Called From Darkness to Light


“And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.” 

First we have the dark of night, and then the light of day.

When we were wandering, lost souls, children who cowered in the dark ~ God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, that He might cast out all fear, To open the eyes of the blind.

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, saying, “Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen”

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to Him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb”

It’s not by power, not by might, not by merit, but by the blood of the Lamb that mankind is bought through the darkness of Halloween to the light of the Kingdom’s Day. May my prayers and your prayers be counted worthy to be offered with much incense (Rev. 8:3) with the prayers of All the Saints on the golden altar before God’s throne. 

Until then, 

“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen”

(Posted for All Saints Day 1st November)

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Learning The Ropes

The ship is a Norwegian Training Vessel, berthed in the Orkneys, this summer. This is the way  of life, first Summer then Autumn and then the heavy, stormy seas of winter – when the discipline and training gained over many seasons stand us in good stead. As it is with sailors at sea so it is with Christian voyagers.

In Acts 27, we learn of a shipwreck in stormy seas, despite advice  from the Apostle Paul, the centurion in charge paid more attention to the pilot and the owner of the ship and the majority and set sail from “Fair Havens” taking a chance that they would reach “Phoenix” a harbour of  Crete, where they would spend the winter.   Now, when the gentle South Wind blew, they thought they had it made and weighing anchor they sailed along Crete close to the shore and then the tempestuous wind called Eurakylon bore down on them from the land….

“And when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along….”  {Acts 27, 15}

I have always loved this story, yes the ship, it’s cargo are lost but by the grace of God, not a single life and the Gospel is proclaimed in  Malta. One thing I notice is that when Paul goes to the centurion a second time, as the sailors were about to escape in the ship’s boat, leaving everybody else to the mercies of the sea, this time, Paul’s warning was heard, and the ship’s boat cut away and the sailors, whose experience was necessary to save the lives of all, stayed on board.

It seems to me that a Christian’s. northeaster is the ferocious wind that hurls itself at us from the world, the majority opinions whose strength is manifestly greed, selfishness, blind ambition; the determination to get at all costs but first the gentle south wind blows, this is soft persuasion, gentle invitation,  even a plea, to “come and join us” …. a good sailor never sleeps on watch!

So how do we get wised up, where do we learn what we need to know to avoid getting caught up in the wind in the first place?

Paul, advises Timothy (1 Timothy 4:6) and we too should be good servants, trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine handed down to us.

Who handed it down to us?

The answer has to be those who came before us, who taught simply using words that everyone can understand, the ways and rules of right conduct, the things which the Lord teaches, even today, through the Spirit of Truth and Wisdom:

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prob. 22:6)

Keep your ship afloat. Heed the advice and counsel, the words of your parents, teachers, pastors, the words of Holy Scripture and reach harbour safely.

As an apple tree

As an apple tree among the trees of the forest,
so is my beloved among the young men
With great delight I sat in his shadow,
and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
(Song of Songs 2:2)

I didn’t choose my apple tree, He chose me.

I am firmly persuaded that; God’s love always takes the initiative that ours is always a response to His love.

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We love because He first loved us.” (1John 4:10)

I cannot refuse to return His love, anymore than I can refuse an apple from His basket.

“I do not ask you to think a great deal, but to love a great deal.” (Charles de Foucauld

Sometimes, recalling my girlhood days. I find myself singing,

He is not a disappointment!
Jesus is far more to me
Than in all my glowing day-dreams
I had fancied He could be;
And the more I get to know Him,
So the more I find Him true,
And the more I long that others,
Should be led to know Him too.

He is not a disappointment!
He is all in all to me-
Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer;
The unchanging Christ is He!
He has won my heart’s affections,
And He meets my every need;
He is not a disappointment,
For He satisfies indeed.
(Mary Warburton Booth)

The love of the young soul is wonderful it’s like the blossom of springtime, but the love that’s grown and matured, well that is the sweet fruit of the apple tree.

May God bless you and me under the apple tree.

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The Thief Who Stole My Heart Away

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Why did it have to be a friend
Who chose to betray the Lord?
And why did He use a kiss to show them
That’s not what a kiss is for?
Only a friend can betray a friend,
A stranger has nothing to gain,
And only a friend comes close enough
To ever cause so much pain.

And why did there have to be a
Thorny crown pressed upon His head?
It should have been a royal one,
Made of jewels and gold instead.
It had to be a crown of thorns
Because in this life that we live,
For all who would seek to love
A thorn is all this world has to give.

And why did it have to be
A heavy cross He was made to beat?
And why did they nail His feet and hands?
His love would have held Him there.
It was on a cross, for on a cross
A thief was supposed to pay,
And Jesus had come into this world
To steal every heart away.
Yes Jesus had come into this world
To steal every heart away.
(Michael Cord)

Jesus said,

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. I and my Father are one.”
(John14: 27-30)

So. I guess, this it is true,my Holy Thief and His Father had the job planned a long time.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him in love.”
(Ephesians 1: 3-4) ESV

Shared with in love and gratitude by a stolen, Holy artefact.

The Ocean Less Explored

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You must go and find out.
You must go and discover whether there is anything
In that world for you.
Promise me that you will go.
(Andrew Harvey, A Journey in Ladakh

The name, ‘Tides and Tidings’ was born from the pages within a journal
Like so many, from the beginning of my adventure with God, I have kept a simple diary, keeping safe the many blessings, memories of things done and said together. Ah yes, a simple soul and the Lord
do and say things together. Like faithful marriage partners of many years we have been together a long, long, time the Lord and I. Looking back through the years, reading in my journals, I have at times been, to say the least, not the best of ‘partners’ often misunderstanding, often downright petulant and quarrelsome. Yet, my most patient of Teachers has persevered and perseveres, always giving, always loving, always waiting for me to catch up with Him. He leads, I follow.

‘Rule a wide margin’ He said.

And within that wide margin are recorded all the fresh new insights given, over the years, when praying … a wide margin, full of faithful, patient guidance, words of encouragement, love.

Years before the first issue of ‘Tides and Tidings’ I was pondering over these words, from Pilgrim and Dom Helder Camara

When your ship,
Being moored in harbour,
Gives the illusion of being a house,
When your ship begins to put down roots
In the stagnant water by the Quay,
Put out to sea!
Save your boat’s journeying soul
And your own pilgrim soul,
Cost what it may

And, I realised that I was called to sail the Ocean Less Explored, an Ocean known to many as prayer, I am still sailing, still discovering.

Did the Lord say, “Promise me you will go”

Well not quite, He said, “Promise me, we will go together.”

May the Lord bless all your ‘comings in and going out’

Wrapped Up In The Word

Folk love their fish battered and with chips in this part of the world; but these days such luxuries don’t come wrapped up in newspaper, in my young days they did: using unsold newsprint was I suspect an effective way of recycling yesteryear. The inner bag was plain, white, strong paper I hasten to add, so yesterday’s news wasn’t imprinted on fish or chips.

Fish and chips eaten from newspaper wrappers was the perfect end to the day for us as kids walking home from the cinema. Often we had to choose whether to spend the last coins in our pockets on bus fare, or chips. And it would be just chips, without the fish. Fish cost more then we usually had.

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him”
(Matthew 4: 18)

Of course, Jesus was thinking of fish, remarkably like you and me.
Just like the best cod, plaice, salmon, we didn’t come cheap, we were bought at a price, the Lord Jesus laboured, even prayed so earnestly, that his sweat was like drops of blood (Luke 22:44)- the price of His fish – His life.

This picture speaks to me, it’s like an open invitation to be wrapped up in the Word of God.

Not many read the bible these days, but I still love it, in its many translations, whichever version if I sit still long enough, quietly enough I hear the Lord speaking his own Word, and then I feel a song bubbling through, wrapped up in the Good News,

‘I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation
And arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,”

(Isaiah 61:10)

Garments of salvation, a robe of righteousness
Now that’s Good News Print and wrapping for little fish!

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Growing up and good little mice

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The Tailor of Gloucester (A Beatrix Potter Tale) ~ Display/Vera Round/June 2016

The church lectionary says we are now in Ordinary Time, the frontal and falls in church are green, sometimes that serves me as a reminder, green things are growing things and the scripture readings for this long period Trinity Sunday to All Saints Day have all something to teach us, to help us grow in grace as Gods children, little ones
s in Christ, should. Perhaps it is easy to forget that the Saints celebrated on All Saints Day also needed to grow and learn.

Vera, who made the display pictured above, always underestimates what she may achieve but always, always tries and gives “it a go” that is part of growing up too, we learn by giving “it a go” ~ I guess Saints give love, and the Christian disciplines, graces another go, time after time after time.

Having never read the story before, I picked up the picture book also on display and gave the story of The Tailor of Gloucester a go. The tale of the kindness of little mice in completing the Tailor’s work whilst he lies sick with a raging fever is contrasted with the spitefulness of his cat. By the end of the book, the cat has learnt the lesson of kindness but I won’t give the ending away, just in case you have n’t read it.

This is the lesson I am still learning

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Yes God knows us through and through, and yes, none of us knows anything yet as we ought to know. I praise God, wonderful in his patience, gentle in his upbringing and teaching of me, his little child and mouse, by every means at his disposal, every day the most important lesson of all. Perhaps I don’t see him face to face, but I sense as a blind person might, his face is ever towards me, and sense too his invitation to reach out with baby fingers and explore that beautiful face.

Love is the lesson the Lord teaches and his story the never ending one.

And now these three remain. Faith hope and love. But the greatest if these is love.

(Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 13: 4-13)

We can only go forward

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(Image Superjew/Wikimedia Commons)

We can’t go back
We can only go forward

This is true none of us can go back to those wonderful days of childhood,to that heart stopping moment when our eyes fixed on our.beloved spouse. Neither can we re-visit and fix that time when we were so in the wrong; if only we hadn’t said,or we hadn’t done this or that.

As it is with our earthly life’s journey, so it is with our spiritual pilgrimage. We have decided to follow Jesus and we can’t, we mustn’t go back. Hasn’t Jesus explicitly warned us, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God’

Yet our God knows there are times, and they are many, when we need to stop, rest, eat and drink – he himself is our rest, our food, our drink. This is what i have found, I have been young and now am old, but I am still following on and finding it’s an upward climb, here’s a well loved hymn from years gone by,

Wr are marching upwards to Zion
Please follow link to listen on YouTube


We are marching to Zion,
Beautiful, beautiful Zion;
We’re marching upward to Zion,
The beautiful city of God.

A song is always a good companion whether we are a solitary marcher or a company. Pilgrims have always packed them in their rucksacks.

Here is one Jesus could well have sung on his journeys to Passover in Jerusalem

Psalm 121

I lift my eyes to the mountains
where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;

6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all harmg—
he will watch over your life;

8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and for ever more.

When I find the going hard, life tough and rough, or maybe fear I may be a little off track, I rest prayerfully, look up, and put my best foot forward I’m marching upwards.

When you forgive, you love

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The Return of the Prodigal Son (Rembrandt/Hermitage Museum (St Petersburg)

When you forgive, you love”

(Jon Krakauer)

Praise the LORD, my soul,
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits –
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
(Psalm 103:1-5)

“It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself,
to forgive.
FORGIVE EVERYBODY.”
(Maya Angelou”

When we forgive then we mirror God’s love perfectly and he forgives perfectly.
But always remember the same faults and failings we see in others are the very same faults and failings they see in us. No one is perfect, God is still working on us.

Just A Sparrow

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House Sparrow (RSPB)

Used to be that the first thing heard as sleepy eyes welcomed the new daylight was the cheerful chirruping sing-song of House Sparrows under the eaves.

No more.

I miss them lining up along the fence, like neat little brown uniformed soldiers watching eagerly for breakfast crumbs. Nowadays House sparrows are very much a rare sight in our parts of the Midlands. Although their cousins the Tree Sparrows are still content with their lodgings among the shrubs and trees in my backyard.

We used to sing as children:

There are hundreds of sparrows, thousands, millions,
They’re two a penny, far too many there must be;
There are hundreds and thousands, millions of sparrows,
But God knows every one and God knows me.

Teacher told us didn’t she? That Jesus (Matthew 10: 29-31) said that we, small, chirpy birds were worth more than many sparrows, and that our Father in heaven knew exactly how many hairs we had on our heads!

Wow! We were important! The small, and ordinary were important. So very important that God, had bothered to count the number of our hairs.

Have you noticed that no-one, absolutely no-one likes to own up to being small or ordinary anymore? There is such pressure nowadays to be someone to be the one who shines brighter than the lights on the Christmas Tree, life is all about being the One on Top, the Celebrity … Yes, it’s true, I feel that it takes hard work to achieve the top jobs, the big bank balance, the fame (or notoriety) of the Stars but when we have got there, will it be worth it? Will we truly be happier than the ones that don’t?

I woke up this morning and I felt happy.
Happy that I have a home, a safe place to lie down and sleep, sleep that had come easily to a head untroubled about tomorrow with no worries, no anxieties . I’m the little sparrow who found a home (Psalm 84:2) -l lay my weary head on my Father’s breast because God knows every one and God knows me.

I am glad to be a little sparrow.
I wouldn’t trade my ordinary life for fame, fortune, position or power …
I am happy with the nest I have, and in time of trouble or distress, I hide beneath the Almighty’s feathers: He is no Sparrow but He loves me!