Images of Princess Diana hugging a leper and fearlessly walking through a minefield dance across the TV screen. Diana’s fearlessness and love for the people have earned her the title of the peoples’ Princess. The Princess demonstrates a love that caught the people of a nation and across the world and made them feel important.
The song writer experiences a wonderful love, and he writes about it, describing it as a ‘furious love.’
Paul Ellis, author and pastor from New Zealand, likened the crucifixion of Christ as a ‘picture of spent anger and furious love.’
The thought of love being furious is a new thought to me. To my mind, the meaning of ‘furious’ is connected with anger. I wonder, is there an ‘angry love’? Can love be angry? I cannot reconcile ‘angry love’ with my experience and understanding of love.
THE MEANING OF LOVE
I take the thought in another direction, ‘fast and furious’ is a term often used to describe abandonment, wildness, breakneck speed. These meanings applied to ‘furious love,' convey the concept of a wild, abandoned, reckless love, a love that is fearless and can we say, ‘mad love,' as portrayed in the images of Princess Diana walking through the mine field.
We could describe ‘furious love’ as a fierce love, a love that doesn’t give up or let go but clings on regardless, a reckless love that despite the cost will continue to love no matter how unlovely the person or object is
All this conjecture about love directs us back to the love of God. His love for us is, by our standards, reckless, wild, abandoned, fierce, a love that doesn’t give up on the person he loves. We can throw as many tantrums as we like, tell him we hate him, don’t believe him, that he doesn’t exist yet he doesn’t withdraw his love. The Bible is clear, ‘Be strong! Be courageous! Do not be afraid of them! For the Lord, your God will be with you. He will neither fail you nor forsake you.’ Deut. 31: 6 LB.
Dare we withhold ourselves in any measure from such a fierce, furious, reckless love that God has for us? Can we remain unaffected, cold even, to such a love? Yes, we can, but more fool us if we do. In this furious, abandoned, reckless love of God is our very beginning, our end, God’s very DNA within us. Have we deserved it? No! Have we earned it? No This love God has for us has conferred on us all the goodness and perfection of his son Jesus. All we have to do is – surrender!
Assisted death is scary
At another’s mercy makes me wary
I’d rather be in God’s hands though it maybe hazy.
He’s the Father great, to me he’s a dearie
Death allows not for a change of mind
When my heart get’s cranky and fades
Refuses to pump to keep me awake
I’ll be out of it anyway
I won’t be fazed
From death there is no return
To be at home when I depart
Would be icing on the cake
But should my loved ones ache
When on my withered body they peek
Their memories should be of hope and life not ugly death.
To die in God’s time is not weak
His comfort and his presence is not an empty squeak
God cannot be sued or impeached
He doesn’t bleep or sleep, he stands right in the breech
He makes death a glorious transition
The seven step pathway
Designed to comfort us along the way
And save the doctors from getting flayed
Is better than to be assisted from the fray
What’s on the other side? For me it’s eternal life.
THE MAVERICKS ROUNDUP
by Bruce Leane & Gwenneth Leane
FISHING WITH GEORGE
George Karpany was the fisherman to beat all fishermen. I had never seen anyone catch fish like he could.
‘Bruce, come around Saturday morning and I will take you fishing,’ George issued an invitation to me.
‘I don’t know, George, I’m not a fisherman.’ I was very doubtful about the expedition although I knew I’d enjoy George’s company.
‘Come on, we’ll go out in my boat,’ George was grinning as if he had a secret weapon.
‘OK. I’ll come.’
George dropped anchor just off some willows growing along the riverbank at Berri. We threw in our lines. George hauled fish in hand over fist. I hauled in zero hand over fist.
‘Try my bait,’ George teased. Not a bite.
‘Hey, you should have used more black shoe polish before you came out,’ George was enjoying himself at my discomfort. Zero fish!
Tell you what,’ said George, grinning like the proverbial Cheshire, ‘change places with me and use my line.’
So we changed places and I took his line. Zero fish! His bag was full. He caught fish like there was no tomorrow. I came home with a bag full of fish that I hadn’t caught – they had all got away. No, they never even nibbled my bait. It was George who had caught enough for him and me both.
One Sunday morning when we arrived for church, George ducked out of the shack, (George was a bean-pole of a man, but the shack had not been built for tall people).
‘Come with me,’ he pointed with his thumb over his shoulder, ‘got something to show you.’
I followed, mystified as to what George wanted to show me. He busily pulled in a heavy line; on the end was a 60 pound Murray cod. The biggest fish I’d ever seen. Wow! Did that fish have a mouth.
‘Got this one tethered until the cod season opens on Monday,’ he confided proudly. He dropped the line and the fish disappeared into the muddy water.
One Saturday afternoon Frank and I decided to take a few hours off from work and go fishing with our families. The worms had taken time off as well and we couldn’t find any. Frog hunting under stones and bark didn’t find them at home either. Eventually, we found a log just below the Berri pumping station from which to fish. We threw in our lines and sat down to wait and wait and wait… Coming up river in a row boat, we recognized George.
‘How you getting on boys, getting any fish?’ he called out.
‘Nay! A few bites that’s all,’ Frank had to admit. George shipped his oars, he rowed his boat facing frontward not backward as white people do, grabbed a big callop out of the boat, hit it on the head with a shifting wrench and threw it to Frank.
‘Here’s one for dinner,’ he chuckled.
‘No, no,’ Frank objected, ‘we can’t take your fish, you want to sell them.’
‘Don’t worry, I’ve got plenty,’ and George pulls up what he calls a pond made of wire netting. It was full of fish. ‘I’ve got another one of these down there by that log.’
My life of fishing ended there and then. It seemed more sense to do what I was good at, fishing for men. The fish and I now RIP.
The book, The Mavericks Roundup can be bought at KML Publishing. See address on the Home page.
Mum invented recycling and innovation. Mat-making was one of her specialities. She would collect the binder-twine used to tie the hay into stooks and crochet it into mats. The mats made for the dining room and bedrooms were of a much higher standard. I don't remember Mum ever buying hessian; instead, she would see what was available in the shed. A design would be drawn on the hessian, the colour scheme chosen. Old clothes dyed. Mum then cut the material into inch wide strips and, with a large crochet hook, loop the strips through the hessian. When finished, she would then trim off the coils and ends evenly, the results a beautiful soft carpet or mat. Mum spent the long winter evenings working on her mats; even wet days were filled in hooking rugs. The floors were covered with these lovely mats.
It was only half-finished to please her. Dad was not a handyman nor a confrontationist.
I inherited Mum's gene for nagging. Ever since I became a Christian, I've been badgering God. 'Why haven't you healed me? I'm supposed to be dead to sin, but I'm still fighting my anger, my addiction. Why haven't you heard my prayers for my family and saved them?' Then come the 'I wants' dozens of them, a new car, new clothes, a holiday overseas, a better job.
I suffered a camera flash of revelation that revealed I was a nagger. I had been harassing God for what I already had. He could not give me any more because he had given me everything that he had through Christ, and when I became a Christian, all that Christ had and was flowed into me. 'So you have everything when you have Christ, and you are filled with God through your union with Christ.' (Colossians 2: 10 LB)
The flash of revelation showed me I was harrying God for what I already had, Christ in me in all his fullness. My pestering was based on the fact that because I didn't feel Christ in me, I felt as guilty as sin, then Christ was not indwelling me, and I must strive to do better to live as I should.
We are advised many times to not trust our feelings; instead, to trust God's word when he says he has 'chosen us to be his very own.' He decided, 'to make us holy in his eyes, without a single fault, we who stand before him covered with his love.' (Eph 1 4-6) Regardless of what we feel, can we accept what God through Jesus has given to us and what he has made us? Can we believe accept and what God has given us? And not continue to nag?
A great scripture from Colossians Chapt 2, 'then he gave you a share in the very life of Christ, for he forgave all your sins, and blotted out the charges proved against you… He took this list of sins and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ's cross.'
Nagging is a thing of the past. I'm thanking the Lord for what he has given me and praying with Paul the apostle, 'that our hearts be flooded with light so that we can see something of the future he has called us to share.' (Eph 1: 18 LB)
It should have been a piece of cake.
The poems and images were collected and scanned into the computer. Alas, they were the wrong orientation. I changed to landscape. I cut and pasted; some of the poems needed to be back to front. More time spent in retyping into landscape orientation and rearranging images. Some of the images wouldn’t print off. I hunted through my photos, searched the internet for free images. Week one.
I sent a copy to the printer, ‘No’, he said, ‘we need the files to be in PDF.’ I searched my computer for the PDF conversion; I did have one, oh, there was an upgrade and the PDF file was never put back. I’ll down load a free file but it wouldn’t down load, an error. Not to be beaten, I emailed my computer whizz friend, could she send me a copy of her file? Then I had to ask how to use it. Week 2 had passed.
All the poems were now in PDF and set out in correct order. With the images, bio’s and contents page set to go. Back to the printer, ‘No, these files aren’t right. You need them to be this way. We could do the files for you but it will cost you.’ I despaired. I knew I could not create the files needed to print the book. Back to my computer whizz,’ can you help me?’ Week three
A new cover design, new images; can the images supplied by the authors be used in case of offence? Day one, she sent me the layout of the book as it should look. The printer contacted, were the files OK?
I held the book, the unachievable achieved. The awful fact; there were over 50 mistakes, lines were missed out, The book was a lemon, but no, it was me that was the lemon for having the temerity to think I was a computer whizz.
I needed to humble myself. I needed to admit my limitations. Having done penance I looked around, what next?
It occurred to me that God still loved me. I had stuffed up big-time but his love for me never lessened. I was still his beloved child, the apple of his eye, my photo in his wallet. I didn’t deserve his love but he over looked that because of his unconditional love.
I occurred to me that I could remain a lemon or I could get up and be the sweet orange God had made me. I chose to be the sweet orange. I discarded the guilt trip. I could do that because God had declared in Romans 8: 1, ‘There is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit – and this power is mine through Christ Jesus – has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death.’
The book was finally printed without error but I learnt a valuable lesson. Being proud and thinking myself better than I was is not pleasing to God. I also learnt that God loves me beyond beyond, no matter what I do. My standing with him is not performance based. Bless God.
RayHawkins is a man of action. lathe operator, church planter,
missionary to Africa, writer, father of three.
published by Wombat Books,
Letters to Anne is a 31 day devotional. The bite sized truths are wrapped in daily experiences of the writer Gwenneth Leane
published by KMPublishing contact and bought at email@example.com
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS ONCE
by Maureen McQuillan, guest writer
God is always opening doors of opportunity. Scripture speaks several times about this and you can rest assured that as this year progresses, we will see this happening around us. We just need to recognize those doors and not be afraid to go through them, even when they appear in unusual ways.
But…feel timid when incredible God-given opportunities arise? Feel that you don’t have what it takes to go through such doors? Here’s an encouraging personal testimony from Maureen McQuillan. Maureen used to feel so inhibited, inadequate, fearful and unable to communicate that she’d simply freeze and clam up if asked to do something that’d put her in the limelight!
Maureen’s story: Decades ago I was given an unexpected ‘grand tour’ of Mount Gambier (SA) Television Station. As we passed a live daytime talk show being televised, I paused to observe the proceedings. Suddenly I heard that ‘quiet, still voice’ of the Spirit whisper to me, ‘One of these days you’ll be doing that.’
It was a classic situation where you immediately shake your head and feel that it was nothing more than your imagination or wishful thinking.
I should have known better!
Twice more I was to hear that same quiet voice repeating those scary words to my spirit. No way, I thought, I had neither the experience nor the desire to be on TV.
Two months later my Adelaide company informed me on a Friday night that they had booked prime TV time for the following Monday morning. With a very popular presenter, Maureen, and, by the way, you’ll be promoting our products.
Who me? Help! Time to panic. Time to reason with them that I’d never done any TV work before, that little me (and I am little!) couldn’t go live on TV, even for a short segment and certainly not at such short notice. Then I heard again that becalming soft voice of the Spirit. This time reminding me that he’d already prepared me for this moment by gently telling me in advance, that this was a door of opportunity, that all would be okay as I trusted him. I immediately sensed an unusual peace within and agreed to go on.
Monday morning saw me seated opposite the show’s host and, even though no instructions about the director’s hand signals were given me, we were off and running.
The Holy Spirit is our greatest friend and helper. We can call on him for his wisdom, strength, and creativeness in all matters whether in spiritual, business, or general life. I certainly did so in that TV situation and I was successful. In fact, my weekly segment ran for four years on different stations.
Here’s the thing…It’s impossible for me to fully relate how many difficulties stuck with me from childhood into adulthood. I’m just a little person – the proverbial five foot nothing – and I greatly lacked confidence. Can you imagine how it hit me when told to go on live TV and speak to hundreds of thousands of viewers? Immediately frightening! But knowing God was in it made the difference. Knowing that he had arranged the opportunity gave me the confidence needed.
The Holy Spirit already had a hold of my life and was now, even through secular means, proving to me how much boldness, confidence, and creativity he can give anyone who asks for his help. Yes, I overcame the inadequacies in my life and was successful as I looked beyond myself and relied totally on him. And it was all a preparation for the next step!
Since that breakthrough God opened many spiritual doors for me, enabling me to confidently minister in the ‘limelight’ on my own. I also assist Robert in effective ministry as we minister together at churches, camps, leadership sessions and conferences, even businesspeople sessions. And especially in trusting the Holy Spirit for everything and boldly moving in his gifts, particularly the prophetic and words of knowledge and wisdom to bless the church and mentor ministers.
THE OPEN DOOR
From both of us: Whatever ‘effectual door’ (1 Cor. 16:9) God opens for each of us this year, we mustn’t let anything, anyone, any lie or any satanic deception hold us back from taking it. If we do lack anything, we can ask the Holy Spirit for his assistance.
We encourage you all to recognize those doors of opportunity and boldly go through them!
BRUCE LEANE: guest writer.
Bruce has been a worker/pastor most all of his life.
Meaning, he has pastored and planted churches as well as worked in secular jobs. Below is one of his observations.
Digital photography has changed the way we snap our photos. My wife takes photos, many photos and I cry, ‘The cost, the cost, the cost! What about the cost of film and development?’ But she laughs, and says, ‘This is the digital age, don’t you know.’ and continues on her way happily snapping. If the snaps aren’t good she just deletes them and that is that.
Mankind has become very clever by his inventions. Or was he really the inventor? When I look at a wedge tail eagle with such sensitive sight it can see its prey from great heights and great distances, and a tiny blue wren, who admired himself in my lounge room window, my mind asks who created the vision of these creatures? My thoughts then turn to our own eyes. Vision is truly one of God’s wondrous works.
The variety of eyes and what is seen and interpreted is so immense our minds can’t conceive or contain it.
Then grab hold of the fact that it is passed on down through the generations of people and birds and animals for thousands of years without the loss of one detail. I suggest that, from the science perspective, man is just a copycat.
When I take images on my camera, I have produced a likeness of the subject but I have not produced the subject in a living form. Life is not in what man produces it just a manufactured reproduction.
Our master, the giver of all life, the Divine God, passes on life in all forms, by the tiniest of sperm cells in the exact form for each species forever. Yet people say, ‘There is no God.’ May I use the words from the Biblical record, ‘The fool has said in his heart there is no God.’
The question needs to be asked, ‘Do you still have vision? Are all your vital statistics functioning? Our characteristics will be passed on to the next generation and function correctly.
You may say you don’t believe in God yet you believe that your family will inherit your characteristics. Belief has to be placed in something that gives life, why not take that step and acknowledge God and commit to him?
Man in himself can make nothing that lives and breathes, not ever. It can be patched, fixed up, cleaned and yes, fed - but to create life? Never! Create a living eye with millions of different lenses to serve millions of purposes? Never!
‘ His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches me,’ these words are only hinted at in the ancient writings that I believe in. I have great faith in God’s eyes. His sight is beyond that of the eagle and even more minute than the wren’s. I have great faith that God has me in his sights.
So you Canon, Kodak and Panasonic makers, I love the cameras you have created, I love taking images of what the Father has created. We live in a wonderful, wonderful world and it’s great to be a part of that world. But cameras are not yet producing cameras. The eye or lens of a camera does not have the vision of a real eye nor can it reproduce real life. However, go on enjoying the digital cameras and making pictures.
ALL I WANTED WAS TO BE LOVED. Sue Rodda, guest writer.