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Friday, 7 December 2018

Family


‘No I don’t like blackcurrant jam because it reminds me of being sick as a child, when Mum would give us hot blackcurrant to drink.’

‘I love blackcurrant jam because it reminds me of being a child. The flavour is so robust.’
Family. Yesterday it was the family of a group of lovely ladies who share life together, looking at the Bible, praying, worshiping. We are from different spots around the globe, different ages, different experiences in life, different points on the journey of faith, and what a richness that brings to our gatherings.

What we have in common is God. Our love for him, our curiosity about what he’s said and done, of what he’s saying and doing right now, our need for him.

We are all broken vessels, every one of us a cracked pot. In our biological families and in our church families, we see things differently but we are one in the blood we share. Jesus’ blood, who died for us. In our biological families, our parents’ and grandparents’ blood. We are linked, joined.

We may not always agree. We may not always be as genial and happy as we were yesterday, eating pumpkin and pecan pies and sharing what we felt especially thankful for. But we are one, one in Christ, linked, joined. The family of God.

For that I am so grateful.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

A message of hope


What a wonderful story I just saw, where two ecologists got a company to dump 12,000 tons of orange peels into a barren stretch of formerly-rich Amazonian rainforest, then seem to have forgotten about it all for sixteen years and when they returned, they discovered a whole new ecosystem teeming with life had regenerated the land.

A message of hope: just what we need right now.

Makes me think of Jesus, ‘dumped’ into a barren world. Though he wasn’t forgotten about, the life that has been spawned from his life over the centuries is just miraculous.

The message of hope is clear: as we ‘dump’ Jesus prayerfully into the barrenness stretching through our own lives and through the nations, life happens. Life overcomes death. Life spawns life. God has the last word.

I am so grateful that Jesus was ‘dumped’ into my barren life, and over the years his richness has helped shoots of spiritual fruit to germinate and grow within me. Nothing to do with me; I’m just the barren ground and his body, his sacrifice, his Spirit are working away.

Jesus is the miracle. Praise him.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Rainbows


A vibrant rainbow this morning caused my neighbour to wonder which arch-end rested on that legendary pot of gold. The postman asked if we’d found the pot of gold for, as he drove towards the house, the rainbow seemed to rest on our property.

I love rainbows. During a particularly difficult time, I felt God whispered to me, ‘In every teardrop is a rainbow’. Sunshine and showers are the ingredients for a glorious rainbow.

Rainbows are a sign of God’s promise of mercy and love to a flooded world. It’s so human for us to add a pot of gold to something which is intrinsically worth so much more. We are more tempted by tangible treasure than we are by divine love.

Today may my focus be on God’s gift to us in Jesus, a treasure beyond all others, and may that focus bring peace, contentment and hope.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Light, Stillness, Simplicity and Hope


The light shines in the darkness. The darkness has not overcome it. At this darkest time of year, I light a candle.
Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know. At this busiest time of year, I choose to take time, to be still, and to know.
The stripped-down simplicity of the first Christmas. Bare. At this glitziest time of year, I focus on the natural simplicity of this supernatural event.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. At this time of worldly crisis and despair, I receive the joy and peace of Jesus, trusting in him and overflowing with hope which is based on the faithfulness of our loving Lord.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Infusion of peace please

My uncle was infected with E. coli in his bloodstream recently. For a fortnight he received daily infusions of antibiotics at his local hospital. The seriousness of the infection required the powerful medicine to be introduced straight into his bloodstream.
I need a daily infusion of God's peace. We all do. The world is full of turmoil and tragedy. Our individual lives are full of disappointment and decision, stress and worry, and the antidote to this worldly infection is an infusion of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. I need to step aside from the action in my life daily to sit with him and receive. I can't will myself to be peaceful. I can't work it up. I have to receive it.
The Lord, using British Air, took me halfway across the world yesterday, through Storm Diana. She did her best to upset my travel but though I missed my connection, the Lord, again using British Airways, popped me and my suitcase onto one just an hour later.
I could have been anxious about all of that, not least the turbulence of the landings, but the Lord held me in his perfect peace.
It's so simple, but somehow so hard to do. Be still, and know that I am God, and in the stillness we receive his peace. What a Saviour!

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Costly gifts

I opened my jewellery box and thought how pretty this would look on you, she said, as she fastened the clasp of a delicate and beautiful opal bracelet on my wrist. The bracelet is beautiful, but even more beautiful is her self sacrifice and her generosity in wanting to give me something which would look so pretty on her, too. A gift from the heart.
David ... Or was it Abraham?... said at one point that giving God a gift that didn't cost him anything would be meaningless.
In this season of gift giving, I pray I might remember that.
Leaving here today. Shredded and tired and aching, leaving mom alone over the holidays, leaving Mhairi. God bless these dear ones.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Gridlock

The freeway slowed, compressing to gridlock. As we crept past an off ramp, the lady on the app advised shrilly that we should take it as an alternative, but her advice came too late.
Ok then...she sounded resolved to our poor choice and informed us there was a major accident in three-quarters of a mile and it would take nearly an hour to get past it. We crawled on, resigned.
An on ramp joined on the right of us, and we were appalled to see a driver, realising the congestion was serious, reverse back down. Into any oncoming traffic which could potentially suddenly round a corner. Then another such foolish driver. Then, unbelievably, someone on that on ramp actually did a u turn and drove quite casually the wrong way. As I watched in the rear view mirror, I saw many more make such a potentially lethal decision. Perhaps there was another car crash given the foolishness of those drivers.
Sometimes life slows to a crawl. It seems there is no forward movement. We feel stuck. The temptation is to bail. The temptation is to seek a way off the road which seems stagnant and is hard. The temptation is to go into reverse or even hang a u turn and drive straight into oncoming traffic.
But as we remain faithful, living the way we believe in, following the way of Jesus, clinging on at times unable to see any progress or forward movement, trusting in him, we eventually reach the car crash which has stalled our lives and safely get past it. We put it behind us without endangering anyone else's safety.
The road opens up. We pick up speed. We have choices again. Life beckons with promise and hope is revived.
Trust in me, Jesus invites. Trust. Keep moving forward, even if progress is hard to discern. It is there, nevertheless. Keep Jesus riding shotgun. Keep him in mind. Keep him in heart. Follow his advice, not the shrill voices of others throwing out good advice. It can be hard to hear him in the cacophony of life. Hard to follow as others seem to get round their crashes and move on. But his is the only real healing. His is the only way which guarantees life in its fullness, life which will suddenly open out again in technicolor, lifting us from the sepia landscape of pain.
Jesus, prince of peace, healer.