Saturday, May 20, 2006

Anything to declare? Plenty!

I made it to Blue Flame last night. The last time I went - just about a year ago (ouch!) I was very disappointed because I had set it up in my mind to be this great dynamic prayer meeting and it wasn't. Yesterday I went with no agenda - just a desire to be where God was. Now I know that God is everywhere - even with me as I sit in front of my computer doing my first year reports - BUT I just wanted to hang out, relaxed and chilling with God.

If you were to judge the success or failure of something based on the numbers of people who attend - then it was a failure. There were few people there, but it did not bother me because I had the sense that God had just the very people in the room that he was looking for. We are talking about very few people. I was getting a bit fidgety because it started late! I can do late starts if there is a cup of tea to be guzzle.

The leader had selected songs that regular visitors would know. There were too few of us for any of us to be passengers or observers, so lying on a table were a dozen or so songbooks - pretty much outdated. Matt Redman didn't get a look in! There was a violin player - awesome! The presence of God was just tangible - hairs on the back of your neck stuff. I spent a considerable amount of time on my knees - no tears, no break downs, just aware that I was with God. I loved the old songs, I loved singing them, I loved the violin music that stirred me and I loved just being there.

I really appreciated being unknown to everyone in the sense that no one had any expectations of what I would do. They didn't know if I could hold a note, if I could sing in the spirit - they knew nothing about me, and that was a release just to do what I liked or not do anything at all.

After a couple of hours of worship songs, we decided to call it a night - pray for one another if anyone wanted prayer. This was about ten o'clock. I got the impression that this was the usual time it ended - although when the meetings had first began six in the morning was more normal! God had no intentions of knocking off that early.

We began praying for each other - and then other people kept arriving! It was like we had just finished praying for one person, and then another couple would arrive. After they had been prayed for someone else would walk through the door. And then another person…and another. The more people there were, the longer it took to pray for people as everyone wanted their "shot".

What came to mind was what I had learned about prayer through being with the big boys a few weeks ago. I was faced with a roomful of people that I knew nothing about. From what they asked to be prayed for, and from other people's prayers for them I could glean a few things, but on the whole I was waiting for the Spirit. You know what? I didn't pray! I declared things. I had an awesome sense of God's anointing. The Holy Spirit would give me a single word, or phrase to get me going. It was awesome - I could just feel something breaking in the heavenlies each time. There were lots of words spoken over different people - but when I put my hand on their shoulder and did this declaring thing - something else was going on.

I just wanted to be with God - without any plans of my own…and I was. We knocked off at midnight and I floated home!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Standing up for the little people

I have to confess that I am not really a political animal. Like many people I feel that decisions are made regardless of what I think – politicians just go ahead and do it anyway. I am married to a wonderful man that does not think like that. He is the chairperson of the northern branch of his union.

There is a scene in the movie “The Railway Children” where there has been a landslide and the only way to stop the train is to stand on the lines and wave a something to catch the attention of the train driver and force him to stop. This so eloquently describes what my husband does.

Right now discussions are taking place to decide whether the Crofter’s Commission employees are to remain civil servants or to loose their civil service status. It may not be the biggest train coming down the track, but it effects the staff of the Crofter’s Commission. The label “civil servant” doesn’t make them a better worker, but it guarantees an established set of working conditions. There is no guarantee that any of those working conditions will be honoured once the Crofters Commission looses its civil service status. Promises were made to protect the worker’s right that ministers and management seem to be able to conveniently lay aside.

Sometimes the decisions of management and bosses are not made to benefit the workers. Many people just let it happen, mostly because they don’t know what to do, or how to do it. My husband does know what to do, and the times that he is not sure what to do, he makes it is job to find out. Any business is only as good as the people who work there. If the workers do not feel valued, they don’t produce the best that they are capable of doing.

Unions provide a service to workers to ensure that their rights are protected and their needs in the working environment are met. Being a teacher I am a member of a union. A large part of becoming a member was down to being married to a union man. Before I joined the union I hoped that I would never encounter a serious enough problem to need their assistance – and of course, it all costs money and you wonder if it is worth it.

There seems to be a minefield in Christian circles about whether people should join unions or not. They think they are “worldly” organisations, not set up by “The Church” and full of “trouble-makers stirring things up”. It is sad that an area where the church should be the frontrunner – protecting vulnerable people – is left to the world to make a difference. God is interested in the WHOLE person – not just the praying, singing, reading the Bible person. We spend a third of our lives in our work environment – and God is interested in that third.

We live in a society that has forgotten how to look after one another. I just wanted to say that I am proud to be married to someone that hasn’t!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Irresistible to God

The FW weekly challenge last week was "Hope". My husband Joe preached a sermon on hope many, many years ago. At the time we were not married, and I am not sure if we were even courting at the time. He hadn't been a Christian for long, but he has a kind of inbuilt maturity about him and had been asked to bring the word. At the time he was lodging with another lad, Dave, in the church, who was also the manager of a large hotel in Inverness. After Joe had spoken, Dave went up to him to apologise for not paying enough attention to what he'd said. Joe had a strong Glaswegian accent and sometimes speaks quite quickly, so he just thought that he had not toned down the accent enough. However that was not the problem. Dave had been sitting next to really tall fellow named Rab. Just as Joe was getting started - he made a point of telling a joke to put everyone at ease - Rab had turned to Dave and said, "See, that's some tie the wee fella's wearing!"

I had quite quickly latched on to the story of Anna, the prophetess, in Luke's gospel. There may be just three verses but I have been really encouraged as I have meditated on them. It took a while to find a way in - my computer is littered with opening paragraphs that I abandoned along the way, and half a dozen verses of a poem that just wasn't lighting my fire. In the end I wrote about a statue in an art gallery. It wasn't a real statue, or a real art gallery, but by the end of the piece I could see it in my mind's eye. There are times when I lament that I can't do the artist thing.

Thinking about Anna - my neurons have just been firing and I will seriously have to sit down and put a proper piece together. One of the things that has stirred in me is the need to put myself in the place to hear from God. Scripture says that she practically lived in the Temple, worshipping day and night. The temple is where the presence of God was most clearly felt - it was the place that He had chosen to dwell. Physically she was in the right place. Through her worship, prayer and fasting, she had put herself in the right spiritual place - the right frame of mind to experience His presence.

Putting yourself in the right place to experience God - what a challenge! Day and night Anna was in the right place - it was inevitable that God would speak to her. What often impresses me is that some people make themselves irresistible to God by their manner and approach. God cannot but help be drawn to people who place themselves physically and spiritually in His path. I want to be like that. I want to be irresistible to God too - just like she was. I want to make the place where God is found to be my dwelling place.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The simplest solutions

I have been incredibly out of sorts for the last few days. I have had a fairly heavy cold but over and above that I have had a nagging headache! I rarely get headaches. I am one of those people that when I am unwell, absolutely nothing feels right - my hair does not feel comfortable on my head, my skin feels uncomfortable stretched over my bones and nothing feels like it should. I couldn't work it out but somehow my glasses felt wrong. The frame bits that you never notice seemed to be all that I could see and I kept having to tip the glasses down to the end of my nose to read anything!

I am really a bad case scenario person. I never think the most obvious things. My first thought was that it was a caffeine thing and somehow I wasn't drinking as much tea or coffee as I used to, so I overdosed on coffee and tea to make up for it. There was no improvement in the headaches. My second thought was that perhaps I needed to update the prescription on the lenses. This was not a good thing as they were not cheap! The third thing - absurd really, but remember I have a cold so I'm not thinking clearly - perhaps the shape of my head had changed and the glasses just no longer fitted!

Well this morning I had a proper squint at the glasses and discovered the problem - one of the small bits that balance the glasses on the nose that fallen off. The tiny screw had unscrewed itself and the little plastic thing had fallen off! The glasses were not sitting properly. No wonder my eyes were having a problem focussing on things. There is a proper term somewhere for a situation when you are given a number of possible solutions to a problem and it is the simplest one that is usually the most effective.

The lady at the shop fixed it for me and the headache is subsiding. Maybe I should have asked her if she could fix my cold too.