writing

33 Meters


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“I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”

Eric Liddle

I think we all know the feeling when you’re doing something and not only knowing that you’re not doing it very well but knowing that that’s because you’re kind of not supposed to be doing it very well and that it’s something that you’d probably not be very good at even if you did it every day for the rest of your life. I am shocking at painting and decorating, or patiently reading a map – I’d rather get lost than work it out.

I’m most naturally comfortable when I’m playing football, with the ball at my feet, head up and about to spray a 20 yard cross-field ball to a winger, or bringing it down neatly on my chest and laying it off to the left back to ‘start again’ or slipping a delicious through ball for the striker and then glorying in the assist. (I always got more assists than goals). I love football and feel accomplished playing football and carry a strong confidence that I know what I’m doing in the sport, even watching professionally on TV. It’s kind of just in me…apart of who I am and it’s been a big part of my life until injuries recently took their toll.

I was in the pool today and got to my sprints section and this Liddle quote (above) came to mind as I started sprinting through the water. As I carved through the waves just this sense of ‘rightness’ came over me. I was moving through the water very quickly over a decent distance (33m) and it felt really good. I knew that I was moving fast, technique smooth, fitness great, and it felt like I was being pulled through. As I was swimming, I felt His pleasure. It wasn’t His pleasure because ‘Nick’s keeping fit even though his ankle is bust…’ – it was His pleasure because  I was doing something well and excelling in it.

There are things that you are created to do very, very well. There are things you are created to do better than most other people. There are things you are made to do for purpose much higher than your own agendas but as simply as ‘because you can’.

Please may I simply encourage you to find, look for and explore maybe brand new things that you have never thought about in the hope of  feeling His pleasure when you’re doing them? It could literally be anything. I know a lad at Church who is flipping awesome with technical stuff. He sees things I don’t, he appreciates things that I miss and he feels pleasure when he’s doing all that. You can just tell. He’s called Sam and he’s a ledge.

What are you best at? What do you enjoy? What do you feel accomplished at? Answer this then go look for doing that more and more and more….and even things related to that…you were made uniquely to thrive in unique ways!

My plan is to become accomplished at some new things and then hone and polish that until I feel His pleasure some more. Why? Because I’m a hedonist? No! Because, somehow, feeling His pleasure over me GLORIFIES Him in unspeakably precious ways.

Go get ’em!

Theology

Thank You


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This blog article is to stimulate gratitude for the simple things in life…the blessings that are by their thousands, every day, but that often go uncelebrated.

I’m sat in a restaurant in Torbay in Devon looking out to sea. There’s an Easterly wind today which is good news for surfers because the waves are churning, and I’m thankful. I very much appreciate the sea because it gives me a sense of ‘inner space’ to think and feel. It’s actually really grey and wet and cold too….but I’m still thankful for the sea. Really thankful.

I’m thankful too for a healthy appetite – being able to order a JP and eat it with no problems in my body, not to mention the £4 in my account to pay for it. Such a simple thing to be thankful for but, if it were taken away, I’d miss it big time.

I’m thankful that I’ve got two wrists that work without any pain so that I can type this and two eyes that can look up occasionally to look at the inky grey waves with their white froth. I’m thankful that I have a car parked outside (The Beast – it’s done 135’000 miles and owns the roads here) – it’ll take me to where I wanna go later without having to get wet. Amazing!

What’s in your immediate world today that you’re thankful for but which could easily be missed or that you take for granted?

And this spirit of gratitude and thankfulness can spring up in us even in the midst of difficulty.

My right ankle that I broke when I was 14 means that I can’t really play the sport that I truly love anymore, (football), because when I do it swells up and makes me limp. But my other ankle is awesome and the rest of my body is really strong and well….so I can do pretty much anything else – including kite-surfing or pushing myself to the limit in the gym or body pump (yeah a bit lame but great for building lean muscle mass). So I am super thankful for that!

And the best thing is that His mercies are new EVERY morning. It’s getting dark now but when it gets light again tomorrow His mercy extended to me again will be new…and you too.

Thank You!

writing

30-year old Brothers


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I thought I’d write a quick post  without much thought because it’s my brother’s 30th birthday today. I’ll turn 30 in a few years (I jest – I have already). Banter. But I remember at the time thinking, “wow…I’m really 30?”. It felt landmarkesque. That’s not even a word. It is now.

The seventeenth verse of the seventeenth chapter of Proverbs (it’d have been a lot quicker to write Prov.17:17) says that ‘Brothers are born for adversity”. This is an awesome truth that applies to Christian brothers but, uniquely, our blood siblings.

Proverbs 17:17 is an amazing verse. It doesn’t say Mothers or Fathers or even friends are born for adversity; it says that brothers are. Perhaps that’s because brothers and sisters are usually around for the larger span of one’s life whereas the others aren’t, normally at least – (parents because of age and friends often because of the changeable and nomadic nature of life).

It is true that spirit is thicker than blood, (because heaven is more real than earth and spirit more than flesh) but when you have kindred spirits with a blood brother (or sister)…it is amazing.

This is seen so powerfully in Genesis 42-44 as Jacob’s 11 sons travel to Egypt to see Joseph to buy grain in the midst of famine. They didn’t recognise Joseph but he did recognise them. The most striking part of this account is the way that Joseph struggles to maintain composure in the presence of Benjamin (the son of his own mother) such was the sense of connection with him as a brother. Joseph had to leave their presence to wash his face because he was weeping, and this is over a brother (so powerful is the connection) who had sold hm into slavery years before.

One of the main reasons that brothers and sisters can help in adversity in ways that others can’t is because of shared history. Yes, you can share history with a friend (perhaps more meaningfully) than a sibling, but the unique blood/dna/spiritual link with a family member means that the synergy in shared history will be more poignantly shared than with others. I think it’s this closely shared and interpreted history that is especially valuable in times of adversity – at least, this has been my experience.

Told you it’d be quick!

Theology

Ancient Skies


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The Greek word for ‘creation’ is ‘poema’, the root word for poem.

If you look at the sky on a crisp, clear night and begin counting the countless twinkling stars; or if you feel the fading warmth of a day’s heat on your face as you watch the sun dip under the dusty horizon of the grand canyon; or if you stare in disbelief during a solar eclipse  –  the sky is an amazing part of God’s poetic creation.

I’ve never thought about creation as a poem before.

Poems need rhyme, meter, rhythm, lyrical hooks, themes and originality. Some poems are obscure and difficult to ‘get’. Others seem child-like and too superficial to have any impact. But other poems can touch you deeply.

Creation should touch us deeply.

The sea touches me deeply as do songs and melodies and peoples’ words and BBC classics like The Frozen Planet. But it was the sky that touched me this Christmas.

Image
DARTMOOR SKY - DECEMBER 2011

It is like a canvas onto which God projects all manner of colour and shade and cumulus form. And clouds concealed Jesus when He left planet earth and it will be the clouds that are his foot-stool when He returns.

To me, the sky represents heaven touching earth. If there was going to be a portal to touch and walk through to enter the other heavenly reality, it would be the sky. It seems so ultimate and ethereal in that it can’t be touched, too high and lofty to fully appreciate. But one day Jesus will split the sky.

Finally, it is virtually impossible to think about the sky without thinking about clouds,  in the same way it is impossible for a Christian to think about God and not think about grace and love. Skies contain clouds and clouds represent the presence of the Almighty.

I hope when you next look at the sky or a cloud, or the waters of the sea, or even a flower bed on a busy roundabout, that you remember that ‘creation’ all around is a ‘poem’ to be read.

What is the poem of the world around you saying, today?

Blogroll, Theology, writing

“Do You Trust Me?”


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When David Brent repeatedly asked the Swindon lot, ‘do you trust me?’, we laugh because of course they didn’t! Brent is the last person in the world that you would find yourself trusting. The Swindon crew’s resounding silence tells the story:  ‘No, we do not trust you” – even when Brent makes them say that they do.

One particular verse has kept me sane recently from Romans, (15:13). It goes like this:

“May the God of hope FILL you with all JOY and PEACE as you TRUST in Him so that you may OVERFLOW with HOPE by the power of the HOLY SPIRIT”

I love this verse for many reasons. One of them is the flowing exuberance of experience that Paul is writing with and another is the word AS.

This tiny word points to such a crucial principle in our lives of faith – i.e. that actually in the process of trusting we experience the joy and peace and overflowing hope of the God of hope who pours into us to the point of filling up and the point of overflowing. As we trust we are filled by the power of the Holy Spirit with hope, joy and peace.

Again, Isaiah 26:3 – “For You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in You. This steadfastness of mind is to do with the trusting of God’s reality in our lives, by the Holy Spirit, above all other things…all other temptations, trials and difficulties…the things of situations and contexts that press in and flex their muscles around us so that this word AS might be done away with, the very link with the hope we crave.

If we don’t trust we become like the Swindon lot and our God is dishonoured. Even when we say we trust He sees if we truly do. When we choose to trust, despite it all, He is honoured and we know the link to limitless and supernatural joy, peace and hope.

Our great Abba longs, longs, longs for us to experience this hope, joy and peace and to overflow into testimony of it, not just theoretically agree and nod our heads.

“Do you trust me?”

Prayer, Theology

Divine Mitosis


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When the Bible shows us Jesus praying, it’s a big deal. When the Bible gives us a whole chapter of Jesus praying, this is an even bigger deal.

I think we all struggle with prayer to some extent and at different points in our lives. Feelings can rise up in us like: “But I’d really rather watch the football…or I’d rather chill out at the movies or watch x-factor…or have an hour more in bed.” (more…)

Theology, Worship, Music and Song

All Is Grace


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If we really believe the gospel we proclaim, we’ll be honest about our own beauty and brokenness, and the beautiful broken One will make Himself known to our neighbours through the chinks in our armour – and in theirs”

In September I wrote about The Furious Longing of God, by Brennan Manning, whose revelation expresses the mind-bending truth that Abba “loves us as we are not as we should be”. The full truth of course is that none of us are as we should be.

“All Is Grace” is a moving autobiographical account of Manning’s life including his deep struggle with alcohol addiction. The account is so transparent that it served to kindle again the fire of grace in my life. Sometimes this fire might simmer down in all of us to something more resembling a glowing ember, and so it needs the stoking of testimony and of revelation.

There are three absolute gems that I’d like to make a note of from the book and then let you hear/see a song I wrote and recorded earlier this year that gives a voice of worship to these glowing, but ignitable, embers of the fire of grace.

All Is Grace

Gem One – “God Loves Us As We Are Not As We Should Be”

This inexhaustible phrase is a statement of truth that seeps through the human psyche only by faith. When it does, it begins to permeate all of our living as the reality of His unconditional love becomes our felt experience. I have been the kind of Christian who says that I believe in a love like this but who rarely feels it by personal experience. But this is changing – I am ‘Daddy’s little boy’ – period. Let us be aware of this sounding to us like a wooly emotional crutch for the weak or the ‘needy’. This is the gospel and, I’m convinced, the key to all of our living. As Mike Bickle says, “I am loved by God therefore I am profoundly successful”

Gem Two – “Gulping and Sipping”

In the foreward of the book, Philip Yancey refers to Manning’s ‘gulping of grace’ as his way of life. It caught my attention because all too often I know that my drinking (or receiving) of His grace is much more like a sipping. In Jesus, Abba has made provision for our constant gulping of these waters and we honour Him as we do so in every single minute of every hour of every day. We need to and He is glorified as we do. There is a tendency for all of us to default back to a surveying of our ‘track records’ or ‘current performances’ as the true indicator of our standing with God – there is something very strong within us that wants to be justifiable by ourselves not justified by a Saviour. We must resist this to grow in grace.

Gem Three – “Banana Peels and Fairy Tales”

Right at the end of the book, Manning highlights that this kind of grace will be like a ‘banana peel for the orthodox foot‘ and ‘a fairy tale for the grown up sensibility‘ – in other words, something that makes them fall on their butts or something that they reject as a made-up story. This makes me want to be neither orthodox or grown up! Why? Because I don’t want to waste my life sipping nervously or uncertainly from the infinite grace of Abba by labelling it as ‘cheap’ if I fall. Or wasting my life worrying about my weaknesses and all the while not experiencing the fulness of the Father’s love. It’s not cheap grace, says Manning, it’s free grace! Instead of a person who is gulping from grace being called a ‘cop out’ couldn’t we live increasingly with the understanding that when we do sin we have an Advocate in heaven interceding on our behalf and that, regardless, we have an Abba who loves us furiously? But God does mean that our gulping will result in our healing from sin (1 John 2:1).

“It’s Your Grace”

is a response from my life to the reality of being constantly touched and kept by grace every minute of every hour of every day that I’m alive. I’d like to think that if Brennan was to hear it that he’d worship Jesus along with me. I hope you will too.

© Nick Franks 2011


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angels&demons, heaven, writing

“The Heavenlies” – A Peretti Pastiche (Part 2 of 2)


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Three

It was the end of his University life and Paul had decided that it didn’t matter if he got drunk tonight. He stood at the bar again waiting for more drink. Apathy, Deceit and Desire gripped hold of him like toxic leeches, writhing in pleasure as they controlled his mind. Their yellow, bulbous eyes flitted about continually, knowing that at any moment legions of angels could obliterate any attempt they could ever make to influence a human life. Kaalk had returned to the City’s demonic stronghold having achieved his goal, but with his swollen pride well and truly dented. He had a score to settle.

It wasn’t long before Pete and Adie had paired off with girls at the other end of the pub, leaving Paul on his own. He looked around and couldn’t see anyone else he knew, so just stayed by his new refuge at the bar. Paul felt his mind getting weary as he opened his throat and threw down the last of the shots. Looking up for a second, he caught the eye of a girl at the end of the bar near to Adie and Pete. He instinctively looked away back to his drink, but he knew she’d been looking at him. She was stunning. Desire shifted position and delved deeper into Paul’s mind. Paul suddenly felt more alert, more nervous again, and he was excited.

By flashing one of his last notes of the night, he motioned to the barman that he wanted serving again. He deliberately glanced back to where the girl had been standing as he exchanged his money for another drink, but was disappointed to find that she had gone. This beer seemed weaker than his earlier pints, like his tongue was numb; it was easier to drink and as he started to knock it back he thought how good it would be to have a girlfriend, not even a girlfriend, just a girl would do.

His thoughts were interrupted by a waft of perfume as he realised that the girl had come over to stand next to him. She was just standing there, leaning against the bar, playing with her long golden hair. As she turned to say goodbye to one of her friends, Paul’s eyes moved across her body as Desire burrowed deeper. Making sure not to slur, he leaned a little closer as she turned back and offered to buy her a drink.

They were soon sitting down holding each other with temporary confidence, not concerned about the public gaze or the fact that they couldn’t remember each other’s name. As the night drew to a close, Paul remained entirely oblivious to the hive of demonic activity that surrounded him. He had forgotten the boy who now lay in hospital and the Bible that sat by his bed. He had forgotten.

Four

Kaalk sat on the dewy moss of the church steeple as the sun struggled through the clouds in the distance. He was motionless except for the rise and fall of his alien frame. Sulphurous breath streamed from his nostrils as he focused on the house, averting his gaze only in occasional reproach of the demonic minions that sat restlessly behind him. Guilt crouched subserviently next to Kaalk. He knew this was his chance to impress his master.

Aramouth and Guldin were standing once again as mighty warriors. Singing with voices like the sound of many waters they were spearheading the Lord’s army that was rapidly congregating in the heavenly places. They proudly looked across the horizon to see hundreds of thousands of angels covering each other in prayer as they prepared for battle.

Paul stirred groggily in his bed as the physical hangover began to gnaw at his consciousness. He opened his eyes to the world allowing the gradual trickle of fragmented memories to tumble through his damaged mind. Kaalk’s huge membranous wings unfurled as Paul reached for the light and the window became lit. A leathery canopy now surrounded the fiend as he waited for the moment to climb the air, glancing furtively around for any angelic intervention. Kaalk was nervous because this was important.

As though in perfect synchronisation, pairs of orange and green reptilian eyes emerged from the trees ahead and from the cars beneath Kallk  – several more from within the bushes next to Paul’s window. They lit the area like flashing hazard lights from the scene of an accident. Kaalk was tense but he smirked with anticipation. The stench of acid rose from the sulfuric climate intensifying from his flaring nostrils as the demonic fellowship behind him also stood eagerly to attention.

Then came Kaalk’s call like the petrified screaming of lost children. In one blurred movement Guilt leapt with frightening agility and dived into the dome of the tree next to Paul’s house, passing into the roof space. He hurtled downwards at unearthly speeds towards Paul’s bedroom. The downcast child of God sat on the edge of his bed bathed in ice-cold perspiration. He felt sick in his stomach, weakly nauseous and giddy. He gagged at the rush of adrenalin with every hazy memory that returned, and, with them, Apathy, Deceit and Desire all moved to accommodate Guilt who entered the room with merciless force.

Paul instantly remembered his opportunity to leave the pub, the chance to go home. With immaculate precision Guilt sharpened his talons on his armoured back and sank them into his victim’s mind. Paul remembered the girl. Guilt withdrew his talons and began to swing back and forth with his barbed sword, hacking Paul’s heart with insatiable pleasure. Paul collapsed on the floor catching his head in his hands, weeping like a child. He was embarrassed by his fear though no-one was in the room with him, and yet, like the faint blowing of the wind he could hear outside, he recognised a still voice longing for him to call out the name of Jesus. Paul understood the voice instantly and with all the faith he had cried out to his Father in heaven.

A single trumpet sounded and the gates of heaven exploded open. Endless thousands of heavenly warriors raced in majestic silence to Paul’s defense as unimaginable fragrances and indescribable lights appeared in the train of radiance behind the heavenly host. With perfect timing, Guldin and Aramouth were fighting by Paul’s side and, like a spear through water, sent every demon sprawling to the floor. Paul lifted his head and remembered a verse from Romans, and then another from Philippians. Guldin stood before Paul like a mighty pillar of the finest gold while Aramouth prowled like a lion, skillfully disarming the injured demons.

Apathy, Deceit and Desire bowed briefly before the angels as they hissed and fled the room. Guilt had already maneuvered like a snake back behind Guldin who spun to see the spirit dig again into Paul’s heart. Once more Kaalk howled outside commanding the remaining demons to do their worst, and they moved together towards the bedroom like a black cloud.

Paul hesitantly got to his feet and sat again on his bed. He looked at his Bible as Guldin threw a massive blow to the back of Guilt’s deformed head. But Guilt braced himself and stuck obstinately to Paul’s heart. Kaalk’s filthy presence now filled the room as Aramouth turned to what appeared to be a different demon, transfigured. Kaalk had grown in stature and now towered above him filling the room with a putrid stench. Aramouth darted from one side of the room to the other to avoid the blur of Kaalk’s claws and fangs, failing to land any blows of his own attack.

But the demon lord hyper-extended his spine and screamed in horror amidst vomiting episodes as an explosion of pure light momentarily blinded him. Outside, the demonic cloud was seconds from entering Paul’s bedroom when it hit an impenetrable wall of heavenly authority. Demons were snatched and sent flailing into the abyss of hell; shattered wings and bodies showered the area like a grotesque spiritual deluge. Kaalk instinctively knew what had happened as he spat on the floor: his scheme was effectively over and that the Unmentionable’s army had conquered again. But Kaalk remained internally motivated with the prospect of his own glory, with his own triumph over these pathetic spirits that, on their own, were nothing.

The demon clawed at his bleeding eyes and grabbed Aramouth, tossing him aside like a rag doll. He pinned him to the floor with his muscular leg, but reached down too late to see Guilt being decapitated by Guldin and thrown out of the room with unquestionable authority.

Paul picked up his Bible and flicked the pages towards the back. He turned to the book of James and started reading at chapter four. Both angels were instantaneously transformed into figures of incomparable beauty: their faces became ruddy and their eyes burnt with cleansing fire. Guldin looked at Kaalk who now shook uncontrollably with fear as Aramouth snapped the demon’s leg with his mighty arm and stood upright. Without even so much as looking at each other, both angels sprang into glorious action. They circled the principality overhead and with a sovereign act of sword-drawn finality they thundered down through Kaalk’s very being.

Paul had reached verse seven.

Three weeks later Paul talked excitedly with Pete and Adie about his gap-year plans to travel to Africa to help with Christian missionaries there. Paul had seen his friends in the pub as he was passing outside and had decided to go in and join them. After an hour or so of catching up, a couple of beers and a bite to eat later, Paul shook their hands and wished them well for their futures. As Paul left, Pete and Adie talked of how good it was to see him, but couldn’t help but wonder why he hadn’t properly introduced them to his two friends.

The End

© Nick Franks, 2002

All works registered through Copyright House

heaven, Uncategorized, writing

“The Heavenlies” – A Peretti Pastiche (Part 1 of 2)


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One

There was an unusual air of excitement in the city of Exeter that hot summer’s evening as the University students began to flood into the local pubs, bars, and Off Licences. In fact, it wasn’t quite evening, still late afternoon, and already the streets were seething with young revellers following the recent culmination of the academic year. The sweet smells of beers and wines fused together and seemed to linger everywhere with the still impressive heat of day. But in and around all of the celebrations, overhanging them all, was a more sober sense of an impending threat.

Paul stood patiently at the bar, waiting. Despite his athletically tall build it always seemed to take an age for him to get served. He was easily over six feet, and, with his striking blonde hair and sharp features, was popular with the girls. For the moment, though, Paul was with his mates. He definitely felt more comfortable when his Christian friends were there. He wasn’t sure why, just that he often felt overwhelmed with the whole drinking thing. He told himself, and the lads, that he wasn’t very good at it; but he knew that he could probably keep up with the likes of Adie and Pete, especially with the amount of practice they had. Paul knew more intuitively than he cared to admit that the sense of being awkward came from somewhere else.

Two other strikingly tall figures stood near to the bar where the group of friends were now gathered. They stood perfectly still and silent, intently watching the group as they laughed and talked together. Paul remained oblivious to their presence as the evening set in and even later when they were standing in the group, towering above and either side of him. Although they showed no intention of using them, both characters were concealing huge, monolithic swords and they were dressed in beautifully plain clothes with no recognisable style or pattern. They stood with perfect poise and posture, impressive in every conceivable way.

It was now dark outside and Paul’s friends were agitating to move on into the City to find more pubs and more fun. A lot of people were out and it seemed as though everyone he knew was either in the pub or roaming the streets. He could see that it was getting raucous.

As the group finished their drinks and moved towards the door, the two strangers moved aside like a vast automatic door, allowing Paul to return his glass to the bar. The barmaid caught Paul’s eye and thanked him, smiling attractively. He responded with a cheeky wink – he was feeling more comfortable now – almost relaxed.

Two

Apathy, Desire and Deceit were perched awkwardly on the corner of the pub’s roof, watching Paul leave from their evil vantage point. An argument had broken out among the three demons as they waited impatiently for a commanding signal to follow Paul.  To avoid any skirmishes with the Lord’s host, Kaalk’s instructions had been for them to remain unseen until his senior command.

Desire was complaining again. Their ambush seemed trivial and insignificant as he fantasised about diving down into the pub with the hoards of other spirits. He prided himself in creating havoc and calamity in the adolescents’ lives – it was his singularly insidious intent. Apathy sat breathing slowly and discontentedly, saying and thinking nothing while Deceit made vain attempts to persuade Desire that it would be better not to wait but to seize the moment right now.

Fortunately for Desire, an eerie cry suddenly resounded throughout the immediate spiritual realm as Kaalk thundered past, wielding a burning sword and screaming obscenities. The other three demons leapt into action, unfolding their leathery wings and brandishing their own swords. They were now in hot pursuit of Paul who was already drinking in the next pub.

As he started another drink, Paul had turned his attention for a moment to a crowd of second-year lads outside the pub. A fight had started. One of them was being badly beaten by another two as several others stared, watched and did nothing. Within moments the crowd vanished as police sirens were heard approaching. Something in Paul’s heart winced as he looked at the boy left lying prostrate on the curb, now unconscious in a pool of his own blood. He wondered how people could be so cruel and his failure to act bothered him.

The two other glorious figures had followed Paul closely into the pub and were now more animated with their hands gently touching his head and chest. They were completely surrounding him. A piercing white light filled the room that emanated from where the two angels stood, shining intensely with palatial majesty as they ministered to him. Aramouth and Guldin knew what approached as they looked at each other in agreement; and they understood why the Lord wanted Paul to stray from their protection.

Between slurps of his pint, Paul continued to stare out of the window, watching the paramedics arrive and the police question others too drunk to talk properly. Adie and Pete were both drunk now and Paul realised that he too was feeling under the influence. He began to think that he should leave when Pete threw a reassuring arm around him. He shouted something in his ear to do with a girl at the bar and handed him another drink, slapping his back as he always did when he was drunk.

Kaalk smashed into the pub as Paul looked at his fresh drink. Aramouth and Guldin rose instantly in billows of air as their wings flexed like a ship’s sail in a storm. They reached for their swords that now shone with heavenly brilliance, bracing themselves for a fight they knew they were not to win. But Aramouth couldn’t resist and defiantly swung his sword in a powerful arch that sent Kaalk flailing to the floor. The other demons had arrived and quickly found Paul still illuminated by the glow of Guldin’s glory. Apathy was first to sink his sharp talons deep into Paul’s mind despite the angelic efforts to prolong his protection. Suddenly, Guldin roared in pain as Deceit bit and clawed into his back. Desire began slashing into Guldin’s wings with his jagged sword, leaving the heavenly warrior crumpled on the floor like an aged cheek. Startled by his friend’s cry, Aramouth instantly spun from his own advance on Kaalk and lifted his companion to safety with his vice-like arm.

Both angels were overwhelmed with grief as they passed through concrete and rafters and steel and rested out of sight, some distance from the city that now echoed with evil laughter. They knew that they had done more than was asked of them and yet every part of them cringed at the thought of their encounter with the kingdom of darkness. All they could do now was wait.

© Nick Franks, 2002

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Blogroll, Uncategorized

Paignton Paparazzi


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Last week-end I went out kayaking in the glorious October summer sun with a friend. It’s called the English Riviera down here for a reason – when the weather is like this it’s like being on the Continent: warmer temps, sparkling ocean, thousands of tourists, flip-flops galore and occasionally decent surf.

View of Preston Beach to Berry Head
Quality little beach where I grew up

I was thinking I’d take my camera out with me on the water to get some spectacular snaps but decided against it because I lost a pair of Oakleys the last time I kayaked. (I’d capsised when trying to retrieve a Tunnocks caramel bar from a million pound luxury craft who’d pulled alongside my kayak to offer the snack. That was the most expensive chocolate I’ve ever eaten).

Out on the water, it wasn’t long before I was wishing I’d taken the risk and brought my camera. Thatchers Rock is about 5 miles out to sea and it was a mission to get there across some (thanks to speed boats) choppy waters. The wild-life out there is pretty unusual too and the whole scene was just luscious.

About 5 hours later, when my friend and I got back to my parked car above Paignton Harbour, I noticed a bit of paper under my wiper saying “Kayak Photos” and  inside was an email address I could use as a contact to get my photos! Turns out that a photographer had spotted us walking down from the car to the beach about 5 hours before and, because of the blue lunch-box I was carrying, recognised me on the water as we kayaked off after that! (My lunch-box was on the front of the kayak).

I was blown away – better photos than I’d ever have taken!

This quirky moment reminded me that someone is probably always watching us and, even if they’re not, Abba always is. He does things like this occasionally just to remind me.

He will for you too.