Wednesday, 29 May 2013


"But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."               Jos. 24.15

Valenca, Portugal                Wednesday, 29th May 2013

(I apologise for the delay in this posting, but I have been unable to access the Internet).

For the start of my Camino, I had a choice of routes to take. The traditional way lies inland, setting out from Porto and aiming for Vilarinho in the first day. An alternative is suggested which involves a short bus or metro ride to Mercado, Matosinhos and then a walk north along the coast to Vila do Conde. The second day sees this walk move inland, across country to join up with the traditional route at Arcos. I am a beach and sea person, so my choice was to start the Camino by the coast route.

For me, this was an excellent choice. The day was fine and clear. The sea was playful, deep blue with lots of "white horses" topping the waves. There was a healthy breeze - actually a quite bracing wind! I was in heaven. I love walking by the sea and into the wind. It invigorates me and brings me to life.

My plan was to walk for about an hour and then stop for breakfast. The guide book indicated a number of cafes along the way. This was so, delightful beach cafe/bars occurred at regular intervals. But - they were all closed! It seems this part of the world doesn't get going until 10 am. Most unfortunate for me!

I had no option but to keep going. After passing through one suburb, Obelisco, I wasn't sure if I was on the right track. Fortunately an early morning walker came by and I managed to ask him (and I'm not sure how I achieved this) if I was on the right path. I was. Buoyed by this successful communication, I then asked where there might be a cafe that was OPEN. The dear man took up the challenge and walked with me, for about fifteen to twenty minutes, until he found an establishment that was open. I thanked him and wished him an exceptionally good day.

Later in the morning I was passing through the fishing village of Casa do Mar when a man suddenly stopped me with the question "Santiago?" I told him Yes, I was going there. He replied that he was also a peregrino (pilgrim) and had made many different Caminos. He was delighted to meet me. We had quite a chat.

Much of this coast walk is on timber boardwalks. They stretch for many kilometres and make for great walking. They are easy on the feet and, of course, are level. There is no climbing involved. (I'm sure this is to come). Just after Casa do Mar the boardwalk gave out and I was unsure of the direction to take. I sat down alongside the path and was scrutinizing my maps when, lo and behold, my new peregrino friend appeared. His name is Antonio. He wanted to give me a scallop shell, the symbol of St. James and the Camino. He is so committed to the fellowship that the Camino brings that he has made a service of giving shells to the pilgrims he meets. Apparently I'm the first Australian he's met on the Camino Portugues. The shell is a true gift. The only thing he asks for in return is that I put my name, hometown and the day's date on another shell which he adds to his collection. He assures me I'm on track. He points out the way immediately forward and then, he is gone!

Many years ago I made another choice, to enter into and live in relationship with God. He invited me. I exercised choice and accepted His invitation. This was the most significant, and the best, choice of my life. Yesterday, before commencing the Camino, I made a further choice to consciously practice the two commandments of Jesus as I walk the Way. This is certainly happening. In the beauty of the coastal walk, I am so aware of God, and of His walking with me. As for loving my neighbours, with the interactions with the two men, I am the one who is being blessed. Is this perhaps God showing me His pleasure with my choice? I wonder!

Dear Lord,

I thank You for the love You shower on me. I thank You for the first day of my Camino and Your loving reminders. I ask You to make this Camino a way of love for me. Let me ably demonstrate Your love as I go.                         Amen.

Friday, 24 May 2013

The Way

Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and the greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself."                 Matt. 22.37-39

In my times of reflection since leaving home the essence of these verses has come to me on several separate occasions. They have made a specific impression on me.

I try to live my life to love and worship God with all of my being, and to regard and treat my fellow beings as I would wish for myself. But, just as I sense that this Camino is to be a time of specific and sustained focus on God and awareness of His presence with me, so I also feel that I am to major in this time on the content of these verses, and be more fully aware of loving Him and my neighbour.

My awareness of God is strongest in the actual walking, and especially if I am walking without company. But the loving of my neighbour requires me to be in contact, however slight, with others. During the past two days I have noticed an awareness of the presence of others, and how I can show respect and love to them even in little ways. One example of this occurred as I was leaving the hotel. I held the door open and waited for a lady coming up the entry steps so that she could pass through the open door. This was a minor courtesy, yet I was aware of its godly basis.

I may be setting quite a challenge for myself in the coming days, but the way in which these verses keep coming up is encouraging me as well as impelling me.

And, after all, isn´t this what Jesus asks of us.

Lord Jesus,

I heed Your words and the two great commandments You have given us. I see how You lived Your earthly life in compliance with them. You invite me to follow You, and I will endeavour to do so. 

I ask You to help me in this. May I experience situations where I can extend grace and blessing to others. Let me know the presence of my loving God in great measure as I walk the way. May our communion be sweet, deep and lasting. Thank You.               Amen.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

The journey has begun

Porto, Portugal 22nd May 2013

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  Heb. 13.8

My pilgrimage walk will begin in three days time, but I already feel that a special time with God has started. There were several hassles pertaining to the journey from Sydney. I could so easily have reacted in an unhealthy and unhelpful way, but I chose to remind myself that, ultimately, God is in control. I believe He has already demonstrated this for I have experienced a couple of delightful surprises (a great meal last night, and special treatment on the flight from Madrid this morning) that I thank Him for.

Since leaving home, my situation has been different. My experiences are out off what is normal for me, what I might expect in the day-to-day life at home. My surroundings, the language, the circumstances and my responses are different, but God is not so. He has not changed. In life at home, I give over every day to Him and I trust Him to lead me and provide for me as only He can. He is with me in Spain, in Portugal, or wherever, in the same measure (that is, in fullness) as I experience Him at home and as I allow Him. This unchanging, ever faithful God is with me now, and He will remain with me as I keep my eyes on Him. I am going to enjoy this time, and Him, as we journey together.

Lord God, 

I thank You for leading me through the hassles of the last couple of days. I thank You also that the days were not all hassles. I have enjoyed times and instances of special delight.

I thank You for Your consistency. You are truly always the same, ever-loving and ever caring. I am so blessed. I give myself fully into Your keeping now and for the weeks to come. My prayer is that we will fully enjoy each other as we journey together.

I thank You, in Jesus´ Name.                         Amen.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Back to Spain with Jesus

I started this blog two years ago to cover my pilgrimage journey and adventures in Europe. Part of the venture involved walking the pilgrim Camino of approximately 750 Km. across the north of Spain from Ronscesvalles to Santiago de Compostela.

Before leaving home I boasted that I was going to Spain to walk with Jesus. This I did, most wonderfully. I also walked with, and entered relationship with, some beautiful people along the way. I said at the time that it was not necessary for me to leave home in order to walk with Jesus. Indeed, I believe I walk with Him every single day, wherever I happen to be. But there is something particular and significant about our giving over an extended periond of time devoted to Him. It gives opportunity to turn aside from the everyday, to remember His sovereignty and the unbounded love that He has for us, and to enjoy this love in abundance. Such occurred in my European Pilgrimage of 2011.

And now I'm going back to Spain with Jesus. This time my walk will be in the western sector of the Iberian Peninsula rather than across the top. I hope to walk from Porto in Portugal to Santiago de Compostela, and then on to Finisterre. My Spanish visit will conclude with a couple of weeks of exploration in the south of Spain.

I plan to share something of my experiences, as technology and my ability will allow, on this blog.

Dear God and Loving Dad,

As I prepare to head off on a new adventure, I sense You with me, even encouraging me.

I commit this venture to You. I pray You will travel with me and walk beside me. I hope for wonderful times spent in communion with exciting revelations along the way.

Thus I give myself into Your keeping, humbly requesting Your protection, mercy, grace and blessing, the whole covered in Your amazing love.

                         I ask this in Jesus' name.                          Amen.

Thursday, 16 May 2013


Your ways, O God, are holy.
What god is so great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.            Psalm 77.13,14

I reflect that this psalm has likely been in being for three thousand years yet, today – today out of all that time – God points it at me. He points it to me, allowing me, I believe, to add my own echo to the psalmist’s words.

The psalm is a lament. The writer has been crying out to God in distress, seeking the Lord, stretching out untiring hands to God in the night, and with a soul that refuses to be comforted.

O, how I identify with this person. I must concede that I am not in distress. Restless would probably be the best description of my present condition. I yearn for more ministry in God. I’m almost fretful that I cannot discover or discern any clear opening that God might be making for me. So, what does this tell me? My rational processes say there’s nothing opening because, right now, God has nothing new for me. Stay put! Keep doing the little that I’m presently doing – and be content!

Oh, God, how difficult this is. It’s hurting me. I do confess this, and I seek Your forgiveness. I know that I know it’s not about me, but You. It’s about You, and Your will for me. Yet, just now, it’s so difficult to receive and accept this seeming inactivity. Then I say to myself, ‘Who am I to consider my own desires to be so important, and so necessary to the Kingdom work?’ Forgive me, Lord. I’m truly sorry.

The psalmist talks of his “songs in the night”. Just this last night I awoke and my experience was strangely in accord with the psalmist’s description. The very best way I can encapsulate how I felt and expressed myself in the darkness was as a “song in the night”. Is God speaking to me? Is God not showing me something by the very relevance of these words as the loudest reminder of my own experience of just a few hours ago? This is uncanny! But isn’t it just God?

The psalmist continues with self-pitying expressions of God’s rejection, his forgotten-ness and God’s withholding from him. Yes, verily, isn’t that the truth?

But then he changes tack, and makes a positive choice. He chooses to think of God’s good deeds, His miracles and wonderful works. This becomes his meditation and he cries out to God in rejoicing:

            Your ways, O God, are holy.
What god is so great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.

Of course, this is the way for me. I’ve had my whinge. I’ve bleated out my complaint but, just like the psalmist, I know in my heart that God is good and His ways and purposes for me only stem from His goodness. If He chooses to withhold, He has good reason to. If He chooses to deny altogether who am I to protest? I have said my primary desire is to live in His will, and so I must allow Him his way with me, in whoever I might be and whatever I might do, or not do.

Great God, Loving Father,

Forgive me. I have made my complaint. I am restless to be doing more for You and I cannot understand why You’re not responding. This is my complaint. I make it to You and I leave it with You. You are the great God. Your ways are indeed holy. I know this well and I rejoice to know You as a God of miracles and power, and as a God of love and mercy. I rest in You, Lord. If any of these ambitions I feel are my own fabrication I ask You to destroy them. Let me live only for You. If You desire any particular activity of me, I pray I am willing and ready to respond. Show me Your ways. Lead me in those paths that draw me to You and keep me walking in time with Your purposes for me.

Know my heart full of love for You. Receive my love. I pray it will bless You. Lead me in my journey through this day. I hope to please You in who I am and honour You in anything I do.

I thank You, in deep sincerity and genuine humility.                                                        Amen.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

My portion

My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.                                 Psalm 73.26

Through occasional aches and pains I am reminded of my mortal vulnerability. I am getting older and, perhaps, more prone to failure of flesh and heart. But this is not peculiar to me. Every living soul on this earth is aging by the minute, even new born babes. Besides, age is not the singular cause of health problems. The flesh and the heart may experience failure at any age. Consequently, the message I take here for myself can be shared with everyone, for all qualify to receive it.

God is all I need. He is my strength and my shield. My heart is His, He will strengthen it, and me, for as long as He needs to. God is my portion, not just for this moment or day, but for all time. I rejoice, gladly and wildly, that I am in Him. He, truly, will provide all I need and He will guide me, for as long as I will allow Him, in the paths He has chosen for me.

I am not fearful of dying. I know not when it will come. When it does I shall be saddened to leave loved ones behind, but I will rejoice to be received, in fullness into my portion – forever.

Lord God,

I rejoice in You. I open myself fully to Your strengthening and Your provisions for me. I surrender to You my flesh and my heart. I pray that I might diligently steward them under Your guidance.

You are all I need. I cry out to You in praise and thanksgiving. You are my shield and strength. My cover is in You. My being comes from You. Lead me on, Lord. Let us continue this journey of life together. I thank You for choosing me. I yield completely to You.

Hallelujah! I praise Your Name.                                                                                 Amen.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Peace of God

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.                         Phil. 4.7

The peace of God is the most amazing and wonderful gift. I feel it right now. It saddens me to think that I don’t always feel it. I certainly would like to. Perhaps it is something that needs to be practiced.

Later in this same letter, Paul tells how he has learned to be content in all circumstances. I think this might be a key to living in the fullness of God’s peace.

I am learning this contentment, and I’m finding that it gets easier with practice. And, it seems, the peace follows.

This is more of resting in God and living in Him. It’s allowing Him to take full control. How easy this is to say but how difficult to do. Yet the age-old saying is “Practice makes perfect”.

So, let’s practice!

Father God,

I thank You for Your peace. I feel it surround me now and I receive it in the fullest measure possible.

I thank You also that You are leading me to be content in whatever circumstance or situation I might find myself. I realise I have some way to go in both practicing contentment and also in living in the fullness of Your peace. Yet, in both, I surrender to You as fully as I am able. I look forward to more contentment and peace. And I believe that, in this state, I will be used by You to reach out to others.

I face the day ahead with You. I rejoice in Your companionship in my journey through this day. May we draw closer as we face the wonders of the day together.

I love You. May we enjoy each other’s company today, in Jesus’ Name I pray.              Amen.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Thirst assuaged

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?                Psalm 42.2

The psalmist sounds desperate in his cry to meet with the living God. Apparently something is afflicting him which is preventing him from attending the temple, where he might meet with his God.

How blessed I am that I do not need to attend any specific place to meet with God. I know He is with me right now, here on my sunny verandah, even as the power tools drone on the neighbour’s renovations site. God is here. I am with Him. My thirst is being assuaged. I am at peace.

I no longer need a temple, or a priest, to assure me of God’s presence, to affirm that my prayers are heard. My Lord Jesus had made it possible, for all time, for me to enter into communion and intimacy with my Lord and my God in the case of every environment and every situation. I do not take this lightly. I respect and appreciate my Lord’s sacrifice. I receive and enjoy the privilege. I thank my God for His wonderful grace.

Lord God,

I thank You for the amazing privilege of being Your child. Right now I feel Your presence. I sense an overwhelming move of peace and power. The workmen’s tools are silent, the breeze is gentle and the birds chirp in the background. You are here.

In this mildest of autumn weather, the sun is still bright in the sky. The evidence of Your presence is all around me. But, right now, the strongest evidence is within me. I “feel” You’re here. I sense Your security covering me. I am truly “at home” for I am where I belong – resting in You.

I seek to abide in You at all times. I ask You to lead me through this day. Have Your way in what I do, who I meet, where I go.

I love You, Lord. Receive my love, receive me, in Jesus’ Name I ask.                           Amen.