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