11 March 2004

Eaton Ford - Trees and leaves

< 6th August 2003 | Index | 31st March 2004 >

Trees seemed to be an important theme in this evening's meeting. We were given a picture of trees planted in a field and Father said that when they were mature, their branches would touch and intermingle.

Perhaps young, immature trees should not be too surprised if they sometimes seem to grow in isolation! True community can only come when the trees are fully grown, first they must all attain their full height and spread.

We looked at Ezek 47:1-7 and 12 where we read of the river flowing from the temple and the fruitful trees growing on its banks. These trees are watered by the river and never wither because they don't suffer drought. When we receive the living water, we too will be fruitful regularly and continually.

We had another word that trees may be shaken by the wind, but if they are firmly rooted they won't be swayed. How important it is to be 'rooted and grounded' in the things of the Master!

Matt 24:32 explains that when the fig tree buds and shoots, we know summer is coming. And Luke 13:1-9 points out that it's urgent to repent and to seize the opportunity of life right now. But then a certain amount of patience is required for growth and fruitfulness.

Other thoughts this evening were that we tend to bring the world's way of doing things into the church. But it should surely be the other way round; we should instead be taking the church's way out into the world!

And we need to be in the same place doing something differently, not in a different place still doing the same old things.

< 6th August 2003 | Index | 31st March 2004 >

06 August 2003

Eaton Ford - Look up and look out

< 15th July 2003 | Index | 11th March 2004 >

What an interesting meeting! We prayed, we praised, we read, we chatted, and we listened as the Holy Spirit spoke to us about our lives, his purpose, and how the two are interwoven.

Thinking about the world at large we realised that many people believe there's one controlling power behind the universe. This is true not only for Christians, but also for Islam, Judaism, and in a sense for Hinduism and others too. But this knowledge must produce love if it's to count for anything.

Father told us to, 'Look up, and look out'. Roger pointed out that we need to see Him before we start looking at the problems in the world. Then it occurred to me that we can only look in if we're outside; because we're privileged to be inside we can only possibly look out. So, first we must look up and see the Father, then we are to look out.

The Holy Spirit also told us, 'I'm in you and you're in me, I'll never forget or forsake you.' What a joy and a comfort that is! How wonderful that he keeps reminding us of this! But sometimes I feel, 'Why are you so slow to lead me on, Father?' And he says, 'I'm still waiting.'

Why is it so hard to hear what he says? It's because we must first strip off all the 'stuff' that gets in the way. We must remove everything that will keep us from him. When we do this we share his existence, and we share other's pain.

In this way he makes us his co-workers and we are able to work with him in our lives.

We have a choice in life, we can put on evil, horrid things, or we can put on good things as in 2 Peter 1:3-8. Peter writes that 'If you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

< 15th July 2003 | Index | 11th March 2004 >

15 July 2003

Eaton Ford - Fallen and lifted up

< 23rd June 2003 | Index | 6th August 2003 >

Rachael brought some verses from Revelation (Rev 2:5). It was striking that the church at Ephesus was told, 'You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen.'



Somehow this seemed very relevant to the church today, we need to recover 'our first love', we need to see how far we have fallen. Only then will we have things properly in perspective. We belong in a high place, we belong with Him!

We were also aware of our need for fellowship with other people. We can't do anything alone, we want others around us, we need them to be there.

Father spoke through the Spirit, he said, 'Step onto my hand, I'll lift you up, there's no need for you to learn to climb or fly.' So we felt we can relax in him and let him do the work. He will lift us up and we will see him face to face. He told us to rest in him, to rest in his love, he said, 'I will do the doing'.

He also reminded us that our place is to encourage one another, not to criticise people, not to disagree with them, but to build one another up. We felt that when we meet with others it's often the differences that spring out and appear to become important. But this is a trap for the unwary, the differences are often less important than they seem and they're less important than the things we share - salvation, blessings from above, communication with Him and with one another.

If there was a theme to this meeting it was 'connectedness'. Once again he reinforced for us a sense that we are to be connected strongly to him but we are also to be connected to one another. This seems very important and something we should remember.

< 23rd June 2003 | Index | 6th August 2003 >

23 June 2003

Eaton Ford - Reflected in nature

< 4th June 2003 | Index | 15th July 2003 >

This evening we decided, quite spontaneously, to take a walk along the river bank. And although we spent very little time in prayer (after we arrived back from the walk) we saw many things that reminded us of our heavenly Father, and we were encouraged and guided as we thought and talked together along the way. Here are a few of the highlights.

A young frog
Church life seems to go through seasons, just like those of the year. There are times of spring growth when renewed life appears and small, vigorous, green shoots grow towards the light. There are times like summer, when church life is warm and full and blossoms most wonderfully. There are 'autumn' times of fruitfulness and mellowness. And there are wintry times when branches are bare; life is still there but it's not always easy to identify.

We saw white water crashing over the weir in great, glassy curves, then bubbling furiously downstream with dangerous undercurrents to catch the unwary. What power is in the river! It seems to flow slowly, but the weir shows that there's plenty of energy hidden even in the quiet stretches. How like the rivers of living water that flow from the Son through his people! (Jn 4:10, 7:38, Ez 47:9)

We saw terns flying along the river looking for fish, and one dived into the water while we watched. Life is so wonderful, so varied, so graceful, how marvellous is the One who created the universe!

We saw dozens of baby frogs on the footpath, each no larger than a thumbnail. They were wandering about, every one in its own space, not ever seeming to meet although often not far from one another and probably all making similar journeys. Are we like that? Do we also rarely meet, do we each stay in our own space, even though we're on similar journeys?

We felt that it's important for us to see our Father, not in creation (for the maker is not part of what is made), but reflected by it. For we have to use our minds, we must think as well as see if we are to grasp what he is like.

And finally, we remembered again that we're made in his image. He is creative, so are we. He is love, so should we be.

< 4th June 2003 | Index | 15th July 2003 >

04 June 2003

Eaton Ford - Walk with the King

< 13th May 2003 | Index | 23rd June 2003 >

The Holy Spirit reminded us that we are just to love, not to manipulate. We are called simply to rest in him and to relax, he will do all the work. We can do nothing, only he is able to do it.

Walk with meWe received a word along the lines of, 'I will never forsake you or leave you. I will not leave any child of mine. Walk with me in my garden and see what I see, appreciate what I appreciate'. It seemed very striking when a blackbird began to sing in the evening air outside, such a beatiful song to listen to. The blackbird isn't anxious about what will happen tomorrow, he just sings for today.

Roger read Job 38:1-7 and 42:1-6 and spoke about how Job understood in the end that striving is no good, only the Almighty is capable of bringing his plans to fruition. He answers us 'out of the storm' and reminds us that we know nothing; eventually we, like Job, must understand that he, Yahweh, is the King and his plans will bear fruit.

At the end of the evening I was just left with a sense of peace, I felt surrounded by peace, supported by peace. It was a calming and encouraging experience; he knows what we need!

< 13th May 2003 | Index | 23rd June 2003 >

13 May 2003

Eaton Ford - Tree of life

< 21st April 2003 | Index | 4th June 2003 >

For some time I've been feeling that I want everything to happen right now, that I want to 'get on with it', whatever 'it' is. This leads to frustration, of course, and above all we have to wait for the King to move. Our place is to follow.

Trees on the riverbankThis meeting helped me a lot. We talked about Matthew 24:36 where we are told to keep watch and learn that even the Son himself doesn't know when. So why should I be impatient!

We also talked about the way things that once seemed important to us, such as reading the newspaper each week, are really not important at all. Our lives are full of such things, few of them matter.

We were drawn to two passages about a river. In Ezekiel and in Revelation we read about this river, and the passages seemed to be very relevant to what we were being shown. Ez 47:1-12 shows that the river flows from the temple (Yahweh's dwelling place) and brings abundant life. Rev 22:1-6 tells us that the same river waters the trees, and their leaves are for the healing of the nations. We also read about the valley of dry bones in Ez 37, one of my favourite passages.

Clearly, we can do nothing by our own strength or abilities. But when the Almighty acts, he acts decisively! Let's not worry or be fustrated, instead let's recognise that many things we hold dear are unimportant, and that life and renewal flow like a river from the throne of the Almighty and of the Lamb. Only when he breathes into us will we truly come alive.

< 21st April 2003 | Index | 4th June 2003 >

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