Tag: Grace

Light and Warmth and Covenant of Grace

Anemone De Caen

May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from His glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the Saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1: 11-14 NRSV

October, and the rainy, dark days are here. And if that were not enough to plunge us into gloom this year we have a Pandemic as well.

My older friend sent a message “Been thinking of you she said. Wear something bright with lots of colour… work with some colour… if you have some spare time.”

Many years ago I discovered for myself the therapeutic power of my watercolour paint box and my waterproof coat is bright red. The last of the red roses sing out to me in the garden, and my red breasted friend the Robin is there every morning waiting for his breakfast to appear through the kitchen door.

I chose the red Anemone de Caen which are planted out from September to November in the U.K. to flower around March to April (around Eastertide) for this post simply because when I look at it I think of the Lord who has rescued us from the power of darkness and bought us into the kingdom of light.

Now that makes my heart sing out for joy however dark the day! I hope yours also. Moreover I find that the warmth and light of Adonai are not just on the outside but inside also. The Lord of all grace is not waiting for some future date to transfer His sons and daughters into the kingdom of His beloved Son, it is done now …. the red blood of Jesus has bought for us Eternal Redemption.

Oh dearest Lord,

In the shelter of Your wing,

You cause our heart to sing

Out with joy.

In your light we see light.

And we are warmed in your love;

Wrapped around in Your embrace,

And Your covenant of Grace.

Always Jean

Finding A Special Place

Sometimes, the Lord surprises us in unexpected ways. We know, that He knows all about us, each word before we even think to utter it. At some time or other, these words from Psalm 139 have rung gloriously true for most Christians

“How precious to me are your thoughts, God!

How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them,

they would outnumber the grains of sand-

when I awake, I am still with you”

Psalm 139.18 (N.I.V)

During these ‘Coronavirus’ days, I have felt, as you have also, no doubt that the Lord has been very present in many situations, in many ways, great and small.

I chose the picture of Julian of Norwich with the well loved words that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well, because reading her Revelations of Divine Love we feel we almost ‘know” this homely lady born in 1342. She speaks comfortably, from her heart to our heart. The little cat sits comfortably on the window sill joining in the conversation with the odd purr from time to time. As I read Julian’s writings I feel assured that Julian knew our Lord God very well and that He knew Julian very well. In fact they were very close friends who shared heart to heart thoughts of each other.

Sometimes people who know each other very well surprise each other.

My first thoughts each morning are spontaneously with God. No effort involved. I know that I am awake and with God, that God is with me. Just over a week ago I was surprised as into my head came a fleeting glimpse of the computer work station, as it arrived new with my first home computer in the year 2000.

When my late mother became ill, she just wanted, needed me to be always in her sight, so abandoning the work station and its little den, I switched to a lap top so I could type up Church Minutes and stuff in the room where she was, Mom would look up from time to time, and we would exchange little thoughts… presence is comforting. Well, my Mom died 17 years ago and the work station on wheels, was never given a second thought. The little upstairs room, which I had turned into a den all those years ago, had slowly become a storage room for boxes and boxes of files that Martha has busied herself with down through the years.

Well, seeing the fleeting picture in my head, I knew, just knew that I was being prompted to do something.

Something like finding the tape measure and finding the work station a new corner elsewhere in the house. It, was, as I vaguely recalled, comfortable to work at.

Not for one moment did it occur to me that the room might be cleared of boxes. A couple of days later, tape measure in hand I entered the room. The work station had been pushed into a corner blocked neatly in by a box, or two.

It was so quiet, restful in that room. I ventured over to the window, opened it, and looked out into the back garden, where the little birds were busily having breakfast.

I just knew. This is my new ‘prayer closet’

The Lord and I are going to be comfortable here.

Of course, there are the boxes to sort, and made ready for their new storage home in church, the Martha side of me has already taken first steps in arranging that!

God, of your goodness, give me yourself; you are enough for me, and anything less that I could ask for would not do you full honour. And if I ask anything that is less, I shall always lack something, but in you alone I have everything.”

The prayer above comes from Chapter 5, Revelations of Divine Love

Thank you Lord, that you see all our needs and recognise them when we do not.

Thank You for your many thoughts towards us, your wise provision.

You carry us, dear Lord throughout all our days; teach us to know when we are being carried that all shall indeed be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

Teach us also, to recognise that following You does not always mean a journey of miles, we do not reach your throne by any other means than Jesus who is the way, and though our bodily strength may fail us…. it is always by your Spirit alone that we are empowered.

My own prayer on finding a special place.

In Praise of God’s Patience

The fragrance of time

It takes time to grow a rose. Time for buds to firm, open. It takes time to take in its fragrance, to enjoy its sweetness. Such a pity to be in such a hurry that we have no time to simply look and notice the subtle shading of its petticoat, to touch and smell.

At the beginning of Lockdown in the U.K. I just simply didn’t realise how tired I was. It wasn’t until two weeks in that I came to a stop with trying to get some important things in order – even that stop came as the result of being blocked as necessary communications with various official offices closed down. Telephone queues became hours long, replies to emails were likewise delayed by several days…. so I came to a stop, found content in my little wilderness garden, and found joy in just being still in one place,

Silence will speak more to you in a day than the world of voices can teach you in a lifetime.

Find silence. Find solitude – and having discovered her riches,

Bind her to your heart

Frances J. Roberts… Come away. My beloved (Barbour Books)

And in the silence.. the sound of the rain, the gentle soft rain of the Holy Spirit that refreshes, restores and brings new growth.

Not, the hard, loud, rain of a deluge that causes panic as the flood waters rise to overwhelm a distressed soul.

Not the cold, persistent rain that chills to the bone.

But the soft, gentle, showers of blessing, that leave rainbow crystal drops on herbs, grass, thirsty flowers: rain to swell the buds, causing them to open.

As I rested, I was aware that the Lord was never going to chide me for sitting, and just sitting, because I was sitting with Him, and this was what He wanted, and what He purposed.

As we sat, so my understanding grew, and grows of many things shown and given, through the long years.

He showed me a box, a golden box, a bejewelled box, which I thought must contain some fortunate ladies precious treasures.

“I gave you the box, many years ago!

I gave you the key,

But you were careless with it;

You put it aside, out of sight:

Too busy, Martha to sit awhile,

This to do …..

That to do ….

You gave me back the key.

And the box?

The box you forgot. Placing it

Conveniently, at the back of memory’s closet.

My sweet girl,

I let you,

Allowed you to do this,

Because, I your loving

Friend and brother, watching jealousy

Wanted the pleasure of sitting with you,

To watch you open your gift and taking

Out every treasure reward me with your

Pleasure.

Me and Jesus sitting together

Yes.

The story is true but praise God for His Grace, the Lord and I sit together, and even when Lockdown is done and tiredness done. We will still be sitting together.

When

The Cloisters, Chester Cathedral

Well, the rain finally arrived, out came a rain coat to venture into my little Wilderness to feed the birds, and just to walk awhile, the birds watching from the shelter of the trees, watching, waiting. When would I disappear into the kitchen and leave them to their dining?

When? Is the big question in the U.K. When will people be able to get back to jobs in offices, restaurants, when will hair dressers be opening up to cut our lockdown hair problems down to size?

My own hair is quite long now but not as long as it was. Yesterday morning, I took hair dressing scissors and matters into my own hands; gathered it up into a ponytail and cut off two inches. This took all of 30 seconds and a lot of courage. Actually, combed out it looks good and it feels good!

“That feels good, Lord,” I murmured ~ and why not our Father knows our thoughts anyway. “I’ve pruned it. It will grow again but without the dead and split ends.”

Our Father, of course made no reply. After all He is the True Gardener and expertly, keeps the branches in the Vine in good trim, removing the old growth so they will produce new, more vigorous growth, more, good fruit.

Stay united with me, as I will with you – for just as the branch can’t put forth fruit by itself apart from the vine – so you can’t bear fruit apart from me.

John 15.4 CJB

Another scripture tells us that Our Father corrects every child of his, and that if He doesn’t then we are none of His. We cannot keep our old, childish habits and grow into mature Christians, growing in Jesus means we must accept correction and that is pruning.

As small children our youngest brother would happily forgo washing, if he could. But keen sighted mom would take firm hold of him and the soap! “No child of mine goes out looking like that”

Oh no. No. Mom not the soap”

We would just smile at each other. He was, a handsome little lad really, when washed and his blonde hair neatly combed.

Everything takes time. It takes time for hair to grow. Time for mucky little lads to grow into smart young men. It takes time for a Vine to produce fruit. Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a season and a right time for every intention under heaven.

For some of the Father’s children, isolation and lockdown are, I am sure proving to be a season of correction and pruning, as in solitude and silence the Father’s heart and our heart have met together. And what a wonderful, beautiful, holy time this can be… as we have clung tightly to the Christ the Vine “stay united with me” He says, “As I will with you

At the time of writing I cannot say when I shall be at liberty to come and go, as I choose again, I can say that I love, more and more, to be with the Gardener and His Son, with freshly opened eyes.

Lord be with us, especially those who are shut in and live alone, you have called us to take off our shoes and be content to stay awhile. Nothing can happen to us, or with us, that you do not know already. You hide us in your secret place whilst the world passes by. Speak to us now, and let us hear, so that in the proper season we may bear much fruit that will be delightful to your taste. This we ask in the Name of Jesus who is one with you in us, shares The Gardener’s pruning with us. Amen

When the world is Coronavirus free, my friend has promised a visit to Chester Cathedral, where I like to walk in the Cloisters, and a cream tea.

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.


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: Watching, Waiting, In Pain and Loss

Another busy week, not busy, as some have been busy with shopping for Christmas presents, foods, etc. etc. (I started that, just yesterday) but a busy week in welcoming local school children into church for their School Carol Concerts and rehearsals. I love to see their shining faces as they act and sing out the Nativity Story for parents, younger brothers and sisters, pushed up the hills in Prams and Buggys by Moms .

Every school has a different way of telling the story, and every child is different. They are walked up to church by Teachers and Teaching Assistants. This year we had plenty of rain, yet the wet and cold could not dampen their spirits or extinguish the bright candle of enthusiasm.

“Thank you Jean,” some said as they filed past at the close.

I like that. I would rather be called Jean than Miss. I am, as all tend to be, still the little child, I always was inside, and our Father in Heaven never gets weary of little children.

The children are of course, counting down the days until end of term, and Christmas Day. Not simply because they want to see what they might find in their Christmas Stockings but also because they have presents to give to… and some find it hard to keep their little surprises secret.

Waiting is a hard thing to do when looking forward at any age.

Harder when we are are distressed, or fearful.


Watching and waiting, looking above, 
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love. 

So the Hymn writer, Fanny Crosby put it in her well known hymnBlessed Assurance” ~ waiting for the Festive Christmas Season can be helped by busy preparations, mince pies, cake baking, putting up the tree and decorations, writing Christmas cards, shopping, etc. etc.

But what about waiting if we are recently bereaved, ill or housebound. Then waiting can be empty of everything except the pain of isolation and loss.

Perfect submission, all is at rest! 
I in my Savior am happy and blessed, 

How can we be perfectly at rest, happy and blessed in such circumstances as bereavement, pain or loneliness?

I am going to suggest to you that it is as such times, that we find, that our Blessed Assurance, Jesus, Himself will come to our aid.


He did come to mine. I was grieved, but kept it close, locked up inside where no one could see. Or so I thought.

But the Lord Jesus Christ could and did see.

I woke in the night and as I lay there, silent in myselfI heard, a door opening somewhere way, way above; then the sound of footsteps, a man’s tread, strong and sure running down what sounded like a stone staircase, past the door of my bedroom, down, down, down until they faded to nothing …. I lay wondering…. then the feet began running back up the steps, stopped (so, it seemed to me) just the other side of my bedroom door.

A firm, big man’s voice spoke out: “Well, Jean. You had me worried. I thought you had fallen all the way to the bottom! Just remember to call out when you need help. Speak to me. Always speak to me!”


All this was many years ago but I have never forgotten, and never spoken about it until now. I share it now because someone, somewhere, at a time of loss, pain, or loneliness may draw comfort, hope, and assurance from my experience and “speak to Jesus, our Friend and Saviour about it. Shout to Him, He will hear… God doesn’t wish a single one of us to stay at the bottom of a well of despair. And the most Godly can and do that- Remember Jeremiah? (Jeremiah 38:6) Well God got him out of a deep well; He can do the same for you and all those loved ones we pray for from time to time.


Look, I go before you. There are no deeps my love cannot reach. Speak to me, there are no tears I cannot wipe away, no pain I cannot feel. I know the way … I am the Way. Give me your hand”

May Jesus, our Saviour, speak His peace to every troubled heart and keep you Watching and Waiting and Speaking to Him.

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.”


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:

“Come!”

Let everyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift’

There are many words, many commentaries, many books, many WordPress posts written on our Lord’s invitation to come receive the water of life as a gift. This is one more. One more written in love, testimony and gratitude for the Love of my Lord, for mercy and grace so freely given to me.

I had not realised how tired and weary I was. So much to do. In a church there always is, and I was grieved and troubled because, the Lord called me to put my tasks on one side and just sit, in stillness and quietness with Him.

Why? Why should He say, “Come, be still.”

Because,” He says, “There are many things I must speak to you about . Many things you must hear”

I saw a hand cupping clear, refreshing water.

“Because you are very thirsty. Don’t refuse me this. Don’t say to Me that there are others who can serve Me better, others who can speak, others I can send. I want you.

I came to you, to your house, I came in, now you must come Come and sit at my feet. I know you are worried, I know you are anxious and I know no one else will pick up the tasks you put down but put them down you must.

I know in serving others you’re serving Me, but serve Me first in this ONE THING. Come, listen and speak to Me. You are my friend.

I know you are thirsty. And, I know this is not for eternal life, you have that how could I withhold that, from my dear friend? No, you are thirsty, always thirsty for this one thing only, and that is,

My company, my love.

Yes, I see you shaking your head; yes I know I am always with you. But my beloved friend; when will you turn your attention and eyes away from waiting on others? Don’t you know, even now, that I always wanted your eyes, ears and hands for myself?”


The costly ointment we can give to anoint the feet of Jesus, is our whole, undivided self.

Scriptures from NRSV – Ps. 27.8, Rev. 22. 17

Photo: my own.

The message from Jesus from Jesus, on a day I did not expect it, like Martha I was too busy ….

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all. Amen.