Wednesday, 30 April 2014

GT/ Grand Tour/ Growing Together


Lots of places with trees in NZ, many without too. We stayed in a place called Redwood. Apparently this is “the” Redwood that gets a mention in Heart of Gold/Neil Young. As is often the case these days there is only a remnant of Redwood in Redwood, perhaps only one large tree remaining & as a tree it looks out of place in a suburb of roads & structures. I live near a place called Millers Forest & the forest is no more. Pine forests on the other hand in NZ seem to be vast, there is a place called Bottle Lake Forest that is open to mountain biking, walking & horse riding. The abundance of greenery, moisture, shade & sunshine cannot be bought. High up in the mountains beech trees cover the slopes as waterfalls cascade downward turning streams into rivers.


We are not much on our own for all our individuality, which has its place. We are much more in community. According to Scripture we are social beings made in the image of God, called to be a people that declares His praise. Finding sustaining grace in the abundant resources of God, his Creation & Word our hearts reach heavenwards as we grow little by little, day by day.















.





Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Paparazzi

I crossed an ocean in a ship way up high above the sea as I sat on a seat in a shell at great speed. Two hours or so can go pretty quick with a three course mini meal & thousands of entertainment buttons to select from. Public transport on the other hand is a bit more grounding & less flattering.

So I have been on an adventure, a visit to the land of the long white cloud, New Zealand. A holiday slash wedding slash I may as well take lots of photos while I am here triune experience. The majority of our family flew over the week before visiting family on the north island then ferried over to the south & made their way down to Christchurch where we touched down to an extended family reunion at the airport.

We had several day trips & lots of family gatherings. The recent earthquakes have destabilised life & business as the country seeks to rebuild after the earth shattering experience.

The wedding has been in the planning stages for a year or so, it was uploaded to live stream. I was given paparazzi rights to click at will which was kind of fun & the wedding was a truly beautiful occasion


http://new.livestream.com/accounts/4373505/events/2197561
Tom & Nikita posted about 5 days ago














.



Thursday, 17 April 2014

Split Screen…



 Discovery Channel & History Channel






The crucifixion, a human structural invention, creates a situation of suffering that leads to death. The gore that comes with whipping & beating human flesh makes for a bloody & painful ordeal… being forced to carry the weight of the wooden cross creates exhaustion. Having nails driven through your hands & feet into the timber to be lifted up to die as a criminal is not a place that many would willingly go, especially being falsely charged. In this sense it is not so hard to see the innocence & lamb like nature of the Saviour.

But how can such an obvious case of injustice benefit the human race in all its diversity over the ages of discovery…In Isaiah 53:1-12 we see another side of the story, God’s side.



In this day & age modern shaped culture tends to frown on or gloat over the past when it comes to religion as it plays the blame game. It’s a big crowd also, but what matters most…according to Jesus, Truth & it will set you free. John 8:31- 47




John 1:29



Art work:

Hans Holbein the Younger, 
Resting Lamb and Head of a Lamb, c. 1523






.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Blessed is He




Zech 9:9


I recall my grandmother being disappointed once after church many years ago, as we sat down to a cup of coffee in her lounge room she mentioned how the minister had not included Palm Sunday in the Bible message. It wasn't a legalistic complaint for she saw Jesus & His grace in the Palm Sunday service. Only a small thing in the scheme of things but it has stuck with me over the years. We had some good chats me & my Ma.

The first thing that I noticed this morning as I walked into church was the projected image of a large palm frond up on the wall. In an instant I thought of my grandmother & also Palm Sunday. There are so many things that converge in the lead up to Easter regarding the Old & New Testament.

I came across this post on Desiring God today…One way or another, through the gospel our life will converge with the Christ. It is easy to point the finger at the religious leaders & rightly so when we see how the knowledge of God had been distorted & abused, however sin being sin we also need to realise we also sent/ or was a reason why the Christ went all the way to the cross. Our sin is no less ugly 














.




Saturday, 12 April 2014

Bird of Pray



The Bird of pray has a reach to heaven itself as it carries the cares & praise of God’s children. It’s not that God is unaware of our situation but he delights in His children as angels delight in a sinner who repents. Luke 15:7


There is joy in God, there is a love unmeasured that we can only begin to know through Christ the Saviour. In the life of faith we begin to see that God understands our suffering & He sustains us, watches over us & shelters us, such is His love.


A declaration of reliance to the God who hears even our inner most thoughts... as it was in the beginning on earth, God, His gifts & humanity as one.








Original artwork by Albrecht Durer

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Seasons & seasoning




As autumn becomes more & summer less, fire restrictions have become relaxed in the rural areas around home. Farmers & land holders are now permitted to burn off & seeing recent strong winds swept through our valley region there is no shortage of branches to burn. Passing by I got a nose full, it’s a smell I love, burning gum tree timber, it reminds me of camping & “chillin” around a fire although there is probably a study filed away somewhere that suggests it harkens me back to a more primitive time that has been preserved genetically…almost as convincing as something I heard on a radio broadcast about a study & psychological analysis regarding houses with red letter boxes…Anyway… the blessing of smell & recognising aroma is a wonderful thing & heaven sent or should that be scent. It can woo us & warn us. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.





Pr 15:17 Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred.






.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Written on paper, bathed in light



Matthew 7:1 begins with “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” …Karma one might say, or the right for one to do as they please. Neither of these is sufficient explanation though as Scripture opens up the wisdom of God. A little further along in the text the reader is instructed to take a close look at their own life & the need to get rid of hypocrisy.

Further still in Chapter 7 & we discover from the teachings of Jesus that there is much that is true & much that is false in this world. Is there anything at all in this world that we can count on apart from death? Christ says yes & it is to be found in Him & only Him.

Christ doesn’t fit the mould of a narrow minded dictator or mogul as He presents the image of God in bodily form, yet the road of salvation which is just as much about the journey as it is about the destination is narrow when measured against the excess of human pleasure & success.

To know Christ & walk as he did means walking in the light in the midst of darkness. In our weakness we trust in His Grace, in our strength we trust in His weakness.1 Cor 1:18




video

Best viewed on small screen,
 having difficulty uploading larger files onto youtube






.

Friday, 4 April 2014

ARTifact






This magnificent depiction of an Assyrian bearded duck may have been the pet of King Ashurbanipal. As a keen reader & seeker of knowledge it would be only fitting to keep acquaintance with one of the most magnificent creatures to grace earth, sky & sea.

Depicted here in gold with flecks of Lapis lazuli it is understood that the aquatic bird was held in high esteem. Thought to have survived the devastation of Ninevah in 612 BC this immaculate relief stands testament to such a creature as this.

It is quite possible that the regal duck rode upon the chariot with King Ashurbanipal during lion hunts, if the life of the King was in danger the duck would be able to swiftly manoeuvre in & take out the threat with winged mastery.






Better late than never they say, this was probably more suitable for an April one release






.


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Goose bumps




I think many in society approach the Jesus story with great scepticism…. surprise, surprise or duh! What I mean to say is that if those same people were around at the time of Jesus & witnessed the miracles then somehow they may see themselves as convinced, and then believe on that basis. But even the teachers of the law witnessed healings but then went on to rebuke Jesus for breaking Gods rules & in the end really wanted him out of the way. 
Matt 9:1-8. Others recognised a political advantage in having Jesus & His power as a personal representative.

In 2 Kings 5:1-19 an Assyrian official suffers from leprosy. He becomes indignant upon hearing how his leprosy can be healed. The simplicity of it all is too much, yet eventually he is persuaded to follow instruction & reaps the blessing.

I realise leprosy can now be healed by medicine but this was not an option for Naaman. Suffering from the fall & infected by sin, humanity is in just as much need today of healing. Medicine & care is of great benefit but cannot restore what humanity forfeited through reckless disobedience. Only in Christ can humanity be restored to its former position of peace with God.


Just as I am (Johnny Cash)





An Assyrian bearded duck in the vicinity of the fertile crown

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Dukana







The Jacana bird can give the impression that it is able to walk on water, it is light with a large foot area which helps spread its weight across a larger surface area. It is often seen being mobile on waterlily plants.  




.

God is not bound by gravity or the grave



Lately I have been reading a little bit about the Apostle Peter, from what I can tell the only person apart from Jesus who walked on water, at least for a while. I have seen an Asian monk attempt to run along floating objects & dirt bikes given the right conditions can aquaplane across the surface of water but walking on water is impossible humanly speaking.

Yet Peter on Christ’s encouragement steps out of a boat & momentarily begins to walk towards Jesus until he cries out in fear as he begins to sink like a rock after being phased by the wind. In sport we are taught not to take our eye off the ball, in faith our focus should be on Christ.


Many followed Christ because of the miracles but Peter sees something more…the Son of God. Peter eventually becomes rock solid after some sinking & painful moments. As a disciple & Apostle, Peter becomes more Christ like through the faithfulness & power of God who is dependable in all circumstances. Matt 14:22-36













.