Friday, August 7, 2009

Summer Break

I am having a summer break, so there will be no more posts for a few weeks. Time for family and friends and reflection. I'll be back refreshed in the autumn.

In the meantime feel free to browse this site, also my blog "Sitting Under My Fruit Tree" will continue on a weekly basis.

God's Blessings

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Salt of the Earth

Chives in a Herb Garden, Herefordshire

We found a herb garden in Hereford that was a delight to the eye and smelled heavenly. At home I share in the cooking and am learning to use herbs. We have our own bed of herbs in our garden and I find that the addition of chives enhances the flavour and lifts the dish into another realm altogether.

If we abide with Jesus and 'practice the presence of God' we take that Presence wherever we go and without having to do anything, there is the potential to influence our surroundings to the good and bring flavour to any conversation. It is effortless but takes effort!

"You are like salt for the whole human race." Matthew 5:13

Sunday, July 26, 2009

He Actually Prays For Us!

Magnolia Petals, Trengwainton, Cornwall

When my wife and I were last at this garden near Penance, we were entranced by the scene of thousands of magnolia petals carpeting the grass. As we stood in the stillness an exquisite pale pink petal floated down to the ground, just like a prayer from Jesus, saying 'I am here!'.

It reminds me that Jesus is always praying for us. In prayer, we may be stuck for words, either because we don't feel close or we are agonising over a difficult situation. But if we are just still before Him he will pray for us and through us. Words may come or not, but either way it will have been the two of us in the Spirit, in a precious heart-to-heart, taken up with each other - effortless. We come away at peace, knowing something has happened in the heavenlies. He is praying for us - it's mind-boggling.

"He does our praying in and for us," Romans 8:26

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Fields in Restormel, Cornwall

On a sunny afternoon last week I leant on the field gate and drank in the warmth and greenness of this pastoral scene, from the crops, to the homestead in the distance and the woods beyond. It was a good feeling of basic provision, peace and security.

It reminded me that provided we put God first, holding no area of our lives back, He will care and provide for us to the ultimate. If the Kingdom of God is central to our lives we will not want and have all we need. This of course doesn't just apply to individuals, but to families, churches and whole communities. This promise of God's providence also applies to nations, if only they will turn back to God.

"seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you" Luke 12:31

Monday, July 6, 2009

I Will Never Leave You

Whitsands Bay, East Cornwall

The narrow coast road along the full stretch of Whitsands Bay offers breathtaking views out to sea. There's always something different to see depending upon the weather, time of day or the season. You have to go carfeully though, as people have been known to drive over the cliff edge. I was driving along the other week when the sky grew darker and darker with gathering storm clouds. Although it was mid afternoon it seemed almost like nightime, except at every point of my journey a shaft of sunlight lit up a patch of sea, as if it was following me.

And of course He is always following us. No matter how dark and threatening or frighteneing life is, God will be with us. This is His promise that He will never ever leave us. Even when it feels like we are the only person in the whole world, He is here to comfort, guide and protect.

"I will never leave you; I will never abandon you." Hebrews 13:5

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Only Way

The Pennine Way, Derbyshire

This is the gate at the start of the Pennine Way, a footpath that starts in Derbyshire and follows the 'backbone of England' all the way to Scotland. This first section, which crosses high level moorland can appear threatening in inclement weather, with the risk of getting lost in a fog or stuck in a bog. But provided walkers are well prepared and keep to the marked route they will be perfectly safe.

It may seem an affront to some that Jesus is the only way to salvation, but this is the Biblical truth that Jesus is the only access God and salvation. Otherwise we are lost. We may have already entered by the 'gate', but we have to stay on the path and avoid the many diversions or we may be in danger of losing our way. God has already made provision for our complete security, so provided we continue abiding in Jesus and putting our full trust in Him, we are absolutely safe.

"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved."
John 10:9

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Window Dressing

Herefordshire Cottage window

This is just one example of a quaint timber-framed cottage in Hereford. The old leaded window is surrounded with English roses, making a beautiful picture of peace and tranquility. But wait, you can’t see through the window and in my curiosity I can’t help wondering what it’s like inside. Does the interior match up to the promise of the exterior or is it just ‘window dressing’ I wonder?

How is it for us? Do others see the ‘real me’ or do we put up a front to prevent them seeing what we may think of as weak or shameful? This keeps people at a distance, so what about God? Do we hide part of ourselves from Him? If we are real with Father, He is real with us. One small move from us and He comes running to heal our pain and shame and set us free to be ourselves. We may be in for some surprises?

“Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
James 4:8

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Comforting Presence

Edale and the Derbyshire High Peak

Ever since my early teens I have loved walking in wild mountainous places. This is one of my favourite spots, a high wilderness plateau in the Peak National Park, reached by a long climb up the Grindsbrook valley. It's an area of outstanding natural beauty where, in the solitude, you can feel close to God. You need to go prepared though, as even in summer the weather can change dramatically and without warning, with the danger of becoming lost in a threatening featureless landscape. This particular day I arrived at the top after a tiring final scramble, to find a sheep waiting for me on a high rock.

There is nowhere we can go without the Lamb of God being there for us. Whether we’re in the loneliness of a desolate wilderness - geographical or emotional - the driest of the hottest desert, the deepest inner turmoil or the most trying circumstances, He is always there for us, to comfort, protect and give succour. He knows exactly what we need.

“You are all around me on every side”
Psalm 139:5

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Pleasant Place

Morning View, Herefordshire

We’ve just returned from time in a cottage in the heart of the English countryside. This is the view I woke up to on the first morning and as I drank in the beauty of such a pleasant rural scene, I was reminded of Psalm 16. There was a time when I would have thought you were joking if you had told me that “the boundaries had fallen for me in pleasant places,” when what I was experiencing was far from being pleasurable! But I am learning that what God chooses for each of our lives is just perfect.

He know us so well, that whatever He allows in our life, serves to bring us closer to Him. He is really with us in it all and gives us the power to love and to overcome and live the abundant life.

True happiness lies in our relationship with God and being one with the Father - mind-blowing!

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places,” Psalm 16:6

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Living Water

Source of the River Derwent

This little stream, high up in the hills of the Derbyshire Peak District, is the source of the River Derwent. It flows between vibrant mossy banks and is a delight to the eye - a picture of new life, refreshment and peace. I ascended a long dusty path, on a very hot day, to get there and was so thirsty on arrival, that I just sank my head into the cool pure water and drank my fill. Then refreshed, I returned to where the river eventually flows into the Derwent Reservoirs which bring life to many thousands of people.

There may be times in our life when we feel we are stagnating and life seems a bit dull. The solution? We need to return to the Source and drink and keep drinking until we feel we are coming alive again. His ‘living water’ is invigorating, healing, strengthening and reaches those parts nothing else can. It is life-changing, because He becomes our life.

“the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Glory of God

Looe Island sunset, Cornwall

Driving along the coast road the other evening, I stopped to look across to Looe Island. It had been a dull wet day, but the sky was clearing. I watched as the setting sun appeared from behind a large black cloud and was spellbound by the magnificent radiance that transformed the whole scene. I could have stayed there all evening.

We will never see the full Glory of God until we are in heaven, but because of Jesus we can be filled with the Holy Spirit and gaze upon His beauty and majesty. When we make ‘contact’ in abiding in His presence we should not rush away, but tarry, because He transforms our lives. I have found that especially in trying times, when all seems black, we may be given special glimpses of His Glory. He knows what we need.

“The heavens declare the glory of God”
Psalm 19:1

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thriving in Hostile Conditions

Cliffside flowers, Guernsey

I don’t know the correct name for these beautiful flowers, but I call them Livingston Daisies. I discovered them on the cliffs in Guernsey and just like the sea pinks - or thrift - in Cornwall they seem to thrive despite the extremely hostile conditions. They cling to the rocky cliffs and flower every year, despite the seeming lack of soil and being battered by the salt-laden storms.

When the going gets tough and even threatening and it feels like we are hanging on by a thread, let go and cling to Jesus. When we put our whole trust in Him, He will nourish us with His love, often in surprising ways, no matter how hard and rocky the circumstances. He will never ever let us down.

“O my dove, in the clefts of the rock - let me see your face” Song of Songs 2:14

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Rest for My Soul

Spring Green at Golitha Falls, Cornwall

This is one of my favourite beauty spots in Cornwall. Especially so in spring, when everywhere is clothed in new green with bluebells in the background and the young River Fowey running free and clear. It’s such a peaceful but lively place where it seems that God is just inviting us to tarry with Him.

When we decide to go God’s way for us and yield to Him we experience peace beyond measure. Sometimes God, who knows us so well, allows circumstances in our lives that we wouldn’t choose, but when we yield to Him in this and rest in His presence we find healing and refreshment for our soul. We become more alive.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.” Psalm 23:2-3

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Threatening Storms

Stormy Seas on our Beach

Our beach is natural and unspoiled. I like it that way. No super-clean resort beach for me. I love watching the tide hiss across the shingle or come crashing on the rocks. No two days are the same. There’s a tremendous power in the waves that often pound the beach mercilessly in a storm. One wild night a large section of cliff collapsed, but the next day was still and calm as if nothing had happened.

When, out of the blue, we receive bad news we may feel threatened, our heart pounds and it seems our world could fall apart. But when we cling to Jesus and shelter under His protection, calm begins to descend even though the storm still rages outside. He carries us through, He will never ever let us down. When the storm is over things may not be the same, but peace reigns in our heart.

“He stilled the storm to a whisper.” Psalm 107:29

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Morning Sparkle

Grisedale, Cumbria

It was a cold October morning and I was in a hurry as I laced up my Zamberlan climbing boots. I wanted to make the most of my last day in the Lakeland hills. The storm clouds brooded overhead as I climbed up into Grisedale - not very promising! But as I levelled off into the valley, the clouds parted and shafts of crisp sunlight streaked from the craggy peaks. It was an exhilarating sight as the landscape came alive, just for me. It seemed like the sun was shining right into my heart and I felt refreshed and energised. I took photo after photo to capture that moment. I didn’t want to leave.

If we want to make the most of our day I find it’s vital to try and take time alone, long before the day dawns and make contact with God and allow the Son to warm our hearts. It’s different every time of course, but there’s always something fresh each morning, so we start the day energised and ahead of the world.

" new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:23

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Are You Thirsty?

Cafe in the Woods, Cardinham, Cornwall

Cardinham Woods is a favourite place for families, bikers and walkers, with or without dogs. After following the forest trails up hill and down dale, many stop off at the bistro to slake their thirst and have a rest before moving on.

We know when we need a drink, but do we always know when we are spiritually thirsty? It often takes a crisis in our lives before we acknowledge how parched we really are. When we stop and drink of His Presence, we experience His ‘living water’ which reaches those parts that other drinks cannot. We come to experience the benefits spiritually, physically and emotionally and find rest for our soul.

"Come, all you who are thirsty -” Isaiah 55:1

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Absolute Caring Love

Island of Tresco, Isles of Scilly

The small island of Tresco’s beauty has a magical quality, with its sub-tropical gardens and surrounded by white sandy beaches and turquoise sea. Some of the visitors say they would love to live there, but for many, a day or so is enough before they begin to feel the loneliness and isolation from civilisation as they know it.

There maybe times when we may feel like we are shipwrecked on a desert island and God seems far away. However, no matter how far from home, no matter how desperate we feel, God is close, ready to comfort with His presence. Father is continually thinking of us. His thoughts even outnumber all the grains of sand on this beach. His care is absolute.

“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!”
Psalm 139:17

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Going with the Flow

The Soar Canal at Zouch, Leicestershire

Last time I walked this towpath, I met a couple who were spending several weeks in their narrow boat, travelling the length of the country. They said it was so very peaceful and restful. They had left their cares behind and their pace of living slowed right down as they followed the canal network.

As we surrender our lives to Jesus, as we embrace what He allows each day, as we let go our cares to Him and let Him take the strain, He gives us His peace. A peace that is indescribably beautiful and touches us deep within our soul. We flow with Him.

“My peace I give you.” John 14:27

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Taste of Heaven

Magnolias at Lanhydrock, Cornwall

The last time I saw the magnolias in full bloom at Lanhydrock, was on a crisp March morning. The ground was strewn with large white, cream and delicate pink petals and visitors were tiptoeing around and whispering, as if they were in a cathedral and God was present. But of course He was - and is!

We have a home in heaven, but God is also with us now. The assurance of His presence, surrounded by His love, is life-changing. Peace reigns.

”the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:21

Friday, March 13, 2009

New Life

Morval Churchyard, Cornwall

Spring is a time for new life and primroses are springing up amidst the gravestones in abundance at Morval.

When we believe in Jesus Christ we experience a spiritual awakening and come alive in Him. Jesus sets us free from the fear of death, so we can experience the abundant life as we look to Him. See also Raising the Dead.

“He who believes in me will live”
John 11:25

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Precious and Honoured

Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, Cornwall

Daffodil time at Mount Edgcumbe Country park is a delightful sight, with a yellow carpet of flowers stretching as far as the eye can see under the trees.

We who are set apart for God are a delight to Him. He will go to any lengths to ensure our safety, so we need fear no evil. He is absolutely faithful.

“you are precious and honoured in my sight”
Isaiah 43:4

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Heart Whisper

Grasses in Buckfast Abbey gardens, Devon

It was difficult to photograph these grasses as they were quivering in the breeze. In fact if you really listened you could just hear them rustling, like a song in the wind.

God is continually communicating with us in whatever way is appropriate for us as individuals. If only we would stop and still ourselves expectantly, we may well hear His heart whisper, His love song, blessed Heart to human heart.

“Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening." 1Samuel 3:9

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Best is Yet to Come

Ploughed fields near Tideford, Cornwall

There may be times when it seems like our life is being ploughed through and turned upside down, either by events or a painful situation. In our bewilderment it may well not feel like Father is preparing us for new growth, we just cannot see it. But as we cling to Jesus in the turmoil, we begin to see things from His perspective, find new directions and new green shoots of hope start to appear. The best is yet to come.

“I am doing a new thing!”
Isaiah 43:19

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Concerns for the Future

Sunset at Seaton Beach, Cornwall

I find that late evening and nighttime can be the time when any lurking fears or concerns for the future can surface, with the potential to leave me feeling vulnerable. If that happens I know I need to deal with them well before bedtime.

It’s comforting to know that Father God has our future all worked out. He has given us His presence and nothing can separate us from His love. This is absolute security. We can trust Him.

“Your sun will never set” Isaiah 60:20

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


The Garden House, Yelverton, Devon

I have a love for gardens, especially walled gardens, like this one. As I step into the enclosure I'm immediately aware of a closeness and an intimacy. And as I slow down and take in the heady perfume of the myrtle blossom and the riot of colour in the borders, the worldly distractions start to fall away and peace descends.

We can of course find space anywhere to be with Jesus in secret, where the longing within connects with His longing for us. It’s like coming home.

“Lord, I’m coming” Psalm 27:8

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Light in Our Darkness

The Black Mountain, Wales

This is the aptly named Black Mountain at the west end of the Brecon Beacons in Wales. It can appear foreboding as it broods above the little lake Llyn y Fan Fach . In certain climbing conditions I have found it a bit threatening with just a touch of fear lurking in the background.

Darkness is part of life, but when we experience our own dark threatening times, we may feel we want to escape or wish it would go away. However, when we acknowledge that Jesus is with us in the situation and we call upon Him, the light is switched on, the darkness is transformed and fear melts away.

“I am the light of the world” John 8:12

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Way Forward

Glendurgan Maze, near Falmouth, Cornwall

This laurel maze is in the garden at Glendurgan, a subtropical valley garden that slopes down to the beautiful Helford estuary. As a boy, mazes fascinated me and our grandchildren are just the same. They rush round calling to one another, except the youngest tends to get lost and starts to cry.

There are times in our lives when we get stuck or lost, feeling scared and not knowing which way to turn. But as we look to Father, He reveals the way forward, one step at a time, keeping us on the right path. It’s so comforting to know that He has already gone ahead to prepare the way.

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105

Monday, February 9, 2009


Mullion Harbour, Cornwall

The harbour at Mullion Cove is now in the care of the National Trust. But when I was a boy it was a busy little fishing harbour. When I visit there now, childhood memories come flooding back. I can just picture the nets hanging up to dry on the walls, the stacks of crab pots and the all-pervading fishy smell, with seagulls circling above.

Sometimes troublesome memories get in the way of the 'good' ones and can have a disabling affect upon our lives. But when we face these with Jesus we find healing for our souls.

" My peace I give you" John 14:27

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Be Still and Know

Lee Bay, North Devon

Lee Abbey is a place we have used to get away from it all or stay for a retreat.The views are out of this world. As you stand and stare at the wonder of God's creation, the cares you came with begin to fall away and you begin to see things from the Creator's perspective.

In our busyness it's not always easy to still ourselves. But when we do it is both awesome and comforting to realize that the Almighty God is really 'with' us. He is in control and all shall be well. These Bible words below are powerful!

"Be still, and know that I am God -" Psalm 46:10