and joy and invited me to take pleasure in the day, the sunshine and the work. It invited me to:

Taste and see that Yahweh is good. How blessed are those who take refuge in him

It invited me to:

Take what he gives and praise him still, through good and ill,

It is a reminder that our Lord blesses us in the rough and difficult as much as in smooth and easy. We sometimes, just can’t see it.

Think about the pioneers of our faith, 12 Disciples, St Paul, Barnabas, don’t forget the women who laboured and suffered alongside; think how the infant Church was raised, nursed, cherished and loved by those not so young as well as the young. It was on the rough and difficult path that they followed Jesus, carrying their cross, helping others to carry theirs’ ~ we are called to do the same.

Can our lot be any harder?

I don’t think so.

There is a world of difference between singing hymns on a Sunday, or leaping in the air at a “Praise Gathering” and singing praises in the middle of the night with your feet in the stocks and after being beaten for speaking in the name of Jesus rejoicing that you were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus.

So I cut the Rose and put it in water carried it to my prayer table, where it’s redness speaks to me of the Blood that Jesus shed, the life, He gave, and I can understand why hardship, pain and humiliation could not get the better of Peter, James and John, why Thomas the twin called out ‘my Lord and my God’ and took up His Cross to carry the name of Jesus to far away India. I listen to Jesus speaking to Peter,

In all truth I tell you, when you were young you put in your own belt and walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and somebody else will put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go.”

I say Amen.

Yes please, Lord Jesus.

I know that everyday you will feed me with the hidden Manna and that you will never allow me to be thirsty for the living water. The roses that you give in stillness and quietness I would not trade for riches, or a smooth and easy path. Take my songs of praise to replace your crown of thorns.

Scriptures: Psalm 34.8, John 21.18, Acts 16.24, Acts 5.41

Posted in love for our God who loves us from cradle to grey hairs and beyond and forever.

A Friend is one who knows you as you are

You are my friends, if you do what I command you. I shall no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know the master’s business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father. You did not choose me, no I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name. My command to you is to love one another” (John 15.14-17)

The bookmark reads;

“A friend is one who knows you as you are, understands where you’ve been. Accepts who you’ve become, and still gently invites you to grow.”

The friend who gave it to me, many years ago, has long been called home to be with her friend Jesus… but I keep the little card… not to remind me of Frances… friends are never forgotten… but to remind me of some of the qualities of the friend I should be.

Just such a friend is the Lord Jesús, he knows exactly who we are, the hidden person of our heart is not hidden from our God, he knows exactly where we have been, understands the ways we trod before we knew the Way, accepts fully the person we have become, he knows the son or daughter tugging on his sleeve and heart strings and yes, he still invites us to grow.

He was just such a friend to Peter, James and John, to Andrew, lovely Andrew with the happy knack of bringing him others to befriend.

Oh such a friend, who said, pitying the sorrows of his friends, “I shall not leave you orphans; I shall come to you.”

Soon, very soon, their friend and Saviour would suffer a degrading, humiliating, horrific death, soon he would be wrapped in grave cloths, and sealed in the dark prison of the tomb.

And then they saw him again, but could not keep him; they watched as he was taken up into heaven, hidden from their sight… and then, then came

Pentecost!

May the blessings of the Spirit of Joy, be with us all, and lead us in the dance of the Fisher men and friends. Never to be parted!