At the age of ten i hadn’t learned or been taught about colour prejudice. My friends at school were my friends and I had no knowledge of different nationalities or skin colour. Stephanie had been brought up in India and the colour of her skin didn’t register with me. If I did think about it, the teachers had told us that her skin was dark because she had been born and brought up in India where the climate was hot. My eyes were opened when I met her father for the first time.

How sad that it was thought necessary to hide the fact that she was a different nationality and that she should be proud of being Indian. Why wasn’t it explained to me that God had made every nationality and loves everyone and that we were all equal? Why are we taught about our differences and not our similarities? Surely things are better now with the coming of so many refugees, though sadly I have heard local refugee Iranians abused. In most classes at schools now there are many different nationalities.

Although we had become good friends, at the age of eleven I changed school and lost touch with Stephan. I can only pray that she was well received as she grew up and that she was able to reach her full potential to be proud of her heritage.

Prayer and Perseverance

As a free-lance writer one needs to be able to cope with rejection. Much of what I write never leaves my study or if I do send it off as a meditation or for a competition it gets rejected. Does that mean it’s a waste of time and I am no good as a writer. Not necessarily! No, it is not a waste of time but time well spent.

To write anything of a Christian nature or even secular work, I need to spend time in prayer. Talking with my Heavenly Father can never be a waste of time. Then there is the necessary time spent reading the Bible as I do research. I need to read round the subject as my mind becomes immersed in what is the subject matter. In my busy life I’m continually thinking about the work.

The final result, acceptance or rejection does not rest with me . With God’s help I have done what I can. I then need to move on to the next project.

God or Problems

Twelve men went into the Promised Land to spy it out. Ten reported of unassailable giants and couldn’t see past them. Joshua and Caleb looked beyond them and with the help of God saw the possibilities. By concentrating on the giants and not on God the Israelites lost many years wandering in the wilderness. Life is not much different today; it is all a matter of where we look.

I had to look up something in last year’s diary. On this day last year I recorded a great problem I was facing. There didn’t seem to be any way through it, but twelve months later the problems I had then have been solved and have been forgotten. I then looked at a diary for two years ago and couldn’t even understand what the problem was then, the diary entry hadn’t explained it, though it must have been very real at the time.

Today’s problems may seem over whelming but it is all a question of where we look. I have to ask myself, is my problem bigger than God. Of course not! An old hymn says, ‘What the world needs is Jesus, just a glimpse of Him.’ Benjamin Baur. What my problems and I need is Jesus. He knows the answers and is the answer to all life’s problems.

Try Again

‘My heart and my flesh might fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.’ Psalm 73:26

The pandemic has changed the lives of many. I was one of the fortunate ones to escape the infection, but my two neighbours opposite were not so blessed. Both Linda and Sheila were hit quite badly with the illness, though their recoveries were very different. The fit neighbours among us helped where we could. We shopped for them and left the goods on the doorstep, then rang them each day to encourage them. The time came when their infections were over and the time of healing began. That was when the differences appeared.

Each day we watched as Linda ventured more and more out of the house. As soon as it was allowed she was back to all her past engagements. Sheila on the other hand is afraid to leave the house for fear of the infection returning and even now she rarely goes out. Sheila is dependant on help while Linda is enjoying a full life again.

So much of our lives is overcoming fear and stepping out into the future. With God’s help this can be done and we can enjoy our loves again under His direction.

None Survived

Did Pharaoh send his whole army or just part of it after the fleeing Israelites as they left Egypt? To have sent all his warriors would have spelled devastation to his country. Because of the power of God he had lost his slaves. Who would now make the many bricks need to cope with his expanding building programme?

In the confusion in the middle of the Red Sea the wheels of the Egyptian chariots jammed, so escape was impossible. Then as the waters flowed back all the horsemen, horses and chariots were swept into the sea. ‘Not one of them survived’. Exodus 14:28. Pharaoh lost so much on that fateful day. No slaves, no chariots,no horsemen. Pharaoh would have certainly been safer if he’d listened to God.

Moses and the frightened multitude were told by God ‘The Egyptians you see today you will never see again,’ The Lord will fight for you, you only need to be still.’ Exodus 14:13-14. The Lord doesn’t do things by half!


I’m slowly bringing my garden to life; plants and flowers are gradually being planted and the birds are learning where the bird table is. As well as putting seeds and tasty morsels on the table I also scatter other seeds on the ground. This caters for both large and small birds although the small birds hardly visit at all yet. On the lawn and patio I get visits mostly from sparrows and pigeons.

The appearance and behaviour of the pigeons is particularly interesting. As my name isn’t Francis I can’t say I notice which pigeon is which, but one particular one I am mesmerized by. He doesn’t seem to want the seeds himself but chases the others away whenever they get near themselves. He acts like a complete bully. I wonder whether the birds get their aggressive behaviour from us or whether we imitate the birds!

My Tree

‘On each side of the river was the Tree of Life.’ Revelation 22:2

It’s not really my tree, it belongs in my neighbour’s garden at the bottom of my own garden. My garden is too small to have a tree it’s own. Yet what a comfort and joy it is to me. Trees are good for our environment but mine is good for my soul. As my garden is south-facing it also gives me some shade during the hot summer months. Because it stretches well above the ground it gives the birds a vantage point After sitting in the tree they come down and visit my garden. At this time of year the leaves are beginning to come back and soon it will be green and vibrant. By autumn the falling leaves will give nutrients to the soil below. On windy days I can judge the strength of the wind by the swaying branches. When the wind strengthens to gale force it is secure because it’s roots are deep.

As we know only too well, there were trees in the Garden of Eden. In spite of that we still have trees today, though many are being felled. In my country there was anguish when in an act of wanton destructiveness the sycamore tree in Sycamore Gap was felled. I’ve walked round that tree and used it as a destination point when walking along Hadrian’s Wall. When I was there I heard a rumour that they were growing another tree beside it for when it died of old age. Obviously that was only a rumour and it never had a chance to die of old age.

Rejoice and Pray

‘Rejoice always, pray continually.’ 1 Thess 15-16

Just four words, but they encapsulate the essence of our Christian faith. To rejoice always goes against the trend of the world. How we love to moan and complain about everything – the weather, the government, our neighbours and even our friends. But there is so very much to give thanks for. The weather may not fit in with our particular plans, but God is still sending the rain and the sun. As the earth continues revolving, the seasons come and go in their due course. Even in times of extreme drought or flood, the true order will eventually be restored. Every act of worship should begin with praise and the acknowledgement of our blessings and God’s saving power.

Pray continuosly – God always hears our prayers and He does answer with His timing and not ours. He answers with His will and not ours. We think we know best but our loving Father always has our best interest at heart. He loves to have conversation with us.

Not Religious

‘I really enjoy listening to this choir, because they don’t sing religious things.’ My friend wasn’t actually speaking to me but I already knew her opinion on religion. Nevertheless i was again saddened. In the past I had explained to her that Christianity was a relationship and not a religion, but my words hadn’t penetrated her mind. On this day in an audience of about 30 I knew there were about five people who had the same opinions as my friend.

There was no chance to respond but I spent the whole concert not listening to the songs but praying for my friend and others. Often replies to such comments are the not the correct thing and prayer is the only right reaction. I was saddened by the joy and peace my friends were missing and upset by their ultimate destination.

I might be the only person that my friend had who could point her to Jesus. What a responsibility! I pray that she may see the peace and purpose I have, but in the end it is God who will convict. As a work colleague once said of me many years ago, ‘ She’s not such a bad person considering she’s a Christian!’


A few days ago we celebrated Palm Sunday. On that day in Jerusalem the crowds shouted ‘Hosanna’ and threw palm branches. It was a day of joy and triumph Then just a few days after, the cry turned to ‘Crucify Him’ as He was surrounded by the baying crowds and He was eventually let away to His death. Three days after that the tears and weeping turned into joy and rejoicing. Life was a series of extremes, right up or right down.

Life is the same today. There are times in the history of our countries and our own lives when everything is good. Then suddenly we find our nations and our own lives plunged into dispair. There is happiness in some countries and others places are plagued by war and death. Periods of calm and peace are followed by disasters. One can think of the book of Ecclesiastes, ‘Vanity, vanity, all is vanity,’

But this is not the final chapter of the story of life. A time is coming when there will be no more sorrow, no more ups and downs. There will be no more partings, weeping or death. A place awaits us in heaven, next to God and Jesus, a place of eternal equilibrium and stability.