Temp at 8 am was 0C! (32F) Oh no. Harbinger of things to come. It is beautiful, but the apparent price to pay for a clear blue sky in t...
Not much time for blogging recently, but my attention was drawn to the spikes on the timeline of how many people check out the blog from one...
Another sunny day here. Walking along Seal Beach, I suddenly noticed a dad and his 2 year old boy. The dad was staggering along under the we...
Dusty and I diverted from our usual walk this morning. Having followed her nose to the ‘haunted house’, she then lost interest and wanted...
Just back from my morning walk with Dusty. Same route most mornings. Down the path to the ‘fort’, though in the morning I am less incline...
Moment by moment. Every moment is part of the journey. Journeys conjure many things. Trials perhaps. Weariness. Uncertainty. Fun. Laughter....
Our plans this morning include a visit to a location which is for me, a thin place. I understand a thin place to be a geographical spot whe...
A small posy of sweet peas perfumes the air beside me. There is something near divine about the fragrance of sweet peas, and roses. A...
"...stood in tears amid the alien corn... " Love that line. Homesick Ruth, stood in tears amid the alien corn. Keats. Ode to a Ni...
Peace. Shalom. Something we all seek but which remains increasingly elusive to many of us. I feel my stomach has been in the middle of a w...
Wednesday, 30 April 2014
The dishwasher hums and whirrs, bubbles and sloshes behind me as I sit at the table. Dirty dishes went into it, soap powder was added, electricity powers it and for an hour it will whoosh away until all the dishes are squeaky clean and dry, ready for use again.
The dishes don’t have to do anything but sit there. Hot water and soap powder and electric power clean them up.
I come to Jesus in prayer, at church, in Bible study. I worship him in song, in prayer, in Scripture. The purity of God’s word washes over me, through me, around me, in me. I come away cleansed, refreshed, renewed and ready to be used again.
‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow,’ God promises. Jesus took the sin of the world on himself on the cross, so that we could be cleansed and able to approach God.
Jesus did it all. We just have to get into a quiet place, or a worshiping place, alone or with other believers, and Jesus and his Word will cleanse us.
Ready for use again.
Tuesday, 29 April 2014
Coming back up the drive, Don paused to gather as many dandelion flowers as he could before they puff themselves up into a jillion seeds which rain down on the garden and invade the cultivated landscape.
They get put away into a bag, in the bin, where their seeds are contained, wither and die.
Dandelions flower in many areas of our lives and culture today. They add colour and variety but can be pernicious weeds if we leave them to flower and reseed. Sometimes we need to be ruthless in recognising potential future dangers and getting rid of them before they spread. Different approaches to law and order, for instance. Acceptance of sexual innuendoes which may usher in abuse. Gender discrimination over employment and pay. Tolerance of drinking which can lead to violence and social unrest. Outlandish bonuses for managers even when the work done is below standard. The list goes on.
Dandelions in my own life? Sure, plenty of them. Self-indulgence which can undermine my work ethic and sabotage the goals God has for me. Laziness which can keep me from effective prayer. Fear which can short-circuit faith and become a ruthless slave-driver. And so on.
As Paul wrote to the Romans, ‘although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. ‘ Or in another version, 'the moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. ... I’ve tried everything and nothing helps ... is there no one who can do anything for me? ...
‘The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does.’
I am so grateful that I can ask him to not only break off the dandelion flowers of sin in my life, but actually dig them out, and uproot them so they can’t re-flower.
I want no pernicious weeds in my life, and I thank God that he can get rid of them for me.
Monday, 28 April 2014
The pale blue sky was filled with thin, ragged clouds which pulled apart like cotton wool.
A perfect spring morning. No wind, the sun was out and shining brightly on a dewy landscape as Dusty and I rounded behind the woods. The birds trilled their joyful songs.
We walked. We prayed. And then we stopped, soaking in the beauty of the rough field before us. For between most thistles and thorns, weeds and saplings, stretched gossamer strands of webs spun by millions of spiders. Each web was picked out in droplets of dew and sparkled in the sunlight.
A torn carpet of moisture mirroring the torn canopy in the sky above.
I smiled as I remembered a scene of moist tissue sprinkled across the lawn and raining down from the trees of our home when I was a teenager. Friends had ‘toilet-papered’ my house the night before – a fun way of marking friendship in those long-ago days of innocence – but my Dad had not been impressed. He ill-advisedly took the hose to the strands of toilet paper which laced through the trees and blew gently in the breeze, bringing down millions of tight balls of wet tissue onto the grass which I then spent the next few weeks raking up every day.
Fun memories of innocence, of adolescence, and even of my dad’s temper.
I thought of torn handkerchiefs, and remembered the tree outside of a tomb in Cyprus which was adorned with a myriad of torn hankies, each representing a heartfelt prayer offered to God at this holy man’s memorial site.
A myriad of spiders’ webs, picked out in glistening dewy drops, offering a paean of praise to the loving Creator God.
What better way to start the day?
Sunday, 27 April 2014
This is the day that the Lord has made.
Recently I heard of someone who had chosen an arbitrary number of years which he felt might be the length of his life. He did the sums and calculated how many days that left him to accomplish those things which he had on his bucket list.
He then gathered that number of pebbles and put them into a large jar, and every morning he solemnly moves one out of that jar and into what started out as an empty jar.
It’s a sobering reminder that our lives on earth in this form are not immortal, and that we do have a finite number of days in which to do those things which we – which God – has prepared for us to do.
I don’t know about you, but without a plan, I find it very easy to fritter away minutes, hours, and days, without accomplishing things which I do feel I want to do.
This is the day that the Lord has made. Whatever this day holds, it is the only day that I can be sure I have, and it’s important that I make the most of it.
I’m not sure I’ll go as far as a jar of stones – I’m afraid I’d be shocked at how small it might be! But I do intend to embrace each day as a gift to be enjoyed and used completely.
God bless you as you use your day well, too.
Saturday, 26 April 2014
Spring is the season of hope. Gardeners hope for a summer of weather which is perfect for growing flowers and produce. Farmers hope for weather conducive to bountiful crop production. Students hope to pass their exams. Lovers hope their feelings will not go unrequited.
Sometimes it can feel as if we live in perpetual spring, always hoping, never quite seeing our hopes realized. Hope springs eternal, my mother-in-law was fond of saying; hope deferred makes the heart sick, the Bible says. Empty hope.
Empty hope. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Those who hope in the Lord shall renew their strength, the Bible also says. Hope in the Lord, because he is the only one who is 100% trustworthy. Hoping in him – in his provision, for his healing, for his blessing – is always a good idea.
Hoping in the Lord encourages our faith and grows our love for him. As we carry on hoping, persevering in prayer, drawing near to him, we see all sorts of good things we didn’t expect.
Instant answers may sometimes be like instant mashed potatoes – all fluff and no nutrients. Waiting in hope strengthens our spirits, and feeds our souls.
Today, I am going to ask again, in good heart, hoping in the Lord and being watchful for his answers, which may come in any number of ways.