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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

The road is long



The road is long. The journey tough. So critical to keep the foundation of faith firm and strong, impermeable to those insidious weeds of doubt and discouragement that can weasel their ways into the smallest of cracks. Once they are in, the damage they can do! Out of sight, their roots spread and dislodge rocks and anchor points on which we build our faith. The result is there for all to see. A weedy infestation of doubt and fear.
Today I invest again in strengthening that core foundation of truth which I find in the Bible and also in my relationship with God. More of him in my life. That’s my cry today. Amen.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Help is at hand

Most of us find it hard to ask for help.

When I was 7 or 8, my family was on holiday in the mountains. We went to an outdoor swimming pool where my sister and I swam, while our parents sat in the bleachers waiting for us.

I am not confident in the water, and out of my depth, I thought I was in trouble. But I never liked to call attention to myself, so as I flailed around desperately I timidly whispered, 'help, help'. It was loud enough to get my dad moving down towards the pool but before he got there my big sis had hauled me the couple of feet over to the side, where I hung on gratefully.

Walking each other home. Most of us don't like asking for help, but we all need it from time to time. That is what I love about this phrase...its reciprocity of meaning. We all need each other's help.

I didn't want the whole poolside spectators to focus in on me, so I whispered. My dad heard, and so did my sister.

God the Father hears our every silent cry, never mind the whispered ones. And he puts someone near enough to pull us into safety, though we have to be willing to whisper our need for them to hear.
He also gives us his Holy Spirit, who is the one entrusted to walk us all to our permanent home in Jesus.

Help is closer than you think, and you don't need to broadcast your need for the Father to hear. He had numbered every hair on your head (admittedly, easier on some heads than others, but you get the point!)

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Swallows



As I stood in the prayer window and had a general moan at God this morning, I suddenly noticed the delightful antics of one of the swallows which has returned to our barn for nesting again this year. He swooped, soaring and dipping and then circling back, a dancer in the air. I know nothing about birds really but assume that area must have offered an early breakfast of bugs. 

Whatever he was doing, it was a pleasure to watch and made me smile and then laugh out loud as he dipped and dived and swirled, just above the field of grass. Joy. Pure joy. I have the same temporary suspension of serious thought when spending time with Felicity. 

Perhaps it’s an apparent sense of unfettered freedom to enjoy the moment which is so attractive. An ignorance of all that would weigh me down with burdens I wasn’t designed to carry.  Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Christ has set us free. He has removed the veil from our hearts and is transforming us into his likeness. 

So I won’t lose heart today. Whenever I find myself reaching for that baggage that bends my back, I will remember the swallow this morning. He couldn’t perform such a joyful aerial dance if he were encumbered by anything. I want to spiritually dance today, unencumbered and free. With unveiled understanding, God’s glory may be more clearly seen by others.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Road Closed



Thought I’d pop into a garden centre and purchase three tomato plants for the conservatory. It wasn’t far from where I’d met friends for coffee.

However, the road I needed to take was closed. I followed diversion signs...for miles. Finally I turned north where I thought I needed to go, only to find the next road I needed was also closed. So I headed east and wondered where I was.

I wasn’t under pressure of time and was able to appreciate the lovely skies and countryside as I drove a good half hour extra just to get these three tomato plants. They better produce now!

It was more of a journey than anticipated. Life is often more of a journey than anticipated. It has dips and curves and Road Closed signs that send us onto unexpected and often unpleasant diversions. 

So important to make that journey with the Saviour. So thankful that he never leaves nor forsakes us. So grateful.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Framed



I sit surrounded by stunning pictures which I want to frame and hang. One was purchased on our 40th anniversary celebration trip to Russia last September, a painting of the Church on the Spilled Blood in St Petersburg signed by the painter. 

One is a photograph of a vibrant sunset sky behind Mission Santa Barbara in California, with a bare cross silhouetted in the foreground.

Another is a peaceful photo of small yachts at rest in Morro Bay, California, with the massive rock looming behind them like the head of a giant leviathan emerging from the still waters. Both of these pictures were purchased at an art show I went to with my mother and my daughter along the beach at Santa Barbara in March.

And finally I have an envelope of beautiful pictures of our lovely granddaughter and her parents (also lovely!!), taken by a professional photographer.



All of them I want to frame, but having spent awhile online I realise that the frames are more expensive than the wonderful items I want to highlight. And yet the subjects of each painting – or the memories associated with them – are infinitely more valuable to me.

When God chose David to be the next king of Judah, he told Samuel that man sees the outer person but God looks at the heart. 

The heart is where the gold lies. As I head into a new week, I aim to look for and draw out the gold in every person I meet, and not be distracted by outer frameworks like position or status or beauty or wealth.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Who knew?



When it was dry a couple days ago, I plunged into the jungle between the driveway and house. The dandelions shouted out that the whole border was full of weeds and so I donned my garden gloves and waded in.

I wasn’t really prepared for what I would find. While most of the bushes overhung the usual collection of unwanted plant life – ground elder, dandelions, buttercups, willow herb, other unknowns – one of the bushes just outside my prayer window was sheltering three fairly well-established gooseberry bushes, one sycamore tree and a wild rose bush. Who would have known?! 

I’ve got the gooseberry bushes heeled in, waiting for someplace to be planted. I don’t really like gooseberries very much but I can’t bear to just let them wither and die. They’ve struggled to get as big as they are.

We don’t always see what’s growing in the shelter of people we know. Even people we know well and love. We don’t appreciate the fruit they are nurturing in others, whose day has not yet come and who have not yet been transplanted into the sunshine. 

We need to be gentle with each other, and look for the fruitfulness they are nurturing in others.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Embedded Gems



Morning broke early in our home today as Easyjet is unforgiving. Two minutes late? Two ounces overweight? Two carry on bags? Forget it dear.

Reflecting on the precious moments shining like gems in the dailiness of the last two weeks. One such moment was seeing Auntie and Uncle reading to wee Flick. Not sure if she was enraptured by Postman Pat, though he is certainly Number 1 on the YouTube clip parade, or if her attention was straying to her Groucho. 

As loved ones jet off in different directions, I am following a Daily Spirit Blessings booklet by Sylvia Gunter and today’s seems particularly apt. So to those close to me who I love, anyone reading this, and really the whole world, I bless you today with a real sense of understanding of your own identity in God, your Father, who loves you from forever to infinity. Be blessed today in the confidence that God knows his plans for you and has equipped you with everything you need to soar like an eagle through this day, this week, and beyond. Step out in the assurance of his Fatherly love and protectiveness, of your acceptability because of Jesus, and of the enabling to do anything with the Spirit’s help.

May the Lord bless and keep you today and shine upon you, revealing the gems embedded in your life.