God has wonderful promises for us as we travel on through life and into later years.The best news is that,inside we need never grow old because He has actually promised to renew our youth day by day.

Isaiah 40:31

Sunday, 27 September 2015

"A Beacon Soul"

Have been laid low with the first of the seasonal "bugs" these last few days the brain has not been up to doing much heavy reading. So as always, I turned to poetry. It soothes the soul, lulls the mind and  calms the heart....

I found a new poem in an old book recently gifted to me and it seemed to be rather apt.

It is called "A Beacon Soul" by a Birmingham born poet called Edgar A. Guest. Not someone I had heard of before. 
(see end of post for the full poem)

It was written in the mid to late 1800's after the death of his close friend, a ship owner and sailor on the Great Lakes by the name of Captain Lewis Ludington.

On researching can actually find no mention of this poem in his listed works apart from this article about the "Captain Lewis Ludington Award" which also gives an interesting biography of the Captain.
There are also several Scholarships and other awards in honour of Captain Ludington

A stanza of the poem  reads:
“For forty years or more he trod the decks of ships and came to be, I'm sure, on closer terms with God than men who never went to sea.”

It has often been said there are few atheists among sea captains during a storm. Being a sea captain on the Great Lakes was a very perilous occupation due to storms. There are thousands of ships at the bottom of the Great Lakes as a testimony to this.

But his deep faith came from more than his often perilous voyages. It also came from a deep belief in thinking about and his observation of God's work.

Another stanza reads:
“Thought made him tender, friendly, wise, and gave him faith no hurt could shake. He found within the starry skies marvels which only God could make.”

While we may not have  “trod the decks of ships”, we marvel at God's workmanship when we turn our eyes upward to the starry skies. But, we also experience violent storms.

Jesus and his disciples experienced a violent storm on the Sea of Galilee. The disciples were so afraid that they shouted to Jesus that they were perishing! Jesus answered them by saying, “...why are you so afraid?” (Matthew 8:23-27)

When we experience  'violent storms', who do we turn to ?  Do we think that we are in control of the storm or is the storm really in control of us?

The more we develop our spiritual growth and our understanding of the marvels of God's work the more we will embrace Jesus' comforting words when He said,

“No, I will not abandon you or leave you as orphans in the storm--I will come to you.” (John 14:18)

Lord God thank you for your promise that you are always with us. Help us to put complete trust in You as the storms appear. Amen

A Beacon Soul 
"First Out; Last In"
Sailed in the path of honour and virtue
"Faith alone, when sight forsaketh, Shows true hearts the mystery." For forty years or more he trod
the decks of ships and came to be,
I'm sure, on closer terms with God
than men who never go to sea. Long nights when men upon the shore
were fast asleep he pondered things
and gained that wealth of nature's lore
which patient observation brings. Thought made him tender, friendly, wise,
and gave him faith no hurt could shake.
He found within the starry skies
marvels which only God could make. Now home at last he seems to be
A beacon soul of gleaming white
unmoved by wind or angry sea
to guide us safely through the night. So ere his resting day be done
and he again must put to sea
I write of Captain Ludington
whose faith so oft has strengthened me. 

-Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959) 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The brevity of life

During the Middle Ages some monks kept a skull on their desks to remind them of their mortality and eventual death. It was a vivid reminder that life is fleeting and that they needed to keep their priorities in line.  My basket of new  tablet packages next to the tea pot serves the same purpose for me so I know how they feel!

Some may feel that staring at a skull..or pill packets ..is depressing, but the exact opposite is true.
The wisdom of remembering how little time we have left on this earth enables us to love and cherish others and to be grateful for every moment we are alive. 

We read in Ecclesiastes Chapter 7 and verse 4 :-
"A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time"

Remembering our death can motivate us to celebrate life, to make good choices and to accept God's plans and the things He allows to enter our lives.

Psalm 90 verse 12 encourages us to pray:-
"Teach us to realise the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom"

Here in the UK talking about death in any shape or form seems to be such a taboo subject and often even in terminal illness mortality, dying and death is never mentioned, so much is lost by ignoring  this. Ideally we should adopt a practice of 'preparing for death' or at least acknowledging our mortality so that it guides us into filtering out what is important in our lives from what is not...life is too short, too precious to waste on things that are meaningless.
None of us knows how many days we have been given by God, so every morning when we wake treat each day as if it was to be our last and ask:-
"What will we do with the life God has given us today?"

"Our life is like the morning fog - it is here for a little while, then it is gone"

               James 4:14

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Warwickshire "Wolf Run"

 On a completely lighter note....

My son competed in and completed the  'Wolf Run' ( see information after the photos) yesterday 5th September... am very proud of him; he is partially sighted

He's the tall one on the left!

What is the Wolf Run?   Information taken from their official website

The Wolf Run is an approx. 10k off-road run featuring a series of man-made and natural obstacles located throughout the course. We have four events throughout the year (Spring, Summer Autumn & Winter). The concept behind the Wolf Run was to re-create the feeling of running in natural terrain - a wild run that would allow people to experience natural, raw running conditions as far as possible whilst also presenting runners with a challenging, interesting and enjoyable event.

Where are Wolf Run events held?

Wolf Run HQ and the original Wolf Run Territory are in Warwickshire. However, check the Events page to see details and locations for all our events and venues.

Is the Wolf Run a race/timed event?

The Wolf Run is all about the experience of Wild Running™ - running wild and being 100% involved in the experience. The Wolf Run is not a race; it’s a physical and mental challenge that every Wolf Runner tackles their own way - whether it’s running in a pack or running alone as the classic lone wolf! We don’t use timing chips and if you’d like to wear a watch to time yourself, please make sure it’s water/shock resistant!

How is the Wolf Run different from other off-road events?

Off-road running is becoming increasingly popular and justifiably so - getting off the pavements and treadmills into interesting, challenging terrain is amazingly good for you physically and mentally. We are often asked how we are different from the other obstacle/trail/mud runs: the answer is that we combine the best features of all three types of run!

Our courses are a unique mix of great running trails across open ground and through woodland. There are a series of physical challenges using man-made obstacles with the run course also featuring a huge number of nature’s finest obstacles, from lake swims to mud pits, fallen trees, boggy ground, ditches, hills and dense foliage, making the run more organic and recreating a natural, wild run. Every step will test you mentally and physically, taking you back to a primal, instinctive way of running in raw, challenging terrain.

The design of our obstacles is also overseen by a fitness professional with a Masters in Sports Science and years of experience in functional fitness training. This ensures that your entire body is challenged by the design of our course, providing an excellent all-body workout that will leave you fitter, stronger and more confident.

'Let there be light...'

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

C. S. Lewis left behind a multitude of quotable writing, but one of my favourites has to do with God's light:
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
                                       (from Theology Poetry, 1945)

If the sun is shining, we do not  have to see it; it must be there, because without it we would be in almost total darkness, unable to see anything except the shadowy outlines thrown up by the light of the stars.

Of course, we would all be dead anyway; the sun is not just how we see, it is the first requirement of our physical lives.

We do get wisdom from men, but what is their wisdom except the moon, reflecting dimly the glorious and powerful sun?
Truth comes from God, and His truth is perfect, as different from the truths of human writers as the sunshine is from the light of the moon.

As Paul tells us, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
 (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Atheists and agnostics ponder and agonise about the meaning (or meaninglessness) of life, searching for some ultimate and justifying reason for human existence, particularly their own. Philosophers fill books. But how do they expect to find a lost item by groping for it in total darkness? And yet, if you try to hand them a light, they mock you.

The better we learn God's Word, direct and unfiltered by external values or our own biases, the better we can see. We can see right and wrong. We can even see our own sin, if we are honest and forthright; but it takes a very bright light. Only in direct sunshine can we hope to see where we ourselves go wrong, because our nature is to protect our fragile egos from fully seeing and admitting our faults.