05 September 2011

FAMILY - Dartmoor

< The Coast | Index | Plymouth >

One place we wanted to visit and explore during our holiday was Dartmoor. The moor itself, the famous prison, and the villages in the valleys on the east side of the moor were all places we wanted to see.

View towards Princetown and the prisonAfter breakfast we headed north east to Dartmoor and drove through some spectacular scenery to Princetown right in the heart of the moors.  This is where the forbidding and infamous Dartmoor Prison stands bleakly on a remote hillside.


Then we turned north, stopping for coffee at Widecombe-in-the-Moor. We found an unusual place for a coffee break here; it included the village library, clearly acted as a community centre, and had logs stacked around the walls. The tables and chairs were made of cane wickerwork and heavily painted.

After our break we returned to the A38 at Bovey Tracey. The mix of cloud and some sunny patches send bright areas scudding across the dark, moorland hills - very beautiful to watch.

Stained glass in Buckfast AbbeyOn the way back to Landrake we stopped for an hour or two at Buckfast Abbey to explore the gardens, the abbey itself (rebuilt on mediaeval foundations from 1907 and completed in 1930), and enjoy another coffee in the little restaurant. It seems extraordinary that this mediaeval-looking building is still less than a hundred years old!

Stopping at a supermarket on the way, we bought what we needed for a sausage and mash evening meal (using potatoes dug from our garden late on Friday). Paul and Vanessa joined us for the meal and an evening of TV and chat.

< The Coast | Index | Plymouth >

04 September 2011

FAMILY - The coast

< Two journeys | Index | Dartmoor >

This was our first full day in Cornwall. We travelled west along the coast and met up with Paul and Vanessa, ending the day with a nice pub meal.

Sunny LooeWe visited Looe in the morning, travelling west along the A38 and then heading south. We had arranged to meet Paul and Vanessa on the seafront, and we all ate our lunch together sitting on the big concrete steps of the coastal defences above the lovely sandy beach. It was a glorious sunny morning, really summer weather although we're now into September, but from 13:00 onwards an Atlantic weather system  moved across and the sky steadily clouded up.

Rainy PolperroIn the afternoon we left Paul and Vanessa in Looe and travelled further along the coast to the pretty little fishing village of Polperro. We parked at the top of the village and as we headed downhill towards the harbour the first raindrops started falling. We didn't stay long and were lucky to get back to the car withoug getting drenched as the rain was setting in more earnestly. It rained hard all the way home in the car but was easing off again by the time we arrived back at the cottage.

For our meal in the evening the six of us tried the local pub in Landrake, 'The Buller's Arms', and were not disappointed. Roast dinners at a good price and friendly service. And I was pleased to find several ciders to choose from with two on draught.

< Two journeys | Index | Dartmoor >

RESPONSE - Giving a milkshake

I was very encouraged to read the latest post from Chris Duffett. Chris lives only a few miles from us and he excels at finding innovative ways of engaging people with the Good News that Jesus brings truth, light, and a new way of living.

If you want to know more, read his blog. Here are some extracts from his latest article.
Strawberry shakeI sense that I should give my milk shake away. The one I really love, strawberry, all thick and delicious. So I offer it to a guy who is selling the big issue and it turns out that it is also his favorite kind of milk shake.
But Chris didn't stop with the strawberry shake.
I also give him the sandwiches and yogurt too. The guy seems happy to receive his lunch and thanks me.
And then he understood a much greater truth.
This simple act of sharing opens up my heart as to what God wants to do in me and how he wants to meet with me and for me to enjoy his company. I fetch another lunch and ... simply enjoy the presence of God. Wherever and whatever I’m doing I am able to meet with the one who is so vast and mighty and holy and yet who is Emmanual, God with us, who enjoys walking with his kids and meeting with them and sharing strawberry milk shakes.
Why did this so impact me? It's because he heard (to give away a milk shake), obeyed, was willing to sacrifice (go without his favourite treat), went even further (gave away his lunch as well), and understood what the Father is like (enjoys our presence and shares with us). This is something we all need to practice every day - even every minute.
  • Listen
  • Obey (no ifs, buts, or maybes)
  • Sacrifice what we are and what we have for others
  • Go beyond what is asked of us
  • Understand what Father is like and how he enjoys walking through this life with us
It's really a question of being like our heavenly Father. He pours out lavishly on all of us. We should pour out lavishly too. What Chris has found is that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit love him and enjoy the time they spend with him. This is so awesome that most of us, most of the time miss it! But we only really understand when we do what our Father does, then we begin to see that his nature is also to give. Chris says that a simple act of sharing opened up his heart.

I'd suggest that love, hearing and obedience are the key, whatever we're called to do in this amazing Kingdom of Heaven. We may be called to do a new and different thing every day. As we hear and obey we'll always receive a rich blessing from our awesome Father and a deeper understanding of his greatness and love.

He is our supply and our inspiration and he wants us to know him more fully. 

HalleluYah!

03 September 2011

FAMILY - Two journeys

< No earlier items | Index | The Coast >

On Saturday 3rd September we set off for a week's holiday in Cornwall. First we travelled to Donna's parents near Poole on the south coast, then we continued to Plymouth and our holiday home in Landrake.

Landrake Church towerThe first part was not a good journey. As we headed south the sat-nav diverted us through Winchester because of heavy traffic congestion on the motorway; the journey to Donna's parents at Broadstone normally takes a little over three hours, but today it took four.

Isobel had made bacon rolls for lunch and it was good to stop travelling, stretch our legs, have a cuppa and eat those rolls. Refreshed, we loaded their luggage in the boot and set off on the second leg of the journey to Cornwall, picking up the M5 and A38 from Exeter. For me these are old and familiar roads from years ago when I lived in the Bristol area. We passed the Buckfastleigh turning and headed through the city of Plymouth. The wooded sides of the A38 hide the city from view but we were soon at the bridge over the river Tamar and into Cornwall.

We quickly found Landrake and our cottage, there was a slightly musty smell in the old building (but it vanished once we opened a window, put the kettle on and began unpacking).

After settling into our little cottage Paul and Vanessa joined us and cooked us an evening meal of spaghetti bolognese. What a treat!

< No earlier items | Index | The Coast >

01 September 2011

Little Paxton - Finding rest

< 25th August 2011 | Index | 13th September 2011 >

This evening the Holy Spirit led us in a theme of peace and rest from struggling. Father wants us to follow him wholeheartedly, then we won't wander about in the wilderness.

We shared information about friends facing change or difficulties in their lives, and we talked about our own lives and direction. We chatted about what we have been doing and what we plan to do. Jim's summer Sunday activities have finished for this year, Sean and I plan to be at the Moggerhanger Millenials meeting, and Paul is planning three events before next summer's kid's camp. Jim is thinking about future employment and also about the house of prayer concept.
The Sinai desert
Later in the evening we prayed for the various people and needs we'd identified.

Thinking about our busy lives, Jim reminded us about the forty years the Israelites spent in the wilderness, going round and round. He felt that we have been doing much the same. We struggle with too much to do, overload and stress in our jobs, sometimes with little sense of peace or satisfaction. I sensed the Spirit saying that we need a real peace in our lives. He said, 'Peace is not in inactivity, it's in right activity'.

In different ways, we all felt the need to be listening people. Sean said he hasn't been listening as he should, Jim thinks he's just an infant in terms of spiritual hearing, and I'm aware that I need to be more eager to listen. Jim added that we want Jesus to be in the house and that our peace and rest are in him. We asked for spiritual hearing. We all have it but we all need more of it!

Then Jim told us about a scratch card he'd been given when he stopped to buy petrol. Apparently it was necessary to scratch the card to reveal a code, the next step was to visit a website and enter the code to find out if a prize had been won. All of this requires too much time, too much effort, and almost certainly for nothing.

In contrast the gospel comes with no such rigmarole. The gospel is pure good news. Jesus says, 'Come to me if you are struggling and heavily loaded down - I'll give you rest' (Matthew 11:28). Rest is very good news. It's peace, shalom, wholeness, an end to searching, an end to struggling, and an end to going around in circles in the wilderness. Jesus is a destination, not more rigmarole. The rest he gives us is good news!

< 25th August 2011 | Index | 13th September 2011 >

THOUGHT - A dream yet not a dream

One morning recently as I was in that dreamy state between sleep and wakefulness, Father spoke to me. I was soon fully alert and off to find my notepad so I could jot the thoughts down. Here's what I wrote.

Suddenly - like lightningHe gave me the word 'subito'. There it was in my mind, a word from nowhere. And then he told me, 'I AM love'. The capitals seem very significant, he means 'I AM' as in 'Yahweh', his Name is love and his nature is love too.

He told me, 'If you love me you will obey me (John 14:21). And therefore when you don't obey you show your lack of love. My sheep hear my voice (John 10:27).' I know that he means me, but I also know that he is entrusting these words to me because he wants me to share them with others. They're for me, but they are not only for me. He is looking for an obedient people, a people who are obedient because they love him.

Listening - To obey we must first listen, so if we love him we will also listen to him. Jesus and the Father are one, they are in one another (John 10:38). They are one because they always love and always listen so they always communicate.

If we love and listen we become part of this process of communication, we become part of their community. We become one with them. Christ in us, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27)! We will bear much fruit if we are in this place.

Listening and looking means paying attention. When we truly hear and see we will stop attending to our own needs and aspirations and will refocus on the person who is speaking or doing. This is the case whether it's the Holy Spirit speaking, or another Jesus follower, or someone in the world, or even our enemy.

If we won't focus on the One who is Love we won't hear him or see him. We'll be away in another place like the prodigal son. But the prodigal, although far off, turned and heard the truth in his heart, 'There is safety and sustenance in my father's house.'

Sudden change - Back to that word 'subito'. As the word appeared in my sleepy mind I thought it might mean 'suddenly' in Latin. Sure enough, when I looked it up later I discovered it is indeed 'suddenly' both in Latin and in Italian. I wonder if things are going to change in a sudden, unexpected way? This would be so typical of Father's plans, he is always taking us by surprise!

So now I am waiting for a change of course or direction. It will be initiated by Papa, not by me. I'm neither knowledgeable nor wise enough to change or begin anything - but he is! My part is to be alert and patient - to be listening and loving. Then perhaps I'll be ready to obey.

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