Friday, June 15, 2018

Miriam Turns 1 🎂

Recently, our beautiful little grandbaby,
Miriam, turned 1.
And as you can see from the photo, 
I don't think it really fazed her.
(or maybe it was her annoying Grandma
trying to get pictures of  her, that made her look so unfazed?)

Anyway, being the kind of Grandma that I am,
what better present for a sweet little girl, 
than her very own pink recliner!! 

Yes, you read that right. A pink recliner
chair with a cup holder (and it actually reclines too. And 
no, she doesn't have a TV remote and yes, she puts whatever
she wants in the cup holder.
Soggy dried bananas or whatever fits!)

Miriam is now walking and jabbering and is the most 
adorable, sweetest little baby ever! 

And when she looks at you with those amazing big,
blue eyes of hers, your heart just melts. 
She even manages to melt old Grandpa's heart too! 

Happy Birthday beautiful baby! 

Thursday, May 31, 2018


Life whizzes by so fast, I didn't get a chance
to share a couple of photos from recent times.

I was greatly blessed recently, to be able to 
share with the ladies from the community of 
Barunga, at a Mothers Day Luncheon. 

 I was invited to share a lesson with the ladies on a
woman in the Bible. Myself and Jen Bauer and a lady from
the church in Barunga each took a woman from the Bible 
to speak about. I chose Hannah, a woman who believed in prayer.

It was a beautiful, cool morning and a lovely time of sharing
and learning more about becoming Godly women.
Some of the ladies were able to share something the Lord
was teaching them and it was a nice time of fellowship.

We  had a nice luncheon and only 3 dogs showed up! 

Then this past Saturday, our small teen group
helped wash our 2 buses that we use for Youth Ministry.
Our trees have been totally taken over by smelly 
bats, that leave their mark all over anything that sits under
the tree they're in. Not pleasant and makes for very messy vehicles. 

We had a great time, and even managed to get 
the buses clean despite looking like all we did was have
a water fight! Ahem. 

We then finished off with some pizza, which
worked well as payment for all our hard work! 


And lastly, I wanted to share this photo taken in
2014. This is the beginnings of our Youth Group.

It's amazing to see what God has done and is doing
here in Katherine. This tiny little group you see in the photo
has increased in number over the past few years
and despite kids coming and going, we still 
have a good group of between 40 and 60 most Friday Nights. 

The Lord has blessed and we are excited to see what God
can do if we continue to be faithful and just keep on doing what
He wants us to do. 

1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch
as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

2 Diseases

Part 2

If Only......

Following on from my previous post on the “What If” disease,
I wanted to address
the second disease. The “If Only” disease.

This disease is similar in that it also displays a lack of faith. As we saw previously, the What If disease looks to the future and worries and fears what God might allow, whereas, the If Only disease looks to the
past and grumbles about what God has given.

The What Ifs lead to anxiety and the If Onlys lead to anger.

Let me explain what the If Only disease looks like.
As I said, the If Only disease looks to the past.
When we have this dreaded malady,
we grumble and complain and make statements such as; “If Only such and such had not happened, If Only I had not arrived at that time, If Only I had not gotten sick, If Only I had not moved here”, and the list goes on. And on. And on.

When we are dwelling on the If Onlys in our lives, we neglect to focus on God and His eternal purpose. We don't seem to remember that God has a plan and a path for us and that His will is perfect and His way is right. We begin to harbour anger in our hearts toward God.

We are so obsessed with what could have been, and what we think should have been, that we are blinded to the One who
orchestrated everything just like it was, for His own purpose.
We begin to chant our If Onlys almost like a mantra, somehow thinking that it will change things after they've already happened.

There are a few examples in scripture of people with the If Only disease.
One that comes to mind is the story of Mary and Martha after their brother Lazarus had died. Let's look at the passage.

John 11:1-6

Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany,
the town of Mary and her sister Martha.

(It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment,
and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)

Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord,
behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.

When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode
two days still in the same place where he was.

Firstly, we see that the Lord Jesus knows of Lazarus' sickness, and yet he stays in the same place for 2 days. He doesn't go straight away.

John 11:14-15

Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there,
to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.

John 11:17

Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.

In these verses we read that Lazarus is dead. And when Jesus finally comes to Bethany, Lazarus has been dead four days already.

John 11:20-21

Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him:
but Mary sat still in the house.

Then said Martha unto Jesus,
Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

John 11:32

Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him,
she fell down at his feet, saying unto him,
Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

And here is where we come to the If Onlys. Notice that both Mary and Martha have the If Only disease. “Lord, IF thou hadst been here.....”
God has all power and all knowledge and yet, he allowed Lazarus to die. He could have come sooner. He could have done things differently, but He chose not to. We read His reason in verses 4 and 15. The Lord Jesus chose not to come sooner in order that He would be glorified and also that the faith of the disciples
would increase and that they might believe.

So, both Mary and Martha struggled with the If Onlys in their lives. I know if I was in their position I would probably have said the same thing. If Only, Lord. Why? They knew of God's power and yet He hadn't come. He had let their beloved brother die. But not out of a lack of love. We see in verse 5 that He loves Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

The workings of the Lord are often a mystery to us and we struggle to answer the questions that arise in our hearts. But it is not ours to question. It's not right for us to grumble and complain and wish God had done things differently.

As we read further down in the passage, we see how the Lord Jesus deals
with the ladies' If Onlys.

John 11:40

Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that,
if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

He meets their 'If' with His own 'If'.
If thou wouldest believe”.
They said, 'If Only you had been here', and He responded with,
'If Only you would have believed'.
Ouch! How many of our Ifs are because of unbelief? We doubt God's ability to handle the situation and we look back and think that He was incapable of dealing with it properly. We hinder ourselves spiritually by going back over the If Onlys and not focusing
on what God has in store for us.

When we have the If Only disease, we dwell on what we don't have instead of being grateful for what we DO have. We are discontent. We lose our perspective.

Another passage in the Bible that exemplifies the If Only disease is the murmuring of the Israelites. We read in the book of Numbers an attitude of discontentment.

Numbers 20:1-5

Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there.

And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered
themselves together against Moses and against Aaron.

And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying,
Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!

And why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD
into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?

And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates;
neither is there any water to drink.

God had miraculously brought the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt and promised them a new and wonderful home, and yet here we find them longing for captivity. They had the dreaded If Only disease.

Firstly, in verse 3, they wished they had died with their brethren, then in verse 5 they are complaining that there are no seeds or figs or pomegranates, and we read in other places that they wished for garlic and leeks too!

Interestingly enough, their 'food' issues weren't really the issue here.

Numbers 20:2

And there was no water for the congregation:
and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron.

The original complaint was because their was no water. But as you read down through the passage you see that they started to complain about anything and everything they missed about Egypt, and then at the end, they remembered the water! “Oh yeah, and we're out of water too.” The actual problem was the lack of water, but they became so distracted by the other negatives, that their negatives multiplied and the orginal problem was all but forgotten. Crowded out by all the other insignificant issues.

The Israelites neglected to remember all that God had done in delivering them. The plagues. The crossing of the Red Sea. The defeating of their numerous enemies.

Our faith and trust is serious to God, and God doesn't look down with a smile and pat us on the head and say, “There, there dear, it's okay that you've forgotten everything I've ever done for you. It's okay that you're not happy with the way I've ordered things for you. It's okay that you're murmuring and complaining about your lot in life. Here's a nice teddy bear to cuddle and I'll just make everything right.”

NO! Emphatically NO! God takes our lack of trust seriously.
Look what happened to Moses and Aaron.

Numbers 20:12

And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron,
Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes
of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this
congregation into the land which I have given them.

They were banished from setting foot in the promised land for not trusting God enough and for not obeying His command. Wow, and we think we have problems!

Peace comes from acceptance. Acceptance of God's perfect will. Accepting the way God orders our lives. Accepting the trials and not resisting the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. When the If Only disease takes over and threatens to derail us, we need to stop and remember. But remember the right things. Remember what God has done for you. Remember what He's brought you through.

If you don't think you have anything big to remember, like the Israelites had, then stop and remember your salvation. Your deliverance from Hell! There is no better 'positive' to focus on then your eternal salvation and your rescue from eternal damnation!
Now that's a BIGGY!

If, when we face the Ifs in our lives, we pause and determine to remember God's goodness, it will bring an end to our pity party. Nobody wants to come to your pity party unless they're having one of their own and want company. But then again, they're not going to want to hear about your troubles anyway, they only want to tell about theirs.

How can you be miserable when you're thinking about all God has done for you! Make a physical list and write it down. Count your many blessings, as the song says. Add to that list. Read it daily. Thank God for it. Spend time praising Him for all He's done.

There's a lot of comfort and encouragement in the Psalms, way too many to list here, but I like these few verses as a reminder on what to remember.

Psalms 77:11-15

I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember
thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.
Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?
Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people. Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.

Chew on that for a while! Wonders! Works! Doings! Strength! Redemption!

Don't let the If Onlys hold you back from serving the Lord.
Banish the What Ifs and the If Onlys from your life.
Bring your problems to the problem solver and leave them there!
Don't dwell on the past. Don't worry over the future.
Take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there.

Philippians 3:13-14

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:
but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind,
and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Losing the Art

Losing the art. Of reading that is. An almost lost and dying art. It's not that some have lost the ability to read, but that they have lost the desire to read. And I don't mean read, as in reading a few funny quotes or memes, but read, as in a BOOK! Ooh! What is that you may say? You remember? Those things made of cardboard and paper that have typed print on them, that you physically lift and turn, and bookmark, and turn down
the corner of the page to save your place! A book!

With the addition of technology in our lives and screens staring us in the face everywhere we look, it's hard to take the time to sit down and read a good book. To let yourself be taken to another world through your imagination, to see characters brought to life through the print on a page. Or maybe to be encouraged, comforted or even rebuked and convicted.

I know that with all the amazing advances in technology nowadays, we have the ability to tap away at our screens and read straight from our handy little device, and I'm not saying that's a bad thing to
make use of. What I'm getting at is, that even on our screens, we seem to have such short attention spans that we can't seem to sit still and focus for long enough to read anything of any length.

When was the last time you read a book? A whole book? Not just portions of a book. Maybe even an article of more than 500 words. An interesting thing I've noticed in writing articles on our family blog, is the amount of traffic it gets or doesn't get. When I post something on a family happening with lots of photos, the crowds go wild! (my definition of more than 20 views!) But when I write anything of substance, on a Biblical topic, that you have to scroll down the page to actually get through, NADA! Zilch! Almost nothing! No interest. Now, maybe it's not interesting or well written, but I'm curious to know if people look and see a couple of pages of reading ahead and go, “Nah, I don't have the time or the patience to read that. Give me something with less than 100 words!”

I just find it sad, that so many people in our churches are disinterested in reading good, wholesome, Christian books or biographies of men and women in the past that have so much experience and insight into the Christian walk and can teach us so many things and point us to Christ and growing more like Him.

I, personally, have learnt so much over the years through reading the stories of Godly missionaries, or books written on specific topics to help me in my Christian walk. There is so much good material out there to make use of.

And what about our Bibles? We have in our hands God's instruction book for life, and yet we flounder around looking for answers, when the answers are sitting right in front of us, on our bedside table, gathering dust.

I know what you're saying, “But I don't have the time!” I know that life is busy. Our lives here in Katherine have grown so busy and I'm so tired, getting up so early, going to bed so late, that I pass myself in the hallway! But, when I think about the time I waste 'surfing' the net on my tablet as I lay in bed waiting for that perfect 'sleepy' feeling to fall upon me, I realise, that I could have better used my time, and read a book for 15 minutes instead. Something that would have helped me or just made me happy or encouraged me. Hmm. Adding up all those 15 minutes each day and maybe more throughout the day, Wow! the amount of books I could have read in that time!

I know this is a random kind of a topic I'm writing on, but I've just been thinking of it a lot lately, as I see my 'book count' dwindle and my 'quick fix reading' increase. What triggered the subject in my mind and
started the cogs turning was this verse:

1 Timothy 4:13

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

I read this verse the other day and thought, wow, in God's Word, we're told, we're commanded to read!
I know that Paul is writing to Timothy here, and instructing
him, but in 2 Timothy 3:16 we read;

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

So, I see it as an instruction to me also.
And here's another,

Revelation 1:3

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Well, if you've made it this far down the page, I'm proud of you! You have just read 846 words! I say all this to encourage you 'readers' out there to keep on, and also to remind you 'non readers' of the importance of reading. And not just any reading. Reading the Word of God, and studying it, and learning from it and using other helpful books as tools that will help guide you into truth and teach you and me both, to grow more like Christ.

Please take this gentle exhortation (and I need it too),
as a personal challenge to dedicate more time to
Godly and wholesome reading. This week, take note
of just how often you make time to read, then try and improve on it.

Isaiah 34:16a

Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read

Friday, May 25, 2018

Can't Help Myself

Oh, and here's our precious girls :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

2 Deadly Diseases

Recently, I was reading about 2 spiritual diseases that a Christian can have.
The “if” diseases. These 2 diseases are similar, but different.
Both display an absence of faith.

Firstly, the What If disease. The What If disease looks to the future
and worries and fears what God might allow. 

Secondly, the If Only disesase. This disease looks to the past and
grumbles about what God has given.

What If leads to anxiety.
If Only leads to anger. 

In this post, I'd like to look at the first disease.
What If.

At some time in our lives we will catch this disease, and unfortunately for some, many times. This disease manifests itself in many forms, but they all begin with “What If”.

What If God doesn't answer in time? What If God doesn't answer like I want Him to? What If something happens to my family? Or my job? Or my child?
What If What If What If?

Have a look at these verses found in the book of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 17:5-8 

Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man,
and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.

For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh;
but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
in a salt land and not inhabited.

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD,
and whose hope the LORD is.

For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters,
and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh,
but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought,
neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

As I said before, these 2 diseases display a lack of faith.
In these verses, the Lord says that a man is cursed that trusteth in himself.
This lack of faith puts his trust in himself or in some other man, instead of God. When we are trusting in man, we are putting our confidence in the wisdom and power of man, instead of the God who gives all wisdom and power and who wants and deserves our
trust and our faith and our worship.

The verses goes on to say that the cursed man makes 'flesh his arm'.
We know that often in the Bible the arm is a symbol of strength.

Psalms 89:10
….thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm.

Here in this context it has the idea of strength, power and might.

So to make our flesh our strength is foolish as we know that our flesh is weak.

We read in Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Our flesh is likened to mankind, to the human nature with its frailities, morally or physically. But even if we look at it literally as a piece of flesh without bones or sinew, then it is still weak.

So to put trust in something that is weak and feeble, and not to trust God who is mighty and powerful, is foolishness and God curses that man.

The verse also says that the cursed man's heart departs from the Lord.
He turns aside from the Lord. He may draw nigh to God with his mouth
and say that his hope is in the Lord, but in his heart he is not trusting the
Lord and he is departing from His leading and not heeding His counsel. 

Often when the What Ifs come into our lives, we try to control, strategize, manipulate and
'help' God. Waiting on Him is too hard. It's too slow. So we handle the uncertainity of the What Ifs by using control tactics. How foolish it is that we think that
we can control an Almighty God! 

The Bible tells us that if we trust in our own strength, we shall be like the heath in the desert. Stripped. Destitute. Barren. A wasteland. We will inhabit the
'parched places' in a 'salt land'.

In our travels around Australia, we came across many salt lakes. As beautiful as they were, they were barren wastelands. Hot, dry and uninhabited. Not the
kind of place you'd want to live.

Contrast this cursed man with the blessed man. What a difference! This is a man who trusts. He has hope and confidence in the Lord. His is secure and knows
his safety is in God's hand.

When our eyes are focused on God in times of drought, we look to Him and our leaf stays green and we bear fruit even when the heat cometh. I love how the verse tells us that we don't even see when the heat cometh. We're not fearful,
concerned or anxious because our hope is in the Lord.

Our roots are deep in the living water of God's Word and His promises. We look to Him to sustain us. We don't have to fear the drought. We don't even see when the heat cometh, we are that secure in Him. We are so rooted in the His life giving water,
that we don't notice the heat that is upon us.

Isaiah 41:10

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed;
for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee;
yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Psalms 112:7

He shall not be afraid of evil tidings:
his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.

I love the fact that our hearts can be 'fixed'. The meaning here is firm, stable, established, secure, steadfast, settled. Trusing in the Lord. But alternatively, our hearts can be 'fixed' by the Lord Jesus too. He is a healer of broken hearts and He can
'fix' our wicked hearts and wash them clean.

If our hearts are fixed, we can be at peace. Do you trust in God so wholeheartedly that you believe He is with you in your anxiety, even though you
don't see any evidence of His presence and power?

Our What Ifs will drive us to God and faith or they'll drive us to worry and dependence on self. God brings peace. Worry only brings misery.

When we try and 'help' God out, it only leads to anxiety. If our eyes are focused on God, our leaf will be green and fruit will be produced, God's Word promises this.

Psalms 1:3 

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither;
and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

It's so easy to try and take things into our own hands when we face the What Ifs in our lives. If we hope in God and put our total trust in Him, then we will not fear. We will be content and not anxious. God's Word tells us that we can still bear fruit in the midst of our trials. Our times of drought can be times of fruitfulness. It sounds contradictory doesn't it? How can we possibly bear fruit when the heat beats down upon us and we feel our strength failing? By trusting in the Lord, that's how. By keeping our hope in the Lord and not departing from Him. By holding to His promises and by letting Him have our What Ifs. By refusing to let our What Ifs stand in the way of His perfect will.
By giving all our cares and worries to Him.

Psalms 55:22

Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee:
he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Rest in His promises. Let God carry you and your burdens.
Don't fall victim to the What If disease.
God is bigger than all the 'ifs' in our lives. Open your hearts to Him
and let him take the 'what ifs' and replace them with His peace.

Elisabeth Elliot once said:

Neither go back in fear and misgiving to the past, nor in anxiety and forecasting to the future, but lie quiet under His hand, having no will but His”

Lying quiet under His hand. No What Ifs. Only peace.

To be continued …....................