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

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's All Good News

When I was a student engineer on the railways, I worked in a large open plan office for a time. I sat next to Malik who always had a cheery smile. Whenever he received mail he would show me the envelope and ask me, ‘good or bad?’ if I replied ‘It’s good news Malik’ he would mark plus one on the envelope. He’d then do the rounds of the whole office, asking the same question. If someone said ‘bad news’ he marked minus one and so on. When he had finished he counted up the marks and if he had a surplus of plusses he would open it. Maybe he was a bit superstitious, but I think it was just his way of a joke.

I used to say that if we could take just one verse of the Bible - say John 3:16 - and let it sink in deep down in the depths of our being, it would change our life. I still believe that, but in a way I think I had a hidden agenda. It was my way of justifying leaving out some of the verses I perceived as being unpalatable. Like verses that included the ‘D’ word - ‘discipline.’ It wasn’t that I didn’t have a ‘head’ knowledge of them, but I avoided allowing the Holy Spirit to apply them in reality in my life. I suppose I saw them as bad news.

God of course, has always gracefully brought me back to those ‘tricky’ Words. He knew when the time was right, when I had just the right amount of desperation to want answers. It was only then that I gained fresh revelation, a deeper understanding and a deeper peace.

So I am learning that all of God’s Word is ‘Good News’ as it brings us more into the abundant life and closer to Jesus.

“You spoke to me, and I listened to every word. I belong to you, LORD God Almighty, and so your words filled my heart with joy and happiness.” Jeremiah 15:16

“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


Monday, February 23, 2009

If My People - 3

I had intended to draw a line under this post title, but on going to bed last night I asked the Lord how Christians should pray for the ‘State of the Nation.’

I didn’t necessarily expect an instant reply, but immediately I felt he said ‘pray that Christians should wake up!’

This was as I was slipping under the duvet, so it goes without saying that I was awake for quite a while.

I took this reply to mean that we - and I include myself in this - need to:

  • Wake up to what is happening in our nation and the world.
  • Wake up and take notice of the spiritual battle that is raging
  • Wake up and listen to how God sees this from His perspective
  • Wake up and 'stir the gift within' us
  • Wake up and wait upon God for our individual response
  • Wake up and pray as a priority
This is not to ‘tell,’ but to share what I believe I heard. This may well not be for everyone, but if I am acting in obedience, then surely this must be for at least one person.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2Chronicles 7:14


Sunday, February 22, 2009

If My People - 2

We’ve just had a day out at a country estate with our grandchildren. In one of the gardens there was an old solid oak door that caught my attention. What I felt was very significant was the network of small branches that crisscrossed the door, barring the way and partly obscuring it. Also the small handle was very rusty with lack of use. I felt that with some careful pruning, these obstructions could be removed to allow access to the hidden delights beyond.

In my post If “My People -1” I referred to the world being in a dire state., but I’ll confine these comments now to the state of the nation in Britain. I love my country - I hasten to add that this is in the right way after God - and it hurts to see that it has lost it’s way and no one seems to have the answer. However, this must be as nothing compared with how it must pain God to see what is happening.

The Gospel remains largely hidden from view and the media - apart from some notable exceptions - portray Christianity as irrelevant and a butt for comedians. We now have a second generation of children, the majority of whom are ignorant of the Gospel. Christianity as a living relationship with Jesus is rarely taught in schools. Many organisations are afraid to be seen giving deference to Christianity incase they offend followers of other religions. For example employees are wished a ‘happy holiday’ at Christmas. The gap between the rich and the poor grows larger, as the ‘haves’ are in a headlong hedonist pursuit of pleasure and financial security to fill the aching void within. The Christian moral foundations are in decline and the financial and manufacturing fabric of the country is in disarray.

What can the Christian response be? I don’t think that as Christians we can wash our hands of all this, saying it’s not our fault?

This poses questions for me such as: Am I following Jesus with every fibre in my body? Am I in the centre of His will? In my complacency and indifference, have I somehow been complicit in allowing all this to happen? Have I been a witness to the hope that is within me in whatever way is right for me? Have I spoken up against injustice? Am I caught up with the materialism around me? What am I about? And what about prayer?

How do we pray? I’m not sure I can repent for someone else? In the New testament Jesus shows the way to an individual relationship with God; however the theme of corporate and communal responsibility runs all the way through the Bible. When something is wrong with one part of the body, the whole body is affected!

Some of us may be called to be intercessors, but all Christians are exhorted to pray - continually.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2Chronicles 7:14
Perhaps you would like to have a look at state of the nation ?


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

If My People - 1

I am a fired up this morning, so forgive me if this starts to appear a bit like a rant.

Quite some years ago, several of us who had been really touched by God, met to pray for revival and continued for several months until it we began to lose our way. Prayer tended to degenerate into prolonged shopping lists and often there was more talk than prayer. Eventually, perhaps because we all had our own personal agendas and Christian activities, it stopped altogether.

A year or two later, because some thought things were beginning to stagnate on the local Christian scene, another prayer group formed to seek the way forward. To begin with it was stimulating and we wrote down all that we heard from God: things like, “You have tried your way and it’s not worked, now drop everything and try mine.” Inevitably as the weeks went by, the honeymoon period ended and there was a need to press in further with prayer. Unfortunately members drifted away and carried on with their own projects and involvements.

Through circumstances my activities were much reduced and I became more focused in my Christian walk. What I learned was that if we are to pray for revival, it has to start with us. No, correction, it has to start with me. The question is, do I want to walk like Jesus, because that’s what is on the table. The other thing was, that there are conditions attached. Am I prepared to be wholly available to God and lay my agenda aside?

Whichever way you look at it, the world is in a dire state and it’s getting worse, much worse. We may point the finger at the banks, at governments, at other countries, terrorism, global warming, but what about me? I cannot just wash my hands of it all and say it’s not my fault, because in one way or another I am implicated. I may try and hang onto what little money I have, recycle my waste and use the right kind of light bulb. All very good, but that is just avoiding the real issue. Who thinks of asking God what He has to say about all this and try and see things from His perspective? Because He is our only hope.

I have a distinct feeling that alongside all the devastation that is happening in the world, there is a growing move of God, that is gaining momentum and I don’t want to be left out.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2Chronicles 7:14


Friday, February 13, 2009

Listen My People

Our French teacher at grammar (high) school loved her subject and her pupils. She was strict but we knew she had our interests at heart. Somehow we couldn’t help but catch her infectious enthusiasm. As she breezed into the classroom, gown flowing behind her, “Bonjour mes eleves,” we all stood and replied in unison, “Bonjour Mademoiselle Saul.”

She was dedicated to getting us all through the final examination and although she was very understanding and patient, she expected the same dedication from us. For example, she didn’t just want us to write the language, but wanted perfect pronunciation - not easy for our lazy English tongues. She made sure we were listening, “Ecoutez mes eleves,” and woe betide any student who persistently failed to pay attention for the full forty minutes. A brief display of calculated anger and an Order Mark or even worse, the dreaded Detention would come winging their way.

When the day of the exam finally dawned, I found I could draw upon much of what I had stored away from the lessons. And to our surprise and the delight of our French Mistress, we nearly all passed and had our certificates to prove it.

Does God have our full attention and do we really listen?

He has sacrificed His only Son, given us His Presence, His Word and made His Power available to us and put everything in place for us to receive a ‘certificate.’ It’s a done deal! What more do we want? So why, when things are going well, do we sometimes relegate God to second place in our lives? Or why when the going gets tough, do we complain and forget - Oh woe is me! - how He has led us and provided for us in the past?

Our answers of course are varied and personal. But it is just possible that we may hear something, that if acted upon, may change our lives for ever.

“Listen, my people, to my teaching, and pay attention to what I say.” Psalm 78 Good News Bible


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Another String to My Bow

I have another string to my bow, another arrow in my quiver. I've started another blog Wayfarerjon's Photo Reflections it's somewhere to display my photos of some of the 'secret' places in Britain - especially Devon and Cornwall - where I feel close to God. I have added my brief thoughts and reflections together with God's Word as appropriate.

Thought you might like to have a look.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Who and the Why?

Darwin is being given considerable attention in the media at this time. We have watched some of the television coverage; fascinating programmes presented by internationally respected naturalists.

I know several highly intelligent and clever people who are confessed atheists, who would use Darwin and his theory of evolution and natural selection to prove that there is no God. I used to be in awe and feel intimated by such people, but no longer since I came into a heart knowledge of Jesus. I found what I saw of the TV programmes was enthralling. They described in fascinating detail, the ‘what’ and perhaps not quite so convincingly, the ‘when.’ But so far, unless I have missed something, they do not address the question of the ‘Who’ or the ‘why!’ Much of what I saw I found did not seem to conflict with Christianity, but I find it very hard to believe that I evolved from a blob.

I totally accept that God made the world and He made me. All the probing and researching into how He may have done this, do not particularly interest me. Nor do they help me in relating to God, people and myself, something I and the world desperately need. We are indebted to the work of scientists, but I doubt whether science can get very far in explaining a heart to heart relationship with a living God.

I take great comfort from the fact the Jesus used simple fishermen to help change the direction of the world to the good. When our spiritual eyes are opened, the Bible, God's Word comes alive. We do not throw reason out of the window, but our eyes are opened to a life-changing love relationship with Jesus.

“New International Version In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:1-5 New International Version


Saturday, February 07, 2009

A Double Portion

Years ago I attended a conference led by a minister with an international healing ministry. All week I sat at the front riveted by what was being taught and especially what I witnessed. I said to God, that although I wanted to be me and not a copy of anyone else, I wanted what that man had got. Believing it to be a God-given desire, I even asked for a double portion - twice what he had. I felt God was saying it would be granted, but it would have to be in His way and in His time- it was conditional. I also left the conference confident of the direction of any future ministry and got on with my family and working life.

Fast forward a number of years and I was flowing in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and in counselling and ministry. I felt fulfilled and dare I say it, successful? There was a problem though. The work was widening and snowballing and as I took on more I was drying up and giving out from empty. I was suffering, my wife was missing out and I soon realised I was headed for burnout and eventually illness took hold.

I had to let go of much of what had given me fulfilment and so began a prolonged period of wrestling with my condition and seeking God for understanding. Initially in painful desolation, but slowly moving into healing and even more slowly, redirection.

A friend in the village once remarked that my wife and I had 'slipped off the edge of the table.' Meaning we were outside of much of the usual church and social activities. She was right and we had struggled with it at first, but more than anything we wanted to be at the centre of God’s will for us. In anycase, most of what my wife and I do is not seen by others, it is hidden. At the start of this time someone with a prophetic ministry said to me that they felt God was saying that I was going to be “Busy, busy - in God’s service!” I was a little bemused, as God seemed to be doing just the opposite, but I hid it in my heart.

The sense of how God wants to use my wife and I is greater now, but we are less sure of the how and what and when, so we leave it to him. One thing for sure, is that we are totally reliant on Him and have to take each day as it comes, looking for his direction and enabling. We are expectant, but we don’t use that word ‘ministry’ anymore - we have exchanged it for intimacy.

What have I learnt so far? That God wants us to think big. He wants those godly desires brought to fulfilment and that He anoints boldness. Jesus only did what He saw His Father doing and if we are to do the same, we need to be in tune with Father. Also I have to be very sure of one thing: the power is God’s and not mine. We walk in the natural in obedience and He does the supernatural. Surrender is paramount and for some of us this can almost take a lifetime.

All very simple, but not easy, but more than worth it - and writing this has left me thoughtful.

“- Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?" "Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,"” 2 Kings 2:9

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.” John 14:12-13 New International Version


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Marking Time?

I’ll always remember the day I completed my basic military training with the passing out parade. We felt so proud in our best uniforms, marching in unison and absolute precision, with the band leading the way. However, it took many gruelling hours of square bashing to reach that point.

We were some of the last to be called up for compulsory army service. You could say we were the scrapings from the bottom of the barrel; a right mixture of the long and short, fat and thin. Our drill sergeant was determined to whip us into one homogenous shape, whatever it took. He was in his element on the parade ground, shouting out. “Lerft, lerft, lerft right lerft - ! Whenever he wasn’t satisfied with our performance - and that was often - he would order us to mark time, while he closely scrutinised each recruit. I tried to keep a low profile, but being tall that didn’t last long. He soon had me out front, marking time on the spot, with perspiration pouring down my face.

No, I didn’t like marking time. It was uncomfortable, without purpose and it seemed we just weren't getting anywhere.

In the Christian walk there is no place for marking time, it’s part of God’s law of nature that we are changing, growing and moving on. We may feel we are physically occupied and active, but in God’s terms we could be standing still. You can almost guarantee that the moment we feel we have arrived, it’s time to move on.

After three months of being slowed right down with illness, I’m having to get my muscles going again and I am finding that’s painful. I don’t like the discomfort, but I don’t want to lose what I have. I know if I want to move on I need just the right amount of exercise each day and this also applies to the spiritual. Thankfully, I can already look back and see some progress.

I believe God often allows situations in our lives to get us back in step with Him. It may seem that nothing is happening and from our viewpoint we are marking time. The longer it goes on, the more restless we become, until he really does have our attention. Then, as we flex our spiritual muscles and begin to see things from God’s perspective, we change our thinking, plug into His power and start to move into the new.

"Change your life, God's Kingdom is here." Matthew 3:2 The Message Bible

If you havn't done so already, I urge you to read the poetry in VERSEODIUM - God has really gifted Mike. His poetry really cuts the ice with a powerful simplicity.