Saturday, 28 December 2013

'TWAS THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS...


AFTER CHRISTMAS

 "When the song of the angels is stilled.
 When the star in the sky is gone. 
When the kings and princes are home, 
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
 the work of Christmas begins:
 To find the lost,
 to heal the broken,
 to feed the hungry,
 to release the prisoner,
 to rebuild the nations,
 to bring peace to others,
 to make music in the heart."

 Howard Thurman

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

GOD WITH US


ON SUCH A NIGHT AS THIS

 Almost now...."God. With. Us. God can't stay away. He comes as a baby because He's done with barriers. He comes as a baby, the most vulnerable imaginable. *Because He wants unimaginable intimacy with you.*

John Wesley died with the words, "The best of all is, God is with us" on his tongue. These words could beat joy in our hearts on a night like this.

Ann Voskamp

THE FULL LONG AGO

Painting by Egor Zaytsev (Russia)


PAST PRESENCE

Dressing the Christmas tree
Used to take all the family
An hour or two to do,
Back then the house hummed
With laughing children,
As each shiny bauble was hung
On the welcoming fir.
Their shouts of glee
Twinkled like the crowning star
Bright atop the highest bough.

Now she does the task alone,
Her eyes twinkling at memories
Of the full long ago.
Each glimmering trinket
Unlocks some olden scene
Of the family gathered
Around the open fire,
Flames adance
Reflecting in the adorned tree
Light drops of time’s passage.

Gerard O'Shea

Thursday, 19 December 2013

MAKING ROOM


HEAVEN'S LIGHT




THE MIRACLE

When all the winds were mild,
Mary came to me apart
and laid the Holy Child
here inside my heart.


My heart was made the manger,
and my body was the stall.
And now no man is stranger:
my life goes out to all,


To bring to each of them
this Child of heaven’s light,
to let them enter in, like flames
of candles to the holy night.


 Georg Johannes Gick:

Thursday, 12 December 2013

ECO ANGEL


MAKING THE ORDINARY HOLY


 

 HOLY INCENSE OF BREATH

“To a man who lives unto God nothing is secular, everything is sacred.

He puts on his workday garment and it is a vestment to him.
He sits down to his meal and it is a sacrament.
He goes forth to his labor, and therein exercises the office of the priesthood. His breath is incense and his life a sacrifice.

He sleeps on the bosom of God, and lives and moves in the divine presence.

To draw a hard and fast line and say, “This is sacred and this is secular,” is, to my mind, diametrically opposed to the teaching of Christ and the spirit of the gospel…
Peter saw a sheet let down from heaven in which were all manner of beasts and four-footed creatures, which he was bidden to kill and eat, and when he refused because they were unclean, he was rebuked by a voice from heaven, saying, “What God hath cleansed that call not thou common” [Acts 10:15; 11:9].

The Lord hath cleansed your houses, he has cleansed your bed chambers, your tables…  He has made the common pots and pans of your kitchens to be as the bowls before the altar –
if you know what you are and live according to your high calling.

You housemaids, you cooks, you nurses, you ploughmen, you housewives, you traders, you sailors, your labor is holy if you serve the Lord Christ in it, by living unto Him as you ought to live.

The sacred has absorbed the secular.”


C. H. Spurgeon




Sunday, 8 December 2013

LEWIS WALKS HOME

C S Lewis at Magdalen College
 
A RELUCTANT CONVERT

" You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. 
I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? "

C S Lewis

THE MATERIAL BLUR



A CHRISTMAS 'OUR FATHER'
 
Our Father,
which art in Dixons,
hallowed be thy games;
thy new releases come,
thy videoing be done,
in Nicam as it is in mono;
give us this day our daily emails,
and forgive us for not spending enough,
as we forgive those who spend too little on us;
lead us not into Oxfam,
but deliver us from charitable giving;
for thine is the DVD,
the widescreen and the Game Boy,
for ever and ever,
Amen.

Rachel Mann

Friday, 6 December 2013

MANDELA'S FAITH

Nelson Mandela 1918 ~ 2013

In the afttermath of the death of Nelson Mandela many tributes have been paid to the man who inspired the fight against apartheid in his home country of South Africa. A lesser known aspect of his life was his Christian faith. This is part of an address he gave at the Easter Conference of the Zionist Christian Church in April, 1994.
 
OUR MESSIAH

“We bow our heads in worship on this day and give thanks to the Almighty for the bounty He has bestowed upon us over the past year. We raise our voices in holy gladness to celebrate the victory of the risen Christ over the terrible forces of death.
Easter is a joyful festival! It is a celebration because it is indeed a festival of hope!
Easter marks the renewal of life! The triumph of the light of truth over the darkness of falsehood!
Easter is a festival of human solidarity, because it celebrates the fulfilment of the Good News!
The Good News borne by our risen Messiah who chose not one race, who chose not one country, who chose not one language, who chose not one tribe, who chose all of humankind!
Each Easter marks the rebirth of our faith. It marks the victory of our risen Saviour over the torture of the cross and the grave.
Our Messiah, who came to us in the form of a mortal man, but who by his suffering and crucifixion attained immortality.
Our Messiah, born like an outcast in a stable, and executed like criminal on the cross.
Our Messiah, whose life bears testimony to the truth that there is no shame in poverty: Those who should be ashamed are they who impoverish others.
Whose life testifies to the truth that there is no shame in being persecuted: Those who should be ashamed are they who persecute others.
Whose life proclaims the truth that there is no shame in being conquered: Those who should be ashamed are they who conquer others.
Whose life testifies to the truth that there is no shame in being dispossessed: Those who should be ashamed are they who dispossess others.
Whose life testifies to the truth that there is no shame in being oppressed: Those who should be ashamed are they who oppress others.” 

Nelson Mandela

Thursday, 5 December 2013

THE BEST CHRISTMAS YET



THE
GREATEST
GIFT

This video based on Ann Voskamp's book,
 'The Greatest Gift' is a reflective meditation
 on the heart of the Christmas celebration.
 In just a few minutes she hits on so many
 essential themes that should occupy our 
minds at this 'busy' time of the year.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

REJOICING IN THAT MAN


Christoph Blumhardt was an
 18 th. century Pastor in Germany.

OF HEAVEN AND EARTH

Isn't it a miracle to be able to rejoice and find a firm grounding in someone who lived two thousand years ago? I don't mean to be firmly grounded in a religion. For Muslims and Buddhists, it is their religion that is important to them, rather than Mohammed or Buddha. But for us religion is nothing, and Jesus is everything. With him we will conquer the world. We are not interested in doctrines about Jesus; we are interested in the Lord Jesus himself (Acts 15:11). He is our doctrine – the Man who can grab us by the arm when we misbehave, or give us a pat when we are good. No dogma, no doctrine, nor anything else – no, the Man himself, it is he whom we want!

LIGHT A LAMP

I tell you boldly: as far as I’m concerned I would not want to live an hour without him. If you do not have [such a relationship to Jesus], wake up and at look for it. Light a lamp and search for it as for a needle so that you can delight in this Man and value him higher than anything else (Luke 15:8). For this Man makes us so firm that our minds and hearts are guarded against everything that agitates and distracts us (Phil 4:7). He is a rock; and if he is within us, this rock will shatter the whole world (Ps 31:1~5; Dan 2:34~35). But he must be within us; we must have him (John 15:4~9). You must all have this Man. Whoever does not have him lives today and is dead tomorrow...

BUT ONE MAN

It's quite nice now and then to have a pint of beer, but it would never occur to me to rejoice in the beer. Or is there something else you would rejoice in or seek strength in? Nature? Politics? Or anything else? If so, I will have no part in that. I can also enjoy these things, but I cannot rejoice in them. There is a difference between enjoying something, and rejoicing in it. There is but one Man from whom we can derive firmness and joy: Jesus. Therefore we can rejoice, because we simply do not depend upon earthly things (Matt 6:25~34). Thank God, I have never depended on temporal things and do not do so now. And so whatever happens, nothing shall deter us if this Man remains with us. And he will remain with us if we are watchful.

HERE ON EARTH

The words, "The Lord is near," are meant for us here on earth (Matt 6:10). If I am always thinking of heaven and do not make efforts to do what is right here on earth, then, having already lost the earth, I will lose heaven too and sit in the middle with nothing. A lot of people have become too other-worldly. They want to have the Lord Jesus in such a way as to have nothing more to do with the earth. Then they lose what is of the earth, and since this is not God's will, they ultimately lose what is of heaven as well and fall between two chairs. Take care therefore! Your task is here on earth. When we have found joy and a firm grounding in our Savior, we must turn our eyes away from the sky and look around on earth. What can I do here with what I have in my heart?

WHEREVER WE ARE

Someone wrote me that he wanted to join a monastery in order to serve the Lord. I congratulated him on becoming a "brother," but I told him that I do not think the Lord's work can only be done in a cloister. It can be done in every house, in every business. We can make a temple wherever we are (1 Cor 3:16). The work of the Lord must come out of the churches and institutions. It has to enter people’s homes and hearts. That is where the Lord's work must be done, not in buildings and clubs. It must come into daily life. Then our lives and everything we do will be done for God (Col 3:17). We will be servants of God without having to buy a clerical collar. We can do the Lord's work with a pitchfork in the hand. Nobody need feel excluded; for everyone, whoever he is and whatever he does, can share in the work of the Lord. 

Christoph Blumhardt

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

THE DIVINE WEAVER


 

Cornelia "Corrie" ten Boom was born in Haarlem, Netherlands, in 1892, and grew up in a devoutly religious family. During World War II, she and her family harbored hundreds of Jews to protect them from arrest by Nazi authorities. Betrayed by a fellow Dutch citizen, the entire family was imprisoned. Corrie survived and started a worldwide ministry and later told her story in a book entitled The Hiding Place. 

 LIFE IS BUT A WEAVING

“My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.

Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned

He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.” 

 Corrie ten Boom


UNENDING LOVE

h
from Ann Voskamp

THE BIRTH DAY OF LIFE


 BEING THANKFUL

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings;and of the gay
great happening ilimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any - lifted from the no
of all nothing - human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)


e.e.cummings

Thursday, 17 October 2013

GIVING THANKS


 PRAYER FOR HARVEST

‘As long as the earth endures,
 seedtime and harvest,
 cold and heat, 
summer and winter,
day and night will never cease.’ 

(Gen 8:22)

Lord...

For the promise of harvest
contained within a seed
we thank you.


For the oak tree
within an acorn
The bread
within a grain
The apple
within a pip


The mystery of nature
gift wrapped
for us to sow
we thank you.




Friday, 11 October 2013

COME AND FLY

 
GIFT OF THE SEAGULL 
A lonely seagull flies the winds
Majestic... soaring...gliding wings
A single screech sounds from the sky
Come fly with me... come here and fly

My spirit floats to be a part
I feel the beating of its heart
My soul, one with this bird of sea
Now knows the meaning to fly free

I feel the winds caress my soul
And soar the streams without a goal
My being trembles of delight
A treasure I received tonight

The seagull's flight of soaring high
The gift of what it means to fly.


Munda

Saturday, 28 September 2013

ONENESS


 JOY OF LOVE

 Wherever God is, his peace draws near. His presence brings freedom from inner restlessness, dividedness, and hostile impulses; it brings harmony of heart, mind, and soul. But he is a living God, and therefore he is action just as much as he is peace. And on the foundation of the harmony he bestows, he brings into being a broader unity. This unity is the joy of love; it is oneness of purpose and action, community, brotherhood, and justice for all.

Eberhard Arnold
(from www.plough.com) 

TO THE OCEAN

                                                                                                                 (~GOSh~)

 THE RIVER

I came from the sunny valleys
And sought for the open sea,
For I thought in its gray expanses
My peace would come to me.


I came at last to the ocean
And found it wild and black,
And I cried to the windless valleys,
"Be kind and take me back!"

But the thirsty tide ran inland,
And the salt waves drank of me,
And I who was fresh as the rainfall
Am bitter as the sea.

Sara Teasdale

Friday, 13 September 2013

GOD IS NEAR

 

 ROCK OR SPONGE ?

God surrounds us like the Pacific surrounds an ocean floor pebble. He is everywhere:  above, below, on all sides. We choose our response—rock or sponge? Resist or receive? Everything within you says, harden your heart. Run from God, resist God, blame God.
But be careful.  Hard hearts never heal.  Spongy ones do! Open every pore of your soul to God’s presence.  Here’s how. Lay claim to the nearness of God. He says in Hebrews 13:5, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Grip this promise like the parachute it is. Repeat it over and over until it trumps the voices of fear. The Lord God is with you, and He is mighty to save. Cling to His character.  Quarry from your Bible a list of the deep qualities of God and press them into your heart. He is sovereign. You will get through this!

Max Lucado from 'You'll Get Through This'

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

FINDING THE STRANGER



                    (~GOSh.~)

THE HOLY COMPASSION OF GOD

"If you love the justice of Jesus Christ

more than you fear human judgment,

then you will seek to do compassion,

 Compassion means

That if I see my friend and my enemy

 in equal need,

 I shall help them both equally. 


Justice demands

that we seek

 and find the stranger,

 the broken, the prisoner,

 and comfort them

 and offer  them our help.



 Here lies the holy compassion of God .


~ Mechthild of Magdeburg
(12th century Mystic)

Monday, 9 September 2013

MYSELF A RAINBOW





RUN WITH PATIENCE


"Let us run with patience" (Heb. 12:1).

To run with patience is a very difficult thing. Running is apt to suggest the absence of patience, the eagerness to reach the goal. We commonly associate patience with lying down. We think of it as the angel that guards the couch of the invalid. Yet, I do not think the invalid's patience the hardest to achieve.

There is a patience which I believe to be harder--the patience that can run. To lie down in the time of grief, to be quiet under the stroke of adverse fortune, implies a great strength; but I know of something that implies a strength greater still: It is the power to work under a stroke; to have a great weight at your heart and still to run; to have a deep anguish in your spirit and still perform the daily task. It is a Christlike thing!

Many of us would nurse our grief without crying if we were allowed to nurse it. The hard thing is that most of us are called to exercise our patience, not in bed, but in the street. We are called to bury our sorrows, not in lethargic quiescence, but in active service--in the exchange, in the workshop, in the hour of social intercourse, in the contribution to another's joy. There is no burial of sorrow so difficult as that; it is the "running with patience." This was Thy patience, O Son of man! It was at once a waiting and a running--a waiting for the goal, and a doing of the lesser work meantime. I see Thee at Cana turning the water into wine lest the marriage feast should be clouded. I see Thee in the desert feeding a multitude with bread just to relieve a temporary want. All, all the time, Thou wert bearing a mighty grief, unshared, unspoken. Men ask for a rainbow in the cloud; but I would ask more from Thee. I would be, in my cloud, myself a rainbow--a minister to others' joy. My patience will be perfect when it can work in the vineyard. --George Matheson


"When all our hopes are gone,

'Tis well our hands must keep toiling on for others' sake:

For strength to bear is found in duty done;

And he is best indeed who learns to make

The joy of others cure his own heartache."

from 'Streams In The Desert' by L.B.Cowman