Saturday, December 31, 2011
Last day of 2011 -- and the sun shines -- lovely blue sky -- lovely, lovely, lovely!!
This is just a day like another. And tomorrow will be another. Yet today and tomorrow have symbolic significance for us human beings:
end of the old > beginning of the new
We aspire to do better than we have before. We aspire to do good things -- to live more honourably, more honestly, more truthfully. We aspire to put away the bad and put on what's good.
any change is cosmetic. To reach our aspirations we need an interior change -- a transformation of the heart. Who can do that? We may try mightily and seem to succeed for a time but we still end up reverting to our default mode. A mode that has decades of imprinting by our upbringing, our choices in life, our experiences, our sufferings, failures, successes, and so on.
Who or what can change our default mode? How do we get out of this rut of reverting? Can we never make a real difference in our own lives? Or, in our family's? Or, our community's? Or, our nation's? Or, our world's? Will all things revert to that default which we deem unacceptable, untruthful, unloving?
Seems pretty bleak.
We can't change ourselves let alone anyone else.
But, Jesus Christ can change us. He changes our hearts. He alone makes it possible to reach our aspirations. He alone is the transformer -- not a new year resolution or wish, not a promise on our part. We are weak; he is strong.
Sadly, we have legislated anything to do with Jesus out of our schools, our communities, our nation... and, thus too out of our lives, and out of the lives of our children. Sad really. The one person who can sort it all out is relegated to the dustbin.
Psalm 113: 4,5 "For the LORD [Jesus] is high above the nations; his glory is far greater than the heavens. Who can be compared with the LORD our God, who is enthroned on high?"
For those who seek Jesus... God bless you!
If you don't, may you be surprised to discover how great is his love for you in 2012!
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
"Straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize." Philippians 3:13-14 NIV
All rubber bands work on the same principle - they must be stretched to be effective!
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Mark Daniels reports:
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you...:
One of my nieces posted this on Facebook recently and I re-posted it. It contains a great anti-bullying message and apparently was circulated in connection with suicide prevention:
The girl you just called fat? She is overdosing on diet pills.
The girl you just called ugly? She spends hours putting makeup on hoping people will like her.
The boy you just tripped? He is abused enough at home.
See that man with the ugly scars? He fought for our country.
That guy you just made fun of… for crying? His mother is dying.
- Op-Ed Contributors: Why Cyberbullying Rhetoric Misses the Mark (nytimes.com)
- The Unintended Consequences of Cyberbullying Rhetoric (zephoria.org)
- Facebook Teams Up With Time Warner For New Anti-Bullying App! (lukewilliamss.wordpress.com)
Sunday, September 04, 2011
Psalm 42: 1-3: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I come and stand before him? Day and night, I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me, saying, “Where is this God of yours?” ”originally published at Bhojli Reflections
There are times when I am fully aware of my longing for God. It is so strong that my heart aches inside. At other times I have no awareness and am busy thinking and doing other things yet have felt so restless and unsettled. No matter what I put my hand to or think about in my mind it does not settle the unsettledness. What I believe is happening is that my deep longing for God is causing the unsettledness; I am dissatisfied with everything else. My deep being is crying out with longing for God. My outside being (my conscious self) is distracted with many things; some of these distractions may be my efforts to escape from my longing for God.
Then, too, there are my enemies who seems to whisper forever, “Where is this God of yours?” The demons are ever ready to throw this question at me when God seems not to be near, or seems not be hearing or paying attention.
My longing for God gets attacked by myself (the sinful self who is so full of self and does not want a competitor) or by the demons who do not want me to draw close to God in any way.
God knows this. He knows how to deliver me from the taunting demons. And, He knows how to work in my heart so my dissatisfaction deepens until I do turn to Him and am willing for Him to bring about the needed heart changes.
He has made clear in Scripture that He loves us and desires to fellowship with us. He has planted within us this deep longing for fellowship with Him, as well.
Copyright © 2003 Fran Woods
Thursday, September 01, 2011
Eugene Nida diesNow he is with Jesus. How wonderful for him!
August 25, 2011 By comms
By Dr Philip C. Stine
Eugene Nida, the giant of Bible translation in the twentieth century, died at home in Madrid on August 25. He was 96. Conveying the news, his widow Elena said, “My adored husband has passed away 10 minutes ago. Thank you for your prayers. He was a saint. The Lord is with him.”
For more than 50 years Eugene Nida was the leader of the translation program of the American Bible Society, and subsequently the intellectual leader of the global program of the United Bible Societies, as well as consultant to that organisation.
Dr Nida will be best remembered for the revolution he brought about in the field of Bible translation in the mid-twentieth century. The resulting impact on the growth and development of the Church continues to be felt as millions of people in hundreds of languages around the world have access to the Bible because of the approach he developed and promoted.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
I've just downloaded the latest Topaz Labs filter. It's called B&W effects. This particular effect is called Opalotype (yellow lilac) and I quite like the effect.
This building is one I pass every time I go to Sydney. I don't know anything about it except that it's been there a long time. If it was a kid's cubby house then it would have been fantastic fun for the kids!
Monday, August 29, 2011
"So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless." 1 Corinthians 15:58 NASBFrom: http://dailyreadings.net/
Be like a postage stamp – stick to one thing till you get there! – Josh Billings.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Ramchandra Baghel was the son of a poor farmer from a small village in the infamous Bastar area. Given to the vice of alcohol addiction, the father had leased his farmlands. The habit resulted in the family losing their own lands and Baghel's father was forced to work as a daily wager on his own land. Today, Ramchandra has been able to buy back his forefathers' land. He also supplements his earnings by working as a driver, ferrying school children in his run-down jeep.From: Giving 'em a new lease of life - The Times of India.
The youngster who could have been held in the shackles of poverty rose to attain a respectable position in society instead. This would not have been possible without the support of his beloved Dadaji and Dadiji. This old couple, not his biological grandparents, happens to play a similar role in the lives of around 4000 children in the tribal areas of Chhattisgarh.
Jayant and Jayshree Kothe, more famously Dadaji and Dadiji, belong to Nagpur, but decided to help those who really needed it after attaining the age of retirement. This took them to the notorious Abujhmar plateau in 1998. "The place has such a difficult terrain that it was impossible to work there," says Jayashree. This led to a detailed study of the needs of the various people around the region. And, finally they decided to make Dantewada and Bastar areas of Chhattisgarh their base. Later, they formed Bhartiya Kushta Nivarak Sangh, an NGO that has its presence in over 80 villages.
"An abandoned police station in Halbaras village in the Naxal-infested area was turned into our home. Today, the building also houses an ashram, a school and a laboratory equipped to screen people for sickle cell disease, a condition very common among the tribals of the area," informed Jayant. The ashram also provides shelter to more than 25 needy children, whom the elderly couple has accepted as a part of their family.
The goodness of the couple also benefits the other children in the villages. More than 200 kids are fed with nourishing khichdi, consisting of pulses like tur, moong, masoor, groundnuts and grams. The improved nutritional profile of the children has meant that malnourishment has been practically eradicated in the village. Those who did not attend school were told to come to the ashram for a couple of hours to study.
The decade long efforts of the Kothe's have finally borne fruit with the villagers as well as the government supporting their activities. The fallow land near the ashram would soon be turned into a park with financial aid from the villagers. Identifying the need for it, the government has assigned the couple with the task of screening more than 25,000 tribal children for sickle cell disease.
They have started spreading their aid to the villages in Maharashtra as well. Already started operations in Melghat, they would also be providing support to villages like Deori, Istari and Yedmagondi in their home state.
All sorts of recognition and achievements fall short for the couple as the highest reward for them is having thousands of children to call their own. The couple is in the city with some of the children from the ashram for an exhibition of handicrafts made by tribal people from Bastar ranging from bell metal, wrought iron, wood work to the famous Chapa Kosa sarees and dress materials. The money earned through sale of these items would go the BKNS's Halbaras ashram.
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Incline my heart to you
My heart is inclined to you, O LordRef: Bhojli Reflections: Poetry
Yet not all
So often I see myself withholding
some thought, some desire
some bit of the old
declaring with shaking fist
this is mine,
A so-called friend offends me
I want revenge, tit for tat.
Don't tell me to forgive,
so my heart inclines to hatred
this is mine
There's much to do, and
I'm tired of doing
I want to play
to go where I want to go
and do what I want to do
so my heart inclines to selfishness
this is mine
And so the list goes on
I spiral down
lost to myself in whirling self-pity
deeper into loneliness,
so my heart inclines to
hopelessness and despair
O God, I am yours, You are mine
Written as a result of reflecting on 1 Kings 8:54-61
Copyright 2005 Fran Woods
Longevity is due to genes not lifestyle, study finds:
"Israeli researchers trying to unlock the secret of longevity studied a population of Ashkenazi Jews who have lived to at least 95 and found their eating and lifestyle habits are no better than those of the general population.
In fact, men in the long-lived group drank slightly more and exercised less than their average counterparts.
The findings are published in the online edition of Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. ..." [follow link above for more]
- 100-Year-Olds Just as Unhealthy as the Rest of Us (livescience.com)
- "Longevity genes," not healthy lifestyles, are what help you live to see 100 [Longevity] (io9.com)
- How to Live to 100: Secrets From Centenarians (everydayhealth.com)
Monday, August 01, 2011
Small 'weapon' makes big difference in war on famine:
"SOMETIMES survival can be a simple equation. The difference between life and death for a frail child in Somalia can come down to being fed a peanut-based paste that costs less than 40 cents a serve.
Plumpy'nut - each sachet of the nutritional supplement weighs only 92 grams - is Red Cross aid worker Hilary Floate's not-so-secret weapon in the war on famine. And amid a litany of bad news from the East African drought and conflict zone, it is good news everyone can relish. ..."
- VIDEO: On the frontline of Somalia's famine (bbc.co.uk)
- Pope urges end to 'indifference' over Somalia famine (telegraph.co.uk)
- Bono Discusses Relief Efforts With Local Somalis Before U2 Show In Minn. (huffingtonpost.com)
Saturday, July 30, 2011
"John Stott died today at 3:15 London time (about 9:15 a.m. CST), according to John Stott Ministries President Benjamin Homan. Homan said that Stott's death came after complications related to old age and that he has been in discomfort for the last several weeks. Family and close friends gathered with Stott today as they listened to Handel's Messiah. Homan said that John Stott Ministries has been preparing for his death for the past 15 years. 'I think he set an impeccable example for leaders of ministries of handing things over to other leaders,' Homan said. 'He imparted to many a love for the global church and imparted a passion for biblical fidelity and a love for the Savior.' Billy Graham's spokesperson released the following statement from the evangelist: 'The evangelical world has lost one of its greatest spokesmen, and I have lost one of my close personal friends and advisors. I look forward to seeing him again when I go to Heaven.'"
John Stott had a great impact on my early Christian life. I purchased many of his books and found them both challenging and encouraging in my life with Jesus. I had not realised he was still alive till the other day and now I find that he's gone home to Jesus. I'm glad for him.
Monday, July 25, 2011
I've stopped to photograph it many times. Lately I've been experimenting on my photos using some of my computer art programs, especially one called Dynamic Auto Painter (DAP). The computer is my canvas and this is something I like to do. I quite like this particular result.
Recently someone has begun a restoration project on the cottage. I hope they retain something of the its character.
Thursday, July 07, 2011
On Tuesday I drove down from Sydney back to my little house in the Southern Tablelands. My car was loaded down which helped me stay on the road. As it was my arms got very weary just steering and keeping on the road. The winds were blowing from the side and at time they were very fierce. After leaving Goulburn I sadly noticed a lot of trees had come down though none blocked the road.
I was very glad to finally arrive home. The wind was way too strong to even think about unpacking the car. It wasn't quite as cold as predicted but still cold enough in the wind. The house shuddered and shook, the chimney whistled, and I was glad to go to bed where I could be cosy and warm secure from the the wind.
My muscles are all aching today. Maybe that's from all my rushing yesterday--unpacking the car early in the morning before the winds picked up again, splitting wood and carting it to my woodbox at the house, battling to get the wood fire to light and stay alight, watering my plants, and entertaining visitors, etc. I'm sore!
The forecast says that really cold weather is coming...
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Then, of course, how many of us are able to look someone in the eye when we've done wrong? As a child could you look your mum in the eye when you'd told a lie? I couldn't. Mum's eyes on me really put the fear of God into me!
Now science has set about to prove it!!
Why one look will put the fear of god into you: "DOES it feel like you're being watched all the time?
An image of a pair of eyes is all it takes to make people more honest or judge the behaviour of others more harshly, research shows.
The effect may help explain why widespread belief in an omnipresent god has evolved.
Advertisement: Story continues below
Pierrick Bourrat, a philosophy research student at the University of Sydney, and his colleagues presented more than 90 people with two stories of moral transgressions - keeping money found in a lost wallet, and faking a resume. Half were given the stories on a piece of paper with eyes on it, and the other half saw an image of a flower." ... [read on]
Friday, June 03, 2011
MI6 hackers hit terrorist website with cupcakes:
"British intelligence has hacked into an al-Qaeda online magazine and replaced bomb-making instructions with a recipe for cupcakes."
- MI6 attacks al-Qaeda in 'Operation Cupcake' (telegraph.co.uk)
Thursday, June 02, 2011
“… But that happened so that we would not depend on ourselves but on God. He raises the dead to life.” 2 Corinthians 1:9 NIRVAnd, for inspirational daily messages, check out www.thewordfortoday.com.au
Anything that causes us to turn to God and lean harder on Him is an asset, not a liability. It's when we lose a job, a marriage, a loved one, our health or our peace of mind that we can turn to God and discover what He can do.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation." Romans 5:3,4God uses tough times like a refining process to bring out the best in us. He controls the heat, because His goal isn't to destroy us but to develop us. Gold only becomes valuable when the impurities have been removed in the fire!
from Daily Readings
Books from Amazon
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
CIA hitman William Young found dead at his Chiang Mai home
I knew of Bill when I lived and worked in Chiang Mai. The story of the circumstances of his death have saddened me. Unfortunately, this story focuses on the negatives of his life, and this too saddens me as there is a lot more to his life than is reported. Also, we can never know the heart of another person no matter how good or bad their lives may look to us. What I do know is that depression can strike the strongest of us and drive us to the brink of despair, which seems to be be what's happened to Bill.
I pray God's mercy on his soul, comfort for his family, and that God would bring great good from his life and times amongst the Lahu and other hilltribes folk of SEAsia.
Also check out the New York Times article: William Young...
Sunday, February 27, 2011
The Majors Creek bridge will be closed for repairs March 7-April 15 and the detour will go around a back way to the nearby town of Braidwood. The detour is considerably longer and much of it on dirt road. Since I'm fairly new to the area and had not been along the road I decided to drive to Braidwood via the detour to see how it was and how long it took.
The dirt road is good except for one patch where the gravel is very small, very round and, as I found, very dangerous. I was not going fast and did not touch the brakes but my car suddenly spun out of control sliding all over the road. I was sure I was going to roll, my mind went blank on what to do, and there seemed no way to stop the car... it slid for about 100 mts slewing all over the road before spinning sideways and then doing a 180 degree turn before finally coming to a stop on some different sort of gravel. Needless to say I was very shaken!
Another car coming in the opposite direction stopped to check if I was alright. Their car also slid as it came to a stop. I was very grateful for their kindness, and thankful that they were not a few seconds earlier or we would have collided. They warned me of another patch of the same gravel a bit further on.
I'm convinced that God sent angels to stop my car, and that he protected me from something far worse. There seems to be at least 1km of this slippery gravel... it wasn't easy to walk on it either. I've named it "ball bearing" gravel... very unstable and slippery.
I'm planning to write to the local council about it. It seems too dangerous to be pushing all traffic along this road for 5 weeks.
I am so very grateful for God's care of me. This event had underscored the fact that I have the wrong sort of car for the country... too light, only front wheel drive, not enough oomph... and, after yesterday morning's experience too dangerous for dirt roads.
Friday, January 28, 2011
This comes from The Word for Today which often has some good things to think about. (I've made the 5 questions into separate paragraphs for reading ease.
Friday, 28 January 2011 00:00via The Word for Today.
'Nothing can ever separate us from His love.' Romans 8:38 NLT
Paul asks five life-changing questions you'd do well to think about:
(1) 'If God is for us, who can ever be against us?' (Romans 8:31 NLT) The presence of God tilts the scales forever in our direction. Really, who can hurt us?
(2) 'Since God did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won't God... also give us everything else?' (Romans 8:32 NLT) Would God save our souls then leave us to fend for ourselves? Would He address our eternal needs and ignore our earthly ones? Of course not!
(3) 'Who dares accuse us...? Will God? No! He is the one who has given us right standing with Himself.' (Romans 8:33 NLT) Every voice that accuses you, including your own, means nothing in the court of Heaven. God's acceptance trumps man's rejection.
(4) 'Who then will condemn us?... the One who died for us... is sitting at the place of highest honour next to God, pleading for us.' (Romans 8:34 NLT) Let your accusers rise up and speak against you. Jesus, your defence attorney, silences them. Why? Because His grace covers you.
(5) 'Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love?' (Romans 8:35 NLT) Paul answers his own question: 'Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away...nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.' (Romans 8:38-39 NLT) Isn't that great?
SoulFood: Ecc 1-4, Luke 6:27-36, Ps 107:1-9, Pr 3:13-18
Thursday, January 27, 2011
What advice would you give to people who are aging?I thought his take on old age worth repeating here. I hope it encourages you.
First, accept it as part of God's plan for your life, and thank him every day for the gift of that day. We've come to look on old age as something to be dreaded—and it's true that it isn't easy. I can't honestly say that I like being old—not being able to do most of the things I used to do, for example, and being more dependent on others, and facing physical challenges that I know will only get worse. Old age can be a lonely time also—children scattered, spouse and friends gone.
But God has a reason for keeping us here (even if we don't always understand it), and we need to recover the Bible's understanding of life and longevity as gifts from God—and therefore as something good. Several times the Bible mentions people who died "at a good old age"—an interesting phrase (emphasis added). So part of my advice is to learn to be content, and that only comes as we accept each day as a gift from God and commit it into his hands. Paul's words are true at every stage of life, but especially as we grow older: "Godliness with contentment is great gain" (1 Timothy 6:6).
The other piece of advice I'd give is the other side of the coin, so to speak. It's this: As we grow older we should focus not only on the present, but more and more on Heaven. This world, with all of its pains and sorrows and burdens, isn't our final home. If we know Christ, we know we have "an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you" (1 Peter 1:4). I know it won't be long before I'll be going there, and I look forward to that day. Heaven gives us hope, and makes our present burdens easier to bear.
(via Q & A: Billy Graham on Aging, Regrets, and Evangelicals | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction.)
- Billy Graham at 92: Faithful Honor the Man and His Message (politicsdaily.com)
- Billy Graham (mn2az.blogspot.com)
- George Beverly Shea: 102-year-old Canadian singer to receive honour (nationalpost.com)
- Aging, Legacies and more Time with our Family (logicandimagination.wordpress.com)
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
“Good people will prosper like palm trees, grow tall like Lebanon cedars; transplanted to God’s courtyard, they’ll grow tall in the presence of God, lithe and green, virile still in old age.” Psalm 92: 12-14 MSGOld age is not a disease that needs healing but rather a normal progression of our life. God has promised that we will still be fruitful in old age (if we allow it). Are we able to live with that promise? Or, do we like so many, try (vainly) to avoid the inevitable and so waste our energies on fretting about what’s happening to us, attempt to turn back the clock, or use some other denial strategy.
We can produce our greatest harvest of fruit in our final years. When the sun goes down the stars come out – we can shine brightest in the closing chapters of our life. So why not live right up till the moment you die?
God has good things for us in old age! It's time to grab hold of the promises of God about this, and though we might not be able to run, we can surely walk with a firm step and go for all God has for us!
Saturday, January 01, 2011
Sun and salvation make a divine holiday for fun-seeking souls.
When I was in my late teens and early twenties I was part of a team that did the same sort of thing -- we camped at Scotts Head, one of the beaches in northern NSW and had special programs for kids and parents. Back then we called them Beach Missions. There were loads of different activities for kids of all ages... lots of laughter, exhausting games, and time for significant conversation. Somewhere in all my stored stuff I have photos and slides of those days. One day I'll find them and post some of the memories of those days.
One vivid memory from one year is of a cyclone that hit right in the middle of the mission... wild winds, wild rain, and a wild time trying to keep the tents from blowing away. Nobody got much sleep, and no one was injured. Everything was wet through!