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, 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