Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Ke-mo sah-bee

In the context of the film …The Lone Ranger 2013

I got to see this film for the first time this week. I enjoyed how the story was introduced & told through the dialogue of the young boy & the old Comanche Indian & really enjoyed it’s “strange balance” riveted with history & fiction held together by many things exaggerated & Hollywood, but it wasn’t until the very end when the William Tell Overture: Final hit the soundtrack that the Spirit of the Lone Ranger, Silver & Tonto had me finally in the groove…I used to watch the Lone Ranger as a kid in black & white.

One of the many things I connected with was Tonto’s perception of a hero, he wanted a fearless warrior, of the two Reid brothers, the Spirit horse had chosen the wrong one…A Crazy horse as far as Tonto was concerned.

It’s the same today for the church, often labelled crazy, weak or insignificant as it holds on to the writings of Scripture & the testimony of Jesus…How on earth could a bunch of hymn singing, Bible believing pilgrims overcome the odds…How on earth can these seemingly insignificant people amount to anything noble & victorious with all their attached weakness & failings…. We see much that is wrong in us but all that is right in Jesus. Not with silver & gold, that is for sure, not with might or power either…But by my Spirit says the Lord.

So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. Zechariah 4:6


Sunday, 29 December 2013

Yahweh, the bright & morning star & faith

Much attention is placed on all things human as the past year fades with a brief sending off of images & clips of 2013. A blip on the eternal radar gives a bit of a Gatsby glow as fireworks light up the night sky in noisy fashion as the creative, industrious & appreciative comes to the limelight.

The bright & explosive flashes of colour ignite something in my mind through the lens of mine eyes. The flash turns into something spectacular as it spreads & falls earthwards leaving a smoky transparent stream that diminishes into insignificance like the setting sun that gives way to the evening shadows…

And that’s how we roll here on this earth, at times on the moon & this year for the first time, Mars. Our curiosity & ingenuity is spectacular as we look for evidence of life elsewhere & accomplishment. But what is a year without war, suffering & pain & it’s equally impressive demonstration of industrious devastation & Fukushima dreaming & fifty shades of sky grey…And that’s how we rock things here on earth as we look to dominate & destroy fuelled by hatred, partiality & ignorance.

But all is not lost, high hopes for many, eternal hope in Christ for a few compelled by His love divine.

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.

Psalm 46: 1-6

Saturday, 28 December 2013

broken & broken through

Out of all the things I could possibly love & be devoted to in this world & beyond, it is in the pages of Scripture that I find the written instruction to place God first of all & above all in each area of my life.

A Makers instruction comes that I might understand the purpose, design & intent of the creation. It is not left to chance or luck. The information is provided & given as the Creator is genuinely connected to the creation just as a child is genuinely connected to the parent. In this there is mystery, in this there is love, in this there is care, in this there is discipline & concern. When there is transgression there can also be redemption…in this there is Christ & Christ alone.

To not know Christ or willingly forsake His direction & call is to travel a wide road with many on a pilgrimage or celebration of things discovered but not understood. The void not being identified or appreciated the pilgrimage continues on, always learning but never understanding.

He said, “Go and tell this people:

“Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” Isaiah 6: 9&10

Jesus spoke in the Old Testament as He did at Creation as He did in the New Testament as He does, praying now in heaven.


Friday, 27 December 2013

connections and calculations

I suppose many of us see ourselves as masters of our own destiny while we live & breathe, so much depends on what we think, do & say. This is true but equally important is understanding that our circumstances may change in an instant, as they do, due to things unforeseen.

Well that’s the theory, what about the practical. In terms of choices there are many messages…fortune favours the brave, look before you leap, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, good things come to those who wait, the squeaky wheel gets the oil.

Decisions, decisions, said the lady at the butchers yesterday as I kept her waiting while I was weighing up 2 Chicken Kiev’s @ $4:50 or 5 for $20. It was in the afternoon after work & my mind must have been running a backup program… Two daughters are away on youth camp & our son is staying with cousins at the moment. What’s a man to do?

Remembering Justin Case (just in case) I went with the $20 deal, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I saved myself or my hip pocket a dollar by going the extra $11 & the freezer could accommodate the spare Kiev’s. Unbeknownst to me my wife had been making chicken soup using the carcasses from Christmas meals & had filled the freezer with a portion of her productivity during the day. With a bit of rearranging things fell into place. We had the nice meal at home that we had planned.

According to the Bible this is just as important to God as the spiritual things like reading the Bible, prayer, fellowship, worship etc…There is not a time or place when I can switch off holiness or godliness. It is for every area of my life & heart.

In the holidays, in the seemingly effortless & Samsonish or the Martharly mundane I can serve the Lord with gladness knowing His desire for my life is to bear good fruit, easier said than done for sure, but truthful just the same.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing
John 15:4&5

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

water and sky

Things get a bit maritime today in Sydney Australia. Sydney is maritime on a daily basis any way having a large harbour but in terms of the media & culture the beginning of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race is given centre stage.

It’s mostly the big, impressive, fast & fancy vessels that hold much of the attention along with the forecasted weather conditions. Possible record breaking opportunities make for interesting dialogue. Every now & again within the smaller class of yachts human interest stories are relayed while the silent logos of advertising, modern materials & carefully designed hulls glide by. High profile sport, some low key players, the enjoyment & the exhilaration of the mighty ocean is very dependent on the wind for success & or victory.

Sailing although ancient is very much a modern day & night activity, reading or responding to the conditions is also essential for a safe journey. Amidst all the politics & rules are stipulations that various safety precautions are adhered to along the approx 630 nautical miles of water governed by currents & tides where large whales also like to do their thing on the surface of the deep.

A cool image...

Monday, 23 December 2013

Pear shaped

On the first day of Christmas the One true God gave to me...
A Saviour from the land of Galilee

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Vantage point


Nurture in nature created

An empty nest with a dramatic lean was all that was visible after arriving at work after the weekend. After scanning the area I spotted two chicks up in the galvanised beams a good ten meters away in a higher section of roof. It was pleasing to know they were safe, the parents were also nearby & providing food for the ever hungry & ever growing birds. Moments later I spotted the third chick higher still on the very top of the building & much more mobile. Eventually it flew down onto the roofing of an awning.

This spectacle has been happening a great deal since spring. In our own backyard a Magpie family will often do the rounds in search of food. The younger birds have been growing in confidence & skill learning the ropes with quality time.

We see this common design shared a lot within the fabric of the created order. The Makers handiwork spread across a broad body of work revealing intricate & delicate detail of various scales from the minute through to the massive. This too can be much like the seasons that come & go with the passing of time.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow…

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Pilgrims progress

A time of great rejoicing, angelic & human has taken place…then comes the Magi from the east, it’s no ordinary star, no ordinary birth, no ordinary child & no ordinary gifts. The King & ruler of the time recognises something astounding & instigates some historic research to be followed up. Sure enough Bethlehem & a King had been for mentioned…

Matthew 2:6“ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrata, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2

This is unsettling for the man in power, outwardly its Mr. nice guy, inwardly a plot begins, the heart & mind of Herod is threatened. All that he had gained looked as if it would now be lost according to his estimation of things. The bright & beautiful news of redemptive joy is challenged by a dark & furious form of persecution. Matthew 2:16

It’s a time of great sadness & mourning for many, amidst the agony of loss is a close call, neighbouring Egypt becomes a place of refuge for the young family.

Time & again we see controversy & conflict in the life of the church. The Bible reminds us that there is more than meets the eye in this life. Daily we are reminded to live by faith & not by sight, in joy & in pain we are assured of the Lords providence & fatherly care.

Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”  He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz. Genesis 28:14-19

Monday, 16 December 2013

One day the willow will weep no more

Why so serious?

In these last few days a post from a Christian minister received a fair bit of backlash regarding church attendance or lack of it. 

There is so much that can be said of anything let alone Scripture/church/leadership...here is a small to medium sized portion to eat here or takeaway.

The book of Hebrews is unusual in the sense that its spiritual message is grounded in Christ yet its human author is unstated in the letter. Early on in 2 v 1 is the warning to pay careful attention to God’s salvation so as not to drift way. In 5 v 1 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.”

It becomes pretty obvious that the tone of the letter is serious…”batmanish black serious” you could say. While there is nothing wrong with being casual & laid back at times some things require dedication & effort. We would expect this of places of learning, doctors & nurses, handling dangerous goods, personal hygiene/health, people behind the wheel of a car or truck etc.

Salvation is serious stuff, eternally so. To blend good & evil is unwise says Scripture, darkness & light have nothing in common. In the OT some people tried the deadly mix & paid a high price. The author of Hebrews out of concern & speaking from a position of leadership & therefore accountability lays it on the line to the group. In 13 v 7 it becomes apparent that this letter is addressed to a body or group that holds various positions consistent with a church. ”Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” Yes don’t worship them, don’t despise them, consider the outcome of their way of life & imitate their faith.

It is not just electricity (AC/DC), weapons & creatures that can produce deadly outcomes, so can people & attitudes. Tread carefully says Scripture, not everything is a picnic or plain sailing.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

a moment of reflection

Imagine/ John Lennon.

So… no heaven, no hell, no nationhood, no religion, no possessions, no need for hunger, no need for greed, one big brotherhood of man.

This lullaby of dreams and anthem of imaginations tugs on a deep seated longing for love & peace, it does this through a type of belief or religion which implies a contradiction (no religion).

Many songs & beliefs like to suggest that if we, humanity, all just tried & bit harder & were educated a bit more, we could do it, we could save ourselves from ourselves & along with that the brokenness of the animal & plant kingdom

In contrast the Bible says something far greater is necessary for salvation & peace... The Saviour, although fully human is also fully God. In Him alone will we find a complete oneness that fills our cup till it flows over in generosity of Spirit & Grace from the host of heaven. In Christ alone will our earthly & darkened nature become heavenly. What makes it so amazing is we don’t even deserve this generous gift, it was freely given at great cost….so great a cost that all the earthly treasures gathered over history would not be enough to heal the nations of their predicament.

God does not call us to imagine, he directs us to the Son. Unlike the shepherds we are not to find Him in the manger. Many years have passed as faith, trust & the Salvation testimony witnesses to a broken & eroded humanity that is only a shadow of its former glory. Its restoration plan has its beginnings in this world while it points to the next.

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Revelation 21:4-6

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 13:12 &13

nan dunket


Friday, 13 December 2013

A theoretical idea, a practical experience & time lapse images

Now I could of gotten out of bed, 
got my camera, 
checked it had a card inside, 
trusted that enough charge was held within the battery,
 then went out to record this event as it unfolded 
 I have opted to record the event
 a little later in the day witnessing what I had heard
just outside my window this particular morning.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Ornithology & Theology or Birds & God stuff

In the past two to three weeks I have been able to witness a Willy Wagtail family up close & personal above in a rooftop. I noticed two tiny heads at first, and then eventually in the coming days I saw three. Having another chat with the lady in the rear dock I learned that initially there were four chicks but one had fallen & died. At the moment the three remaining chicks appear to be growing very quickly & the nest is beginning to lean under the weight of it all. The round bar is smooth in contrast to a natural branch so I am hoping the nest & chicks make it through to the time they must vacate. Some Myna birds have been in the area & scavenge from the waste bins mostly but are still a threat to the young & defenceless chicks. It is a small drama in the scheme of things but no less real & no less meaningful than each hair on my head.

God tells me this from His word…

What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  
So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Matthew 10:27-31

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Time & Tide magazine

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done, 
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Proverbs 31: 28-31

The richness of God’s blessing displayed in the female human form.

Insert the true love of your life here.
fill her days with praise also.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

a not so rare or endangered bird at this point in time

This cartoon is based on local content here in Australia, 
it is meant to be a humourous take on a serious issue
 to do with left wing bias within
 a government/tax payer funded media channel.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Parrumpapapum & a jungle drum

In the lead up to Christmas things have become much busier for me. Deliveries have increased with groceries. A larger store that I only hear from every now & again has me turning up at their dock almost daily for large goods & layby items.
Amongst the busyness I get to teach Scripture once a week to a mixed age primary class which has been a real blessing. I also got a guest appearance at the primary school down the road to do the Christmas message which came across really well.

We explored the story of the Richardson family & their experience with the Sawi tribe in the sixties. I was able to make a short film with sound effects & animations to start off the lesson. I have a set of bow & arrows from New Guinea that were also great visual aids.

The “Peace Child” is a remarkable story that bears testimony to peace through Christ. Initially the tribe laughed on hearing how Jesus ended up on a cross, He was perceived to be such a loser in their estimation of things. When the chief enacts a tradition to bring peace on account of the Richardson family leaving because of the continual warring, fighting & danger, we see a great cost is involved when the chief offers his own son to the neighbouring tribe. In this context the tribe got to appreciate God sacrificing His own Son that we might truly know peace, the loser becomes the champion. The war or hostility ceases & it’s not because of what we have done but because of God’s great love & mercy…joy to the world.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1: 3-7

Regarding an earlier post...
 the wagtails are now proud & protective parents to at least
 two hungry chicks who are happy to gulp down bugs & insects.

Monday, 2 December 2013

On a roll

Documentaries can be very educational, especially if they have input from academia, supposedly learned people, but what happens when learned people or experts disagree? Can they both be wrong or both right & does Mr. Miss or Mrs average get all the arguments presented objectively & in fairness. If this world & its actions are anything to go by then the answer is a definitive no. People can so often look for the personal or team advantage & what we seem to be getting is nothing more than a movie or sporting experience.

In this day & age what appears to be educational & informative is often just a loaded dice designed to land a particular way. We just get to see a little action & movement, after this we are expected to respond in faith to what we have seen or heard. It’s little wonder that the “it’s just too hard” redefines into an escape of “eat, drink & be merry”. This too has been modelled before our eyes & ears as a solution to life’s many puzzles.

Now it’s OK to learn, it’s OK to play games, watch movies & to eat, drink & be merry, it’s OK even to be sad at times or realise some things are just too hard to understand & getting away from it all once in a while is a wise thing to do. All these things can be good but also dangerous & deadly, and able to cost us our very soul. In the Holy Scriptures, God provides a game plan for understanding life. He has built it & He calls you to come. Like everything else there are consequences as we traverse the reality of snakes & ladders in this world.

Roll with God says the Spirit as we experience our numbered days. Whether we are up or down He is faithful, He is true. Even if we fall down, God forgives in mercy & love, His aim & goal is redemption from a sin cursed world. God is not in need of a little or lot of luck.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”  Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘People do not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ Matthew 4: 1- 4

In you, LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, LORD, my faithful God.  Psalm 31: 1- 5

As a matter of interest I came across this one metre red bellied black snake yesterday which my daughter alerted me too. It had found a nice sunny spot on our back verandah to warm up. Once it was spotted it quickly took shelter in some nearby cement blocks. Now we are a bit more alert & less relaxed than normal around the area as are many frogs & lizards I suspect.
& a barn in a field between Largs & Lorn ...places near Maitland NSW.