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Thursday, 30 June 2016


I started pulling out the paraphernalia for the 4th of July last night. An odd assortment of flags and napkins, a few paper plates and some lovely placemats an uncle brought over a few years ago. Time for the annual BBQ – for that read ‘rainstorm is probable on Sunday’. 

It seems slightly awkward to be celebrating America’s Independence Day when there is so much being spoken of here re independence in one way and another. A hot topic full of political innuendos and assumptions.

Strikes me how interdependent we all are, whether in a formal or informal relationship. And how elusive and even deceptive independence can be in human terms. Teenagers long to express their individuality through their attire, but often present themselves as clones of one another. Independence to make decisions can seem so attractive but sometimes it’s not as great as it might appear. We need each other’s wisdom and perspective. We need each other’s love and advice. We need the safety net of family and friends. 

Jesus knew that as human beings we are better when we support one another. That is what church is all about, supporting each other while led by the Head.

Jesus is the only one in whom we can find true freedom. In him there is no pretence, no deception, no pride and jockeying for place. 

Christ has set us free from the chains of sin through his amazing grace. That is real freedom. Amazing. Grace.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The Parched are all around us

Today I had the privilege of sitting in reception at my local food bank for two hours. A woman appeared as soon as we opened, handed over her voucher and gratefully accepted a coffee and a chair while she waited for things to be gathered together for her. Her address? A women’s refuge.

A local refuge from domestic violence and brutality. A haven. A shelter. A roof over the head, but no food in the cupboard and no money in the purse.

I think of Jesus asking a woman for a drink from the well. He was thirsty and had no drinking cup. She did. He knew her situation. A sequence of husbands, and now a live-in who was not a husband. 

Call him, Jesus said. I’ve got plenty of living water to go round. 

No judgment or sermonising. Pure compassion. Compassion for the people beside him. The people who were stumbling through life, dry and thirsty as if in a desert. The well was full of fresh water but it did not satisfy. That which Jesus could give, he gave. Call him, he said. Call the whole village.

Wherever we are, we are in the mission field. Parched people are everywhere. The woman went away with bags of food but what she needed most was the living water. 

Jesus was always ready to offer that restoring drink. Am I?

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Weeds in the Garden

I’ve heard it said that a weed is a plant or flower growing wherever it isn’t wanted. But we’ve had lots of beautiful plants over the years growing where they weren’t wanted. They weren’t weeds, so we moved them. 

Some survived. Some didn’t. The peony bloomed beautifully this year in its new location. The gooseberries keep producing fruit despite all lack of care and attention, having been moved from a fertile garden to what is essentially the grass verge.

There are a lot of ugly situations in this world, and sometimes in the midst of devastation a flower springs up. Look at the poppies on the WWI battlefields.

There are indeed true weeds, pernicious things like ground elder and nettles which can get hold and be a challenge to eradicate. They can get a stranglehold on genuine flowers and smother the tender plants you struggle to cultivate. They can leach nutrients from the soil and leave plants limp and withering.

Important to examine the inner garden of the heart, to check if any pernicious weeds have been allowed to take hold, to see if any fragrant flowers are in danger of withering for want of nurture. Good to do that with a Bible and time with the Lord. Good to do it with a prayer partner or a soul mate. Good to do it regularly, especially in a toxic climate.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Scottish Summer

A typical Scottish summer’s (any season’s) day. Changeable.

Sitting in the conservatory doing a cross-stitch, I was looking out towards the garden and the clear blue sky overhead sang a summer song. I became aware of an erratic drumbeat starting softly and then crescendo-ing on the windows behind me. Rain.

Our perspective is critical to our understanding. While not unaware of storms raging round us, we wait in expectation to see what God will do. We need all our senses primed and alert. Now is not the time to be caught napping. 

God’s ways are not our ways, but his promises are true and we know that he is always at work, weaving a beautiful pattern to reveal the golden thread of his glory through whatever events overtake us. Let’s sharpen our supernatural senses and be bold in prayer and declaration.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Rumblings of Thunder

Rumblings of thunder passing overhead at 5 am got us scurrying to pull the plugs on phone and computer. We’ve taken some lightning strike hits in the past and the result can be expensive, frustrating and time-consuming.

Rumblings were passing throughout the UK at about the same time, as Britain woke up to a different landscape. The result may be expensive, frustrating and time-consuming, but there is intrinsic in the seeds of change the hopes of a better future. 

Now is the time for all Christians to be calling on God for his mercy and grace and healing power. 

May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, 23 June 2016


Just in from cutting grass and trimming and pulling weeds. The grass is in flower; I am allergic to grass and dust. Therefore I sit here expecting an eruption of hay fever sometime this evening. 

But maybe it won’t happen. Maybe I’ve outgrown the allergy. Maybe the pollen will have blown in a different direction rather than up my nose. There may be no catastrophic result from this evening’s exertion.

It’s easy to expect the worst. Sitting here awaiting the outcome of the referendum, it’s easy to imagine that all sorts of negative things might result when the vote is counted. Uncertainty and instability or even civil unrest. 

But I am a Christian, and my hope is in the name of the Lord, and therefore I am praying and trusting that whatever the outcome, it will be intertwined with God’s glory. I pray for forgiveness and understanding, unity and cohesiveness as we work our future out together, however it looks. It behoves every Christian to be diligent in prayer.

Perhaps over the next few days my blogs won’t be inspired by nature, but may be inspired by looking for the glory of God emerging in a thousand small ways. To God be the glory, whatever the outcome. May his kingdom come, and his will be done, here in the UK and in Europe. Amen.