Thursday, 26 January 2012

Happy Australia Day

    How did you celebrate our nations birthday? At the Ettomogarah pub on the sunshine coast they ran 'dunny' races. Elsewhere Aussies were backing racing cockroaches, throwing thongs (in other countries known as flip flops) and racing ride-on mowers. Others have eaten prawns, lamb roasts and fired up the 'barbie'.
Here in our home we've enjoyed a quiet slower day. We've watched the cricket and now the tennis as is our nations custom on this day. And we ate corned silverside! In my opinion there is nothing more australian. I'm old enough to remember the 'real' corned beef. Pickled in brine to preserve it so when the fresh meat is finished there is still meat for the family to eat.
When I was a kid we lived on a cattle property in Central Queensland. My dad killed and butchered a steer to provide our meat. He cleaned the beast by swinging it from a tree, pulling it up with a tractor. With our neighbours help, he chopped the beast in two and then cut each side into three. One half was thrown in the boot of the neighbours car and ended up on their table. Our half was hung in the farm shed, a structure that had neither walls or floor. Next morning Dad rose at 3am to 'butcher' our meat before the woke up! He cut it into chunks. To Mum's frustration, neither she or Dad knew which part of the beast made good steak, so all meat was stewed, casseroled, roasted or corned.
So here's to corned silverside-a real aussie meal. Even after my parents acquired a kerosene freezer, we still soaked some of our meat in brine. Mum would push her hand and arm to the bottom of a five gallon drum and pull out a greyish chunk of meat and drop it into boiling water. We ate corned beef the way others eat sliced ham. As a child, I didn't know anyother meat but beef existed. Why spend money on lamb and sausages when there was plenty of beef in the back yard? Christmas and Easter we lashed out and chased down a chook or two. Dad rung their necks and dunked them in boiling water to remove their feathers. But that's another story.
I count it a privelege to be an Aussie, born and bred. I'm grateful for my Australian bush childhood and so thankful to live in the best country in the world.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Cleaning the Windows of our Soul

    It's a novel experience at my house, but the windows are clean. Wow, what a difference it makes! It seems the whole house is smiling. It was all Miss Ten's fault. She wanted to earn some money and decided the windows needed work. Her mother arrived to take her home before the job was finished of course, but once started I was forced to continue.
    Early this morning I finished the last door. So I have a question for you. What is the difference between these two pictures. You guessed it! These are the before and after shots. What a difference a little spray and a bunched piece of newsprint can make.
    Its like life really. There are days when everything looks dreary and life doesn't seem clear. Days when depression is knocking on the door and there doesn't seem any good reason to hold the door shut against its persuasive push.
    Maybe its time to clean the windows of the soul. Start with sudsy water to remove the heavy dirt. Scrub off all the built up resentments and forgiveness, gossip and judgements. Remove all spider eggs and mess left by the geckos. It may take effort but all debris left behind by the enemy must be scrubbed from your mind. The blood of Jesus is a fail proof detergent for such cleaning efforts. 
    Then your soul looks a little like the first picture. You can see out but things are blurry. How do we polish up our soul so everything is bright and inviting? As I rubbed my windows with newspaper, it became obvious. It is the Word of God that brightens us and brings clarity to our lives. First, spray liberally with worship and adoration of our amazing God. Together they are a guaranteed transforming formula!
    One last piece of advice - clean your soul regularly. It brings clarity, brightness and pleasure!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Ouch! An iPhone injury!

I'm blaming my new iPhone! It is heavier than the old one, but I think the main problem is I discovered a Kindle app. Now I can buy books from Amazon and read them on my phone. Surprisingly,it is comfortable and easy. On Saturday, I read a good size novel that I couldn't source any other way. And I enjoyed it! 
Then I started to read my Bible on the phone, daily, about 8 or 9 chapters a day. I'm reading the Message, but with a click on a button and I can select another version for comparison. 
All of that is fantastic but I've fallen victim to an ailment of the technology age. RSI. Yes I have a repetitive strain injury in my left thumb, caused by the hours of holding the phone and flicking or scrolling pages. Ouch!
I didn't realise how much I rely on my left thumb. It is nearly impossible to rest it. My right hand is helping in any way it can and the fingers on the left hand are trying to shelter it to give it time to recover. Even the arm and shoulders are taking an increased load!
Which reminds me of Paul's teaching about the importance of every part of the body of Christ. Every person is important, no matter how insignificant that part of the body may appear! One part hurts, all parts are affected.
The rest of my body may not have noticed the problem in the thumb except for the pain which stopped the body working in its normal efficient way. If there is a need of ground pepper another part of the body will have to step up and help!
Similarly, I know a member of the body of Christ that is suffering from RSI. Too much service, even though enjoyable, has caused pain in this part of the body. For a while the member kept trying to do everything asked of her, but there was too much. The pain signified a problem: not just a pain in a person, but a discomfort that affects everyone in the body. The members close to the affected area are carrying extra load for a while until the problem is sorted and the pain eases.
And today I've talked to another part of the body that's had emotional RSI for years and years. The rest needed to recover hasn't been taken. The injury is now severe and the body of Christ is weaker because of it.
So today I'm wondering how often I've overlooked a part of the body that is pain? Have I helped to bring healing and wholeness, or have I judged that member of the family, and, in my ignorance, left the body, of which I'm a part, weaker and disabled.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Yes, it's a new year and I'm excited

Welcome Twenty Twelve! 

As is our tradition, this year Dawn, Steve and I watched the new year's first light creep over the ocean. We worshipped our Lord as the light started to colour the sky and we thanked Him for all this year will bring. And we waited to catch that first beam of sunlight. But the sun was shy. It hid behind a cloud as though reluctant to open this new era.
 As we watched it seemed the cloud bank lifted with the sun, protecting the sun, holding its direct light at bay. Clearly the sun was there. The whole world was awake, but in the shadow of that cloud. I started to pray that God would remove the blockages in me that stopped the full light of His love and passion to shine upon me and through me. I asked that any cloud that hindered His full work through me this year would be dissipated.
And we considered God's ways. The full light of God's plans will burst forth this year, in His good timing.
 As we waited we ate from the table prepared for us. We remembered that Jesus body was broken so that we may live in the light. Jesus blood was poured out so we could be free, free to live and walk as Jesus walked on the earth. Like the gentle breeze the presence of God flowed through us and around us.

We toasted Jesus. As our glasses clinked together I knew that this year is significant in His purposes.  Then my new year's resolution became clear. This year I will endeavour to keep all my reactions and responses in line with Jesus. I will trust God has all things in control. I will walk in the confidence of being His child. I will love constantly, be joyful always, pray without ceasing.
What will God do this year? I'm not sure but I do know I want to be in the midst of those circumstances.
So I've activated two bible reading plans on my iPhone. One will guide me through the whole Message Bible in a year. The other helps me explore the New Testament in three months. It is a lot of reading I know, but how can I hope to fulfil my new years resolution without the power of the Word to strengthen me and guide me.
This morning I found an amazing verse.
And here I am, 
your invited guest-it's incredible!
I enter your house;
Here I am prostrate in your inner sanctum,
waiting for directions 
to get me safely through enemy lines.
Ps 5:7&8
Yes, It's incredible! I'm His guest. And as the year progresses the shadows will disappear and His Sun will shine forth. And He'll tell me exactly what to do! Yes, it's a new year and I'm excited!