Tag: Holy Spirit

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.)

Peace

I did not know what to talk about in the Ladies Group. “Speak to them about Micah” “Oh Lord,” I said, “They won’t understand words from Micah” But I took my bible in hand, turned over the pages, and my mind went back to the … Continue reading Peace

Prudence

“P” for prudence

I held the peas given, for sometime and named them, the first, I called Prudence. Prudence is not a word that is used often nowadays and in some scripture versions it is translated as Wisdom.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, to act prudently is to act with or showing care and thought for the future and its origin is the Latin “prudens” meaning foreseeing, aware (of) intelligent, skilled. The New Testament Greek translates as “sophia” the highest intellectual gift of comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God.

All wisdom comes from the LORD

She is with Him for ever.

The sands of the sea, the drops of rain,

The days of eternity-who can count them?

The height of the sky, the breadth if the earth,

The depth of the abyss– who can explore them?

Wisdom was created before everything,

Prudent understanding subsists from remotest ages,

For whom has the root of wisdom ever been uncovered?

Her resourceful ways, who knows them?

One only is wise, terrible indeed,

Seated on His throne, the LORD.”

To me, the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians is to us a gift of highest intellectual insight into the ways and purposes of God, the version, (N.J.B) translates prudence as wisdom, where the NKJV translates it as prudence.

Paul writes,

Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ. Thus He chose us in Christ before the world was made to be holy and faultless before Him in love, marking us out for Himself beforehand, to be adopted sons, (and daughters) through Jesus Christ. Such was His purpose and good pleasure, to the praise and glory of His grace, His free gift to us in the Beloved, in whom, through His blood, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins. Such is the richness of the grace which He has showered on us in all wisdom and insight. He has let us know the mystery of His purpose, according to His good pleasure which He determined beforehand in Christ, for Him to act upon when the times had run their course:”

The rest of the chapter, and letter unfold for us more of our Father’ s wonderful plan for our eternal destiny, together with gentle admonishments for the forming of the people God created us to be: I sat still, savouring these scriptures, really at a loss for words to express the inexpressible, my little green pea, I had named “prudence” but I was now looking at a pearl called “wisdom”

For me the passage from Ephesians speak of our gracious God acting with and showing care and thought for our future before creating anything at all, they show us His foresight and skilful working out of a plan to raise us to sit in high places in Christ Jesus and, one thing more, His abundant anointing of the Holy Spirit and gifts of spiritual insight for a man called Paul, who said of himself, that he was the worst of all men, and the chief of sinners!

Scripture References: Ecclesiasticus 1:1-8, Ephesians 1; 3-10 Both N.J.B.

Holy word, holy wisdom

He said, ‘Go’

Fresh peas …

I was invited to a friend’s home, to share good company and conversation with other friends of the Lord, from other churches, other traditions, other ways… we all had one thing in common, we all had many years of seeking to serve and please God. All of us, had started our journey with the Lord from different ‘feeder paths – yet here we were all in the Way and on the Way.

I woke next morning comfortable and quiet, the Holy Spirit nudged into my happy space with,

“Are you rich, my friend”

I smiled he was bringing to mind my friend’s home, compared to mine a palace. But there again, she had a husband and together they had a business of their own and I have been a single woman, I gave my Yes to His call as a young girl, still not old enough to vote – still ‘waiting for the key to the door’ as the older generations called it. Well the Lord gave me a most precious key to another door … won’t dwell on that now.

In the early light I was making out familiar shapes of my own humbler possessions;

“Yes, Lord, I am rich. Everything I need God has provided and will provide.” I answered happily.

Now the conversation at my friend’s home had been about the scarcity of young people in our churches, and where are tomorrow’s church leaders and elders, so the next words didn’t surprise me.

“Go,” the Lord says, and “Tell whoever has the heart to go, especially those who are young, to go, tell them don’t wait.

“Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with coppers for your purses, with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or a staff, for the labourer deserves His keep.”

I smiled. Nothing in this world, compares to the riches of the Kingdom of God.

“Yes Lord, but we do need to take something with us, we need to be dressed for the Gospel. We need compassion, kindness a heart like yours, we need to take your teaching and word with us.”

*Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned, forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing will be poured into your lap; because the standard you use will be the standard used for you

“All who know this, are ready. Go,” says the Lord, “tell the older ones, tell the younger ones… wait for nothing and no one Go!”


He showed me a full pod of peas, freshly picked, young, green, tender, and sweet.

“Hold them in your hand just a little while and consider them just a little while, and ask Me about those things you don’t understand.

I smile, so many, many years ago He called me His little pe… .


Please feel free to share your thoughts on the peas.

I used the New Jerusalem Bible for the scripture quotes:

Matthew 10:9

Luke 6: 36-38

New Beginnings and the 8th Day

This morning , my church received from the Pastor of a nearby Pentecostal Church, a brown envelope on opening it, I found the gift of one £5 note a packet of wildflower seeds and a printed card which tells me that the gift is a symbolic and prophetical sowing into the Ministry of our church.

The card also has the message that “Our God is the God of abundance, and that He can take the seed we give to Him in faith and He can bring about a great Harvest.”

If I could choose a time to visit the Holy Land it would be for the Feast of Tabernacles, just ended, however the Lord visits us where we are, and this year, it has pleased Him to bring to my remembrance that 7 x 7 Feasts of Tabernacles = 49 years have passed since I received the Holy Spirit, and they have been good years abounding in good, delightful things… they have been years of sunshine and of rain, sadness and joy, blessed years.

The 8th Day following on from the 7th Day of the Feast of Tabernacles celebrating the Final ingathering/harvest of the year, can be regarded as “New Beginnings” it is a time when the gift of rain is asked for the sowing of fresh seeds, so in faith I pray that God will bless the sowing of His Word with Holy Spirit Rain in this 50th year.

On the last day, the great day of the festival, Jesus stood and cried out:

“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me!

“Let anyone who believes in me come and drink!

As scripture says, “From his heart shall flow streams of living water”‘

He was speaking of the Spirit which those who believed in Him were to receive; for there was no Spirit as yet because Jesus had not yet been glorified.

John 7: 37-39 (N.J.B)

So here I stand at the beginning of a kind of Jubilee Year in my walk with the Lord and I yearn for it to be a fruitful year for Him. I have known Him and His love for me all my days but the preciousness of the Holy Spirit who can describe?

Who can count the seed in a pomegranate?

Jewish tradition says there are 613 representing the 613 commandments of the Torah. In my church a pomegranate appears in a stained glass window as a symbol of Christian faith and fruitfulness. Some think that a pomegranate may have been the mysterious apple eaten in the garden of Eden. Maybe if you have time you can look up all the biblical references, you will certainly be blessed if you do. I chose the pomegranate to illustrate this post because it reminds me of the sweetness of the Holy Word of God, the True Vine, who admonished us:

Remain in me, as I in you

As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself”

And He gently says, “Whoever remains in Me with Me in him, bears fruit in plenty: for cut off from me you can do nothing.”

May His blessing abide with us still.

Seeds, not all grow – but all have potential

I really do not know how to pick up my story from here, it has been such a long time since I posted anything at all…

That doesn’t mean that nothing at all has been happening in my life, it means seasons have come, seasons have gone, things have changed, my church has changed and is still changing. People have come and gone in my life, sadly some have gone to be with the Lord, and for many of them that probably came as a happy release from sadness and pain; to be with the Lord can be far better, as the apostle Paul once reflected.

I have added a new page but kept the old About which was posted 6 years ago… if you should want to read the new page it mentions my Summer of change … a long, hot summer in which the Lord has revealed more and more of His Gracious Face, He has been my Teacher and it has been my delight to learn from Him.

Seeds, not all grow – but all have potential‘ I scribbled that, an opening note in a new notebook in April this year, life had been very full, very hectic, with little time to sit and reflect; even morning quiet times had been swallowed up as I battled to get important tasks finished in time for A.G.M.s but now that was done and I was able to return to my quiet times, and reflect on many, many things that the Lord had been showing, and not so much whispering as shouting.

It is possible that like myself, you too, if you are reading this, may also be in the position I was in, busy, busy but not in earning a living, I am an older retired, woman, but, like me you may be the one who picks up the church jobs that others put down, you do that because there is no one else, there is still a shortage of labourers in God’s vineyard… and those jobs are the necessary ones that keep the vineyards open, the invisible chores that Sunday visitors are quite unaware of, until something goes wrong.

Well, I began a new notebook to try to jot down those word and picture seeds – so freely and generously given- ‘ when there was time I could think about them, perhaps even do something about them. however my thinking on priorities and time were not in accordance with my Lord’s and over my summer of change .. He has reordered both my priorities and thinking for me

And me? I love my Teacher for that! I praise and thank Him for every stern and kind rebuke.

Seeds, not all grow – but all have potential‘ It is a fact that if you don’t sow seeds they will not grow, a packet of seeds, sacks full of seed will not grow if they are left on the shelf, in the cupboard, in the barn. Neither will the beautiful seeds which the Lord gives through the Holy Spirit. In all the practical things which I was doing, in all those long days, and nights sometimes (it would be nothing for me to working away until the early hours on accounts, reports) When was I going to get those seeds sown and their potential released?

And all the while, through those long, busy hours I was crying out to God for the opportunity to start sowing instead of storing. And He heard and that is the story of this Summer. Something had to change; better someone had to change and that someone was me.

The summer was long, hot, dry. But my eyes wet often, with tears of Holy Spirit rain

I was in danger of becoming a hoarder of spiritual gifts. Jesus the Teacher decided it was time to take me in hand.

“For the heavens are as high above the earth as my ways are above your ways, my thoughts above your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from the sky and do not return before having watered the earth, fertilising it and making it germinate to provide seed for the sower and food to eat, so it is with the word that goes forth from my mouth: it will not return to me unfulfilled or before having carried out my good pleasure and having achieved what it was sent to do.

(Isaiah 55:9-11 . N.J.B)

Oh Yes, I Really Said That

Often men credit women with having far too much to say. Sometimes that can be true!

Yes, I a woman, really said that, but,

Sometimes men can also have far too much to say.

Borrowing an expression from Saint Paul, ‘ I know a woman in Christ who heard The Lord speaking to her from the mountain top, “Woman you will be a sweet savour, when you have learnt to hold your tongue.”

Yes you really just read that as well!

What that woman keeps hidden in her heart is the gentleness, the sweetness of the rebuke, for more than 40 years she has remembered, held on to that sweet, still tone.

On another occasion the same woman was given a vision of The Lord Jesus who sat silently and spoke not a single word, but listened.

Oh yes she questioned why a vision, but not a word?

If you are a man, you may well be smiling to yourself at all this, and perhaps saying to yourself, “Probably he couldn’t get a word in edge-wise”

It is an age-old controversy between men and women isn’t it? Women should speak less and listen more, and after all, didn’t Saint Paul say, that he, Paul, didn’t suffer a woman to speak?

Read how Jesus took three men to a high mountain top, ( Mark 9: 2-8) and how there Peter, James and John saw Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus whose appearance became dazzling bright, read of Peter being so afraid, he didn’t know what to say, and then both read and listen to the words from the Divine Voice which came from the cloud,

“This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

Yes. Men should also listen before they speak and isn’t there a gentle rebuke there … On that mountain, these 3 men heard from heaven of how our Saviour would die, but wasn’t it Mary, a woman who believing his testimony anointed the body of Christ with expensive perfume beforehand at the house in Bethany? (John 12v3), after he had washed their feet.

Continue reading “Oh Yes, I Really Said That”

Cherry Blossom, Camelias at Pentecost

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Cherry blossom, and Camelias in the garden and warm sunshine blessed Pentecost Sunday; today Church had two visitors both from Pentecostal church backgrounds.

Mary, came this morning, slipping in quietly and writing prayer requests in the book in the porch before taking a seat. Her own church is an enormous, modern building with state of the art auditorium and stage, the congregations is numbered in hundred and all the services lively and loud; yet from time to time, Mary pops in to sip peace and quiet and to leave requests in the Intercessions Book.  Many pages back you can find Mary’s own name written there, for Mary had Cancer of the Spine – and God was good.

Craig came this evening on his bike, checking out the church where he is to be married in a few months time.  If he found our Book of Common Prayer Service sedate or boring, Craig never said; he did spend quite a time chatting away to the Organist about the mysterious workings of our old organ; and perhaps he was quite surprised to learn that sometimes the Organ was joined by trumpet, violin, guitars, oboe, drums.

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150)

There are so many ways to praise God and to serve Him, so many different kinds of congregation, but there is still ‘One Lord, one Spirit working in all’…..

Quiet Prayers are heard and people are healed, worship is offered and the Lord makes Himself known even in elderly church buildings with a nave and altar.  Our visitors today remind us ‘that we were all baptised by one Spirit, so as to form one body—we were all given the one Spirit to drink, (1Cor. 12:13 NIV).

The same Spirit who delights to heal, who inspires singers, and musicicans and who took pleasure in the creation of Cherry Blossom and Camelia; blessings to all at Pentecost

A packet of seeds

It began with a packet of seeds: actually a  picture of a man’s hand holding a packet of seeds.  Not a picture in a magazine, in a book, or on a wall. But, the kind of picture that the Holy Spirit gives from time to time.

A picture that came early morning, before breakfast and that quite frankly puzzled me.

Why a packet of seeds?

What kind of seeds?

I could see no label, no image to indicate what kind of flower or vegetable. I watched as the seeds were poured into the other hand for sowing,

If like me, you read the scriptures you will know many verses that speak of seeds and sowing.  There is the Parable of the Sower for one, the enemy who sowed weeds over night in the farmer’s field, the Mustard seed…but none seemed to fit.  I know that a picture is not the Word of the Lord and neither are our musings, however informed or fitting. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts so I just waited, patiently, prayerfully.

“Do not sow two kinds of seed in your vineyard.” I was not expecting that answer when it came a couple of days later with a new picture. This time there were two packets of seed with the words. “Choose. Your words or mine? Did n’t the Lord set two choices before Israel at Mount Ebal and did He not say, ‘Choose life.'” (Deuteronomy 30v19)

On Mount Ebal Israel was shown clearly two ways, a way of blessing and a way of cursing. Israel was asked to choose which way it would follow.  Followers of Jesus also have a choice to make. The two packets of seeds are shown most distinctly in Galatians Chapter 5.  The seeds I choose are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self control.” The label on the packet reads, “The seeds of the spirit.”

In a parish church many funeral services take place in the course of the year; and many are for people whose last declaration is “I did it my way.”  I play the Frank Sinatra version from the sound desk as the coffin leaves church.  I have heard so many family stories and tributes through the years, and as I write these words feel with sadness that many of those people ‘facing the final curtain’ have without their knowledge been robbed. Robbed of a life that could have been better, sweeter. Dare I say it? Robbed of a life of blessing. I bless God for His many blessings and count them again.

It begins with a packet of seeds.