Discerning the best way to write a book on discernment

The Lord was very much in my trip to Majorca, right from the start at check in when I had a nudge at check-in to see whether there might be a seat available with more legroom. I was able to procure one without cost, and found myself sitting next to a lovely woman who turned out to be a Christian counsellor who is emerging from a difficult patch. We had an exceptional time of fellowship and prayer, in which the Lord’s presence came near. Her husband and two teenage children were in the row immediately behind, and although they are not in the same place that she is at spiritually, she read them out portions of one of the books I gave her to in the course of their time on the island!

I have been hard at work this year compiling thoughts for a book on spiritual discernment. There is an obvious need for material on this topic in the wider Body of Christ – but there are many potential ways to tackle this theme and I have been exploring a number of different options.

It was therapeutic to be Internet free for a couple of weeks, and with none of my normal duties to be responsible for I was normally up and going well before five o’clock. The whole time was a perfect balance between time with the Lord, long hours of focused time pooling thoughts for the book, and then heading out for times of rich involvement with the Iglesia Christiana in Palma.

I had come armed with huge piles of thoughts to sift through that I have jotted down over the past couple of months. To my surprise, the Lord promptly began by adding new themes to weave in, leaving still more rolls of assorted textiles in the cutting room.

I feel like a tailor contemplating these huge rolls of fabric– well aware that I now have far more material with me than can possibly fit into one book. The task feels somewhat Herculean, so please pray strength and wisdom for it. I can ‘feel’ the tailor’s scissors in my hand, but I need to cut and shape according to the Lord’s preferred pattern!

illetas-beach-2127cGood Friday predictably involved some intense wrestling with a tricky theme I was working on, followed by a joyous breakthrough early on Easter Sunday. Most of the time it was just sheer bliss to be closeted away in such idyllic surroundings.

The temperatures were perfect, and although the beaches were fairly full, there was none of the intensity that overtakes Majorca at the height of summer season. As a result the whole island felt a great deal less oppressed.

The pictures are of the beach directly under the apartment I was staying in, two of Valdemossa and then of the cathedral as seen from the sea. I took the ‘banner’ picture at the top of this article straight from the apartment early in the morning.

Huge thanks to everyone who prayed for my time abroad. As you can see, it was really special. I have returned home with hundreds of ideas sketched out, in much the same way that artists inspired by the Mediterranean light fill their sketchbooks and then return home to work on their material. Thank You so much, Lord!

At a rather less rarefied level, I was invited to speak again at one of the church’s house groups out on the beautiful west coast, as well as at the main midweek meeting that both Sheena and I addressed last year. I decided to have a go this time at giving my message (on prayer) in Spanish. It is not a language I have studied seriously, but I have long been able to read the New Testament in it, and after a few days on the island felt ready to have a go, having done some grammatical tweakings beforehand with the help of a friend. It went really well, and it saved the time and possible change of emphasis involved in speaking through a translator.

I had many precious encounters with the Lord, including one on the final night. I had been feeling a bit upset, not so much because a wonderful time was coming to an end but because I was about twenty hours work shy of where I had hoped to reach.

Ever practical, the Lord nudged me to go and take the rubbish to the tip! As I walked past a beach on the way, a cat came and rubbed against my legs. It reminded me of the cat that comforted Shasta in the beautiful Chronicles of Narnia series, The Horse and His Boy, on his long trek across the wilderness. In that case, of course, the cat was really Aslan – and sure enough the Lord promptly began speaking to me too – precious, reassuring and helpful words that are helping to shape and sharpen the overall template for the work. I would have missed a great deal had I sat tight and left the task of emptying the rubbish till the final morning!

No prizes for where my main emphasis will be for the next few months – discerning what to include in the book on discernment!