Wednesday, 15 November 2017

NO CONDEMNATION

‘Poor Pauline,’ my sister sympathised, ‘you always have something to worry about.’
That was many years ago, when I was struggling through those awful teen age years, but I am  so very  thankful that I have been able to shake off those chains of self-condemnation, though yet able to feel  deep sympathy for those who still carry the weight of such fetters.
You see, I suffered from depression, and whenever I felt this smothering blanket I would search my heart to try to find out what I had done to cause me to feel condemned, or what I was supposed to be worrying about. And being a teenager it wasn’t long before I thought of something I had or hadn’t done.
Well, today I still am afflicted with physical depression, though infrequently I am thankful to say. I have just returned from a Bible Explorer lesson in the school. I was so conscious of God’s help, and have returned home feeling how privileged I am to be able to do something so enjoyable; but of course, exhausted now, the headache and depression has returned. Oh, how thankful I am that I do not have to search my heart to see how I have sinned.
Yes, of course I have sinned. We have all committed sins of omission as well as commission, but thank God I now know that he sent his Son, Jesus, to carry all my sins to the cross and they are now buried in the depth of the sea. As King David wrote in the psalms, ‘There is forgiveness with you that you might be feared.’ And that is how it is that God can use such as I am to take God’s love into the schools and among my neighbours.
‘Jesus the name to sinners dear, the name to sinners given, It scatters all our guilty fear, it turns our hell to heaven.’
It is our very feelings of condemnation that give us the biggest claim on God, and must never ever be allowed to keep us away from him. But I guess we all need a little revision over this matter of forgiveness.
There was an occasion when, far from home, I had a problem of relationship. I was sure I was the one to blame, but a friend replied, ‘When I have a problem I am always convinced it is the other person who is to blame.’
Of course, the blame is never all on one side. We are all sinners, so no one is ever wholly in the right.
I was deeply comforted when I received a letter in which a friend who, realising the problem, gently implied that he understood and did not blame me. Through his words God gave me the assurance that I was not condemned. He spoke to me through Paul’s words in Romans 8:

‘There is no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus …… 
It was not long after that I was dancing around my house, singing out these life affirming words.
It goes on, 'for the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.'

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

DAYS OF HEAVEN UPON EARTH

I  was twenty five when I knew I had been led to take membership in the Apostolic church. But we seemed to be a declining fellowship. My urgent prayer was, Lord, may we be Apostolic not just in name, but in experience.
One day our pastor, a prophet, brought a word that I knew was in answer to this prayer.
‘You will know days of heaven on earth.’ What did this mean, and could this ever come to pass?
Recently visited by a young Ghanaian pastor, I was able to recount a time when I knew this had indeed come to pass.
After some years teaching among the needy children of London’s East End, I had been sent to work with the Apostolic missionaries in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. It was while trekking out to the villages that God had spoken to me through the verse in the Bible, ‘I and the children God has given me,’ and knew my call was to these children too. I became the ‘Little children’s mother.’
And not just there, for in time that door closed, and after three years teaching back in UK, I was sent to Ghana, to be responsible for the Sunday School work. It was here that this amazing word of prophecy was fulfilled.

From small beginnings – delay in my departure for Ghana meant time to attend some training courses. A three month training course in Switzerland with Child Evangelism Fellowship became of great significance, for a Jamaican missionary with CEF had spent six months in Ghana, just prior to my arrival, and because I too had trained with them,  the teachers welcomed me with open arms.
The children of my village loved to visit me and so sprang up my first Sunday School. Thus I was able to teach the teachers, not with examples from UK or even PNG, but from my own experiences with Ghanaian children, and lessons I had not only taught, but learned.
I felt it so important that we should teach the children, not in English, the national language, but in their own mother tongue, their heart language. Also that we did not need to buy expensive flannelgraphs, which might take hours to cut out, but to use whatever visual aids were to hand.
Fast forward to the time we were able to have special Sunday School weekends in the various areas. Friday and Saturday we enjoyed lessons with these wonderfully zealous teachers, but then, on Sunday morning at a set time the teachers, two by two had their own groups of children. They had prepared their own ‘home made’ visual aids and were thrown in the deep end.
I wish you had been there, at the end of the service, to enter into the joy of those teachers.  ‘Oh, Maame Adwoa,’ they told me. ‘I did not think children could understand, but they understood.’
They all had similar testimonies. Oh, how we praised the Lord. I thought I might have been exhausted at the end of a strenuous weekend, but no. I had been renewed in strength as an eagle.
Now, how delighted my Ghanaian friends had been to hear my story, and I to tell it, for that occasion  had been to me the fulfilment of that prophecy, spoken so long ago. But now, through the telling, I am beginning to realise that God had not meant it to be a once only experience.
Those ‘star dust’ assemblies, as I call them, in our local schools, when I know each child is drinking in the word of God; those special times when we feel the Holy Spirit moving in or midst; or when, sharing with someone about the goodness of God, you are aware that He is there, beside us, rejoicing with us, these too are days of heaven on earth.  
Yes, we are not in heaven yet, but we are surely among those of whom it says we are having a foretaste of the powers of the world to come.(Hebrews 6:5)  And God had promised me ‘days,’ not a single day, so I don’t have to look back to past experiences. I may have passed eighty and nearing ninety, but I am not too old to still know days of heaven on earth, and to experience the powers of the world to come.
I know so many of you who patiently read my blog have your own wonderful testimonies, but God is reminding me, and I trust you too, that he has more; yes, even days of heaven upon earth.
P.S. As I pass this word on to be put on my blogspot, I have been questioning, for I  have  not been able to find these words – ‘Days of heaven on earth’ in the Bible. But then I realised; - we are  praying for this every time we repeat the Lord’s Prayer:-
            ‘Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’
This is not just a prayer for a time afar off; it is for the present; for today. Amen

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

MORE LESSONS FROM MY JIGSAWS

It was my beloved Joel who taught me to enjoy jig-saws, and now, even though I no longer have my husband to tackle the harder parts, I usually have a jig-saw on the go. I find them therapeutic, and  often  find God speaks to me through them.
Primarily God reminds me that there is always a big picture. Life is not meaningless, even though it can seem full of incidents that may seem to be all wrong. Now we see the assorted pieces that make up the glorious picture God is making out of the jumble of our lives.
Usually we set out to get the border complete, and yet sometimes, though we can’t get the border right, we do not doubt that there is a complete border; and even so we must trust that God is working all things together for good.
At present I am struggling to complete a jigsaw I have been given, even though I know that all the pieces are there to make this lovely picture.
First of all, the jigsaw was too long to fit onto my board. Not deterred, I completed the first third, then carefully placed those pieces into a bag. Now I was away, with room for the rest of the charming picture of the little houses in their Christmas decking. I was near to completion, but with the tangle of branches and sunset sky, I had struggled for an hour without getting one piece to fit. There was no pleasure in this. Time to call it a day, and pack it up?
But after sleeping on it, I knew I must try again. But first of all, I needed to admit that something was wrong, and try to find the culprit, for I must surely have pushed one piece in the wrong place. Yes, there it was. How had I not noticed that the picture, though of the right colour, did not quite match?
I had to pull out several pieces before eventually I was able to proceed happily. And I hope I will  learn the spiritual lesson the jigsaw is teaching me, and that is, that if we are not making progress, then there is a hindrance, and we need to ask God to show us what it is.
Many years ago I read of these Christian women, living in community, whose outreach was through printing evangelical literature. But sometimes the technology was not working as it should. Then they knew they needed to come together to sort out what was wrong; no, not with the technology, but in their fellowship with each other. Once at one with each other, the work flowed.
And I have been learning, over the years, that when I am frustrated, often through the computer not behaving according to plan, it is then that I need to take time out to check on my relationship with the Lord, and most especially with those near and dear. So I am thanking God that he has been reminding me of this through this special jigsaw.
I trust I will place each piece more carefully in future, and remember that I too must be in the right place; right with God and with others. And when we may feel we are stuck in a rut, or have even fallen into a pit, we have only to cry to God for help and we will soon know God has set us on the right path, where we have a spring in our step and his new song in our mouth.

Friday, 21 July 2017

PUBLISH AND ?

‘Publish and be damned.’ I suppose many of us have heard of this  quotation, famously attributed to the Duke of Wellington, when threatened by blackmail. For the sake of this blog, I am changing it to ‘Publish and be blessed.’
‘I hadn’t thought of being published,’ a friend told me, when sharing some nuggets of truth he had recorded on his smart phone.
Well, neither had I. A friend had her title ready for the day when she might write her memoirs, but I had never thought of going into print. (Not quite true. I had written some short stories, and been encouraged to get them published, but that was long forgotten.) Writing a diary to send to the folk back home was all I had time for while working abroad.
But now, my missionary adventures behind me and settled into the sometimes routine of a pastor’s wife, I knew God was calling me to write. Three times I had heard his voice  through the words, ‘What is that in your hand?’ My only answer had to be, ‘A pen.’ (Yes, I had certainly never thought God would expect me to use a computer. There are always surprises in store once we take the God road.)
After other God-incidences confirming my call, an advert for a writing course  had plopped onto our door mat. It’s title -  Writing for Profit. Not many months later  I received a cheque for £20 from the Christian Herald, in acknowledgement of the short story I had submitted. I was on cloud nine. Somehow I had never expected to be a published author, but here I was, on the road.
Many more successes followed, though many  rejections too; and rejections are always painful.  But now, many books, articles, yes and blogs too later, I know  my calling to write  includes a call to encourage others not only to write, but to have courage to go on to  be published. For in publishing we are putting  our heads above the parapet and likely to be attacked. Hence this blog.
You may be more familiar with the words that ring out in Handel’s triumphant chorus –‘Great was the company of the preachers.’ 
‘Great was the company of those who published it,’ is an alternative translation,  much loved by Bible translators. After all, what good would those long years of labour be, when a language would first of all be reduced to writing, the complexity of grammar, often tone too,  understood,  and now at long last the Bible, or parts of it, ready to be  printed. Even now it is worthless unless there is developed in the people an appetite to read and to hear the voice of God through these pages. Only then  lives are changed. No wonder there is need of prayer for every stage of this great task. ‘Great was the company of those who publish it.’
Joel and I became the means of establishing the South Wales Ready Writers. We meet together once a year and have been inspired and encouraged by various speakers. Our local monthly Ready Writers has dwindled in numbers over the years, but continues to encourage and inspire, helping us to develop the discipline of writing regularly.
We are not all going to be published by recognised publishers. Unless you are already well known, your autobiography is unlikely to be accepted. However, with computer skills ever increasing, self-publishing has become a viable option.  A friend had self- published before being taken on by main line publishers. It was he who published my ‘Wings of the Morning.’
I have a poem  published each month in our local Seaside News. The editor may not be selective, but never the less there are many readers who say my monthly poem is the first thing they look for in this excellent magazine.
So, if you feel a call to write, or even if you are not sure about it being a call, but just love to write, just think about the possibility that God might want it published. When Jesus warned his disciples that they would face persecution, he told them that ‘it would be turned to a testimony.’  We all undergo trials and difficulties, so let’s be ready to share the precious lessons we learn through them. We may not be likely to preach to thousands, but let’s be among the great company of those who publish od’s message.

I thank God for that first writer’s course that plopped onto our mat, and for a wise husband who encouraged me to enrol. It was my tutor who taught me how to approach an editor, how to set out my manuscript, and then, the invaluable skill of turning a novel into a page turner. Some of us may have had a good education in literature and grammar while  at school, but now, with writing inspired by the Holy Spirit, we need to learn how to hone our skills and  craft our words so that they will pierce the defences that men have formed around their hearts so that they will pierce  through that hard top-soil and  reach down into their hearts.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

READING – A MIRACLE?

I’m sure it was a miracle when I began to read. I could chant with the others c-a-t, but how that came to mean ‘cat’ I had no idea. Then suddenly I could read. The page full of words all made sense to me. My elderly next-door neighbours were delighted that I could read to them from the paper, while my sister, two years older than I, was most annoyed that I was reading and enjoying books that were for her age.
When we were evacuated, our class was taken to a library, a new experience for me. The teacher tried to steer me towards books more suitable for an eight year old, but once she found I was enjoying the collection of fairy tales I had chosen she would call on me to tell stories for her to the class.
Once I was teaching, my method was no longer  confined to phonetics, but I still believe there was a measure of the miraculous when the children are able to enjoy books, and that we should have faith in those who appear to be slow learners, trusting for the miracle in their lives too.
Yes, we believe in a God of miracles, and for little Aaron there have been many miracles. His mother  believes it was a gift from God when she first realised her little baby had cataracts forming on both eyes, for it was Christmas Day, and it took a series of miracles from then on; for with no competent surgeon in her own country, they found a surgeon in UK willing to operate, if they could bring him before he was six months old. An on going  series of miracles, for finances, accommodation – every need was met.
Soon she had a happy bespectacled toddler,  wearing glasses, yes, but with an amazing love for books.
Certainly, the ability to read has been a miracle in Aaron’s life, but I believe it needs more than the ability  but also an appetite for us to enjoy reading.  I’m afraid I did not have a healthy appetite, for in my teens I was devouring novels all day long.  I was already in my twenties when God opened my
heart to receive Jesus as my Saviour, and my eyes to find the wonderful stories that were in his book, the Bible.
At that time they had brought out the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. It was my brother John who gave me a copy. What a gift from heaven. In large, clear print, and in somewhat simpler English, not only was it full of wonderful stories, but I found God was speaking to me through his word. To read it  was not just a duty, but a delight. Now I have learned to say with the Patriarch Job, ‘I esteemed the words of your mouth more than my necessary food.’

Eye sight – what a blessing it is! As well as schools, teachers, and books. We should not take such things for granted. But most of all the Bible, God’s book, the Bible, and in our own Mother tongue. What a gift, and all wrapped up in the greatest gift of all, Jesus, God’s only Son.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

THE GREAT ESCAPE

Well, not really an escape, but we, the members of Grace Community Church, had left the daily round for a very special time of blessing.

We were not at Barton’s Camp, our venue for the last three years, since last year we had only managed to squeeze in the 70+ who had gathered. This year we were at the Poplars, a beautiful family farm near Ledbury, who specialise now in growing people.

It was through the Common Market that the farm had to have all its fruit trees cut down, and so, seeking alternative productivity, the young family had felt God’s call to open their premises especially for Christian families. Here there was provision not only for the youth. While many were allocated to dormitories, Janet and I were shown to an odd little building, but with every creature comfort – en-suite, comfy beds and even a wardrobe! Yes, there was a rota and you had to take your turn for cooking, cleaning etc, but there are advantages to being in your eighties. How thankful I was that my name was not there.


We soon found the kitchen, where one of Ross’s curries was bubbling away, not to mention the apple crumble to follow. And yes, this year there was a luxurious lounge, with space for young as well as older. How good it was to see some of our college students who had joined us in order to help to look after the children, for of course we had not just come for fun and games, but in order that we might meet with God through his word.

Not only did we have comfy chairs in the lounges, but in the Pack Hall, the huge barn once used for storing the fruit, but now used for our meetings, where we were hopefully storing up God’s word in our hearts. There was ample seating, room to worship God, yes, even in the dance, but also more comfy chairs along the side, for us oldies, (older anyway). Lewis Roderick, co-pastor from Christchurch, Newport, was our guest speaker. We had a short service of welcome on the Friday evening, when Lewis gave a short overview of his ministry concerning being united with Christ, enough to assure us that it would not be dry doctrine, but concerning a living, vibrant relationship with Christ. Then back to the kitchen for  hot chocolate, joy, hugs and eventually most of us were settled in our cosy beds.

A frosty, sunny morning, and after bacon butties for breakfast, and prayer, most of us were sitting out in the glorious sunshine before we made our way to the  barn with expectant hearts.

I won’t attempt to give you a synopsis of Lewis’s ministry. I know what impacted me. Remember I had been anxious about how far away I might be from the Saviour when I got to heaven? Now God was showing me that I wasn’t going to heaven in order to be a spectator to the triumph of the Lamb. Jesus died for each one of us that together we might be part of the celebration, for we, the church, are not  only his body, but his bride. We will have no place there as an onlooker, but as the joy and delight of our heavenly Bridegroom, the marriage feast of the Lamb. Oh, what joy.

Marshmallows round the bonfire was a special activity rounding off the day, made complete by a wonderful blaze of coloured lights against the backdrop of starry blackness. (learned from the Maori’s I am told - )

Sunday morning was a very special time of family celebration, including ‘Messy church’ with meaningful handwork at each table, and then the highlight of our celebration when we broke bread  together. It was at the discretion of the parents as to how their children were included, and for one birthday girl who had very recently committed her life to Jesus, it was her first communion.

Back for our last ample dinner and then it was clearing up, loading of cars, - the  great photo shoot and we were on our way. We are so very thankful for all those who had been planning and working throughout the year to make this such a successful time. Our hearts are still brimming with thankfulness to God who is knitting our hearts together and making us a small part of the universal church of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

ARE WE THERE YET?

These last three years I have been able to go to Nichlaston House for a ‘Looking forward to Easter’ retreat, only this year, although it was only Monday to Friday in our timing, we travelled in our meditations from Maundy Thursday, right through to the day of Pentecost.
We were encouraged to participate in imaginative contemplations so that God might speak to us through our imaginings.
I was so happy to participate in this, as my writings and poems all come out of pictures God gives me. And I have learned to  teach our children to pray by putting a chair for Jesus, asking  them what they would like to say to Him and then imagining what he says in reply. I know that God speaks to me very often through my imaginings.
So when Sam (Samantha) placed an empty chair for Jesus, and then asked us to sit quietly and see what we imagine happens next, I was wonderfully blessed.      
The next morning I sought to catch the joy of that time into words:
                        ‘An empty chair? But you are there
                        I run, I kneel, and know my pain you feel
                        What joy we share at that empty chair.’
I won’t attempt to share all my meditations, but I remember how, as I stood with the crowd on that dusty Jericho road, it was not only the poor blind man who was calling out to Jesus, for I too had called out to Jesus, and together we had followed .
I too felt troubled and convicted in the Upper Room when Jesus told us that one of us would betray him, and I also experienced the tremendous surge of joy as the Holy Spirit came in mighty power on the Day of Pentecost. But out of all these meditations, I think I was impacted the most when Sam asked us to picture ourselves responding to God’s call  after the veil of the temple had been rent in two.
You see, I had come with a special need. I often long for heaven. Is it those we have been closest to who will be in our special reception committee? I like to picture it so. But our greatest hope and longing is that we might see our Jesus face to face. But  with all the multitude of the redeemed gathered throughout the ages, and those who have done so much, surely I will be far away. Will he, who is King of kings and Lord of Lords,  even see me in the great throng?
But now, in my godly imagining I stood before the rent veil, the new and living way that had been so miraculously opened for me through the death of my Saviour. I heard God’s voice. He called me by my name. ‘Come. You must come alone.’
I came. I was welcomed as if I were the only one for whom God gave his Son. Not a plain chair this time, but a glorious throne. But then, taking me by the hand, he drew back another curtain so that we were looking out to a universe redeemed. There, from every nation and people and tribe and tongue, all were there worshipping our Saviour.
Among this great throng there was a place for me. The Father reminded me of Jesus’ words, ‘I go to prepare a place for you.’ he told me, ‘He has prepared that special place for you. His eye is always on you. How could he fail to be aware of you?’
I drove home on Friday morning, knowing that each of us in the small company  who had gathered had  been deeply blessed. Doubtless we had all come with our individual needs, and God was sending us each on our way, deeply satisfied, knowing we could face all that lay ahead of us in the joy and power of our risen Christ.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

THANKSGIVING FOR DAVID

It was such a privilege to have been among the many who gathered for this wonderful service of thanksgiving, and so I felt I should try to share some of the blessing.
 How deeply we feel the loss of this great man of God, David Ollerton. Ours was not the privilege of those who have already crossed the river, and are among the joyous company who gathered to be part of his abundant entrance into the Kingdom of God.  Yet we had that foretaste of the kingdom as, maybe a thousand or more of us, met in the ample facilities of Christchurch, Newport, and sang some of the old hymns of the Welsh revival, and some of the newer ones, also deeply meaningful, which David had taught us.
‘His children will arise and call him blessed.’ It was wonderful to see so many of his children, and grandchildren too taking part, while our dear Liz, who has been so strong for David in all his trials, and  now for all of us too, had doubtless choreographed it all.
Some of the youngest of the ‘Tribe’ recounted how their Taid, as they called him, had learned to memorise Psalm 121 at his grandmother’s kitchen table, and now, each speaking a few verses in turn, they spoke it out strongly. ‘I will lift up my eyes to the hills.’ No wonder they have become a family of mountaineers.
It was David and Liz’s two daughters, Ruth and Joy, who between them read to us the history of David’s fruitful life, while their husbands too had been included in the service.
We could not have had such a service without the Gospel being preached. David had placed this responsibility on his very capable son, Andrew, also in the ministry, but before he did so, it was thrilling to hear his wife, Charlotte, declaim a selection of verses from Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians. And now, like Elisha, it seems a double portion of his Father’s anointing, is now upon him.
The whole of this wonderful family behaved with charisma and dignity throughout this moving occasion. But who could not help but feel deep emotion in the face of such a parting. It was only at the end of such  exemplary  preaching that his son paused a moment to regain control of his own emotion, and somehow this seemed so fitting. They set  an example for us all, for David, with Liz, and their children too, have sown so much into our lives, and he will be so greatly missed. It was they who planted our fellowship in Porthcawl, pastoring us for the first two years until,  because of health he could no longer continue.
While in remission, with the measure of health he had, he knew he had to make Wales Wide his priority, but he continued to mentor Tom and Laura, who have so capably taken on his role of pastoring, and has loved and supported us all from afar.
An awe inspiring picture of David towered over us, by means of the screen, so life like, in his mountaineering gear, and standing by the cairn he has built, just a stone or two at a time. It is his Ebenezer. For even in the last painful months when he endured a course of chemotherapy, yet again, - yes, for our sakes, even though, like Paul, he longed to be with Christ, which is far better, he had slowly, painfully, yet joyfully, climbed the gentler slopes of Fan Fawr, raising funds for Felindre, and building his Ebenezer – a thanksgiving to our faithful God.

            GOD’S MOUNTAINEER
Oh God, creator of the rugged ranges
Thank you for those with heart of mountaineer
Loving the great outdoors of open spaces
Facing the fiercest climb with glad good cheer

Thank you for those who count each climb a challenge
Trusting God’s strength to face each rocky road
Nor fear the final peak that’s yet before them
Knowing they’ll soon be present with their Lord

Oh how we thank you, Lord, for those like David
His joy to lead us all to claim the heights
To gain new strength for every climb before us
And so possess the land in God’s own might

So may we hear God’s call to face the mountains
To know we each can be his mountaineer
To claim new heights nor fear the steepest valleys

To walk, e’en as he walked, with glad good cheer.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

PASSING THE BATON

I was honoured to be invited to at a special service because  someone in my family was to be ordained as an elder. It was to be at the Temple in Penygroes, known as ‘the Mount,’ - a place of significance to many brought up in the Apostolic church.
After the ordination, the young couple were  commissioned  to be part of a team involved in pioneering work into West Wales.
Image result for passing on the batonNot only was I thrilled for their sakes, but especially because of the honour this is to our family, fruit of that sown into their lives by their godly parents and grandparents; of those who have passed on the baton.
But I was thrilled on another count. And this is what I believe God wants me to share. For at this time we cannot help but grieve as another great man of God seems to be drawing very near to Heaven’s gates. Glory for him, but for those left behind, the pain of bereavement. For through his fervent prayers and his ministry in Wales Wide he was surely passing on the baton to this young couple as they are taking on his burden for Wales.
It was while in this service I felt I must write the following in acknowledgement of David, one of God’s greatly loved Apostles, who among other things was used to lay a firm foundation for our fellowship in Porthcawl.


God’s Mountaineer

Oh God, creator of the rugged ranges
Thank you for those with heart of mountaineer
Loving the great outdoors of open spaces
Facing the fiercest climb with glad good cheer

Thank you for those who count each climb a challenge
Taking their strength from God to face each step
Nor fear the final peak that’s yet before them
Knowing they’ll soon be present with their Lord

Oh how we thank you, Lord, for those like David
His joy to lead us all to claim the heights
To gain new strength for every climb before us
And so possess the land in God’s own might

So may we hear God’s call to face the mountains
To know we each can be his mountaineer
To claim new heights nor fear the steepest valleys
To walk, e’en as he walks, with glad good cheer.


It is so important for each of us, in our endeavour to follow our Lord, to  prepare to pass on the baton to those who follow after.
‘The teachings you heard from me, commit to faithful men, who will be able  to teach others also,’ was part of Paul’s commission to the young Timothy (2 Tim 2:2) So the Kingdom of God will grow.
When I trained to teach Bible Explorer, part of our commission was that we should pass on the baton, to get others involved in this specific ministry. Teaching this inspirational course for over ten years, I have sought to inspire others to become involved, but now not only is my natural strength  declining, it seems this door of opportunity in the schools might be closing too, at least in this area. But though we must  accept that we can’t go on for ever, and ministries may change, part of me knew that if I gave up now I would be failing  in fulfilling my commission.
But as I saw a definite link in these ministries to the Welsh areas, I felt God reassuring me that we don’t always see the links God is forging, not the plans he is working out, but we must continue to pray and to trust that others will take up the baton, while we must continue to pray, as Jesus told us, ‘to pray the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth labourers into the harvest.’
Watch this space! God has been speaking to me, to give the doors into the schools one more push, while reassuring me that he will continue to renew my strength, and that I will rise up on wings like eagles even as I seek to be obedient in passing on the baton.
Be assured, God has asked me to share this because he has special ministries for each one of us, which we must commit to faithful ones who will be able to teach others also. Let us pray for each other.



Thursday, 16 February 2017

EAGLE CHRISTIAN



Yes, I am moved into my new flat. Some say I am in the pent house, but I call it my Eagle’s Nest.
Many years ago I was  given a card by one of my students at the Apostolic Bible College, where I was lecturing on children’s work.
Now it has a place of honour. Titled ‘Eagle Christian’, it is of an eagle, standing alert on some rocks, as it views the land, while the text is, ‘The glory of the Lord shines out as one rests in him.’
So here I am, resting in the Lord, in this beautiful apartment God has provided for me, and asking him to teach me to live as an Eagle Christian.
Firstly, I am trusting him to renew my strength so that I my rise up each day with wings as eagles, for  moving house is certainly exhausting, and takes courage and strength.
A lovely cosy home, - almost too warm first thing in the morning, I open a window for a few minutes and breath in the sweet fresh air, then switching on a lamp,  I open my curtains even though it may still be dark, in faith that the morning is coming, and ‘as surely as the day dawns’ as Hosea says, open my heart for all God has for me for this new day.
Once the morning is here I look away, above the back yards that are down below, over the roof tops, to the strength of the mountains beyond. Even if I cannot see them through the mist, I know they are there. I am told an eagle is able to turn his head full circle, but I have to wait to see the sea until I walk along the corridor, and passing the lift, look from the window across the harbour to Ogmore.
We admire the eagle for its nest- making skills in the bleakest of places. And of course the purpose of a nest is for raising young. God is reassuring me that with him, I am never too old, and he is continuing to anoint me with fresh oil in my various ministries.
God has made me so sure that this move was his best for me. He has appointed the places we live, as Paul told the people of Athens. And I have been filled with joy as I have been ‘playing house’ with my limited, but more than adequate space. I am amazed to be living in such luxury, but then I remembered that I had just as much joy in brightening up some of my little homes, such as they were, when in the Highlands of New Guinea. I am proving the words of Madame Guyon,
            ‘While place we seek or place we shun, the soul finds happiness in none,
            But with my God to guide my way, ‘tis equal joy to go or stay.
Image result for eagle christianQuietly I am getting to know all these wonderful senior citizens who like me, have moved into Stoneleigh court, determined to maintain independent living, all so brave and positive, and  friendly. But we all have deep deep needs, though we may strive to keep them hidden, and I pray this Eagle Christian, with those others already here, may be used to spread God’s wings of love so that none of us may need to fear the time when we are leaving earth, but  have assurance of the mansion Jesus has gone to prepare for his own.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

EAGLE’S NEST

Since writing of how God spoke to me at Hebron Hall, that I was still to run the race, the Lord has opened a door for me to move to a beautiful flat in sheltered accommodation. It all happened so swiftly and very surely. A new home! No, God did not want me to give up on my ministries, or think about my declining health but rather to face a new chapter in my life.
We had named our home in Hawkhurst Court Hafan Deg, - Fair Haven. Now I needed a name for this beautiful flat on the top floor of Stoneleigh Court, with double aspect views across the roof tops to the mountains, while just along the corridor I could see across to the harbour. I found myself referring to my ‘Eagle’s Nest.’
The last time God spoke to me about the eagle’s nest was when my beloved Joel had died. After five years in the ministry together, retired, we were settled into our own ‘Fair Haven.’ Re-tyred, we said, for you never retire from God’s service, but we did not expect any more moves until it was upward, and we were hoping to make this move together.
Image result for eagles nestBut unexpectedly, Joel preceded me to heaven. That was fourteen years ago, and it was then that the lesson of the eagle spoke strongly into my heart. I learned how the parent eagle, in order to encourage his young to fly, will gradually break up the nest that had been the eaglet’s security so that he must launch out and learn to use his wings. Now I felt the lovely cosy nest we had built together had been broken, and so I must launch out to trust the strong currents of God’s love.
But this eagle has been getting older. So many times I have had to remind myself of God’s promise that they who wait on the Lord will renew their strength, mount up with wings as eagles…. And walk and not faint. Yet my strength was declining.
But God had shown me very clearly that I was not to give up on my ministries, and now he has given me a two bedroom flat in a sheltered complex, where I have a study for my writing and room to store all my teaching aids as well as a lounge/diner and bedroom, a safe, secure nest where I can still welcome my friends.
Waiting for the completion date, so that I can move in,  I am already calling it my ‘Eagle's Nest,’ for it is on the top floor and, with dual aspect, I can see over the roof tops to the mountains.
We don’t have to fear declining health as old age creeps up on us, but God has put eternity in our hearts and he has never finished with us. We are missionaries wherever we are, and we can still rise up with wings as eagles.
Yes, I am down- sizing, but most of all I am laying up treasure in heaven. That needs to be the priority for us all, doesn’t it? I have always  tried to travel light since I first moved with my parents from our five bedroom family home into a bungalow, but especially as I set out for Papua New Guinea, but it is amazing how year after year we accumulate ‘stuff’ which needs to be thrown out. As the years pass and circumstances change, we have a different view of our treasures.
I had been thinking of parting with many of my teaching aids, but no. God may yet renew my youth and open doors. But meanwhile I must always remember that it is Christ who is my treasure and he told us, ‘Where your treasure is there will your heart be,’ – so, while I am enjoying my eagle's nest, and you the home God has provided you, we must seek each day to lay up treasure in heaven.  

I don’t know the author, but it was Mrs Charles Cowman’s favourite poem, and mine too, and so I will copy it hear and pray it will bless you too as we enter this New Year,

            My heart is there!
Where, on eternal hills, my loved one dwells
Among the lilies and the asphodels;
Clad in the brightness of the Great White Throne,
Glad in the smile of Him who sits thereon,
The glory gilding all His wealth of hair
And making His immortal face more fair –
THERE IS MY TREASURE and my heart is there.

                        My heart is there!
With Him who made all earthly life so sweet,
So fit to live, and yet to die so meet;
So mild, so grand, so gentle and so brave,
So ready to forgive, so strong to save.
His fair, pure Spirit makes the heavens more fair,
And thither rises all my longing prayer –

THERE IS MY TREASURE and my heart is there.