Thursday, 13 August 2015


When it happened the first time my curiosity was piqued. When it happened the second time I missed it and burned the marmalade.

A number of weeks ago son number three gave me seven exquisitely juicy and richly fragrant home grown oranges. These glistening, orange orbs of accumulated sunlight were begging to be made into jars of marmalade flavoured liquid sunshine.

Not having made marmalade or jam for donkeys years, I scoured the web looking for a recipe that included seven oranges or a combination of other citrus fruit that matched the mass of that which I had on hand so I could work out how much sugar I would need to create marmalade that set properly but would be reasonably viscous.

As Murphy’s law would have it, seven was not the magic number. Two, three or four were the optimal combination and no recipe included a ratio calculation of pulp to sugar. Suddenly I remembered how I had successfully created marmalade in days of yore. The ratio key is one cup of pulp and liquid to one cup of sugar.

Charged with renewed vigour, I set about sterilising the jars, placing a test plate in the freezer, putting the pulp on the boil to soften and warming the sugar in readiness for the big moment when it would be added to the roiling pulp. However whilst attending to the preparatory details I was blissfully unaware of the kingdom lesson that awaited me.

One important procedure when making jam or marmalade is testing for the set point. Traditionally one puts a plate in the freezer to chill and then once the preserve, in this case marmalade, begins to thicken, one removes a teaspoon of liquid from the pot and drops it onto the chilled plate resulting in a skin forming on the top of the cooled liquid. When the skin wrinkles and the marmalade has a jelly like touch that is an indication that the marmalade has reached set point and should be removed from the heat then poured into hot, sterile jars very soon after. This particular batch of marmalade however, was taking its jolly sweet time coming to set point. 

As time went on, I had three test plates in the freezer on standby for testing but still the wretched stuff was not setting. Finally at the point of exasperation, I decided to sit for a moment or two to take a deep breath and wait. Then it happened. In the silence a distinct shift occurred in the sound that the molten mass of fruit and sugar produced.  Instinctively I knew that set point had been reached and as I made my way back into the kitchen my spirit grasped the reality that it is in the silence that the most subtle of shifts in the Spirit are heard with the greatest clarity.

We all “know” stuff in our heads but it isn’t until it becomes revelation in our spirit by the Holy Spirit that we really KNOW it. Yes, I knew the still small voice scripture among many others but since the simple shift in the silence arrested my attention I have been remembering the innumerable occasions when I have sensed that shift and moved with it regardless of understanding the mechanics or the ramifications of such a shift.

Needless to say a number of weeks later I received another batch of bountifuls from a friend’s orange tree. So it was I found myself making marmalade again. I followed exactly the same procedure as before but with one slight variation. An unexpected visitor had arrived before set point had been reached and in the midst of the chat and tea making, I missed hearing the subtle shift in bubbling of the marmalade and heard a different silence instead.  It is an oxymoron to think that silence has different sounds but this silence is the kind that usually accompanies children being naughty or the eerie nothing that happens before an earth tremor or a storm. This silence was the signal that I had missed the subtle shift and now the marmalade was ruined.

I recall a prophecy given in the latter part of last century where the Prophet of God said that “ walking in the Spirit would become as natural to the believer as a bird flying through the air or fish swimming in the sea”. The message of course is this, that in the latter days what was once thought to be supernatural, will in fact become the norm for believers. A sign for the believer that they are reproducing the kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven and a wonder for the perishing that the Kingdom of God has come near.

Friday, 13 March 2015


    Eleanor Roosevelt once said that great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and mediocre minds discuss people. 

I have had countless conversations with people from all generations, across many cultures and Eleanor’s sage insight into human conversation is surprisingly accurate.

We all understand how the model works. Discussing people usually centres on who they are, what they do, wear or say, who they hang out with and so on. Generally such discussions are used to mindlessly pass the time or to elevate oneself on the social ladder at the expense of others. No wonder Eleanor Roosevelt labelled this level of discussion as being mediocre!

Next we come to average minds who discuss events. Now there is nothing wrong with discussing sport or politics, world events or the weather. After all such topics often lead to some quite lively discussions, however more often than not event based conversations end up being as changeable as, well, the weather and depending on the dynamic of the group, average conversations will rarely spark ideas. Average conversations will more often than not degrade to become just another mediocre discussion revolving around the people who are involved in the events.

This leaves us with great minds. Great minds will centre their conversation on exploring ideas and concepts. Language such as “What if?”, “I wonder why?” or “I have been thinking….”  pepper their conversations thereby opening up some fascinating discussions that catapult people into the realm of possibility.

Today was your average Friday and Eleanor’s words were far from my mind. Driving home in the drizzling rain whilst listening discussion on the radio, my attention was suddenly arrested by a random thought “That’s how people have conversations with me.”  

Instantly recognising the origin of the thought, the radio was silenced and with the sound of a wet road beneath me being punctuated by the intermittent swipe of the windscreen wipers, I waited for the next revelation.  

Snippets of conversation flowed.  Agnes is so negative… Horace behaves appallingly…. I can’t believe that so and so did, said, thinks etc. I’m so worried about … I’m so upset because… You have to do something about the environment, the politicians, the economy and so on. There was plenty of waffle coming from the mediocre and average categories but very few great minded snippets of conversation.

Of all the countless conversations  I have had, it is the ones where ideas were discussed, concepts were explored, ah ha moments were sparked and revelation was inspired that have left an indelible mark, engendered tremendous growth and  ignited  a thirst and a hunger to understand more of things that are not just temporal but have eternal value. Such conversations flow easily, are often filled with laughter as well as camaraderie and generally leave one feeling energised, loved, valued and esteemed.

In that brief moment, I realised that our Heavenly Father longs for the great mind He gave us all to rise up and begin a great minded conversation with Him.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

There Is Nothing Wrong..... Just Something Missing

Hands up who has missed out on the “woe is me” moments? You know the times when a spate of stuff happens that leaves one wondering “What on earth is wrong with me?” Hmm, just as I thought, seems everyone has been there at least once in their lives.

Asking oneself or declaring “There must be something wrong with me” is usually the precursor to one becoming a navel gazer, trying to find out what is wrong so it can be fixed in a hurry. After all, our flesh has an innate programming to be “right” so we can fit in and be normal, not to mention the flesh’s need to be kept in a comfortable place at all times.

The stuff that happens in our life will happen period. How we respond to it makes all the difference in the world. How well or how poorly we respond will either cause our spirit man to be built up to take pre-eminence or give permission for our soul to have a pity party. As much as God is sovereign, in His love, wisdom and mercy He allows us the grace to decide if our response will be from our spirit or from our flesh.

Walking in the Spirit is incredibly easy not just from the perspective of how to but also in identifying the difference between Spirit and flesh.  The mechanics and outcomes of walking in the Spirit might explored in another blog but for now let’s look at the declaration “what’s wrong with me?”

“What’s wrong with me” is an invalid question that makes one an invalid. It is instantaneously crippling because there is no valid answer to it anywhere in the universe.  You were created totally and completely right. 

When your Heavenly Father created you He sat back pleased and declared you were “Outstandingly good”. Now that might seem a little over the top and not scriptcheral! (legalese for scriptural) but let me ask, if God used language to describe His creation in Genesis as being good and very good then it stands to reason that individual expressions of man, that is you and me, must be outstandingly good and if we are outstandingly good then He created us right. Therefore this means that there is nothing wrong with you at all!

Okay so I can hear you asking, so why am I always ___________? (insert the excuse that most supports the case for something being wrong with you.)

Understanding, not what is wrong with you but what is missing in you will shed light on your path while your soul is being redeemed. 

Whilst we were created right and outstandingly good, the business of living in a fallen world shoots holes in our souls in order to create something missing.  Call them wounds, battle scars or whatever you will, the nature of sin is at work in your flesh from the moment you were born. The sins of the flesh suck the life out of our souls leaving great gaping vacuumous holes that we have labelled as being  “something wrong’.

Now we all know that nature abhors a vacuum. Sin by its nature causes a vacuum in our souls and nature as a consequence demands that the vacuum be filled. 

Enter events, circumstances, people, words, thought patterns, experiences and name your owns, that will be attracted to that empty space. Just as things that are of the natural and demonic realm have a particular molecular structure that determines their substance, so too does the things of the Spirit. While sin initially caused this vacuum the only molecular structure that has the right shape and substance to fill the vacuum comes directly from the Holy Spirit. Until the Holy Spirit fills the vacuum with His fruit, our souls will constantly attract all the stuff that makes us cry in despair “What on earth is wrong with me” or make us call on its next best friend “Why does this always happen to me?”

So next time stuff is pushing your buttons, stop for a moment and identify which fruit of the Spirit is needed to fill the vacuum then reach out in prayer, repent for allowing the buttons of your flesh to be pushed, ask that the appropriate fruit of the spirit be grafted in its place then watch as your world begins to transform around you.