29 October 2004

Mr Mole shows the way! (KN)

Walking back from town, crossing a patch of grass in the park, A mole at workI spotted some molehills. Fresh soil, pushed up from below, looking for all the world like miniature volcanoes; they were dotted about here and there, apparently at random.

But Mr Mole's little piles of earth are just the visible evidence of something going on out of sight. Are you a mole?

Moles work away underground, they're hardly ever seen and most of the time they live their lives quietly, out of sight, and not having any real impact on the world above ground. We should all be like moles! Just think about it.

Moles are active - For a start, moles are always busy. Their main purpose in life from day to day, like all animals, is finding food to sustain themselves. They must feed themselves, and they must feed their young. In the case of a mole this means finding earthworms and other small prey, and to do this they dig tunnels. Lots of tunnels.

They're always at it, digging, scurrying, digging some more. And they patrol their tunnels relentlessly, searching for food and repairing any damage to the tunnel. You won't find a mole with his feet up, watching TV, smoking a pipe and nursing a pint of ale. Mr Mole is far too busy for that!

Now I'm not suggesting we should not have time for leisure or watching TV, but I am suggesting we should be busy and active about our Father's work. Like the mole we should always be building new, or repairing what already exists. And that doesn't mean church buildings, it means church relationships!

The mole's work is hidden - Although Mr Mole is always busy below ground, most of the time we don't even know he's there, let A mole in his tunnelalone the fact that's he's working hard and never gives up.

Except for those molehills, his work goes on unnoticed. Shouldn't we be like that too? Not that we should hide our light from the world, quite the opposite, let it shine! But our work in the church is one of quiet industry, smoothing a difference of opinion here, helping a brother or sister with a problem there, visiting a sick friend, praying faithfully for someone. These things are mostly hidden, we don't need to draw attention to them, it's enough that our Father in heaven notices.

So, what about those molehills? - Yes, I wondered about those too, those are certainly visible! But then I asked myself, why are they there? The mole doesn't build molehills to draw attention to himself, it's not a case of, 'Look at my hills, aren't they great!'

Building tunnels involves getting rid of the unwanted soil. It gets in the way, it's not needed. If left underground it would prevent the tunnel being extended. As we work quietly and hidden, sometimes there will be things that need to be ejected, things that get in the way, things that we don't need.

From a mole's perspective those hills are not visible. Moles know that if they have unwanted soil, they must push it upwards and it will just disappear from view, it will no longer be in the tunnel creating a blockage, it will be gone and can be forgotten.

And that is exactly what we should do when we find the way blocked by stuff we don't need. We are always finding such things in our lives, things we're ashamed of, things that prevent us moving forward, things that reduce our effectiveness in the church. Push those things upwards and they'll vanish from our view. Give those things to our Father above and he will deal with them. Don't cling to them as then they'll just continue to block progress. Let them go!

That's all I have to say about Mr Mole right now, but I'm sure we are like moles in many other ways too. Maybe you can think of more Mr Mole parallels; if you can, do please leave a comment below.

Thanks!

Comments copied from the original Chris Jefferies' Blog.
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Comment from: Terry Craig [Visitor] · http://www.wildflowerpress.biz
Hi!

Did you take the photo? I LOVE it.

Other than what you wrote, I know that moles can't "see" what they're doing in the dark of the soil. They have to feel their way around. While I'm not endorsing a life led by "feelings," I DO know that faith is pushing on even when we can't see the thing God promises.

We don't have moles here in South Florida as far as I know. We do, however, have crabs that burrow all over in some neighborhoods, filling the lawns with holes and soft spots, just like moles! Years ago we lived in a neighborhood with them and they drove our neighbor--who wanted a picture-perfect lawn--crazy. There's probably a parallel there as well, as life is messy sometimes. As much as we want to cultivate and control it (especially when others are watcing!)... we need to realize we aren't the masters of it. . . we are partakers of it, in all it's unexpected turns.
31/12/04 @ 19:31

17 October 2004

Walking in the light (KN)

That's what this blog is all about, I've been trying to catch those special moments when something is clearly illuminated for me and, if I can, explain them in mere words.The River Great Ouse

Of course words are just not up to the job, but they're a start. A picture here and there helps, images are like short-cuts to the heart, worth a thousand words as the old adage has it.

But best of all is for each of us to walk in his light so that we all receive it fresh and first hand. You don't need my stale, second-hand light, you need your own, straight from the source.

I was walking along the riverbank yesterday, the sky was cloudy but with blue patches dotted around. The air was chilly and a light mist was starting to rise from the river. And then I was dazzled by the light...

A bend in the footpath brought me into full view of the river, and low above the trees on the opposite bank the full strength of the sun hit me full in the face. Not only that! Reflected by the calm water surface, there was a second beam of golden light, it caught me full in my face as well.

Light on the waterThis was seriously bright light, the light of two suns! The photo doesn't even come close; you can't properly illustrate something like that. (To get a photo at all I had to move to one side and take the picture with the sun filtering through the leaves of the trees to reduce its strength.)

So what did I discover from this experience?

* The first thing I noticed is that when I looked straight at the light I saw... Light! I couldn't see the real sun, nor could I see the sun reflected in the water. They were far too bright. All I could see was the light, not the source of the light.
* Secondly I noticed that although I could see the opposite bank of the river, and some trees, everything was indistinct. Details were difficult to make out in the glare, close to the source of the light it was hard to see anything.
* Thirdly I noticed that when I turned around, the fields and trees illuminated by the light were very distinct and clear. Looking back at the world, back where I'd come from, things were clearly and brightly illuminated. I could see everything!

Do you think this is true of the light from heaven too? I think it is!

The source of the light is the Mighty One himself, who among us can look on him and see his face? Perhaps it's good for us to remember that although we can see the light of his glory, we cannot see any detail; he is too bright for us. He is more wonderful than we can yet understand. Our senses and our imagination are just not up to the job.

Can you imagine a light twice as bright as the sun? A thousand times as bright? A billion times as bright? Neither can I, yet the Almighty is far, far brighter than that!

Do you know what heaven is like? In part, yes, but only in part. You won't have full knowledge in this life, just hints, bits and pieces of information. Do you know what is in another person's mind? Only in part, even if you know someone well there is not complete knowledge. You can't fully know because you can't stand in that friend's place. Neither can you know heaven because you do not stand there, the detail is lost in the glare streaming from the face of the Holy One.

But when I turn around and look at the world, what do I see? I see more clearly now than before I believed. I see more fully than I did a year ago. Why? because I'm learning more and more to see in the light that shines out from heaven. Yahshua said, 'I'm the light of the world'. It's true, seen in his light the details of the world become clear. What was hidden is now plainly visible, what was lost can now be rediscovered, instead of stumbling in the dark we are now able to walk in the light! I was blind, but now I see!

I'm still just beginning to learn to walk in his glorious light. But every day he shows me more precious truths. Praise him! HalleluYah!

Comments copied from the original Chris Jefferies' Blog.
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Comment from: Steph [Member] Email · http://www.es-creative.com
What a peaceful scene.

I'd like to bring a thermos of tea and go for a walk there.

Thanks for the photos! Keep 'em coming!
21/10/04 @ 06:04

Comment from: Steph [Member] Email · http://www.es-creative.com
I keep coming back to this first photo. There is such a sense of peace on it, and in it.

It's edifying just to look at the photograph; I wonder how much more enriching it would be to be stomping up the bank, feeling the cool air of the river on my face?

Isn't it wonderful to enjoy God's great majesty of this creation?

Thank you for taking the time to post it. Not everyone gets to live so near a river and enjoy the natural beauty there.

SB
23/10/04 @ 04:20

Comment from: Kay Harvey [Visitor]
I get everyones koinonialife mail but not long after I registered yahoo began saying my address was not registered though I saw it was and after much confusion I settled for listening, not responding. I was new at the computer and in fear I'd mess up receiving, I left it alone. I read you alot after I finish others for the same reason you told us accidently, what you thought of Jay. I don't have many people left here to the richness of Him that comes from a long walk with Him that is of a similar trail as mine. I notice you notice nature,His awesome thoughts which at 5 years old made me want to find how to talk to Him. My mom didn't know, she said if I did'nt doubt and I realized I did so I left Him in the sky till 15 and He fixed her mistake. I have known Him 36 years now and have a big garden to go escape with Him in. It is spring here in Florence Alabama USA and my roses and amaryilles, and daylillies are comming out, reminders of His awesome thoughts. I thank the Lord for Him in you. In Christ, Kay Harvey
08/05/05 @ 11:55

14 October 2004

Eaton Ford - Umbrella and prism

< 22nd September 2004 | Index | 1st November 2004 >

More than anything this evening was an evening of pictures. Father showed us so many, and all of them revealed something about his nature and our relationship with him.

An umbrella

Rachael explained how she'd been thinking about staying under Father's protection. When you drive a car in a really heavy rainstorm and you pass under a bridge, for a fleeting moment the deluge stops. It's not good enough to dash under his protection and then immediately rush out again, we need to stay there. The idea of an umbrella is different. Armed with a good brolly we can be under protection but also have the freedom to move around. But the principle is the same - we need to be where we will be protected, not somewhere else!

With the umbrella we are free to go with the wind. Under his protection we can be dancing and free because the umbrella travels with us - everywhere.

A prism and spectrumThe Holy Spirit also showed us something very special about dwelling in our Father's house. His house is not some wonderful and precious palace which can only be used with great care and is unsuitable for children. No! His house is really and truly our home. We're comfortable there, and we belong there. A good home is much more than a roof and an address, and it's much more practical then any palace. A good home is warm, and welcoming, a place to bring friends, a place where we feel 'at home'! That should not be a surprise to us.

In a related thought, Val shared something special about our Father's embrace. We can (and should) rest in his embrace. Now that's not a quick hug for just half a second. It is instead something that we really do 'rest' in. We feel a hug like that, and we know that we're being hugged, and we are not shooed away but we can stay in that place of love for as long as we need or want.

Yet another picture was of a meadow. Father said to us that our life with him is like being in a beautiful meadow, full of flowers, with the sound of birds singing. He is there, sitting in the meadow, and we are always free to go to him for reassurance, for food and drink, and for comfort and mending if we have fallen over. Val took this idea further, pointing out that he doesn't just sit in the meadow. He's also interested in us and in everything we do and he comes to look and shows us things. 'Look over here', he says to us, 'Have you seen this?'

And finally, in this evening of images, we considered something optical. We were given the idea of a glass prism with a beam of white light passing through it. The light is broken into all its many brilliant colours. Red light has the least energy of all the colours and is bent the most. Violet light is bent the least with the other colours spread out between the two. It seemed he was saying we are like the different colours. Some of us are close to him and are redirected by him, others perhaps don't hear him so clearly and are moved less. But the amazing thing about a prism is that it also works in reverse! If you send in all the colours of light, each one at just the right angle, they all combine to make a beam of bright, pure, white light.

So although we're all different (like the colours of light), through the prism of his love we all meet in him. We all reflect different aspects of him, but together we can begin to reveal him. Praise him! He is love and he is here amongst his people. He is here in his people!

< 22nd September 2004 | Index | 1st November 2004 >

09 October 2004

What kind of dog would I be? (KN)

Walking along the river bank this afternoon I came across a woman exercising her dog. Some dogs collect things!The dog ran towards me along the river path, then obediently lay down at a command. As I came up behind him and walked past, his eyes didn't waver. He didn't so much as glance at me, he was watching his owner very intently, waiting for the next command. His owner said, 'Get it then! Go on!', and off he went like an arrow released from a bow, off to fetch a ball or something else she'd left behind for him.

As we passed I smiled and said, 'Very good!'. I got a big grin back as I carried on walking.

Is this dog typical? No! I don't think so! I can think of several examples of badly behaved dogs - and I'm quite sure you can too...

We are like dogs too, some of us are more obedient than others. My brother-in-law has a Boxer called Rosie, she has a mind of her own, she will obey - but only if it suits her - or if she can see a titbit waiting for good behaviour! She is wilful, and she wants to be in charge. There are other dogs that don't disobey deliberately, but they never learned the words of command, they don't understand what is wanted of them.

I doubt if any of us is totally obedient. Some of us are wilful and want our own way, others perhaps are not attuned to our Master's voice. Some make a determined attempt, but sooner or later get it wrong for one reason or another.

It seems to me that the obedience of dogs is a very good illustration of the principles. A dog needs a master and must learn to obey without hesitation, certainly a good working dog will never question an order. Think of a sheepdog, or a retriever, or a dog trained to find drugs or explosives. They are only useful if they are obedient and reliable.

So if we want to be useful to the Master we must begin by learning to hear and recognise his voice. We can't obey him unless we first know what he wants of us. And having heard, we must have a heart to do his will, not our own. We might think our own ideas and methods will do the job, but they will not; we would be no more use than a sheepdog that decided for itself where the sheep should go.

Nor should we expect a reward, we may or may not receive one; our main reward will be in heaven - eternal life with the Son in the presence of the Father and surrounded by a great host of brothers and sisters. But here and now there may be no reward that we can identify. Our motives must be pure, we obey because he is our Father and we love him.

And like the obedient dog we must fix our eyes on the Master, unwavering, undistracted, and patient. When he gives the word we will be ready and will obey instantly.

Here in this world we have a relationship, first with the Master but also with our brothers and sisters, we will do well if we keep our eyes firmly focussed on his wonderful face. We will learn so much from what we see there, is he smiling? Being one of his people means we must interact with others. If they are to be built up and encouraged we'd better be obeying orders, not just making it all up as we go along.

Where we are not sure we do well to look all the more carefully. Never take your eyes off the King! Where we are not clear we must practice listening. How does the obedient dog develop such acute powers of observation and attention? By training, by practice. Practice hearing and seeing and you will get better at it. I promise you! Practice obedience and you will get better at that too. So that is our goal, to practice and practice and become more attuned to hearing and obeying.

See! We can even learn from the behaviour of our pets. Our Master is really good, loves us well, and knows how to train us; if we are obedient we can expect to do exceptionally well.

Oh, and one last thing. A good dog must have only one master - so must we. We are not to follow teachers, or preachers, or elders, or any other man or woman. We have one Master, and our attention should be fixed unwaveringly on him. Then we won't be distracted or deflected from his purpose. And as we help and encourage one another, we do well if we remind one another always - 'Look to the King, keep your eyes on his wonderful face, see his love, hear his voice.'

Comments copied from the original Chris Jefferies' Blog.
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Comment from: Steph [Member] Email · http://www.es-creative.com
Having "his heart," not our own, is a phrase that is resonating with me, Chris. How does that happen?

I think that some of it has to do with the 30, 60, and 100 fold story in the New Testament. A 30 fold return on investment is pretty darn good.... but it's not "all" there is to be had.

If we want his heart, we've got to give 100% of ours, with no holes barred. Unfortunately, the forces of our human nature and society's constraints around us are 100% opposite to that. Everything seems to work against that work of maturity and complete surrender.

Isn't that why we need each other? To help each other press on to the upward goal, the *prize* .....

which is "his" heart.
Thanks a terrific blog.
S.
14/10/04 @ 04:27

08 October 2004

A handy Bible tool (KN)

Q - When you want to look up a Bible passage and you don't have a Bible with you, what do you do?The Bible Gateway website

A - Find an internet connection and browse to the Bible Gateway!


There you will find the entire Bible in a number of versions. You can display a verse or a whole chapter just by entering the details in a search box. Easy!

But you can do so much more than that with this well-designed tool...

If you've already used the Bible Gateway you'll know exactly what I mean, but if you're a newbie to this clever website - read on.

Keyword lookup - A second search box is provided for looking up words, type in 'fish bread' for example and click 'Search' and up pop those gospel passages about the feeding of the thousands, along with several other verses containing the same two words.

Changing versions - Once you've found the passage you need in one translation, you can read it straight away in another. It's easy to look at the same passage again and again in different versions; and there are lots to choose from.

Sometimes it helps to search in the King James Version (perhaps you remember that version of the verses you need), then, having found it, swap to a modern translation to read it.

If you've already used the Bible Gateway you'll know exactly what I mean, but if you're a newbie to this clever website - read on.

Audio versions - There are also audio versions in a variety of languages. This gives a different kind of experience and may be helpful.

Other materials - There are some study guides here too. Not as comprehensive or easy to use as some of the Bible software available on CD or traditional print, but very useful when nothing else is to hand (when you're travelling away from home, perhaps).

Foreign languages - There are versions of the Bible here in all kinds of languages. So whether you are from Albania or Vietnam you will be able to read and search online in your native tongue.

This mini review should be enough to get you started. Visit the Bible gateway website and hunt around to see what other features are available. And watch out for the new, improved version coming soon.

Happy reading, and happy searching! Why not bookmark the website now? - There are also audio versions in a variety of languages. This gives a different kind of experience and may be helpful.

07 October 2004

Everything I have (KN)

'Everything I have, was given to me.'

This simple line came to me today in an e-mail from a friend. It referred to something quite specific, but it's so true in a general way too.A young plant The more I've thought about it during the day, the more its meaning has become rooted in my heart, like a seed planted there. It seems right to share these thoughts more widely.

When I was first conceived I was no more than a tiny bead of protoplasm carrying a copy of the DNA that spelled my potential. As I grew, the meaning of the code worked out in detail until the day I was born and took my first breath.

We often think of birth as the beginning of life, but by the time I'd taken that first lungful and tested out my new voice with an ear-splitting wail, I'd already received so much.

First, the DNA code itself, donated by my parents but specifying a new, unique creature. And then all that realised potential - a heart that beats, lungs that fill with air, bones and muscles, fingers and toes, and all those amazing internal organs working away to keep me alive and healthy until adulthood. I earned none of these things. They are rich and wonderful gifts bestowed on me even before I was born!

Throughout my life from the morning of my birth to the evening of my old age I'll have received so much. The air I breathe, the water I drink, the food I eat and the clothes that keep me warm, I earned none of these things.Mature growth and abundant flowers I used my gifts of mind and body to 'earn' my way in the world, but I could create nothing without the means to do so, and the means came to me as generous gifts.

It seems to me that I have nothing at all to boast of, and absolutely everything to be grateful for. And look around at the world we inhabit! See the beauty of the sky, sun shining on leaves, the frost on twigs. Smell the fragrant orange blossom, the wonderful aroma of freshly cut grass, or bread straight from the oven. Ah, what a wonderful, wonderful world. And what a wonderful Creator who brought it all into being and planted me here amongst it for a season. I earned none of this!

And friends, family, just a smiling face in the local shop or at the bank, a kind word from someone who cares. Did I earn these blessings? No, I did not. All are gifts.

How true then it is to say...

'Everything I have, was given to me.'

Praise the King of Kings who has blessed me with so much. Honour and glory and power are yours, for ever and ever. Amen.

Comments copied from the original Chris Jefferies' Blog.
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Comment from: Steph [Member] Email · http://www.es-creative.com
Oh yes -- just look around at the world we inhabit; it *is* amazing. Unfortunately, so many of us miss the little joys that are at our fingertips each day. Sometimes a simple glance, lingering on a thing of beauty or taking an extra moment to smile at a passerby is enough to remind us that there is more to this world than what we see, handle and touch. Just a glance can mean so much!

What I especially enjoy is when someone has the gift - an "eye" really -- to capture some of these glorious things and share them with others. Whether it's a melody, a phrase well turned, or a beautiful moment captured by photography. I appreciate these gifts so much. They inspire people like me to look higher, deeper, and live more meaningfully.

Thank you, Chris, for sharing these awesome photographs. I'm in love with this last one of purple heather and a dogwood bending low. At least that's what they look like from this vantage point.
08/10/04 @ 14:29

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