A Christian’s heavenly journey with his feet on the ground. Treasures shared that are discovered along the way.
Please note that this blog has now moved to: "Senior Eagle walking with Father"

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Waiting, Waiting .....

“Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he received the news that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was for two more days.” John 11:5-6 Good News Bible

Jesus was in tune with His Father and would only move when the time was right. But can you imagine what it must have been like for Martha and Mary, waiting back home with Lazarus? Certainly, they both reproached Jesus when He eventually arrived.

I have always found waiting difficult. Why is it, I so often choose the wrong line at the supermarket? The one where there’s a malfunction at the checkout or some other delay. I shouldn’t fume, but use the opportunity to abide and just ‘be’! What about waiting in the longer term, say weeks, months or even years, for something you are longing and believing for?

Several years ago, after an operation, I experienced what some might call a mini-breakdown. I lost all sense of God’s presence. It felt as if God had gone into hiding and I was all alone, the only person in the whole world. It was devastating. I soon realised that somehow, if I put my trust in God, He would take me through to the other side. I spent much time just ‘being’ and centring on Jesus, the best I could. Sure enough, after many painful, and at times, surprisingly blessed months, it all lifted and my senses returned. It was like an infant being lifted into its mother’s arms.

I once saw a note pinned on an old church door in Malta:

Jesus always comes on time
He’s never early
He’s never late
Trust Him.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Spread Your Wings My Love

My wife and I had booked into a country mansion for a weekend and were shown into our comfortable room overlooking spacious gardens. We soon noticed two butterflies resting against the bottom of the window pane. Every now and again they gave a frustrated flutter against the glass. They could see the tantalising beauty of the sunlit gardens outside, but were trapped inside the room. The window was partly open, but they were unable to find the way out. It seemed like they had given up hope and thought the abundant life outside wasn't for them. They were trapped in a prison of their own making.

Perhaps because we identified with the plight of these little creatures, we longed to set them free. We pushed the window open as wide as it would go and watched. Slowly and very tentatively, they opened and closed their beautiful young wings and aired them in the warmth of the sun. Then they took off through the opening into the fresh air and freedom.

This reminded us that God so longs to open the eyes of our hearts, so that we see ourselves as He sees us. As we realise the beauty and magnificence of our inheritance in Christ, we are released from the disabling guilt, shame, sin and misery that holds us back from the freedom of wholeheartedly following Him.

Spread your wings my love.

"you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.... If the Son sets you free, then you will be really free." John 8:32-36 Good News Bible


Saturday, October 27, 2007

An Attitude of Gratitude

I still have a lot to learn in the area of gratefulness and need to have a more thankful heart, especially when things don't seem to be going so well.

The least we can do is thank God for His blessings and for His love for us. It warms His heart and does us good, builds our faith, makes us more aware of His Presence and keeps the enemy away. It's good for us and for God! When we thank God and give Him the glory for a practical blessing, we also receive a spiritual blessing.

I always try to put the day to rest well before going to bed, it's one way to ensure a good night's sleep. This entails remembering the day's events and giving thanks. On a less regular basis, I often make a 'blessings list' in my journal. It includes all the things that have gone so well in the past month and recalling some of the amazing ways God has worked in our lives.

During times when life is difficult and God seems far away, I go back to these lists to remind myself what an awesome God we have. I find it encourages me, lifts my spirits and reminds me that He has my best interests at heart.

The old hymn is still as good today:

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1856-1922

"... be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Good News Bible


Monday, October 22, 2007

No Turning Back

There is a secluded part of our beach that can only be reached near low tide. It's so beautiful, it feels like being on a desert island. I know it like the back of my hand, so it's surprising to say that I once was cut off by the tide.

I was so engrossed in my thoughts, I lost track of time. Driven by a strong on-shore wind, the angry sea had cut off my retreat. I seriously considered swimming around the promontory, but eventually dismissed that as being too dangerous. I could easily have drowned.If I couldn’t return the familiar way, what was the alternative? I didn’t fancy spending the night out there at that time of year.

Suddenly I remembered there used to be a rope that hung down the side of the cliff. It had been put there by sun-worshippers to enable a short cut from the woods above. I soon found it and reached up and gave the ragged end a tentative tug. This was to be my lifeline, but I wondered if it would be secure? It probably hadn’t been used all winter.

I stepped back and considered my options. Well, there weren’t any really, this was the only way forward. But it seemed very risky. Eventually, I looped the rope around my waist and willed myself to go up. It had to take my full weight as I pulled myself up the scree-strewn rocks. Soon there were dubious handholds here and there, until I came to a very narrow goat track ascending into the trees. There was a terrific sense of relief and achievement as I made my way through the cliff-side woods to the road and the way home.

This was at a time when I was being challenged to go forward into an unknown and frightening situation. It taught me a vital real life lesson. God is always doing a new thing and no matter how good or bad the last experience was we have to leave it behind and move forward with God without looking back. He will never let us down.

"But Lot's wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt." Genesis 19:26 Good News Bible

"But the LORD says, "Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already---you can see it now! I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there." Isaiah 43:18-19 Good News Bible


Friday, October 19, 2007

Obeying God's Voice

Hearing God's voice, whether a timely 'prompt' or something more important, is a very precious thing. I would urge you, when this happens to you, take it seriously. Be sure what it means and obey without further delay.

There was a time when I only wish I had done so. It would have saved me a lot of strife and heartache. It was at a time when I was seeking the way forward for myself and was praying with a small group. Someone I hadn't met before described a 'picture' for me. I knew instantly that it was for me and felt it was an answer to what I had been seeking. I didn't understand it though and others in the group were not sure. After several weeks of turning it over in my mind I let it go. God didn't let it go though! He was patient and knew what was in my heart.

Two years later He spoke again and gave me the grace to obey and my life returned to harmony with God and His purposes for me. Some I know seem to have a hot line to God and others find hearing from God a rare thing. Of course God speaks to us in a variety of ways. It may be a special verse that seems to leap out from the Bible, it may come through some other Christian or be a faint whisper in the stillness. Whatever the way, when it happens we need to check it out with scripture and make sure we understand. If it is important, ask a trusted friend and keep seeking God until you have the answer.

Obeying God's intsruction always brings rest and peace in our hearts.

"This is what the scripture says: "If you hear God's voice today, do not be stubborn, as your ancestors were when they rebelled against God." Hebrews 3:15 Good News Bible


Monday, October 15, 2007

Heart-Stopping Moments

"When my heart whispered, "Seek God," my whole being replied, "I'm seeking him!" Psalm 27:8 The Message Bible

Yesterday was one of those warm autumn evenings where there wasn't a breath of wind. Everywhere was silent as the sea was calm and the seagulls were elsewhere. As the sun set, the colour of the sky was graded from a pale coeruleum blue to soft salmon pink to deep alizarin crimson.

It felt as if I was looking at the Glory of God and reminded me of similar heart-stopping moments, that seemed as if they were made just for me:

Like one still dark summer's evening, when a man up the hill stood on his balcony and sang an operatic chorus. His deep Welsh voice resonated on and on down our narrow valley. Residents were enthralled and came out to hear. When he finished there was applause all round and I was goose-pimply and touched deep inside.

We visited a country estate nearby at magnolia time. It was like a winter wonderland with the magnificent leafless magnolia trees bearing their white, pale pink and cream blooms. The grass was covered with petals like giant fluffy curled snowflakes. It was such an amazing spectacle that the visitors were captivated and tiptoed around, talking in whispers as if in a cathedral.

When walking along a narrow mountain ridge in the Austrian Alps, I was delighted by the gentians pushing through the lingering snow. On the opposite side of the valley, the snow-covered peaks were reaching into the clear sky. The air was crisp and sparkling like champagne. It was like being on the roof of the world, gently ascending a pathway to heaven. It was exciting and beautiful to the extreme. All too soon, it was time to turn back and I cried.

These are just a few of my heart-stopping moments. Yours may be different, but I really believe that at such times we are in touch with a deep inner longing. A longing that is reaching out to God, because he put it there. It seems that such moments demand a response.

"Lord, I'm coming!"


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Firmly Rooted in God's Love

"I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, so that you, together with all God's people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ's love." Ephesians 3:17-18 Good News Bible

Trees fascinate me. I have been shown some vital spiritual lessons through them.

High up on the hill above our village, a grazing field had been turned into a plantation through a forestry scheme. Hundreds of tiny saplings were planted. At first I thought they must have made a mistake, as the site was exposed to the ravages of the severe salt-laden south-westerlies. However, I assumed they knew what they were doing and had chosen species appropriate to the climate and location. I noticed that each one was staked. Not tightly, but loose enough to allow some movement and close enough to provide some support.

Not long after this, I experienced a prolonged extremely difficult time. I had to give up the work I was involved with and I fell ill. I was nearly paralysed by the winds of fear and doubt, buffeted to the ground by illness and parched by the drought of loneliness and grief. There were times when I felt like giving in, but Jesus knew just how much I could take. Each time when I thought I could take no more He was there with his supporting encouragement.

Several years later I can look back and see that I have come through. Somehow I just know that God has placed something firm and solid deep within me. It's nothing I can boast about, because He did it! There's more work to be done, but the strong winds of misfortune and adversity have made me stronger. My roots have gone down further into God's love.

Recently, I went back up the hill to have a look at the field and was amazed by what I saw. Just about all the saplings had survived and were growing into beautiful small trees. There is more growth to come, but all those fierce winds and extremes of weather caused them to put their roots further down into the soil to make them strong.

"He is like a tree growing near a stream and sending out roots to the water. It is not afraid when hot weather comes, because its leaves stay green; it has no worries when there is no rain; it keeps on bearing fruit." Jeremiah 17:8 Good News Bible


Friday, October 12, 2007

Communication in Marriage

".... A rope made of three cords is hard to break." Ecclesiastes 4:12 Good News Bible

After many years of marriage I would say that we are closer now than ever, although we still have our moments. It has not all been plain sailing though, we've certainly had our trials and difficulties. In fact we would both agree, that following Jesus has kept us together.

We used to attend the occasional marriage conference. I'll never forget the first one. I was quite apprehensive beforehand, as I thought the leaders would 'hit me over the head' with what the Bible says about marriage and declare that I had failed as a husband. I was however, pleasantly surprised and found the weekend most encouraging.

It was at these marriage weekends that we learned how communication is paramount for a marriage, or any other relationship to succeed. We were shown ways of improving communication. One was to write each other a letter. Boy, was that an eye-opener, some men freaked out of that stage. We came away with 'tools' to help us deal with potential confrontational situations, before they developed into a full-blown row.

Most useful is what we call the twenty/twenty, where we give each other twenty minutes. After asking the Lord to help us, I listen to my wife, who has my full attention without interruptions. I then mirror back to her what I believe she is saying and feeling. We had to learn to take responsibility for our own feelings. For example we say "When you do this, I feel ...!" not "You make me feel ...!" I found this difficult in the early days, as I was a bit lacking in the feelings department. We then change places and repeat the process. Finally we may have to negotiate and come to some agreement over the issue. That's how it goes, although we tend to take short cuts these days.

We certainly have not got it all right, but I thought I would share something that we found helpful in our time of need.

"God, the best maker of all marriages, Combine your hearts into one." William Shakespeare

"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person."
Mignon McLaughlin

"As the scripture says, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one." Ephesians 5:31 Good News Bible


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Cruel to be Kind

"I am the real vine, and my Father is the gardener. He breaks off every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and he prunes every branch that does bear fruit, so that it will be clean and bear more fruit. John 15:1-2 Good News Bible

We have a large escallonia bush in our front garden, but it grew old and straggly and stopped flowering. We decided it needed pruning, so following advice, I cut out the dead wood. When I had finished there wasn’t much left. As a friend of ours said - “it’s got two chances, it can live or die.” Thankfully it lived. The following year it sprouted new growth. Now it’s a mass of healthy foliage and covered in pink blossom in season. Just goes to prove that you have to be cruel to be kind.

It reminds me of the time when, owing to burn-out, my Christian work had to finish, work that gave me fulfilment and purpose. I lost sense of awareness and perception and God seemed to have hidden. It was devastating at first, I felt all alone and frightened. I could identify with King Nebuchadnezzar, who was reduced to a brass-bound stump.

But slowly, very slowly I got used to the situation and yielded to God in it, putting my trust in Him. As the months went by I came to realise that without doing anything but looking to Him, I was being changed inside. The Gardener was tending and feeding my roots. He was feeling my feelings with me and I experienced His healing touch. I was learning new ways and rediscovering hidden talent and gifts. Fresh shoots were sprouting. Several years later I could look back and realise that new branches had grown.

I can now honestly say that I am thankful this happened. Through it I have come to know more of the real me and have a broader heart knowledge of God. The journey goes on and there will be more pruning. Hopefully not as drastic as before. The Gardener will use His sharp knife to lovingly trim a branch to encourage further healthy growth.

”Proper pruning is as much a skill as it is an art, since badly pruned plants can become diseased or grow in undesirable ways.” quotation


Monday, October 08, 2007

The Father's Love Song

"The LORD your God is with you; his power gives you victory. The LORD will take delight in you, and in his love he will give you new life. He will sing and be joyful over you," Zephaniah 3:17 Good News Bible

We all have a basic fundamental need. Whether old or young, man or woman, we have a need to be loved and to pass love on to others. That's how God made us. His love is life-giving and life-changing. Reading the bible in itself however, may not change us, but being loved by God will.

If we take time to sit with our bible and still ourselves, we can receive His words for us and allow them to sink into the inner depths of our being. As we soak in His presence, we may hear something of the Father's love song to us, words that could go something like this:

I love you, You are precious in my sight

I love to look gaze upon your face my darling

I delight in you, You are the apple of my eye

I will comfort you and extend peace to you like a river

I am with you, Don't be afraid I am your God

I will go before you and give you the treasures of darkness

I will give you victory. You are more than a conqueror

You are mine and I am yours.

(taken from various scriptures)


Saturday, October 06, 2007

Where is my Father?

“My father and mother may abandon me, but the LORD will take care of me.” Psalm 27:10 Good News Bible

My father was over the moon with joy when I was born. He called me his ‘little chippy’ - a chip of the old block! Desiring the best for me, he did all he could, sometimes sacrificially. You can ask no more than that from anyone. But as I grew into boyhood he became more distant. That wasn’t how he wanted it. But because of his buried grief and shutdown feelings, there was no emotional bonding between us. As he said, much later in life, “I’m just not made that way!”

He wasn’t there when I needed him most, when I was hurting inside. I wanted him to put his arms around me and tell me it was all right. I needed to know what he was feeling and thinking and what he was afraid of. That he felt the same as me. As it was, I concluded that it was wrong to have feelings of fear and guilt. My response was to hide them away.

It was much later, in my thirties, that I came to know a God who is all-powerful and mighty, but bends right down to hear our heart whisper. It was only then, after I knew it was safe, that I dared take a risk. I allowed those same feelings to surface and experienced Father melt away the fear and and lift off the guilt and shame.

My earthly father is long gone. I have nothing but love for him and am left with some really good childhood memories.

It still touches me deep inside, when I realise what a loving heavenly Father I have. A God who longs to Father us and be to us what we need.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Man Spoils - God Restores

"So God made them all, and he was pleased with what he saw." Genesis 1:25 Good News Bible

"... O my soul, bless GOD, don't forget a single blessing! He forgives your sins - every one. He heals your diseases - every one. He redeems you from hell - saves your life! He crowns you with love and mercy - a paradise crown. He wraps you in goodness - beauty eternal. He renews your youth - you're always young in his presence. GOD makes everything come out right; he puts victims back on their feet" Psalm 103:1-5 The Message Bible

One morning last winter, we became aware of a loud grinding noise after breakfast. Looking out of the window, we saw a large red tractor with some sort of attachment, like a large mower and flail, cutting down the undergrowth on the steep hillside opposite.

For thirty years we have enjoyed the view from our living room. The natural covering in buddleia, gorse and hawthorn was a delight, besides providing a natural habitat for the abundant wildlife.

Before our eyes, the whole hillside was being scalped, with all the debris just left to rot. A phone call revealed that the new landowner just "wanted to see what he'd bought!" The owner can do what he likes to his land within the law, it's not our responsibility. However his thoughtless and untimely action had caused a spoiling and a desecration of God's beautiful creation.

Over the last nine months, while it has lain fallow and untouched by man, a natural regeneration has been going on. The heavy unseasonable rainfall this summer resulted in rapid new growth. The hillside now appears lush and green. Ferns and gorse are pushing through and flowers we had never seen before are shining across at us. Soon the wildlife will start to return. God's creative restoration process is under way.

Similarly, our lives can be spoiled by the thoughtless actions of others, wrong handling or abuse, or even our own behaviour patterns and addictions. Life's hurts can damage us, but when we turn to God and allow Jesus into our lives, a restoration process begins. When we surrender to God and put our lives into His loving hands and let Him have His way with us, we experience new growth. We realise the benefits and blessings of belonging to God's family.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Facing the Mountain

"The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, 'Move!' and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn't be able to tackle." Matthew 17:20 The Message Bible

One of my weaknesses is procrastination. If there is something I have to do that could be difficult, unpleasant or involves confrontation or stepping into the unknown, I have a tendency to put it off for another day. The trouble is 'another day' may never come.

When I was working for our regional water company, the water supply strategy was changed for the whole area. This was a major undertaking, involving a new reservoir and miles of pipelines. Once the design and construction engineers had completed their work, it was handed over to us operational guys to make it work. The problem was that no one really wanted to do it. Some even thought that some aspects of the project were ill conceived, as the untreated water discharged into a very old water mains of doubtful condition. It was fraught with difficulties and if anything went wrong, the results could be catastrophic and my job would be on the line. For a while I even thought it best to leave things as they were.

I realised however, that it was up to me to get the ball rolling. The time had come to dismiss the doubts and fears and look at what we'd got. This meant getting together those involved, each with expertise in their own field and have a brainstorming session. All the difficulties, technical details, suggestions etc. were written on a board and someone was delegated to go away and make some sense of it. Each time we met, a plan slowly emerged. Preparations were finalised and the day arrived when we were to start the switch over. One of my colleagues was a Christian and we must have prayed over every inch and nut and bolt of that project. The big day came to start the changeover and each day over the next few weeks, we took one step after another, until it was up and running. There were no insurmountable problems.

I learned an important lesson through that experience. Whenever we step out in faith in something new, there is nearly always a trench of fear and doubt to cross. However, when faced square on, the 'mountain' of fear starts to melt away and the seemingly impossible becomes possible.

Nothing is too difficult for God.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Food for Thought

"But because of our sins he was wounded, beaten because of the evil we did. We are healed by the punishment he suffered, made whole by the blows he received." Isaiah 53:5 Good News Bible

I heard on the television yesterday, that it's been discovered that dark chocolate is helpful for those suffering from fatigue. That's good news for me, as I love chocolate. I take it with a pinch of salt though, along with claims that red wine benefits the heart, spinach enriches the blood and butter is bad for you.

This made me think about food and diet in general. I've lost count of the different diets that have been offered to my wife and I, often with a guarantee of a miracle cure. We've tried several, but I came to the conclusion that rigidly following a strict restrictive diet can get in the way of following Jesus, the real Miracle Worker. We enjoy a balanced diet and I would certainly avoid any food that disagreed with me, but that's as far as I would go along that route.

I believe that healing is part of the Christian salvation package. Jesus ministered and still does, to the whole person. He didn't separate out the spiritual from the emotional and physical. So looking to Him for healing does mean opening all areas of our lives to Him and changing our ways. Often and especially with some stress-related illness, we may even contribute to our own sickness through our behaviour patterns. For example, if I keep banging my head against a brick wall, I will get a headache. Better to stop the habit, than take pain relief. Better still to ask God to show us why we were doing it in the first place.

I think however, that many of us would rather pop pills, follow a diet or even take part in a sponsored walk across the Mongolian Desert, than allow God to show us what is going on inside and heal us. It can be just too scary to let the hurting recesses of our hearts be exposed. The truth is that He is very gentle and we can trust Him.

I know that Christian healing is a controversial subject for some and this is not the gospel according to Wayfarerjon, but it is food for thought!

I will continue to enjoy my chocolate in moderation, especially if it is fairtrade. I'll keep up the vitamin pills, but I will always try to put God first and seek His way. I thank Him for the medics and professionals and the food He provides, but also seek His deep healing peace that reaches the places others cannot.