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"

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Name of Jesus

Many of the ways of God are outside our understanding, so they remain a mystery, but the essential message of the Gospel is unequivocal. We read in the Bible that everything relating to the Kingdom of God is either positive or negative, good or bad, light or dark, we are either in or out, there is no in between, no middle way.

Often in conversation we can talk about spiritual things or the problems in society, global warming and saving the planet and difficulties with human relationships, but there is rarely an agreement on the solution. We may discuss the things of God like prayer, meditation, fasting, healing, charitable works and love, but when the name of Jesus is mentioned it sharpens things up. It's a powerful name and things turn personal and revealing and that can be too close for comfort for some, so the conversation may be diverted and Jesus becomes the stumbling block.

In church circles we may even talk about church activities and services or committee meetings, but if someone speaks personally of their walk with Jesus it suddenly changes the whole tone of the discussion. It brings a breath of fresh air which can grow into a freeing healing breeze or be stifled and allowed to die.

I love Jesus and cannot live without Him. I constantly let Him down and fail, but He still loves me. I want to talk about Him to people I meet, but I don't want to hurt people's feelings. More to the point, perhaps I don't want my feelings hurt. To be part of an intense intellectual discussion can be intimidating for a simple soul like me. To talk of a relationship with Jesus at such times is running the risk of being rejected or thought a fool. But I am learning to be sensitive to God and to others, so it's OK so long as I am being a 'fool for Christ!'

We know whether or not we have a personal relationship with Jesus and our lives belong to Him and no one else can tell us how it is with us and Jesus us today. This then leaves us with two questions:

Who is Jesus to you? and ..
How is it with Jesus and you today?

".. but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness." 1 Corinthians 1:23 Modern King James Version


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

God the Encourager

My wife was in hospital again and I felt bewildered and in need of encouragement. I made my way to the hospital chapel as I knew it to be a peaceful place where I could be quiet. Choosing a comfortable seat to the side, I reached out to God with everything within me.

After several minutes I was aware of some movement behind me. I tried to ignore what I saw as an interruption. A male nurse, he was wearing a white coat, walked up to the piano. He turned to me as if asking permission and I nodded in agreement. He lifted the lid and without any music he started to play. What came next just took my breath away. Without pausing or faltering he made that instrument sing. The music flowed and ebbed, reverberating around the room. It soared up to heights and down to the soft lows. Nobody could have written that beautiful music, it was as if God, by His Spirit was giving him the notes.

I was transfixed and touched to the very core of my being. I realised this was God's arranging, His man. This was the Father's love song to me. It was as if He was saying "It's going to be all right, I have everything in hand. Just watch what I will do! You are precious to Me and I will not let you down!"

Then just as suddenly as he came in, he closed the lid and without a sideways glance, departed. I eventually left that room walking on air and assured that it was going to be all right.

God always responds to our heart cries, He never disappoints us. Because we are so special to Him, He knows exactly what we need to be encouraged.

"I will speak out to encourage .... So your God will delight in you." Isaiah 62:1-5 Good News Bible


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Passing on the Comfort

There was a time when my life got out of balance. I took on so much that I was soon giving out from empty. My tank was running dry. Especially with counselling, I was relying more and more on procedure that had worked before. Whilst I was listening hour after hour, I was screaming inside, "What about me?"

Fortunately I headed the warning signs and embarked upon a prolonged period of recharging, refreshment and redirection. It was Jesus who brought me through, but there were a few who were a vital help in my time of need. They had one thing in common; they had 'been there' and knew what I was experiencing. Just a few prayerfully chosen words were all that were needed to keep me moving forward.

I had an early appointment in town the other day. Things were completed much sooner than I expected so I took the opportunity to call by a local beauty spot. As I marvelled at the lingering autumn colours, I noticed a man coming towards me. We admired the view together and had a pleasant exchange. I was about take my leave when I realised the encounter was about something else. He was hurting inside and needed to talk.

For once I set aside the temptation to bring in my own agenda, and just listened as he spoke of his painful situation. It wasn't difficult, as I readily identified with his story, I had 'been there!' I had no idea if the few words I said were any help, but I knew God was in it and I left after assuring him of my prayers.

I have found over and over, that when we have experienced a blessing or comforting from God, it is used to bless others. Without us having to look for it, He arranges what I call God-incidences. All we have to do is make sure we are in tune with God and don't mess up. In other words, as He changes us, so He uses us to help change others. He does the changing, our part is effortless and enjoyable.

"He helps us in all our troubles, so that we are able to help others who have all kinds of troubles, using the same help that we ourselves have received from God." 2Corinthians 1:4 Good News Bible


Friday, November 23, 2007

Have You Done The Things I Said?

During my early years as a Christian I longed to do something big for God. I felt unfulfilled in my work and wanted to be on God's front line where the action was. Some churches actually seemed to encourage this attitude, giving the impression that our ambition should be to be a missionary or evangelist, as they were real Christians!

Believing it to be God's will for me, I applied for training as an ordained minister. My wife and family were right behind me in this. The sifting process dragged on for over eighteen months, but eventually, after the final selection conference, I was given the answer, "No, not yet!" I was told to "Go back to the desert" and "Get my nose to the grindstone!" Initially I was devastated and felt hurt by the way I had been dealt with. However, in time I came to realise there was some truth in what had been said and several things became clear:

God's longing to use us is far greater than our longing to be used and He's already chosen the work for us to do. It's God who calls and ordains us into 'ministry,' whether big or little, up front or behind the scenes, at home or abroad. The question for me was, how close was my walk with God and was I really in a place to hear Him and obey His every whisper?

I'm not so sure He's interested in our big exploits or our position in church, but more in the things closer to home. The things He taught about, that help build our character. Have I loved my wife - husband, friend, parent? What about our neighbours or the widow down the road? Have I fed the poor and destitute? How do I apply myself at work?

Forming and sustaining relationships in love and truth, can be the hardest thing we attempt. Marriage relationships especially, can sometimes seem like being on the front line of battle, where we are confronted with our own inadequacies and fears. It's our attitude towards those we see regularly, that really speaks to people, not necessarily the words we use.

I can almost imagine, when we eventually meet Jesus face to face and he asks us, "Have you done the things I said?"

"Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. My Father will love those who love me; I too will love them and reveal myself to them." John 14:21 Good News Bible


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

When All Else Fails

When you have done all you can
and it's still not enough
When you have considered every which way
but you are stuck in a trough
When you have thought and pondered
'til you're sick inside
When you feel the spectre of fear
and despair comes knocking
When you have fought with all your might
and victory's nowhere in sight
When all seems impossible
take a risk ...

Throw yourself into Father's arms
abandon yourself into His love
let it all go to Him
and leave it there
He is the Man who knows
He will not let you down

"I will not fail you .." Joshua 1:5


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gaining Through Losing

It was our first time in Canada and we visited a church. As the speaker got into his stride, I began to squirm in my seat. God had put His finger on something vital and was speaking directly to me. A longing for more of God in my life was awakened, but also the realisation that something was getting in the way. I felt challenged to surrender my reputation to Him, as I knew that I attached too much importance to what I imagined others thought of me. I made up my mind with God there and then, left it at that and got on with my busy life schedule.

God had not forgotten of course. Several years later, I had to set aside all my Christian work and what went for ministry. Through prolonged illness I lost most of what was fulfilling. It took time for me to come to terms with the situation and work though the feelings with Father. Also the grief I was experiencing wasn't just for the immediate loss, but long-buried grief from years past.

During the time I wrestled with my deprivation, many of the contacts I had made through my Christian involvements began to fall away. I felt forgotten and rejected. I'm sure some thought I had failed or even regarded me - that horrible word - as back-slidden! As one friend put it, I had "fallen off the edge of the table" and was no longer seen as relevant to the Christian activity scene. In truth, I was discovering delicacies at the Lord's banqueting table.

As I accepted the situation and found healing, my vision was renewed and broadened. I began to discover latent gifts and found satisfaction in doing what I was able. More importantly, my knowledge of and intimacy with Jesus was deepening. What I originally saw as a terrible loss, was turning out to be a life-saver. I found that even though I had lost a reputation, I had gained a testimony.

God sees and feels the desires and longings within our hearts, those same desires He put there and is totally committed to enabling us to enter into the 'more' for our lives. The things we may seem as important pale into insignificance to the wonder of walking with Him.

"Not only those things; I reckon everything as complete loss for the sake of what is so much more valuable, the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have thrown everything away; I consider it all as mere garbage, so that I may gain Christ." Philippians 3:8 Good News Bible


Friday, November 16, 2007

Heavenward Bound

Glancing across the office one afternoon, I saw a colleague standing at the window, staring into space and looking very thoughtful. Concerned, I went over to him and enquired if he was all right. He said he wasn't sure, but that he was at a crossroads. I asked the obvious; which way did he want to go? He wasn't sure, so he asked me where I was heading. He knew I was a Christian, so I shared with him, the best way I could, what following Jesus meant to me.

Several days later, he came in with a spring in his step and told me he had made his decision. Just so that I wouldn't get puffed up with pride and think it was my doing, he explained that what finally clinched it for him, was a booklet from a well-known visiting preacher.

Being certain of our destiny makes all the difference and changes our whole perspective on life. Being on the heavenly journey gives us a real hope and strength and a new purpose.

Some days it may feel like I am in a fog and the signpost bears just one word, "God!" However, I know without any doubt He is with me and in control, loving, guiding supporting and that one day I will be with Him, face to face.

"There are many rooms in my Father's house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so." John 14:2 Good News Bible


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Keep Your Distance?

Do others really know us or do we keep people at a distance? Are we on view like a peeled banana or more like a coconut where the soft white flesh is protected by a hard shell.

All sorts of attitudes and ploys are used to stop people getting too close for comfort. Here are just a few examples: Keeping busy so there's no opportunity to get personal ..... hiding behind our expert role or badge of office such as pastor, supervisor, counsellor ..... staying in control and especially steering conversations away from anything too personal ..... avoiding certain types of people .... being the centre of attention. There are a multitude of ways, quite a few of which I admit to having personal experience.

Perhaps some of us do this because deep down we feel unsure of ourselves. Memories from our youth may leave us feeling we haven't quite made it, leaving us open to the lie, 'there's something wrong with me!' For someone to see that vulnerable area could be very threatening.

If we are like this with people, we may also be keeping God at arms length, the two go together. Part of our lives may be a no go area for anyone? This must hurt Him as He longs to have a close relationship with us and heal any hurts with His love.

The answer must be to take the risk and draw closer to Father and allow Him to show us those areas of our lives where we feel vulnerable or even frightened. He will wash us clean, lift off the shame and reveal to us the truth of how He sees us so that we can walk tall.

"We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don't manoeuvre and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don't twist God's Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God."
2 Corinthians 4:2 The Message Bible

"Don't be afraid, for you will not be put to shame! Don't be intimidated, for you will not be humiliated! You will forget about the shame you experienced in your youth; you will no longer remember the disgrace of your abandonment." Isaiah 54:4 New English Translation


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Finding Joy in the Humdrum

I've helped build motorways and nuclear power stations, controlled regional water supplies, climbed mountains and been engaged on Christian projects, but always tried to shoulder my responsibilities in the family and put them first. After retirement and through changed circumstances I became more involved with routine things. Just now and again I admit to entertaining thoughts, "Is this really what I am made for?"

Right now, after a particularly routine-filled week, I'm hanging out the washing. My wife says it's eco friendly, unlike tumble driers and it gives the clothes a blow and 'sweetens' them. I hang them up and she removes them at the end of the day. There are many advantages to this arrangement. It's my first smell of the fresh morning air, the best time of the day, full of promise. My muscles benefit from the gentle exercise and I have time to reflect on the day to come.

I didn't realise there was a skill in this. There's a right and wrong way of pegging out and I never seem to get it quite right. Why some garments are hung upside down and others right way up beats me! However, I excel in matching up the different types and colours of the pegs with the appropriate items of clothing. When all is done I stand back and proudly admire my display as it catches the breeze.

So what am I doing, writing about such a mundane boring activity? I'm discovering something that I should have done years ago. The secret is finding joy in the humdrum. As with all those other little jobs that have to be done each day, I'm pegging out the washing with Jesus.

I have done the big things and still look to Him for more, but it's Jesus Himself who is our peace and satisfaction, not the spiritual highs and thrills. If we don't learn to walk with Him in the routine, we may miss the adventure just around the bend!

"There are times when there is no illumination and no thrill, but just the daily round, the common task. Routine is God’s way of saving us between our times of inspiration. Do not expect God always to give you His thrilling minutes, but learn to live in the domain of drudgery by the power of God." Oswald Chambers

"Only those who try to live near God and have formed the habit of faithfulness to Him in the small things of our daily life, can hope in times of need for that special light which shows us our path. To do as well as we can the job immediately before us, is the way to learn what we ought to do next." Evelyn Underhill

"He walked steadily with God" Genesis 5:22


Friday, November 09, 2007

Forgiving Those Who Hurt Us

There are times when I find it hard to forgive, especially when I consider I'm in the right and they should be the ones to apologise.

I remember an occasion when I was an engineer. I had been up all night in the cold and wet, supervising construction work and I was very tired and hungry. We were about to pack up, when the young design engineer arrived, after a good night's sleep and breakfast. He started to find fault in some of the unimportant touches and said it wouldn't do. I believed he was totally out of order and for me it was the last straw. I lost my temper and told him in no uncertain manner, that he didn't know what he was talking about and he should get back to his drawing board where he belonged.

I felt bad about my behaviour and later that day I called in and apologised, not so much for what I had said, but for my attitude. It took some courage to do that, so I paused, thinking he might reciprocate. Instead he replied "Quite right, so you should apologise!" I left it at that, but I believed the atmosphere between us and in the office, improved afterwards.

I came to realise that any unforgiveness I may carry within my heart needs to be dealt with, even against people who are dead. I asked God to show me who they were and I made a list, starting as far back as I could remember. I made sure I had really forgiven all those who came to mind.

Several names awakened strong feelings within me and I had to look at the situations in depth with Jesus. One was my high school headmaster, who treated me very badly before I left. His cold aggressive attitude may have affected the direction of my career. The most difficult was my mother, who, although she did her very best for me, tended to be possessive and controlling and I was surprised at the feelings of anger that surfaced. Over a period of over a year, I had to keep forgiving her in my heart. I knew when it was dealt with it was dealt with, because my love for her had increased and my attitude had changed.

Failure to forgive can hamper our walk with God, taint relationships and have a negative disabling affect within our work, church or family community. When we exercise our power to forgive, we all benefit and people and situations are released to go forward God's way.

"If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done." Matthew 6:14-15 Good News Bible


Monday, November 05, 2007

Living Beyond Ourselves

"Come!" answered Jesus. So Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water to Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he was afraid and started to sink down in the water. "Save me, Lord!" he cried. Matthew 14:29-30 Good News Bible

I used to think that this account had no relevance to us today. After all, who walks on water these days? I just put it down to Peter's bravado.

I've always liked messing about in boats. Preferably on inland waters and in a sturdy craft I can stand up in. I need to feel safe and secure. Not so sure about being on a rough sea. I love the thrill of watching crashing waves, but prefer to keep them at a distance.

God must see that hunger in our hearts for adventure and to live life to the full, even if those longings have been long buried or denied. He knows we may not leave the comfort of our boat voluntarily, so allows situations where we feel we can't cope.

Once outside our comfort zone and into unknown territory it can seem frightening. The waves of anxiety and doubt threaten to engulf us and we may fear that we will go under. However, as we take our eyes off the circumstances and put our trust in Jesus and keep looking to Him with everything within us, the fears begin to calm. We soon find that we are moving forward with the circumstances under our feet. We need to be extra careful then, because walking on water can be exhilarating and can divert us from trusting in Jesus. Once more we need to continue looking to Him.

Only God sees the big picture and prepares us for what is round the next bend in our lives. He knows just how much we can stand, whether it's a rippled puddle or a stormy ocean. One way or another He will always bring us through.

If we have given ourselves to the Lord and are His, we will want to follow Him wherever He beckons. Sooner or later we will find ourselves in situations that may seem impossible. He allows that because He wants to see us grow in the knowledge of His mighty love and power and live beyond ourselves and our own limited capabilities. Whatever happens, if we trust in Him, He will never ever let us down. We may even experience a miracle!


Saturday, November 03, 2007

No Other God Like This

We are called to be tolerant, compassionate and respectful of those who think differently to us. This is especially true of those who follow another faith. It does not mean however, that we should compromise our fundamental beliefs as Christians.

Sitting quietly this morning, as the sun was rising, I was taken up with thoughts of such a wonderful God we have. There is no other god like Him.

We don't have to go looking for Him, because He actually comes looking for us, as if we were the only person in the whole world. He pursues us as a lover. There is no other god like that.

Even though we are constantly making a mess of things He still accepts us as we are. He so loves us, that He even made Himself as nothing, so that we can be one of His family for ever and ever.

Although He is so powerful and mighty, He bends right down to our level and listens to our heart whispers. There is no other god like this.

There is so much, very much more ....

How do I know this? The Bible tells me so and I have tasted and He is good! I love Him and He loves me more than I can imagine. There is no other god like that.

What can our response be to such love but to abandon ourselves to Him?

"To whom will you compare me?" says the LORD. "Is there anyone else like me? Isaiah 46:5 Good News Bible


Friday, November 02, 2007

He Really Does Care

We've not long been back from two weeks away. It all went remarkably well, although we nearly didn't go!

It was to be a time for family business, keeping in touch and just enjoying each other. We really felt it was right to go and the timing was right for everyone. It would be a challenge, as my wife is disabled and I am still recovering from chronic fatigue (M.E.), so we always have to lean heavily on God for His provision, what we call 'His enabling.'

However, a few days before we were due to leave, things started to go wrong. My wife was diagnosed with an infection that we were told could be life-threatening. Then we heard that my wife's brother had been taken into hospital. There were other things that I'll not mention.

For a few hours I thought everything was going wrong and our plans, if not our lives, were turning pear-shaped. I began to worry about all the 'what-if's' and I felt under attack. Anxiety still tends to be a bit of a weak area for me, but I decided I would not give into circumstances. During all the phone calls and hospital visits I tried to keep focussed on Jesus and let it all go to Him. He has brought us through enough darkness for me to realise He will not let us down.

Guess what? My wife responded well to the prescribed drugs and although we left a day later than planned it was really, really good! The long car journey went like clockwork, as if the car had wings, even miraculously avoiding all traffic congestion on a busy route. It was one of the best times we have had with the family, with memorable experiences. Everything slotted into place, even to the extent of losing my car keys in a park and having them handed back to me within half an hour. We even arrived just in time to take my wife's brother home from hospital where he had successful treatment. The whole time was a catalogue of what we call 'God-incidences!'

The scripture says it all. Why worry about something in the future that most likely will never happen? Our heavenly Father really does care for every detail of our lives and provided we put our trust in Him, He will look after everything and His unlimited power will be available to us.

"Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7 Good News Bible