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"

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