The answer’s been there all along.

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It can get discouraging watching the news – violence, poverty, corruption etc. The problems seem so complex and unsolvable but the answer has always been there, so simple!

It was delivered to us by a lowly carpenter two thousand years ago, yet we haven’t implemented it. The answer is love (or it might be more clearly stated compassion). You see if you love someone you share with them, even down to your last mouthful. Jesus statement “sell all that you have and give to the poor,” or Acts, “All that believed were together and had all things common,” sound pretty scary, but imagine if everyone actually did that. Not at the barrel of a gun (as in communism) but voluntarily out of love, there would be plenty for all. God has always given enough it’s just not shared out evenly.  (I just read in among the many articles regarding the “Paradise Papers” half the world’s wealth is in the hands of just eight people – imaging sharing that out!) Capitalism and our various economic systems are not Christian ideologies, quite the reverse in fact. Sharing would end world poverty and much of the disease prevalent in poor nations (also probably in rich ones too, as the wealthy no long overindulged lol!) What about the loafers? I hear someone ask. Again simple, Love does its best and works hard for the sake of others. Communism, though admittedly a lot more biblical than capitalism, left out the love part (not to mention God) – that’s why it didn’t work.

“Do unto others as you’d have them do to you,” that means wars would cease – you can’t kill/hurt someone you love! Crime would cease because you also don’t steal from someone you love. Overall health would improve as greedy corporations, brought to their knees by love, ceased polluting and destroying the earth and big pharma became benign at last.

Of course I’m a dreamer, such changes would take hundreds of years to implement even were all to be willing (and many are not) as Jesus said “how hard it is for the wealthy to enter into the kingdom”. The change would need to be gradual one heart at a time. But it annoys me when I hear folks blame things on God. He gave us a good plan in the beginning, but we thought we were wise (what comes of listening to “serpents”) and put our own plans into action instead. You can see where that brought us! Then Jesus came to give us the plan again, and at first it worked, till the church itself became part of “the establishment” and compromised to stay safely under that umbrella, gradually getting further and further sucked in.

I have little hope of these changes taking place, (at least till Jesus returns to finally take over before we wipe ourselves out). It’s hard for most folks to even think outside the box of our present economic systems etc. but then there are always those wonderful individuals, who warm the heart by their courage in following the true plan for mankind, those of whatever religion, creed, or lack thereof, whose love and compassion overcome their fears to give all and in giving all find all, for “God is love.”

Remains. (sci fi flash fiction)

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They were almost in sight now. He craned his head to see, the translucent walls of the craft enabling perfect vision. He glimpsed something far ahead a dingy grey/brown splurge on the horizon contrasting with the intense greens with which he had always been surrounded.

He’d never totally believed it, couldn’t comprehend this side of his own humanity, but there it was before his eyes a vast wasteland of decaying iron and concrete. Here and there a feeble tree or bush strove to bring life to the empty mounds, shriveled and corrupted. No, the “trees here were of another nature, bare metal poles and girders, once the support frames of the towers that had been inhabited, what they had been taught was a “city”, a place innumerable humans dwelled encased in glass and concrete, brick and steel. It was beyond his young comprehension.

It was mandatory to make this trip before taking on an adult role in the community, to learn from the mistakes, to take paths of peace, to understand where greed and anger could lead, to be content with the simple life of forest and lake, grasslands and sea. They were safe now, but the lesson had been learned at great cost. It must always be remembered. Hence this trip and so many others as each generation came of age.

The pilot inclined his hand and the vehicle circled whirling back towards the welcoming green haze on the horizon. He of course had no need of the craft, could have been there in an instant. The vehicle was for them, the earthbound, forged of the immense power and light of the being before them. He had always been in awe of the angels.

Redemption.

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Colour decked, the marbled skies entwine in splendid hue
And echoed in the earth below a rendered scarlet dew.
All earth besmirched with war and pain while heavens gaze on down
“T’was given to the hand of man,” God answers with a frown.
“And rendered up upon that day, he hands it back to Me,
E’en sky above, polluted, foul, which once was wild and free.”
The sins of man recorded here and buried in the clay
The skull, the bone, that once were fair, in dead abandon lay.
The blood soaked down within the soil, the dirt, the filth, the grime,
A thousand belching factory’s smoke eclipse the sun’s dim shine.

And man, what has become of him, the first creations prize,
He’s turned away to hate and sin, from truth he’s turned to lies.
“But see,” God says, on looking down, “some jewels within this flock
Of anguished souls intent on gain, still cling unto the rock.
They shine and glimmer in the dark and round them shines a light
That though the darkness press it hard continues in the night.
In them a seed, though thinly sowed, a hope that lies within,
That to the promise, stained in blood, they set their hopes to win.
To these brave few shall dawn a day when dark is turned to light
For all the evil then shall flee the day I join the fight.”

And Yet…

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Alone we watch last leaves of autumn fall upon this world
Fearing stark winter follows icy breath in hand.
Alone we watch the fleeting sun rise and set its measure of time
Believing one day the frost shall melt at the coming.
Alone we ponder and learn of wonders withheld,
And yet, at small space, from our present eyes
Alone we partake as one that peeps through a slit at a waiting world of wonder
One that is warmed with thoughts and emotions as yet unformulated.
For light streams through in colored glory from worlds beyond if we still ourselves to listen
Soft words of comfort echo through chasms formed by love long ago
Yet still they calm our senses , refresh our vision, as a fresh wind from the mountain.
Stop, look up, and we will see fresh vision here with God with we…

(While troubled and pained by recent attacks in London and in Syria I came across this old poem and found comfort.)

Good morning America.

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It was hard to see how this one could work out to the good. From an outside standpoint both candidates were manifestly not people I’d want to see with any kind of power let alone the US presidency (it seems many Americans felt much the same).

I must admit to a slight sigh of relief that at least the Putin/Clinton sabre rattling is not going to go into effect (we are too close for comfort!) What lies ahead for the US is uncertain. Many seem to have linked the Trump triumph to Brexit, but while the thought that voters just might have scored over the powers that run things behind the scenes, the comparison for me ends there.

As a Brexit voter I had solid political and economic reasons for my vote, I fear many may have voted for Trump to escape Clinton (that woman is pure evil!) Of course I don’t have the same understanding of the issues as an American, but for sure the world is a little more shaky this morning, but it could have been even worse I guess.

I took comfort in one of my US friends Face book post. It said. “Whoever is president God is King!”

When life gets tough remember this.

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“When is the devil being beaten? Well, not when we feel great and confident, when it looks like wonderful things are happening… No. The devil is being defeated when we are feeling attacked and under the gun, when we feel weak and helpless and do not know what to do, when we are not sure how to respond, when in our perplexities and sense of weakness we come before the Lord and plead with him for strength to go on one more day, and for grace to help us stand.” —Ray Stedman

Boy oh boy I can really attest to this one! That’s when the big victories are won! A particular instance comes to mind. We’d been private teaching in east Taiwan, a tropical paradise. All needs were met for our little family and life was easy.
Then came an urgent call for my husband to take up a post in the south. Long story, but basically having passed on all classes and given notice to leave our beautiful house within the week, the whole thing fell through at the last minute. We couldn’t go back, couldn’t go forward, we tried everything to no avail. My husband collapsed under the strain and sank into deep depression. It was all left on my shoulders along with four kids. I recall lying on my back in total mental exhaustion saying “Jesus,I can’t do this. Help us!”
The phone rang. Amazingly a friend of my husband heard be were moving and asked was there any way we could baby sit his apartment and cover his classes while he was away in the US. Within five minutes we had a place to stay, a steady income and 6 weeks to find our feet in Taipei (which we did).
This has happened so many times that I tend to give a sigh of relief when faced with desperate impossibilities. I know that’s when I’m finally out of the way and God can take over.

Bear (Flash fiction)

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It was so long since Sam had let someone touch his heart it was all but frozen over. Yet, somewhere beneath the ice, warm currents of life still flowed, hidden, protected, waiting still for the thaw of spring.

It was a day as other days, riding the train home behind the newspaper, suit neatly fitting, briefcase at his side. He noticed the pretty woman as she came to sit opposite him, noted the ringless finger, but stopped at that. He hid behind the financial section, catching glimpses of her smile beaming at the toddler beside her.
Strangely it was “Bear” that made the introductions. Opportunity being literally dropped at his feet, he seized upon it without thinking. Their eyes met as he thrust the furry body into groping hands. Something passed in that instant. He glimpsed beneath the sunny exterior and saw pain. It was quickly covered, disguised by smiles. Yelling stopped, the youngster clutched the ruffled animal to his chest, eyes tumultuous.
“His daddy gave it to him,” she rushed to explain. “He’s very attached to it.” He noted a slight quiver in the lip. “He was killed in Afghanistan,” she whispered.
He couldn’t help but double check the finger. She noticed.
“We were to be married at Christmas,” she added defiantly. “He was an American officer. We met in transit. Things happened. He loved little Alex.” The eyes were tinged with sadness, underlying water showing clearly.
“I’m sorry, I wasn’t meaning to pry.”
“I know. But we’re OK now, aren’t we Alex?” She hugged the petulant youngster to her. “At least I have Alex.”
“He’s a cute little guy.” Sam’s smile was repulsed. The child had eyes only for Bear. Sam had never been good with kids. He retreated behind his newspaper, but it was no good, the ice had cracked.
He glanced over the rim, noting the tears she brushed aside. He couldn’t help himself. Moving to sit next to her he put a tentative arm around her shoulder. She didn’t push him away; rather she lowered her head to his shoulder seeking to hide the tears. Possessively Alex scrambled onto her lap.
“I’m sorry,” she sobbed, “I thought I was over it.”
“Some things in life we never quite get over,” he responded, a far off look in his eyes. “You’re coping remarkably well.”
“You think so? Even when I got your suit soggy?” a glimmer of a smile appeared, as sunshine through the rain.
“I think you’re a remarkably resilient woman, and a pretty one at that.” He kicked himself. Stupid idiot! Why had he added that? She merely laughed.
“Guess I need to be – baggage!” She nodded at Alex, but there was no hint of bitterness. “Love me love my Bear,” she joked.
“I don’t think that would be so hard to do.” Sam replied. They’d each found a way to protect themselves, but the sun of her shield was melting his ice at an alarming rate. He didn’t mind.
Reflected in the train window the young sergeant winked, misty eyed, at Bear. He no longer needed the link. With a sigh he let go. They’d be OK now.

Can there be a happy ending?

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paris

I was greeted this morning by a face book message saying a friend was safely accounted for after the “Paris Terror Attack”.

My mind went into free fall. Oh no not again! There are times I wish my mind was not quite so agile. I scan the news, 120 dead (and counting) Suicide bombs and automatic rifles… My mind kicks in again – that’s just the dead, for them it’s finished, there’s the grieving families left behind, worse – the injured. My mind’s already doing stats – general percentage death to injury. As the pictures of screaming victims, severed limbs, disfigured faces and bodies kick in my mind has already leapt ahead – this means reprisals!

It means anger, hate, further attacks pushing the moderate Muslims (who, like us, just want to live in peace) further into the militant camp. This means more hate, more aggression, more killing, more injury, more orphans.

My suspicious mind jumps one more step, Friday the 13th. -obviously chosen for its significance … but that would make no sense to a Muslim mind. They would not choose that day over another…

It must have been carried out by Muslims (even the best CIA operatives would not volunteer as a suicide bomber.- even they are not that crazed.) So why Friday 13th? There’s got to be another factor in this mix, but what?

The reports of automatic weapons also raise questions – you can’t exactly sneak one of those under your coat – how did they get them in – hmm seems the killers might need inside co operation of some kind. If so those folks are still at large. Too many questions, the greatest of which is, “How can this end well?”

At times like this I take refuge in my own faith that God sees all, every heart.

I imagine a God of love taking one of these bombers by the hand and, tears in His eyes, showing them how deluded they have been. I imagine the terrible anguish of soul when realization dawns that their idealism has been manipulated by evil, the horror of the chain of destruction they have been part of. I cannot feel anger towards them, only deep, deep sorrow. They are as much victims as those they destroyed.

Hate begets hate, aggression begets aggression. Long ago God gave this creation into our hands to choose between good and evil, to choose the good becomes harder and harder, often requiring a great degree of courage.

I’m glad God is the judge in all this and not me. I await in hope that one day, when the time is fulfilled He will intervene and at last we shall have peace, and those that truly sowed these seeds, whoever they are, find their retribution.