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Tuesday, 28 February 2012



It’s only by pushing out the boat that you discover it doesn’t float. 

I have been pushing out the boat in an area in which I have no interest, and it is sinking. 

Why didn’t I pay closer heed to the truth that God gives each of us gifts to use, and other jobs can be done by those with those gifts?

I wouldn’t be so stressed if only I had!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Miss Havisham's Roses

On the table before me is a crystal vase filled with fading roses, given to me by my Valentine a couple of weeks ago. There is something about them that prevents me tossing them into the compost heap. Something beautiful about their colours, fading, the edges of the petals going brown and thin and crinkly as paper. I threw a couple out today which were edging towards black. But the majority remain, red and peach coloured, cream and pink.

My Valentine and I have been married now for nearly 37 years. So maybe I see us in these fading roses. Still got some colour, a spark of life. Not yet black and limp. Not yet ready for the compost heap.

I finished re-reading Great Expectations on Sunday morning. It is one of my very favourite books. Miss Havisham and her roses. Fading and yellowing together. Dying incrementally. A testament in her eyes to a love betrayed and never consummated. Something a bit creepy about her deliberate strategy of revenge to be wreaked on the male gender – in the book, on poor innocent Pip.

Poor Miss Havisham, just wanted to be loved.

There is such a deep urge in each one of us to love and to be loved.

I wonder where that comes from, if we all just ‘happened’ into being as a result of a cosmic big bang not underpinned by an intelligence far beyond us.

I think it’s pretty obvious that the basic building block of life is Love.

Don’t you?

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Picnic or Feast?

All of my life I’ve made choices which reflected a pinched vision of what was possible. Instead of trusting that the Lord would provide a feast, I’ve focused on the picnic in my hand and moved forward accordingly.

I’m obviously not talking about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches here, or roast turkey and the trimmings. 

I’ve found that my four children have delighted and challenged me in many ways through the years, and in this regard I’ve been challenged by Robbie. He doesn’t know it, of course. But on his course in the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, he had a choice to make last autumn. As a first year student, he had to choose a mission trip for this spring, and the possibilities were far-reaching and required varying amounts of capital investment.

He felt called to go for one of the overseas missions, which of course required a fair amount of money, which he doesn’t have. He didn’t look, though, at the picnic in his hands, but at the feast in the Lord’s hands. And he responded as he believed the Lord guided him, and signed up for that mission trip.

He has made his needs known through social networking and emails. On Tuesday he was required to pay the full amount for the trip, and on Tuesday the final gift came in which gave him the money he needs to go. Jehovah Jireh. I believe that means I am the God who provides.

And provide he did.

May my vision today not be pinched but be generous and bold, and enable me to step out in faith, not trusting in the ‘Never Never’ but trusting in the God who provides.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


Is there a flower more exquisite than a snowdrop? Open to debate, and I myself might even dispute that claim, but right now, in mid-February, with most of the Scottish landscape a shade of brown or grey, the cheery white snowdrops make me smile. Just when it seemed like winter might go on forever, suddenly there they are, reminding me that spring is just around the corner.

They form bright splashes of white on the lawn and in the flower beds, but close up, there is so much more to them than just a white splash. There is a delicate little bridge of spring green on the outer scalloped edge of the central trumpet. And inside the trumpet! Three heart-shaped designs, the shoulders of the hearts corresponding to the scallops, and the points reaching into the centre of the flower, with its delicate little orange stamens. The green is not a solid block of color, either, but is formed of thin striped threads of green and white. Exquisite.

And the snowdrops come up, year after year, without my remembering even where the wee bulbs are planted. Each year they multiply. Because of my rather hap-hazard gardening efforts, there are always some which have been dug up and scattered in surprising new places, quite unintentionally.

Maybe I am a hap-hazard gardener, but God certainly isn’t. These wee treasures didn’t just happen. Somebody designed them. Somebody who is a creative genius. And he looked at the snowdrop, and he saw that it was good.

And he smiled as he thought of the pleasure it would give me today. What an amazing attention to detail and to the seemingly insignificant.

Isn’t God just amazingly wonderful?

Monday, 20 February 2012

A Roof or a Hat?

Every day I walk past a corner fence post the size of a tree trunk, with a rusty steel inverted-V-shaped hat on it. Or is it a roof?

I guess it doesn’t matter. The purpose must be to keep the rain from settling on the open grain of the wood, permeating and rotting it before its time. Usually they paint them with some sort of tar or impermeable gloop. But this one is different. This one is wearing a hat. Or sporting a roof.

So where am I going with this image? Just thinking, if you let anything rest on you for long enough, it will permeate eventually and possibly introduce some sort of rot. The culture of the times – if we allow it to saturate us it no doubt has some sort of altering effect which is not good. Thought systems which are anti-life. Hurts done to us in the past. Unforgiveness. Anger. The list goes on.

We need some sort of head protection. A hat. Or a roof. 

Scripture offers the armour of God, with its helmet of salvation.

Interesting. Helmet of salvation. Without it on, the rot can set in.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Easily Distracted

Every one of our children received the same corrective admonition on report cards: easily distracted. Well. It was obvious a teenager would be easily distracted when sitting in an open-plan classroom where everyone was working at different speeds, moving around freely. 

But it isn’t just teenagers in open-plan classrooms who are easily distracted. I was easily distracted on my walk this morning. I like to spend the time talking and listening to God, but this morning my mind, when it wasn’t snoozing, was jumping randomly here and there. Worries and concerns. Joys and sorrows. Mainly, a to-do list that is longer than the day.

There is something to be said for chanting, or reciting, a mantra. Other religious disciplines do it in order to slip into an altered state of consciousness. To repeat the name Jesus Christ on each breath in and out helps focus the mind. It opens us up to God’s influence. It clears our head of all the jumble so we can hear his voice.

In Mark 4 there’s a story of the disciples being caught in a terrible storm on the Sea of Galilee during the night, a storm through which Jesus slept until they, in a panic, wakened him. Then, with a commanding voice, he spoke to the storm. “Quiet! Be still!” And the storm subsided. 

My thoughts today are not a perfect storm, but they are a distraction. I want to focus in on the Lord who has the power to calm the turbulence and to restore peace to my soul.

Jesus Christ.