Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year





Happy New Year !

There are huge celebrations across the globe tonight. It's a quiet night for my wife & I, some of our kids are away on camp or out with friends. We are staying in watching a movie, doodling(me) & knitting while some crickets are getting into a rhythm outside the loungeroom window. It's cups of tea & some banana cake...










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Monday, 29 December 2014

aerials & clouds



The New Year is almost upon us, the year is fading fast. The best of, the worst of, the most of, 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 & it will all be gone… like a flower that develops before declaring its petals for all to see, then we fade, then we die & life goes on. In the natural order of things that’s how we roll.

In war & tragedy things can fade fast, instantly in fact, boom… like a firework that lights up the sky momentarily, like a bolt from the blue it can come from nowhere & like time, there is no stopping it. When sorrows like see billows roll, one thing remains the same, Lord God Almighty. The God who is not dead, the God, who has His eye upon the sparrow while we count our pennies. He is watching & in control…He is who he is.


In this transitional life, this zone of madness & mayhem where streams of data flow back & forth, while cameras & lenses capture almost endless images from under the sea, on land & above, there remains a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. In this madness there is gladness, God in all His beauty reigns, from age to age, He is still the same.







Psalm 46:1-11.




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Thursday, 25 December 2014

Mighty Ocean & getting ship + shape



Boxing Day for me & many is recovery day, a time to seek refuge & drop anchor. Christmas Day involves a fair bit of travelling & catching up with family. Young people grow up fast & older people age on, the time & tide of wear & tear waits for none, no matter how good your plastic surgery is or isn’t.


A fleet of yachts will line up for the Sydney to Hobart Race. The High Tech, highly masted & engineered creations will be captained southward down the east coast of Australia. The starting ceremony captures great interest & at times controversy. Yachts, the elements & creatures of the deep blue sea, a fair bit of advertising & some personal profiles make for an interesting event.


Charles Spurgeon witnessed a similar event some couple of hundred years ago & penned a sermon for the service of God…"There go the ships.” At a guess, today pleasure & sport are probably more dominant in our thinking than the commerce based thinking of yester year or yester century but from a biblical perspective the salvation & sanctification story remains the same.


There go the ships (Spurgeon)














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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

God goes live




Although predominantly Jewish or Hebrew the children of God had it all, but even that was not enough for their wandering & hungry hearts. Therefore they were scattered & disciplined for their rebelliousness that came from within. In the mess & confusion a remnant still live by faith, waiting for deliverance, & the years & generations go by…


Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to you
O Israel !


After many hundred years God reveals His hand with Omniscience & Obscurity. Things begin to go viral regarding the birth of Messiah, yet again, it will take many years before Jesus will reveal the purpose for which He has come…Salvation & Judgement.

Luke 2:34-40

Springsteen. Jesus was an only son.




God put Jesus here for a reason







I have reworked this (photographically) 
from the above image 
which is meant to be Bethlehem 








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Sunday, 21 December 2014

Magnify




I had to go into the city to pick up a part the other morning, as a rule I like to take my camera along just in case I come across something interesting. At a set of traffic lights I noticed a mural with a limited palette that I really liked.

This morning before church I had a walk around our garden. My wife had told me there were some stink bugs about & once I spotted how many there were I got to catching them with a plastic bag over my hand, then placing them in a plastic drink bottle with tall sides. The stink bugs can really damage a tree & they produce a spray that stinks & stings the eyes.

In hunting down the bugs I came across a small green tree frog & a large grasshopper taking refuge within the orange tree so decided to have a go at getting some images. Automatic focus with lots of green objects can be really difficult but I got a few good compositions thankfully.


While downloading images this afternoon I noticed the limited palette again & decided to doodle on Picasa 3 then switched to Corel paint Shop Pro 4 to insert the magnifying lens & reduce the file size of the images.

























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Saturday, 20 December 2014

A Time to Worship







Luke 2:8-20



Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o'er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation's story,
Now proclaim Messiah's birth:
Come and worship,
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King!





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Friday, 19 December 2014

Food glorious (in excelsis Deo) Food



The past week has been so busy, complicated as well with a mystery fuel leak that hindered the registration process & a mystery sound emanating from under the van that had me guessing & pulling things apart to investigate. Finally the tail shaft bearing indicated that it had had enough & the local shop let me know I had to go further afield to track down a part within the desired time frame. Other people were letting me know they wanted stuff delivered. Somewhere in all of the transactions, deliveries & repairs was bonnet 1- head 0, hammer 1- thumb 0, green ant sting 1- skin on leg 0.


Christmas time can end up being the exact opposite of what it is meant to be if you let it. The application of the lesson of Mary & Martha is a valuable reminder of what is to be truly celebrated. For many Christ is in the background as other distractions take centre stage…






Vincenzo Campi - Christ in the House of Mary and Martha

(House or Supermarket ?)














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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Veiled Majesty








Nature slash Creation can be mind-blowing at times, the sight alone may leave us in awe, not to mention how it all fits together on a timetable of function, purpose & beauty. And all that being the case… this is on the dark side of the fall with all its misery, pain & the presence of evil & death.

It’s little wonder that people claim they can get close to God in nature slash creation. After all it reveals much about God. Rom 1:20. But to really know God, not just what He has made requires intimacy & relationship.

To walk again with God in true joy, as if in the garden where all was good takes us to the person of Christ Jesus the gate. John 10:9. Without God we walk the path of the evil one, master of our own deception for a time.


For now what we see is a collision of good & evil in a natural world with spiritual influences. The battle unfolds as the Christ rescues many from the captivity of darkness. This is the wonder of Christmas…that God should take on our humanity & satisfy the justice of God that humanity & creation might be restored.











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Thursday, 11 December 2014

There is only one God.










It's December...Somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea, or perhaps the Aegean or Ionian, either way, where things can be particularly beautiful & blue, it's greetings allround...


















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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

X Factor


Happy Xmas





It be true… X marks the spot of immeasurable treasure. 
Further on from Nazareth and a little further from Golgotha.








Micah 5:2 

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, 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.”








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Sunday, 7 December 2014

Big bangs & bright lights




No freak of nature






How Great Thou Art






Heidelberg Catechism


Lord’s Day 9

26. Q. What do you believe when you say: I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth?

A. That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who of nothing made heaven and earth with all that is in them, who likewise upholds and governs the same by his eternal counsel and providence, is for the sake of Christ his Son my God and my Father; in whom I so trust as to have no doubt that he will provide me with all things necessary for body and soul; and further, that whatever evil he sends upon me in this vale of tears, he will turn to my good; for he is able to do it, being almighty God, and willing also, being a faithful Father.

Lord’s Day 10

27. Q. What do you mean by the providence of God?

A. The almighty and everywhere present power of God, whereby, as it were by his hand, he still upholds heaven, earth, and all creatures, and so governs them that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, food and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, all things, come not by chance but by his fatherly hand.

28. Q. What does it profit us to know that God has created, and by his providence still upholds, all things?

A. That we may be patient in adversity, thankful in prosperity, and with a view to the future may have good confidence in our faithful God and Father that no creature shall separate us from his love, since all creatures are so in his hand that without his will they cannot so much as move.










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Saturday, 6 December 2014

Stems in the garden




The birth of Christ is the following through of a promise, Gods promise to deliver us from evil through His plan of Salvation. Although we may quickly identify with what we perceive to be evil in others we are not so quick to recognise the evil or darkness that exists within our own character or the vast difference between what was then & what is now on earth peering back to Eden amidst all the controversy of human nature, earthly speculation & limited assumptions. Scripture tells us plainly that we have lost our way. Isaiah 53:6.



We are all corrupted, in need of help we are spiritually poor & destitute, lost in our circumstances & unable to even help ourselves when it comes to what God requires of us. We are out in the cold…It is in or through Christ alone that we are urged to come into Gods kingdom. Salvation is not a human DIY pursuit. Again, we are urged to call on God. Psalm 51:1-19.Matthew 11:25-30.















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Thursday, 4 December 2014

Blood Red






The Angel of the Lord was yet to call out or the ram yet to appear… A picture, if you like of Christmas just before Christmas. This is regarding the unfolding promise of God which was first made to Abram (Genesis 12:1-9), then followed up on the historical timeline of humanity up until the incarnation of the Son at Bethlehem. 



Genesis 22:1-19


Matthew 1:18-25


The promise now grows in amplification & will soon resonate with the wider audience of the gentiles in the region & further afield within a generation. The call to live by faith & trust in God’s provision goes out to the four corners of the earth. Isaiah 55:1-11



There is just as much significance for Father Abraham & Father Joseph as much as Father Christmas if not more...repeat the sounding joy, we are not abandoned in life or in death. Christ has come, the fulfilment of a promise with much, much more to come.


Glory be to Jesus,
  Who in bitter pains
Poured for me the life-blood
  From His sacred veins.


Grace and life eternal
  In that Blood I find;
Blest be His compassion,
  Infinitely kind.


Blest through endless ages
  Be the precious stream,
Which from endless torments
  Did the world redeem.


Abel’s blood for vengeance
  Pleaded to the skies;
But the blood of Jesus
  For our pardon cries.


It the conscience sprinkles,
  Frees our guilty hearts;
Satan in confusion
  Terror-struck departs.


Oft as earth exulting
  Wafts its praise on high,
Angel-hosts rejoicing
  Make their glad reply.


Lift ye then your voices;
  Swell the mighty flood;
Louder still and louder
  Praise the precious blood.





Edward Caswall 1814-1878


Friedrich Filitz 1804-1876









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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Hands



Walk by faith & not by sight


Walking with God in a fallen world requires the experience of disappointment… for all our joy in the priceless gift of salvation, moments of sadness & bewilderment shadow our lives & those around about us. From within our hearts tears may flow or from within our mind a battle, conflict or anxiety may ensue.

When the shadows increase & the light appears less, it’s likely that we may feel forsaken but nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to the faithfulness & care of God the Father, Christ the Son & the Holy comforter. So often we can limit God in so many ways by our own limitations.

At times I am tempted to take matters into my own hands or heart, limiting God & denying His wonderful fatherly love, care & wisdom as I become overwhelmed by the shadows. At times like this, later usually than sooner due to my lack of faith, God reminds me to place my hand in His. It is then that the waters are stilled & the seas calmed (Put your hand in the hand - Gene MacLellan).




In doubt & temptation (Hymn)


Psalm 91 (Sons of Korah)




In doubt and temptation I rest, Lord, in Thee;
My hand is in Thy hand, Thou carest for me;
My soul with Thy counsel through life Thou wilt guide,
And afterward make me in glory abide.


Refrain

My God, I will extol Thee
And ever bless Thy Name;
Each day will I give thanks to Thee
And all Thy praise proclaim.


In glory Thou only my portion shall be,
On earth for none other I long for but Thee;
My flesh and heart falter, but God is my stay,
The strength of my spirit, my portion for aye.


Refrain

All they that forsake Thee must perish and die,
But near to my Savior most blessèd am I;
I make Thee my refuge, my Lord and my God;
Thy grace and Thy glory I publish abroad.


Refrain




Author Unknown





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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The Wits & the Dimwits



The Great Wall of China went up, the Berlin wall came down. There are walls in Israel too... When we were younger an occasional prank call became a form of entertainment when mum & dad were out. Once we phoned someone & subjected them to our immaturity, wit, or half measure of wit better known as a dimwit by asking them if Mr Wall was there? No. Is Mrs Wall there? No. Are there any walls there? No. Well you better get out before the roof falls in! These days’ dad jokes are my specialty & they still make me laugh & occasionally I get a win with the kids but also plenty of reminders that I don’t always get connectivity with my audience.

There are walls to build, defend & maintain (Nehemiah) & walls to breakdown (Jeremiah 1:10). In this God calls Christians to participate in the life of the church & society. We can only do this though because the wall of sin & shame now has an opening because of Christ. Matthew 27:51

Many on a daily & hourly basis are seeking to demolish the wall of sin in their own way, the opening is apparent to them but it lacks the appeal of doing things their own way. Sadly this is a large scale operation that is doomed to fail due to the stubbornness of heart & unrelenting pride. Matthew 13:1-23

Dr Paul White illustrates this truth in the “Jungle Doctor” series “The Great Wall” which can be downloaded here in comic format.



The Great Wall





Dr Paul White (Profile)







Yes, humanity is caught between a rock & a hard place but there is a way through.