Tag: waiting

In Praise of God’s Patience

The fragrance of time

It takes time to grow a rose. Time for buds to firm, open. It takes time to take in its fragrance, to enjoy its sweetness. Such a pity to be in such a hurry that we have no time to simply look and notice the subtle shading of its petticoat, to touch and smell.

At the beginning of Lockdown in the U.K. I just simply didn’t realise how tired I was. It wasn’t until two weeks in that I came to a stop with trying to get some important things in order – even that stop came as the result of being blocked as necessary communications with various official offices closed down. Telephone queues became hours long, replies to emails were likewise delayed by several days…. so I came to a stop, found content in my little wilderness garden, and found joy in just being still in one place,

Silence will speak more to you in a day than the world of voices can teach you in a lifetime.

Find silence. Find solitude – and having discovered her riches,

Bind her to your heart

Frances J. Roberts… Come away. My beloved (Barbour Books)

And in the silence.. the sound of the rain, the gentle soft rain of the Holy Spirit that refreshes, restores and brings new growth.

Not, the hard, loud, rain of a deluge that causes panic as the flood waters rise to overwhelm a distressed soul.

Not the cold, persistent rain that chills to the bone.

But the soft, gentle, showers of blessing, that leave rainbow crystal drops on herbs, grass, thirsty flowers: rain to swell the buds, causing them to open.

As I rested, I was aware that the Lord was never going to chide me for sitting, and just sitting, because I was sitting with Him, and this was what He wanted, and what He purposed.

As we sat, so my understanding grew, and grows of many things shown and given, through the long years.

He showed me a box, a golden box, a bejewelled box, which I thought must contain some fortunate ladies precious treasures.

“I gave you the box, many years ago!

I gave you the key,

But you were careless with it;

You put it aside, out of sight:

Too busy, Martha to sit awhile,

This to do …..

That to do ….

You gave me back the key.

And the box?

The box you forgot. Placing it

Conveniently, at the back of memory’s closet.

My sweet girl,

I let you,

Allowed you to do this,

Because, I your loving

Friend and brother, watching jealousy

Wanted the pleasure of sitting with you,

To watch you open your gift and taking

Out every treasure reward me with your

Pleasure.

Me and Jesus sitting together

Yes.

The story is true but praise God for His Grace, the Lord and I sit together, and even when Lockdown is done and tiredness done. We will still be sitting together.

AIM and Birthday Flowers

I found the flowers on my return from Grocery shopping, they didn’t much look like flowers at all, packed in a long flat box and posted through the letter box, they stood slightly, upended against the wall. Carefully I removed the tightly closed buds, placed them in a vase and waited….

All good things, are worth waiting for, so the saying goes.

Watching, as these pretty flowers unpacked themselves from tight buds has been in itself a pleasure; and watching as the promises of God enfold in my life another, better one.

My friend Vera says, every time she takes my hand to offer the peace, “God bless you, Jean.” And then, she adds, very quickly, “Go on. Say it”

I reply, “He does, I let Him!”

She laughs, content, “I love to hear you say that.”

It is true. I love to be still, and feel that I am just like a peach ripening on the wall, warmed in the sunshine of His smile.

Truth is, I am not able to be still as much as I would like to be. But stillness is not always a physical stillness. There is that special stillness of just being stayed, carried on the Lord’s arm in busyness, in the certainty that whatever happens, however things are unfolding, or running He will get us there. He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey.

While it was still dark, before my birthday dawned I had a word-gifted, from heaven just a single bud. That Word was AIM, I intend to carry it with me this year, together with this words from Paul,

“I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

“To win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.”


Scriptures: Phil. 3. 12-14 (N.I.V.)

Image: My own


I praise God for the gift of years, 71 of them and although like the peach I have known rain as well as sunshine, winter as well as summer, they have been blessed; may yours be also.


Advent: Watching, Waiting, In Pain and Loss

Another busy week, not busy, as some have been busy with shopping for Christmas presents, foods, etc. etc. (I started that, just yesterday) but a busy week in welcoming local school children into church for their School Carol Concerts and rehearsals. I love to see their shining faces as they act and sing out the Nativity Story for parents, younger brothers and sisters, pushed up the hills in Prams and Buggys by Moms .

Every school has a different way of telling the story, and every child is different. They are walked up to church by Teachers and Teaching Assistants. This year we had plenty of rain, yet the wet and cold could not dampen their spirits or extinguish the bright candle of enthusiasm.

“Thank you Jean,” some said as they filed past at the close.

I like that. I would rather be called Jean than Miss. I am, as all tend to be, still the little child, I always was inside, and our Father in Heaven never gets weary of little children.

The children are of course, counting down the days until end of term, and Christmas Day. Not simply because they want to see what they might find in their Christmas Stockings but also because they have presents to give to… and some find it hard to keep their little surprises secret.

Waiting is a hard thing to do when looking forward at any age.

Harder when we are are distressed, or fearful.


Watching and waiting, looking above, 
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love. 

So the Hymn writer, Fanny Crosby put it in her well known hymnBlessed Assurance” ~ waiting for the Festive Christmas Season can be helped by busy preparations, mince pies, cake baking, putting up the tree and decorations, writing Christmas cards, shopping, etc. etc.

But what about waiting if we are recently bereaved, ill or housebound. Then waiting can be empty of everything except the pain of isolation and loss.

Perfect submission, all is at rest! 
I in my Savior am happy and blessed, 

How can we be perfectly at rest, happy and blessed in such circumstances as bereavement, pain or loneliness?

I am going to suggest to you that it is as such times, that we find, that our Blessed Assurance, Jesus, Himself will come to our aid.


He did come to mine. I was grieved, but kept it close, locked up inside where no one could see. Or so I thought.

But the Lord Jesus Christ could and did see.

I woke in the night and as I lay there, silent in myselfI heard, a door opening somewhere way, way above; then the sound of footsteps, a man’s tread, strong and sure running down what sounded like a stone staircase, past the door of my bedroom, down, down, down until they faded to nothing …. I lay wondering…. then the feet began running back up the steps, stopped (so, it seemed to me) just the other side of my bedroom door.

A firm, big man’s voice spoke out: “Well, Jean. You had me worried. I thought you had fallen all the way to the bottom! Just remember to call out when you need help. Speak to me. Always speak to me!”


All this was many years ago but I have never forgotten, and never spoken about it until now. I share it now because someone, somewhere, at a time of loss, pain, or loneliness may draw comfort, hope, and assurance from my experience and “speak to Jesus, our Friend and Saviour about it. Shout to Him, He will hear… God doesn’t wish a single one of us to stay at the bottom of a well of despair. And the most Godly can and do that- Remember Jeremiah? (Jeremiah 38:6) Well God got him out of a deep well; He can do the same for you and all those loved ones we pray for from time to time.


Look, I go before you. There are no deeps my love cannot reach. Speak to me, there are no tears I cannot wipe away, no pain I cannot feel. I know the way … I am the Way. Give me your hand”

May Jesus, our Saviour, speak His peace to every troubled heart and keep you Watching and Waiting and Speaking to Him.

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

Waking..

I open my eyes before it is light, but the darkness is not dark. Rather it shines.

Shines with a peace beyond telling: and the silence breathes – the unseen presence of my Friend God.

So, nothing disturbs,

Nothing frightens

God is all.

I am not saying I never have a bad dream. I do.

I am not saying that I never go to bed with a troubled mind. I do.

I am not saying that I never have anxious and stressed prayer times. I do.

I am saying that God comforts me in the darkest night, blackest days, gives rest and peace from wildest terrors. He gives peace and rest when it is needed most.

There are those times of loss, of grieving for loved ones lost to sight.

There are those times of being sorry for things done or left undone. There are those things said which ought not to have been said and those things which have been left unsaid which should have been said – for these things there is also a promise:

if we acknowledge our sins, He is trustworthy and upright, so that He will forgive our sins and so will cleanse us from all evil,”

Peter, fisherman turned big brother to all Christian folk, warns us to keep sober and alert, because our enemy the devil is on the prowl like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour, He tells us to stand up to him, strong in faith and in the knowledge that throughout the world other brothers and sisters undergo the same kind of sufferings and trials… often if we are honest, we do not have the least clue what suffering and trials for sake of Jesus are…

It is in the shining dark and silence before the dawn that waking up in the presence of my Friend I come to realise that His suffering ones are His blessed ones, and if I would be any kind of friend to Him, I should remember them,

And the little children with no shoes, no home, no one to call mother or father, no friend, except one, my Friend God.

It is in the shining dark and singing silence I hear the sung prayers of those who grieving weeping and worship in the same moment

When you meet my Friend God in the shining darkness, and the singing silence and know His embrace of Peace.. who do you see, sharing these things with you?


A song to sing, which even though they may not know Christ as you do, all are happy to sing with you, recognising in this wonderful world, the Hands that made all things, cares for all living things and fills all things. His holy and sacred peace be yours and mine,

I see trees of green, red roses too

I see them bloom for me and you

And I think to myself what a wonderful world

I see skies of blue and clouds of white

The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night

And I think to myself what a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky

Are also on the faces of people going by

I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do

They’re really saying I love you

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow

They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know

And I think to myself what a wonderful world

Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: George Weiss / Robert Thiele

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.

And Give Me…. Sense, and Knowledge, Lord

Easter lasts 7 weeks, for 7 weeks the Altar frontals and hangings are white, and the Readings tell us more about the Resurrection appearances, tells us more about Our Risen Lord and Teacher preparing the seedling church for the great Day of Pentecost. Just as it takes time for a seed to germinate and put out its green, so it takes time with all spiritual growth.

Sometimes the Heavenly Gardener sows fresh seed into our hearts, carefully preparing the soil first, removing old planting, yes, it maybe that He received a good return on the first, second or even third planting, but He has a new work for us to do, now. Something, the Holy Spirit is nudging us, moving us forward to do, something new, but we are just not sure what.

At times like these we need the Teacher’s time, His personal attention so we ought to devote more time to seeking His attention in prayer, waiting. Listening for His answer.

Perhaps we might use the following prayer

Most High glorious God,

Enlighten the darkness of my heart

And give me true faith, certain hope,

And perfect charity, sense and knowledge, Lord

That I may carry out

Your holy and true command

St Francis prayed this prayer, kneeling before the crucifix in the little Church of San Damiano. It was around 1205/6 early days in his Christian calling and Francis knew God was asking him to do something, but what? In the stillness of that place Francis heard Jesus, our Teacher saying, “Francis, go and repair my house, which is falling into ruins” Francis did just that, gathering stones, begging materials as he went to repair the little church. Now we can see, what Francis could not see, Jesus meant THE CHURCH.

From time to time, the Church, and all of us do need repairing, restoration and renewal takes time… whether in the greater body of believers or just in me or you) and it takes time, from the first seed, the first whisper of the Spirit for the full sense of God’s Holy Spirit, His Holy and true command to come to flourish in our hearts and in what we carry out with our hands and feet in the world.

All of us need to be prepared, to take time, and allow ourself to be set aside, to find each for his/herself what the Teacher wants us to do….next.

To ask for light to see the way as it is pointed out,

for true faith, in the One who is speaking to us,

hope which nothing can shake,

love which will still be love for all, no matter what the enemy of our soul throws at us,

sense … nothing stands us in better stead in undertaking a new work of faith then sense. Sense such as Francis had, when hearing ‘Go and repair’ he immediately began to do so with his own hands and little else. All new ventures all have to begin, so let us begin and have faith that God will complete His work in us.

And yes we need knowledge, whether it be knowledge gleaned from the Scriptures or a Word of Knowledge to help us on our way, God will provide it. For our part we need to wait and ask in prayer…. The Teacher will show us what comes next.

(The Prayer is commonly called ‘The Prayer Before the Crucifix’)

Be Joyous, other brothers and sisters will come…

There are times, and this is one of them, when I wish I had time and the skill to draw and paint some of the things shown to me by the Lord from time to time, please read this very short post: it is truthful and not presented boastfully in any way at all; perhaps it will speak to someone who has been feeling as I have lately, or maybe it will speak to them about something entirely else. Please don’t feel shy about expressing your thoughts via comments.

I hunted for a suitable image, and thought the one above most suitable, the credit says “by anonymous artist” but if anyone has information to the contrary I will be very pleased to give credit…

I have been praying with a deep sense of loneliness, that the Lord will send brothers and sisters to build up Fellowship, Worship and Prayer at my church…. ours is a congregation made of older people without the energy and ability to do many things: this is what I saw.

It was morning and I woke up to find myself in the Craftsman’s workshop, He was busy at an extremely long bench, marking out measurements on a length of wood, he was happily, totally absorbed in his work, and did not see the little child who came in, and stood silently gazing up for sometime, before asking,

“What Father doing? Why wood so long?”

At this point, a gentle voice called to me, “Be joyous, listen and receive what is said.”

The Father turned, looked down on his son and answered,

“Building another room.. other brothers and sisters will come.”

I have been reflecting on this for a few days, it was a happy, contented scene, and I can see, two Fathers one Joseph, Earthly Father of Jesus and the other His Heavenly one. Joseph preparing for the enlargement of his family and God our Heavenly Father preparing for the enlargement of His family also:

We are well aware that God works with those who love Him, those who have been called in accordance with His purpose, and turns everything to their good. He decided beforehand who were destined to be moulded to the pattern of His Son, so that He should be the eldest of many brothers; it was those so destined that He called; those that He called, He justified, and those that He has justified He has brought into glory.’

Truly, I do believe that God has a purpose and a plan.. we just don’t have access to His calendar and schedule, or blueprint!

Whatever we pray for we can be confident He hears, what we need to do is watch like Jesus in Joseph’s workshop, like Jesus at the Father’s side and listen. Heaven still speaks, and look!

Outside, posted to the door of the Craftsman Shop a sign:

THIS FAMILY BUSINESS IS EXPANDING AND TAKING ON LABOURERS, PLEASE APPLY. TRAINING GIVEN.

Scriptures from NJB

The Change Is In The Waiting

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Well it did rain; and not a little God was generous. Perhaps he will be equally generous now with sunshine, at any rate today has dawned a blue, bright day with Rhododendrons, Columbines, Lupins and Poppies fluttering on a gentle breeze. Ascension Day is past and the fiery splendour of Pentecost to come.

Just at the present time I feel that I have come to a kind of waiting time myself; not sure why this is so, it is simply a puzzling intuition. Perhaps it may be I am due a change in my life, a break perhaps from Multi Tasking, at the same time I have a quiet assurance that everything-will-be-as-it-should-be. I leave all that in God’s hands, glad that the rain is gone, I look forward to summer sunshine, and spending time hovering like a bee amongst the sweet scented flowers sipping up all the nectar I can find.

After the dreadful, bloody and agonising death of Jesus he kept his word and the disciples saw him again, not just once, but many times he came to them in those days leading up to his Ascension and he didn’t appear to ones and twos. Five hundred brothers and sisters are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15. V6. I am certain that The Lord wanted these loved ones to KNOW Beyond all doubt that all-was-well, and would-be-well for them. They probably began to settle comfortably with Jesus around with them in this new way before Ascension Day. After all now his enemies could no longer touch him, it must have seemed to them that now the Kingdom could come. In fact they asked him this very question.

“Lord are you at this time going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1 v6)

But The Lord left them, but not in the anguish and fear of Good Friday but looking forward to the promise of power and blessing to come. He left them to wait. On the Day of Pentecost all would change again.

Outwardly the disciples may not have changed much up to now, but inwardly great change had already occurred since the fateful night of their Masters death. In the Garden if Gethsemane he had pleaded with them to wait, to watch, to pray and they had fallen asleep overwhelmed by sorrow, at his crucifixion they scattered, all going different ways,now on their return to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olive we are told that the brothers and sisters were constantly in prayer, together waiting (Acts 1v14).

From scattered to unified.
From sleeping to watching and prayer.

Waiting and change,

Sometimes the change is in the waiting.

Spring blossoms needs to fall. Fruit needs to set and ripen, and here is another thought waiting is best done with empty hands.

May God fill your hands and mine with his most gracious blessing!

WHO WAITS FOR WHOM

Sometimes my life is over full of things to do, my hands get full, my days too short; but I have learnt a lesson I shall not forget from a little bird.

I have caught glimpses of this little birds many times with closed eyes in prayer; a tiny, red breasted Robin. Why a Robin? Oh, I questioned The Lord about it, but never for too long; there was always the next job do, or the next thing to think about. So many times through the years the little robin has visited me in my prayers and I have to see that this teasing little bird was representing Jesus Himself, but, always, always there was something else to be getting on with; I couldn’t linger.

Then after a rainy spell the sun shine and I ventured into the garden with secateurs and garden fork. I’m not noisy so perhaps that is why the robin came to perch first in the Buddleia then in the Rose Bush, venturing ever more closer.

He watched me and I watched him. He was clearly waiting. Of course the little chap was on the look out for juicy insects. Sometimes he would make a quick dart but I came to realise that the best way to give my tiny friend what he was waiting And hoping for, was to stop my work, down tools, retreat to a quiet corner and just watch.

Psalm 40: 1 ‘I waited patiently for the LORD, He turned to me and heard my cry.’
Psalm 27: 14 ‘ Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD’

These 2 verses speak of us waiting for The Lord, but the lesson I have learnt is this:-

God waits for us.
Waits for us to put aside our busyness.
When He comes to visit – he waits for us to be still whilst He takes pleasure in the tiny morsels of love we have to offer.
I don’t have a problem with seeing my offerings as juicy insects;
After all He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
If the One who keeps the world turning and the stars burning is not too busy to visit us.
How can we keep The Lord waiting?

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