#fridayfootprints – Friday 21st February 2020

The forest is a ‘state of mind’ ….. and spirit!

I have entered the forest alone when the sun stands high above the hills, yet there is a shadow that permeates the forest. A sense of darkness that causes the hairs on the back of my neck to stand to attention. It is a black hole that the music that plays in my sub-conscious is fitting of a horror movie score. Eerie sounds and shapes and shadows that scare my soul.

I have also entered the forest in the late afternoon dusk, where the sounds of birds singing their ‘goodnight’ lullaby’s play harmony to the leopard’s ‘wood saw’ rasp that echoes as he inspects his territory.  All these sounds combine to form a silence under a leafy comfort-blanket, where my soul can find solace and my mind can empty itself in preparation of a renewed sense of being.

Yet it is the same forest!

The only difference is my perception. And my perception is guided by my spiritual well-being.

If my spirit is positive, so is the forest. When my spirit is depressed and apprehensive, so is the forest just as scary.

If I am at peace with the Lord, then I am at peace with the forest, because the forest is a state of mind …. and my spiritual connection with the Trinity. A connection that is rooted in the nature and existence of the forest and how I experience it and react to the world around me.

And when the spirit is right, that is when the wilderness whispers, like a ‘fairy’ bath ready for a baptism for those that that can see beyond the reality of their fears and preconceptions!

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 14th February 2020

Happy Valentine’s Day!

As the world gets ready to celebrate ‘undying’ love. As a society of lovers profess untold devotion on bended knees and floral bouquets, do we realise it has all been done before?

So, Lord will you hear me on bended knee?

In a whispered silence: Yes Lord, it’s me.

I’ve come to say, You know it well.

A story that I long to tell.

Of a love so deep and true and sure.

A love that death defined as pure.

In blood that dripped and trickled down,

I know you suffered without a frown.

But Lord, I know what you long to hear,

that my love for you is just as dear.

That I’d bear the pain that you took for me:

In silence for the world to see.

I bring my bunch of bright red blooms

and lay them at the empty tomb.

I kneel in prayer and stand in praise

that your love for me will one day raise.

And every minute of every day,

I’ll love you Lord, come what may.

 

I will hold you as my Valentine,

‘cause I am yours and you are mine!

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 7th February 2020

“Spread your wings,” I said! The body language says it all!

That first moment when the wind of the Spirit catches your wing for take-off and you panic. Legs flailing, arms spread out, heart pumping and all the head says is: “Why are we doing this?”

For so many people, walking around with your paragliding gear – a pack with harness (God) and a wing (Jesus) is all they are prepared to risk. Let alone taking it all out of the pack. They are content to trudge around with all the equipment yet too afraid to try it out.

Once we start to unpack it all, we realise that there could be something missing. An even greater risk is putting it on. Spreading out the wing, laying out the lines, stepping into the harness and tightening it up, and then, facing into the wind. Once we do that, we are getting too close to allowing the Holy Spirit to lift us airborne.

That feeling in the pit of the stomach. The tenseness in every fibre of our being. The moment when every brain cell we have is screaming noooooo!

And then ….! Ever so gently we are airborne. And whilst our instinct tells us to panic, suddenly we feel the updraft gently balancing us and holding us aloft with so little effort from ourselves.

The breath of the Spirit is a whisper in the wilderness. A voice that says: “Open your eyes, I am here and will hold you safe. Enjoy your ride with Me for the moment.” The Trinity in its complete form, Harness, Wing and Wind.

Then, when we start to look around and appreciate what is happening and we get this glimpse from above, then the exhilaration of flight is nothing compared to lift off in the Spirit.

Unpack your harness, spread your wings and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

Enjoy the flight!

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 31st January 2020

Ahhhh! Sweetness never tasted so good. And so convenient! Twice a day I receive my daily dose in a fresh bottle, nicely chilled and strategically located.

Forgotten are the delicate blossoms so specifically formed by the creator. Nature’s pantry seems to be a distant memory and the ‘fynbos’ on the fringes of the forests wait in vain for the visitors that do not come around anymore.

Our search for the Trinity cannot be found in the sweetened water, bottled and served at a place of our choosing. The Trinity needs to be experienced, to be touched. It comes with tears and heartache and it comes with unimaginable joy and exhilaration. And we need to go out and find it.

It is in the world out there, amongst the ugliness and the violence and brutality. It is also in the sunsets and sunrises, the softest whisper or the caressing touch of a hand. It is in the tear of happiness and the wail of anguish – but, it is not in a bottle.

The bottle for the sunbirds; is there for my enjoyment as much as it is for theirs as a supplement to their daily requirements. Just like the church is sometimes a place where God can see us when we come to feed in Word and praise and prayer.

But it is not Jesus or the Holy Spirit. The full essence of the Trinity is as broad and as powerful and as overwhelming as creation itself. And when we find it, no bottled faith will come close in comparison. No sugar water can taste as sweet as the taste of the Trinity when we realise its full potential to take charge of our lives.

Spread your wings and find it!

 

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 24th January 2020

Wandering in the wilderness, lost in the mists that shroud the forest.

The sounds of the forest are dampened into an eerie silence that descends into the uncertainty that lies in the soul of man. Through the wafts of whiteness our vision is hampered until we focus on our immediate surrounds.

Through the mists there are gossamer threads sprinkled with drops of condensation that reflect the barest glimmer of light, revealing all there is around us. Tiny little mirrors that magnify the very essence of God through His creation. Everywhere we look and touch a new reality is illuminated.

And each droplet shows the Holy Spirit at work; teacher, guide, advocate, comforter, revealer of truth. Each drop that gathers on our skin, washes over us in minute explosions of joy, prickling sensations over every exposed pore.

All for the purpose of bringing us to a deeper understanding of God and a more meaningful relationship with the Living Christ as revealed through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

And so, in the mists that gently caress the mountain slopes, I wander through the forest of my faith, and I listen when the wilderness whispers.

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 17th January 2020

The doctrine of the Trinity is part of the roots of our faith.

Like the roots of the trees in the forest, so this ‘belief’ holds up the mighty trees that constitute Christianity.

And like the roots of the trees in the forest, sometimes the buttresses formed by the roots give rise to the creation of hollow and caverns. Places where we can hide ‘inside’ our faith.

The Trinity is not there for this.

The Trinity is the foundation that points us skywards. Up towards the canopy and beyond. Into the light, that we may soar with the eagles.

To seek solace in the root caves does our faith an injustice and will keep us entrapped, going from one dark hole to the next in search of comfort.

Reach out and upwards in the knowledge that the roots are strong enough to hold the tree, and the tree points the direction for you to follow.

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 10th January 2020

Besides still waters …! Peaceful rest, solitude, reflection, introspection; all of these may be found besides still waters.

But if we are looking for the Trinity?

In our urban jungles and man-made distractions, finding the Trinity is a huge ask! Finding just one element can sometimes be elusive.

Whilst the natural environment has always been my ‘go to’ place to connect with God, I sometimes need to go deeper.

Have you listened to a stream burbling along?

Have you listened to a dry river?

Have you heard the dust flowing between the rocks and boulders?

Go beneath the river’s dry bed. Let your ears hear the sounds beneath its surface. The water is there., flowing in its hidden underground canal. Go deeper. The river bedrock, beneath which nothing can penetrate. Yet! Yet there is something there still deeper. Find it. Listen to it speak. It speaks from the pregnant belly of creation – the Word. Absorb the word! Bring them slowly to the surface. As you come back through the bedrock, the words you found become real. And through the word, spring tears that fall on the ravaged earth. The tears explode in the dust, listen to them fall. Listen to them cry out to mankind! Tears become trickles and suddenly the stream is flowing. Rushing around the rocks, smoothing them. Sometimes the stream is just a bubbling brook and then sometimes it is a river in flood, roaring in power.

By listening to the dry river, we sink down to the depths to find God, we bring Him up to find Christ and then suddenly the Holy Spirit is bubbling and rushing over us.

Find your dry river and listen deeper than the dust that lies there. Listen deep into the bowels of creation for the Word and then bring it back with you ‘till it bursts over you as a river in full flood cleansed by the tears.

Sometimes the flood will abate, but the stream will still flow on, gurgling along with the words brought up from the depths of that dry river.

Peace is beside still waters – The Trinity is deeper than that – When the wilderness whispers!

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 3rd January 2020

“In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”: Powerful words in a life changing phrase.

Through the waters of our baptism we are introduced to the Trinity and yet for many, that is only the beginning of a difficult understanding of a Triunal diety. The concept stays on the horizon, and only sometimes being reflected in the waters of our Faith.

To understand and believe in ‘One’ is difficult enough, but to accept that there are three that interact with every aspect of our lives, sometimes defies the realms of reason.

What does it come down to?

To see the Trinity in every facet of our daily existence!

The three palm trees. Their reflection. Everywhere there are reminders.

It is easy to see God (the Father) in the Old Testament, and sometimes even easier to see Christ in the New Testament and then, on the odd occasion, to feel the workings of the Holy Spirit in a real-life situation. But all three at the same time?

Searching for the Trinity in everything we see and do comes with a deeper connection born in allowing our spiritual self the freedom to explore the silence of our souls.

2020 is a journey along that path that I wish to take.

Walk with me!

Let’s listen ….. when the Wilderness Whispers.

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#fridayfootprints – goodbye 2019, hello 2020

 

As the last few days and hours of 2019 are eaten away, #fridayfootprints bids farewell to Gardening with God, (the theme for 2019) and moves on to a new theme. The garden is being expanded and sees a return to the roots of Wilderness Whispers – the natural environment.

The Master Gardener stays with us in 2020 as #fridayfootprints in the theme #whenthewildernesswhispers goes in search for a deeper experience of the Trinity as nature communicates with us.

Living in Wilderness, with its forests, lakes, rivers and beaches, its wetlands and drylands, its farms and gardens, its sand dunes and mountain range, means that we are surrounded by nature every time we step outside.

And then, when the Wilderness Whispers, the Holy Spirit speaks to us in silence, yet we feel the vibration of His words in the deepest core of our being.

Wilderness is in a district of South Africa named Eden, and for tourists is on the “Garden Route’ – God’s Garden.

Join me in on the 3rd January for the 1st Friday of 2020 and another year of #fridayfootprints. We will walk God’s garden ’route ‘ to listen and feel His voice #whenthewildernesswhispers.

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 27th December 2019

Gardening is about having faith and being secure in the knowledge that if you do it long enough, and if you plant enough; then through God’s design a miracle happens. After years of fruitless and sterile cones, one of the cycads suddenly produced fertile seed.

With the smallest bit of effort – the simple pressing of the seed into the ground will result in baby plants popping up.

The plants were always beautiful and appreciated, lending a structural element to the garden. But that was not their ultimate purpose. They were there to produce viable seed. To reproduce! To spread! To multiply.

Our relationship with the Master Gardener follows a similar route. For some the journey from seedling to ‘seeder’ is a walk in the park. For others it is a lonely journey fraught with danger and frustration. People looking in at the garden, may appreciate the beauty, yet may still fail to see its significance.

Gardening with God is not just about building a deeper relationship with God and it is more than an internal examination of Faith. It is a process of development until we produce fertile seeds and spread them before the Holy Spirit to be blown where they will find fertile soil. The seeds of salvation – Christ has come to save us – He is born, and through His Grace we may have life everlasting and His eternal love.

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 20th Desember 2019

As family and friends begin their annual preparations to join together in the celebration of Christmas, so we become aware that the reason for the journey they will all take is to be together. To celebrate a unity of purpose through the joyful knowledge of what Christmas means to family.

The love that is gathered as the lilies of the fields. Little pieces of love that we harvest and combine. Each has its own form of love. Its own character or personality of love. But, gathered together to celebrate Christmas brings a new dimension.

The lilies in the vase bring the produce of the Master Gardener from the garden to inside the house so He becomes part of the celebration feast. Here, we all are exposed to the evidence of His abundant Love. Each stem is baptised in the same water and even though the flowers face in different directions they share a common base and a unified purpose.

The sounds of laughter fill the house and echo the joy brought by the flowers.

As we have Gardened with God, all year, His bounty is now visible, to be shared with all present and to be witness to our prayers for those unable to be here.

May you all have a Blessed Christmas.

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 16th August 2019

Everything has its time.

Life has its seasons; Faith has its promise.

If we can accept the one, then surely, we should accept the other. If, through our salvation, we will end in Heaven it does not matter through which season this comes. Whether it be through our normal lifespan, or through the return of The Christ. The result is the same.

Preparing for it, no matter when it comes is one thing: Living for it, something else.

Living in faith and in the knowledge of the promise means we should be ready to flower, knowing the season is at hand. That Heaven is within our grasp!

Being ready to blossom is what we were born for.

So then, flower, ‘cause even the flowers have faith that the spring will come.

Hark He comes!

Hebrews 10:36,37

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 9th August 2019

Gardeners with God do not know when the Master Gardener is coming.

Tending to the garden and all the tasks associated with this is not a luxury of our ‘Faith’, rather a necessity. If we have faith then we have wisdom and it is the wisdom portion of our faith which means that we keep on gardening, no matter what!

It is the wisdom part of faith that tells us we cannot leave the garden to tend for itself and then when the ‘unexpected hour’ arrives, we start looking for excuses as to why the gardening tasks have been neglected, the garden is overgrown, the fruit is rotten, the blossoms spent and the weeds have taken over.

Gardeners with God know through faith that we will be found in the garden, ready with the tools of our trade, when the hour arrives.

(Luke 12:40)

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 2nd August 2019

Our mouths are open, what are the words? Are there words or are we just sticking our tongues at the world or God?

Where is the wisdom in what we say?

Whilst the, ‘meditation of my heart shall be understanding’, exists; the road from understanding to speaking wisely is littered with roadblocks and detours.

The fact that we have opened our mouths is no guarantee that the words that will come out or that they will be wise. And even the wisest words are sometimes just not fully understood!

The world is filled with open-mouthed babble which overshadows the whispers of wisdom. Here in the garden, in God’s presence, meditation brings its own understanding of wisdom. Being able to speak it is another matter entirely!

(Psalm 49:3)

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