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"

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fling Wide the Gates!

I feel that this can apply to anyone, young or old, believer or not, newly-awakened or 'mature:'

Call out to Him
from the very depths of your being
Call out as never before
Turn from the old ways
Let go of the old
and yield to Him, surrender
He is waiting for your response
He is knocking on your door
He's on your side, He's for you
He really really is
Who is this we are talking about?
God, who is all-powerful, all-loving
He sees all and knows all
but bends right down to hear your prayer
there is no other god anywhere like Him
Open up your heart to Him
and He will come running inside
Stop striving and let go
Let Him take the strain
and watch what He will do
He's won your battle
He's all you need

"Fling wide the gates, open the ancient doors, and the great king will come in. Who is this great king? He is the LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, victorious in battle. Fling wide the gates, open the ancient doors, and the great king will come in. Who is this great king? The triumphant LORD ---he is the great king!" Psalm 24:7-10 Good News Bible


Friday, May 30, 2008

Control and Dominance

The seagulls are back on our roof and with a vengeance! It's not that I don't like the birds, I think they are a beautiful part of the seaside scene, but preferably not nesting on our roof!

They regard the area as their own territory and guard it jealously, especially when the chicks are about to hatch. Our garden slopes above the height of the roof and when I appear they squawk like mad and go on the attack, missing me by inches. When I was up a ladder, painting the front of our house, they dive-bombed me so much, that I had to wear a hard hat - safety helmet- to protect myself from their deadly beaks. They obviously feel vulnerable up there with their young and will go to any lengths to keep us away.

I sometimes wonder if any of us are like those seagulls. Do we behave in a way that keeps people away from those parts of us that are vulnerable and tender? We can do this by staying in control of conversations or making sure we are the dominant partner in a relationship or in any other way that keeps people at arms length. The problem then is that others don't get to know us and we don't get to know them.

If we are like this with people, then surely we will be the same in our relationship with God? We could be saying to Him, "You can have any part of me, but please don't go there!" If we keep God at a distance, not allowing Him full control over our lives, we miss out. But Jesus is gentle and knows us so well. We can trust Him with those scary places. When we allow Him into our inner pain, he will cleanse and heal and lift the shame.

When we know who we are in Christ, we can dare to allow others close, without shame or fear.

"I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves," Ephesians 3:16 New International Version


Friday, May 23, 2008

Essential Church

Something different today! No scripture, just a sort of quiz that may promote a few thoughts. Take part on your own or with others. Forgive me if you've seen something like this before.

Imagine there is no Christian church in your area and you are going to decide the elements that are absolutely essential for one to be started. In other words, those things that you consider of paramount importance for it to be a church.

Choose from my suggestions below. Delete those you consider unimportant and tick those that are essential or even add some of your own. From your short list, try to reduce it to as few items as you can.

Suggested list to choose from:

Ordained pastor/minister - a church building - comfortable seating - people - coffee facilities - Bibles/the scriptures - elders - overhead projector - secretary - committee - a bishop - printed order of service - adequate parking facilities - a baptistry - prayer group - rules of membership - a youth leader - outreach mission - the Risen Christ - sacraments - musicians - an altar - programme of social events - hymn books - a choir - shared lunches - links with other churches

How do you feel about your list? Is it the kind of church you would feel comfortable in? If you are in a church at present, how does it compare? If you would like to share your answers, let me know and post a comment. I may even declare my answers?


Monday, May 19, 2008

He Told Me Everything I Ever Did!

The story of Jesus's conversation with the "Woman at the Well" has always fascinated me. It is not only an account of how Jesus can meet with us at our point of need, but also a model of how we can relate to others and pass on the love of Christ that we have received.

I particularly note the following:

1. He met her where she was, carrying out her everyday basic routine. Mostly such encounters will not be in a church building or at an altar call, but in the market place of life, when we least expect them.

2. Even though she wasn't "one of them" and had every expectation to experience rejection, he showed and demonstrated total acceptance. It may be relatively easy to love someone we like. But it is a challenge to show unconditional compassion to someone on the fringes of society or someone we may even have reason to dislike. Surely, our deepest need is to be accepted?

3. He made himself vulnerable by asking her to do something for him, making her feel needed. So often we feel we have to do something to gain someone's attention.

4. He identified with her and boldly spoke of the Good News in a way she could receive. I believe it's a gift to be able to explain spiritual truths without compromise and without resorting to religious gobbledygook.

5. Jesus engaged and identified with her, saw what was on her heart and spoke to her 'condition'. If we are in tune with Father and have any compassion, the Holy Spirit will reveal to us what we need to know.

6. She was given new hope for the way forward and was so overwhelmed by what she heard that she went to tell others.

"Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." John 4:39 New International Version


Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Circle of God's Love

There's a form of wrestling - I think it originates in Japan, but there are similar sports in rural areas of Europe - where the opponents spar in a circle. The whole object is to keep your feet planted firmly on the ground, while pushing your opponent outside the circle. The first to achieve this three times is the winner of the contest.

God's love is like a circle. It has no beginning and is never-ending, limitless. No matter what we do or who we are or where we are, His love reaches out to us. If we remain within God's circle of love, in right relationship with Him, we partake of all the benefits and experience His peace. We may stray outside the circle because of our own disobedience or sin or we may get pushed out by the enemy. At such times we may feel ashamed and powerless. We may even feel we have failed. But the moment we turn to God and step back into the circle, we are reinstated and His peace begins to flow again.

Back within the circle we are effortlessly enfolded in his wonderful love. The only effort is stepping back when we stray outside.

"Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, -- The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him." Psalm 103:1-11 Of David. New International Version


Friday, May 16, 2008

God's Creation In Our Lives

Our garden is semi-wild, with views of countryside and sea and is a real delight to us. It's not always been that way though. When we first arrived we had to work long and hard to construct terraces and plant it out. However, because it is steep and takes the brunt of the salt-laden south westerlies from the Atlantic, it's a hostile environment and many of the plants didn't survive.

Not to be put off, I cleared one of the largest beds and started over again. First of all I weeded it thoroughly before preparing the soil by digging deep and raking it over. Because the winter was much wetter than usual, I wasn't able to do any more to it until spring. It was then that we found a variety of plants shooting up. Intrigued, we decided to wait and see what developed. Several weeks later we had a splendid display of unusual wild flowers, some of which we had never seen or even heard of before. Majestic foxgloves, tall fluffy Mullein Verbascum thapsus Scrophulariaceae, the delicate Solomon's SealPolygonatum officinale Liliaceae, wild strawberries and of course primroses.

The seeds had been there all the time, waiting for the right moment. Just think, all that was created without us having to do anything, other than prepare the soil! God knew better than us what would thrive in the environment of our garden.

God is the great Creator. If we are yielded to God and allow Him to cleanse and prepare the soil of our lives, we will experience His working in our lives in ways that we never thought possible and with the minimum of effort and stress.

"For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." Colossians 1:16 New International Version


Monday, May 12, 2008

Are We Ready?

Have you ever had one of those moments that you just knew was God-arranged? A chance meeting in the street, a telephone call or a knock on the door, when all of a sudden you were alerted by the sense that it was a divine appointment.

You don't know why, but you just know that it is important, different, significant. It may be that you just have to drop everything and give that person your whole attention and listen with your whole being. He or she may be waiting for a word of direction, encouragement or comfort. Alternatively, they may have something to say to you, if you have ears to hear. They may not realise that, but suddenly, a word brings clarity to something you have been wrestling with and seeking an answer to for a long time. Whatever it is, God who sees the big picture, has brought you together for that brief moment for some purpose!

One thing I am sure of, is that these 'divine appointments' occur when I least expect them and usually when I consider it most inconvenient. If I am resting in God and in tune with Him at the time, I just may drop everything and give that person and God my full concentration. The danger is that I may fail to recognise the God-given opportunity and make my excuses and get on with my own agenda. In that case, one or both of us may miss out on a blessing or worse.

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus is coming again and that there will be no mistaking when that happens. It will be abundantly clear and we will need to drop everything. We are told of world events, such as wars, conflict, terrorism, financial meltdown and environmental disasters that are pointers to this second coming. All these signs are now on the increase and seem to indicate this could be very soon. Even next week, next year? We don't know. We have no need to be alarmed or fearful, but we do need to be ready.

Do we really know we belong to Jesus and are we walking with Him in intimacy and obedience? Is there bitterness, anger or unforgiveness in our lives or other issues that are unresolved? Time is short.

"For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. - So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." Matthew 24:27 and 44 New International Version


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Committed to Follow

Dartmoor is almost on our doorstep. It's one of the few real wildernessess left in England and it was my ambition to walk across it from north to south. I researched the route and reckoned it was achievable in a day, provided I was adequately prepared.

I set out on a fine summer's day, booted and fully equipped with Gortex waterproofs, map, compass, and rucksack packed with food, drink and emergency kit. The archetypical hill-walker, looking the part and ready for anything?

I soon eased myself into a relaxed stride, drinking in the familiar solitude around me. There was a long way to go, so I was careful to conserve energy and pace myself. After an hour or two I descended to Plym Head and looked around for a way up to the ridge above. A prolonged scramble and I was standing on the top by Boulder Rock, surveying the scene. I was at a watershed between two vast catchments. Stretched below in front of me was the real wilderness area. It was completely unknown to me, with no marked paths, rough going, with treacherous bogs and mires that can swallow up whole stray cattle.

This wasn't just lines on a map, but the real thing and although I was excited, I suddenly felt very much alone and scared. Thoughts went through my mind. "Would I have enough strength, how will I find a way, will I get lost, perhaps I should turn back while I can, it's too risky on my own?" This was decision time. I dismissed the doubts and fears. I was committed to this and if I was going to be true to myself and the desire within, I had to go on. Through the haze I could just make out a faint point in the far distance, that could be the line of the old quarry rail track. I fixed a compass bearing on it and stepped down into the unknown and passed the point of no return.

Step by step I descended into the valley, picking my way through the rocks and skirting the bogs and potholes. All the way I didn't experience a single diversion or wrong move. What followed was an unforgettable walk through stunning wild scenery. At the end of the day, well before sunset, I sat on a low wall feeling very tired but fulfilled, waiting for my son to come and pick me up.

If we say we are a Christian, surrendered to God, then He will be looking for a deliberate commitment to following Him into the unknown. During our life there will be challenges to our commitment There may even be a deliberate defining decision, that will be pivotal to the rest of our life. It can be frightening to step into what seems unknown, but we have His Word and His promise to be with us all the way.

"Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: "He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." Psalm 37:5-6 New International Version


Friday, May 09, 2008

Filling the Void

Our new dentist is the friendliest and most gentle of dentists we have ever met. At our last checkup I knew there was work to be done, as I was in some discomfort. As I entered his surgery, he greeted me with a smile, "How are you?" I knew he wasn't just enquiring after my dental health, he had a real interest in 'me!' As I made my self comfortable in his chair, he asked again. This time I knew he meant business, so I pointed to the offending molar. After a quick check, he said I needed a filling, but there was no need for an injection. "Are you sure?" I queried, as past memories of a toe-curling root canal filling passed before me. "Trust me" he said.

I lay back and just tried to concentrate on Jesus, as he set to with his drill to remove the decay. After cleaning out the cavity he filled it and seemingly in no time at all he was saying "Rinse your mouth out!" I was surprised there had been no pain, but was glad to be able to move my mouth again. I left his surgery walking on air. I felt a new man.

If we have an aching void somewhere inside, Jesus longs to fill it for us. First of all though, he has to clean out the decay. Also, whatever substitute we have used to plug the gap has to be removed. All we have to do is offer it to Jesus and he will replace it with an infilling of His peace and love. Jesus is the kindest man I know. He really understands, so we are safe in His hands.

"- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:19 New International Version


Monday, May 05, 2008

Whose Voice are we Listening to?

We have had so many intrusive calls from tele sales, that we signed up to a national scheme to stop them. It has really worked on the whole, but some still get through the net.

The other day we had a call from an insurance company we hadn't dealt with before. The salesman launched into his spiel, saying that our home cover was due and he could offer us a better deal. After giving him a fair hearing, I said that we were happy with our current firm, so weren't interested. Undeterred, he continued in full flow. I tried again, but he was aggressively trying to get his point over. I asked him where he had obtained our details and would he please remove us from his database. He rang off. The next day another salesman from the same firm phoned and it all started over. We went through the same process again before he rang off. The day after, yet another of their salesmen called. As he gathered momentum I stopped him and said we were quite satisfied and I was not interested. Undeterred, he said I needed to hear what he had to say. I broke in and told him that he just wasn't listening to me and I didn't want to hear from him again. He eventually gave up and rang off.

The salesman was so blinkered and focussed upon his own agenda, that he was unable to take in anything else or even consider what his potential customer really wanted. This made me wonder if we can be like this?

Is it possible to be so wrapped up in our own agenda and patterns of behaviour, that we miss what God is saying to us? If so, we can be in danger of filtering out the voices, so that we hear only what we want to hear. This means we are open to be swayed by what the world and the enemy are saying. The world for example, speaks to our 'addictions' and says "that's OK, you are only human!" This viewpoint can be bolstered even more, if we are also surrounded by those of the same mind.

If we make sure all areas of our lives are yielded to God - and He usually only has His finger on one thing at a time - and come to him open-handed, with a clean sheet, He will not disappoint us. We may be in for some surprises and could do things that buck the trend, but we will be living. Only God's Word brings life.

"He who has ears, let him hear." Matthew 13:9 New International Version


Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Father's Love

The Father's love comforts
us when all seems dark and hopeless

The Father's love heals
us when we are hurting and wounded

The Father's love befriends
us when we are lonely

The Father's love accepts
us just as we are

The Father's love carries
us when we don't know which way to turn

The Father's love empowers
us to live beyond ourselves

The Father's love invites
us to follow Him into the unknown

The Father's love transforms
us into the person he made us to be

The Father's love encourages
us to fulfil the desires he put there

The Father's love waits
for our response

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you." John 15:9 New International Version


Friday, May 02, 2008

Living in the Flow

When I was a boy I could hardly wait for the fair to come to town. I loved the noise and excitement of the fairground. I was particularly drawn to the helter skelter. We climbed up inside the candy-striped tower and once at the top we launched ourselves onto the slide and spiralled down the outside, whooping with glee. More modern versions are found in children's play parks and our grandchildren make a beeline for them. Even the toddlers seem fearless as they woosh down the polished stainless steel slide.

For reasons I've yet to discover they also delight in trying to go up the slide the wrong way. Usually they give up halfway as their feet slip or someone else comes hurtling down. It's just the same in the shopping malls, where, if we didn't stop them, they would try to climb up the down escalator. We try to explain that apart from being dangerous it's very exhausting and much better to use the correct one. Of course we adults would never do anything like that, or would we?

I had a full programme arranged for the other day. Things I had been meaning to do for quite a while. The problem was other things kept getting in the way. Several phone calls delayed me and then I kept bumping into people who wanted to talk. Even as I was speaking, my mind was on my own agenda and I realised I was getting uptight. Only then did it dawn on me that God had arranged things differently and I was resisting His timetable. These 'things' that were getting in the way, were relationships and people that were far more important than my own plan.

When we become Christians we stop going against the flow of God's love and provision and hand over control to the Holy Spirit. To yield to God and live in the flow of God's provision can be effortless, far more effective and even stimulating. To go against the flow causes stress and fatigue and frustrates God's purpose in our lives.

"From now on, then, you must live the rest of your earthly lives controlled by God's will -" 1 Peter 4:2 Good News Bible