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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Monday, August 27, 2012

I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.  ~Ruth Stout

I think it is Spring.  There is that certain something in the air & both boys are eager to be out the door in the morning, sniffing the crisp air delicately saturated with an indefinable warmth....

I think it is Spring.  The birds are calling erotically.  Soon there will be eggs, swoopings, the plaintive, monotonous call of the baby cuckoos whose frantic adoptive parents are unable to sate the appetite.

I think it is Spring.  The wind has swung round to the west, but not so cold as it was.  The road to school, so drab all winter, is lightly painted with gold.  Soon the Brisbane wattles, thick as weeds, will burst into a golden shower & the sun will dance amongst the glittering gold with the busy bees.

I think it is Spring.  In the beginning God created a garden....such a garden as this where the land froths abundantly pouring its riches forth from the cornucopia of heaven.  Don't you love the burgeoning?  The way God's generosity overflows?  Go forth & multiply, He said.  In Spring I know exactly why....

Friday, August 24, 2012

Gab it 'n' Grab it.

Never despise the days of Preparation ~ Joe Doran.

When I first came across the term, Gab it 'n' grab it, I admit I was highly amused.  It expressed only too well my opinion of certain sections of Christianity ~ you know, the sharp suits with their hands always out stating that if you sowed into their ministry your return would be a hundredfold as they fleeced the sheep.  Um, thank you for asking, but no.

With that mindset a subject on prosperity wasn't getting me dancing up & down with excitement.  Now don't get me wrong.  I believe, always have, that God desires to bless His people ~ but I didn't want to be greedy, you know.  After all, there is so much need in the world & I already live in a 1st world country so I am blessed beyond measure before I begin. As so often happens when a teaching gets skewered & turns people off I actually missed the point.

Prosperity was taught by a visiting preacher, Joe Doran.  From the moment I clapped eyes on him I had an epiphany.  I sensed this man was really full of the Holy Spirit ~ & so I was prepared to pay attention.  What's more he had just, on the Holy Spirit's say so, up~rooted his entire family to serve around the world for a whole year.  He had left behind his business, a nice house, his position in his church ~ & his income! Okaaaaay......

God amuses me.  I think Dino was going a bit nuts but I don't think there were too many ways I was going to get this teaching & for me Joe was perfect because he drifted ~ sometimes a long way ~ but he was following the Spirit's leading & he spoke more about following the Spirit's leading than he did about money.  This I understood.  He spoke about following the Spirit's prompting with our giving.  Again this made perfect sense, at least to me.  Finally he pointed out we should want to be blessed because the more we are blessed the more we have to give & this is God's provision for all His people.  Light~bulb moment.

Within that framework the tithe starts to make sense.  What's more, again, following the Spirit's lead, if we allow the desires of our hearts to be the desires God plants then He will also provide.  So....I am doing some rethinking.  Reading the scriptures.  Listening for the Holy Spirit.  Because it is not about selfishness.  It is about advancing the kingdom of God.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

  Just so you know, I cannot abide wanton cruelty & I think people who acquire an animal then abandon it when it has no means of adequately fending for itself are the scum of the earth.  And those who see an animal in distress & walk on by are not much better. Grrrrr......

A neighbour found this beautiful tortie in her yard but thinking it a mangy old thing left it there, untended, seriously dehydrated, starved, desperate for a little affection, to die.  To Dearest's fury I brought it home, eye~dropped water into it throughout the day, sat it on a hot water bottle well wrapped in blankets & gave it a little loving attention as I passed, & looked for a no kill shelter that might be able to help out.  

Sadly she didn't make it but every time I came by she lifted her head a little, looking for the tickle between the ears, rolling her head so I could chuck her under the chin, trying desperately to meow & purr from sheer gratitude.  She was obviously a beautiful natured cat with a very loving generous nature & such a sad waste.

I know we have too many feral cats ~ but not the cats' fault.  It is human's thinking only of their windy self~importance, taking no heed for the world they live in that are at fault.  I am so angry that any animal should have ended up in such a state, so desperate for just a little love.  Thank you, my beautiful Star, for your loving & generous help.  May your Star always shine bright!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Where is the Love?

"The Church must send or the church will end." — Mendell Taylor

I have the oddest thinks.
I don't post much on FB.  Purely from a practical viewpoint my computer is more than likely to have a conniption & melt down all over cyberspace.  For another my FB page bothers me.  It has bothered me for some time but seeing as what I do on FB [mostly] is play games I have let it ride & let it ride as if by ignoring the whole thing it would just go away & I wouldn't have to think  'cause thinking hurts, dontcha know.

My friends list divides pretty evenly into *Christian* & non~Christian.  I imagine most of my Christian friends have the same thing  Every so often something so questionable hits my wall I have to delete it but that doesn't bother me too much.  That's what the delete button is for & seriously, what else can anyone expect from those who don't know Christ yet?

What is far more bothersome is what hits my wall from Christians.  Now don't get me wrong.  I appreciate enormously the encouraging notes, the pretty pics, the links to interesting articles, you tube clips, sermons etc but more & more I have been struck by something that is making me rethink even keeping my FB page.

Nowhere in my bible can I find an injunction to argue with fellow believers over doctrine.  Yet more often than not that is what I see happening ~ not from those actually on my friend's list but there seems to be a general thing in Christian circles where Christians wade in boots & all to argue doctrine to the death with other Christians ~ after Christ so clearly stated They will know you are my disciples by your love!

And it has struck my rather muddled brain that if we were actually doing what Christ asked us to do & expending our energy proclaiming the Good News to those who have not heard it & demonstrating Christ's love to those who do not know it we would be far less likely to be involved in vain arguements ~ because I have yet to see anyone actually change their opinion over what gets posted on FB.

I do understand we are to study the Word to ensure we are not in error ~ we are to study ~ because it is the Spirit who leads us into all Truth.  What has left a bitter taste in my mouth is that in the name of proclaiming the truth Christians have waged an internal war that is an incredibly poor witness to unbelievers.  Given the sheer savagery with which some commentators express their opionion [backed by scripture] I don't wonder why the world wants nothing to do with us when we know [or should know] it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. [Rom.2:4]

So is it just me or does this bother others also?  And what is the answer?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Jesus is not an idea...

I imagine you are all tired of me rabbiting on about school but then I'm not doing much else just now ~ not even singing ~ & trust me, my housework woes are dull beyond belief.  Eight loads of washing today because the lad's been fishing as well as needing his school stuff done.  Still that is better than waiting while the auto~electrician pronounced judgement on the car, which is what Dino did for me this morning.

Meanwhile both Dearest & Star, who is almost never sick, are both down with a most virulent lurgy. Ick!  I am fighting it off tooth & nail.  I cannot afford to be sick.  Not at any price.

Star has her piece of paper stating she has been trained to teach reading to the struggling readers & is just waiting on her Blue Card arriving so she can get going.  She's pretty peeved though as the powers that be managed to misspell her name & if there's one thing Star cannot abide it is seeing her name spelt wrong!  Meanwhile our church bulletin managed to get both my first & last names wrong! Um, yeah...

And Star, who really does go off the air rather blatantly, arrived home just a little shell shocked having thought she was sitting at the back of the classroom to find that, no indeed! She was in the very front row & having mistaken the teacher for some stray mother!  What can I say?  Star is always immense fun.  Meanwhile she has found herself sharing classroom space with people she's known all her life, which I guess is a good thing, but they are just that bit older enough to take a proprietary & motherly outlook for Star!  Even without her mother in tow she gets mothered! lol

I have finished my assignment on hermeneutics; just have O.T people of faith to go.  I am surprising myself by how much I have actually retained over the years ~ retained & actually practised without ever having stopped to analyze it.  It gives me a head start, which I am appreciating enormously.  Most of the history I have ~ which can be frustrating if I catch errors & though I understand not getting the whole class bogged down in unimportant details I can be pernicky. *sigh*

Now the cats have stuffed their faces they are both looking for cuddles so I guess I am occupied for the rest of the evening.  Blessings on all my bloggity friends.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Not the Same God.

Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.  ~G.K Chesterton

I'm not much good at Apologetics.  Apologetics requires logic & logic is not my strong suit.  Besides, I hate arguing about stuff.  During the course of a misspent life I've discovered most people aren't shifted by logic anyway.  They just go on thinking whatever they want to think.  So when I run into something that is simple, straightforward & irrefutable I am delighted beyond words!
When we got given our seating arrangements for this term I rather felt for my seat~mate.  She is one of the loud exuberant charismatics ~ & she got landed with me!   I'm not sure if the powers that be had twigged but we actually get on rather well together. S~M thinks I radiate a deep peace.  If only she knew!  She is a generous soul with a sharp eye for freebies & so an assortment of things have landed on my desk over the weeks.  One of those things was a free paper called Eternity which, though very thin, had some surprisingly interesting articles.  What caught my eye was this little gem on Islam & Christianity that took place on a Melbourne Uni campus.

Now you don't have to be overly conversant with Islam to realise that Muslims & Christians do not speak the same language when it comes to religion but I've lost count of the number of times I've heard people mutter inanely, But we all worship the same God.  We don't.  There are any number of good reasons why that is just not true but a good debater can tie most Christians up in knots in no time at all & the argument goes no~where & nothing like the truth gets spoken.  I know Uni campuses all too well.  It's not about being right.  It's not about being true.  It's about being clever enough to win. *sigh*

I guess Bernie Power knows Uni campuses too because he didn't even try to defend a Christian position.  He did something so simple a child could do it & defend the faith.  He asked all the Muslims in the room to raise their hands & to lower them when they heard something they disagreed with then ~ joy, delight, dancing a little jig here ~ he began to recite the Apostle's Creed.  You know...

I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of Heaven & Earth....

At the word *Father* some hands went down.

And in Jesus Christ, His only son, our Lord.....most hands dropped.

He was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontious Pilate
Was crucified, died & was buried... & every hand in the room went down ~ & not even halfway through a creed that was one of the Church's earliest statements of faith & which lays out the fundamentals accepted by most Christian denominations no matter what colour, shape or denomination!

Irrefutable.  Because the Muslims could not deny that they did not believe what the creed stated.  Yay for Bernie Power!

Monday, August 6, 2012

"If you think practicing what you preach is rough, just try preaching what you practice." ~ Baxter, Bowen

Besides the Star doing her starry thing we have had a car on the blink again.  Not fun with our early morning temps hovering around 4 degrees C.

I have been wading through assignments  ~ some with more enthusiasim than others.  Sadly Evangelism 1~o~1 is never going to be my favourite subject.  I understand but I hate the practical element & it has been driven home with a vengance this fortnight.

Firstly the practical witness day was a shocker.  Unbeknown to us we hit one of the most spiritually resistant shopping centres around.  I sensed this through the spirit but academic that I am I was focused on meeting the critea for the assignment instead of listening to what the Spirit was actually telling me. Duh!  I know.  I know.  I'm a little slow that way sometimes.

Anyway, having beaten myself up over yet another witnessing failure I was given the opportunity to preach again.  Seriously, mousy little me who thinks people have the right to go to hell if that's what they want without being badgered as they go about their own business, has no problems getting up in front of a crowd & proclaiming.  I just don't.  Everything I've been told about the street witness happens for me when I preach.  I know the anointing is on me.  It is tangible.  I sense the presence of the Holy Spirit so strongly I literally start "quaking" ~ an experience the early Quakers were very familiar with!  I know I have a calling on my life to do this ~ which helps enormously!  None of which stops me getting in a tizz prior but as soon as I stand to speak the anointing is there & with it comes incredible focus, the peace that passes all understanding & the sense that I am exactly where God wants me to be doing exactly what He wants me to do.

Just the same one of the reasons I am in bible school just now is to do with preaching.  God wanted me to change the way I went about things because being academically minded I did my reasearch.  I noted all my reference verses.  I wrote down exactly what I wanted to say & I timed it for exactly the 20 minutes I am usually allowed.  I know how to do public speaking from notes.  I have all the moves down pat.  The thought of trying to do all that without my stalwat bits of paper did not make me a happy me ~ & yet that is exactly what God wanted me to do: Ditch my handy bits of paper & get up close & personal. Oh.  My.

I knew I was to speak on the Holy Spirit.  I can rabbit on about the Holy Spirit ad infinitum!  I nearly did.  I love how the Lord leads & the good things that happen when He is in control.  He showed me how to lead with questions so that I had people thinking & engaging, not just sitting back like stunned mullet.  And he had me practically in the front rows laps!  Um, yeah....

Dino, who came along, had some good pointers on things I need to do a bit differently another time but he seemed to think it went ok.  I can never tell. I am so caught up in conveying what God wants said I'm not cognizant of much else.

The first time you try something new is always the roughest ~ & we haven't done Preaching 1~0~1 yet!  I expect there's a lot of room for improvement.  I expect I will learn something new.  Meanwhile if God is prepared to work with me as I am, I am prepared to speak his word.  With boldness even. And with great joy.
I own my curves...The Star

 Seventeen years ago Dearest & I did a very late run to the mainland where we spent an exhausting night encouraging our reluctant youngest into the world; a world where she has expected to shine as its brightest STAR ever since.

Seventeen years.  My baby hardly qualifies as my baby any more & yet whenever I look at her I still see, through the lying patina of the years, the dimpled, roly~poly with the crinkled red curls who had so inexplicably  wedged herself across my pelvis till she could neither turn  nor straighten through the long hours of the night.  We were very glad when she finally got her act together & emerged bright eyed & bushy~tailed to exert her charms on all & sundry.

She spent her special day in Performance at Cooparoo.  What can I say?  Happy as a lark in mud.

Tomorrow she heads up to the island school ~ the first time ever the child will be spending a prolonged period of time in a public school classroom ~ as she has put her name down to be trained for the reading program.  Somehow I think she will make rather a good teacher.  She's firm but very fair & she has a great sense of humour! Wow.  I can remember teaching her to read ~ an exceptionally easy task with a little chocolate as bribery!  It hardly seems possible so much time has passed ~ & yet it has.  Inexorably.   All those years ago the nurses ribbed me about never ever putting the child down.  She was held & cuddled 24/7 ~ if only because, as I pointed out, there were 4 others at home all competing for my attention so once home I was unlikely to have another opportunity like this.  I did not know my Star.  No~one gets to ingore the Star!

Next year we will have to put her celebrations on hold till our Liddy gets home.  That is going to be one very special get together!  Twelve months & counting down...

Big personality.  Quirky.