Tag: holiness

To wait is to be alert

Waiting For the Bridegroom

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five of them were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones however took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

Matthew 25: 1-5 N.I.V.

As a small girl Tuesdays and Thursday evening at 5 o’clock precisely I would be told ok to walk up the short lane to the bus stop at the top of the hill and arrive there at the same time as the big red bus. My favourite uncle would step down and we would walk back down the lane hand in hand together.

Sadly, life as a grown up and as a Christian has not always gone according to the same plan and pattern. There have been times of waiting and disappointment. Waiting, keeping awake and being prepared these are all things which the Lord Jesus speaks about. They are things which we barely hear; as human beings we tend to be drowsy and fall asleep a lot.

I cannot, remember now, the word which was preached that night but turning the bookmark over I can still read Col Cook’s precious note to me, concerned with the small verb ‘to wait’ and the first point he makes is ‘be alert’

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquetl

“Because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

Luke 12. 35: 40

There is no clock to tell me when my Master, the Bridegroom will arrive no one to slip my arms into my coat. I must be on the watch for myself and make sure that what I need against His coming is at hand.

Lord who calls me,

Whose love draws me on,

Let me attend to Your Word and wisdom,

Keeping awake, alert and ready for I would

Not miss Thee for all the world and all the worlds,

My beloved, come.

Always, Jean❤️

Prayer: Don’t Give Up

So what has God qualified you or myself for?

There are I suppose many answers to that one question. Perhaps the initial thoughts of many reading it are going to be about their gifts and the talents they believe God has given them, and the role or service they have within the life of the church to which they belong.

Eternal Life however, how are we qualified for that?

I can hear one answer to that one being offered up even as I ask it, by many brothers and sisters around the world, offered as a joyful shout….

“Through the Blood of the Lamb”

Only through the Blood of Jesus. Amen

However, If we think of earthly callings, in order to get on we need to have at least some kind of educational qualifications to even get a foot on the ladder to success. Some kind of Degree is always to be preferred… I am going to suggest that our heavenly calling also calls for enrolment in a school, or college. A school or college which is open to all students who apply, Christ having paid the fees up front.

The School of Prayer

With such a gentle, patient Teacher as Christ, every enrolled student should do well here and at the end of the life-long lesson produce ample proof that they have paid excellent attention by the fruit of the Spirit grown in them as they go on…..

There is only one thing which could possibly work against any student/disciple in this school, and that is we disqualify ourselves by GIVING UP!


Each day should be seen like a fresh start.

This life is a short preparation for the Reality (life in heaven) ahead.

Do not lose heart! Glory is waiting to be revealed in us.

Look for the signs:

Discretion, justice, courage, and understanding, love, faith in Christ, concern for the poor, hospitality and freedom from anger.

St Antony of Egypt (c AD 300) advice given to others determined to live as close to Jesus as they possibly could

Jesus tells his disciples in Matthew 21.22 “if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” … after coming across a fig-tree with no fruit to offer him for breakfast …. if we are discouraged and feel we have nothing to offer Jesus except our daily failings.. Antony says, “Don’t give up. Treat each day as a fresh beginning, don’t lose heart… the Glorious fruit of the Spirit is just waiting to show itself … you must persevere in prayer… never doubting that the One who forgives us all for Christ’s sake will with Him freely give us that Spiritual fruit, that abundant life that is Eternal Life.

I remain confident of this:

I will see the goodness of the LORD

In the land of the living.

Wait for the LORD;

Be strong and take heart

And wait for the LORD

Psalm 27. 13-14 NIV
Trust, believe have faith. You will receive the answer to your prayer

Lord, the giver of all good gifts, and the True Gardener,

You know that in the world, we have troubles, difficulties and

We confess we often cannot do what is right

And often we are tempted to give in

To walk away from the fight

To let the enemy of our soul win,

To stay down when we fall

Keep us strong Lord, keep us praying

Teach us to know that Jesus is with us in all our trials and that He

Will bring us out stronger, grown taller and closer to Heaven,

The fruits that are hard won through prayer are those,

the Gardener is patiently waiting for,

For it is you, Lord God who works in us to will and to act

To fulfil your good purpose.

Always Jean

Lamps for the Light of the World

Whitby Abbey
Yorkshire U.K.

When I first looked at this photograph, I wondered whether the sun was rising or setting? It looks like a great golden lantern, a light for our path,

Visit https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/whitby-abbey/history-and-stories/st-hild/ to find out more …

These ruins are an 11th century building on the foundations of St Hilds original double monastery, which was most likely several much smaller buildings of timber, wattle and straw. St Hild, known nowadays as St Hilda was a great niece of King Edwin of Northumbria and a key player in the history of the Church in England. She hosted the Great Synod of Whitby in 664 AD which meant the adoption of the Tradition of the Church of Rome and a movement away from Celtic Christianity as bought to our shores from Ireland. Hild herself, leaned more to the teaching of St Aidan than St Augustine.. but that is how the Synod went.

Today, when we think of monasteries, Monks and Nuns we possibly have very fixed views about them. But truth is, the lamp for our feet-the message of the Gospel was held carefully and bravely in their hands for many, many centuries they were the Evangelists and Missionaries of those centuries, they guarded the light, kept it burning through dark times, and were themselves on fire for the salvation of men, women and children

So what do I see when I look at the lamp in the photo.

I see in my Spirit, the faithfulness of Christ the Light of the world, the Everlasting Light, Hilds Abbey has long since gone, and the 11th Century Ruins are just that. But the same Sun still rises, still sets, and will go on doing that, long after you and I have folded up our mortal tent. Yet one day, science tells us that the Sun will be gone as well.

But not Christ our Sun and Lamp, He was the same yesterday, inspiring Aidan, Hild, Augustine, Martin Luther, Charles and John Wesley, Billy Graham and before all these, Peter, James, John… He went before Israel in the Wilderness, met with Abraham and Sarah. He is the same today, pouring out His Light and Spirit on me, on you and

He is the same tomorrow, when

“The city has no need for the Sun or the Moon to shine on it, because God’s Sh’khinah gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Revelation 21;23

Father who wakens us, calling us

And bringing us safely through darkest night

To fairest, brightest day,

Grant that we may be pure and holy, clean

And clear as crystal-glass letting your glory shine through,

We do not ask that we might be known, simply

That we may be the vessels your light shines through

As lamps to lighten the world.

Amen

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.

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.”


Salt is still required

When I was young, potato crisps only came in the one flavour, and each bag contained a separate blue paper packet, ~ the salt. It was up to you how much salt you added to the crisps in the bag. You decided how salty you wanted your crisps. Nowadays there is no choice .. the crisps (chips) are salted before they are bagged.

Also nowadays, salt is not such a desirable food additive, and the labels on packets and tins on the supermarket shelves are scanned for percentage of the recommended daily intake. Too much salt, we are told is not good for our health.

Times change. A favourite uncle used to grow wonderful vegetables, producing Runner Beans in abundance, despite generous gifts to family, friends and neighbours there were always plenty to pick and preserve in salt, for wintry days. I guess that is not done much in these days of quick freezing.

You are,” the Lord Jesus said, “salt for the earth. But if salt loses its taste, what can make it salty again? It is good, for nothing, and can only be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

I think of salt as Holiness. Holiness without which ‘no one may see the Lord’ ~ holiness is the savour, the taste which the Lord looks for in our worship and our lives. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus adds,

Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another”

Like salt on the table, holiness is often missing in life today, relationships are conducted just as they come, and often we hear “it doesn’t hurt anyone else” We also spend far too much time in petty squabbles with each other within our church fellowships in comparison to little time spent in praying and studying together.

~ I would say, that is often quite untrue our bad behaviour doesn’t hurt anyone else, quite plainly it often does hurt someone else, often, it is the very young, innocent and vulnerable, it betrays sin in the hidden man or woman of our heart, it is simply overlooked, people are in the dark, so to speak,

“You are light for the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in people’s sight, so that, seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in heaven.”

Scandalous behaviour amongst priests and church leaders seems to be coming more and more prevalent amongst church people – this should not be. Immediately following these words in Matthew chapter 5, our Lord taught us not to imagine He has come to abolish either the Law or the Prophets but to complete them (written on our hearts and minds by the spirit, they show us our faults and failings in order that our hearts may take on a new perfection in love and holiness)

I have thought of the Law, the Ten Commandments and the Prophets as being the fence, or wall around the vineyard and sheepfold.. these instructions were given by God in order to protect the innocent (think of all those who harmed by abuse, whether physically, or mentally, think of all victims of theft, violence, crime, all who are corrupted by the behaviour and injustice of others – we are told that we should not judge (pass sentence, and condemn unjustly) but the Lord who is our Judge, always gives justice and administers judgement to protect the innocent). When Jesus speaks of the Sheepfold in chapter 10, John’s Gospel, He tells us that He completes the wall or fence by laying Himself down at the open entrance as the Door. As Christians, members of His Body … we need to be very careful that we do not lose the Holiness, God has called us to … “not one dot, not one little stroke, is to disappear from the Law until all its purpose is achieved” The Righteous Judge stands watch at the door.

I cannot think, that the whole world is yet subject to the Lord Jesus, we who love the Lord need to continue to be both Salt and Light. Good works and Holy people. Both are still very needful.

Scriptures from Matthew Chapter 5 (N.J.B.)

Give Me a Sight….

20140216-152801.jpg

Suddenly, tucked away in a place you wouldn’t expect, spring crocuses shine out.

It’s that way often with God’s truth. In places we least expect with people we wouldn’t think, in ways we didn’t dream of.

Listening carefully in a group discussion, Roger, whose cancer is in remission asked with some seriousness.

“Why did Jesus say then, when he was on the cross, “Why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34)

Gently, his friend replied, “Oh Roger, for 33 years, our Father heard Jesus’ every prayer, but this time he had to look away. He gave our Saviour that bitter cup to drink because our sins were nailed to the cross with him. God couldn’t help him then, he had to look away until the work was done, our sins destroyed.”

Roger seemed content, but the one who had answered went away marvelling that she herself had never ‘seen’ it quite so clearly before,
Later, acting on a sudden impulse, she bought white cyclamen in a pot to put in the prayer place. Gazing at them, she heard, unmistakably, clearly a quiet voice.

“What price? Holiness.”

She didn’t need to think much about her reply, “My cyclamen cost a few pence, my sanctification cost you, everything Lord”

She was literally stunned to silence and rapt attention, because she had never seen it so clearly before. (more…)