Tag: scriptures

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

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

I See the Moon

Psalm 89:37 – ‘Established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky

Therefore will I trust you always,

Though I may seem to be lost

And in the shadow of death,

I will not fear, for you are ever with me,

And will never leave me

to face my perils alone

Thomas Merton

September will soon slip quietly through the door to let October in. This has been a strange year; an upside down year with no season or month appearing ‘normal’ For many it has been a year of great loneliness, despair and at times a fearful one. A year of sorrows and loss and as I write, with the days shortening and nights lengthening, so many of us will be looking at the approach of Autumn and Winter with trembling and fearfulness.

The opening words of Psalm 89 tell us that the Psalmist (Ethan the Ezrahite] intends to sing out about the Lord’s great love forever. He sings of the Lord’s great faithfulness …. he sings of God’s eternal covenant with David (the Messiah] whom God will appoint to be His firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth. (Verse 27). God declares (verse 37) that His covenant with David will be “established for ever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky”

I look up at the Moon in Autumn skies and have a little whispered conversation with her Creator, often very conscious of the Good Shepherds presence, I am comforted. I pray that any who might read these words will be too, and very aware of the nearness of the One who has promised, never to leave or forsake us.

I see the moon, the moon sees me.

O thou lantern great of grace,

O white moon of time and space,

Who gave light and shape to thee,

Life and death He did decree,

Who created thee is He

Who likewise created me.

God bless the moon, and God bless me.

Anonymous.. Scots Gaelic. Trans by G R D Maclean Celtic Spiritual Verse: Poems of the Western Highlanders from the Gaelic (SPCK London 2002)

May the Lord who made heaven and earth, placing the Sun to rule over the day, and the Moon over the night, that they might be for signs, seasons, days and years watch over you, whoever and wherever you may be and bless you with His great peace.

Always, Jean

Prayer: The Good Way

“Look to the crossroads”

“Stand in the ways and see,

And ask for the old paths,

Where the good way is,

And walk in it:

Then you will find rest for your souls.”

Jeremiah 6:16 (NKJV)

Whether our years are few or many. All of us at some time in life come to a crossroads and often we find the ways are not as clearly marked as we would wish for and there are no guarantees that we shall find what we desire by following this path or that.

Perhaps we may look and choose the “Road Less Travelled By” (Robert Frost) setting off hopefully and Cross Roads left behind, then suddenly we aren’t so sure… How do we know just which is the good way?

Many set off with a strong sense of vocation, and certainty of the road to take. Many more do not.

How do we find certainty

Mark’s Gospel, full of immediately’s, or straightaways, has this little account:-

“Now in the morning, having risen a long time before daylight, he (Jesus) went out and departed to a solitary place and there He prayed.

And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him.

When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.”

But He said to them. “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth’

Mark 1. 35-38 (NKJV)

When the Holy Spirit points out to us the good way, of Prayer way we should “immediately” take it. It is a quiet way and a lonely way but it is the way our Master took, His feet never left it not even surrounded by great crowds …. and from that good way…. He gained direction for the coming days.

Lord be with us today in the good way

That we may leave behind yesterday’s town and regret

And see tomorrow’s town, purpose and hope

Amen.

Always Jean

Fragments

He put it in my hand. A piece of broken pot, carefully shaped into a square. And on the tile it now was, the words, “I am broken” written

There are many who who are broken, some in the sense of financially broken, many have lost their livelihoods, some are heart- broken, grieving for loved ones, and some have come to know they are broken because of sin.

I didn’t know why this little token, was placed so gently on my palm. But I felt I must accept it, take it, turn it over, ponder it, keep it. This little fragment was important to the Lord, it was shown, given for a purpose.

When, the Word of God came, He came, He said to open the eyes of the blind, He came to heal and repair a broken world. To search for the lost, the fragmented, when the Day of Pentecost was fully come, Christ kept His promise and into that upper room the Holy Spirit blew…not a whispering breeze but a great, violent, noisy wind that swept the disciples out into the street and became a broom in their hands… a broom to sweep up and together the pots broken by its ferocity.

I write and speak so often of the gentleness of God, the whisper of the Spirit, the still, small voice. Yet, I know that still, gentle voice is the Voice that breaks twists great oak and strips the forests bare, yes the same Voice, the Lord Thunders over the mighty waters, shaking the desert… the Voice of the Lord breaks…..

The preaching of Peter and the Apostles on that Day of Pentecost was so powerful, breaking strong wills and stubborn hearts, casting down proud hearts and in their shattering the Church was born.

Before the world can be repaired, it needs to know it is broken.

Before the patient visits the physician He needs to realise He is sick.

The least welcome of all preaching is that which shows the world that it is sick, that it is broken and needs mending. Bringing conviction of that is the work of Holy Spirit preaching. It is also the Work of Christ and the Father… God does not thunder out of heaven with intention to destroy beyond all mending… He does it that we may know our brokenness and be put together again…. not as we were but better.

Pondering the fragment that had been given, observing that already it knew the hand of the Craftsman I knew that this would be fitted carefully into place:

Making of Icon
Saint Mary’s Church, Berlin

We are broken to be transformed together into the likeness of Jesus broken for us on the Cross of Calvary, in order that we might be perfectly whole, forgiven, repaired, better a New Creation.

Complete according to
An Icon from Saint Katherine’s Monastery, Sinai.

I don’t, usually write like this, but feel compelled to do so, as Pentecost approaches because on that day, when God bought the Church to birth, Peter preached, and pressed his case with many arguments and pleaded that those hearing would ‘save themselves from this perverse generation’ until about 3000 people were baptised and added to their number. Is our generation any better?

I think not. We just don’t fully realise that the world needs repairing, and making good. It is only when we know that we are broken that the Maker can begin to make the repair!

Lord, press into each palm the token

Of our brokenness, and of our

Need; to be restored, mended, fixed:

Made over; born over;

Into the likeness of Jesus, our Redeemer,

Messiah, your very likeness,

Then, we too, with all the angels of God

Shall cry “Glory”

Amen

Prayer: My own, Jean at Fresh Whispers

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.

Two Good Friends and The Presence

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing

He makes me lie down in green pastures

He leads me besides quiet waters, He refreshes my soul

He guides me along the right paths for His Names sake,

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, i will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.

Social distancing sheep…keeping an eye on each other

Social distancing… I saw a comment on Twitter that said simply that Religious Communities have practiced this for centuries.

True they have.

We hear, the Lord Jesus, speaking to the disciples said “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6. 31). And so they did, only to find a large crowd waiting for them on the other side of the lake, then we read our Lord had compassion on them, seeing that they were like sheep without a shepherd, so He began teaching them many things.

I do not know how you are coping with the virus, but it certainly is making a difference for some. A little while ago, I got a text message reminding me that I should remain at home now for 12 weeks, I have already done that for a week, not that I have any underlying health problems but because I am over 70, a little less mobile and needed to be at home to deal with the phone calls, texts, emails and queries that arise when a place of worship is going into hibernation.

So, quiet but still busy. It was so good to go out into the back garden for awhile, late yesterday afternoon, I planted out a pretty little Azalea hoping that a late frost won’t kill it…looked ok today, like quiet, rest is good, stillness is good.

I find, quietness and stillness are like two good friends, companionable and there is a third friend Presence. Not just any presence but the Presence of the Lamb of God, Himself.

Quietness and Stillness are the Pause which allows the Presence to speak and to teach if we ‘crowd’ ourselves with two many distractions and tasks we give no opportunity for the Teacher to speak and He is longing to teach us what we should be doing, to show us the right way for today.

As I am about my daily tasks, words from the mouth of Jesus are with me, often reminding me to be ‘anxious for nothing’ to ‘not to worry about tomorrow’ and when prayer doesn’t come with eloquent words, that my Father already knows the thoughts of my heart.

This is true. God is true to Himself and to us. He, can bring good out of all this. He will bring good out of it….

A prayer for these days

Lord we pray for all who work tirelessly to defeat this pandemic. Protect them, they have loved ones, protect them

For all who are ill, restore them to health. For all who are lonely, anxious, despairing, comfort them. For all who are bereaved, in their grief sustain them.

Lead us all, Good Shepherd as You led your people through the wilderness to the still and refreshing waters. To this end, and the purpose for which You have called us, grant us grace to be uncomplaining, without grumbling let us be burden sharers for those whose burdens are heavy.

Always, only in the Name of Jesus. Amen

Scripture from Psalm 23 N.I.V. Image; Twitter

“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….

Every Creature is a Word of God: Duck/Wrong Footed.

Everyone knows that ducks have webbed feet, don’t they?

Sitting quietly in my prayer time, I saw a duck, just his head and unmistakable beak peeking out at me from behind a hedge.

And then, I saw his feet, entirely the wrong kind of feet for a duck..

“Lord” I blurt out, “Why have you given that duck those feet”

Just the kind of question, I thought, just as quickly as the question was out and ringing in my ears, that you should not ask the Lord, our Maker. After all we ought not to ask the Lord our Maker why He makes one Pot differ from another.

Also, I could hear the words of Solomon, the Teacher;

Watch your step when you go to the house of God” and “Don’t speak impulsively – don’t be in a hurry to give voice to your words before God.”

Oh, so gently but firmly, the Lord replied;

“It is not about My giving Ducks, or my children the wrong feet. But about my Children wrong footing it. And choosing the wrong shoes.”

What are the right shoes for God’s children?

Are we all properly dressed?

In Ephesians Paul writes;

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace.

“I could wish,” said the Lord Jesus, “That all my children took time to make themselves ready, and prepared themselves with the study of the Word of truth before engaging in argument and endless, pointless conflict amongst themselves. How are any to prove effective in publishing the Gospel of Peace to the World if they cannot have peace amongst themselves?”

I am still considering all this, and praying about it, and for my church, your church and every church that names itself for the Lord Jesus Christ. The Teacher tells us “Go near to listen, rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools.”

You are very welcome to think with me and offer your comments.

Picture: I am unsure of its origin…

Scriptures: Ecclesiastes: 5 and Ephesians 6. 14-15

Thoughtfully yours,

God Speaks and Lifts up My Head

“But You, O Lord, are a shield about me,

My glory, and the One who lifts up my head.

I was crying to the LORD with my voice,

And He answered me from His holy mountain.

I lay down and slept;

I awoke for the LORD sustains.

I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people

Who have set themselves against me round about.


A New Year but last year still remains with us in many ways, like the litter of autumn leaves that linger in the garden, if autumn leaves were troubles and problems, it seems we never clear them away neatly for a pristine start for a New Year. Because of the mild weather not all of them have even fluttered down to earth yet. Life like a garden is always going to be, just a little untidy.

Life for an adopted child of God, is also always going to be a little untidy, a little messy: yet always hope-full, like tender plants we are always under the Heavenly Gardeners watchful eye.

Our Father in heaven knows the things that trouble us, and all that we fear.

We can like David say with confidence “You, O Lord are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head.”

We can lie down and sleep and awake for He does indeed sustain us.

Ten thousand troubles, ten thousand problems, ten thousand enemies?

Look to God.

I have always had a tender, longing for the first glimpse of the Snowdrops, beneath all the debris of last year, in spite of heavy clods of earth pressing them down and under and even the tread of heavy feet, faith tells me, that they will break through and throwing off in triumph all winter’s vain efforts to keep them down, they will lift up their heads: God will sustain them as He will sustain all His own who are crying out to Him with a troubled heart.

Always when I have been crying out to the Lord, yes I cry, often. Not just with my voice, but with real tears that leave handkerchiefs wet and eyes redder than the holly berry, God has heard, and blessed me with the gift of sleep and then,

God speaks and His Word lifts up my head


Lord, teach us

Not to be afraid,

Not to despair.

But, teach us to call on You, to cast all our care on the One who cares for us.

Teach us to trust You and so we shall lie down and sleep, for Your knees are the pillows You made for your beloved and what shall disturb us while You are keeping watch. You have taught us not to worry about what tomorrow may bring, and that you know already what we need.

Those who wear the Armour You provide will surely overcome in Your Strength, Your Power in the Name of the Lord, who heaven and earth has made.


Scripture: Psalm 3. 3-8

Prayer: my own

I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, so shall I be saved from my enemies. (KJB 2 Samuel 22.4)