Tag: love

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❤️

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

A Simple Disciple’s Prayer

From a conversation between my Soul and the Lord

My soul:

Lord. Your love is all to me, as You are all to me,

As the day draws to a close, Lord,

Let Your love be the shawl that is wrapped around me.

The Lord Jesus:

“The arm to embrace, as well as guard, protect my beloved is Mine,

If she is Mine?”

My soul:

Lord, I am yours, as a single star is lost in the heart of the starry Universe,

So am I lost in the immensity of Your love and found at Your feet.”


Prayer: From a conversation between myself and every Christian’s Beloved Lord at the closing of New Year’s Day 2020. Shared in Fellowship with all who love the Lord Jesus Christ.

Picture: I don’t know who to attribute it to? If you should know please let me know that I may give them thanks for a lovely picture story which speaks to me not only of the gentle love between mother and child; but also of the love of God for His church. “Christ does indeed love us as our mother” (Julian of Norwich)

She Supposing Him to Be the Gardener

“Yahweh planted a garden in Eden, which is in the east, and there he put the man he had fashioned. From the soil, Yahweh God caused to grow every kind of tree, enticing to look at and good to eat, with the tree of life in the middle of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

(more…)

Every creature is a word of God: Giraffe

“Every creature is a word of God.” (Meister Eckhart)

Once upon a time, all good stories begin with these words. Even true stories like this one.

Once upon a time the Lord God, for what reason, only the Lord God knows, opened a window in heaven to show a very young woman; His creatures, lion, tiger, leopard, rabbit, hedgehog, dove and pelican (by request this last one) and a Giraffe.

For what reason?

Well 50 years on, she often revisits the scene in her mind, and ponders and ponders.

She knows the reason for the pelican. That was given, simply because overcome with delight with all the others, she asked, as only the very young can, “Have you got a pelican, Lord?”

A few years later visiting the Zoo with niece and nephew, standing just watching some of these creatures made of bone and flesh, she realised that with patience, she could predict just what each creature was likely to do next, and eventually she came to realise that human beings were no different, with patient, quiet loving attention the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve are readable like a picture book, and all the more lovable for just that reason.

What great delight, the Lord God must have had in planning and crafting all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, He made and loves them all. And then on the 6th day, as late as that in His working week, it pleased God to make Adam and Eve to give His creatures names and to care for them ~ “Every creature is a word of God” … there is much wisdom in that, if only we are able to see with the eyes of a child, the eyes of a son of Adam or a daughter of Eve.


He showed me a Giraffe. Now I am small in stature, like Zacchaeus, I would have needed to climb a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus and short in knowledge of Giraffes, but this one, the Lord made, or so it seemed to me, to kneel down and reach down, his lovely, strong neck so that I could notice his eyelashes, his markings, his quiet composure, his grace.

And so, as I have thought about the scriptures the word of God, the Giraffe became for me a word of God and a mirror of the Eternal Word of God. In Jesus the Father, Creator God came down to us, and visited us with such Grace that the humble and lowly of heart might reach up and dare, like simple, loving children to embrace the strength of a Giraffe’s neck in perfect love and trust without fear.

In love there is no room for fear, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear implies punishment and no one who is afraid has come to perfection in love.”

Do not think in your heart, ‘who will go up to heaven? – that is to bring Christ down; or who will go down to the depths? – that is to bring Christ back from the dead. What does it say then? The word is very near to you; it is in your mouth; and in your heart, that is the word of faith.”

Always remember that God hates the proud but reveals His heart to the heart of a child, blessed are the pure in heart they shall see God, and to them ‘every creature is a word of God.

Scriptures from the NJB: 1 John 4.18 – Romans 9. 6-8 with reference to Matthew 5.8

Visions of creatures from the Grace of God, may He be blessed who blesses His little children.

Your thoughts and comments always welcome.

Absorbeat

May the power of your love, Lord Christ,

Fiery and sweet as honey,

So absorb our hearts

As to withdraw them from all that is under heaven.

Grant that we may be ready

To die for love of your love,

As you died for love of our love. Amen

Lent is late arriving this year, so by the time Easter arrives there will be no daffodils to adorn the church window sills, and the crocus which reminds me of the purple Lenten Frontals will soon have tucked itself out of sight until next spring.

Our old churchyard is decked out with crocus, daffodils, snowdrops right now, but the Bluebells are heads up, and the dark green shoots of wild garlic can be scented right now, although their buds cannot be seen just yet. I guess that by Easter the Eastern side of the churchyard will be a blue and white carpet, Bluebells and Garlic intermingling beneath the trees.


There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under the heaven’

Sitting at a craft table, painting small stones with the mums of the youngsters who were happily riding toy cars up and down the length of our Church Hall, I was asked,

“What are you giving up for Lent?”

Without waiting for a reply, my questioner, told me she was giving up chocolate. Hardly original, but then, most people who have no Church background have a vague sort of idea that giving up chocolate for Lent is what is done in Lent, and indeed, what Lent is all about. I tried to explain a little of what Lent was, and she was astonished to learn that pancakes on Pancake day were a tradition from early times to use up eggs and fat, etc. Soon three or four were chattering away, genuinely surprised that there was so much more than chocolate involved, and so much more to this mysterious Lent, than they had heard about.

“You know, I love just sitting still and being creative like this. I loved being away from home with my husband last weekend. We don’t get to see each other, and talk together that much, it’s all work, we work different times; and it’s all mobile phones and stuff that takes up all your time before you know it, you only intend to spend ten minutes on Facebook and next thing you know, a couple of hours have gone…” the first Mum said, then another joined in with a similar observation, life is too full, to busy, to chaotic and frantic. Where could God possibly get a word in edgeways, where was there time?

I wonder what Saint Francis, would make of chocolate, mobile phones, and Facebook and how would he explain Lent and Easter in days such as these?

How do we persuade people to pick up a Bible, let alone a prayer book? How do we even begin prayer conversations, when there is just no time?

“I need your tongue” Jesus once said to me.

My tongue, your tongue may be just what the Lord needs to get a word in edgeways,

And one thing more. The Lord Jesus needs our love, that His love working through us, speaking louder than words, may invite young and old, men and women, poor and rich, simple and wise to sit down in His shade, to come to His table and taste the Bread of Life. Come, taste and see how good the Lord is.

It is not so much what we give up for Lent but what we take up. All are invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb: He needs many to deliver the invitations.

Lent is not a time for keeping silence.

Lent is a time for speaking.

Lent is a time for both sowing and reaping, Jesus says,

Well, I tell you, look around you, look at the fields; already they are white,ready for harvest! Already the reaper is being paid his wages, already he is bringing in the grain for eternal life, so that sower and reaper can rejoice together.”

Whatever you give up or take up this Lent, I pray that you also will know the power of His love, fiery and sweeter than honey. Amen.

Absorbeat is a prayer attributed to St Francis of Assisi .(c. 1181=1226)

Scriptures; Ecclesiastes chapter 3, John 4. 35,36

I used New Jerusalem Bible

“Take my Rose, and not a thorn!”

Take my Rose and not a thorn!”

I was twenty when The Lord Jesus whispered those words to me; his Rose, I recall the picture as vividly as the words, was a deep, deep red. Although I could see no thorn, my cynical mind supposed there just had to be one. We are like that, aren’t we, the best, most beautiful things are just too good to be true.

There was and never has been, down through the years since, a thorn – not a single one. The Love of God has no thorns; we cannot say the same of our own love, either for God of each other. Human love needs the the work of the Heavenly Gardener.

I write this because as I read so many beautiful words from beautiful souls on the internet,I see that many often impale themselves on thorns that just aren’t there. What I mean is that looking inwardly they see and know many faults and because they cannot overcome them by self will or strength. They agonise, suffering pricks and scratches. One way out is to credit and blame others with our faults; if only so and so hadn’t, if only this or that hadn’t happened, then I wouldn’t be the person I see in the mirror.
The other is to believe that God can’t love us or forgive us, and so we hate ourself and absent ourselves from fellowship.

Please give it up!
Give all the agony, excuses and blame, give that person reflected in the mirror to The Lord Jesus. He will accept you, and receive your love as a precious rose. Yes, The Lord sees your faults, they are the thorns that scratch; he has given us the mirror of self reflection so that we might see them, but, if he had not given us the Light of life to see them by, we would not see them at all! No one sees anything in pitch darkness.

“If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his son purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1.7)

We are God’s children if we walk in the light, take his rose, his love, and not a thorn, Christ wore the thorny crown so we should not. Confess, say sorry, do these things, but don’t hide your cheek from his kiss of forgiveness and peace.

I use a pink rose here, because I could not find a red one. No matter, the best of all human love is pale in comparison with the Divine Love of God.

Please share your roses if you wish.

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Open The Box

I am so tired, late nights working to meet deadlines,meetings that got in the way, and then last Friday, Church and the Hall across the road hosted ‘Rowley’s Got Talent’ from 7am to 7pm. Yes a Marathon with contributions from just about every local school, break dancing in between the choir stalls, now that really was a first! Violins, guitars, brass instruments, singers in the church with large orchestra in the hall and a ballroom dancing exhibition; must n’t forget a flower arranging demonstration and bead craft … me, well, I was talked into reading Poetry, I selected poems from an Anthology compiled to raise funds for Mackmillan Nurses, we are in March and the yellow daffodil emblems are on sale everywhere.

Very few of us were there all day, the talented ones and sponsor/supporters came and went all day… but it was a good, fun day with nerves, smiles and laughter, very few mishaps, and a lot of loving friendship shared. I think Joyce who organised the day and bought all the schools, together deserves a gold medal! It was a feat worthy of an Olympian!

The Bell Ringers closed the day for us climbing the tower to ring out the day with merry peals of bell laughter…

The painting chosen for last Sunday’s Morning Service was ‘Nicodemus Visiting Jesus by Night’ which is oil on canvas painted by Henry Ossawa Tanner (1899). This is housed in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. U.S.A. I feel Reverend Shelton is rather enjoying talking about painting, giving us some intriguing lines of thought to follow. In this particular painting, which is a night scene, where is the yellow light coming from? From Jesus himself, perhaps?

In the Gospel Account (John 3) we read that Nicodemus visited Jesus by night looking for answers to searching questions. I have no doubt that the ‘light of the world’ was able to provide satisfactory answers for Nicodemus .. At the end of the same Gospel we read of Nicodemus visiting Jesus again, this time in broad daylight, with no fear for reputation, together with Joseph of Arimathea Nicodemus wrapped the body of Jesus with mixture of precious myrrh and aloes in strips of linen before he was lain in his tomb.

One thing about that, it is easy for Christians with 2000 years hindsight to give Nicodemus a reputation for being one who fearfully, secretly followed Jesus, but the Nicodemus who came to the cross came openly and expressed his love and generosity was not the same Nicodemus, following our Lord changes us, it is not God’s intention that we should be the same person at the end of our chapter as we were in the first sentence. This is why he allows us to go through so many trials in life, St Paul (Romans 5: 4) suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character and character
Hope.

I have been literally been stunned into silence this week, not that I visited Jesus by Night, but the other way round. He reminded me that at the start of my chapter in his book, he gave me, as Pentecostal brothers and sisters would say, a picture of his gift to me, appearing as a big, big, box, wonderfully, wonderfully wrapped and tied with exquisite ribbons. Now, down through nearly 50 years my thoughts have often returned to that box. Often I have asked,
“What is in the box? How do I open it? Open it for me, Lord”

Finally, what a dim wit I am, I know now what is in that box.

It is LOVE.

The love which I have known and delighted in all those years past, the tears he has shared with me, his laughter I have felt mingling with mine, a lifetime of being held, carried by God, all the wonder of the life that is still to come… LOVE.

If you are reading this with doubt, with questions you would ask Jesus. Don’t be afraid, to come to him anyway, anyhow you can .. You won’t always understand his answers but he will give you a big, big box, open it, it’s LOVE.

OPEN THE BOX!

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Keeping Faith

What is keeping faith?

Keeping faith I believe is just that. Remaining loyal to a marriage partner, your childhood sweetheart, your best friend your country, your church. The photo, I feel says it all and so does the 13th chapter 1 Corinthians.

It seems so difficult for marriage partners to stay together, nowadays. Should we be surprised that the same is true for Christians, remaining faithful to Christ has never been so difficult. Why?

Because Love is not what the nowadays folk want, or because love that keeps faith is costly?

I’m not thinking that couples should stay together when one partner is abused, the one who abuses is not loving in the first place, and yes the description of Love in this famous passage is the
description of a perfect man or woman, which under the sun, there has never been….except….one.

That one is The Lord Jesus Christ. The one who, despite our unfaithfulness remains faithful.

The price of perfect love for us is to let go and lose the self we know, to let it die and find it again, after searching for it, like a short sighted person does for their own face in a mirror, in the face of Jesus. I wonder, which of us will ever truly die to gain that perfect love. Christ died to put the wedding ring on His brides finger, He won’t ever remove it, despite suffering abuse from a henpecking, faithless bride every day (twice on Sundays) that ring is His love, his amazing grace!

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