Ok peeps. I got to confess it to you all. There are times when I have a deep problem in loving the vilest sinner. It’s true. I have done for a long time. Yes its true. I know Jesus loves this person. I know he has washed his sins away. I know he has filled him with his Spirit. I know this person is forgiven and totally accepted by God.
But man, there are times when memories of the past raise their ugly head, and I bow my head in shame.Its in times like this, when I remind myself, I can only love and be kind to myself, because God first loved me. And so I can love myself because God loves me.
All of us sin in thought word and deed. All of us are caught up in sin. We can’t help it. But the good news is that Jesus Christ took our sins upon himself. Through him we are forgiven and accepted by God. For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son – so that who ever believes in him, shall have eternal and abundant life.
I don’t know about you, but, I reckon thats good news, what do you think?
I came across this interesting article about the issues and difficulties movie makers have in filming money on screen. To be honest, its something I have never thought of before.
Henry writes a hard hitting fictitious short story about feeding the hungry. I believe that churches should be involved in feeding the hungry and is something I am involved with. Last week I was invited by our pastor to come along to a street ministry where homeless people are fed. ( We have recently started fellowshipping at this church) I arrived a little early and because didn’t see anyone I knew,I hung back across the street, waiting patiently for those I knew to arrive. . (I wasn’t sure if the group that nearby was part of that ministry, or were another group.) An older wizzened man, called to me, and said, “Hey mister, come here and join us.”
He was a short, frail homeless guy, whom I later found out was nicknamed the professor. While he hardly had a cent to his name – he was truly rich in the grace of hospitality and the gift of encouragement. I went to minister to those like him; and instead, found myself richly ministered to in return.
I admit I enjoy action flicks of all genres. Cowboys and indians. Cops and robbers.Some of my favourites are the subtitled asian kung fu and ninja ones. I can’t understand a word that is being said. My little knowledge of linguistics tells me that the subtitles only tell me the gist of what is being said. So I know I am missing out on the nuances, ironies and humor in the movie. I am told that I have a wicked and weird sense of humor. I like the slapstick b grade cowboy movies. Such as The Trinity Brothers series. I also enjoy watching war movies of many genres. Such as the civil war in America. The variety of wars that happened in Europe. The Three Musketeers are also among my favorite which reflects the in house political fighting in France.
Last night I watched “Crocodile Dundee 2.” It told the story of how Mick Dundee had to bring his wife back to Australia to protect her from drug lords who were out to get her. It resulted with some people being shot. Some were wounded. Some were killed. There seemed to be justice involved. The good guys win. The bad guys lose. I have seen this movie a number of times in the past. I knew how it was going to pan out. In many ways the reality of life and death portrayed on the screen is all bells and whistles. I was recently blessed to be involved as an extra for a small producer making a sci fi movie in Sydney. My short stint enabled me to see how the bells, smells, smoke and whistles look like reality. And the truth is, from the safety of our lounge chair, we know the movies we watch are just fiction. No one is really dying in the shows we watch. Yes the stories may raise a tear. They may raise a cheer. But, we soon get over it.
But, over the last few weeks I have seen some videos that were not made in Hollywood. They are not made of bells, smells, smoke and whistles to look like reality. They are reality. What I have watched was and is truly traumatic. The first one I watched was ISIS executing 12 bound men. One by one they shot them. Then then the whole group emptied their guns into their bodies. There was no entertainment in watching this. The sheer horror and evil of humanity was being portrayed in front of me. There was no escaping it. I saw another bound man being beaten to a pulp with a plank. His legs and his feet were pulverised. They were smashed to pieces. He was left laying on the ground, bound. I saw a child. A young boy being forced to lay on the ground with his arm outstretched. I don’t know what he did. But they drove a truck over his arm. Back and forth this truck went over his arm, smashing it to bits.
Yesterday I watched another video, where a Christian man was being forced to recant his faith, and turn to Islam. He repeated the inmans words. He renounced his Christian faith. He publicly called on Allah. The inman then said, they were not going to shoot him. Instead, because he didn’t believe he had renounced his faith in Christ, they were going to cut his head off. The bound man was grabbed. A large knife produced. And someone proceeded to cut this bound mans head of. He didn’t use the knife like a sword. Instead, he used it like a saw, and sawed the mans head off. It took some time for him to do it. His death was not instant. Nor would it have been painless.
Yesterday I saw photos where islamists crucified 8 men for being Christians. Many Christians around the world are being forced out of their homes because of what they believe. Churches are being burnt down. Families forced out of their homes. Families being forced to recount their christian faith. And if they do, the women forced to undergo genital mutilation. Women and girls are being stolen and sold to or being forcibly married to Muslim men and forced to convert to Islam.
Tonight I watched another one. ISIS again in Syria. The had three bound men laying on the ground. They beat them with big sticks. They threw a truck tyre repeatedly on them. One mans head was set on fire. And then they pissed on his head and stomped on it, to put it out. They laid the boot into their face, their genitals, their legs and stomachs. They were laughing as they did it. I watched how a group of men gave a young girl, who looked like she was 1o or 12, a machine gun, and made her fire it around the corner of a building up the street, and they were laughing as someone else returned fire at the girl.
I have no idea where this happened. But it made me sick in the stomach. I nearly vomited after watching them. Why watch them you might ask me. Good question, as its one I have asked myself repeatedly. I certainly haven’t watched them for entertainment sake. I am blessed that I have cyber friends all around the world. And so I have watched them to see some of the true evilness which they are experiencing. Some of the videos have come from them. Others have been linked to me from a variety of sources. I read in the newspapers that many are crying to the U.N to stop the wars. To stop the brutality. To stop the evilness of it all. They are asking humans to do that which is impossible.
There is only one who is able to do the impossible. He has taken on humanitys evilness. Through him, and only through him is peace truly found. And through him we can pray to the one who can do the miraculous.
Father God, I beg you, cover the world with your spirit of peace. Let it hover over the waters evil and change them to love. Father God, change the hearts of the brutal and evil in our world. Deliver them from the evil which has so pervaded them. Fill them with the knowledge of your love. Your ways. Your peace. Your Spirit. Cause your people to live and practice their faith in safety and peace. True peace. In Jesus name I pray.
“Father God, I need some firewood,” I Simply prayed, and continued, “You have always provided us with wood in the past and our supplies are extremely low now, can you please provide us with some?” This is a regular prayer of mine. Rarely do we need to buy wood. The times we do, the Lord seems to always provide us with the extra cash to do so.
Our supply of firewood had become extremely low and so I took our need to God during the week. The other day, I managed to pick up a few hard wood pallets from a local factory, which gave me a few days worth of wood. As I was leaving, I spied a number of extra long pallets in the yard corner – making a note to come back and get them also. I also have a railway sleeper tied to my camper trailer, which I managed to pick up on the way back from our recent holidays.
This morning I heard sawing and banging coming from next door. Upon some investigation, I discovered workmen working on the house, which had been recently sold. Being the nosy parker that I am, I went over and checked out what was happening and discovered a pile of timber in the front yard. A simple request of the workman, soon led me to throwing over my fence some good lengths of hardwood framing from the house that is being renovated. I have just finished cutting them up on my sliding saw and think I have a couple of weeks worth cut up. I estimate that we will only need the fire for the next 3 – 4 weeks on a nightly basis and then maybe need to fire it up on a random basis for those cooler nights and days. And so todays provision will indeed provide us for what we need.
I love the way the Lord answers prayer. He tells us to take to him all our needs. We have never run out of wood for the fire. Last year someone gave me a couple of trees which had been cut down. 7 weeks ago I picked up the wood from another tree that had been hit by lightning and had been cut down. And some seasons I will go to a friends property and cut wood also. I still could have gone to my friends property to cut some wood. But, as its towards the end of the winter season, my chain saw blades need sharpening. The saw needs some servicing. The fuel can needs refilling and I need to get some more chain oil. With other expenses needing to be paid – we really didn’t have the funds to pay for all those others items…so I prayed.
I can’t urge you enough to talk to God about all your needs. Spiritual needs. Physical needs. Emotional needs. Relational needs. And while praying about your own needs; also ask God to provide the needs of those around you. And then ask God, what it is, he just may need from you. For perhaps, he may use you to provide the answer of the prayers and needs for others.
John Piper speaks on prayer. I really enjoyed what he said at the 40 second point when he asked if he had any Calvinists squirming in their seats. Have a listen to it. I was greatly encouraged to pray and I am sure you will be also.
Dave Black writes a nice little essay on the top 20 books on the NT that he has read. I’ll throw my list into the ring with a bit of a twist to the rules and call it my top reads for Kingdom Living.
1.) The Bible. – It was late in 2006 when I holed up in a pub at Gunning, and read the N.T right through in 3 days.
2.) There have been a number of significant biographies that have impacted me: 9 O’Clock in the Morning, Dennis Bennett. Smith Wigglesworth. John Wesley. Charles Spurgeon. Luther. Hudson Taylor. Corrie Ten Boon. David Livingstone. Brother Andrew – God Smuggler, Light Force. Nicky Cruz, Run Baby Run. In his Steps – Charles Sheldon
3.) Anything on prayer. Andrew Murray. E/M.Bounds. George. E Muller. The Kneeling Christian. Praying Hyde. Reece Howells Intercessor. David Brainard. Corrie Ten Boon. Don Carson – Spiritual Reformation. (While I don’t hold to a Calvinistic reformed theology – I found his book an excellent read.)
Practicing the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence. I consider this book to be foundational for my own ongoing prayer life. Praying and communing with God where ever we are.
4.) Spiritual Formation. Eugene Peterson. John Stott. C.S Lewis. Dallas Willard. Richard Foster. David Watson. Cloud / Townsend. Phillip Yancy. John Piper – Desiring God. Michael Harper. Gary Chapman (5 love languages) Rick Warren. David Watson.
5.) NT Commentaries – Gordon Fee – Revelation. Tim Gombis – Drama Ephesians.
6.) NT study. Greek is David Black and William Mounce. Gordon Fee – How to read the Bible for all it is worth.
7.) Apologetics. Josh Mcdowell. Ravi Zacharias. R.J Berry (Real Scientists. Real Faith), J. Packer, John Eldridge, C.S Lewis. I love his statement.. Call Jesus Lunatic, Liar, or who he said he was – but, don’t call him a good moral man; because he hasn’t given us that option.
8.) NT Theology – Roger Olsen. Stanley Grenz, Martin Lloyd Jones, John Stott. Clark H Pinnock – Flame of Love. Veli Matti – Pneumatology. Ross Clifford & Phillip Johnson – The Cross is not Enough.
9.) Blogs that make me think. Roger Olsen. Robert Martin- Abnormal Anabaptist, Scripture Zealot, T.C Robinson – New Leaven, Shane Clifton – Australian Pentecostal Theologian, Mark Stevens – The Parsons Patch, Dr. Claude Mariottini (Claude is an OT professor. But, he still makes me think! ) Dan Thompson – Apprentice to Jesus., Dave Black – Southern Baptist Greek Professor. (And a good friend)
10) Christian Writers – Max Lucardo, Phillip Yancy, Bill Hybells.
We have (I should say had) a small pergola / shelter in our backyard. I have been planning on moving it a few metres back and turn it sideways, for a few weeks now. It was one of those things with a few sheets of colour bond, 4 light square steel tube legs and a frame.
Muggins after studying it for a while, thought that it would be easy to cut the legs off just above where they were concreted in, and slowly walk the shelter to the required spot. Truth be known, I was kinda going to have a few guys around on Sunday to help me..but, I got impatient and I thought I could do it on my own… so I decided to do it yesterday.
I didn’t figure on the guttering / frame around the roofing iron to be full of years of accumulation of Tea Tree leaves and other debri. There was at least 80kg of debri hidden in the frame. And so after cutting the legs, it kinda collapsed on me.
So muggins had to pull it apart. And I now have this big mess to clean up. In many ways, its collapse was a blessing. I was going to move it to where I am making another pergola, aquaponics garden, and covered area and it most likely would not have blended in that well.
What can I say – yeup. I am a man. I did it my way!