“…go together like a horse and carriage…”

“Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house; I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe” Psalm 5.7.

True intimacy with God, security in His unfailing love, does not take away deepest awe and reverence.

I worry a bit, not a lot but a bit, about the assumption that casualness should be the tone of a church gathering which is sure of the Father’s love and an inviting and safe space for seekers.

Old fashioned? I probably am in some ways, but I have never felt I can wander in and out for or with coffee in the presence of unfailing divine love.

Nostalgic? Probably. I have come to the stage where I would prefer a good old fashioned call to worship with words of Scripture, rather than the now familiar waffle full of questionable teaching ending with the not very inspiring required formula, “Why don’t we stand…?”

Formal? Mmm, perhaps a bit. It may surprise you, but because in the charismatic world casualness has passed from being a not thought about incidental, into being a requirement to be put on display, I would almost rather see a preacher in clerical robes, suggesting at least a Holy calling affirmed by the church, rather than someone dressed in the latest trend of what gym buffed orthodontically enhanced stars of stage and screen are meant to look like, though of course heart is more important.

Yes, it is, it really is. Heart is more important. No question. I know that…I really do, but still…

I actually think a day will come when casualness in its deliberate , chiselled and expensive designer form in the church in the West, will lose its appeal. It will not satisfy those who are looking for something radically different from the world who will become disappointed to walk into a church to find Christians still in love with what they have left behind.

Ah well, that is what I think…

God bless

Kenny

Old truths ever New

Had such an enjoyable meeting with a fellow Church of Scotland minister today. I was reminded of two truths from two giants of the Faith.

Firstly, I was reminded of what David Watson said: true fellowship begins at the point of weakness, when we kneel at the foot of the cross, on level ground, in the place of healing and grace. Personally, I think that often fellowship is ruined when we try and meet one another in a competition based on our strengths.

Secondly, I was reminded Of something C. S. Lewis said: fellowship begins when all of a sudden one says to another with delighted discovery, “What? You too?” That discovery cuts through the need to know endless details about one another. Plenty time for that whenever, if ever…

God bless

Kenny

Angry at Generosity?

Remembering a solid Christian angrily asking me what use the gift of tongues was to anyone. Well it has its uses for sure, but what a horrible view of God, that He only does what is useful!

I wonder what sort of gifts that person gave to their nearest and dearest? Only ones that would get the response, “Thanks I was needing that,”? Did they never give something to a loved one that caused uproarious laughter when opened? Did they never give a personalised symbol of love forever treasured as priceless by the recipient, a cause of warmth and joy, but confusing, meaningless or ridiculous in the eyes of everyone else? Did they never give to excess to the accompaniment of universal condemnation but with disregarding laughter in their Remembering a solid Christian angrily asking me angrily what use the gift of tongues was to anyone. Well it has its uses for sure, but what a horrible view of God, that He only does what is useful! I wonder what sort of gifts that person gave to their nearest and dearest? Only ones that would get the response, “Thanks I was needing that,”? Did they never give something to a loved one that caused uproarious laughter when opened? Did they never give a personalised symbol of love forever treasured as priceless by the recipient, a cause of warmth and joy, but confusing, meaningless or ridiculous in the eyes of everyone else? Did they never give to excess to the accompaniment of universal condemnation but with disregarding laughter in their own spirit?

Never despise the generosity of God. Why are you uncomfortable if He chooses to be generous to anyone…to you?

God bless

Kenny

That thing we call “Church.”

A couple of bits and pieces that have moved me in recent days; worth sharing I think.

“If this is not a place, where tears are understood,
Then where shall I go to cry?
And if this is not a place, where my spirit can take wings,
Then where shall I go to fly?
(Ken Medema)

“Let light spill out of heaven
through my life,
dispelling mediocrity and silent blame,
Too many people, guilt stricken, wounded,
walk in regret,
feeling bad about failing,
apologise even for breathing.”
(Andy Raine)

Worth thinking about as we think of “church” and our place in its life and mission, don’t you think?

(Both quotes come from “Celtic Daily Prayer, Book Two: Farther Up and Farther In.” You might find that is a helpful book if you are looking for a new approach to your devotional life. I do not take to the Celtic approach to spiritual life naturally myself, but I have found it an immensely enriching discipline to use this book)

God bless

Kenny

Is the answer you are looking for really that complicated?

Feeling stuck or unhappy about where you are spiritually and asking God about it in this New Year? I wonder how we would react if Jesus were to say to us, as He did to a couple of questioners in the gospels, “What do the commandments say?”

Sometimes we make an awfully complicated meal about things. “Oh well, it’s complicated…” Often it isn’t. In fact usually “it” isn’t really that complicated. How can we reach contentment and peace within as children of God if we are ignoring His will about how to do life, how to seize its opportunities and how to cope with its at times seemingly intolerable pains and tragedies?

There is so much ground of human experience covered by God’s commands in the Old Testament: they are His gift of love to a people, Israel, whom He redeemed in grace, but they are for us too living under the New Covenant, as of course are the commandments on the lips of Jesus and the first Apostles. Psalm 19 likens God’s Law to the life-giving light and heat of the sun from which nothing is hidden (Why not take a few moments right now to read it?). Keep it simple. Did you complicate a choice by seeking and following the advice of your peers or even a well meaning Counsellor who told you to go a different way from the commandments of God? Well, take responsibility for your life, forgive anyone for the advice they gave that got you in a mess (maybe they feared your reaction if they told you the truth!), and take a fresh step of obedience.

Have you prayed, “Send Revival, and let it begin in me?” With God’s help, answer your prayer: there is biblical precedent for such an approach to prayer. Personal Revival always looks like a new beginning of obedience somewhere in our lives…

God bless

Kenny

Calling all heroes!

At this time of the year, if you have any affinity to the circles of spiritual emphasise I have lived in and ministered in over the years, you will probably be being subjected to the most amazing prophetic interpretations of the number 2019! I will leave it to you to work out which, if any, have the word of God for you somewhere in the midst of all the complicated and mysterious calculations.

In the mean time, I believe that 2019 just as 2018, and 2017, and 1831 and any other year you can think of,  is “The Year of  the Heroes!”

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God bless

Kenny

Learn from the Rose…

I love the poetry of George Mackay Brown. I guess that living for a few years in Orkney and ministering there meant I would look at his writings, but it was actually long after leaving there that I did so.

One of my favourite poems goes under the name “Prologue.” I think it got that unusual title partly because it sums up what is the core of the inspiration of his poetry and its aim and purpose, but also because it was the first poem in an early book of his published work. You might have heard of its opening line: “For the islands I sing.” You might have heard another famous line from the same poem: his description of Scotland as “the Knox-ruined nation.” That is not a line that has endeared him to many Calvinists or historians for whom facts matter!

However at the start of a New Year, it is something he says about roses that I want to leave with you to think about:

“Go, good my songs,
be as gay as you can.
Weep, if you have to,
the old tears of man.

Praise tinker and saint,
and the rose that takes
its fill of the sunlight
though a world breaks.”

The world which we wake to on New Year’s Day 2019 is a world of the most appalling suffering and need in so many places and so many lives. Your life or the life of someone you love may even have been visited by sadness, loss, betrayal or disappointment of one type or another in the closing days of 2018, and the effects of that are still there, deeply felt on this January morning. It is so important to allow ourselves and discipline ourselves to see, receive and drink in the goodness of God, just as the rose does the sunlight. Roses exist with all the beauty of their perfume and colour. God does not ban them as though no beautiful or joyful thing should be allowed in a world where darkness damages and destroys so much.  Along with many other beautiful things they can be reminders, signs and teachers, pointing us to God in His goodness, awakening a capacity for gratefulness and even celebration in the midst of life as it really is.

However you wakened on the first day of this New Year, whatever thoughts or experiences are lying heavily upon you, make time to drink in God’s goodness. Train your heart not only to “weep the old tears” that are part of the human story through the centuries, but to take your fill day by day of “the sunlight” of God’s goodness.

Oh and by the way, don’t be angry or offended if in the face of your difficulty or sadness someone says to you in a cheerful way, “Happy New Year.” Perhaps they are being a bit thoughtless, but just maybe they are a teacher sent by God to help you out of a rut in which you could easily get stuck…

God bless

Kenny

Choices…

Jesus shows us that true leadership partly means clearing space, allowing lesser matters to be dealt with by others so that you can deal with the really important stuff…the stuff that really matters, like clamouring people coming to you for the wrong reasons when you are tired, or mothers wanting their children blessed. Come on you leaders! Follow Jesus, not the World. Non accessibility and extra days on the golf course and exclusive dinners with the wealthy or powerful or influential are the world’s badges pinned to importance.

How come you found a space to arrange to meet that person who could be of strategic importance in opening doors of opportunity but have not found time for that distraught person who could do with 10 minutes of your time…oh of course, they are just your spouse…or that draining person…or the inconvenient Jesus wrapping Himself once more in ordinary unimportant guise that you can choose to ignore in favour of the important person, meeting, conference or opportunity. Where do you think He will choose to be?

The end of the year? An opportunity to think…

God bless

Kenny

Event and Process

I think “walking in victory” as a believer is a mixture of event and process. As a Charismatic/Pentecostal believer by conviction and experience, I love the “event” moments, those times where the breakthrough of God comes in an experience you can mark in the diary as it were: God did something: He stepped in: He showed Himself as the God of Breakthrough on my behalf. I love hearing of those moments in the lives others. However…daily process matters too. It actually saddens me to meet believers whose spirituality is all “event” or happening, but no “process.” Indeed they may despise “process” and dismiss it was being legalism or “religion.” The current dismissal of spiritual discipline as “the spirit of religion” is destroying the health of many Charismatic Christians and may well destroy the Charismatic movement.

If you are basically Charismatic/Pentecostal and at home in the language of breakthrough, deliverance, miracle, “overwhelming,” don’t forget “process”. Here are some things that could be helpful to do. It is not an exhaustive list, nor is it meant to be legalistic. There are just some things that are good and helpful to do if we want to grow in Christ, rather than just have a few marvellous stories to tell from a stunted soul and non-Christlike character.

Bring yourself before God daily.

Take time to praise Him and offer Him thanksgiving. Take even the last 24 hours and survey it for signs of God’s goodness. It will surprise you as you begin that thankful survey how many things you have to thank God for. ”Count your blessings, name then one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

Read the bible asking the Holy Spirit to speak to you as you do: remember as you do so that people felt the same amazement at the words of Jesus as they felt in the face of His mighty works. If you are more excited about a Prophetic Word than Scripture something has gone seriously wrong. Fix it!

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you search your heart and review your day as it were. Where did you act, react, speak or think in sinful, fearful, anxious, unloving, unrighteous ways. Pause where you sense the Holy Spirit pausing. Where do you need God’s forgiveness? Is He pointing out how you could have done differently than you did?

Take a look onwards into the day: what would meeting that situation, or person “in Christ” look like? “Imagine” meeting that person, that situation as the Beloved of God. As you do, you may find God lays on your heart something to say or do that was not in your mind to do at all. How could you bring “God” to light in that person or situation?

Thank God He is with you, in you, for you, and can come through you in grace and truth this very day. Go into the day “in the Name of Jesus.” That is more than a phrase. It means you are going to live every moment in Jesus as your home and dwelling place. You will look through the windows of His eyes, seeing what He sees. You will go out through the door of His purpose, come in to rest through the door of His invitation and welcome. You will be in the world but not of it. He is the home of your soul.

I hope this helps.

God bless

Kenny

To help you…

If you struggle with an overdeveloped sense of responsibility for everything and everyone, like I do, you will at times be weighed down with false guilt. I find it helpful to ask these questions that keep me in the reality for which I am responsible, asking for the help of the Spirit of Truth/Reality as I do so ( I found them in “Advent and Christmas with Thomas Merton.”).”

“How have I been unkind in thoughts, words and actions? Am I refusing to forgive anyone? Do I despise any group or person?Am I a prisoner to fear, anxiety, worry, guilt, inferiority, or hatred of myself?”

(Hope this helps my fellow believers with neurotic tendencies – and by the way, there are many of us. If, on the other hand, you are a believer with psychopathic tendencies, and I have met many of you, I am not sure I live within your skin enough to be able to say anything helpful to help you embrace true responsibility towards others… then again, that may not be worrying you! But, come to think about it, the same questions asked in the strength of the same Holy Spirit, could perhaps hep you after all.)

God bless

 

Kenny

What really matters?

Funny how what interests us changes over the years. Speaking personally, I could not care less now about what the star was or how old was Jesus when the Wise Men visited him, or was it a cave/stable etc etc., though such things drew my attention in the past. Sermons on such things bore me more than I could tastefully express. Now that frailty has truly dispelled any thoughts of being able to manage, all I care about is that in Jesus I don’t need to be afraid for God has come to be with me in grace… on this I can meditate day and night; in this I rejoice; this I experience with the wonder of a child who has stumbled though the wardrobe of my own world into another world, where how things really are in all worlds becomes clear to me.

God bless

Kenny

God bless us, everyone!

To all family and friends, long-standing and new, “Happy Christmas!”

“Immanuel,” God with us! It is more than a name…

“Jesus!”: more than a name too, even more than Name above all names…

He is “I Am!” That means He is present, active reality. He lives His Name in you and in me: wherever meek souls will receive Him still the dear Christ enters in.

God bless. Much love to you.

Kenny and Morag xx

And is it true? For if it is…

Was at the shops today. Liked watching dads obviously finished working and out shopping with their young children…liked seeing awkward lone teenagers looking a bit dazed having to shop for others but persevering all the same, out of secretly harboured but difficult-to express -love for their parents. Was blessed by little ones in nappies and tights, staggering with their new and still to be honed walking skills, with their sturdy “plonk plonk” legs and shining eyes and fine spindly hair. It all reminded me of this wonderful Christmas poem, from an era when poets and entertainers felt less need to be cynical or make political comment and could rejoice in lovely things without getting lost in an agenda. I hope it makes you feel warm… warm and cosy is good…so are thoughts of mystery and God…so is wondering worship with no other end in mind than worship.

Christmas by John Betjeman

The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.

The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
‘The church looks nice’ on Christmas Day.

Provincial Public Houses blaze,
Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze,
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says ‘Merry Christmas to you all’.

And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.

And girls in slacks remember Dad,
And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children’s hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say ‘Come!’
Even to shining ones who dwell
Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.

And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window’s hue,
A Baby in an ox’s stall ?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me ?

And is it true ? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,

No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare –
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.

Hope this blesses you as it does me,

Kenny

“To You is born this day, a Saviour…You will find a baby, lying in a manger…”

Thanking God for people and places where I have found rest for my soul. Without exception they have been broken places and people who have struggled with their own wounds, devastation, and unanswered “why?” questions. I have found grace, compassion, healing, acceptance and love there. I have found Christ there, the Christ who understands without much needing to be said, in whose presence it is safe to feel.

Christmas reminds us that the mighty deliverance of God lives and breathes in places and people we would never discover save by grace ordering our steps. I had the most secure and trouble free childhood imaginable, full of love and encouragement, laughter and applause…but amongst the broken, in lives no one would envy, in despised places, the life giving dew of God falls upon me most heavily and most lightly…

The Shepherds’ steps to finding Jesus were ordered by The Lord. May it be so for you and for me.

God bless

Kenny

Christmas: God on both sides of the equation…

If you have read more than a handful of my blogs, you will have realised how indebted I am to the writings and thoughts of Henri Nouwen. His book “Wounded Healer” was on the list of recommended reading when I first became a Candidate for the Ministry of Word and Sacrament with the Church of Scotland back in the 1970’s. It is still a book worth reading. Though some of the  cultural analysis of the times in which it was written shows that nothing stays static for long, basically – at the risk of sounding patronising –   it passes the test of time pretty well. I would encourage you to read it to find out what it means to think of  Jesus, the Messiah, as the Wounded Healer, and what it means to be involved in His ministry in the world. However I have been thinking in the last few days of a phrase that came to my own mind a few months ago: Jesus as “Wounded Traveller.” That thought came back to me with renewed force today as I was talking with my friend, Rich Johnston. I will say  more about it a bit later on in this blog.

Earlier Christian centuries than our own  were full of discussion and argument as to the best way linguistically to express the mystery of the Incarnation: how do you express that Jesus was God and Man, accurately, without diminishing the reality of His deity or the reality of  His humanity?  I have always liked the way St. Anselm expressed the mystery. He talked of “The God-Man.” With Christmas approaching, I was thinking of that ancient attempt to describe the mystery of the Incarnation, and as I did so,  I found my thoughts going beyond Jesus birth to His ministry as recorded in the gospels,  and also to consider  the way I experience Jesus personally. Because Jesus is “the God-Man,” I can find him on both sides of any human predicament or experience I may be facing. That might seem like theological gobbledygook, so let me clarify and illustrate what I mean. Take the story of “The Good Samaritan.” Although we must never forget the whole point of that parable  is “Go and do thou likewise” in terms of being a neighbour to those in need, indulge me here for a moment and let me speak of the parable in relation to my experience of Jesus. I can see Him on both sides of the main action of the parable  I could sum up my thinking like this:

At times Jesus draws near to me as the “Wounded or Stigmatised Healer” whose divine help I may accept or push away (despite my need). At times I meet Him in the “Wounded Traveller.” I can choose to stoop towards Him in compassion and care, or pass Him by.

All of this has put  a new tool in my hands in terms of spiritual discernment. Christ is fact. His presence is fact in any life or situation. Part of being a Christian is asking, “Where is the fact of Christ?” in  any given moment. Because of what I have outlined above, I can ask that in more defined terms: “Is Christ revealing Himself to me in this moment and happening as “Wounded and Stigmatised Healer” or as “Wounded Traveller?”  “The God-Man” can be either because He is  both.  In Himself, He brings the help of God to our human frailty and cries out  for God’s help from within it. He offers me the gift of  His merciful, divine love and  help for my own life,  and also calls me  to hear His cry of need from the lives  of others. He gives heavenly help, and lies on the roadside beaten and bruised. He is the Mighty God come to save, and the fragile baby who cries from a manger needing nurtured, soothed, cared for, provided for and loved.

May you and I discern the presence of  “The God-Man” this Christmas and always.

God bless

Kenny

 

Herod

One of the most frightening things I have ever seen was watching teenage boys rushing up to a double murderer to shake his hand in the streets of Wester Hailes.

Last night, I had one dream after another about the spiritual equivalent, church murderers, being congratulated as heroes. Sometimes it was a minister that had been murdered by strong angry proud voices within their congregations. Sometimes the dreams were of a story of life in a congregation that had been killed off. Whatever the scenario, there were always people there to rush up and congratulate the murderers for killing off life. It reminded me of a time in one congregation I ministered in when God was manifestly at work and I had a dream. In it an elder rushed into the Kirk Session and said, “Quick! There’s a fire in the Church! We must put it out!” The elder was living a double life at the time.

The Christmas story carries within it the darker tone of murder. The stepping in of God is not always wanted.

Why am I saying all of this? Well, we all have the potential to be spiritual murderers, especially when something new and young emerges in the purposes of the God who loves His Church and loves a lost world. Be an encourager of fresh life, not its killer. Encourage those the hand of the Lord is upon as they emerge like a shoot out of dry ground. God forbid that you should become their killer or their torturer.

Today, I am also praying for any of you who are hearing murderous voices being raised against you as you humbly serve the will of God with all the love for Him and for people He has worked into your heart. God is telling me you will survive this, but the scars inflicted by your torturers will be and are real. When the glory falls you will see them in a fresh way… I have learned in the course of ministry it is so, as have many besides me.

God bless

Kenny

“Let it be to me…”

Mary saying “yes” to the will of God meant her saying yes to the pain of labour and other pains to come. If you want to say “Yes” to making space for God in and through you, it will mean saying yes to pain in one shape or form. Is it always so? I have come to believe, “Yes: always,” in answer to that question. That is not meant to be morbid, nor is it intended to push into the background the overwhelming joy that Mary expressed in the Magnificat, or the uncontainable joy that we may experience and express in almost violent, warrior like terms when we see God fulfilling His purposes, making His name known.

I have ministered in times of ease and in times of suffering, and all I know is that pain and joy were both part of the story of God being made manifest. They belong together. Perhaps if you are suffering at the moment, you feel out of sync with the message of joy that prevails at this time of the year, but you may be in a very vital place in the story of the continuing incarnation of God in the world.

Henri Nouwen puts it like this in a pastoral letter: “…the cutting away of rocks might hurt very much and you might not be aware of the space He is creating for Himself.” (“Love, Henri:Letters on the Spiritual Life,” page33.)

May this thought help some of you into rest of soul.

Kenny

Count down to blast off!

 

Before looking for ministry from someone it is sometimes good to be honest about the choices we have made or are making right now….then ministry can begin on the basis of reality. It is hard to accept responsibility, where it is ours to accept, but do it without being defensive, explanatory, or shame faced.

I sense for someone reading this, you are getting close to this honesty. I get a good feeling in my spirit for someone who is coming out of fearfully hiding reality below a lot of charismatic and ministry gobbledygook, for which there is no real basis in the ministry of Jesus as recorded in the gospels. I hear a divine, “10,9,8,7,6….” there is a count down happening. The take off moment from the base of reality into the skies of healing is nearer to you, than ever before. Well done. Let the countdown continue to blast off, up and away you will go, into fresh discoveries in God. Don’t stop the launch as you have done before because of fear or shame or anger at others. Be confident that the God who deals in reality is with you and for you big time! Don’t take cold feet and hide away again, looking for more ministry to cover unreality. Lose the fear….

God bless

Kenny

A short thought for life time victory…

There is nothing happening to me today that can thwart the purpose of God for my life…namely that I should be transformed into the image of God’s Son. Any other plans or goals we may have for ourselves can be interrupted. Base your life on any other purpose and destiny than being transformed to being like Christ, and peace and joy will go up an down like a yo yo. Stick with the plan of God and this day and ever day there will be as much onward progress towards the goal as you choose to live in.

God bless

Kenny

A short thought…

Feeling confined? Great things can come from such times. See Luke 1… Elizabeth…Mary…

Are there circumstances and realities that seem to be restricting your life at the moment? See God’s hand cupped around you,  active in the confining, and such times  will produce life, a greater revelation of Himself in you and from you to bless the world.

Psalm 139.5: “You hem me in behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.”

God bless

Kenny

Surprise!

“The Spirit of God can breathe through through what is predicted at a human level, with a sunshine of surprises.”

I have always loved these words of Cardinal Seunens since I heard David Watson quote them in relation to the renewing work of the Holy Spirit. The reference is to surprising signs of life appearing when the church seems in a dire state, but I often think of the words in relation to personal experience of God as well.

I was reminded of the quote today because of an unexpected blessing. It made me want to hope and pray for you, especially if the word “dire” is a word that you have actually said out loud to someone today to sum up how you feel things are for you. I pray that God may breathe into your life with a sunshine of surprises.

God bless

Kenny

Hemmed in to grace…

When I think of those who have taught me most about spiritual life, near the very top of that list, if not in the very top spot would be Henri Nouwen. I never met him, but his writings have become increasingly important to me since  my health deteriorated a few years ago now. He seems to have a remarkable ability to weave an understanding of Jesus into an understanding of the frailties and vulnerabilities we all face in our own existence, in our own experience of being human. For that I am deeply grateful.

At this time of the year, I use a small book of Advent Readings based on his writings. The following quote was in the reading for today. It originally appeared in a wonderful book by Nouwen called “Out of Solitude.” Read it and think about it slowly…

“Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure.”

This had the breath of God, the sense of bubbling living water in it for me today. I hope it may bless you.

At times the silence, the distancing that illness or any form of vulnerability and frailty  can almost force upon one can seem so frustrating. At my best moments though, I genuinely experience that silence, that sense of distance from the buzz of the Christian or Church  scene as a gift, a gift so generous that I feel totally unworthy of its riches, feel even guilty I have been given it. It is as though limitations become the hands of God cupping around me, that He might then in a place of stillness place His reassuring hand upon me. The  place of frustration becomes a place of unrivalled beauty that I am loathe to leave…

God bless

Kenny

Don’t throw it away…

There are some “words” God gives me that are for a specific person, but the principles are worth sharing.

While praying for someone in parish ministry not long ago, God gave me a word for them, but I think it is worth sharing.

The “word” came in the form of a picture. In the picture I was watching a TV programme I like to watch in real life, namely “Dragons’ Den.” You have probably seen it, but in case you have not, the format is roughly this: hopeful entrepreneurs present their ideas to a panel of  wealthy and successful business people and investors, in the hope of securing funding from them as well as the benefit fo their established expertise in the development of their proposed venture. Of course there are questions, as the Dragons try and tease out details, to see if any given presentation is as it appears.

What came to mind  in the Lord’s presence as I thought of one particular minister is a comment I heard a Dragon make in one episode of the programme. She simply said, “No, I cannot invest in this. I have worked far too hard to get where I have got to, to throw away money on this. It is not for me. I wish you well, but sorry, I’m out. I will not be investing in this.”

I felt this was true spiritually for the particular parish minister I was praying for at the time. There are few I admire more. He has consistently sought the Lord and I have seen him grow in the Lord and in effectiveness over the years. It has cost much, and I know therefore it will have inevitably cost his wife and family dearly as well. Growing in the Lord  and having a ministry that is fruitful in terms of the Kingdom of God, always does. He is humble and would be surprised to know he is one of my heroes. I know the Word of the Lord for him is that he must not throw away what he has gained in God on the suggested schemes and ventures of those within church circles, local or national,  who are sincere but have not sought God in their thinking, planning and in their proposals and suggestions that they would place upon others.

It is surprisingly common to find that many of those entrusted with positions of leadership in the church come along to leadership meetings, whatever  these gatherings may be called , with good ideas; good ideas with no God content, birthed in human reckoning, rather than in a lifestyle of seeking God for the revelation of His will, for the ability to hear from heaven. Most congregations in Scotland are dying not because of sin or evil, but because of the following of sincere and good ideas. The ideas make sense, but have no flavour of awareness of the Living God and have not been birthed in humble prayer, in fact sometimes have not been prayed about at all. The result is that in Scotland there is a prevalence of a form of godliness without power.

Make sure that you do not throw away all that God has invested in you, and all that you have invested in seeking His presence in you and through you,  into the proposed venture of human beings who think like any non redeemed human beings can think. Even if it means an eruption of human fury and wrath, stand for what God can do, stand for His wonderful deeds. In Scotland at least it  is a while since we have seen what God can do when He steps down from heaven. Though there are good things happening at this moment, there are greater things in our history and our heritage. From time to time the Israelites found themselves beginning to ask, “Where are the wonderful deeds of the Lord, our fathers told us about, when the Lord brought us out of Egypt.” From time to time I read of the wonderful things God has done in Scotland’s history in days of revival in the distant past and more recently in the last few decades,  and I ask a similar question, with a mixture of distress and faith and hope.

These are not days hospitable to Revival , or even to talk of Revival as a real event, in Scotland. I think Revival is further away than it was a few years ago. There is a depressing interest in examining our own navel in church circles at the moment, a looking at all we are doing wrong, and coming out of such an examination with another scheme for reorientation that will guarantee we become an effective church. In the face of such pressures, maybe you are one whom God is challenging to sit light to all such talk, to invest your time, your prayers your efforts into something more true to you and more true to  the God of the bible you have come to know, at the cost of a few scars to you and even, harder to bear, to your own family. Talk is cheap. Your journey has not been… hold fast to what is good.

God bless you

Kenny

Signs in the heavens above and on the earth beneath…

I have over the course of many years now believed that poets and film makers are often more insightful with regard to what is coming to the earth than most. Their imagination seems to give them at times an almost prophetic insight into the way things are and the way things may yet be.

I was thinking today of a common theme in films. It could be summed up as the arrival of cataclysmic intervention into the normal course of reality. That theme can take many forms; the intervention could have a thousand and one guises, anything from a tsunami threatening the coast of a continent to invasion by aliens. The build up to the full manifestation  of the intervention onto the scene usually takes this form. Someone, somewhere, notices data that is out of step with the norm, and at first it is presumed to be some sort of glitch in a system or some sort of anomaly. However more confirming data seems to come in from unrelated sources and it becomes clear something is about to break, or to break in.

When I was praying today, just waiting upon God, it was that type of film and the build up to the intervention that God seemed to place on my mind. I felt he was using that art form to say to me look for this, pray for this to happen, in the spiritual sense; and to encourage you to look for this and pray for this too. There is coming a day for Scotland, it is not yet here, when reports of the unusual action of God breaking in to work in extraordinary power upon saint and sinner will originate from various sources, from various places. At first one or two reports will be dismissed almost out of hand, but the reports will increase numerically. It won’t be possible to tie the reports down to any common factor between them. It won’t be that the reports will come from a place associated with any name or movement that is common to them all.  It will slowly dawn upon us that God is rending the heavens and stepping down and mountains are flowing down , melting before His presence. The initial tremors of the moving of God will cause even the strong to quake, but they will be nothing compared with what is yet to come.

I see no particular signs of this as yet. Though I praise God for worthwhile ventures and good fruit in many places, I am thinking, feeling that God was speaking to me  of something more, a time that is not yet, when believers hearts will be lifted and their eyes lightened with joy and their spirits leap for joy as the Spirit bears witness within, to the action of God in the land.

I just thought I would let you know I believe for this. I hope you might believe for this too and pray for it.

God bless

Kenny

Remembrance Day 2018 – simple poem, simple tune…

George Williamson Borthwick

2nd. Lieutenant George Williamson Borthwick. Born 1896. Killed in Action 1916.
My Great Uncle.

A poem, now with an added simple tune, for Remembrance Day. May it help you to think your own thoughts…

11th Hour

That we might have tomorrows
They gave their todays
11month proud sorrow
Won’t let them fade away.

How then shall we honour those
Who gave for us their all?
How raise this day the heroes
From where comrades saw them fall?

In silence we’ll remember
Listening to Flanders flowers,
Dearest blood for darkened earth
Deserves an offering of worth.

Minutes, be not be quiet,
Speak out with thunderous power!
Past, invade the present,
Their 11th hour be ours!

Will hearts awake with gratefulness,
Will green stems among us grow
From such seeds of selflessness,
From “greater love” can no one show?

(Copyright, Kenny Borthwick)

Click HERE  for a link to the tune

P.S. If you click the link you should be able to find the words of the poem below the video so that hopefully you can get words and tune together.

 

 

 

 

Some thoughts on the 11th of the 11th…

George Williamson Borthwick 2nd. Lieutenant George Williamson Borthwick: Born 1896. Killed in Action 2016.
My great uncle

These thoughts came to me as I was playing the piano.  I would like to write a tune for them but at the moment that is eluding  me. They are of course not the words of a hymn or even a spiritual song, they are not specifically Christian thoughts even, but just  a simple poem penned by a Christian,  that may be set to a tune if I have enough skill. Though I claim copyright please feel free to share with friends…. I hope my thoughts might spark off your own on the 11th day of  the 11th month.

11th Hour

That we might have tomorrows
They gave their todays,
11th month proud sorrow
Won’t let them fade away.

How then shall we honour those
Who gave for us their all?
How raise this day the heroes
From where comrades saw them fall?

In silence we’ll remember
Listening to Flanders flowers,
Dearest blood for darkened earth
Deserves an offering of worth.

Minutes, be not quiet,
Speak with thunderous power!
Past, invade the present,
Their 11th hour be ours!

Will  our hearts awake with gratefulness,
Will green stems among us grow
From such seeds of selflessness,
From “greater lovecan no one show?

(Copyright, Kenny Borthwick)

Hue…

Apparently the pigments that come into view at this time of the year are always there. It is just they are masked as chlorophyll does its work in its season. You probably knew that!

There is more to the glories of Christ in you than the continually changing seasons of life may have as yet revealed to you and through you! May you and I continually see more of Him and be blessed to be a blessing in each new discovery…

Hope this blesses you!

Kenny