Tag: Faith

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.

Risen, I am with you always…

I am the vine, you are the branches
John 15:5

“Risen, I am with you always”

When I want to do only great things, Lord,

Make me willing to do

Small unnoticed things too

When I want to do what the world will acclaim,

Make me willing to do

What will lift up your name

These weeks of being shut in, quiet and still have been for me, a gateway into another place, a place of calm, and rest, a place of blessing and a joy.

I pray that you also may know these things for yourself. That you may know all the joy of abiding in the Vine, and the love of the Lord.. it is just a thought, but consider this, the branches actually have very little to do with the work of producing fruit, they are not responsible for their pruning; and they don’t water themselves, they cannot bless themselves with the sunshine of the Lord’s smile or care for the soil that covers their root… all of this is the Gardener’s part.

All you and I, dear friends have to do is abide in the Vine. And listen, to Ruach HaKadesh. This is what He says to me,

Go and listen for the sound of the rain in the wilderness”

Your words are a doorway that lets in light, giving understanding to the thoughtless. Psalm 119:30

Two Good Friends and The Presence

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing

He makes me lie down in green pastures

He leads me besides quiet waters, He refreshes my soul

He guides me along the right paths for His Names sake,

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, i will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.

Social distancing sheep…keeping an eye on each other

Social distancing… I saw a comment on Twitter that said simply that Religious Communities have practiced this for centuries.

True they have.

We hear, the Lord Jesus, speaking to the disciples said “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6. 31). And so they did, only to find a large crowd waiting for them on the other side of the lake, then we read our Lord had compassion on them, seeing that they were like sheep without a shepherd, so He began teaching them many things.

I do not know how you are coping with the virus, but it certainly is making a difference for some. A little while ago, I got a text message reminding me that I should remain at home now for 12 weeks, I have already done that for a week, not that I have any underlying health problems but because I am over 70, a little less mobile and needed to be at home to deal with the phone calls, texts, emails and queries that arise when a place of worship is going into hibernation.

So, quiet but still busy. It was so good to go out into the back garden for awhile, late yesterday afternoon, I planted out a pretty little Azalea hoping that a late frost won’t kill it…looked ok today, like quiet, rest is good, stillness is good.

I find, quietness and stillness are like two good friends, companionable and there is a third friend Presence. Not just any presence but the Presence of the Lamb of God, Himself.

Quietness and Stillness are the Pause which allows the Presence to speak and to teach if we ‘crowd’ ourselves with two many distractions and tasks we give no opportunity for the Teacher to speak and He is longing to teach us what we should be doing, to show us the right way for today.

As I am about my daily tasks, words from the mouth of Jesus are with me, often reminding me to be ‘anxious for nothing’ to ‘not to worry about tomorrow’ and when prayer doesn’t come with eloquent words, that my Father already knows the thoughts of my heart.

This is true. God is true to Himself and to us. He, can bring good out of all this. He will bring good out of it….

A prayer for these days

Lord we pray for all who work tirelessly to defeat this pandemic. Protect them, they have loved ones, protect them

For all who are ill, restore them to health. For all who are lonely, anxious, despairing, comfort them. For all who are bereaved, in their grief sustain them.

Lead us all, Good Shepherd as You led your people through the wilderness to the still and refreshing waters. To this end, and the purpose for which You have called us, grant us grace to be uncomplaining, without grumbling let us be burden sharers for those whose burdens are heavy.

Always, only in the Name of Jesus. Amen

Scripture from Psalm 23 N.I.V. Image; Twitter

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

“Don’t Fast From Me“

Lent Day 3

The world is a Messy Place. We all have a hand in its mess. One afternoon last week, I came home after a midweek Morning Service in church, I had so much to do, but didn’t. I could only sit and weep, inwardly. Someone I had spoken to that morning had been so hurt (not by me, I am glad to say) that he a grown man, about my age had exploded in anger, anger with tears in his eyes.

The person who had caused the hurt had no idea, that a thought she had for good reasons, would have caused such hurt. She is herself caring for a close relative, a relative who is terminally ill. So offence taken and deep hurt felt … over what in actual fact was, a good thought and decision made for the good of many, by another hurting soul. The many included the man himself. I cried for his hurt, I understood totally the friend who had made a good decision and the reasons for that decision.

I cried because life can be so messy, painful, for misunderstood motives for the hidden things of the heart.

Hearts are unreadable. Even our own hearts can deceive ourselves. Satan our enemy can take the best of our thoughts and twist and bend them to suit his own purposes, hurt and bad feelings in the Body of Our Lord Jesus.

Yes Christ loves us, cherishes us as His very own self. Yes we know we should love one another. Yes, a big positive yes from me here, we do in all truth love one another… but our enemy, the chief Mess Maker takes our good intentions, our best thoughts and turns them, bends, twists and throws them in our paths as stumbling blocks of the first magnitude.

Part of Lenten Discipline is fasting. Many things are fasted from these days, one friend has given up her beloved Facebook; she reckons that , for her, is more difficult than to give up food.

What we should not give up is Prayer

Neither should we give up watching our own hearts. We should be careful and guard against such sneaky things as envy, because you know, envy can be the catalyst for anger, it can be the self-held knife that we use to produce the cuts to our pride that produces our hurt. Our hurt can in turn produce more hurt, more sin, more mess

I saw, a vision of paint, thick oily paint, daubed everywhere around town, the doors, the window sills, the walls, the people, and to be honest the most skilled of artists would have had an impossible job in discerning the pigments that those colours were mixed from! And once mixed they cannot be unmixed… they must simply wait to be erased, removed… it took the Wisdom, Love and Grace of Almighty God to clear up Humanities mess, in the Coming, Sacrifice and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Why the title of this post?

In a time of stillness and calm, when I could hear clearly and not miss His Word … this was the Lord’s Whisper to me.

“Don’t fast from Me. Do not refuse my food, the Bread I offer to you!

Jesus is the Bread of Life, the unleavened Bread of Truth; stillness, quietness are the room, unlocked with the key of prayer where once admitted, He can through the Holy Spirit begin to cleanse our heart, order our thinking and use us, as clean instruments in cleaning up what remains of the World’s big mess, yes God has left some mess here, just for us, so that in teaching us how to tackle it, He can bring the work He started in us when we said Yes to Him, in the person of the Lord Jesus to perfection in the Day When the secrets of all hearts are made known and the Victory of the Cross plainly revealed.

May all the blessings of a Holy Lent be ours.

And all the Glory and Praise to God alone. Through our Lord Jesus Amen

Image: Bread baked baked by Brother Amos SSF

“Listen to Him…”

Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely
Think about such things
Philippians 4. 8-9

Lent, so I heard comes from an old English Word which simply means Spring. The plants are waiting to be planted out in the garden, they were a gift, and they are lovely. Spring is lovely, everything that our Good Lord made is lovely, and in my simple understanding, give the Creator as much delight as the day He made them.

Ash Wednesday means the flowers will be absent from churches such as mine, missing until Easter Day, when the Lilies will trumpet the Resurrection. Today’s Gospel Reading, Matthew 17. 1-9 tells of the revealing of the Lord Jesus as the Son of God and Messiah on a mountain top, it tells of the awestruck Peter, James and John, catching a glimpse of whom Jesus the Messiah really is, in the company of Moses and Elijah… there are so many learned thoughts expressed about this message, so many noteworthy and praiseworthy Bible Teachers have written many, many pages, many books, I am sure that many wonderful words have been published today on WordPress… I cannot add to them, and I would not wish to take away from them, I just feel in myself that this portion of Scripture together with the words of Peter (2 Peter 1. 16-end) very appropriate for all Christians who will keep the season of Lent… straight from the Father’s Glory as Peter puts it, they heard;

This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!

Peter, eyewitness to this revelation of Christ’s glory, reminds us that we also have the witnesses of the Prophets, which must pay attention to as a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the Morning Star rises in our hearts. I cannot think of a more perfect way to put it… to keep a “good Lent” is to listen to the words of Christ and of the Prophets, if there is anything amiss with our hearts thinking, God waits to redirect us back into the right path, the Way, which is Jesus.

Finally, brothers or sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. (These are the words of Paul) whatever you have learned, or received or heard from me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Whoever is reading this, I pray God’s shalom resound in your hearts and in my heart as we turn over the pages of the Holy Scriptures together as we listen….

Every Creature is a Word of God: Duck/Wrong Footed.

Everyone knows that ducks have webbed feet, don’t they?

Sitting quietly in my prayer time, I saw a duck, just his head and unmistakable beak peeking out at me from behind a hedge.

And then, I saw his feet, entirely the wrong kind of feet for a duck..

“Lord” I blurt out, “Why have you given that duck those feet”

Just the kind of question, I thought, just as quickly as the question was out and ringing in my ears, that you should not ask the Lord, our Maker. After all we ought not to ask the Lord our Maker why He makes one Pot differ from another.

Also, I could hear the words of Solomon, the Teacher;

Watch your step when you go to the house of God” and “Don’t speak impulsively – don’t be in a hurry to give voice to your words before God.”

Oh, so gently but firmly, the Lord replied;

“It is not about My giving Ducks, or my children the wrong feet. But about my Children wrong footing it. And choosing the wrong shoes.”

What are the right shoes for God’s children?

Are we all properly dressed?

In Ephesians Paul writes;

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace.

“I could wish,” said the Lord Jesus, “That all my children took time to make themselves ready, and prepared themselves with the study of the Word of truth before engaging in argument and endless, pointless conflict amongst themselves. How are any to prove effective in publishing the Gospel of Peace to the World if they cannot have peace amongst themselves?”

I am still considering all this, and praying about it, and for my church, your church and every church that names itself for the Lord Jesus Christ. The Teacher tells us “Go near to listen, rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools.”

You are very welcome to think with me and offer your comments.

Picture: I am unsure of its origin…

Scriptures: Ecclesiastes: 5 and Ephesians 6. 14-15

Thoughtfully yours,

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.


A Simple Disciple’s Prayer

From a conversation between my Soul and the Lord

My soul:

Lord. Your love is all to me, as You are all to me,

As the day draws to a close, Lord,

Let Your love be the shawl that is wrapped around me.

The Lord Jesus:

“The arm to embrace, as well as guard, protect my beloved is Mine,

If she is Mine?”

My soul:

Lord, I am yours, as a single star is lost in the heart of the starry Universe,

So am I lost in the immensity of Your love and found at Your feet.”


Prayer: From a conversation between myself and every Christian’s Beloved Lord at the closing of New Year’s Day 2020. Shared in Fellowship with all who love the Lord Jesus Christ.

Picture: I don’t know who to attribute it to? If you should know please let me know that I may give them thanks for a lovely picture story which speaks to me not only of the gentle love between mother and child; but also of the love of God for His church. “Christ does indeed love us as our mother” (Julian of Norwich)

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)