A Bird by any other name

I sit in these early mornings and listen to the abundant wildlife outside my window wake up to live out their abundant lives.

Do they worry about their feathers looking a little waterlogged after the night of downpours?

Do they hide behind the nearest knothole or fading autumn leaves hoping to be unseen because they ate too many mealworms yesterday?

Do they disappear into the landscape because of cruel tweets said over them as chicks and fledglings?

No, of course not.

I also don’t see them trying to live a life that is not theirs to live. A blue tit trying to rock it as a crow, or a buzzard or next doors dog so it can chase the cat.

They wake up every morning, living their perfect life exactly as and who they are, who they were created to be.

They also have it better than their predecessors because they are abundantly fed from my shed full of fatty balls and bird seed.

They sing a song so much bigger than their little chests seem able to contain.  A tiny wren with a song so wide and beautiful the sun shines brighter, and my heart gives thanks to the God who made her when I hear it.

She is who she was meant to be and will keep on being that and giving me joy endlessly throughout her short but abundant life.

Her birthright is to sing, to fly, to live her life exactly as she was made to live it.

If she could sell it to be or gain something else of much lessor worth, she wouldn’t.

I have been reading about Jacob and Esau and wondered about these historic characters,  Esau and Jacob, the Jock and the trickster.

Again and again I came back to Esau selling his birthright, holding it of such little worth, he sold it for soup.

Of course there is a lot more to this, many more nuances in the story, and God ran through it like a fine tooth comb, his plans and purposes beautifully set within a family’s dynastic commentary.

Ah, but for me… Esau sold his birthright, he came home hungry, grabbed a bowl of soup and slapped down his inheritance, his portion, his abundance as payment.  It was his but he thought it nothing, or didn’t grasp its worth… so God gave it to another, his trickster brother.

I have been struck by this all week and eventually today while listening to the robin and the wren and head banging wood pecker, while listening to Melissa Helser singing “He said, Don’t be afraid, Don’t give your song away” I see how I have allowed my birthright, my song to be usurped, to be stolen by a lie.  A trickster came along and with some word soup obfuscated the truth of who I am.

He skillfully wove fabrications and half-truths into my thought patterns bringing about behaviors that had me hiding behind knotholes and dying leaf litter while parodying myself to the world, a puppet on my own string.

I have a song to sing, and it is no one else’s but mine.  Given to me by the God of love, a Father of fathers, who created me to be exactly and uniquely me.  Not a parody of a life lived but a truly, abundantly, life well lived within all I was created for.  To be for his Glory, fully alive.  He is SO kind, so KIND, he allows me to trip, to come crashing to my knees so that the shadow of turnings are shaken loose and shown for what they are, cobwebs collecting the dust of memories, sprinkled like pepper by a defeated deceiver, a toothless tyrant who reeks of desperation.  Memories that my true Father has already walked through and redeemed by the blood of my wonderful Jesus.  He has usurped the usurper, and I don’t follow those stricture rules any more.

Ah Beloved, I embrace my birthright, all that you have given and prepared for me, that my song will become, and grow, brighter, stronger, sweeter and the sound bring the fragrance of Jesus into every nook and cranny of the world I walk in.  Oh Daddy help me walk in transparency and light with these brothers and sisters also on a transforming walk, embracing their birthright. OH and the glory and beauty of our unique songs of love combining to be a symphony of life and light and freedom and love to a world longing to discover their own unique sound, unsullied by lies and filled with the glory of the God who loves them.


Daily Prompt: Retrospective – The on prem solution.

via Daily Prompt: Retrospective

A retrospective change.  We throw our hands in the air, and with a deep sigh say it again, “We can push a retrospective change, do you have a P1 incident”.   We have become professional application cowboys, after months of building an application, of testing, and testing and testing, somehow joining the dots seems to take a lot longer these days, than in the days of on prem, in house, on shore.  Now its an in the cloud, managed solution off shore.  Its no longer a box in my server room connected via Lan, but an internet enabled black box in the ether somewhere, and no one seems to care where the somewhere is, that is someone else’s problem.

So we push the retrospective change and the problem goes away… for now.

As I watch a relationship disintegrate, unable to find any one string that can begin to unravel the big ball of mess it has become, I wonder if I could push a retrospective change here.  Would it be possible to identify where it all began to go wrong and raise a change request and retrospectively go back and fix it.

The harsh and angry words she said, raise a change request and go back and erase them with words of gentleness and kindness. The silence he kept, raise a change request, go back and fill the silence with words of love and forgiveness.

If we built relationships like we build applications, in an agile and concentric manner. Start with a minimum viable product, “I like you, you like me, lets have a coffee and perform a product test to see if this might work”.  Hmm coffee was good, lets have another, and product test again.  Yes went well, lets try a systems integration test, “You like taking long walks and reading, I like watching football and going to the pub most nights”…. nope wrong component, try again.

But we don’t, we meet with long glances across the room with a great deal of alcohol fueling the electricity.  Then we end up in bed, systems integration and End to End testing before we have even started with a product test, there are no test scripts, we dont check if data is even moving between the systems, but hey it looks good and felt good… WCPGW.. what could possibly go wrong.   If we are lucky its a one off and we throw the pieces in the trash the next day. If we are not.. we do lots more of SIT and E2E no test scripts in sight, and then settle down for the User acceptance testing.  OH BOY do the bugs start flying then…. and 6 months in and 10 months in you look at each other and wonder what the heck you were thinking.

Come to think of it we do build relationships like we build applications.  We come to the business as application gods, full of blarney selling an all singing all dancing beautiful application.  We build user stories that could never be met because well, they are user stories that will be built by charming and lovely people in another country who have no way of interpreting the rash comments made by users.  But we nod wisely and say YES of course we can build that. And in the drunk atmosphere of money and hope we shake hands, skip the coffee and jump into bed.  What could possibly go wrong…



Religion and its Happy Holidays

via Daily Prompt: Cherish

Religion lies … all the time. Big nasty whopper type lies.  Not fibs or porky pies, but huge neon lit fabrications that suck the stars out of your effervescent sky.

It saunters up to a glorious beautiful book, flicks contemptuously and arrogantly through its pages, cuts out that which fits its theories, paints pictures of the god it wants to find in there, a god that helps it control and manipulate a human kind that have forgotten they are beloved, and then plasters them all over its sepulchers.

Then it invites these lost and lonely human beings to come see its death dealing laws and threatens them with that very death if they don’t bow and scrape to its angry god.  Ah but first it preaches a false love, a sickly sweet, sugar coated, poison laden hook that catches you unawares.  It could be anything that feeds your need, “Gab it and grab it”, “God loves you… put your tithe here”, “Jesus loves you and took your punishment from his wrathful Father, fulfill your obligation here”.. “Are you lost and lonely, come to Jesus he will make it all better… but only if you come to Sunday services every week, meet 2x weekly for bible study and prayer, oh and join the rota for children’s church and coffee on Sundays, and most important of all, Tithe, Give and it will be given to you… as the good book says.”  Religion holds you at arms length, giving you a clear hierarchy for you to aspire to but never reach.  Pastors and priests who are better than you, who don’t come to serve but to lord it over you as their flock, making sure you toe the line, holding you accountable when you trip over each of their laws etched across the floor of their sepulchers.

If only we knew how none of this is necessary.  it is all a subterfuge to divert humanity from the God who strew the stars in the sky to the religion who sucked them out.  Religion that created a box for you to live in and gave you a plastic torch to charge the glow in the dark stars on the ceiling to give you false hope when things looked grey.

God has no need of subterfuge, or lies or portraits and tithing plates.  He smashes down prison walls, gets up close and personal, wrapping you in an embrace that does not end.  He calls you BELOVED, and says ” I am your Abba, your Papa, you are my child, there is no one like you.   I have called you by name.   I cherish you as I cherish my own first begotten Son, who entered this world with Joy to be the cure for the dis-ease that ferries you into the religious trap.  No walls can hold you as they did not hold Him. No lies can keep you down, the Spirit that raised my Son from death to life, is the same Spirit who raises you now, who wipes the tears and religious scales from your eyes, and then lifts your head so you can see the beauty of the stars again”.  Then mystery comes to live inside of you, Christ in you the hope of glory.    Here He is, not a Son murdered by an angry violent dad, but a beloved Son and brother who brought the cure for our sickness so that we could know who we truly are again.  Our eyes are opened, the fog is cleared and like the prodigal son we return home to a Father who hoicks up his robe and sprints out to meet us with overwhelming joy.  Who prepares a  feast for us as a welcome home and invites the whole of heaven to join in.  Religion has no part in this.

Heb 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.

via Daily Prompt: Continue

This first verse of Hebrews 13 is under the title “Sacrifices pleasing to God”, and I can imagine that brotherly  love (of course this applies to sisters too,  as in Christ there is no male or female) is a sacrifice in some cases, probably in many!

There are many notions of love, so I wondered what this love is that Paul is speaking of here.  Apparently, (when I check my friendly concordance), in the ancient Greek that the New Testament was written in, there were four words that would/could be translated as love.

“Eros” – erotic love, referring to sexual love.

“Storge” – Family love.  The love there is between a parent and child, or other family members.

“Agape” –  Ah what a word!  It is the most powerful word for love in the New Testament, and is often used to describe God’s love towards us. This is the love to be rooted and grounded in.  It is a love that loves without changing. It is a self-giving love that gives without demanding or expecting re-payment. It is love so great that it can be given to the unlovable or unappealing. It is love that loves even when it is rejected. Agape love gives and loves because it wants to; it does not demand or expect repayment from the love given – it gives because it loves, it does not love in order to receive.

“Philadelphia” – the word used here in Heb 13. This ancient Greek word speaks of a brotherly friendship and affection. It is the love of deep friendship and partnership.

When Paul was writing to the Hebrews he was talking to a CHURCH, a fellowship of believers who had all things in common, they shared and loved and gave so much that it was exclaimed “Behold how they love one another”.  Who lived Jesus words in John 13:35 “By this all shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love toward one another.” Paul was calling for this to continue, this self sacrificing, all embracing deep friendship, partnership and affection to grow deeper and stronger.

Of course this had to be a love growing out of the Agape love received from the Father, from His Son now fully present in this body of believers.  No one could manufacture brotherly love to this magnitude without there being a fundamental shift from self.  A shift that crucifies, kills, puts to death that old occupying force of self to be fully occupied by Another. Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ, but I live!!; yet no longer I, my ego, but Christ, as Himself, lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, the One who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Ah, out of that explosive exchanged life comes this awe inspiring love for those amongst them.  The 120, who waiting in that upper room for the Spirit to come, had no idea who they were waiting for, what that waiting would precipitate and how it would resound still around the world all these thousands of years later.  LOVE.

Really though?  Brotherly love continues amongst those who call themselves the church today?  I dont hear “Wow, look how much they love each other” from people observing the fellowship of believers 2000 years down the line.  Nope, I hear the opposite. I watch a generation of idealistic, hot headed, radical, whole hearted human beings eschewing anything to do with “church”.  Not only do they not see brotherly love, or any love, they see corruption, judgement, hypocrisy, hate.  Law based, angry judgemental religion that has removed all and any sense of Grace and the Agape Love of God from its buildings and people.  They portray a god in their denomination box religion that has no sense in any way of the Jesus who said “If you have seen me you have seen the Father”.

Funny how it does not sound any different to the religious world that Jesus came into.  Where he called that “church” white washed grave tombs, white and clean on the outside but full of bones and decay and corruption.  Where he went out and called those who were idealistic, hot headed, radical, wholehearted human beings to come and see a Kingdom that was totaly upside down and opposite to the rabid widow and orphan abusing system they had been sold into.  A kingdom of Love, a kingdom of Peace, a kingdom of Joy, a kingdom that is again being raised up today, but in the places you would not expect for there is no home for it there.  But you find it amongst the poor, the humble, the contrite of heart, the wounded, the failures and the broken.  Amongst these brotherly love is continuing and growing fueled by the Agape love of a God who is truly among us, within us and beside us.

1Co 1:26 For you see your calling, brothers, that there are not many wise according to flesh, nor many powerful, not many wellborn.
1Co 1:27 But God chose the foolish things of the world that the wise might be put to shame, and God chose the weak things of the world so that He might put to shame the strong things.
1Co 1:28 And God chose the low-born of the world, and the despised, and the things that are not, so that He might bring to nothing the things that are,
1Co 1:29 so that no flesh might glory in His presence.
1Co 1:30 But of Him, you are in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, both righteousness and sanctification and redemption,

Eph 3:16 (I pray) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power by His Spirit in the inner man;
Eph 3:17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
Eph 3:18 may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height,
Eph 3:19 and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you might be filled to the measure with all the fullness of God.
Eph 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think or imagine, according to the power that works in us,
Eph 3:21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, forever. Amen.



Pretty little lies

What do I know.
I know that because of Jesus, because a brother I didnt know I had saw me, loved me and then sacrificed himself for me so that I could come home.
I could leave the dark, desolate, alone lands and come home.
There would be no repercussions, no remembering who I was before I was home.
It would be dark… and then light.
It is impossible to go back surely.  Once adopted.. ?
Satan seems to try and hang “old” stuff on you. To draw you down a path that looks like it leads to those nether lands, but it dosent actually exist any more.  Right?  All that “before stuff” is gone, incinerated.  In the power of a love that has no darkness at all.
So what is it that we fall into…? Maybe forgetting.  We forget.
We get caught up in the mad whirl of things and forget.. but why.
Why does the mad whirl of things cause us to forget?
Maybe because the mad whirl of things is not made up of our counter culture, our surreal society.
The mad whirl of things is made up of all that we were taken out of.  All those things that keep society going without the God who made us.
So it is geared to make us forget.. it does not change who we are or remove who we are, it just makes us forget.
The forgetting means our heart is not protected, it is not guarded and we become weak and feeble as Satan drapes us with lies.
Lies that become like mud as we walk, lies that catch at our ankles and trip us up.
Lies that have no grip on the shoulders of a guarded heart.
Lies that burn up as soon as they touch the most outer extremity of our hearing, when our heart is guarded.
Lies about our past failures,
Lies about who we are,
Lies about how we look.
Lies that can appear as truth.
Lies that keep us small and in the dirt.
Lies that hold us on the milk.
Lies that keep us in old truth, afraid of the new.
Lies that prevent us becoming.
Guard your heart, Beloved of God.
Remind yourself daily, who you truly are.
Polish those words written on your heart
Dont let the dust of worry and fear settle over that which is etched there,
causing you to forget.
Guard your heart, Beloved of God.

Dust and mud pies

Sometimes when I sit in the mornings, especially after little sleep, I feel grumpy and irritable, my cup of tea doesn’t quite hit the spot. My little “gracespace” starts off being a “grumblespot” or a “facebookspace”, or a “newsoverloadfest”. Or like this morning, I.just.dont.feel.it! The temptation in that to get up and just get on with the day can usually win out, but to be honest, at this particular point in my “journey” I dont have time for that, its a crock of…. .so this morning I hung in there with very little grace to begin with for sure.

I find no beauty in what I read today.
The words do not “pop” and catch my heart
“you shall give him his wages…”
“Children obey your parents..”
These do not hold my attention, speak to me of life,
Talk to me of transformation or give me cause to celebrate our intimacy
Holy Spirit I hear no gentle groan within
I feel no trajectory of up up and away
I am sitting in the dirt with no water to make mud pies
Just dusty, dry, sad, and alone
But then I feel the sly smile of irony crease upwards
That one sided grin that says “dont be so daft”
There is within, a holy, awe-filled place
That deep aquifer of living water that bubbles up through dry dusty ground
To fill the salt pans and bring back the muddy hollows
It just needs a bit of patience sometimes
A bit of waiting and a whole lot of knowing-that-you-know-nothing seeking
Letting deep call to deep, for
“on the first day you set your heart on understanding and on humbling yourself before your God
Your words were heard..”
On the FIRST day…
Ah Beloved, you have already answered
Its the waiting that softens that dry dusty ground with tears
Its the vulnerable, honest brokenness that allows the water within
to flow without
even when you dont know you are vulnerably, honestly broken
If you are not sick you have no need of a doctor
a comforter
a healer
you are enough for yourself.
But you know me, so here I am
O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
Psa 139:2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.
Psa 139:3 You searched my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Psa 139:4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.
Psa 139:5 You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.
Psa 139:6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
Psa 139:7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
Psa 139:8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
Psa 139:9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Psa 139:10 Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
Psa 139:11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,”
Psa 139:12 Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.
Psa 139:13 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.
Psa 139:14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
Psa 139:15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Psa 139:16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.
Psa 139:17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Psa 139:18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.

Leaning into Love

There is such a simplicity in this journey, isn’t there? Because it is all about Love. A leaning into, a falling into a Love that defies any of the explanations, managings or “doings” that the overuse of the word has placed on it. As I ponder our journey into this Love, again I am brought back to the bride that He is calling out and causing to stand on this earth. We are a chosen people, a holy nation, a royal priesthood, a spectacular bride without spot or wrinkle. Not because we have done anything to arrive at such splendour but because he has loved us, furiously loved us. And as we have turned into this love, as we would into the wind, we have caught his gaze and begun to see ourselves as he sees us.

It seems to me that I lived unloved because one day I would truly know what it was to be loved.   Because one day I would find this. Union with the God who utterly and totally loves me as he loves himself, this Godhead of union That we are inextricably joined with because someone made a way. Now there is no separation, none, nothing !

Leaning into love.  Leaning into the vast solid presence of a beloved Father. Pain does not disappear!  Why?

Well, because Life happens.  Daily.

AH but this vast solid presence of a Father who loves me? That makes the difference. I am beloved. Life is a journey, a walk on the wild side, from birth to death. Choices! Everywhere.. You are born screaming and the human journey of breathing in and breathing  out through this jungle of emotions is a journey of screamings . Gloriously happy to achingly sad. To remove one is to remove all and give a lie to freedom in those choices  But through it all He is our solid constant. He does not change, he holds us, if we let him He stares into the abyss with us. He sits in the mud of depression with us. He laughs with delight with us. IF WE LET HIM BE PRESENT FOR US, And hide no longer.

I wonder that we see a “Christian” culture of entitlement in “church”. Where, as long as we think we can name it and claim it, gab it and grab it,and that God should prevent something happening because WE know best; he will remain an idol “enemy”, an external god of the big stick, instead of our friend and our beloved. When we embrace that HE is God.  That he allows in his wisdom that which he could easily prevent with his power. When we embrace this whole life journey filled with joy AND pain, with him as our companion and guide and mentor and Father and friend and lover and utter beloved, embraced utterly and in union. Then, whether the waves are calm or stormy, he is our helmsman. He is our anchor, our collaborator, he is the one we scream with joy or pain with. Then we will be content in all circumstances… When we make him a foreign god, an “enemy” instead of our friend. When we hold him at bay instead of embracing him. When we hold life at bay instead of embracing it.  When we hide instead of running with our head thrown back and mouth wide open tasting the rain. We become a tiny portion of who we were called to be. A tiny little piece of our glorious life as it was meant to be. This glorious mess, this glorious overgrown mess.


Mostly because I did not allow him to be utterly embraced in all of it. I tried to hide from him as they did in the garden. Instead of being gloriously naked and unashamed. He in me and I in Him – Union.

Thank GOD that this is a journey, a wild ocean and not a stagnant pond. And this is that journey, that journey into Him where we experience life IN HIM And HE experiences LIFE in us It is no longer I who live, but CHRIST who lives in me. THAT is life, experienced in ALL its fullness.