Tag: trusting

Golden Glory/Autumn Rain

Autumn in the City (Birmingham U.K)

I love Autumn it’s colours, it’s smells, the air. The carpets of leaves under my feet which sometimes crunch as Corn Flakes do, I love Autumn’s Promise, “Look, I am just touching everything with sleep for a little while…. “Get ready for Spring and waking up”

I have always trusted God to keep His promises, especially the one that as long as Earth remains Springtime and Harvest won’t fail to show up on time. But that doesn’t mean to say, that I should be careless and disrespectful to Mother Earth, she is the home that God gave me … full of wonders that I will never see, full of creatures, great and small, bright, beautiful and trees that can count hundreds, some thousands even, of candles on their birthday cakes. No. I cannot be disrespectful to Mother Earth.

I have watched a cheeky little family of dunnocks splashing water over one another in the giant flower pot saucer I fill with clean water every day. I think to myself, “now they’re good baptists” I watch tiny squirrel kittens learning from their parents the art of nut storing and the frantic antics to find them again! I wonder at the smallness and fragility of the little nest I found amongst the Ash Branches, I wonder and I marvel…

This year, I have picked an old habit up again … every Autumn I would plant some new bulbs…. an act of faith, trust in the Lord that come Spring the little bulbs will poke their little heads from under their winter duvet, daffodils will begin work on their Easter Bonnets…

I cannot disrespect Mother Earth nor any of the things, times and seasons which God has ordained even rainy days bring with them news from heaven.


Today has been a day of rain. Not just a little rain. It’s ok for me I can just look out of the window and watch the rain and the people go by, although it is true not many walk nowadays, but some still do especially schooldays; when moms push buggies and prams with older children at their side or dawdling behind, then the pavement is empty again until the great turn around time, and back home walk.

Autumn rain

Look around
Look around, look around
Is there something I'm missing here?
Is there something I should know?

And just listen to the sound
All around there's people living their lives
People passing by
As I catch their eye

It doesn't matter where you're from
'Cause wherever you are from
You got a long walk home
You got a long walk on

And I've walked for many years
And I've never shed a tear
For a place called home
'Cause in this place I roam...

Everyone's the same
When you're walking in the autumn rain
Walking in the autumn rain

When you're walking from your past
You can never walk too fast
Think you got away at last
Think you got away at last

And we all have to live with our mistakes
But what would it take
To make things right
To feel good inside?

It doesn't matter what you've done
'Cause whatever you've done
Life has to go on
Life has to go on, yeah

And my conscience is always clear every time I am here
Because there is no blame
When you're walking
In the autumn rain
In the autumn rain

I don’t know if you know that song?

Do you remember walking to and from school.

I do. All of my life my feet and legs have been my way of getting there from child to adult and my experience of rain is sometimes it’s been a delight and others ~ cold, wet and miserable. Another thought is how we feel when walking in rain is not really governed by the feel of the cold rain on our skin; but how we are feeling on the inside. I can remember walking with others and sometimes yet feeling alone: sometimes walking alone but yet feeling carried along in a crowd.

One day, sooner than they think, the little children, their moms and dads might be asking themselves what it would take to make things right and to feel good inside, as I draw the curtains on rainy, dark evenings I say a prayer that sometime in the walk of life someone will take the time to share with them the trust and faith which we were taught as little children, tell them Jesus is just a prayer away and that our Father is holding out His hand with a longing to make things right and let them feel good on the inside. We don’t remain as children forever; there is nothing so sad, so forlorn as a grown up with a hurting, empty heart which doesn’t know the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit of God.

Lord, let the Autumn Rain bring your blessing

Let the Autumn Rain fall warm and with tenderness

Fill the heart of young ones, that they may never,

Walk alone in the Autumn Rain,

Nor miss the loveliness of Golden Glory

Amen

Always, Jean

Autumn Rain, lyrics by MATTHEW HARDWIDGE, PHELIM BYRNE [Universal Music Publishing Group

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

Every Creature is a Word of God: Elephant

Many of my posts have been centred on my younger self, well this one is from very recent days, as recently as 2018 a little baby of an elephant presented herself/himself? The lord knows. During my morning prayer time. I was charmed, fascinated. Momma elephant stood nearby, watching as baby raised a courteous trunk in greeting.

We All Have to Learn
To Trust the Water

They stood by a roadway constructed from logs, all neatly and perfectly laid

I still find the image of baby, mother and Mahout stirring in my mind from time to time. Yes, I did say Mahout, elephants do not naturally lay logs to construct roads, but they are capable, very capable of learning much and teaching much, passing on knowledge and experience gained down through their generations.

We say, don’t we, that an elephant never forgets? Memory and learning go hand in hand. With people not all learning comes from books, classrooms, teachers, the internet, much of it like that of elephants is from experience. From the moment we are born we are learning from mothers, fathers, siblings, all of our senses, touch, taste, smell, hearing, sight inform us .. we are fearfully and wonderfully made. All God’s creatures are wonderfully and delightfully made – yet all must learn, and to a certain extent learning to all creatures is instinctive, so much is gifted to us before we are even born. Yet… there is always so much more to learn.

I captioned the picture we all have to learn, simply because we do Baby elephants need Momma on hand the first time they take a bath; and a fledgling’s parents are not far away when baby wings are tried out; water for a baby elephant, air currents for a bird. What about a child of God?

Just the same? We need the Holy Spirit. All the way along, on looking back we will find that even before we tried the water of baptism if we were baptised as older persons, the spirit was carefully helping with the construction of the road, present, although we may not have been fully aware of it, in our choices and decisions .. especially that big decision of trusting our very self to our Saviour and Lord to a new element .. the water of Life in Jesus.

Momma Church can teach us a lot, but not all because when it comes to choosing which logs to lay, which direction to go in, Momma church like Momma elephant needs Mahout, and Mahout is the Man Christ Jesus.

It is through Jesus, that the Spirit, and instruction is given.

I invite you to think about this “showing” with me, share your thoughts please if you will. I know that I still have much pondering on it to do for myself. But one final thing. If you will accept them, the words of Jesus to the little elephant

“Don’t be afraid. I must touch your head as well as heart.”

Lord, there are times

When our biggest need is for your

Touch on our heart, to warm our coldness,

Inspire our thinking.

And

There are times when you understand,

But we do not yet comprehend it, that

Our greatest need is the enlarging of our understanding

Your touch on our head, your gift of understanding,

To the heart you inspire with your thoughts

To bless and willingly to serve in the way You direct.

Jean

Fortunate and blessed

I am fortunate, I am blessed with a large garden~ My own little wilderness

During the past few few days, I have spent much time out in my wilderness, chopping, pruning, digging, planting and just sitting, looking, listening

Just sitting, I have been visited, by small elusive birds, cheekier and noisier larger ones and the butterflies

Orange-Tip
(Anthocharis cardamines)

Birds, looking for food in their eating place, the little ones careful to avoid the bigger, bossier ones and a squabble, and the spring butterflies searching for nectar amongst the flowers. All at peace. All at rest.

Why can’t the world always be so quiet, so calm at rest?

I am distracted by thoughts of Elijah being fed by the ravens and because it is sunny, and hot my butterfly thoughts flitted back to a visit to Italy, Subiaco and Santo Speco where Saint Benedict lived as a hermit, in a rocky wilderness of his own. Saint Benedict also had help from Ravens. A hard, difficult climb to his cave, here was another man of God … on the run: like Moses from Pharaoh, like Elijah, like David from King Saul. Sometimes harsh, wild places are to be preferred to harsh, wild, angry kings and enemies.

Statue of St Bendict
Entrance to the cave where he lived.

I recalled thinking at that time, what a hard and difficult way to live! Sitting in my chair, with my kitchen door and food and clean water a few feet away; it was not easy to picture, to imagine the rigours of life lived in such unfriendly environments of true wilderness. From the beginning the wild places, wilderness and desert have been not only the hiding places but also the birthing places of God’s people. It was in the wilderness that the people of Israel were shaped, where John the Baptist cried out to make straight the way of the Lord, where Jesus was tested by Satan and prevailed.

I have an idea that no one truly chooses to live in the wilderness but that our Father chooses them and then the wilderness to prepare them until ready, equipped, character formed, strengthened and empowered they are ready for the next stage of their life, and Life in Christ is never going to be easy.

Right now, there are millions of God’s children who with no regular public worship, feel kind of lost, in some kind of wilderness of our own. We are not lost. The Shepherd knows where each lamb is. In His time, the Lord will bring us out, a people ready.

Father, through all our wandering be our guide. Teach us that the safest place to be, is that place where You are. You are, and You alone our Rock, our Strength. It is You who provides our Daily Bread and water from Living Fountains. Neither fierce heat by day, frosty cold by night, plague, storm, the enemy without or the enemy within can overcome your children and You make us more than conquerors through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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)

A More Hopeful Forecast

October, rainy, and mild, this year will soon be over, and still the leaves cling to the trees, waiting, perhaps for windy November.

Or will it be windy November?

As the month began there were forecasts of snow in the last half of the month. Still no snow. I cannot say that I am sad about that. October seems far too early for snow to arrive; it would seem bizarre to have flurries of snow flakes before flurries of crunchy , red-gold leaves.

Weather forecasters do not always get it right.

The future, despite modern technology, weather satellites, and highly proficient interpreters of so much information the future remains un-known, hidden from our view by an impenetrable curtain.

A curtain which the most insistent hands cannot draw back, anymore than the reader of tea-leaves can.

I am glad of that.

There are some things it is better that we don’t know.

I promised to pray for a younger lady today.

We have not known each other very long, measured in proportion to the long year of my life, perhaps we could say from July to October. She is a quietly spoken, clever lady with whole sunny summers, golden autumns, white winters and green springs to look forward to, except that the gloomy weather forecaster has said she has a cancer.

So, I am praying that He who holds the future, yours’ – mine – hers’ will prove the forecasters wrong, and that behind the curtain many years of happy, fruitful life await.


I love the plants and pots that occupy my window sills, especially those plants that come as gifts. I find it very difficult to part with a single one, even despite the flowering period being over and gone, and little hope that they will flower again. The geranium in the photo was last year’s. For months it has just sat there, no foliage, green shoots. There have been those mornings when I have been tempted, strongly tempted to put it on the compost heap. Almost, but:

There is hope for a tree, when it is cut down, that it will sprout again. And its shoots will not fail.”

“And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us”

Look, the geranium is flowering now.

I purpose not to accept every gloomy prediction, it is true. Prayer changes things.

Scriptures: Job 14.7, Romans 5.5

Lord, you teach us that hope abides for ever,

When faith is weak and can not grasp the shield or wield the Spirit’s sword,

When joy is restrained, the rainbow blotted out by the cloud:

Then let hope, send out strong shoots of prayer,

That faith may flower and bear perfect fruit,

Your love,

And our perfect healing

Amen.

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

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.

Where are you? What are you doing?

Sit a child down at a kitchen table with paints, brush and water jar, ask them to paint you a picture and with great delight they will do. Ask them to paint anything and they will, anything at all. Perhaps not with any great skill at all, after all we are not all going to become Picasso’s, or Rembrandts, but paint a picture they will and present it to you with great joy.

So, what holds us back from being a witness of the things we have seen and heard, from being a “witness to the word of God, and to the witness of Jesus Christ (Revn. 1:2. NJB); bearing in mind that we have the Lord’s promise ‘ I am with you always, yes, to the end of time.’

This morning my waking dreams were colourful, of fragmented shards, pieces of stained glass waiting assembly into a window, pieces of jig-saw puzzle waiting to be sorted and placed into the picture. If I were a child, I would not be so anxious that they were all in exactly the right place, I would just make a start, but as a 7 x 7 years, and then a bit adult, I need the picture on the box lid, I need an art/craft class.


Lately, the Lord has been asking me a question:

‘Where are you?’

In my home, sitting by the fire, in the garden, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, in church, around the shops,

‘Where are you’

Sometimes, The Lord asks,

“What are you doing now?”

I must admit, I have answered, at times, ‘Lord you know all things, you know where I am and what I am doing’ and then I will say, ‘I am with you, Lord’

That is the answer, the Lord has been looking for.

Sometimes, when feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, I have cried out to Him that I felt like Jonah swallowed up by the whale, and have felt His smile plumbing the depths to reach me. It is then that I have realised that my grown up self was running away from some simple errand that a child would just have taken on board as an adventure with Daddy.


Every child has heard the story of Jonah.

God said to Jonah, “Up! Go to Nineveh…”

And Jonah ‘set about running from Yahweh’

Finally Jonah prayed, and ‘Yahweh spoke to the fish, which vomited Jonah onto the dry land’

Jonah’s story does not end there, nor even with the repentance of Nineveh, chapter 4 of the book tells us he was very indignant with the Lord, telling his Father to take away his life because his Father had not destroyed that great city of Nineveh as threatened because the King and people had repented. He then sat down just outside the city, after making himself a shelter for shade to see what would happen to it. We are told that Yahweh God ordained that a castor-oil plant should grow up to give him shade and soothe his ill humour, Jonah was delighted with that, but at dawn the next day, God ordained that a worm should attack the caster-oil plant … and it withered. So next day, the scorching east wind and hot sun beat down on Jonah’s head so hard that he begged for death, ‘I might as well be dead as go on living’

Now, isn’t that the childish tantrum to beat all tantrums!

But, hear our Father’s answer,

You are concerned for the castor-oil plant which has not cost you any effort and which you did not grow, which came up in a night and has perished in a night. So why should I not be concerned for Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, to say nothing of all the animals?’

Our Father did not fore sake Jonah, He prepared the great fish to rescue him, The word of the Lord which Jonah carried to Nineveh did not fail, it bought salvation to those who Jonah could not see the completed picture … our Father gave him shade from the fierce heat … still Jonah could not see that Lord was with him.

Every time, You ask, ‘Where are you?’

Every time You ask, ‘What are you doing, now?’

Father give me grace to say,

‘I am with the Lord, who is always with me, may I always do as you desire’

Amen.

Then I looked and saw:

An artist’s brush dipped into a water jar, colouring the clean, clear water with pigment. In my seeing the pigment was crimson red.

I am still thinking and waiting for more insight about that.

If you have any thoughts, please don’t hesitate to comment,

I am currently using the New Jerusalem Bible and all scripture references are from there. The photos are my own. I am very much a child when it comes to photography. Many blessings to all who read this post.