Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Take The Pressure Off

Hello all! Sorry its been a while, you know how it is this time of year. I think everyone is feeling the pressure and busyness of life.

I took a short break last weekend and went to Melbourne to visit a good friend of mine. When I opened my bottle of water mid flight it let out a loud pssst with the air escaping due to the change in pressure. I didn't think much about it and finished the water and put the lid back on. Upon landing I reached down to grab my bottle and found that the whole bottle had been squashed in on itself, again due to the change in pressure.

How are you coping with the pressure of busyness at this time of year? are you exploding or imploding? Are you hissing at anyone? Are you feeling crumpled?

Sometimes the pressure we feel comes from life, sometimes we bring it on the little bird i saw just after returning to the coast. This little bird walked across 3 lanes of traffic at a busy roundabout! crazy bird! His (or her) little legs were moving flat out to accomplish the tremendous task. He made it - just.

Do you ever feel like you 'just make it' through situations or circumstances or commitments for the year? Do you feel like you are running flat out to get stuff done? Then right in the middle of it you might explode with the pressure or feel crumpled at the end?

Id really like to encourage you to think about next year and how much you will be running around like the little bird. Consider the commitments you are making, whether they really are things that fit your gifts and talents and passion, or what other areas might be better.

It was a noble cause for the little bird to undertake crossing the road, but he was designed to fly and he would have made it much easier for himself if he chose that option. So if you get to choose, take the pressure off and think and pray about what you commit to for next year.

And if you don't get to choose, if tomorrow or next year will be hard going, if you will be pressured on every side, then Ive got a few 'pressure adjusters' for you...

Phil 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

2 Cor 4:7-9 "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."

So next time you are about to 'hiss' at someone, or are about to crumple under the pressure, try and remember these verses. And look what i found before that first bit..."Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."Phil 4:4-7

Did you notice the unexpected part? the Lord is near! we are not told to chill out on our own or stay strong by our own means. The Lord is near. God is with you!

Take the pressure off, take His Hand.

my email

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Where are the Baubles?

Have you put your Christmas tree up yet? We put ours up yesterday, it was lots of fun. Master 3 had most fun throwing a bauble around the house. It had lost its top bit for hanging and as it was a hard plastic, was good for bouncing on the tiles. But with kids, you know something is wrong when you hear silence. I noticed the dreaded silence as i was hanging decorations on the tree and looked over to the kitchen and quickly raised my voice to say "JOSHUA...STOP". He had my good skissors in one hand and a perfectly good bauble in the other. He was about to cut the string off so he could use this one as a ball too!

He doesnt realise the pleasure of seeing baubles on the tree and having a decorated Christmas tree to adorn the loungeroom. He thinks throwing baubles is much more fun.

I think we do that in life sometimes. We cut off the 'heavenly ties' and use the good things God has provided for our own pleasure.

James 1:17 says that "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

God provides a multitude of good things for us to take pleasure in when they are enjoyed in their proper context like a bauble hung on the Christmas tree. In life, some people cut the strings off marriage, work, relationships, giving, even Christmas. All of these things are meant to be enjoyed in the original context that God had planned. It might still be fun, but it wont be fulfilling unless you know how it was meant to be.

Christmas is a very fun time. I love giving presents, I love the memories, the carols, the family coming together, the excitement of Christmas Eve. But unless we realise the real meaning of Christmas, we have missed the point. At Christmas, God came to earth when he sent his Son Jesus to be born on the earth as a man, the whole purpose being that he would die as a substitute for us, to pay the price for our sin, so that we could live forever in a relationship with God. What a message and a greater meaning for this time. When we give our gifts or token presents, sometimes we miss the greatest gift ever given - Gods gift of Jesus for us.

So, this Christmas, dont cut the ties that make it so special, and think about your response to this message - have you cut the ties to your life that are preventing you from experiencing life to the full in a relationship with God?

Jesus said "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Merry Christmas!

my email

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Playground Rage

Well, this is quite a strange time for me to be writing, cause usually at 4pm I am dealing with tired hungry kids and trying to cook dinner or tidy up, but they are confined to their rooms for the moment so i have a few minutes to tell you what happened today. I had arranged to go to Smilies (a big indoor playground) this morning so the kids could have a play with their cousins (and so Jen and I could 'relax' with a coffee). Unfortunately, because it was raining, most of the Gold Coast had the same thought so it was packed and very noisy.

Because there were so many people, the line for the indoor merry-go-round was quite long and so we lined up early to have a go. well, when i say lined up, it was actually more like an ants nest of toddlers trying to get into the little gate to rush to a seat on the merry-go-round. well, all of our kids got to a seat, and the bigger ones got on, but Josh couldn't quite get onto his so he was waiting to get help. he was standing their patiently when a bigger girl came from the other side and hopped on his hippo! (they were hippos and cats rather than horses)

Of course, Josh was horrified and cried inconsolably as i went in and picked him up to take him out. How unfair!! and THEN.... the little girls mum said "looks like he just missed out". Just missed out??? JUST MISSED OUT??? ILL GIVE YOU JUST MISSED OUT!!! (of course i didn't give it to her, but i sure felt like it!!)

Seeing injustice makes me angry. I hate it that life isn't fair. And i really hate it when you cant do anything about it. I get angry when kids are neglected or abused, or people are denied their rights because they are poor or oppressed, or when people who do the wrong thing aren't held accountable for their actions. And it makes me ask, what does God think about these things? And what does He want me to do about it?

Exodus chapter 3 speaks of Gods response to the slavery and oppression of the Israelites in Egypt

The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."

God sees the injustice in the world, he hears the cries of the oppressed, he is concerned and wants to rescue them and so he

Today wasn't a time to do anything, I just had to let that one slide. And when you have been wronged, sometimes thats what you have got to do.

In 1 Samuel 24:12, David says to Saul who has been trying to kill him - "May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the LORD avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. As the old saying goes, 'From evildoers come evil deeds,' so my hand will not touch you."

Proverbs 10:12 says "Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs."

But sometimes, when we see injustice, it is time to act.

Justice is mentioned 134 times in the Bible, and God has a lot to say about it. He talks about the poor 178 times, the oppressed 47, the widow 103, the alien 102, the fatherless 39. Thats a total of 469 references! Seeing injustice angers God, and he will do something about it.

check out these verses -

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?"

(Isaiah 58:6-7)

"He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

"Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay', says the Lord." (Romans 12:19)

Do you see the difference there? God will take care of the perpetrator, and he has given his people the job of looking after the victims. So, in many cases, there is something you can do. Whether that be giving to charities or volunteering to serve the poor, or advocating for the oppressed in your community, or writing to politicians, or just helping a child in a playground :). Ask God to show you his heart for the oppressed, the widows, the fatherless, the poor, the migrant. And then act when he provides opportunities for you to be His hands and His witness here on earth, both in your actions and your reactions.

peace out. :)

my email

Monday, November 5, 2007


At 6:00am Sunday morning, I woke up and decided I was going shooting. No, not that kind of shooting :)

I like to try my hand at a bit of photography and the day before, Rinna and I had seen a pair of Eagles down at the weir, so I couldn’t resist the urge to take my camera down to get that perfect shot.

Do you know how hard it is to actually take a good picture of an eagle? Firstly, if its just sitting on a tree it looks quite boring, you need that gliding action shot to get anything remotely good. And then, if its in the air, its so high above you that any normal camera captures a tiny speck in the air.

But today, I came prepared. I had my zoom lens on the camera, I had my walking shoes on, I was in the right location, all I had to do was wait for that perfect opportunity. So I waited, and waited, and waited. They were there, I didn’t have to look very far, but they were just sitting on telephone wires. Watching the fishermen try in vain to catch fish. They just sat there, for aaaaaages! So I decided to pray. After all, God created eagles, he invented flying, surely he could give them a bit of a nudge for me? Well, what do you know, it worked! One took off and flew away into the distance. Oh, that wasn’t really what I had in mind!

I could still see him however, flying high above the water and over the hills surrounding the river. So I prayed again! But I suddenly realized something. Even though I had all the right gear, and I was in the right location, it wasn’t going to do me any good cause I wasn’t standing in the right place. See, I was standing on the side of the hill. Even if the eagle did fly back over the river I would be shooting right into the sun, and would only get a side shot anyway. I needed to be standing in the place that would make the best shot, have my camera turned on and then wait.

One of my favourite verses from the Bible says ..."They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall rise up with wings as eagles"...another version says ..."Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings as eagles"...

Do you ever feel weary? Like you have done all you can but it still isnt making any difference? And maybe you’ve prayed but still nothing is changing in your circumstances? That verse above says that even the most energetic of us get tired and weary, and even the fittest of us stumble and fall. So what is it that makes the difference? It’s the waiting, in the right place. its stepping out, in the confident hope that you have in our awesome God, that he will lift you and carry you. that’s the right place to be. Not on the hillside looking out to try and find that what you are searching for, but to come before God, admitting that you cant do it without Him, and waiting, resting in him, knowing you can trust him and he will be your strength until he leads you out. And its at this time that you can soar, without effort, above the feelings and circumstances and truly experience the joy of knowing him and having a real relationship with God.

Well, I walked down as far as I could down onto the weir and I waited. For quite some time. but as I watched the eagle soaring above the trees, he turned and glided over to the river. I had my camera on, I was in the right place, I had prayed!, and he circled above me for about a minute while I took as many photos as I liked! Oh it was so amazing!!!

The pictures weren’t crystal clear (next time ill need a bigger zoom lens!), but you could even see him looking at me and tilting his head to look closer as he circled around. All I did was come prepared, stand in the right spot and wait.

By the way, I had the right spot because I knew from before...

Isaiah 40:28-31
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

You can trust Him. Just stand there, and keep your eyes up
and you can experience this for yourself...

my email