dGems. My brother Les was a fossicker of gemstones. My husband, Bruce and I together with Les and his wife, Shirley, went on a holiday into the Hart’s Range, Central Australia. Les and Shirley were intent on finding zircon and garnets. We found the Zircon field and collected what we needed. The garnets were harder to find. Eventually, Les and Shirley, after consulting the mud map decided we had arrived.
I said to Les, ‘Where are the garnets?’ I could only see scrub, and an empty road. No diggings to indicate a mine.
‘They are all around your feet. Your walking on them.’
I looked down at my feet, sure enough, the ridge of dirt thrown up by a grader along the edge of the road was full of garnets.
I have a beautiful faceted red stone of several carats
Proverbs’ 3: 15 compares wisdom as far more valuable than precious jewels. Proverbs declares that a wise man is now happier than an immediately rich person.
But the Father goes even further and says that Jesus is more valuable than precious stones. In comparison, Jesus is far more useful and essential than gold and precious stones. Jesus likened to a pearl of high price, and when we see him, we sacrifice everything to be able to win him. Ephesians tell us that in Jesus, there are unlimited resources, an inner strengthening of the Holy Spirit. When we have Jesus, we have everything.
Thought for the Day: Keep God’s truth in your head and his love in your heart.’ Zingers.
Zygocactus or Schlumbergerer is at home in Brazil. They grow in rock fissures and on tree boughs.
Hummingbirds love the Zygo’s for their nectar, and in return, the birds pollinate the plants. A very productive relationship.
Zygocactus are easy to grow and look after. I have a number growing in hangers under the patio. I love them, and they love me evidently because they reward me by producing many blooms. Of course, I need to give them the right amount of water and fertilizer. The Zygo’s have been in cultivation since the 1800s.
The beautiful zygocactus received its name from the who discovered it, Frederic Schlumberger. Frederic was a collector of cacti and lived in a chateau in France.
A COMMON NAME
Zygo’s have common names such as the false Christmas tree and Crab’s claw. Similarities exist between the cactus and a crab’s claw.
I have thought for many years that Christmas was a fake. Christmas, as we celebrate it these days, does not express the message of Jesus birth. Another thing, Jesus was not born on December 25. He was born in October.
There is a saying, ‘If you can’t beat them join them.’ The early Christians decided to join the Christmas festival, Christianise it. Today we celebrate Christ’s birth, and the pagan festival at the same time, and we are happy because of all the money that exchanges hands. Christmas is the best money-spinner ever. Christmas is beautiful but fake, the cactus is gorgeous and real, even though it has a false name.
I don’t think the Lord wanted his birthday celebrated as we do today. It was his death and resurrection that was important. His death was the fulfilment of the practice of animal sacrifices for forgiveness of sin. Animal sacrifices are finished. Jesus sacrifice of himself was sufficient to clear every one of their sins once and for all. Never again would God require sacrifices either with animals or a person. Jesus, perfect God and flawless man, fulfilled God’s demand to keep his standard.
The celebration of Easter is also a pagan festival, but the anniversary of Christ’s death is correct, and so is the date. Over centuries the tradition has it that Jesus was crucified on Wednesday and rose again sometime between 6 pm Saturday and 6 am Sunday.
Today, the true meaning of Christian celebrations has merged with traditions, and pagan festivals and the truth about Jesus is lost.
The desire to combine the Christian and the pagan and make everyone happy overruled the fact. The truth is: Christ died to redeem us, to make us right with his Father. The Father God desired us as his beloved children to have an intimate relationship with us. Because of our willful insistence to be independent, Jesus gave his life to show the immense love God has for us.
The truth is: Jesus was born; he lived and died and rose again. He has done his part; it is now our responsibility to believe and accept what he has done and allow him to indwell us.
THE BURNT HAT
Bruce Leane learnt much from his father; through observation, listening to Dad’s stories.
In turn, Bruce became a father; his sons are carrying those same traits of character.
The mindset to overcome what life throws at them and come out on top has been passed down from father to son and to grandson. What will the ensuing generations inherit? Will that daring, intrepid, yet love of taking the mickey spirit survive or dissipate? Will it burst out in another attitude, another characteristic? And thus a new strain be added to the inherent ones.
Bruce says, ‘I saw my father’s strengths and weaknesses; some of his strengths I inherited as well as his weaknesses but many of his strengths I valued such as his compassion for the underdog. I think I inherited that trait because when I saw someone being unfairly treated I just had to go to their rescue and fight for a better deal for them.’
Bruce also remembers the many years he and several friends spent working with the Aboriginal people. In the 1950’s the indigenous people were definitely the under-dogs. Bruce fought for better housing and to be recognized as a people of worth.
Bruce remembers those years growing up at home.
‘My father played a big part in my development as a boy,’ Bruce recalls. With a chuckle, Bruce remembers an incident with a neighbour whose hat had accidently been burnt. There was a church Working Bee to prepare the manse for the incoming pastor. Everyone was toiling away and James, not his real name, was feeling hot and bothered and so took off his hat and laid in on the ground. Some enthusiastic soul set the bracken fern alight to clear it and the hat was burnt. The hat was part of the Home Guard uniform unit during the World War 2. It was a prized possession of James’s.
Some of the teenagers including Bruce and his brother Peter, found the remains of the hat and placed it on a post. When James saw his burnt hat he was irate, ‘Who burnt my hat?’ he wanted to know. His eye fell on the laughing teenagers. He knew they were laughing at him and his ire increased, he assumed they had burnt his prized hat.
Later that day, James beat a path to Dad’s door, “Your two boys burnt my hat, I ought to knock your block off,” James angrily accused Dad. Dad immediately bristled. This was no way to talk about his sons.
I and my brother were shaking in our boots as we listened in on the conversation from the safety of the lounge. We were terrified of both James and Dad because we had been there when his hat was burnt and someone amongst us had hung it on the post.
I DARE YOU
Dad walked outside with James and looked him in the eye and said, “How dare you accuse my sons of burning your hat.
What evidence do you have?”
James’ anger took a nose dive and he stammered “it has to be your boys. I saw the boys standing around my hat laughing. Your boys are always playing tricks on people. It’s got to stop.”
‘Come on then, knock my block off,’ Dad was angry at being spoken to in such manner and having his sons accused of a crime especially when, to his mind, they hadn’t done anything wrong. Dad and James glared at each other, Dad's chin was jutting out like a peninsula to sea, just daring to be hit. James turned and walked away.
YOUR BACK IS COVERED
‘I was so impressed with my father’s courage and daring.
My father was a small man and James was a big man. Dad had faced down a much bigger man.”
Bruce added, “I never forgot the incident.”
“I never forgot that Dad cared for us, he covered for us. It meant a lot to me for Dad to protect us.” Bruce says.
Later in life, when Bruce became a Pastor he needed that courage to face down his detractors, and humor to lighten the tense moments and champion the underdog.
“My Heavenly Father,” Bruce says, “has my back. I have been conscious of the empowerment of God all my life.”
With the innate power of God, Bruce was an inspired preacher and advocate, a champion of the underdog.
THE GRAVE IS EMPTY
The tomb is empty. Jesus is risen. Jesus conquered death, hell, and the devil.
Because I believed in Jesus and asked him to live in me, I too, have overcome death, hell, and the devil. Yes, my body will die. My will be put into a grave and disappear into the earth, but I, me, myself will live forever.
To die is not just to be put into the grave, for me eternity is real, it is now.
I’m glad Jesus sought me out, I’m glad I had the sense to accept him; become a new person and give up my independence and become his follower, his disciple.
I’m glad Jesus’ grave is empty. I’m glad my grave only has my body and the real me is risen with Christ. I’m glad my future is safe; my present is provided for and my past is not remembered any more. The love Jesus has for me far outweighs any other loves I have or have experienced.
HOLY DAY OR FUN DAY
Today is Good Friday to commemorate the death of Christ.
There are church services, sports fests, Mass, and whatever the thing is you want to do the most.
In my childhood, Good Friday was a Holy Day. We went to church and meditated, and if you were a child, you became bored stiff.
Easter eggs were made of sugar and decorated with sugar flowers. For me, one egg was my parents' concession to Easter. Today, sugar eggs have given away to chocolate rabbits and chocolate eggs of all sizes. Most children receive more than one chocolate egg or rabbit.
We celebrate Easter today by indulging in every type of seafood imaginable. As a child, our diet didn't change. Those who embraced the catholic faith then ate fish. Because they believed fish didn't shed any blood and they were not violating the death of Christ.
How things have changed.
GOD DOES NOT CHANGE
These are immutable facts that remain unchanged. Food fads have changed, the things we worship may have changed, Good Friday has become a sports fest, but God has not changed. He hasn't upgraded; he hasn't become trendy. He doesn't change his mind every decade or millennia.
To quote the gospel of John 3: 16, "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believed in him should not perish but have everlasting life."
GOD SO LOVED – THAT HE GAVE
Through the death of Christ, God's only son, God wiped out our sin of independence and worship of things, not God.
We have willingly replaced God with gods of our own making.
At the death of Christ, God not only wiped out our rejection of him, but he threw it as far away from him as the east is from the west forget we chose to do life our way. Psalm 103: 12.
God is waiting for us to recognize our need for him. He is waiting with open arms to embrace us, enfold us to himself, in the way a parent will cuddle the child, God wants to cuddle us.
Jesus became the sacrificial Lamb who willingly took all of our lust, depressions, hates, and horribleness on to himself. He carried them to the cross so we could become the children of God. God now wants to endow us with all this love and care.
Jesus is the door to heaven and a loving God. All God requires of us is faith that he is, acceptance of Jesus as our savior. Unless we accept Jesus as our rescuer and our deliverer, God can only love us from afar.
Our desire to do life our way and its consequences exclude God from our life. To accept Jesus as our savior will bring God into our very being, change us and our world completely. We will know a love like no other love.
THE PRINCE IS ALIVE
The humungus roar of exploding bombs, leaping flames and billowing smoke have nearly rocked the earth off its axis. Civil unrest demonstrating against war has turned to terror by the change of tactics taking place. Instead of demonstrations people are fleeing the war zones, trying to find peace in another country. People are frantic at what is happening around them and to their loved ones because there is now no safe place. Civil unrest has morphed into terrorism and war.
Fear is rampant because of the unrest and Covid-19. Who will be the next, is the question on the lips of many. Others are keeping their fears to themselves. Still others are making predictions as to what the future may hold. Evil is seeking to subject the world to its rule. It is easy to see how a nation can be ruled by fear.
Interesting that it is happening just prior to Easter, the time when Jesus was crucified. At the crucifixion the crowds took to the streets to welcome him into Jerusalem as king and then a few days later they were on the streets again, yelling for his crucifixion. Humanity then was being driven like sheep by the power of evil. Today humanity is driven by evil to perform evil. Jesus, beaten, crucified, subject to horrific atrocities, rose triumphant above base humanity. Today the risen reigning, Prince of Peace, Jesus if allowed to dwell in the human heart will turn the inner turmoil to peace and calm.
PEACE - A STATE OF THE HEART
Peace is an inner state.
If people are at war with themselves and their neighbour, their government, everything in fact, there will not be any peace. When people want what another has or is perceived to have, peace is forfeited. Peace is not found in this manner.
The cry for peace maybe on every one’s lips, peace however, doesn’t happen by magic, or by United Nations, or some other peace organization.
Terrorism doesn’t allow peace because it loses control of people, terrorism is backed by an ideology and its adherents must kill to gain power and control so they no know peace nor even want it mentally and physically. It is their belief system, they have become slaves to the ideology and believe they are right.
Not until Jesus, the Prince of Peace, rules the human heart will there be peace. When the Prince of Peace rules the heart, self no longer seeks to get what it wants by killing off those that resist it.
When the Prince of Peace rules the heart the human heart is content with what it has and seeks not satisfaction in things or power When Jesus, the person, has met the needs of the human heart peace then reigns.
We will find the tomb empty on Easter Sunday but we could find our hearts at peace if the Prince of Peace is risen in our hearts, especially if we could change our belief system and accept Jesus as saviour. Happy Easter.
An excerpt from the book Letters to Anne by Gwenneth Leane obtained from Amazon Kindle and KML publishing.
In day to day life, we often ask, do we matter? Do we contribute to the world? Our nation? Are we just a face in the crowd?
To our government we are only a number, go into the shopping mall, and we take a number and stand in a queue. We have no name and wait in line until our number for our number to appear on a screen. The social engineers would have us dehumanized. No identity. No self-esteem. We are under their control.
The devil wants us to feel we are nothing because he knows he can defeat you when you believe you are worthless.
God, on the other hand, knew you before you were a twinkle in your parents’ eye, he had your life planned before the womb. You matter to God!
God calls you by name; you don’t have to queue up; God personally loves you. He wants to meet your needs personally. He wants to make your life beautiful. God knows what you face because Jesus, in all points, suffered as we do.
We matter to God! So according to scripture, God says he will always give us all we need from day to day if we make the kingdom of God our primary goal.
Thought for the day: I am glad that you go before me and behind me. That your hand of blessing is on my head.
Author: "You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page" - Jodi Picoult