My garden in the sky.

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Back to my personal place, the place that’s me, where I can watch unnoticed all that passes below, partake in the vibes of distant conversations without being burdened by understanding or reply. A place where the sky fills two thirds of my vision, and surprises me in sudden glimpses of breathtaking splendor, where I can see the far off hills, be aware of the old church, rooted through the centuries, without the need to visit. Here were God seems closer than my last week away.

Yes that house is far bigger, it has not just a balcony by a beautiful ornate garden, not just  bathrooms, but outdoor hot tub. It’s far more beautifully furnished than mine, has spare bedrooms, a library and study, even a working fireplace and chimney. All these things I love, yet it seems empty even when all the  family are there. The dog is my comfort, we sit, each missing in our different ways. I rub his ears and watch too many movies in an effort to pass the time till my duties are over and I can pass it all back to its rightful owners.

They like it here, anyone would, it has everything ones heart could desire, all but one, my little garden in the sky is the place God and I chat, a place of renewing, somehow his humility doesn’t sit well with opulence – neither does my heart.

It reminds me of a favourite song:

“Make me the king of a vast domain,

With cups of pleasure to ease the pain.

I’d hate it all without Him…”

Life is like that, things can never fill the empty place within. It’s so good to be home where everything reflects our life together, small, cosy, warm spirited – here I can write again.

With fear and great joy!

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“With fear and great joy” This so captures those moments when we perceive God not as a far off deity, but a living entity involved intimately in our very lives. I love this phrase!

Mathew recounts:

“There was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.

His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow and the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid…”(the strong men, the soldiers, were terrified, but the defenseless women had nothing to fear for they came seeking Jesus.)

“So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy…”

“Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice! … Do not be afraid.”

It is this awe so great it might border on fear were it not immersed in total and overwhelming joy, that quickens my heart time after time.

“This is Eternal Life?”

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The first thought when hearing “eternal life” tends to be “life after death”, but either believers are right and all live eternally or atheists are correct and there is nothing after death (in which case also nothing to worry about since you will no longer be aware).

Examined logically “eternal life” (as expressed in Biblical texts etc.) denotes something more than survival because it is partaken by some and not others. It seems to be speaking rather of quality of life – living rather than existing. As Braveheart so aptly states, “All men die, but not all men truly live!” There’s a difference between eternal life and eternal survival. Eternal survival in an environment in which you felt trapped, fearful, or alone would be the worst kind of hell!

So what is meant by “eternal life”? John clarifies “This is eternal life, that they may know … the only true God, and Jesus Christ…” We are told Jesus came that we might “have life and have it more abundantly” an enriched life, beginning not at death but the moment we come to truly know him in a personal and intimate way, a life enriched by the power and joy of his spirit, possessed not at death but right now in our present life and that to come.

Don’t force the wood (Life lessons)

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What a great idea I thought. Wood carving would be a just the thing to indulge my creative leanings. Having fours years of study and a BA in sculpture under my belt I figured I could easily adapt.
Boy was I wrong! I’d mostly used clay, plaster etc. any past wood creations being the result of industrial power tools. The only thing I’d carved by hand was plaster of paris.
I soon discovered my mistake, not only was it hard work, but it just didn’t “flow”. The first simple relief came out well, only to be followed by three half finished free standing carvings. I finally got the point. I wasn’t learning about wood, how it grew, how “IT” flowed. I was merely trying to stamp an image on it. Wood is a living thing, to carve it you must know it intimately.
I pondered, isn’t life like that? We try to put our stamp upon it, shape it to our desire but we find forces working against us. We discover irreparable splits can occur when we hit in the wrong place. We have to understand the forces at work in our lives in order to flow with them, to step back and really look at latent possibilities we don’t notice if we are too intent to “get to work”.
So, I’ve decided, I’ll take some lessons from the master carpenter. This will be fun and far less work!

“You can never be too bad for Jesus only too good.”

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Interesting quote!
I thought it over.
Those upbraided by Jesus as ” generation of vipers!” “whited sepulchers full of dead men’s bones” “blind leaders of the blind” etc. were never the tax collectors,prostitutes, thieves sinners etc. to whom he showed abounding love and mercy. These sayings were hurled at the holy elite who considered themselves good and righteous, far superior to this itinerant carpenter with his radical message of love.
The Sunday school picture of Jesus can be misleading, he was not always meek and mild. Taking a whip to the money changers in the temple was pretty violent and aggressive! The difference? – His anger was due to his great love for others, those cowed and exploited by the rich and “holy” it was never for himself.

Walking on thin ice?

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Watching the ducks waddling across the thin layer of ice I thought how like this coming year. So much of the world seems to be walking on very thin ice indeed. Last year brought impending change, Brexit, the US elections, the worsening Middle East situation etc. etc.. Even my normally stable, cozy little island (UK) stands on the brink of flux.

Then I got to thinking. If the ice did brake its no big deal for the ducks. They can swim and they have warm greased feathers. It might be momentarily scary, but no big problem. So I thought are we like ducks? Can we swim?

Then I remembered we know the one who could walk upon the water and my apprehension vanished.