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"

Monday, August 03, 2009

"walking with Father" has moved

A reminder that I have moved "walking with Father" to WordPress and combined it with my other blog.
You will find it on
Senior Eagle walking with Father and look forward to meeting you there.

Important: Blogger readers may find it helpful to update the 'Following' list on their dashboard with my new WordPress URL, as I will be deleting this Blogger blog very soon.

So click on Senior Eagle walking with Father where you will find a welcome.



Monday, June 15, 2009

Who is Normal?

All our young grandchildren are a delight, but there is one who is special. She has been diagnosed as being just within the ‘autism spectrum!’ That is the 'label' she has been given, as if to explain away her uniqueness. We refuse to accept such a label. She is who she is. For the first two or three years of her life her hearing was impaired. This disadvantage has been corrected and with encouragement and some heartache she is finding her own way through.

She is gifted and talented and we are proud of her.She has a vivid imagination and lives life to the full, can be very sensitive and often takes the lead in group play. But just now and again she will ask a question or do or say something a bit quirky, outside what would normally be accepted as the social norm for the given situation.
But who are we to dampen the tremendous spirit she has, there could be a potential genius in the making. In reality, it's often the sort of thing she does, that many 'normal' adults may wish they could do or say, but keep quiet in case they may offend - or feel shamed?

This makes me wonder, what is normal, who is normal?

In many group situations whether, business, office, club and especially in some church and Christian fellowships, there is an expected way of behaviour and way of doing things. But sometimes this expectation to conform can be confining and stunt progress. Daring to be different may rock the boat and there will be pressure - real or perceived - to conform. I once overheard a conversation regarding a club member, "she's not really one of us!" I don't know, but perhaps 'she' was just a bit different and some were finding that 'difference' embarassing or maybe it revealed their own longing or inner pain.

Most of us in some way or another are 'dysfunctional, and haven't yet realised the full potential we have in Christ. We are instructed in the Bible to lay down our lives, for the sake of the wider 'community', but before we can lay down our lives we need to 'get a life.' It's Father who shows us who we really are, if we ask, and as we are all work in progress, we need to accept the differences in our midst.

So I urge us to do two things:

Go all out to follow the individual path God has for us and discover what we are made for even if this means living with other's misunderstanding.


accept and embrace the differences in those around us.

"For the body itself is not made up of only one part, but of many parts. -- As it is, however, God put every different part in the body just as he wanted it to be. There would not be a body if it were all only one part! As it is, there are many parts but one body. So then, the eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" Nor can the head say to the feet, "Well, I don't need you!" 1Co 12:14-21 New International Version


Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Greatest Gift

Most of us need someone to be there for us at some time in our lives and maybe, even be available to listen to others? Surely, this is the greatest gift we can give to another? To really listen.

I want you to listen.

You see ...
I have an ache inside;
a sort of pain,
that really hurts.
It’s been there ...
since I was a child.
I’ve tried to ignore it,
cover it over,
but it won’t go away.
It’s coming to the boil.

Can you listen and
put your agenda to one side?
Give me your attention,
and be there for me?

I don’t want you to fix it
or make it better.
I just need to know
I’ve been heard,
and just possibly ...

I need to know
I’m safe with you,
that you won’t tell,
because I’m afraid
and ashamed
of what may come out.

But ...

You’re looking at your watch.
Your gaze is elsewhere.
Am I boring you?
I know you have problems.
Perhaps another time?


"If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear." - Winnie the Pooh

“Remember this, my dear friends! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1: 19 New International Version


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A Delightful Inheritance

My wife and I have just returned from a delightful week in a cottage shared with friends. We were in the heart of the Herefordshire countryside, which in my opinion is rural England at it’s very best. However, I’m biased as this was also the area where my family originated, going back to the 1600's and earlier.

The amazing thing is that in some ways the countryside has changed little since those days. The country lanes, often lined with ancient oaks, on the whole are the same, except the dirt surface has been replaced with tarmac. Some old farm buildings are still standing including timber-framed houses in various states of repair and even older churches.

It was a really good feeling to soak in these pastoral scenes, including cattle and sheep grazing in lush green meadows by the side of a meandering river, all bathed in brilliant sunlight. It was idyllic, but don’t be deceived. That was the rural setting then, but the realities of living in those times for most were hard and come the industrial revolution the working conditions were often appalling. My ancestors were God-fearing, hard working, stoical artisans, but life was hard and they were used to ever-present poverty and grief. I am thankful for and welcome the former inheritance - which, together with my upbringing has helped shape me - but have sought freedom through Jesus from the latter.

It’s good to look back and be thankful, but I was reminded that as Christians we have an incredibly delightful inheritance. We have a new home with Father that is as old as the hills, but lasts for ever. What’s more we don’t have to wait for our inheritance, we can experience this life-changing ‘gift’ right now, giving us a taste of what is to come. There have been difficult times when I have thought my lot was far from being a ‘pleasant place’, but am learning that God only allows what He can use to bring us closer to Him and prepare us for our everlasting future with Him.

I find that just to think and meditate on this touches me to the core.

“Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Psalm 16:5-6 New International Version


Saturday, June 06, 2009

Out On a Limb

I grew up in a small mill village, which some might today regard as an idyllic childhood. We were free to roam in complete safety in the streets, vast parkland and surrounding countryside and get up to all sorts of tricks. My mother used to tell people that I was ‘such a good boy!’ Little did she know!

One day we were playing on the outskirts of the village. In the middle of the field we discovered a scruffy apple tree and there on a high branch was just one apple. I was dared to climb up and get it and not to be outdone I started to clamber up, cheered on by my friends. It was higher than I thought and felt a bit unnerved as I gingerly wrapped my legs around the branch. I really felt out on a limb as I inched my way along the bough, which was beginning to bend. Just then the farmer appeared, striding across the field. He looked angry! The other boys ran off, but I had my eye on that apple. Just as I grabbed it the branch broke and I fell to the ground on my stomach, winding myself. The farmer was fast approaching, so I ran off, but forgot the secret way across the boggy stream and was soon up to my knees, with the farmer standing on the edge, waving his stick. I extricated myself and made my way home wondering what my mother would say about the state of my shoes and socks.

I can look back now and see how significant that episode was. As a child I had a sense of adventure that somehow, over the responsibilities, trials and pressures of my adult years got dimmed. However God, in His infinite love and wisdom saw into my heart and wasn’t going to let it stay that way. He didn’t want me to stay in my ‘comfortable nest,’ so He allowed circumstances to come along to bump start me into ‘risky living!’ Whether it was trying to find my way through very trying circumstances or in stepping out on a project that was on my heart, I have often found myself out on a limb. It was fine at first, especially with friend’s encouragement, but as the going got tough that support tended to evaporate. I then felt all alone, going where I hadn’t been before - into the unknown. Holding onto that branch was scary, even frightening. I looked behind, but could see there was no going back. I looked down, but that made me feel panicky, so I fixed my gaze on that apple and somehow, in a way I don’t understand I finally had my hands on that fruit - and sometimes I didn’t!

I believe God wants us out on a limb, trusting in him. We may feel unsafe out on the ‘branch,’ but remember it is connected to the solid dependable tree of life. We may even fall, but we ‘fall up’ into His arms and in our journey we will have moved on, ready for the next time. He will never ever let us down.

Let’s go for that golden apple.

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you;” New International Version


Monday, June 01, 2009

It's Lonely In Here!

I wrote this very personal piece some years ago, when I was catapulted into chronic fatigue and loneliness that defied a human solution.

Whereas before, I was aware of the presence of God, it felt He had gone - this was my own Dark Night of the Soul.

I knew I had to trust Him to take me through the chasm of pain to the other side and that He did over a period of several months.

It’s lonely in here, very, very lonely
as if I’m the only person
in the whole wide world
and I’m frightened and hurting
I feel so helpless
I want to go back to how it was before, but I can’t
I want to escape, to run away.

Where are you God?
You seem so far away!
Why have you left me all alone?

In reality he is close
not the feeling, but the real thing
Jesus kneeling at my feet
“What would you have me do for you?”
What a God! at my feet!
Waiting patiently for the word
Waiting, waiting…
Yes, yes Lord, but .. but I need a lifeline
but yes, yes Lord, yes!

And as the yes’s and the trusting grew
and except for the odd backward glance,
the journey entered upon,
standing empty in the barren desert,
feeling the feelings with Him
I remind myself
He will not let me down,
He will not let me be tempted more than I can bear
and …

as my eyes become accustomed to the darkness
I find beauty to behold,
diamonds and precious stones
hidden behind the pain,
memories that heal and not hinder,
heart to blessed heart
words of love
the pain starts to lift
and the anxieties start to melt away.

Until the time when I feel His embrace
- and do you know
it can actually hurt to be loved!
But Lord don’t stop.

Is this the end?
no, it’s just the beginning.

“I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” Isaiah 45:3 New International Version


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pointing the Finger?

I would like to air my feelings, comments and questions about what is happening in my country, Britain, at this time. It is not for me to comment on other countries, but some of this may just be familiar?

We had a new Prime Minister and he was welcomed like a breath of fresh air, but soon - as usually happens - the honeymoon was over. People began to blame him and the banks for the financial crisis and whatever else was going wrong. Now this is reinforced by the current daily revelations in the press of the alleged dubious expenses claims of some Members of our Parliament.

Much of this criticism may well be justified and certainly our government and the MP's we elected should be showing an example. However, I feel somewhat uneasy about all this 'pointing the finger.' I wonder how many in this country, whether journalists, business men or employees, are completely honest and beyond blame in their financial dealings with their own expense claims or income tax returns? And how would many of us feel if our financial details were open in public for all to scrutinise? I believe what is currently being revealed is only the tip of the iceberg as to what may be endemic in certain fields of employment and business.

The other thing is that whatever authority the Prime Minister and the government have, although they may well have been elected by the nation, that authority is given by God - perhaps we have the government we deserve? That doesn't mean that we cannot protest, but there are democratic ways laid down to do this, so shouldn’t we be careful what we say? But then, the respect for authority in this country has been eroded over the last 15 years and I can’t help but observe that it is being replaced with aggression. Where does this come from? The dysfunctional family? We can’t blame the government for that, can we?

You will notice I have left the 'Great' out of Britain. This is my country and I still feel it is great, but we have lost much of our Christian heritage and so are slipping out of God's providence. Many in Britain are angry at the moment and want justice - but justice for someone else? I believe God is also angry, but His justice is a bit different to ours?

A link to explain what the expenses furore is all about.

On the positive side, all this can be used for transformation and change, starting with the nation's repentance and returning to God. This is what I believe many are praying for.

"Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men." 1Peter 2:13-15

"Pilate said to him, "You will not speak to me? Remember, I have the authority to set you free and also to have you crucified." Jesus answered, "You have authority over me only because it was given to you by God. So the man who handed me over to you is guilty of a worse sin." John 19:10-11 Good News Bible

"Everyone must obey state authorities, because no authority exists without God's permission, and the existing authorities have been put there by God. Whoever opposes the existing authority opposes what God has ordered; and anyone who does so will bring judgment on himself." Romans 13:1-2


Friday, May 22, 2009

Have You Made It?

It was our young granddaughter’s birthday over the weekend. She is keen on drawing and painting, so we decided to give her some junior artist’s materials and took great pleasure in choosing them. I also discovered a website for children’s creative art. Their advice was: don’t give them anything to copy, but let them express themselves freely, don’t enter them into any competition and encourage them and validate what they do. This is brilliant advice. It’s one way in letting them know they are loved and accepted for who they are, without having to perform, earn love or follow some cardboard cutout example.

I’m not sure there was any definite plan in my career. I am of average intelligence, but conscientiously applied myself using the skills I had. I enjoyed what I did. My father often asked me ‘had I received promotion yet?’ It was obviously important to him, but only served to reinforce my childhood feeling that I had ‘not quite made it.’ I did eventually get my bosses job, a senior management position, but this was after my father had died so he never saw that.

I had a dream at this time - it’s one way that God uses to get through to me - that alerted me of the need to get free of striving to perform to please and be accepted. It went something like this. “I was smartly dressed, with a very heavy bag over one shoulder and was trying to make my way out of the works depot up a steep slope to my father - Father God? - at the exit gates. I was smiling at Him, as if to say ‘look at me I am doing so well.’ But try as I could I just could not make it, even on all fours, and kept slipping back.”

I discovered that I don't have to make it, because God has already 'made it' for me. We can never earn God’s love, it's given freely. Yes, we have to work out our salvation, but it's a love response and even then it's God who works in us. The only effort is to make sure we are abiding in His love.

"for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." Philippians 2:13

"Freely you have received" Matthew 10:8

“After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” Galatians 3:3 New International Version


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Peeled Bananas

Oh the joys of doing the weekly shop. My wife and I go together. With a trolley each, we start at opposite ends of the supermarket and compare notes when we meet in the middle. While deliberating over my purchases I often notice a lone husband on his cell phone to his wife - presumably , “Darling, which sort of cornflakes did you say?” while I smugly work through my list.

I’ve long realised that a degree of detective work is needed in the supermarkets. Often, at first sight, the contents of the packages and cans may not always live up to the expectations of the outside labels. For example “Pure natural blossom honey?” What does that mean? ‘Honey’ yes, but doesn’t all honey come from blossom and is there such a thing as ‘unnatural’ honey? That leaves ‘pure’, which I take it to be a euphemism for ‘honey blended from various sources and heat treated.’ What is ‘farm fresh corn-fed chicken’ supposed to mean? Are they reared in batteries, deep litter, free range and are they organically reared? So what you see isn’t always what you expect.

All very mundane. But are we real and open to people and God , WYSIWYG like a peeled banana? Do they see us as we really are?

This was brought home to me the other day, when during a good-humoured exchange with a friend, he said “You are a top bloke, but when I first knew you years ago, you were a bit stuck up!” He had a point. I used to be very closed and not in touch with my feelings that much. I’ve changed since, a process that is ongoing.

I remember in my second year as a shy boy in high school, a teacher wrote in my annual report, “I wish he would come out of his shell.” Sounds a bit like a tortoise or a snail! I did emerge as I grew up, but there were certain sides of me that were unconsciously kept well hidden , perhaps because of shame or false guilt. By adulthood I already had coping mechanism in place to deal with this deficiency.

The problem is, being closed separates. It can be a barrier to open communication and conversation stays mainly from the head and not the heart. Of course, if we are closed to people we will also be hiding those areas from God. The solution is to invite Jesus into those hidden hurting areas of our life and find freedom to be ourselves, which as I discovered is an ongoing process.

“- by their fruit you will recognize them.” Matthew 7:20 New International Version


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Please Do Not Disturb!

My wife and I have recently returned from a trip upcountry. It was a very enjoyable but intensive four days, so on the way back we booked in at a hotel. This was for three nights of unaccustomed luxury for rest and relaxation. Unfortunately I developed a tummy bug on the way there and really needed the rest. To make sure I was able to relax fully I selected a notice to hang on the bedroom door - “Please do not disturb!”

Recently, a friend of ours told us how a new neighbour was in raptures of how he had been so greatly blessed at several Christian meetings. The friend remarked that he thought it all a bit way out and anyway he was a Methodist and "that's not how we do things!" Someone else referred to one of her friends who enthused about a book she had read that had really touched her and recommended she should read it. She replied that she was an Anglican (Episcopalian) and it wasn't for her.

Now, It's not for me to point the finger or say where I think they are with God. That's their business. But what about me? I want to be discerning and open to what God has for me. But I need to be careful that I'm not closed and wearing a “Do not Disturb” label.

It's so easy to stick with the status quo and stay with what we are familiar with. When we feel challenged we may give a reason or even quote a verse of scripture to justify our stance. But if God can use a donkey to speak to someone, I'm sure he can use whatever or whoever to bring a word to me to try and move me on into His will and blessing for me.

There is always more, but do we really want it - Him! Are we open?

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." Matthew 10:34


Friday, May 08, 2009

Bird's Eye View

The seagulls are back nesting on our roof. They’re beautiful creatures, but I wish they would return to the cliffs where they belong. They are a nuisance and can be very aggressive. Our windows get messed up, the car gets splodged and small birds like the finches, robins and even sparrows are frightened off. One bird they won’t scare though, are the birds of prey.

Driving along the other day I saw this large stationary bird high up in the sky, so pulled in for a better look. I’m no ornithologist, but I knew it wasn’t an eagle; perhaps a buzzard or sparrow hawk? It was effortlessly resting on the thermals, with just an occasional flip of it’s outstretched wings to correct the trim. From it’s superb panoramic vantage point little was hidden from it’s sight. It started to circle round in a spiral and suddenly, having spied it’s prey, it swooped down in a powerful dive and was lost behind the trees.

I marvelled at this image of freedom and power and wondered what it would be like if we could have such a bird’s eye view. But of course we can - in a way!

God sees things in a totally different dimension to us. The only way I know of seeing from God’s viewpoint is by feeding a loving relationship with Jesus. I don’t think that attending meetings, conferences or even knowing the contents of the Bible from cover to cover are enough to do it. No, I mean setting aside regular quality heart-to-heart time with Jesus.

I find at times events and difficulties can crowd in and pressures mount, such that it can get difficult to maintain a focus and be in danger of not 'seeing the wood for the trees!' So I try to get right away on my own for a day, or longer, now and again.

After a time alone with God problems fade, things that were hidden become clear and although our situation hasn’t changed, hopefully we have a peace about it. We still can’t see beyond the horizon, but seeing from God’s perspective gets us ready for what may be coming. Only He sees the ‘Big Picture’ but we can be at rest knowing everything is in his control.

“Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ -- that's where the action is. See things from his perspective.” Colossians 3:2 The Message

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6 New International Version


Saturday, May 02, 2009

Swine 'Flu - the End Times?

Some experts are saying that swine ‘flu is a sign of the end times that are now upon us. There are others who doubt this and say that in worse crisis than this centuries ago, people were saying the same! I am no expert on these things - there is even a long word to describe this sort of theological study, but I can’t think of it - but it has sure got my attention.

You only have to look at what is happening globally at this time in an unprecedented intensity - financial upheaval, tsunamis, earthquakes, global warming, famine, corruption, terrorism and wars in many countries, etc. and now swine ‘flu - to realise something is up. The battle between good and evil is really heating up. Is this the waning of the western civilisation or what?

I personally believe that we are in the end times. I’ve no idea of the time span or the details, but that’s not the point. I can only live in the now, but seeing what is happening in the world from God’s perspective really sharpens things up. This is no time for complacency. No time to be burying our heads in the sand.

I believe God is looking first and foremost to His Church. Are we lukewarm? Are we in the centre of His will? It’s a time to question what are we about. It’s time to be looking at our priorities. It’s a time to be making sure that we are firmly rooted in His love, because I think it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

I believe the word is - Repentance.

"There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Luke 21:25-27 New International Version


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mind the Gap

For the Christian there is always a gap, a disparity between who we are now and the unique person Father God has made us to be. There's a gap between what God has made possible and how we actually behave. But He longs for us to enter in and is committed to closing that Gap, as we walk with Him.

Following Jesus is the simplest thing we can do, but it's not easy and I begin to wonder when someone tells me otherwise. For some, their journey appears to be smooth and effortless, some get diverted and opt for the status quo, but others find at times they are treading a hard rocky path. I fit more readily into the latter category, so it's no surprise that I feel for such people and often write with them in mind.

Dealing with events or situations that God has allowed to help us grow and move us on, can be a blood-sweat-and-tears struggle. So it's helpful to share with others something of our walk, including the difficulties and vulnerabilities we experience along the way. I have found when someone has dared to be real like this, it's like a breath of fresh air. There's a connecting and identifying and a realisation that humanly ‘I'm not alone in this’ or 'I'm not abnormal!' This is why I try to write honestly and personally, but at the same time looking to Jesus.

I can look back rejoicing that God has always brought me through the trials, often in amazing ways. At the time I felt the devastation, helplessness and desperation, but giving up was never an option, it was unthinkable. It was God who did it, but now and again He used others to encourage just when needed. Then there were the others -.

At a time when I had been diagnosed with a chronic illness and my world seemed to be falling apart, I met someone with a terminal illness. He said that as soon as he was told he immediately surrendered it all to God and that was it. I was impressed, but it didn't help me. I needed to hear something of the process he went through to get to that point. Another Christian slapped me on the back and said, ‘count it all joy’ brother. Biblical truth, but there was no ‘connecting’ or identifying and it left me thinking that he couldn't cope with the situation and had to keep his distance.

I heard a ‘testimony’ from someone going through divorce proceedings, who announced that he had the victory in it, God was in control and he was at peace. His quivering lips showed me that was his hope, but it wasn't yet true in his experience. It would have been more helpful - and he would have carried more listeners with him - if he had dared take the risk to say where he was really at. It’s not a lack of faith to admit our weakness.

I'm still learning.

"Blessed are they who know their need of God, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3 (my paraphrase)


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Turning Point

I had been doing well in my battle with chronic fatigue, but I reached a plateau and wasn’t progressing. In fact I had found that particular summer extremely difficult and much of the time I was in a fog of fatigue and finding it very wearing. My wife and I had booked to attend a Christian seminar and although it involved a long journey, we decided to go anyway, believing we were meant to be there, although not sure why.

On arrival we discovered the schedule was quite intensive, with more talks than we expected. By the second day I found the only way I could deal with the stream of information was to snuggle into an armchair with my eyes half closed, but my spiritual ‘antennae’ out and look interested - business meetings had trained me for that. An extra session had been squeezed in before lunch, on forgiveness. Nothing new here, so I snuggled down deeper, but suddenly I was wide awake and alert. I asked the speaker to repeat her last sentence. “There are sometimes when we need to forgive God.” This was new to me. Forgive others, receive forgiveness and forgive myself, yes, but forgive God? Where does that come?

I later talked this through with the speaker and over the coming days found space to look at this alone with Father. I found myself saying something like this: “Father I’m not sure whether I can take anymore, I’m battered and worn out. You’ve promised to help me, strengthen and even heal me, but you are doing nothing. How much longer? What more do you want me to do? What do you want - blood?” This opened the floodgates and the realisation that I was angry and even worse, I was angry with God, for allowing me to suffer. Please don’t mention Job!

As I worked this through with Father - and the amazing thing is that He, my Daddy, took it all and I believe was even smiling - I saw that He wasn’t holding me back, but was waiting for me! I ended up seeing things from a fresh new perspective, with a changed attitude, and was more trusting and surrendered without being passive.

To think that I had to go all that way to get in touch with those buried feelings, which proved to be a catalyst, a turning point for me. The battle moved on to a new phase.

I believe God wants us to be real with Him so that He can be real with us. It’s not head-to-Head, but heart-to-Heart.

“All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments.” Psalm 73:14 Today’s New International Version


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pen of a Ready Writer

My wife and I have been invited to a special birthday celebration for the wife of a couple that were very much a part of our Christian walk 10 to 15 years ago. They asked us if possible to bring a photograph of us taken at the time when we first met.. In a search for the dates I reached for one of my old prayer journals.

I kept a very full journal in those days and as I read I became engrossed in all the detail. It spoke of struggles and stumbling and of lots of Christian activity. There was also a common thread running all the way through, of being drawn into intimacy with Father.

This led me on to considering where I am with the Lord now, after all those years. I was both encouraged and challenged.

I have ‘moved on’ since then and am more surrendered and settled inside, with less hang-ups, but still aware of some of the old persistent weaknesses lurking at times. In other words I am more aware of who I am and free to be me. The old difficulties are in the past; I’ve just got a whole load different ones and more so. This means I am much more reliant on Jesus than ever. The challenge is greater. But this is the main difference - He means more to me now than ever, He is all I need.

I just want to be wholly available to Him and be the ‘pen of a Ready Writer.’

It does help to look back with Father now and again and consider and take stock.

Where are you now?

"My tongue will be the pen of a ready writer
And what the Father gives to me I'll sing
I only want to be His breath
I only want to glorify the King"
from “I Hear the Sound of Rustling”
by Ronnie Wilson

“My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” Psalm 45:1


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Bunnies and New Life

It's delightful to see new life springing up, after such a hard winter. Our hedgerows are full of primroses, violets and May blossom and bluebells are soon coming. This is picked up in many Easter cards, depicting pretty flowers or even little happy bunnies, which makes me wonder what they have to do with Easter? What on earth does this have to do with Christianity and the Risen Christ? Well of course Jesus came that we may have new life, abundant life in the hereafter and the hear and now. But what does that mean?

Some years ago, we were at a home group and this same question was posed. What do we mean by 'abundant life"?

Surprisingly, some kept quiet - possibly because they thought their answer may be wrong - but those that replied, came up with a variety of answers, such as: “following Jesus” - “being declared not guilty” - “being able to run again” - “getting over my grief” - “being with Jesus when we die” - “freedom from the fear of death” - “reaching my full potential” - "knowing Jesus" - and so on.

There were others and you could argue that some were not theologically correct. But that’s not the point, they were all valid expressions. Some were said with feeling, even passion and had one thing in common. They had a dissatisfaction within. They couldn't quite define it, but they knew they longed for more. They had a God-given desire.

It seems a paradox that knowing Jesus brings the satisfaction, but alongside that there is a Holy hunger for more. Acknowledging and expressing that desire is a step nearer abundant life.

What do you mean by abundant life?

Easter blessings.

"- I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10 New International Version


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Parallel Paths

We’ve not long returned home from a delightful week, staying with one of our families and enjoying time with our grandchildren.

They are all so different; each one so unique! The eldest is fearless, loving and so talented and enthusiastic. I can just picture her as an actress on the stage or an Olympic ice skater. Her sister is more of an academic and I can already see the beginnings of a teacher in her, possibly? The little one is so quick to learn and is picking up much by copying her older sisters - the good and not so good! She is already displaying a determination and independence. They get on well together, but occasionally the spectre of jealousy raises its head to spoil the harmony.

We are pleased to see that although their parents are bringing them up with love and discipline, but at the same time they are encouraging and nurturing their individuality and special talents. I just pray that as they grow up, their adventurous spirits will not be crushed. Also, I hope they will resist the peer pressures to conform, so that they will dare to become the people that God has made them to be.

Isn’t it like this within the Church? As Christians we all have the same heavenly Father and are treading the same journey of faith. We are all going the same way, but because we are all different, we walk along parallel paths of discovery. Sometimes, other church members may feel threatened by such individuality and there may be a perceived pressure to conform. Some leaders may even feel their positions threatened by this apparent threat to the status quo.

Rather than feeling fearful of such people, we should embrace the difference that makes up the whole. We don't have to copy each other, or even agree, but we do need to love and accept.

Vive la difference!

"We have many parts in the one body, and all these parts have different functions. In the same way, though we are many, we are one body in union with Christ, and we are all joined to each other as different parts of one body." Romans 12:4-5 Good News Bible


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Do You Love Me?

Last week I seized the opportunity for one of those rare ‘me’ days. A day for me and just me, to do whatever I like.

The sun was shining and it was the warmest day of the year - so far. Such a relief after the icy cold winter. It felt good not having to wear a coat and I could even rejoice in relative freedom of movement, as my muscle discomfort was at a low ebb.

I drove to the clearing in the forest, which surprisingly, considering the weather, was deserted. The two staff of the Bistro in the Woods were sunning themselves outside, waiting for customers. Sinking into one of their leather sofas in the cosy cottage interior, I leafed through the country-style upmarket periodicals while waiting for my order. A steaming bowl of homemade soup and crusty bread soon appeared. Between mouthfuls I savoured the delicious peace that slowly descended, a peace that grew and lasted well beyond the soup and coffee that followed and into the afternoon.

Next, a move down the road to a large garden open to the public and famed for it’s display of spring blossom. The camellias were still holding their own, but the magnificent magnolias were in full bloom, the best for several years. The giant white, cream and pink petals contrasted with the bare branches and glistened in the sunshine.

As I drank in the beauty all around me the following words came, like a heart whisper, “Do you love Me more than this?” It sounded like I was being pursued by a jealous lover. But then I was and He is.

I felt no rebuke or guilt. After all, I believed that this whole day was God-arranged, just for me and I was actually enjoying it with Him. But these words touched the longing within me and was a reminder that my priority is a love affair with the Creator and not His creation.

If our happiness and satisfaction rests primarily in anything other than in God, then we will miss out and eventually be disappointed.

The following song came to mind:

Abba Father, let me be

Yours and Yours alone.

May my will for ever be

Evermore Your own.

Never let my heart grow cold,

Never let me go.

Abba Father, let me be
Yours and
Yours alone.

"He's a fiercely jealous lover." James 4:5


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Christian Healing - 7 Personal

These last posts have been just a few of my thoughts on Christian healing. Not quite random, as I hope I have written as led by the Spirit. I am concerned however, not to give the impression in anyway that I am an expert. There is only one expert and his name is Jesus. So I feel I need to say where I stand personally on healing - if you haven’t worked that out already:

Over thirty years ago, my wife was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the disabling disease rheumatoid arthritis and told she could be in a wheelchair within four years. This changed the direction of our lives forever, was instrumental on bringing us to the Lord and set us on a course of discovery that drew us closer to Jesus in our struggles. My wife, although the illness progressed and is physically disabled to a degree, still lives to the full and the wheelchair did not materialise. Her doctors and others are amazed.

Several years ago I developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - M.E. - and since then in looking to the Lord have received some healing. It’s as if He has been healing me slowly, ‘on the drip’, as I try to walk with Father in obedience. The last two or three years have been particularly challenging for us both. My wife experiencing two accidents - one in which she nearly died - and I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. It has been a bumpy ride.

In our walk we have seen God enable us in amazing ways that we never thought possible. We still believe that God heals, but in His way and in His time. We live for today. We are even less sure what God has for us ‘tomorrow’, our future is in hands, we trust Him, He has brought us through so far and will not let us down. We are forever expectant.

If you would like to hear from my wife’s viewpoint, she is the Guest Blogger on my Senior Eagle blog this week. Look under: “The Thirty Nine Steps”.


Christian Healing - 6 Corporate

There is often so much emphasis on the individual’s walk with God, we can forget there is a corporate or community dimension.

From time to time we hear testimonies to healing. It’s there all right, but in dribs and drabs. But I have often wondered why the evidence of healing isn’t more widespread. I would like to see an avalanche. After all Jesus said that if we abided in Him we would do what He did and even more! There may be many reasons for this lack, but I think one reason is because of unbelief and disunity within a church, group, area local or a whole nation. It’s like God holds back the floodgates, waiting for our response?

On the other hand I have experienced from time to time, in small gatherings or groups, - but not much recently - where there was a real honest openness to God and to each other, that the Holy Spirit descended upon us tangibly, touching and moving everyone present. I believe this is the environment, the atmosphere that gives God the freedom to act powerfully.

I only have to walk down the street to see the need on people’s faces. It’s unmistakable. Our response can be to pray inwardly for each person we meet. I have also found that when in conversation I offer to pray for them, it is nearly always welcomed. I should do it more often, because God anoints boldness. There have been times occasionally when it is received with indifference or rejection. Like the time when I was so moved by a man I saw with both legs in plaster, that I asked if he would like me to pray with Him. He refused most strongly and angrily, but I noticed as he was speaking he could not look at me. Maybe he was still in shock and perhaps I was a tad insensitive, but I know that in His love God will not let him forget that time. I leave the outcome to Him.

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron's beard, down upon the collar of his robes. - For there the LORD bestows his blessing - ” Psalm 133:1-3

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16 New International Version


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Christian Healing - 5 Abiding

Abiding is absolutely key. This is where our Christian walk starts and continues to be maintained. When we make our home with Jesus the Bible comes alive and we begin to be in tune with God.

In our need for healing, it is in this heart to heart relationship that God hears our cry. This is where we hear His Word and especially those living personal Words just for us. Words that bring hope and life into our situation. But this is where the battle really commences. Satan just does not like this.

We may become aware of Satan’s lies, as fear and doubt try to get a hold. Taunts like “Who do you think you are?” or “Come on get real, you don’t really believe this do you?!” But as we continue to abide in Him surrounded by His love, we are safe from all the flaming arrows and missiles that come our way. They just cannot touch us. As we shelter wrapped in Father’s cloak we are assured of His comfort and His victory.

Pain and discomfort can cause us to sink and make it difficult to keep our focus on Him. Pain is very wearing and at worst it feels like trying to see through a fog. At such times I feel the only thing to do - and the best - is to surrender in complete trust. Throw ourselves into Father’s arms knowing He will fight the battle for us and bring us through.

Our focus of course, is not on the promised healing, but on the Promiser and Healer, so the bottom line is absolute surrender. This gives the Holy Spirit absolute freedom to move in our lives, whenever and however. The opposite to this is complaining - which I am well familiar with - and only serves to prolong the process. Unconditional yielding to God is tantamount to saying, ‘I yield to you Father whether you heal me or not.’ This may seem paradoxical, but it’s no different to saying we have to ‘lose our life to gain it.’ Knowing God will do what he said he will do, means we can do this. We trust Him. This is such a simple childlike heart action, but I for one have found it not easy and has often taken some crisis to bring it about.

I’ve said nothing so far about the medical profession and healing. I have no doubt that God works through doctors and treatments. Where would we be without them? But I’m not sure I would describe it as divine healing. Doctors do not have all the answers and some prescribed drugs are toxic with side effects that can have a drastic effect upon our quality of life. Enough said.

God does a proper job.

“Whoever goes to the LORD for safety, whoever remains under the protection of the Almighty, can say to him, "You are my defender and protector. You are my God; in you I trust." He will keep you safe from all hidden dangers and from all deadly diseases.” Psalm 91:1-3 Good News Bible

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, then you will ask for anything you wish, and you shall have it.” John 15:7 Good News Bible


Friday, March 27, 2009

Christian Healing - 4 Discernment

God is always speaking to us, if only we are open to listen. It will always be in accord with His Word, but in a way that is right for each of us individually. There is every reason to believe therefore, that He will speak to us when we are sick.

Some refer to God’s healing as a mystery, but there is no mystery in that God heals today, as it’s written in His Word. All we have to do is believe. What we don’t know is how and when God brings this into fruition within us so that it is evident. Some healing seems to be almost immediate, in others it happens gradually over time and others are waiting for years. Healing may be a process, but it’s not a procedure, but in the context of a intimate loving relationship.

There was a time when I was listening to and praying for others and more or less followed the same pattern. This seemed to work for while, until I realised that I had to listen to God and learn to flow with what the Holy Spirit was doing. Discernment is essential. After all, Jesus only did what ‘he saw His Father doing.’ So I am always wary when I hear someone giving the impression that, ‘this is how it is done or this is the pattern!’

I believe that as we progress in our Christian walk He is more and more concerned for our relationship with Him and our whole well-being. He knows us better than we know ourselves and sees the Big Picture. He knows the future plans He has for us. It may be that our attitude or behaviour pattern is getting in the way and He may want to deal with that first. To use a simple example: if I am banging my head against a brick wall harming myself, I may take painkillers to stop the headache. But God doesn’t want us to keep popping the pills, but deal with the root cause. Again, if we harbour unforgiveness against someone, especially towards our parents, we may need to forgive before we can receive the healing.

What I am trying to say, is that we need to believe, but God may have something to say to us in our situation, there may be steps for us to take before we can receive. God is full of surprises and loves us too much to leave us where we are.

"He told me everything I ever did." John 4:39

"Our Father in heaven: - may your Kingdom come; may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. - - If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you.” Matthew 6

"There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men." 1 Corinthians 12:6 New International Version


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Christian Healing - 3 Wholeness

I believe Jesus came to set us free as a whole person, so healing includes not just for the body, but emotional, mental and spiritual. They are all linked.

In fact unresolved emotions can have a disabling effect. For example: I used to suffer from a kind of panic that I called claustrophobia. It meant that I avoided, if possible, going into any enclosed space, such as a lift (elevator), the London Underground (Subway) or any situation where I wasn’t in control. I was eventually healed of this by facing the scary feeling with Jesus. It was soon put to the test. When landing after a crowded transatlantic flight, the plane’s exit doors refused to open.

Buried feelings, like anger for example, if not taken responsibility for and resolved, can even erupt in other ways such as physical illness.

These ‘wounds’ may be rooted in a past trauma and need courage to allow Jesus into that painful place. We may need help at first from an experienced prayer minister or prayer counsellor. Either way, it’s in intimacy with Jesus that healing takes place, so all the ‘minister’ will be doing really is bringing us into God’s presence and allowing the Holy Spirit to do His healing work.

He will meet with us at our point of need.

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Christian Healing - 2 Desperation

Thoughts on Christian Healing continued:

It may sound obvious, but healing cannot really begin unless the ‘wound’ is brought out into the open and shown to Father - and in the case of emotional healing, the pain is owned and expressed.

Usually if a child hurts itself, he or she goes running to their parents and shows their ‘wound’ to them. The child is comforted, the wound bathed and cleaned and made better. There may even be a discussion on how it happened and how to avoid it happening again.

In this simple straight forward action there is an acceptance that something is wrong, a complete trust in the parent that it will be healed and also a degree of desperation.

We sometimes need to get desperate. Like when I crushed my thumb or when a large rock fell on our son’s hand or when my wife developed a life-threatening condition in a foreign country. In each case, mustering whatever faith I had, I reached out to God with every fibre of my being, until I was assured that I had made connection, He had heard and it was in hand. In each case healing was manifest. I believe God always answers our heart cries.

With long term illness it can seem more compicated. But is it possible that sometimes we have to get desperate before we turn to God and really mean business? For some reason we may have been in denial or thought ‘this is as good as it gets.’ We may have tried all medical avenues, followed any number of special diets, dabbled in various alternative practices, but the illness still persists. Do we have to get desperate before we go all the way on a healing journey God's way, no matter what?

More to come - -

“Give praise to the LORD; he has heard my cry for help. Psalm 28:6 Good News Bible


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Christian Healing - 1 Basics

I'm writing a series of brief posts on the subject of Christian Healing. Not the ‘Gospel according to Wayfarerjon’ I hasten to add, but neither are they merely theoretical. These are a few thoughts that have come out of my struggles and searching as a pragmatic Christian needing healing - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I am still learning.

You may have your own thoughts and I will be pleased to hear your constructive comments.

Wherever Jesus went he forgave man’s sin and healed the sick. You can hardly turn a page of the Gospels without reading this. For Jesus, forgiveness and healing went together, as part of the salvation package. It’s strange how some of us separate the two and find it much easier to have faith in God for forgiveness, but not necessarily for healing.

I believe most strongly that Jesus still heals today. The Bible tells me so, the Spirit within me witnesses to this and I have experienced to a degree, such has given me a longing to see more. We can’t add to this salvation. I suppose it’s like having money in the bank - an indestructible bank. All we have to do is make a withdrawal.

There’s more to come --

“Christ himself carried our sins in his body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. It is by his wounds that you have been healed” 1Peter 2:24

“Praise the LORD, my soul, and do not forget how kind he is. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.” Psalm 103:2-3


Friday, March 13, 2009

Secret Thoughts

Look at me folks,
working hard for the Lord.
I’m so much in demand,
there’s no time to be bored

Listen to me folks,
I’ve the right turn of phrase
to speak to your need
and keep your faith ablaze

Look at my badge folks
that I so proudly wear.
I’ve an important role,
but there’s so much to bear.

Notice me folks,
I so need your support
I’m wearing myself out
and wondered what you thought.

Look at Me my son
Allow Me to be centre stage
and do a work through you.
What you do may not be seen,
will not be all the rage,
but there will be peace in your heart.

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3 New International Version


Monday, March 09, 2009

Daddy, My Daddy!

We watched the delightful film adaptation of E. Nesbit's novel "The Railway Children" - the original version - again the other week.

I am always touched by the scene where the elder daughter woke one morning feeling 'strange' and said she had to be alone. She went down to the railway station and a train pulled in. The platform emptied, but as the train pulled away, there in the distance emerging from a cloud of steam, was her father. This was her father she hadn't seen for several years. She exclaimed, "Daddy, my Daddy!"

Some of us come from families that were in part dysfunctional and so haven't experienced the degree of fathering that we really needed as children. Not their fault, that's just how it was. The wonderful thing as Christians, is that we can experience the Father's love. When we reach out and express our need for Him, he comes running towards us. It's what he is waiting for.

At a time when the child in me was deeply touched and moved by the closeness of Father God, I experienced this intimate impromptu moment. I have never written a song before, but these words, simple and personal, just burst out as I walked along the beach. I offer them to you, as they are, unfinished. There was a tune too, but I didn't’ write that down.

Father Oh Father
I love you I do
I want you to come and love me too
I want to feel you close to me
To walk and talk and play with me
How I love you Father I do
I love to dance and walk with you
I love to see the twinkle in your eyes.

Son, Oh son, I feel so proud
When you come and reach out your hand;
Something happens inside of me
When you want to walk and talk with me.

Daddy, O daddy, I love you too
I love to dance and skip with you,
Come and put your arms around me.

"So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." Luke 15:20 New International Version


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Are We Ready

A friend of ours has died. We hadn’t known her many years, but we like her very very much. She was a really genuine person and we loved her.

My wife and I visited her in hospital a few days before she died. She was frightened and having difficulty breathing and longed to be out in the fresh air, back home amidst familiar surroundings. Our hearts went out to her as we so easily identified with her longing and the fear of letting go. We held hands and talked about Jesus and finally prayed with her, before leaving.

Jesus of course, came to set us free from the fear of death in all its aspects, so it’s best to face any fears while we can. I’m so glad of my experience some years ago, when Father led me into a situation where I had to deal with and come through the fear of loneliness and fear of death.

When I was younger I thought I was immortal, but physical death can happen at any time. It’s during this lifetime that we need to prepare in readiness. I had a conversation with an older acquaintance the other day and he spoke of wanting to die painlessly at a certain age. I replied that I will go when God decides I am ready to go and not until then. I don’t know what it will be like when I come to the final letting go, but hope that it will just be a continuation of being at peace in the presence of Jesus, to actually being with Him face to face.

Are we ready?

“Since the children, as he calls them, are people of flesh and blood, Jesus himself became like them and shared their human nature. He did this so that through his death he might destroy the Devil, who has the power over death, and in this way set free those who were slaves all their lives because of their fear of death.” Hebrews 2:14-15 New International Version


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Firsthand Christians

One of the marks of a Christian is a longing to meet with others of like mind and a hunger for God and godly teaching. Unfortunately in the early years - and not so early - I was often easily influenced. I hung on every word of anointed speakers and devoured the latest books of other’s experience as they came of the press. I even quoted from what I had read or heard as if it was my own discovery. The problem wasn’t necessarily with the teaching, but that I was living off the benefit of the struggles of faith of others. That was good, but to some extent I was a copier or ‘secondhand Christian!’

I’m sure that any pastor or minister worth his salt doesn’t want to control his flock or want them to be a clone of himself, along with all his own imperfections. Rather he would strive to encourage them in their own walk with Jesus and discover their purpose in life for themselves. But copying is prevalent. I have even known instances where members of a fellowship have dressed like their pastor.

I shudder to think of some of the church activities I have been involved in - “this is what we do” - and looking back I wonder whether God was in any of it. Because I felt a definite call of God I put myself forward for the ordained ministry in the Anglican Church. I couldn’t see at the time what else it could be! After two trying years of being processed, a bishop informed me that the answer was ‘not yet’ and that I should ‘go back to the desert.’ I found that an unhelpful remark of which I had no understanding.

I have benefited from a number of Christians who have encouraged, counselled and prayed with me over the years. These were people I respected and looked up to and were available at just the right time. Eventually however, for one reason or another those connections passed on. The supporting props were no longer there.

In my resolve to follow God in obedience I found myself in a sort of wilderness. And as the truth of the situation finally sunk in, I felt the desolation and loneliness. It was only then I had some idea of what that bishop was rather insensitively getting at. So began an earnest focusing on Father and a journey of personal discovery that would not have happened otherwise.

Now I’ve said before that I have always been a fan of Elijah. Admired his close relationship with God, boldness of speech, miracle-working and compassion. I even identified with his fear of a woman and escape to a cave. But I ignored the years he spent wandering in the wilderness being moulded by God.

Elisha followed his mentor Elijah wherever he went. He wouldn’t be put off and wanted what he had got. Elijah said he could have that, provided he kept his eyes on him as he was taken up to heaven. A difficult thing to do with all the fireworks, flashing lights and activity going on all around Elijah! Elisha then had to cross the Jordan and go it alone and find his own way.

We are all different, but I feel that if we want to be God’s man or woman, a ‘firsthand Christian,’ there may come a time when we find ourselves isolated for a purpose.

“Elisha saw this and cried out, "My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!" And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them apart.” 2Kings 2:12 New International Version

“It is better to trust in the LORD than to depend on human leaders.” Psalm 118:9 New International Version