Thursday, 29 March 2012

Anna Bligh falls victim of fatalism.

'I know I'm going to lose this election! Please don't give the new government a large majority!' For the whole week leading to Queensland's election last Saturday, our premier repeated her mantra every time a reporter questioned her.

We live in strange times! I've never heard another politician speak of defeat before the polls.  Anna Bligh was waving the white flag, surrendering, giving up. There was still enough time for this Premier of Queensland to give us some positive reason to vote for her team, but she had fallen victim to fatalism. The history of elections dictated that the Labour party had survived past their use by date. They were due to be defeated. She had accepted it as 'fait accompli' before she even began. 'We defied gravity the last two elections. This one must be lost.'

Two days before we voted, the bookies closed their bets on the elections result, declared it a win to the opposition and paid out their punters . The writing was on the wall. Everyone knew, as she had declared, that they would be defeated. 

Some years ago one of my many 'daughters' told me that she didn't have time to study for an exam. 'But that's okay. If God wants me to pass, I'll get through. If I fail I'll know I wasn't supposed to do this course.'

I became very angry. 'That is not faith! It is fatalism masquerading as faith.'

See faith is active. It pushes toward a goal with determination and against all odds. It never says 'Que sara, sara.' It pushes against what would normally happen on earth and brings the Kingdom of God into play.

Anna Bligh couldn't do that. As most of you would know, last weekend Queenslanders rushed to the polls and decimated her long standing government with a massive swing. Every one, regardless of political persuasion,  is shocked. The Labour party, who held a comfortable majority, now occupies less than 7% of the seats.

So what happened? I'm not a political commentator but this much I know. We create our world with our words. Anna Bligh spoke her massive defeat into being. Behavioural scientist tell us that the human brain doesn't compute negative words. The voters, subconsciously, heard her say again and again. 'Give them a big majority'. And they did exactly that.

My 'daughter' recognised fatalism at work in her life, fought against the defeatism is spawned, and went on to achieve great scholastic results. 

However, the Labour party, Australia wide, is still blinded by the lie. Tragically, they continue to blame history, timelines, and other factors for their defeat. As long as they can blameshift, they won't be able to face the truth behind the massacre and grasp its lessons.

The ancient Isrealites suffered from fatalism and it caused them to wander the dessert for forty years. In the face of giants, they fell victim to the belief that they were only grasshoppers in the giants' sight. Two men exercised faith. 'With God, we can defeat them.' But the nation believed the scientific evidence, lifting it to a level of worship above God. 'Our fate is settled!'

Even if the politicians can't learn the lesson we can. Let's root out fatalism from our lives and walk free, in faith exercising our right and ability to expect great things through our God. The good Book tells me that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I chose to put that truth above all other evidence.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Fiction - a valid form of teaching?

My young friend was so shocked I thought his face was going to drop off his head. He has been eagerly awaiting the release of my book. The other day I told him that the book was a fiction. His disappointment was clear.
'But...but I've never read a fiction.' Between his words I could hear, 'I've never wasted my time on such trivial things. I'm a serious student of the Word.'
Trying to recover, he continued. 'I guess I could try and read a fiction.' He sounded doubtful.
'Jesus talked fiction.' I waited for the idea to sink in. 'The Bible refers to His stories as parables.'
As I've preached in the last months, my young friend has heard me refer to my book . He is expecting good solid teaching. He won't be disappointed. The teaching is there, but it is encapsulated in story, drama, struggles and real life, instead of clearly articulated points, lists and carefully referenced theology. 
Jesus used both forms of communication to teach his followers, disciples and dissenters. But it is the stories that are remembered, repeated and pondered over. We have taught our children basic life principles using stories like 'The boy who cried Wolf,' so why has fiction been pushed into a genre that is considered lesser literature than a non-fiction book. Consider 'Anne of Green Gables', 'Oliver,' 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'Brave Heart'. The stories remain part of us, long after the book is shut or the movie closes. Scenes return to our minds at unexpected times. They lead us and guide us.
That is my prayer for 'Though the Bud be Bruised.' May the story remain in the readers mind and bring wisdom, understanding and a deeper love of God, as the months and years pass. May it bring hope of healing to those in pain and clarity to those who are confused. These are big expectations, but I have a big God. He asked me to write the book and I have, presenting it as well as I could. Now I release it to Him. I have written it on paper. It is His role to write it on readers hearts.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Romance, I love it!

    Romance! Everyone loves a little romance. Little girls snuggle into their Daddy and then mischievously hide from his kiss. Teenage girls dream about, giggle and talk about boys constantly.  Then as they get older they hope for romance with stars in their eyes. Women read about it, consuming book after book.
My little grandsons love to pick flowers from my garden to give to their mother when she arrives home. And Miss Four flirts shamelessly with her teenage brother.
    Steve and I still enjoy romance. A bit over a year ago, we were on holidays on the Gold Coast, walking along Currumbin Creek, when Steve picked up a felt pen off the ground to put it in the bin. A little later he called me over to the picnic table to display his handiwork. After sixty years, there is romance, much to the amusement of our tribe of granddaughters.
    Romance is about one person attracting the attention of another because they like them. They want to spent time with them. Some go to extraordinary lengths because they want the other person to like them as well.
    When Steve and I were dating, he would drive me home from church, via the longest route he could find! He wanted to spend more time with me. If he was restoring his trailer he wanted me there. When I was sewing, he was hanging around, waiting, poking, looking for my company. All part of romance which was fired by his hope of spending the rest of his life with me.
   But the greatest romantic of all time is the lover of our souls. The whole Bible is a love letter to mankind, written by a passionate God who is intensely jealous for our undivided hearts. He was so passionate for the attention of His chosen race, Israel, that when he rescued them from bondage he led them to their promised land by the longest possible route. Why? He wanted to show off His power, provision and care. He wanted to park at Mt Sinai so the love of His life could know Him better. He used fire, smoke and special effects. He showered them with gifts and laid down His plans for a continuing relationship.
    Sometimes He got so frustrated that He felt like ending the friendship and finding another lover! It all sounds so familiar doesn't it?
    And today he still loves us. He pursues each one of us, hoping for our eyes and our heart to turn and meet His gaze of love.
    I don't know about you but sometimes this is not my personal experience. God can seem to be a long way off and completely disinterested in my blight or circumstances. But on other occassions, He feels so close that I find my breathe catching in my throat. Over the years I have learned God is always active in relationship with me. Any breach is on my part.
    So I watch for Him, for His presence, alert for the little unexpected gifts He leaves me on the way. One birthday I was driving my neice to the train when I spied his present for me near the edge of the road. I pulled the car over. A wild duck led her tiny fluffy ducklings through the grass right past my car. I love the wonder of nature. That was years ago and I still get a thrill when I think of the day God gave me a birthday present!  
A couple of weeks ago I was worshipping as I walked down our long driveway, leaving for my early morning walk. God drew my attention of one of the trees that border our drive. And there it was. So perfect. His message of love for me. Just for me. He has my attention! I'm committed. I've told Him I'd love to spend eternity with Him. Meanwhile I'm waiting and watching. Maybe He'll carves initials in it one day or maybe He'll do something else totally unexpected. 

Friday, 2 March 2012

Nervous at the Printer

My book 'Though The Bud Be Bruised' is nearly ready to go to the printers. I'm both exciting and apprehensive. I've wanted to tell this story for twenty years. The book, a faction, covers a period in my life where my firm foundations in God were poured, with much blood, sweat and tears. It is an amazing story of God's grace and compassion, determination and faithfulness, discipline and love. It relates the revelations and insights He gave me, the miracles He performed and the the way He kept His Word.
So why would I be nervous?
There are several reasons. How will the critics and reviewers receive my first attempt at a novel?  I'm nervous because I can be very picky about other people's writing, so I expect my inexperience as a writer will be fair fodder to any professional.
Secondly, some of the content of the book will be shocking, especially those who know me but don't know the full story of those difficult years. My mentors have tried to help me present the truth as gently as possible, but sometimes truth is stark and there is no way of softening the blow!
What will people think of me? The book is raw and transparent. Will my readers give Zara enough grace? Will they understand that she can't be perfect and get it right first time? Will they judge her decisions and reactions as wrong. 
In the earlier stages of writing this book, one of my 'readers' was very judgemental toward Zara and Sam. I was for an instant shocked by her comments, but then understood her reaction was about my writing, not about me personally. These comments helped me to fix weak areas in my writing for which I am grateful.
However my excitement far out weighs these concerns. The truths I learned will be published for everyone to hear. Anyone can read of the wonderful things God has done in my life. That's exciting! 
I hope many enjoy the read and then recommend the book to others just because it is good. And as Jesus told parables so some would hear and understand, so I publish this book. To some it will be a great story, to others, may it bring hope and life!