What an ass!


Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is: ASSUME


My first thoughts on seeing this word is a little saying that has oft kept me in check.

When I assume, I make an ass out of you and me’.


And this is a good warning.

Assumptions are dangerous, but, like judgments, we seem to make them constantly!

We see or hear something and we think we understand, so draw conclusions and expectations which can highly influence and prejudice our responses.

It is hard sometimes to get a balance between trusting/believing the source, making judgments based on experience and common-sense, and holding lightly the ideas and allowing the spirit to discern.

It is a skill I am trying to learn.

I am slowly learning to not lean on my own understanding, but listen for Holy Spirit counsel.

It reminds me of the story of Balaam and the ass. The ass we assume does not speak, nor do we assume that a donkey would see an angel of the Lord. But God manages to speak to Balaam through the donkey/ass. Balaam however does not seem to shocked that the ass saw the angel, or that it spoke back to Balaam, but explains to his donkey that he beat him because he felt the donkey had made a fool of him.

When we assume, we usually do a good job of making a fool of ourselves!


Sometimes I am stubborn and behave like an ass; sometimes I am nowhere near as smart as an ass!

Numbers 22:27 – 31

When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat it with his staff. Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”

Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”

The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”

No,” he said.

Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.

image of an ass/donkey’s head with open mouth.

Oh that we would hear and obey the voice of the Lord and never rely on our own understanding.

There’s a proverb for that somewhere?

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

“I have many people in this city.”

Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes.

The prompt this week is: MANY


What came to my heart was the phrase “I have many people in this city”.

I knew it was an encouragement from the Lord to someone who was afraid. Actually I thought it was one of the old-testament prophets like Elijah, who was blowing hot and cold (as we do) with each discouragement and encouragement. I thought that this prophet believed that he was the only man of God left. That he felt isolated and abandoned.

This can be a terrifying feeling and belief.

But my thoughts then led me to the many believers alive in our world today who feel isolated – those that I read about in the Open Doors prayer and information newsletters – especially those in North Korea and Afghanistan, where they have to remain so hidden that any fellowship has to be in utmost secret.

I wondered how encouraged they would also be to know that the Lord has ‘many people’ in their city, praying with them, suffering with them, hoping with them? I also can imagine how encouraged they would be to know that the rest of the world know of them and are praying for them and speaking out for them.

My heart goes out to these isolated believers who live in such fear and hardship and who do not get to share the joy of freedom of worship.

I am always reminded by their stories to not take my own freedom of religion for granted.

I want to make the most of opportunities ‘whilst it is still day’. There may come a day when I do not have such freedom to pray where I wish (as is now happening in the UK), gather to worship in a public building, or write what I wish on my own blog site.

I acknowledge my blessings of freedom and fellowship.

You fellow Christian writers are a blessing. I hope we are a blessing and an encouragement to one another and if the day should come when we are afraid to speak out, I pray that we will be encouraged to know that the Lord has many followers who will support and pray for one another and encourage one another to speak the truth will boldness.


Anyhow, the verse that first was in my head comes from the New Testament.

It was the Lord speaking to Paul in a dream, when he was perhaps discouraged by the opposition he was facing in Corinth.

This is the Scripture:

Acts 18: 9-11

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

I might have to paint that onto my wall!

Birds-eye view of many people gathering in a park and making the corporate shape of a cross.

I decided to also ask Google if the prophet Elijah had felt isolated and he had, so I’ll include this here too. Two for the price of one today!

1 Kings 19:14

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

Access Denied

FMF: Access

I realise that I’m coming a bit late to this week’s FMF party, but I’ve been too busy to come online and write!

But all is well.

Access. Go – 12:15

The thought that came to me was like a horror film and like much of this modern world’s technological challenges – where one needs access to something important and the words, ‘Access denied’, ‘password Invalid’, ‘username not recognised’, ‘unable to proceed’, ‘incorrect login’ keep popping up and do indeed deny access to that thing one needs to do.

Banking, utility bills, booking tickets, using websites, accessing one’s own accounts or wanting to book tickets, order things or check details.

For a long time I have resisted ‘going paperless’, until now I am no longer given an option to choose. I like to have a piece of paper and file it in a place I can access it later. I like to pick up the telephone and speak to a human being to access the information I require and to book tickets and have questions and queries resolved.

I also have resisted getting a smart-phone for all these years, because I do not want anyone and everyone to have access to me and my whereabouts all the time. I also don’t want to have constant access to emails, messages and information 24/7. But, for the first time, I am almost wishing I could borrow a smart-phone, because a trip I’m planning is becoming nearly unmanageable without one. Having to access live information, check-in online and show QR codes to access gates, portals, tickets and everything else…

For me it is a little like a horror film, where I am being denied access to my own information.

Oops, 5 mins up now.

I am so grateful that to access my Lord and God, I can be direct and transparent. The only password I need to the throne-room of God, is the name of Jesus. My password to my Father and to eternity is the blood – the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Blessed be God who has done everything for us to make access to Him as easy for us as the air we breathe. I’m reminded of a dream I had a few years ago, where God showed me that He welcomes me coming into His throne-room and He delights to listen and spend time with me.

This was my poor attempt to illustrate the dream I had of fearing to go to my Lord and Him welcoming me.

Your Heavenly Father delights to have time and fellowship with you and your transparent heart too. Go just as you are!

Jan 2023 Thanksgiving

Jan 2023 Thanksgiving

I thank the Lord for 2023, for His continued love and mercy and for His faithfulness.

I pray for you, my readers and friends – that the Lord may assist you in praying and in rejoicing as you witness the power of God in your lives.

For prayers answered in January 2023, I thank my Lord God:

For the invitation and party down in London and for the rest, walk and company.

For the courage and protection driving in unknown places at 2:30am.

For all we accomplished on the house.

For J’s safe flight back to Vienna.

For S’s safe drive back to Switzerland.

For a glorious Epiphany rest day with swim, sauna and friendship.

For a precious, healing confidence from J.

For precious afternoon with C and for meal treat together.

That S’s lost phone and wallet were both handed in and retrieved.

For preparing me well for the next EH weekend.

For a powerful first weekend of 202, for a lovely new group

For healing another bitter root in me.

For inspiring me to minister with another.

For S’s great progress and perseverance this month.

That the grandchildren are growing fabulously in literacy and in wisdom and grace.

That the long-awaited windows are installed and for inspiring me to paint the stonework.

For 3 car-loads of boxes now moved to their new home.

For an encouraging farewell to out-going leaders and a powerful commissioning of new pastors in the merging church community.

For motivation to keep doing the next right thing, even when I don’t feel like it at all.

For inspiration to travel before passport expires.

For inspiration and guidance in the booking of flights.

For peace of knowing that in all things, I can trust You!

Amusing views and memories on an early January walk along a canal in London…

There’s a funny story attached to the memory evoked by the ‘legs’ flailing out of the vegetation. Maybe my sister would tell a better version of the story, as in the memory, they were my legs she was laughing hysterically at!

This verse blessed me this morning, so I bless you with this prayer too:

May the God who gives us peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being – spirit, soul and body – free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you will do it, because He is FAITHFUL.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Is ignorance bliss?

Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is IGNORE.

I am inspired by Kate Motaung’s post on the perceived awkwardness that can cause us to ignore ‘strangers’ and so I want to share my own subsequent reflections.

I remembered how today I was walking back from the swimming pool, hood up to keep my wet head as warm as possible, and saw, at a bus stop, a young woman holding a very new baby against her shoulder whilst frantically going about something urgent in the pram. I could see there was only 2 minutes till the bus was due, so stopped to offer help. She refused help at first, but then confessed to being freaked out at having seen a ‘massive spider’ in the pram and was trying to find it. I searched the pram for her, assured her it was gone and put back the mattress and blankets so she could replace the baby in peace.

Kate’s post caused me to think how easily I now make those decisions to show compassion with strangers – especially if there seems to be a need, a child, or a slight vulnerability in the other – this seems to give me the sense of courage of responsibility to make the first move and be neighbourly.

I wonder if it is because we heard so many warnings about ‘stranger danger’ when growing up?

Thinking back, there was a time when I was so wounded and insecure that I would ignore the phone ringing, even when I could see friends calling, and would often hide away so that I could ignore the world. I had the sense that ignorance is bliss.

I am so grateful for the healing of God through community. Now I see strangers as friends I haven’t yet met.

image of two strangers being neighbourly.

Doesn’t scripture say something about when entertaining strangers we may be entertaining angels?

It is true that we are wounded in relationship and it is through relationship and the growth of trust that we are gradually healed.