Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Short Attention Span

For those of you with a very short
attention span, this video is for you!
 17 seconds and you can drift away..........

I don't know about you, but it makes
me want to go out and lie under the stars ★☆
and listen to the birds. 🐦🐦

P.S. You have to view it small.
When you look at it full screen,
you can't see it clearly. Rats!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Cast Thy Burden Upon the LORD

 As I look around me, I see so many people who are hurting. So many people going through a time of trial and testing. Family members, friends and loved ones. Myself included. All dealing with some kind of hardship. And I'm talking about saved people. People that love the Lord and are
doing their best to serve Him.

I've written about trials and testings recently, but when you're going through difficult times, it's a time to fall to your knees and search the scriptures looking for wisdom and help. In these times, I find that certain verses tend to jump out at you and take on a whole new meaning.

Psalm 55 was brought to my attention through a sermon and I began to think about King David's life and the difficult circumstances he found himself in.

Here was a man who had people wanting to kill him. And we think we have it bad! I'm sure none of us have someone seeking our life. Our time, our energies, our advice, our resources, but NEVER our life. Yes, these things feel like they are sapping the life out of us, slowly and painfully.

David states in Psalms 55:5
Fearfulness and trembling
are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.

Of late, I have had times when I feel like this. I am fearful and trembling and the trial feels like a horror overwhelming me. It is then I want to cry out like David did in verses 6 and 7: “Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.”

How many times do we wish ourselves somewhere else? We wish we could just fly away to the wilderness and remain their forever. All our troubles gone. But, you know, I thought about that, and well, then we'd be all alone with a miserable sinner. Ourselves. Saved by grace, yes. But, miserable. I think pretty soon, the excitement would wear off and we'd find ourselves even more lonely and miserable than we were to start with. Besides getting hungry!

But, David doesn't stop there. When we get down to verses 16 and 17 he says, As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.”

David realised where his salvation lay. In the Lord. And he decides to call upon God to save him. And not just once either. Evening, morning and noon.

How many times do we cry out to God and then despair that He didn't answer right away? God desires us to come to Him continually.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing”
His ways are not our ways. His thoughts not our thoughts. So, just because we are going through a period of testing, doesn't mean that God will answer in the way you want, right away. He has a purpose for these seasons in our lives. And we can come boldly to Him and pray for deliverance, over and over until God brings the peace that we need.

In the sermon, it was said this way, “Keep on praying until you have the victory. Keep on praying until peace comes. When peace settles in , then you can stop praying”. We all know that peace that only God can bring. And we know the moment it is there. The burden is lifted and we feel like we've broken through the gates of heaven into God's heart and He is lifting that heavy burden off our backs and we don't have to carry it anymore.

As a child, I saw the film “Pilgrim's Progress”, and one scene that has never left my memory is of Christian, when he makes it to the bottom of the hill, and he looks up, and sees the cross. He climbs the hill to the cross and as he kneels there, his heavy burden falls off his back and rolls down the hill into an empty tomb. Oh, the blessedness of that very moment. I didn't understand the significance of that moment until I was much older, but Oh how many times I have lived through that very situation and God has brought peace to my troubled heart.

This brings me to one of my favourite verses of scripture found in this passage.

Psalms 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD,
and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

I started looking at the Hebrew meanings for some of the words in this verse and I actually found the word “Cast” to be very interesting. It has the meaning of: to throw out, down or away (literally or figuratively):—adventure, cast (away, down, forth, off, out), hurl, pluck, throw. Did you see that? Hurl. Throw. This is not a passive act of letting the burden slide slowly off our backs, half-heartedly, because we really don't want to let go of our burden. “Just wait Lord, I have to undo the straps. Oh, and there's another buckle, oh, and a tie, and, well, you might as well go about your business Lord, this could take a while” .

No! Emphatically No! The meaning here is to HURL! PLUCK! THROW! Wow! How many of us hurl our burdens upon the Lord? Actually, literally, meaningfully, really truly cast
our burdens upon the LORD.

We like to hang onto our burdens don't we? Maybe we think that we might be able to get it sorted without God's help. Maybe we're worried how it might turn out if we really give them over to God.
We hand them over, only to take them back again. How foolish we are! Just like in the little poem at the start of this, we like to “cast our confidence away and carry all our cares.”

I know reading this Psalm was a challenge to me to see all David went through, yet he trusted the Lord to pull him through. His life was in danger, yet he cried out to God. Because he had grasped the fact that there was only One who
could save him and that was the LORD.

When we really get a hold of this truth, that God will never leave us or forsake us and that he WILL sustain us when we cast our burdens on Him, it says, “He shall NEVER suffer the righteous to be moved.”

What a great comfort that should be to our souls.

I'll leave you with a verse that has been a comfort to me through many difficult times.

2 Timothy 1:7

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Written by John Bunyan

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Umbrawarra Gorge

I know, 2 posts in one day.
A bit much.
But, I have time today....

Yesterday, Dave actually had a full day off!
This is very rare because Territorians REALLY
love their iced coffee, so he can't miss a day
delivering it! LOL.

Anyway, a place I've been dying to visit is
Umbrawarra Gorge. Only an hour and half
north of here. I know, we've been here for ages
and so on and so on.
Better late than never.
Besides, you have to see it in the dry,
but not too dry, or the water is just a trickle.
And not in the wet or you can't get there.

Anyway, I will just post photos and let
them speak for themselves.
(ha! so NOT happening)

We don't get to swim much here because of crocodiles.
Pretty much, if it doesn't have a cement or tiles
base in your water hole, forget it!
It's not safe!
Except here. I hope!

The girls got to get a taste of fast flowing water.

Emilee and Dave stayed nice and dry.
Except when Emilee slipped.
You have NO idea how hard it is to clamber over
rocks with only one eye!
Try it some time. I did and nearly came a cropper!

The cliffs are huge and magnificent!

Okay, so I couldn't resist.
I had to join the girls.
It was beautiful.

On the way home we took a look at a dam,
and only a look after reading the sign.

And once more, I couldn't help myself.
The clouds were calling my name.

Genesis 1:31

And God saw every thing that he had made,
and, behold, it was very good.
And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Clouds and Windscreens

Yes, I know. Random title for a blog post.
But, you'll understand in a minute.

Wet season is almost over, so I've had to make
sure I get outside and take some last snaps
of the dark grey clouds before all we see
is blue sky for 6 months!
Yay! Bring on the Dry!

Now, onto windscreens.

Since getting our old Hiace back from
getting it's 'new' motor in, we've been sporting
the latest fashion in bus rear windows.
(that's another story)

Well, on Wednesday, we were finally able to
replace the cardboard with a more permanent
window that doesn't leak or go soggy and need
replacing after every storm.

So, we move onto Thursday evening.
Being the awesome man that Dave is,
we headed out to do a recovery of a very bogged
vehicle for a friend of ours.

Yeah, he was stuck!

Long story short. We couldn't get him out.
But Dave gave it his best shot, but the mud
just wasn't letting go without a fight......
or in our case, a busted rear window
for the cruiser this time!
(the anchor point on the bogged vehicle
decided to give way and send the D shackle hurtling
back towards the cruiser, smashing
through the back window,
after denting the back door, and landing
safe  and sound, on the back passenger seat.

We rejoiced that it didn't travel into the front seat
and into Dave's head, and also that there was
no one else
in the vehicle at the time.
(the glass shards made it to Dave's
hair and clothes and
all over the cars interior, but that's an easy clean)

Emilee got to do her first recovery attempt
and her muddies just dug in and spun.
(tried pulling with 2 vehicles, but still the mud
refused to give up its prize)

I have put together a short video for you
to enjoy all the action.
Right down to the 'smashing' of the window,
and the snapping of the snatch strap in another attempt.


(which I'm sure you will, as it's not your cruiser!)

After videoing the action for a while,
I became mesmerized by the ominous clouds
overhead and focused my attention on them instead.

After a while, the heavens opened up,
and down it came. All the way home.
Another new experience for Emilee.

Driving in the pelting rain, in an unfamiliar paddock,
splashing in the mud,
manoeuvring through washouts,
not able to see a thing because
the windscreen won't unfog,
and struggling to get the window
wound up in the process.
(Oh yeah. And guess who got the gates?
Yours truly)

But hey! It was another Holmes family adventure.
And we wouldn't trade them for anything!
That's what memories are made of.

Hmmm.... now I guess we start hunting around
for a new back door, preferably with a window in it.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Definite Prayer

In my studying lately, I have been learning about the importance of definite prayer.

Meaning: clearly stated or decided, not doubtful, explicitly precise.

There are many examples in the Bible of men and women praying definite prayers.

And receiving definite answers.
One of my favourites is found in the book of Joshua.

Joshua 10:12-14

Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.

I noticed something in these verses. Joshua wasn't vague in his asking (or demanding, as it's not written as a question). He didn't say to the Sun, “Just stay up all day will you?” No. He definitely, clearly, decidedly, told the Sun to stand still upon Gibeon, and the Moon to stay in the valley of Ajalon. He told them WHERE to stay. He wasn't at all vague with his request. And God granted it and made it happen.

Another example is of Abraham’s servant, when he was sent to find a bride for Isaac.

Genesis 24:12-14

And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham. Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast
shewed kindness unto my master.

Genesis 24:18-19

And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they
have done drinking.

The servant asks definitely of God, even down to the exact words, and the damsel speaks those words and gives him confirmation of God's will.

Now, we might say that we're not like Joshua or Abraham's servant, and we don't have God's ear like they did. Well, we should. And we can! If we are really in the will of God, and we know that it is His perfect will, then we can be definite in demanding of God and we can expect to receive it.

Now, I'm not saying that we should demand things of God in a 'give me' spirit. Hear me out.

These men and women in the Bible that obtained definite answers from God, were walking with God. Their lives were characterised by a life of faith.

Definite praying does not mean that you try to make God come to your viewpoint. Rather, it means finding just what the Lord wants to give you, and what He wants you to ask for, and then praying the prayer that the Holy Spirit lays on you heart.”
John R.Rice

So, maybe I'll back up here and explain some things about indefinite prayer.

Of course, being indefinite means, not precise, not clear, vague. The opposite of definite, funnily enough.

Indefinite prayer often shows a sinful state of the heart. It is often an insincere formality. It shows that there is no burden, no urgency, no heart desire.

Indefinite prayer proves that we haven’t found the will of God, so we don't know
exactly what we should pray for.

Romans 8:26-27

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Here in Romans, we see that we don't always know what we should pray for. Sometimes, we hesitate to ask specifically for anything, because we don't have the faith that anything will happen. Other times it's because we don't know what the will of the Lord is.

But the verses tell us that the Spirit will make intercession for us. He intercedes for us. With groanings which cannot be uttered.

Barnes puts it like this :"The Spirit greatly aids or supports us in those deep emotions, those intense feelings, those inward sighs, which cannot be expressed in language, but which he enables us to bear, and which are understood by Him that searcheth the hearts."

So, where does all this lead us? To this. Indefinite prayer is the result of not being led of the Holy Spirit. If we have grieved the Holy Spirit by our sin or have ignored His plans, we have no assurance that we are in His will and we don't know the mind of God. So, we can't be definite in our prayers.

..........since we don't know how to pray as we ought (because we don't know the mind of God), the Holy Spirit interprets our prayers according to the intent of our hearts , and He intercedes for us so that our prayer is made to conform to the will of God. And we have this assurance . . . that for those who love the Lord and have committed their lives to the accomplishment of his purpose on earth, the Lord uses everything that comes into their lives to bring about the good He has purposed for them” R.H.

Men and women of God in the Bible that received definite answers, were being led of the Spirit. They knew what to pray for and
they expected from God their desires.

If we haven't made ourselves familiar with God's plans, through the Word of God, and found the will of God, through reading and studying and praying, by the Spirit's leading, we
cannot be definite in our prayers.

How often do we pray through our prayer list, almost by rote, letting name after name slip off our tongue, with almost no thought as to that person's real condition and how we should be praying for them. Guilty as charged.

I know it's easy to go to prayer meeting, listen to heartfelt requests, then speedily pray through our list and, Amen. We're done. But what about the Spirit's leading in our prayers. Do we pray for what God wants us to pray for? It's easy to pray out of a sense of duty or to please others
or as a matter of habit.

Sometimes, I think it would be better to cut things out of our list and really get sincere in praying specifically and definitely for fewer requests, then to prattle on meaninglessly, with no heart and no leading of the Spirit.

My desire is that God would deepen my prayer life. Help it not to be a shallow, splashing about haphazardly, type of prayer life, but a deep, focused, meaningful, Spirit led time. Centred on God's perfect will. It takes time, and quiet and focus. Sometimes, I find I just need to be still and listen for the Spirit's leading. Sitting still is hard for me. I find it hard to sit still and focus on anything, let alone what God wants to say to me. Studying is so much easier as it means DOING something. Prayer requires a stillness. Eyes closed in silent prayer. Not moving. Talking with God.

Often I don't know how to pray for something. I'm unsure how to ask or even what to ask, but I do know that I can ask God for wisdom and He will guide me to know how to pray as I ought.

And I have the confidence that if I am praying according to His will, He will hear me.

1 John 5:14

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that,
if we ask any thing according to his will,
he heareth us:

So, we shouldn't pray definitely, demanding something be done, unless we have clear leading that it is the will of God. And to find the will of God, we have to be in the Word of God.

God wants us to bring our requests to Him. He longs for us to be specific in our prayers. We know that God knows our thoughts and He knows our needs even before we bring them to Him, but He desires us to pray to Him and cry out to Him in humbleness, and ask great things of Him.

Matthew 7:7

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

If we pray in general, such as, “Bless me, Lord”, how will we know if He has answered?

We didn't ask definitely, and specifically to be blessed in a certain way.

Sometimes, we really are at a loss as to how to pray for something definitely, such as praying for someone and not knowing if the issue is a spiritual one or a physical one. God still hears and answers our prayers even when we are unsure how to pray. If we are walking with the Lord and have our hearts in the right place, He will answer and
we will know when He does.

I have so much to learn on this subject and I've begun to realise that I've only just skimmed the surface. There is so much more depth to praying definitely. It is fathomless.

But, if I wait on the Lord and let the Holy Spirit speak to me, I know that He will answer and lead me in
how I ought to pray.

"If you can pray a prayer that is
put there by the Holy Spirit,
then you can be bold in praying
for a definite answer."

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Camp Out

Genesis 1:14-18
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament
of the heaven to divide the day from the night;
and let them be for signs,
and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven
to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day,
and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven
to give light upon the earth,
18 And to rule over the day and over the night,
and to divide the light from the darkness:
and God saw that it was good.

Ok, so I'm SUPER excited about this first photo!
This was my first ever attempt at star
trail photography, using time lapse photography
and image stacking!
This photo consists of 129 photos, at 30 second
exposure, using image stacking
to achieve the final result.

I have always wanted to try it and didn't really know
how, but, thumbs up to Google!

Anyway, SUPER EXCITED here!

Now, onto other things.
Firstly, here is one of the 129 photos used
in the star trail photo.

Still beautiful, I think.

Anyway, on Tuesday night, we drove 40 km
out of town to camp out for the night.
Sometimes, we just long for the peace and quiet that
goes with being out under the stars, away from
town and noisy neighbours and barking dogs.
And then, of course, we were hankering for a fire,
roasted marshmallows and the quiet life.

We had to wait until Maddie finished work at 5pm,
then had to be back in the morning for Emilee to
work (Dave didn't have any milk to
deliver on Wednesday
which was why we took the opportunity).

So, we loaded up, drove out of town,
set up camp and settled back. Ah. Joy. Bliss.
Here's our little home away from home.

Chloe has an interesting way of anchoring
her swag down. Use an ant nest!

Here's Emilee in the morning,
and Maddie starting the fire and Chloe
bringing wood, or leaves, or something.
You just never know with her!

Dave and I were snug in our little rooftop tent.
We probably jumped the gun a little with the weather.
We've all been getting excited that dry season is
just around the corner, but the weather hasn't cooled
down terribly yet, so it was quite
warm until later in the
night. Mozzies were buzzing,
but they didn't bother us.
The warm weather didn't stop
us from lighting our fire
and sitting around it with Billy tea and bikkies.
(We just sat further back)

Of course, as usual, I wandered around taking photos
until it got dark enough to set up the camera and
let it do its thing until bedtime.

In the morning, we packed up and
headed back into town
in time for the days routine to start.
School, work, housework etc etc.

But it was a nice break, very brief,
but enjoyed nonetheless.