Forgotten fruit

In a quiet cul-de-sac near my house (Baddow Hall Avenue), on the road verge, there are some old apple trees. This year they have produced a bumper crop of apples. Yesterday morning, as I walked past on my way to church at 9 am, the road was covered with apples which had fallen during the night. They were lying on the concrete, bruised and some already pecked at. By the time I walked home at 1 pm* many of the apples had been completely squashed by passing cars. Some remained intact in the gutter. But it seems no one wanted to pick them up to eat, or even to take the abundant undamaged fruit still on the trees – we all prefer to pay for shiny supermarket fruit.

Proverbs 10:5, Matthew 9:37-38, 21:28-32, John 4:34-38.

At Soul Survivor Jim Yost said something like “Don’t pray for revival. Revival is already here. Pray instead for labourers to bring in the revival harvest”.

* Our service doesn’t really last four hours. I went early to pray and stayed late to talk.

How big is my God?

This is the question Tim Chesterton asks. He recommends getting out into the mountains to get something of the right perspective:

I tend to do my praying in small rooms, and I’ve discovered that if you do that, it’s very easy to think of God as a being who spends his time in small rooms. Then you climb the Edith Cavell Meadows trail and find yourself beside this simply enormous mountain, and you’re reminded that if creation is this big, then its Creator must be bigger yet.

Just from Tim’s photos of Jasper National Park in Canada I can start to get the idea of the wonder of God’s creation. Sadly we have nothing remotely like it here in Essex, but even here it can be good to get out into the green countryside to spend time with the Creator.

The Caleb Generation

The title of this post is in some ways an odd one because there was no Caleb generation, apart from Joshua and Caleb himself.

Of course Caleb did have a whole lot of contemporaries among the Israelites. But, apart from the probably much younger Joshua, they were very different people from Caleb. They grumbled and rebelled against Moses, and they were afraid to go into the Promised Land when God told them to, but presumed to try to go when God told them not to. Only Caleb and Joshua had the faith to go when God said “Go”, and to wait when he did not. As a result, God punished the entire generation, apart from those two, with early death.

And so, when the time came for the conquest of the land, Caleb, aged nearly 80 (see Joshua 14:7,10), was twenty years older than any of the other surviving Israelites, apart from Joshua. Yet Caleb was by no means ready to retire; five years into the conquest, at age 85, he could still say

I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then.

Joshua 14:11 (TNIV)

It seems that the God who had caused all the other Israelites to die by age 60 had miraculously preserved Caleb’s health and strength for 45 years.

So it was perhaps a little strange that at Soul Survivor, which I came home from just over a week ago, Mike Pilavachi preached about the Caleb generation, about how we should have faith like Caleb did. Continue reading

Speaker of Truth becomes Gentle Wisdom

I have decided to mark the new academic year (an important time for many of my readers although not for myself) with a new title for this blog: Gentle Wisdom. For the moment I am leaving everything else unchanged, although maybe I ought to look for a gentler picture than the mountain.

I don’t intend this to herald any major changes to this blog. But I intend to steer away from controversies like the atonement one and focus more on what is positive and beneficial, perhaps moving in a more devotional direction.

I am not changing the blog’s URL, so existing links will still work. However, if you have blogrolled me, please change the blog name in your link.

Why did I make this change? Continue reading