Tag: Faith

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”

Advent: What is our’s to do’

Advent even in a traditional church like ours is not the season of empty waiting it was with no decorations to be seen. I saw a determined, resolute tweet from one church. “We will keep Advent and then the 12 Days of Christmas”

However, when hundreds of eager, bright eyed children arrive for their School Carol Concerts they do expect to see a Christmas Tree and even some of our regular Sunday worshippers will say that they don’t understand why clergy call Advent a solemn season when we are looking forward to the Happy Celebration of remembering the birth of Jesus.

Try, ever so patiently, ever so gently to explain that Advent also looks forward to Jesus coming again to judge the world, and you know, that you are fusing all their Christmas Tree lights….. you are the Grinch and most definitely stealing Christmas!

As a child, I was taught in Sunday School, that we should “keep short accounts with the Lord” that is when we know we are doing something wrong, or have done something wrong, we should stop, say sorry and ask the Lord to forgive us and that we could be sure that He will. If little children can understand this, why can’t adults understand Advent?


I have been reading that some farmers, in some parts of the U.K. will be looking to see if Winter Barley is germinating in their fields now, at this time, God has provided for us in such an abundant way that crops of some kind are always being sown, regardless of the season. Farmers have to be patient, persevering and tough to endure all kinds of weather conditions, heat, cold, flood, wind… they have to persist with ‘what is theirs’ to do’

Do we know ‘what is ours’ to do’?

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crops, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The judge is standing at the door!”

So, the Lord is!

Standing at the door, that is, and He is nearer and closer than we think.

Whatever our church tradition, personal thoughts or opinions about times or seasons; we need to watch our own field, watching over it to see what kind of crop we ourselves are producing.


Lord, I pray, that you would teach me, what is mine to do. Give me patience and a gentle spirit, grant that I may always seek first your Kingdom, your righteousness and submit to your will. Sometimes, my heart may feel you are dealing with me harshly ~ then my Father and God help me to recall that before the seed can be sown, first the ground, my heart, must be ploughed. Sun and rain you have promised and harvest in due season, just as you promised that Messiah would come, He has come, and just as He promised, He will come again. We do not know the time or the season but we know He will come again.


Scripture: James 5: 7-9 (N.I.V.)

Prayer and images my own.

Watch-word: ‘ Seek the LORD while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. (Isaiah 55:6)

The Word of the Lord: Bringer of Hope

A dark, rainy morning

With no light in it,

Not a glimmer, a day with no ray of hope or encouragement.

The Word of the Lord came to me.

“Shalom! Peace! My peace take it!”

“Do not be worried or anxious. Neither fearful nor dismayed. Cast aside all the burdens carried for all others; take in their place, my burden instead. Yes, take my burden, even the Word of God. Carry my Word with you. Let it be your light in dark places.”

“The days are dismal and dark, you say. So they are!”

“The worries and the tasks are many. So they are!”

“Every neighbour adds to his neighbour’s load; every man, every woman casting off their share of the work, responsibility and blame onto someone else. Every ill, every problem, every grief is caused by human hands.”

“Every word of untruth comes from a human mouth- ”

“Every word of Truth and Wisdom from mine”

“So let Martha be like Mary. Set aside the many things and the many teachers, and choose the good part – come to your Heavenly Teacher – choose Me. For I chose you.”

“Take my Peace.

Take My Burden.

Take my Yoke.

Take my Word and speak it out.

It will not return to Me without bearing fruit-

Look! My Word pierces the darkness like a sword,

It is the bringer of Hope.”

This Word came with the dawning of the day. And after it a vision of the Lord Jesus wearing the crown of thorns before Pilate; forced to kneel to receive the Burden of the Cross for our sake, in my vision I was allowed to kneel at His side. The Lord looked and made me welcome.

It may be that someone reading this feels that they are carrying burdens and responsibilities that they cannot put down, for love’s sake- yet they are conscious of the Lord calling them closer and requiring them to do just that. Listen to His voice please. As I must do and please pray for me, that I may have grace to do the same.

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

You Did Not Choose Me

Once, I asked, as a little child does,

“Lord? What is a saint.”

“God’s chosen heart.” He said, with gentle patience.


Yesterday, I was with my friends, the youngest is aged a little over 60 ~ the Ladies Fellowship meets every Tuesday afternoon to pray and read the Bible together, we had a twofold theme this week.

Bible Sunday\All Saints

In celebration of the Bible most bought with them a treasured bible from their earliest years, one bought her mother’s bible. The date her mother received the bible recorded inside the front cover, 1916. Glued firmly on the inside back cover a momento of a sailor whose ship was lost at the battle of Jutland –

Jack Cornwall joined the Navy in July 1915, with Britain was at war, and in 1916 became the youngest holder of the Victoria Cross at just 16 years old. The medal was awarded posthumously for remaining at his post at the forward 5.5 inch gun of the cruiser HMS Chester, see photo below

In fact the young man who appears in pictures of Jack is not Jack but his brother who stood in for him, the stamp posted in the Bible we saw was a coloured version of this one and was awarded for raising money for a memorial.

We were reminded of how valued, bibles were in those days of war, often bible societies produced small booklets of selected portions and these would be kept tucked inside a cap, where they could be more easily retrieved than rummaging through a kit bag.

Another lady bought a photograph of her mother taken on her mothers wedding day. Her daughter proudly and tearfully declared that her mother had been a saint, she told us of how her Mom, had devoted her life to the service of others. How she would spend whole nights keeping company elderly and sick people in their own homes, after tucking her 2 little girls up at her own home, how her mother had always been a listening ear, but never a revealer of secrets.

Two very different people. One a young man who joined the Navy aged 15, a brave young man, no more than a boy David, the shepherd boy was when fighting bear and lion in defence of his father’s sheep.

The other, a young mother and Salvation Army Officer, prepared to go an extra mile and gentle hand to anyone who needed it.


“A saint is God’s chosen heart” … not one of us has a perfect heart … not one of us chooses Him. He must choose us.All the courage we have, the kindness, the love our hearts hold, they come from Him. Not many of us will ever be Saints spelt with a big S, but all whom the Lord Jesus chooses to draw near to himself are called to be Saints.

How does God raise a saint?

With the milk of the word.

With the Bread of Life.

What does God ask us all to do for Him?

If you listen very carefully, you will hear His answer,

Come, Come to Me, Follow Me. I chose you out of the world, of all the pebbles on the beach I chose you. Don’t look back, walk with me, abide in Me.

“You did not choose Me. I chose you.”


A More Hopeful Forecast

October, rainy, and mild, this year will soon be over, and still the leaves cling to the trees, waiting, perhaps for windy November.

Or will it be windy November?

As the month began there were forecasts of snow in the last half of the month. Still no snow. I cannot say that I am sad about that. October seems far too early for snow to arrive; it would seem bizarre to have flurries of snow flakes before flurries of crunchy , red-gold leaves.

Weather forecasters do not always get it right.

The future, despite modern technology, weather satellites, and highly proficient interpreters of so much information the future remains un-known, hidden from our view by an impenetrable curtain.

A curtain which the most insistent hands cannot draw back, anymore than the reader of tea-leaves can.

I am glad of that.

There are some things it is better that we don’t know.

I promised to pray for a younger lady today.

We have not known each other very long, measured in proportion to the long year of my life, perhaps we could say from July to October. She is a quietly spoken, clever lady with whole sunny summers, golden autumns, white winters and green springs to look forward to, except that the gloomy weather forecaster has said she has a cancer.

So, I am praying that He who holds the future, yours’ – mine – hers’ will prove the forecasters wrong, and that behind the curtain many years of happy, fruitful life await.


I love the plants and pots that occupy my window sills, especially those plants that come as gifts. I find it very difficult to part with a single one, even despite the flowering period being over and gone, and little hope that they will flower again. The geranium in the photo was last year’s. For months it has just sat there, no foliage, green shoots. There have been those mornings when I have been tempted, strongly tempted to put it on the compost heap. Almost, but:

There is hope for a tree, when it is cut down, that it will sprout again. And its shoots will not fail.”

“And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us”

Look, the geranium is flowering now.

I purpose not to accept every gloomy prediction, it is true. Prayer changes things.

Scriptures: Job 14.7, Romans 5.5

Lord, you teach us that hope abides for ever,

When faith is weak and can not grasp the shield or wield the Spirit’s sword,

When joy is restrained, the rainbow blotted out by the cloud:

Then let hope, send out strong shoots of prayer,

That faith may flower and bear perfect fruit,

Your love,

And our perfect healing

Amen.

Rainy Day Chickens

I looked and I saw?

Chickens out in the rain, puddles up to the knees, squawking as only very wet, miserable chickens can.

What?

Had they no sense?

Why didn’t they head for their nice cosy hen house?

Puzzled, I reached for trusty waterproof with a hood, someone needed to get those silly hens in, and if it had to be me, it had to be me.

At iiii shhh ooo. At iiii shhh ooo!

That’s when I realised I had flu, just as the hands of Jesus reached down to pick me up and tuck me under his arm.

“No not you. I want you for something else today”


Does this ring true to you? Are you the one who sees the plight of others first, before you see your own?

Well, I can only say on reflection the Lord sees and notices every single thing you do. He cares about the chickens out in the rain. Of course He does. He shakes his head in sympathy and understands each perplexed, ‘what do I do now, what’s the right way to go cluck.

After all, “the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost”

Most of us, at times feel lost. Even those who have been ‘found’ a long time .. we can feel we need to know the way to go next. Yes, we may well know every cobble in the farm road, every step to the hen house and barn. We may know, as wise-birds, exactly what to do when it rains on everyone’s parade.

But do we know our God cares about us?

Knows we are willing to be pushed to the limit for those rainy day chickens, and to shoo them into the warmth of a dry shelter, to wholesome food and drink.

Yes He does know these things and yet, there is still something, which we can’t put our finger on… the something else, that thing which He wants us to do for Him today.

That puzzling, something else – may be quite different to what we did yesterday – it may be the last thing we would ever choose for ourselves – the last thing we would want to do, or want to be.


We did not choose you Lord Christ;

But you chose us.

We cannot choose what we do,

If there is something else,

You would have us do-

We have to choose aright,

Go, Stay;

Do. Say;

As you would have it.

Lord, show us what you would have us do

To do for you, today and every day:

Give us each day our Daily Bread,

Fresh and new:

Let our food be to do God’s will,

Together with you,

Today,

Everyday,

Always

Amen


Reading: Luke 19:10

Prayer: my own

The picture described given on rainy Saturday 12th October

Every creature is a word of God: Hedgehog

I awake in the morning before it is light and I am?

Well, the Lord shows me a little Hedgehog, all puffed up, spines out. My ears are telling me that it’s raining outside, and the Lord who knows, my every thought before I even think it, is telling me that I am “prickly” today.

I, murmur thank you Lord and settle my thoughts-and me- beneath my cosy duvet and in the Lord.

I never fail to marvel how well our God knows me! Even me, prickly me, and how kindly and considerately He picks me up and handles me. (Like a bunny by the ears with plenty of support)

“Oh Lord, I know nothing about hedgehogs,” I whisper, “Yet you know all my ways and their ways.”

I remember the time, He told me, I was like a hedgehog with my spiky jacket turned inside out, and this was true of me, and of many. When we are fearful of being hurt we curl up into a ball, but instead of protecting us the prickles turned inside out, come sharp to ourselves!

Our inner moods and feelings are changeable like the weather, and can we ever truly say, where they come from? It’s not as though people are prodding us with a stick all the time; often we cannot account for our moods at all. All we can do is wait patiently for our inside weather pattern to change. Learning that patience, and learning to keep calm, patient under stress … well that’s grace.

The bookmark is an old one, I treasure bookmarks given by friends, as well as Scripture verses they hold memories of the giver. Dorothy was a near neighbour. Dorothy loved the birds and the small creatures that sometimes visit our gardens, she most certainly left a dish out for the hedgehogs under the hedge.

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you”

As surely as I cannot always say where my prickly mood comes from, my neighbours may not know where theirs have come from either… I thank them for forgiving my prickles and pray and thank the Lord for grace to forgive them also.

Hedgehogs can get along just fine – we feed at the same table.


All I know about Hedgehogs

The Hedgehogs in U.K. gardens are Western Hedgehogs, there are 3 European Species but this one is the only one known in the British Isles. They are usually found in lowland grassland and open woods, but don’t mind gardens. Body Size= 20- 30cm; tail =1- 4cm. Spines grow up 3cm long. Front foot prints measure up to 2.5cm long and the Hind ones up to 3cm long.

They like to eat Earthworms, and other invertebrates; birds’ eggs and nestlings: some plant material. This Hedgehog is largely nocturnal and hibernates in nests of dry grass and leaves.

Posh Name: Erinaceus europaeus (Insectivora)

Information supplied by RSPB: