Tag: scriptures

Advent: What is our’s to do’

Advent even in a traditional church like ours is not the season of empty waiting it was with no decorations to be seen. I saw a determined, resolute tweet from one church. “We will keep Advent and then the 12 Days of Christmas”

However, when hundreds of eager, bright eyed children arrive for their School Carol Concerts they do expect to see a Christmas Tree and even some of our regular Sunday worshippers will say that they don’t understand why clergy call Advent a solemn season when we are looking forward to the Happy Celebration of remembering the birth of Jesus.

Try, ever so patiently, ever so gently to explain that Advent also looks forward to Jesus coming again to judge the world, and you know, that you are fusing all their Christmas Tree lights….. you are the Grinch and most definitely stealing Christmas!

As a child, I was taught in Sunday School, that we should “keep short accounts with the Lord” that is when we know we are doing something wrong, or have done something wrong, we should stop, say sorry and ask the Lord to forgive us and that we could be sure that He will. If little children can understand this, why can’t adults understand Advent?


I have been reading that some farmers, in some parts of the U.K. will be looking to see if Winter Barley is germinating in their fields now, at this time, God has provided for us in such an abundant way that crops of some kind are always being sown, regardless of the season. Farmers have to be patient, persevering and tough to endure all kinds of weather conditions, heat, cold, flood, wind… they have to persist with ‘what is theirs’ to do’

Do we know ‘what is ours’ to do’?

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crops, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The judge is standing at the door!”

So, the Lord is!

Standing at the door, that is, and He is nearer and closer than we think.

Whatever our church tradition, personal thoughts or opinions about times or seasons; we need to watch our own field, watching over it to see what kind of crop we ourselves are producing.


Lord, I pray, that you would teach me, what is mine to do. Give me patience and a gentle spirit, grant that I may always seek first your Kingdom, your righteousness and submit to your will. Sometimes, my heart may feel you are dealing with me harshly ~ then my Father and God help me to recall that before the seed can be sown, first the ground, my heart, must be ploughed. Sun and rain you have promised and harvest in due season, just as you promised that Messiah would come, He has come, and just as He promised, He will come again. We do not know the time or the season but we know He will come again.


Scripture: James 5: 7-9 (N.I.V.)

Prayer and images my own.

Watch-word: ‘ Seek the LORD while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. (Isaiah 55:6)

In Christ Alone

There are times, when I feel totally overwhelmed and perhaps you do too; like those times when I am caught up in a group of God’s children, and hear what they have to say about those of another group; you know what I mean, those who go to this church or that church which is different to our own.

Social Media is full of criticism and comments, warnings that this church or that church Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Quaker, Happy Clappy are all so wrong, in what they believe, in what they do, what they say.

Happy Clappy.?

whoever they may be… I am possibly one of the quietest, most serious persons you could ever meet – but, I have been labelled Happy Clappy. Reason? Singing to myself in the hall kitchen… “Give thanks to the risen Lord”

Well, now that the Lord is risen I do believe and that He gave up His life, dying a horrific death on the cross for my sins – that I don’t doubt, not surprisingly I shall continue to give thanks to the Risen Lord.

And I shall also continue to pray that the day will come when the whole Christian Family gives thanks to the Risen Lord and recognises that the Lord who loves me and us, loved him, her and those others as well.

Christ Jesus died for us!

When we were still far off in our sins, God met us in His Son.

Not just us up here, over here, but them them down there, over there.

While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!

Not the theologian, not the tradition, not the doctrine,

It wasn’t, the Archbishop, the Cardinal, the Pastor,

The Priest or the Evangelist, but

Christ Jesus died for us!

So, I ask, why can’t we be civil, why can’t we speak the truth in love, share the Truth of His Word, “it is written in the prophets (see Isaiah 54.13) they shall all be taught of God, everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to me.) Jesus tells us this in John 6.45.

So, I ask in my simple, naive way, “Why don’t we all go into our secret (closet) room, shut the door and listen to the One who sees and hears and hold our criticism back until we have heard what the Heavenly Teacher has to teach us first…

Perhaps He May whisper, “Speak the truth in love”

While we were yet sinners,

Christ Jesus died for us


In Christ Alone

(Stuart Townsend)

Christ alone my hope is found,

He is my light, my strength, my song

This Cornerstone, this solid Ground

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace

When fears are stilled, when strivings cease

My Comforter, my All in All

Here in the love of Christ I stand.

You know what?

Those other folk, they who are not us, may just be standing in the love of Christ as well as us!


Grant to me, O Lord, to know what I ought to know.

To love what I ought to love,

To praise what delights Thee most,

To value what is precious in Thy sight,

To hate what is offensive to Thee.

Do not suffer me to judge according to the sight of my eyes,

Nor to pass sentence according to the ears of ignorant men;

But to discern with a true judgement between things visual and spiritual,

And above all things to enquire what is the good pleasure of Thy will.

(Thomas A Kempis c1375-1475)


Off to my secret (closet) place now..

Good night, God bless

Rainy Day Chickens

I looked and I saw?

Chickens out in the rain, puddles up to the knees, squawking as only very wet, miserable chickens can.

What?

Had they no sense?

Why didn’t they head for their nice cosy hen house?

Puzzled, I reached for trusty waterproof with a hood, someone needed to get those silly hens in, and if it had to be me, it had to be me.

At iiii shhh ooo. At iiii shhh ooo!

That’s when I realised I had flu, just as the hands of Jesus reached down to pick me up and tuck me under his arm.

“No not you. I want you for something else today”


Does this ring true to you? Are you the one who sees the plight of others first, before you see your own?

Well, I can only say on reflection the Lord sees and notices every single thing you do. He cares about the chickens out in the rain. Of course He does. He shakes his head in sympathy and understands each perplexed, ‘what do I do now, what’s the right way to go cluck.

After all, “the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost”

Most of us, at times feel lost. Even those who have been ‘found’ a long time .. we can feel we need to know the way to go next. Yes, we may well know every cobble in the farm road, every step to the hen house and barn. We may know, as wise-birds, exactly what to do when it rains on everyone’s parade.

But do we know our God cares about us?

Knows we are willing to be pushed to the limit for those rainy day chickens, and to shoo them into the warmth of a dry shelter, to wholesome food and drink.

Yes He does know these things and yet, there is still something, which we can’t put our finger on… the something else, that thing which He wants us to do for Him today.

That puzzling, something else – may be quite different to what we did yesterday – it may be the last thing we would ever choose for ourselves – the last thing we would want to do, or want to be.


We did not choose you Lord Christ;

But you chose us.

We cannot choose what we do,

If there is something else,

You would have us do-

We have to choose aright,

Go, Stay;

Do. Say;

As you would have it.

Lord, show us what you would have us do

To do for you, today and every day:

Give us each day our Daily Bread,

Fresh and new:

Let our food be to do God’s will,

Together with you,

Today,

Everyday,

Always

Amen


Reading: Luke 19:10

Prayer: my own

The picture described given on rainy Saturday 12th October

Hide and Seek

What are you seeking?

What am I seeking?

The one thing I ask of the LORD-

The thing that I seek most-

Is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,

Delighting in the LORD’s perfections

And meditating in his Temple.

For he will conceal me there when troubles come;

He will hide me in his sanctuary.

He will place me out of reach on a high rock.


When we are children we delight in playing hide and seek. I am not quite sure what I found most delightful hiding or seeking. As an adult I know as you know that we cannot hide from our gentle Lord and neither do we desire to. I read Psalm 139 and am thrilled to know that the Lord knows all about me.

I read of Hagar referring to the LORD by another name, “You are the God who sees me.” (Genesis 16: 13) .. what a wonderful thing that God should care for us and seek to rescue us from our troubles. Hagar was running away from her mistress Sarah who had mistreated her, but the LORD who knows the end from the beginning knew the blessings He and He alone, would give. In his tenderness our loving Farther had not forgotten Hagar.

Later on, Mary, mother of our Lord, said

Oh how my soul praises the Lord.

How my Spirit rejoices in God my Saviour!

For He took notice of his lowly servant girl,

And from now on all generations will call me blessed.


Always it seems to me, God is the one seeking, and finding, he is the one who sees and notices where we are, the one who knows the messes and fixes we are in and reaches down to lift us up.

How sad that all are not seeking the LORD our God tonight. It is a dark night outside as I write, but not as dark as the thoughts and hearts of many, who have no wish to be found by him and no wish to find him.

The Lord has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts-

So that their eyes cannot see, and their hearts cannot understand,

And they cannot turn to me and have me heal them”

John recalls those words from Isaiah to us in his Gospel (chapter 12) and Jesus shouts to the crowds in sadness,

When you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.”

Jesus opened many blind eyes, even the eyes of those born blind, but then as now, there are those who prefer the darkness of this sinful world to the Light of the world that shows the Way to eternal life.

How sad that there are those who shine as celebrities in this present dark world, how sad that there are those who have a reputation for having everything and even having all knowledge- who basking in the limelight, in actual fact have nothing at all. Because they have not sought God he has not noticed them.


All scriptures from NLT

Photo my own-the harbour, Brixham, Devon U.K.

The little girl and friends were looking for crabs and found them in plentiful supply.

Waiting

I wait quietly before God,

For my victory comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,

My fortress where I will not be shaken.

On the quayside lobster pots stand, empty, waiting, how many times in life are we called to stand and wait. Psalm 62 is attributed to David, who in his life knew what it was to wait, learning patience, watchfulness as a shepherd, and as a fugitive, as a King in waiting, as a father anxious for a sick child, as a sinner for the mercy of God.


Saint Paul too, waited, once in Athens he waited for Silas and Timothy to join him; and as he waited was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw in the city; but Paul could not just stand, observe and wait. Not Paul.

He was there because some Jews (his own people) learning that Paul was teaching the word of God in Berea, went there and stirred up trouble (Acts 17: 10-13), and the believers acted at once, to send him on to the coast and away from trouble. Speaking in a vision to a believer in Damascus called Ananias, the Lord had said, at the beginning of the adventures of Saul, also called Paul, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there ask for a man from Tarsus called Saul. He is praying to me right now. I have shown him a vision of a man called Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so that he can see again.”

“But Lord,’ exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! And he is authorised by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls on your name.”

But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

We read in the pages of Acts just a few of those things which Saul, also called Paul, did indeed suffer, and willingly, for the sake of Jesus, Once called, Saul was a faithful instrument, true to the purpose of his calling. Alone in Athens, surrounded by pagan idols.. Paul simply could not wait, quietly. He went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and god-fearing Gentiles and he spoke, daily in the public square to all who happened to be there.


What about us?

For my part, I see daily and am troubled by the “new” things which young people are taught and asked to accept, those new teachings and doctrines that we don’t find in the scriptures, the things which were never taught to us as children. Paul would have spoken of them as a new Gospel, which he had never received or taught. I am troubled because in so many ways – the Holy Spirit is not heard – He is speaking, but goes unheard.

I wonder just how long Paul would’ve waited before setting out to “reason” with the promoters of new and strange Gospels?


David who “waited quietly’ before the Lord was also David who fought the “Lord’s battles, Jesus man of prayer and gentleness, said this, “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matt 10:34)

“Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armour of God’s righteousness. For shoes put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery darts of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6: 14-17)


St Patrick’s Breastplate

Christ be with me, Christ within me,

Christ behind me, Christ before me,

Christ beside me, Christ to win me,

Christ to comfort and restore me,

Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,

Christ in hearts of all who love me,

Christ in hearts of all that love me,

Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,

The strong Name of the Trinity;

By invocation of the same,

The Three in One and One in Three.

Of whom all nature hath creation;

Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:

Praise to the Lord of my salvation,

Salvation is of Christ the Lord. Amen.

All scriptures quoted are from NLT

‘The roses Jesus gives’

My life gets busier and harder at a time in life when things should become more leisurely and the mountains less steeply inclined.

Yet, I recall a word from the Lord, saying that my real work for him would begin when I was old. Like Mary I have tended to keep his words and ponder them. The rose is just a rose from my garden. Just a rose. Not the most beautiful, not the most fragrant it is just a rose. A rose that spoke to me, as I tidied and weeded, it spoke peace and joy and invited me to take pleasure in the day, the sunshine and the work. It invited me to:

Taste and see that Yahweh is good. How blessed are those who take refuge in him

It invited me to:

Take what he gives and praise him still, through good and ill,

It is a reminder that our Lord blesses us in the rough and difficult as much as in smooth and easy. We sometimes, just can’t see it.

Think about the pioneers of our faith, 12 Disciples, St Paul, Barnabas, don’t forget the women who laboured and suffered alongside; think how the infant Church was raised, nursed, cherished and loved by those not so young as well as the young. It was on the rough and difficult path that they followed Jesus, carrying their cross, helping others to carry theirs’ ~ we are called to do the same.

Can our lot be any harder?

I don’t think so.

There is a world of difference between singing hymns on a Sunday, or leaping in the air at a “Praise Gathering” and singing praises in the middle of the night with your feet in the stocks and after being beaten for speaking in the name of Jesus rejoicing that you were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus.

So I cut the Rose and put it in water carried it to my prayer table, where it’s redness speaks to me of the Blood that Jesus shed, the life, He gave, and I can understand why hardship, pain and humiliation could not get the better of Peter, James and John, why Thomas the twin called out ‘my Lord and my God’ and took up His Cross to carry the name of Jesus to far away India. I listen to Jesus speaking to Peter,

In all truth I tell you, when you were young you put in your own belt and walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and somebody else will put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go.”

I say Amen.

Yes please, Lord Jesus.

I know that everyday you will feed me with the hidden Manna and that you will never allow me to be thirsty for the living water. The roses that you give in stillness and quietness I would not trade for riches, or a smooth and easy path. Take my songs of praise to replace your crown of thorns.

Scriptures: Psalm 34.8, John 21.18, Acts 16.24, Acts 5.41

Posted in love for our God who loves us from cradle to grey hairs and beyond and forever.

“Come!”

Let everyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift’

There are many words, many commentaries, many books, many WordPress posts written on our Lord’s invitation to come receive the water of life as a gift. This is one more. One more written in love, testimony and gratitude for the Love of my Lord, for mercy and grace so freely given to me.

I had not realised how tired and weary I was. So much to do. In a church there always is, and I was grieved and troubled because, the Lord called me to put my tasks on one side and just sit, in stillness and quietness with Him.

Why? Why should He say, “Come, be still.”

Because,” He says, “There are many things I must speak to you about . Many things you must hear”

I saw a hand cupping clear, refreshing water.

“Because you are very thirsty. Don’t refuse me this. Don’t say to Me that there are others who can serve Me better, others who can speak, others I can send. I want you.

I came to you, to your house, I came in, now you must come Come and sit at my feet. I know you are worried, I know you are anxious and I know no one else will pick up the tasks you put down but put them down you must.

I know in serving others you’re serving Me, but serve Me first in this ONE THING. Come, listen and speak to Me. You are my friend.

I know you are thirsty. And, I know this is not for eternal life, you have that how could I withhold that, from my dear friend? No, you are thirsty, always thirsty for this one thing only, and that is,

My company, my love.

Yes, I see you shaking your head; yes I know I am always with you. But my beloved friend; when will you turn your attention and eyes away from waiting on others? Don’t you know, even now, that I always wanted your eyes, ears and hands for myself?”


The costly ointment we can give to anoint the feet of Jesus, is our whole, undivided self.

Scriptures from NRSV – Ps. 27.8, Rev. 22. 17

Photo: my own.

The message from Jesus from Jesus, on a day I did not expect it, like Martha I was too busy ….

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all. Amen.

By Day, By Night, In Sunshine, In Shadow.

Church stands on the brow of a very high hill, one of the outside walls carry’s the ‘benchmark’ etched in by the stone mason builders, it shows the height above sea-level, the surveyors witness that this is the highest point for miles, and miles, and miles. Because it is so high sunlight streams through the windows to paint the walls in all the colours of the day, different hours of the day,and seasonal changes mean a change of dress, and fresh new colours.

So it is with life, as our years and seasons change, so do the dress and colours of our soul. The most vivid and glowing hues belong to our autumnal years, and so also, for most of us, the best of our spiritual fruits…. love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness, and self control are all best when ripened and mature….

This photo was taken at almost midday at the end of June, no one else in church, just me and God and His friendly angels, who were busy with worshipful brushes dipped into the palette of sunlight.

A few more weeks, and then comes Autumn and Harvest.

Do you not have a saying: ‘Four months and then the harvest? 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.”

The Lord Jesus said this, after his conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well resulting in her going to bring along others from the town to hear Him speak and to believe and trust in His words. To believe, trust and keep His words is to have the Light of the World, just as a lamp is most welcome when the shadows of a winters evening cover the high windows, like shutters, we need a lamp to find our steps in the dark.

I have come into church in darkness, on several occasions, I remember most vividly, years past, entering through the south door at 11:30pm on Easter Saturdays, the church in darkness, holding her breath, waiting. I recall the warm fragrance of the flowers and beeswax candles, the gentle tinkle of water, from the fountain in the Easter Garden, I do not remember being afraid, then as on other occasions I have been most aware of being wrapped around, embraced, with the arm of the Good Shepherd supporting me.

With the psalmist, I will say,

Let the darkness cover me; and the night wrap itself around me, even darkness to you is not dark, and night is as clear as the day.’

The words on the bookmark:The dawn is not distant, nor is the night starless; love is eternal. (H W Longfellow)

Scriptures from NJB. Galatians 5. 22-23, John 4. 35-36, Psalm 139. 11-12

A prayer at the end of the day: Bless us and keep us through the hours of darkness, bless all those we love, and all whom we find it hard to love. Be near to all who are in trouble or sorrow tonight, and with all who must pass through the river to be with you, grant them safe passage and glad homecoming in the dawn of Heaven’s new day.

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…)

A Friend is one who knows you as you are

You are my friends, if you do what I command you. I shall no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know the master’s business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father. You did not choose me, no I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name. My command to you is to love one another” (John 15.14-17)

The bookmark reads;

“A friend is one who knows you as you are, understands where you’ve been. Accepts who you’ve become, and still gently invites you to grow.”

The friend who gave it to me, many years ago, has long been called home to be with her friend Jesus… but I keep the little card… not to remind me of Frances… friends are never forgotten… but to remind me of some of the qualities of the friend I should be.

Just such a friend is the Lord Jesús, he knows exactly who we are, the hidden person of our heart is not hidden from our God, he knows exactly where we have been, understands the ways we trod before we knew the Way, accepts fully the person we have become, he knows the son or daughter tugging on his sleeve and heart strings and yes, he still invites us to grow.

He was just such a friend to Peter, James and John, to Andrew, lovely Andrew with the happy knack of bringing him others to befriend.

Oh such a friend, who said, pitying the sorrows of his friends, “I shall not leave you orphans; I shall come to you.”

Soon, very soon, their friend and Saviour would suffer a degrading, humiliating, horrific death, soon he would be wrapped in grave cloths, and sealed in the dark prison of the tomb.

And then they saw him again, but could not keep him; they watched as he was taken up into heaven, hidden from their sight… and then, then came

Pentecost!

May the blessings of the Spirit of Joy, be with us all, and lead us in the dance of the Fisher men and friends. Never to be parted!