Tag: listening

Oh, that I had wings

Oh that I had wings…

“Oh, that I had wings like a dove!

I would fly away and be at rest;

yes, I would wander far away;

I would lodge in the wilderness,

I would hurry to find a shelter

from the raging wind and tempest.”

Psalm 65: 6-8 E.S.V.

From time to time, most of us, have sighed and wished that we too could spread wings and fly away, to find that place of peace; far away from the noise of our enemy; from grudging anger, that we don’t deserve, from, those our friends, who are at loggerheads with one another… and strive with all their might to draw us into their noisy, vindictive quarrels. We just want to …. fly away…

I woke up at 5:15am this morning with just such a thought, and turning over, it seemed to me, I turned into the arms of the Lord.

There is no better, safer place to fly, when troubled, than to the Lord. Like Noah who put out his hand to take in the returning dove with olive twig in its beak – the Lord is always eager to draw us quickly into the Ark of his presence – to his heart.

Now, King David was a man of war, but not I think from choice, we read of the time when he had his enemy in his grasp but did not kill him (1Samuel 26) after all the writer of Ecclesiastes tells us, there is a time for war, and a time for peace – a time for every matter (E.S.V.) under heaven – and so, I believe it is with most of God’s people. Blessed are the Peacemakers, but their task is not easy, except we have a Lord and God who understands and in whose welcoming arms we find not only consolation but when our mind and heart are stilled, wisdom, guidance: so, having rested awhile, we take flight once again, on eagle’s wings.

“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no-one will see the Lord.”

Hebrews 12: 14
It is so easy, Lord,
To lose heart,
And wish to be
The other side of the sea,
Putting oceans, wildernesses, mountains
In between us and them -
Strengthen us Lord,
Weary, troubled,
We look for you
And will find you
When we seek,you with all our heart.

We desire to come
Like Noah’s Dove, bearing our
Twigs plucked from
The Olive tree

Then Good Lord,
With kindly hand bring us
Into your heart
To rest awhile;
Then send us out again
Bearers of Good News,
The Peace of Christ to the world.

Amen

Once the storm is over

Once the storm is over

What will the world be like, once the present Pandemic is over?

Some are dreading the future. For the very many it will be a case of rebuilding the lives they once had, reclaiming lost livelihoods and overcoming problems of physical and mental health. Doubtless the few may come out if it all in much better shape than many; there is that saying, “it’s an ill wind that blows nobody good” – there have always been those few that come out of a crisis better than when they went in..

“Once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain; when you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm is all about. – Haruki Murakami

I don’t believe that I will be the same person who said goodbye to so many aspects of my own personal life last March, I think they are lost in the storm, but not my faith. Indeed my faith and inner convictions have grown stronger – there has always been something about a storm at sea which has grown strength and trust in the sailors.

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destiny – C.S. Lewis

There is that about starting over and rebuilding which has always been good for the soul.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a futureJeremiah 29: 11 N.I.V.

No. Starting over and rebuilding never easy, but essentially those Israelites who went into the storm and exile in Babylon were not the same persons who came out but their knowledge of the LORD and trust had changed them for the better, the lessons learnt in adversity may bring us tears but “joy surely comes in the morning”

Let’s keep following and walking with the Lord, looking up and not down, keeping eyes fixed on the Throne of God, not allowing them to stray.. that way we can walk on water even in these days and times.

Put your hand in the hand of the man who walked on the water

Lord in whose hands are all our days and our times,

Bring us to know

That your grace is enough for us.

Always Jean

Fellowship and Wisdom’s Fruit

Father, may they be one in us. John 17.21 JB

Jesus prayed for all of us

“May they all be one,

Father, may they be one in us,

As you are in me and I am in you,

So that the world may believe it was you who sent me.

John 17.21 JB

I have a long history of worshiping the Lord in Church and of being part of God’s family. It has not always been in the same family home with the same branch of the family; but it has always been in God and He in me. He has carried me along, sheltered and warmed me as we journeyed and I have known only warmth and welcome amongst brothers and sisters … whatever the name on the church sign board.

These recent days, I have been remembering different ones from those fellowships and spending a little time reflecting on their generous sharing of fellowship, time and wisdom.

Col. Cook and his wife had been Missionaries in the days when China did not warmly welcome Missionaries; and I knew somewhere, I still had a precious bookmark carefully tucked away, but where? So began a careful search of bibles, and books, I have many. It took 3 days of searching; in between other tasks but finally I found it.

Wisdom’s Fruit

My fruit is better than fine gold:

What I yield surpasses choice silver

Proverbs 8:19 N.I.V.

I cannot find a version of the Bible which uses the word gifts rather than fruit (other than the NLT. which was not in print in 1970s) – perhaps one of my readers can throw some light on that. Certainly this dear man and his wife blessed me with the fruit of wisdom harvested in their long years of serving the Lord in a difficult place. They never preached down at me, simply gave the gift of friendship and understanding.

Now I have reached their age, and I hope and intend to offer friendship, warmth an open heart and listening ear to any young person seeking to learn and know Jesus better.

Lord, you are the one who nurtures and cares for us

Lord, you are the one who carried us, and carries us

All the days of our life;

Giving us Wisdom’s fruit, ripened through the years,

Now grant us Grace,

That each heart may be

A welcoming place –

For you,

And that we may be truly one.

Always, Jean

I bless the Lord for the Gift of Years.

A Portrait of the Master

Image from Stained Glass Window

All my life, so it seems to me, and I have been talking to the Lord more years than I can recall, I have wished to own a picture of Jesus, the Real Jesus. A picture I could keep safely treasured away, and take out from time to time just to – well – I leave you to finish this sentence. Because chances are if you are taking time to read this article your desire has been my desire.

The Lord reminded me this morning that I have in fact been gazing on His face a very long time with these words,

“Who sees the face but sees in part,

Who reads the Spirit which it hides, sees all,

And needs no more.

Thy life in my life, Lord,

Give thou to me;

And then in truth,

I may forever see

My Master’s face.”

William Hurd Hillyer.

Everyone who loves and prays has an imprint of Christ on their heart it cannot be otherwise for God will never fail to notice and to pour out His Spirit on those who truly seek His Face. True, it is a matter of sitting still and allowing God the artist to work ~ but God has the time and is patient and will persevere with us to make His work within us perfect, complete… while I was musing, the Spirit bought me back in time, “Don’t you remember?”

I was a young woman with a lot to learn, and with little time to sit still and come to the Lord … so the Lord came to me. I looked, as the scripture stories say, and Jesus sat on the chair by my bedside. In my vision Jesus wore a long brown coat, not white and that puzzled me and has been pondered over much down the years. He said nothing, Not a word. His face spoke all… gentle, full of concern, concern and care. Now I know, that concern was for what the future held for me. He sat very upright, dignified… a little sadness I saw, sadness as a Teacher might be sad for all the hardness of the world His students would have to face… do you remember these words from John’s Gospel, chapter 15.18-19

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you

If you were of the world, the world would love its own, yet. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you”

N.K.J.V.

I have pondered, over and over again why the Lord said not a word. But could I have borne words from my Lord then? Would I have known what to do about an instruction? Could I have carried an instruction out? But nevertheless without audible words He was speaking… “who reads the Spirit which it hides, sees all”

To be spiritually minded is life and peace …(Rom, 8:6)

Lord as I sit, still, attentive quiet,

So I look on you and you in me;

Help me, then to be content to gaze on you,

Even as you gaze on me.

Jean

p.s. No, the Jesus I saw in my vision did not have blonde hair. He was in fact, very dark.

The Counsel of a Friend

The Counsel of a Friend

In recent weeks I have lost a friend, a true Christian friend, generous in every respect, but most of all wise in counsel. The little notebook was a last gift; she passed into the Lord’s nearer presence on the 14th December. I feel absolutely certain that Mary is one of those who will hear these words from the Lord Jesus. “Well done, good and faithful servant”

Besides the notebook I received from Mary over the years many small texts and messages. “Felt sure this was for you” she would say; often I would look at the Bible verse (Mary loved her Bible) and puzzle over it, not so sure that it was … but I kept them all … and often find that tucked away safely in within the pages of a Bible or some other book, coming upon them months and years afterwards that they were just the words of support, encouragement and counsel I needed right then.

Do friends make our life better just by being in it?

Yes they do!

Especially that Most Excellent Friend of all, our Saviour and God. You know Jesus said “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” How special is that! I cannot think of any greater joy. For me there is no greater joy than to receive the wise counsel of such a Friend, a Friend who told us He did not speak on His own, but the words, the commandments He gave the works which He did, were from His Father and our Father… here are more words of wise counsel….

Ho! Everyone who thirsts,

Come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you- the sure mercies of David.

Isaiah 55. 1-4

Our God does not choose us for our wealth. Position , or rank are not important to the One who chose David for his heart and raised him up from keeping sheep to protect and keep Israel pouring into David’s heart the songs and humble petitions to Himself that we use in worship today. David inclined his ear and listened. My friend inclined her ear and listened. I will incline my ear and listen.

Will you? Do you?

Lord,

Teach me to be still, to incline my ear and listen.

You do not require anything else, no treasure, great or small

Can buy from you that gift of Wise Counsel,

Your Blessed Word who when the right time was come,

Came into the world, a humble sower of seed, not requiring any

Other thing than to do Your Will.

May the blesser and the multiplier of the loaves and fishes,

Bless and multiply His Words of Wise Counsel in us, and amongst us,

And ourselves abide in His Grace, Your Love, O God, and Fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Jean Harcourt — for Mary G. a friend and sower if the Word.

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.

Risen, I am with you always…

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

“Risen, I am with you always”

When I want to do only great things, Lord,

Make me willing to do

Small unnoticed things too

When I want to do what the world will acclaim,

Make me willing to do

What will lift up your name

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

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

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

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

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

“Don’t Fast From Me“

Lent Day 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

What we should not give up is Prayer

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

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

Why the title of this post?

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

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

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

May all the blessings of a Holy Lent be ours.

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

Image: Bread baked baked by Brother Amos SSF

“Listen to Him…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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