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Leighton Ford Ministries

On Gratefulness

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“The circle of gratefulness is incomplete until the giver of the gift becomes a receiver: a receiver of thanks. When we give thanks, we give something greater than the gift we received, whatever it was. The greatest gift one can give is thanksgiving. In giving gifts we give what we can spare, but in giving thanks we give ourselves. One who says “Thank you” to another really says “We belong together. The bond that unites them frees them from alienation. Does our Society suffer from so much alienation because we fail to cultivate gratefulness?”

From Brother David Steindl-Rast (in Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer book)

Order Places of the Heart

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Leighton Ford’s latest book, Places of the Heart, has been released and is available for purchase. This book makes for a great Christmas gift!

Places of the Heart is Leighton Ford’s latest four-color book and features the author’s imaginative watercolor paintings, poetry, and reflections on a life formed, redeemed, empowered, and directed by God and for God’s glory.

Find out more and order at https://www.leightonfordministries.org/places-of-the-heart/

A Winter Walk Behind Sharon Church

By | Food for thought, Life with God, Reflections and Readings | No Comments

Sunday afternoon late
dog Buddy and I took a walk
behind old Sharon church
past the cemetery down
to the open field where
kids cavort and grownups play
a black steel fence
marks the line between
the living and the dead
its vertical bars stiff and sentinel

I stood a long long time peering across
at the cold gray stones
shrouded in a robe of dusk
my feet rooted in the dark sod
around all else was moving
high clouds skidding across the sky
nine deer gracefully entering from the woods
staring and nicely slipping on
buddy running rollicking in the grass
until he settled at my feet

I stood I say
a long long time pondering
until a line from T.S Eliot found me
Old men should be still and still moving
Buddy said “I agree”and I nodded
he got up and we walked on

I have lived a long, long time
it’s time still to move along

Leighton Ford
December 2018

Wrangler

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Five years ago this evening,December 11, 2013, as Jeanie and I returned from dinner with friends, my beloved Australian Cattle Dog Wrangler went under my car and was gone.

He was a Blue Heeler. I rescued him or better he rescued me, and was my friend for ten years. The agony and the hurt of this was almost unbearable. I was heartbroken then, and still miss him terribly.

His green collar still hangs on my bedpost, an attachment always to the dog of a lifetime.

I called him my “spiritual director dog” because he was the most attentive creature I can imagine, and he taught me to pay attention.

In these paintings, and in my book Wrangler My Spiritual Director Dog, I sought to share with others the heart of our friendship.

Reflections from the funeral of President George Herbert Walker Bush

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Goodbyes and Greetings Beyond

What a year this has been saying goodbye to great leaders! At the start of the year to our beloved Billy, my brother-in-law and world preacher of the gospel. Now at the end of the year the death of our former president, George Herbert Walker Bush, recognized throughout the world as a kinder, gentler leader.

The two of them were great friends. I am not sure how conversations work in heaven! But I wish we could have seen them when they met and listened in on their first conversations in the presence of the Lord! And with Ruth and Barbara there too!

Words of Wisdom

The remarks of Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming were personal, funny, and worth remembering – especially these two

“When you walk the high road of humility in Washington D.D. you will not be bothered with heavy traffic”!

That drew a huge and understanding laugh. This other perhaps caused some heart searching.

“Hatred corrodes the very vessel it is carried in.”

A call from Canada

My half-brother Bob, a doctor in Canada, called me the next day.

“I had to call,” he said. “Anne and I watched the whole thing and were deeply moved. She sang the hymns as we watched. She grew up Presbyterian and knew them all.”

Twice as we spoke he choked up, especially honored that one of the speakers was Brian Mulroney, former prime minister of Canada.

“I hope this reminds us of the great bond between our two countries,’ he said, referring to the sad breach between our countries in recent times.

And I could only say, “Amen.”

Music that heals and lifts the soul

The magnificent sound of great hymns – Abide With Me  and Praise to the Almighty, the King of Creation – brought tears unbidden.

I have found, more than once, that what my mind may question, and my imagination may find beyond my ken, when I hear such hymns, hymns that I have known since boyhood, my soul is moved, and my heart’s desire for eternity cannot be held back.

No wonder that when I would sing some of the crusade songs to Billy, when his hearing was almost gone, he would say so quietly I could hardly hear the words, “Sing more.”

A Look Inside Places of the Heart

By | Poetry, Reflections and Readings | No Comments

Leighton Ford’s latest book, Places of the Heart, has been released and is available for purchase. This book makes for a great Christmas gift!

Places of the Heart is Leighton Ford’s latest four-color book and features the author’s imaginative watercolor paintings, poetry, and reflections on a life formed, redeemed, empowered, and directed by God and for God’s glory. Each section has both a painting and a reflection that accompanies it.

Find out more and order at https://www.leightonfordministries.org/places-of-the-heart/

Annunciation

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Here is a lovely and powerful poem by Denise Levertov .. worth pondering for this Advent season

‘Hail, space for the uncontained God’ From the Agathistos Hymn, Greece, VIc

We know the scene: the room, variously furnished,
almost always a lectern, a book; always the tall lily.

Arrived on solemn grandeur of great wings,
the angelic ambassador, standing or hovering,
whom she acknowledges, a guest.

But we are told of meek obedience. No one mentions courage.
The engendering Spirit did not enter without consent.
God waited.

She was free to accept or to refuse, choice integral to humanness.

____________________________

Aren’t there annunciations of one sort or another in most lives?
Some unwillingly undertake great destinies, enact them in sullen pride, uncomprehending.
More often those moments when roads of light and storm open from darkness in a man or woman,
are turned away from in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair and with relief.

Ordinary lives continue. God does not smite them.
But the gates close, the pathway vanishes.

______________________________

She had been a child who played, ate, slept like any other child – but unlike others, wept only for pity, laughed in joy not triumph.

Compassion and intelligence fused in her, indivisible. Called to a destiny more momentous than any in all of Time, she did not quail, only asked a simple, ‘How can this be?’ and gravely, courteously, took to heart the angel’s reply, perceiving instantly the astounding ministry she was offered: to bear in her womb Infinite weight and lightness; to carry in hidden, finite inwardness, nine months of Eternity; to contain in slender vase of being, the sum of power – in narrow flesh, the sum of light.

Then bring to birth, push out into air, a Man-child needing, like any other, milk and love – but who was God.

Tuesday, November 27 – Sandy’s Day

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Early this morning I started to write – “fateful” – day, the day our son died 37 years ago during heart surgery.

Sandy would have been 58 now, and still, I am sure ,handsome, caring, fully striving, making a difference as ever.

And he is that even now in me and his family. And others, like the woman at Great Harvest last week, who I had never met, but who said, as she handed a loaf of bread to me, “I remember Sandy. I never met him. But I knew about him and how God used his life.”

So this is a “faithful” day. He, I’m sure, would have been faithful as he was during his 21 years, faithful as son, friend, follower, leader in Your way.

So I trust You as his Lord and ours to be faithful as You have been, and will be.

Today Jeanie and I thank You for Debbie and Kevin, and their spouses, and for the many sons and daughters in the faith who have been given to Jeanie and to me, like Steve Johnson and Scott Sunquist, who received our first Sandy Ford Scholarships – the first fruit of many who are still running their races for the Lord.

So not a fateful day. Painful still, yes. But also full and fruitful and faithful.

Places of the Heart Now Available

By | Art, Poetry | No Comments

Leighton Ford’s latest book, Places of the Heart, has been released and is available for purchase. This book makes for a great Christmas gift!

Places of the Heart is Leighton Ford’s latest four-color book and features the author’s imaginative watercolor paintings, poetry, and reflections on a life formed, redeemed, empowered, and directed by God and for God’s glory.

Find out more and order at https://www.leightonfordministries.org/places-of-the-heart/

Thanks for Billy

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This year, I am so thankful for Billy Graham.

If he had lived until this November, he would’ve reached a hundred years.

When I was young in ministry, I looked up to him with admiration as a model for the strength of his ministry

When I was older, and he was very old and declining, I regarded t him with affection for strength still present in weakness.

Now that he has gone to his eternal residence I thank God for his place in so many hearts, including my own, and of course in his greatness in history.

We miss him, his voice, his influence. But I thank his Lord for my brother in law, Billy

P.S., And, of course I’m thankful he was my brother in law. If not I would not have be married to my dear Jeanie.