THE FLOWER AND THE HOVER-FLY
The flower opened its heart to the sun, to life; in wanton abandon.
The flower said to the hoverfly, ‘Come to me, and I will feed you. My heart is full of sweetness, come drink of me and you will be satisfied through the cold winter months.’
The hoverfly buzzed with glee and settled on the flower, ‘Aha!’ it said, ‘A heart of sweetness. I will gather for me and my hive. We will live through the hard times of winter.’
Jesus opened his heart of love as he died. He said, ‘Maybe people will read my heart now and know that I love them and do not condemn them because I have come to give life and save all those who call on my name and drink of my Spirit.’
Jesus said, ‘Come to me, and I will give you living sweetness that will last for eternity, that will enable you to live through the hard circumstances, cold and loveless times. Drink of me, I only can supply your thirsty spirit and hungry heart. Believe in me, I am the way, the truth and the life. Receive me, I will make you acceptable in my Father’s eyes.’
When we have drunk of Jesus eternal sweetness, we are free to fearlessly open our hearts and let others drink of the inherent sweetness deposited within us by Jesus.
‘Don’t go too close to that well,’ my mother yelled, as I ran up to my father leaning over to catch a bucketful of water he had just wound up from the depths of the well. He was bucketing water into a trough for our thirsty cattle. We were in a drought and water was scarce.
I peered over the edge of the rickety boards around the lip of the well into the dark depths.
’Get back out of it,’ my father growled.
I obeyed. My father continued to lift water by bucket, regardless of the danger of falling in and drowning himself. He had grown careless with continued use of winding the windlass up with a bucket full of water and letting the bucket free fall to the water. Watering the cattle took hours after a hard day’s work.
When my father had finished watering the animals the well would be empty. It would take all night for the water to seep back in again and reach the water table, ready for the next day’s watering.
At the beginning of summer, the well had been brimming full and there was no indication that it was 60 feet deep. By mid-summer, the water level had dropped and my father was looking skyward, wondering when it was going to rain.
It was always a struggle to get water. We never seemed to have enough of it. Every winter we had too much and every summer not enough. Water had to be carted from a bore several miles away in a tank for washing and drinking. Our cattle had to be driven to the bore over the miles maybe once a day if they were lucky.
Water is the staff of life even as bread is. Are we aware of how little water is available in Australia? We are so careless of it in the cities. It is our right to have as much water as we want and even waste. How many people can we support in Australia on the amount of water that we have? So much of our nation is waterless, rendering the land un-useable. To enter the outback is to travel hundreds of miles without finding a drop of water.
Today when I think of that well I shudder with the horror of its danger, its seeming harmlessness and how easy it would be for me as a child to mistake its safety and drown. My parents were right to warn me but there were no safeguards around the well then as there is today with childproof fences around swimming pools and every dangerous piece of water.
HAVE A DRINK
Jesus was hot and tired as he sat on the stone wall around the well and waited, the woman approached, hesitantly, ‘Do you want a drink?’
‘Yes,’ Jesus replied, ‘do you want a drink?’
‘No, I have just drank.’
‘You will need a drink again when you get home,’ Jesus looked at the woman searchingly. ‘Follow me and I will give you water that satisfies inwardly. You won’t need to search for the water that I give, anymore.’
Ben & Sadie injected, they waited, the euphoria came and they gave themselves over to the drug. They drank deep of the experience. When they awoke they were in their squat, needing another fix to continue life in the euphoria.
Ken drank in the sight of his dream car standing in the car yard. He yearned to experience of its powerful performance, to go places in it. He was never satisfied. He felt, if only –he could have that car he would be satisfied.
Jason struck it rich – a gambling jackpot – but he wanted more, he was still wanted more money, power, satisfaction. He gambled his fortune way as his search for that satisfaction. He never experienced that contentment, that feeling of having arrived.
What well are you sitting beside waiting to drink from and having drunk you want more and more?
Is there a satisfaction to be found? Yes
THE SEARCH IS OVER
Why not sit beside the well of life offered by Jesus – don’t wait – don’t fear a drowning – just drink deep of the relationship offered by Jesus.
‘I am the Bread of Life. No one coming to me will ever be hungry again. Those believing in me will never thirst,’ he invited.
Forever sitting beside your wells in the hope of having your dreams come true will never happen.
Sit with Jesus, walk with him, and drink the same water as he does. Be satisfied.
THE UNTAMED SPIRIT
The Walt Disney animated film, The Untamed Spirit, is about a horse with an untamed spirit and a girl with a similar nature.
A wild horse or a brumby is the personification of a free, restless, untamed spirit. An unorthodox person or independent – minded person is often dubbed a maverick. Unbranded young animals are titled mavericks meaning nobody owns them.
The Holy Spirit of God – the Spirit of Jesus – the Untameable Spirit that created the universe is ageless, from eternity to eternity. Nobody owns the Holy Spirit, he is his own person. He is from eternity to eternity.
In and through Jesus, he created the lowest form of a microbe and the most complicated form of life. The man and woman was his crowning creation.
However, the Spirit that was without restraint confined himself in and through a person, his creation. The Holy Spirit confined himself to living in and through his creation. He cannot move unless we allow Him to fill us, direct us, motivate us.
When God created the first couple, he gave them free will. They were a fantastic pair. Living a remarkable life in a wonderous time, in a perfect place. They were as God. They had all that he had.
The untrammelled Spirit would have had unlimited freedom in them and through them, and they would have done amazing things. Still, all we are told in the scriptures is that they walked and talked with God in the cool of the day.
Then came the fall. When the super pair were challenged by the serpent to question God. The question put to the wonder pair was, 'God knows that in the day that you eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil your eyes will be opened, and you will be as God.'
The chosen pair had not realized they were as God anyway. They had everything; in short, they were as God. The glorious couple were duped by another spirit wanting to usurp the place of the Untamed Spirit of God.
So, they ate. Adam and Eve used their gift of free will to choose and threw away their privileged position as the perfect pair. Thus, the untamed Spirit was tamed, or was it?
Subsequent generations though the millennia have blocked the Spirit. Could God by his own creative hand have thwarted himself? Could his deep desire to have a family of people whom he could walk and talk and relate intimately with be his undoing? Could His Spirit, at last, be tamed?
The untamed Spirit of God had a contingency plan. That plan included Jesus, his Son. Jesus was the perfect man to demonstrate the freedom of the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus performed miracles and all manner of wonders. The Spirit of God was released through him.
People then and now marvelled at Jesus and what he did. But, because of the glorious Edenic pair, their actions in the Garden were passed down to us. As a result, only a few people could accept the free Spirit of Jesus – believe in him, take him and be filled with him and live by the free Spirit of Jesus.
God in Jesus went through death, created by the beautiful pair of Eden. Yet, he overcame to rise above that death in the resurrection.
The untrammeled Spirit manifested himself on the Day of Pentecost.
The people saw the demonstration of the Spirit by a strong wind, by fire, by joy unlimited and by hearing various languages. Thousands of people believed that day. That day the Spirit was free, he moved through people freely because they had faith in Him. The fall of the miracle pair was negated by Jesus' death and resurrection. The Spirit was now free to move in and through those who believed.
Today, the warfare continues—the power and freedom of God's untamed Spirit wars with the Spirit of the Edenic pair.
The untamed Spirit freely roams, seeking those with hearts hungry for something they know not what. To those, the living Spirit reveals himself and Jesus.
Those people who believe and accept Jesus, the Spirit fills them with himself; he leads them into all truth about the Father. These people are set free to move with the Spirit to see prayers answered, the miracle of healing and provision provided. In these believers, the Spirit moves freely. What the Edenic pair lost, Jesus bought and gave back. The untamed Spirit isn't tamed anymore.
God is never stumped for a way out. On the contrary, he has a contingency plan so that when we, the fruit of that wondrous Edenic couple, fail; through Jesus, we are given back everything they lost.
We are restored and can walk and talk with God. We have become the glorious ones, through Jesus. Everything that Jesus is we are as well. We are no longer mavericks unbranded. God has put his brand on us, we are his children forever.
GOOD PERFUMES CAN BE RECOGNIZED AS BEAUTIFYL AROMAS.
CHEAP PERFUMES HURT OUR NOSES.
‘You stink pretty,’ an Aussie larrikin paid a compliment to his wife.
For some people wearing perfume continually is their signature. They are recognized by that particular perfume even if they cannot be seen.
Ancient Egyptians used perfume believing it was the sweat of the god Ra. I suppose the Egyptians might have had a point because people working and moving in the sun can’t help but sweat and smell.
Ann Hamilton points out that each of us has a unique odor and as individual as finger prints or retina markings. Ann suggests that in Isaiah 11: 3, we will be judged not by sight or sound but by smell, ‘he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes or decide by what he hears with his ears.’
How many times have we heard, ‘don’t show fear because the animal will sense it and attack. Stay calm and it will move away.’ I can’t help feeling that the phrase, ‘delight in fear,’ could be that the Lord delights in our fear or awe of him and he recognizes each of us by our odor of awe which is our signature.
I am not a perfume person.
I have been given gifts of scent but they sit in my cupboard unused. Maybe my husband can identify my personal aroma, for it seems we all have a certain odor, especially if we haven’t bathed for a while. Wearing perfume is not important to me as my signature or identification.
I much prefer to be known by the fragrance of Christ that I exude. As is quoted in 2 Corinthians 2: 15 for we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ.’ How can I be so arrogant as to claim that I exude the aroma of Christ? Simply because Christ lives in me. Remember the scripture? ‘It’s no longer I that lives but Christ who lives in me.’ Gal. 2: 20. Dare you say that you are not a child of God? Dare you say that you do not exude the aroma of Christ?
Everything about Christ, his character, his personality, his very being and above all his sacrifice for you and I was a pleasing aroma to his Father. ‘This is my son in whom I am well pleased,’ God, the Father declared.
A NEW FRAGRANCE
The aroma of our service, the aroma of our good living, the aroma of how hard we are trying to be a Christian is a stink rather than a sweet fragrance. It is the aroma of Christ that God is searching for.
The aroma of Christ in us is all God wants, When God gets a whiff of Christ in us, and he knows we are one of his, one of his children.
Christ in us is our fragrance, it exudes from us, we don’t have to work to set it free, we just have to be and everyone will know our particular aroma is Christ.
But to all who have received him--those who believe in his name--he has given the right to become God's children … (John 1:12).
A WORD OF CAUTION
by BRONWYN BATTY
I heard an interesting testimony from a well-known prophetic preacher, Bob Jones, of a near death experience that he had. The only question Jesus asked him was, ‘Did you learn to love?’
Our society places a high value on certificates and degrees, but was it not love that took Jesus to the cross? But to truly love others begins with our love for him. Jesus loving gave Peter the third degree in John 21: 15 -17, when he asked him, ‘do you love me? Then feed and shepherd my lambs and sheep.’
Another powerful scripture revealing this truth is in the gospel of John: ‘Beloved, let us love one another, for love springs from God: and he who loves (his fellowmen) is born of God and is coming progressively to know and understand God.’ God manifests his love to us by the sacrifice of his son.
I saw a wonderful story on TV, of a man who is taking care of his sick wheelchair bound wife. His love for her was very strong and intense; the love seemed to drip from him like drops of water from a water carrying sachet, trickling over her as they went out onto the streets in a specially made bicycle. He calls her his Princess. Her daughter made a tiara, which was placed on her helmet for the ride. That man has learnt a lot about love.
I am reminded of the helmet of Salvation which Jesus has provided for us because through Jesus going to the cross and the crown of life. Jesus has promised to place on the heads of those who have loved him! 2 Timothy 4:8 ‘As to what remains, there is laid up for me the victor’s crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me and recompense me on that great day – and not to me only, but to all who have loved and yearned and welcomed his return.’
I have read a sad testimony by the only son of a very rich Australian business man who has passed away. All his life, the son had been longing for his Dad to tell him he loved him. Well, in the final twenty four hours, the father told this son in a telephone call, that he loved him and was proud of him!
How much better, to learn the importance of love while we are on the GO in the land of the living, rather that when we face the red STOP sign at the exit.
This is an excerpt from the Book THE MAVERICKS ROUNDUP.
It is one of the many instances that served to shape Bruce Leane’s early life. It is incidents like these that matured and prepared him for the Christian ministry later in his life.
A LOT OF BULL
‘What are you doing today, Bruce?’ Linc Parkin called up one day.
‘What do you want done?’ I asked. I needed some ready cash.
‘Bruce, come and give me a hand to load up a bull. I’ve got to go down to a property at Nangkkita and pick it up.’
When we got there the bull was in the yard, snorting and pawing the ground and charging the rails. The trouble was the truck was 30 – 40 metres away backed up to a heap of dirt with the ramp on the truck lowered so we could load the bull.
‘I’ll have to lasso the bull, ‘Linc said. ‘But I don’t have a long enough rope.’
‘Why don’t you join all the ropes together? They might be long enough then,’ I suggested handing a bundle of ropes to Linc, which he proceeded to join.
‘Blast,’ he swore. ‘They still won’t reach from the yard to the truck.’
LINK GET'S AN IDEA
Linc looked at me with a gleam in his eye, ‘Bruce, we’ll hitch the rope to the bull and you run the ropes out as far as they will go and when I let the bull out, run like hell for the truck and put a hitch around the rail on the truck then get behind the truck wheel for safety.’
‘That’s not a very good idea,’ I protested. ‘What if – ‘but I didn’t get to finish the sentence because Linc proceeded to undo the gate.
I’ve never found out how fast ‘like hell’ is but I certainly must have exceeded it because when the bull caught sight of me at the end of the rope he charged and I ran. I won!
The bull rammed the back wheel, getting its horn caught in the truck chassis, tearing off the horn. It didn’t help the bull’s temper one little bit. As for me… I was shaken but safe.
‘Bruce, shorten the damn rope,’ cussed Linc, as I struggled to take up the slack rope.
‘It’s all right for you, standing out there yelling orders,’ I shouted, struggling with the rope. With more puffing and cussing, the bull was in the truck and we returned to Linc’s property.
The Honey Bird.
I have called these little birds the honey birds because they are honey eaters. They love the Grevillea bushes. Grevillea’s flower most of the year and so honey eaters have a supply of nectar for energy.
The botanical name for these honey eaters is (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae). . The New Holland Honeyeater is black and white with a yellow patch on their wing and along the edge of their tails. These birds have a small white patch around their ear, white eyes and have small whiskers near their bill. Baby New Holland Honeyeaters look very different and are brown with grey eyes. The long, curved beak these honeyeaters have are perfect for reaching deep into a flower to get to the sweet nectar inside.
These honey eaters were dubbed New Holland Honey Eaters by the Dutch explorers who were the first to reach the shores of Australia.
Because these little birds were so plentiful and energetic, it was decided to name them after the Dutch homeland; New Holland Honey Eaters. Phylidonyris novaehollandiae have a history of being the first birds to be named by Europeans.
As I write this article, I am watching one of these birds visiting each Grevillea flower and drinking in the nectar. A larger bird of the honey-eater family is also working the flowers. The bush itself is aquiver with these birds all intent of feasting on the nectar.
My husband and I get so much pleasure from observing these birds, they have so much character.
There is a verse in Proverbs about honey. ‘Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.’
I am reminded that God’s Word is like honey, sweet to the heart and mind and healing to body and soul. God ministers to us through his word and through Jesus the living Word.
Jesus came to bind up the broken hearted, proclaim freedom for captives and release those who feel imprisoned.
Jesus is the honey, the sweetness, the healing to our stressed hearts and minds. We need to reach out and commit to him with all our heart and allow him to turn our lives around. We will taste his sweetness, we will be satisfied just as the honey eaters. We will be energized as are the little birds.
THE SWEET LIFE
The little birds have to search for the sweetness; God says, ‘if you search for me you will find me’. Perhaps you think you have searched for God and didn’t find him. You need to search wholeheartedly. Search not with the idea of testing to see if God is there but commit to a real full scale search – you will find God and be rewarded. Through Jesus his son you will taste the sweetness of life.
lCOMPARE THE PAIR
When it comes to something precious gold and faith are opposites.
They don’t compare.
Gold is precious and solid. We can see it, hold it, smelt it and shape it into jewellery, adornments, crowns, utensils.
Faith can’t be seen or held but it can be used to create miracles and change lives even move mountains. Faith is insubstantial.
Gold and faith are both important for our well-being here on earth and in eternity.
Gold can’t be carried with us into eternity but faith secures eternity. Gold provides for us here on earth but just how well depends on how hard we work or even how good we are at obtaining it by fair means or foul means.
Faith can also provide for us here and now and it also depends how strong our faith is and what we place our faith in. If we place our faith in our self we might not succeed then again, we can succeed very well. If we place our faith in a living, loving, God we will do very well. Perhaps not in the conventional way but God has his unique way of providing and caring for us in answer to our faith.
DIGGING FOR GOLD
Gold is prospected for. It must be worked for. Hard work is need to acquire it. Many men have died looking for the ore and dreaming of a mother lode that will make them rich. Many people devise schemes to rob us of our hard earned cash and we slave at daily jobs to earn an honest buck. There is always the drive to obtain as much gold as we can for our old age and for the good life as depicted on the TV. Gold in quantity gives us a life of ease, we can indulge our every whim, and please ourselves where we live and how we live.
Faith too, is a gift from God. Faith is not given lightly, it has to be searched for. According to our perseverance in our search, the depth of our search and an accepting of Jesus Christ’s death on our behalf, depends on whether faith grows within us. God has said that without faith we cannot please him. God has also said that he rewards those who seek him. There is just one condition though, our search must be wholehearted, and we must be totally committed to searching. We will be rewarded for our search and will find God.
FAITH IS HELD IN THE HEART.
Faith is ethereal it has no substance as does gold.
But faith is rewarded with that which is substantial; the rewards of faith can be seen and held and enjoyed. When God sees our absolute faith in him, his blessings will flow as in provision, inner peace, and inner joy. God has said he is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we ask or think and this is true when faith is totally placed in him.
Gold has to be left behind when we leave this world. Faith carries us into eternity. Faith in God now ensures we have eternity now and after we depart this life. Whereas, gold never ensures eternity now or ever.
A wholehearted faith in a living, loving God enjoying his presence is a life of fulfilment. Whereas, life spent wholeheartedly seeking gold, loving gold, enjoying gold only satisfies for the moment. When that pleasure is fulfilled we are looking for the next great moment to be bought with gold. Faith’s great moments last, because faith is in a relationship with God, a person. An intimate relationship with God by faith.
CAN’T BE BOUGHT
How much gold we amass here on earth will not cut it with God.
God is not impressed by our efforts to gain gold, or how much good we do with our gold. Faith, on the other hand, impresses God and he opens his heart to us. Our faith allows God to execute his plan for our life, our faith in him causes his Spirit to birth and live within us. We are then, his children, wholly and solely. Faith causes us to depend on God for everything. God, when he sees our dependency, is overjoyed and rewards us. We must realize that God’s provision does not come as a reward for our efforts but is a reward for our faith.
Gold can be taken from us, down turns in the economy, overspending, contribute to our loss of gold. Faith cannot be taken from us. Economic failures do not affect faith. God will never leave us. He promised not to and he is not a liar that he goes back on his word. We will never lose our eternal position given us by faith, because God never leaves us. Once he lives within our spirit he never leaves.
It is incredible how we desire to dress prettily and fashionable. Some of us like to be covered head to toe; others discard their attire until they are wearing only the stitching. Some people think it a crime to wear the same outfit twice while others don’t give a care.
God spoke about our dress code; he pointed out how he clothed the flowers and the lilies in color and beauty. If he could do this for the vegetation, what could he do for us if we trusted him?
There isn’t any need to worry ourselves sick about earning enough to clothe ourselves; God has our physical needs in hand.
God is more concerned about the state of our heart and our mental state. In our natural state, he can’t enjoy an intimate relationship with us; he needs to clothe us. God, in His immeasurable love, sent Jesus to the cross, taking our failure to keep the standard he requires with him. In return, Jesus gave us his righteousness so that we could enjoy the Presence of God, and God could enjoy our company.
God gave us a gown, a robe, a suit if you like, of righteousness so that when he looked at us, he saw we wore the clothes Jesus gave us and he smiled on us. He knew Jesus indwelt us, and we lived in Jesus. Jesus and we were an entity. We were acceptable.
The only problem for us to wear the robe of righteousness we need to accept Jesus as Savior, as the rescuer, as redeemer, as a lover. Can we take the covering of God made possible by Jesus death? Or do we insist on trying to please God by striving to clothe ourselves with our goodness? God calls our robe of righteousness a filthy rage. He hates it. He insists we wear the suit given us by Jesus. So, have we accepted Jesus?
Thought for the Day: Once you have feasted on the goodness of God, nothing else will satisfy.
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.