13 October 2005

What do you see here? (KN)

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well here's a new twist on that thought. I provide the picture, and you write some words!

Buildings and skyIt's not difficult, here's a small photo to work with. You can view a larger version in a separate window while you write your comment, or you can even download the full-size original. The photo is copyright but the terms allow you to use and reproduce it.

The idea is not just to write any old comment. Instead, look at the picture and ask yourself if it speaks to you about our heavenly Father, about the human condition, or about our relationships with him and with one another. Can you bring an encouraging message out of the picture?

Let me show you what I mean. The lower part of the picture is man-made, it rests on the earth, is grey, hard, and unchanging. The upper part of the photo is of the sky - it's not made by human effort, is owned by no-one, is not bound to the earth, and is gloriously colourful, bright, and changes moment by moment.

Go on, have a go, write a comment. It's not a spelling or grammar test, there are no right or wrong answers, and there's no prize except the prize of encouraging people and opening eyes and minds to the truth. Expand on my thoughts above, begin with new ideas of your own, or reply to other comments already present.

Thanks for your contribution, and may your words be a blessing to others.

(This was my final post to the Koinonia blog. Hint - click the topic 'kn' at the top of the page to show only the Koinonia posts.)

Comments copied from the original Chris Jefferies' Blog.
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Comment from: Steph [Member] Email · http://www.es-creative.com
The commerce, machines, contructions of "man" cover the earth. The extent of the social constructions of human beings is so vast, it is often difficult to see the simple, raw beauty that God created when he spoke the world into existence. Alas! So many will look upon the social construction of reality and say "where is God?" Others will hang their heads low in disappointment and bemoan the loss of the Father's original imprint of LIFE upon the globe.

We, however, have the opportunity to "raise our eyes to the hills" and remember from "whence comes our help!" Every day the sun rises over the earth and the glory of the Lord is available to behold. If we would but search for Him as Song of Solomon's maiden searches for her lover, we would find Him. Look, over there, coming up out of the valley, "my Lover stands radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand!"

I see a similar picture of Christ when I view the above photo. He is steadfast, ready and wise, ever-beautiful, unchanged by human ideas or culture. He is the Alpha and Omega, the same yesterday, today, and always.

What a glorious reminder in that photo Chris. The "sun" remains and is always the diligent counter to anything that fails or corrupts here on earth. So much happiness and joy in life overflows or diminishes; it's all in what we choose to behold, isn't it?

14/10/05 @ 03:20

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Comment from: Kay Harvey [Visitor]
The picture reminds me of the end of my daily labor to go home and retreat from the world of busyness, and rest with Him. Kay
19/10/05 @ 15:41

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Comment from: Chris [Member] Email
Thanks for your comments, that's two very different thoughts so far, I think it shows how powerfully the universe displays the nature of the Almighty to those who have eyes to see.

I'm sure there's much more about him that could be mined from this image. Anyone else care to contribute?
20/10/05 @ 05:21

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Comment from: jimp [Visitor]
Couldn't tell IF that was sun rising or sun setting.... don't matter for "from the rising of the Son to the going down of the same - the Lord's name is to be praised!~

and prasing Him is easy - in light of the cities that man's hands have framed - that pix w/ sun -reminds me and encourages to be ever vigilant - those cities we don't look for = we hold out for the city who's builder and marker is God! \O/

JimP

Good shot, Great reminder, ChrisJ
29/11/05 @ 18:33

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Comment from: Robert Gillard [Visitor]
It's funny but didn't I read somewhere that God hates cities. After the flood, folks started builing cities and trusting in the walls to save them. These days cities divide people, get people mad, all cooped up together like rats in a cage. I remember some guy did experiments where he put lotsa rats, all jammed together, in a cage. they got mean and anti-social real quick. Sounds like a city... But that sky!! Look up your redemption draweth nigh. The Son (sun) of Righteousness has risen on you. A sky like that is best viewed from a desert. A dry and weary land where no water is. Thus have I beheld thee in the sanctuary. I've seen skies like that from my desert places and my heart leaps within me.
30/12/05 @ 03:31

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Comment from: S. R. [Visitor]
The first scripture that came to mind (which seems odd) was "...open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." And also, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field..."

And in this context, the glory of the sunset reminds me of the scripture, "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field."

Normally, these scriptures would be applied if the picture were of a wheat field, but could we say that perhaps if we were to broaden what we see, and see with the Lord's eyes, i.e. having the mind of Christ, that we will see His desire?
04/01/06 @ 10:59

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Comment from: Shirley Miranda [Visitor]
The creative God is displayed through the creativity of man as seen is great architure. However, when placed next to the Creators artwork, it pales in comparison. His glory can not be outdone.
30/01/06 @ 16:48

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Comment from: Sue [Visitor]
I look at it as a sunrise, there are many people asleep in those buildings, they are missing the beauty that God sending our way. But also picture a lot of people awake, watching and marveling at the beauty God is sending their way, and they thank Him
03/02/06 @ 20:59

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Comment from: joshua kelly [Visitor]
I see what has become of mans doings here on earth. Not to say all is bad. But, my first thought is it looks like low-income housing or possibly vacant and inhabited by homeless folk. It makes me thankful we have a hope of a place not made with human hands to reside in eternally. Oppresive picture even with the sunset. What have we become? A culture subject to so much failure and also success at the cost of many lives being pushed to the lower part of society. But the ones making money in this area would ofcourse disagree.
13/02/06 @ 11:10

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Comment from: David E. Gregory [Visitor] · http://www.oneamericansdream.com
I see what I would rather not see, i.e. a big city. I live in the country, and I would greatly prefer to see the sky over the country. On the other hand I know of some folk who live in the big city and their God is just as close to them as my God (the same God) is to me. I am (or have been) very survivalist minded, meaning learing how to be self-sufficient, and I am learning somewhat painfully that it is all a mirage. There is no such thing as [absolute] self-sufficiency, nor did God intend there to be. The city is dependent on the country for growing food, and to a large degree, at least, the country is dependent on the city and the business enterprises that are more easily put together in the city for the mass transportation of the country's food nationwide.

There is another aspect that I see, because I have been in construction most of my life. All of those buildings, without exception, existed in someone's mind before they ever existed in brick and mortar and steel. All of them started on an architects drawing board, and the contracts were let out to dozens of contractors before there was so much as a shovel full of dirt turned over. So in reality all of those buildings represent the genius that God put into man that is part of the unimaginably brilliant and complex image of the Creator God himself.

And, of course, while most men don't see it (they are blinded by the sheer 'glory' of the physical building just as the pharisees of old were blinded by the 'glory' of the temple) God is building his own building, but it isn't in the buildings you see here.

And yet, even those who (in my opinion) have the misfortune of being stuck in the big city have the same privilege of looking UP, and seeing the same glory of the sky (almost, because there is less smog in the country)as those in the coutry. And if there is faith, then God honors that faith no matter where he finds it.

I worked in the World Trade Center for six months when it was under construction in 1971, and while it was an experience, no amount of money (aside from the distinct calling of God) would compel me to go back there, entirely apart from the tragedy of 9/11.

Sincerely,
David E. Gregory
Belgrade, Maine
14/05/06 @ 19:06

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Comment from: jeffrey hosman [Visitor]
When i first looked at this image it was as if i heard The Lord Saying....

"When it is evening you say 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red' and in the morning 'It will be foul weather today for the sky is red and threatening '.
Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. "
Math 16:2&3
25/07/06 @ 19:58

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Comment from: jeffrey hosman [Visitor]
The 2nd thing i heard was The Lord Saying...( after i read all the many other wonderful comments which i had not done up to that point )..

I heard The Lord saying...

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones
those who are sent to her!
How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.
Math 23:37 nkjv.

Thank you for providing this opportunity to comment, Chris.

It's a GREAT Idea!

Thanks to all contributors so far...all great comments I think!

jjeffrey1@adelphia.net

25/07/06 @ 20:14

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Comment from: Walter [Visitor]
I see a city whose inhabitants need evagelism and discipleship.
17/11/06 @ 05:58

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Comment from: Larry Baker [Visitor] · http://wwww.101computers.biz
I see the machinery of life. I see that every bulding must contain some element that gives life to the larger body. Every employee in every building contributes to a product or service which supports the bigger world. First glance gives the impression of how small I am, but when you think of it, all componants of society are small.The factory worker is a small cog in the big machine, but without him, no end product to benefit the population. I think that we can look here and see that the body of Christ has even more members than Paul mentions in the Bible. The complexity and balance of a city is the result of a "bigger picture", of which all Christians participate, in a small cubicle or a wide open area. Within the walls of this city, you may find a thousand christians talking to their co-workers about the kingdom of God.
03/04/07 @ 02:25

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Comment from: Kate [Visitor]
What I see is simple, even in the midst of all this humanity, God's glory shines. God reaches out to every eye to bear witness to His love, the rays of the sun he Created touch us. Christ comes to meet with us no matter who or where we are. His power out shines our attempts to claim we don't know He exists, we didn't know better, we didn't think anyone cared, we don't realize that everything we do MAKES A DIFFERENCE in God's eyes.
There is black and white, good and evil, right and wrong, (yin yang, karma, blah blah blah)...

...and then there is grace.
22/04/07 @ 23:36

07 January 2005

Eaton Ford - Paint and light

< 15th December 2004 | Index | 23rd May 2006 >

Rosie reminded us about the great wave we were shown during our last meeting, which sadly I didn't mention in the notes. Of course, since that meeting the dreadful tsunami has struck coasts throughout southeast Asia. Thinking about this we knew that the wave picture was not a warning of disaster, but an illustration of the way he lifts us and carries us along in the direction we should go.


Paint in waterThere is such power in a wave. And the tsunami made that clear in a truly terrifying way. Yet there's nothing to fear in his wave, the power is there for our benefit, not to destroy. But this evening Father had a different message for us. He showed us an artist at work with watercolour paints. As the artist dipped his brush into the water, the colour swirled through and transformed the colour of the water. In the same way, Yahshua's presence in us swirls throughout our being and gradually changes us into his colour. He has dipped himself into our lives and we will never look (or feel) the same again!

And again, we were shown clouds parting and strong sunlight shining through. He is the clouds, but not only is he in the clouds, he also becomes visible to us as they part. We had such a strong sense that he has chosen to reveal himself to his people.

Sunshine through the cloudsAnd he is making himself visible in many ways. He does this for us in his creation. He does it throughout history. He wants everyone to see, but not everyone chooses to see. But we also know how important it is; seeing him is far more powerful than just hearing his word!

He reminded us of 'Doubting' Thomas. Yahshua told his disciples, 'Peace be with you. Blessed are those who have not seen but have believed.'

And finally he made it clear to us that he only shows us what we need to know. There is so much more that is hidden for now, what we need is shown to us as we go along. It is given at just the right moment. When a beam of light shines through a hole in the cloud it only lights the next step for us, not the whole journey. We can only live one day at a time, so why would we need to know the details for tomorrow? It's not our plan we are following, but his! Praise you father, you give us all we need, right when we need it! Thank you.

< 15th December 2004 | Index | 23rd May 2006 >

15 December 2004

Eaton Ford - Cogs and a gift

< 23rd November 2004 | Index | 7th January 2005 >

We're always so busy, rushing around as the holiday season approaches, last minute shopping, getting everything ready for Christmas.

Old cogwheelsRachael saw us on Father's conveyor belt. We travel without effort and are always moving in the right direction, but sometimes we fall off and get stuck in the cogs! When that happens we do not make any progress and of course we may also be hurt. Isn't it true that sometimes we can be misled and become caught up in the mechanics of life? But our place is really to be carried along by the Almighty in the way we should go, without fuss or anxiety.

We read Jeremiah 29:10-14, where we see that Yahweh had plans for his people, Israel. He has plans for us too, he always wants to restore us to the place where we should be (especially if we've just fallen off his conveyor belt!) It's essential that we follow his plans, not our own. His plan guarantees success! Our own plans guarantee nothing but failure and disappointment.

Stained glass sunriseWe asked ourselves what sorts of things Yahshua plans for us in our lives. Does he plan to include plenty of rushing about? Does he include a good helping of last-minute shopping? What about gifts? We have a tradition of giving one another presents at Christmas, but the truth is that he himself was the gift! How we need to seize hold of this fundamental truth.

Rachael imagined herself in her car. And she realised that Father was speaking to her about this. He told her, 'If you look in your rear-view mirror you see me. If you look in the wing mirror I am there. If you look in front I'm there. And I am the engine producing the power. I am all around you'.

Next we were led to read John 1:1-12, such a wonderful and familiar passage. John writes about the Word of the Almighty, that he is the light of humanity, that the light shines in the darkness but the darkness doesn't understand it. These verses tell us that the Messiah is the light, he is the one John the Baptist testified about. They reveal that the word became human but was not received. But to those that did receive him he gave the right to become Yahweh's children!

If Christmas is about anything, it is about light and peace and joy, it's about the coming of the Word in person, and it's about his gift to us all. And of course his gift to us is himself, no more, no less.

< 23rd November 2004 | Index | 7th January 2005 >

23 November 2004

Eaton Ford - Water and stars

< 1st November 2004 | Index | 15th December 2004 >

Five of us met this evening (six if you include Donna's cat)! We spent some time chatting and sharing tea and coffee, and then settled down to see what Father would show us; he did not disappoint us, bringing pictures and prophecy that came together with a strong theme. At the end we felt we'd been encouraged, taught, filled with fresh peace, and strengthened.


Swirling water
Right at the beginning we were already thinking of old cartwheels as these had come into our conversation. It seemed that an old wheel was a picture of the church. Although we are all joined together in relationship with one another, the rim of a wheel cannot function without the hub. Yahshua himself is the hub of the wheel and we are all joined directly to him. If we are not in relationship with him as our hub, our relationships with one another are not going to be truly useful.

Next, the water of life was mentioned, and we read John 4:4-14. Val shared an amazing picture of some people splashing in a pool at the bottom of a waterfall, while others at the top looked down and worried that the water might be too cold or the jump too dangerous. The people at the bottom called out to them and encouraged them to jump. Finally they did, and were able to enjoy the water at the bottom in the 'bowl' of the waterfall. And as they splashed and enjoyed the refreshing water, some of it slopped over the sides of the bowl so that it was shared more widely and could bring life and refreshment to others.

A field of start
Father spoke to us through Gayna who prophesied that we should leave our toys and just come to him and be loved by him. And we realised that when he is there amongst us he's more important by far than anything else in our lives. The things we do when we are on our own are worthless by comparison. These things include our best efforts at work, at home, and in the church. We do need to come to him for refreshment and to receive his love and his wonderful touch.

With this still fresh in our minds, Rachael shared the idea of a hammock. Like a hammock, the Lord supports us all around. Even though the hammock moves in the wind we are still safe, held gently but securely.

And as Ken shared, our Father trims the vine to make it more fruitful. We're grafted in, we did not inherit our place as a birthright but as a gift. But if we remain in him, he cleans us and restores us, prunes away the damaged and diseased parts so that we can flourish with new growth in the springtime and bear fruit in season. But we need to let him do that for us! (See John 15:1-6)

What a rich evening it was, more and more good stuff kept flowing out for us, blessing after blessing! Thank you Father.

Next we heard from Gayna as she described how her burdens are like a heavy, leaden ball. She struggled to carry the weighty ball, struggled even to lift it! But Yahshua said, 'Give it to me, I will deal with it for you'. And when she gave it to him the leaden ball became a bubble, floated away into the air, and - popped! It was gone!

Ken was bold enough to share a picture with a meaning that was obscure to him. He saw the stars above the earth at night, but they disappeared in the sunshine on the other side of the earth. He had no idea what this picture might mean. But Val pointed us to Philippians 2:15 and 16 where we read that we 'shine like stars in the universe as we hold out the word of life'. He has placed his light within us so we shine like stars for him in the darkness, but of course when his light shines we are hidden in his brilliance, far brighter than the sun (see also Walking in the Light).

Val read several verses from this passage (Philippians 2:12-16). We are to 'do everything without complaining or arguing so that ... [we may] shine like stars in the universe'.

< 1st November 2004 | Index | 15th December 2004 >

01 November 2004

Eaton Ford - Butterfly and bird

< 14th October 2004 | Index | 23rd November 2004 >

During our meeting tonight we read 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 and were impressed by the thought that the Holy Spirit is a deposit, a guarantee of something we have yet to experience. And John 16:33 reads, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." He wants us to know that things will be far better than they are in this life.

Tortoiseshell butterflyIt's because our Father is the ultimate recycler! He takes us as he finds us - broken, worn out - and he renews us for a new and better purpose and function.

Val explained that she's been writing down her prayers and typing them up later, and she's been quite amazed to find how many of them have already been answered.

Then he showed us something truly delightful. He told us that his Spirit is like a butterfly, so beautiful. Butterflies settle on flowers, and they fly gently and gracefully through the air. He deals with us gently and very graciously, his spirit alights on us like a butterfly on a flower. He told us that when we're in turmoil he concentrates on bringing us to a place of peace, but when we're in a place of peace he concentrates on speaking to us. He told us, 'Know who you are, you are my children - it's as simple as that! You have inherited everything that is mine.'

A mallard duckVal then described just what his touch is like. He takes so much care in creating us. She saw him at work constructing a bird, showing the level of care he uses in making and re-making us. He applied each feather individually in its proper place, he even dealt individually with all those very tiny, fluffy pieces, crafting and attaching them individually using a specially fine pair of tweezers, until they were perfectly in position.

The tweezers are important, he doesn't work on us with a sledgehammer; that's just not possible. You cannot build with a sledgehammer, you can only knock down, destroy. The same hand cannot use both those tools!

Val was really on a roll tonight! She also pictured the process of knitting a large pullover. She explained how the work proceeds, row after row after row, with seemingly little progress. Eventually you have half a pullover front, but it still seems there's a long, long way to go. But then, you suddenly realise you have reached the arm holes, then the neck, and it's done! Our lives can be just like that, in the middle it can sometimes seem there's no real progress, we're just as bad as we always were. But, our Father promises the work will be completed, and it will!

He leaves his peace with us ('my peace I give to you' - John 14:27). His peace descends on us like a dove. He wants us to experience peace with the Father and peace with one another. This is central to his purpose, it comes as the result of loving Yahweh and loving one another.

< 14th October 2004 | Index | 23rd November 2004 >

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

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