Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Going to the source.

On Monday, I was at work when I was informed the transformer on the power pole out the front of the grounds was emitting smoke.  I couldn't see it at first but after watching it closely, it became evident.  I couldn't actually smell the smoke but someone else claimed they could.  I called Ausgrid Emergency line immediately and I explained that the pole was in front of the medical centre.  The operator immediately called a serviceman and I was told then to keep away from the area.   Of course, the guy on the phone didn't know who he was talking to and so I walked up to the medical centre to inform them that I had called the electricity supplier.  The building had been evacuated, everyone was in the car park outside the building and one of the ladies was on her phone to 000.  When I told them that I had called Ausgrid, one lady said "they won't do anything".  Within a ten minutes an Ausgrid worker had arrived, and because he was the expert in these situations, he quickly analysed the problem and quietly started working on the issue.  Another ten minutes went by and the rural fire brigade had arrived in their trucks and with sirens blaring.  There was little they could do but the children who were attending playgroup in the church were excited by firemen with big trucks, flashing lights and sirens.

It occurred to me that sometimes we seek a solution that seems reasonable to us.  Like the ladies who called 000, it made sense to them that there was a fire and to call the fire brigade.  It didn't even occur to them to call Ausgrid because they were sure they wouldn't arrive in time.  How often do we go to someone else to solve our issues, or ask another to pray for us when time are tough.   God tells us to go to Him in our times of trouble, because He really wants to help us.  In Psalm 50:15 God says Call on me in times of trouble and I will deliver you.   There is nothing wrong with going to someone to pray for you, to help you or give you advice but if we want an expert to work on our particular situation, we need to go to THE expert... God.  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Trying new things

About a month ago, I received an email from Di, the wife of one of my hubby's golf buddies.  She was planning a get together of his golf buddies and their wives to farewell one of their mates who was moving to Wollongong.  We were asked to bring a plate and BYO drinks.  I told hubby of the get together and he immediately decided what he was taking for the BBQ and what salad I could take.  I suggested that it might not be a BBQ but more of an afternoon tea sort of thing but he was positive that his mates would be hosting a BBQ.  I contacted Di and she said it was finger food and when I told hubby, he was really disappointed.

I started trying to think of something yummy I could take and decided on a few items which were easy to make and easy to transport.  I had a Messy Church meeting in the middle of the day of the get together and when I got home, hubby stepped into the kitchen to help me out with cooking, thinking we wouldn't have everything done in time to leave by 3.45pm.  He actually enjoyed doing some of the prep work and ended up decorating butterfly cup cakes. He had never made butterfly cakes before and I gave him a demo on one and then let him go with the knife, a bowl of icing and box of a dozen cup cakes.  When we arrived at Di's with the food, everyone enjoyed it and hubby felt really proud that something he had helped make was enjoyed by others.

Thinking of it, sometimes we get so used to things done in a certain way  that the very idea of trying something different seems odd and uncomfortable.  However, if we are courageous enough to try something different, we may find the new thing more satisfying than what went before.  

My favourite verse (okay, I have lots of favourite verses but this is truly one of my most favourite faves) is Habakkuk 1:5

‘Look at the nations and watch –
    and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
    that you would not believe,
    even if you were told'

We need to watch but we also need to be ready to do something that we have never done before...we need to be brave and try new things if we want to be amazed by God's work.   If I had told hubby a month ago he would be decorating cakes for his golfing buddies, he wouldn't have believed he could do a good job of it.  However, if he had made a mess of the cakes, I still would have been really proud of him for attempting it.  I reckon God is proud of us when we try something new, even if we don't do it perfectly. 

I think Mother Teresa once said, “God doesn't require us to succeed; he only requires that you try"  Let us all be prepared to go out on a limb if God asks us.  Let us all be prepared to try something new, even if there is a possibly we could fall on our faces.  After all, if we fall on our faces, that position is, in fact, no better place to begin to worship our God.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Neigbours are closer than you think.

One morning a couple of months ago, I received a message on Facebook from Beth, the daughter of a friend, who asked if my son was living in Soldiers Point.  It was an unusual question but I didn't think any further of it and so I answered 'yes'.  It seems a few weeks earlier Beth moved into the next block of apartments and had seen him on his balcony from her kitchen window. She really wanted to check that it was him because she didn't want to start waving to a random stranger.  What is really amazing is she works as a receptionist at a place where my son used to work. 

When things like this happen, we always exclaim "Its a small world!"

You know, the world does seem to be shrinking.  Or maybe technology gives us that impression.  When my mother was little, it would take days and sometimes weeks to get news from one side of the world to another.  Nowadays with Twitter, Facebook, the internet and 24hr news channels on television, you can find out what is happening in another country almost immediately. Nations are no longer separated by time and distance but we are now as close as our television or our computers.  We can celebrate with an athlete who wins a gold medal at the Olympics and we can weep with a family who loses everything when their home is washed away in floods.  

With this shrinking world the definition of 'neighbour' has changed.  A neighbour can be anyone anywhere in the world these days.  We can either view our neighbours needs as a responsibility or an opportunity to show God's love.  The choice is ours.  May we have the attitude of Jesus when it comes to our neighbours, whether they live next door, in the next street over or on the opposite side of the world.

I'm keen to find out if my son and his wife have made contact with Beth.  They may end up inviting Beth to their church or their home bible group or they may just stick with a friendly wave.  Whatever they decide, they need to be happy and comfortable with their choice just as we need to be comfortable with ours.

Monday, February 11, 2013

God's Protection

I had my own little lesson on God's protection this past week. 

Psalm 91:5-6, 9-11 (The Message) says
5 Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
    not flying arrows in the day,
6 Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
    not disaster that erupts at high noon

9 Yes, because God’s your refuge,
    the High God your very own home,
10 Evil can’t get close to you,
    harm can’t get through the door.
11 He ordered his angels
    to guard you wherever you go.

Note the last line in verse 6...the disaster that erupts at high noon and verse 11 ...He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go.

Last Sunday I stayed back and chatted a little while so it wasn't that far off noon when I left Holy Name.  My car was parked across the road and it was raining.  After hopping in my car, I turned on the engine and could smell what I thought was burning plastic.  I couldn't see any smoke and none of the dashboard warning lights were illuminated so I felt it was safe to drive home.  My son was at home and I told him about the smell.  He said that it could be because of the rain and the tyres and wasn't too worried.  When my husband came home form golf I told him.  He looked under the bonnet and couldn't see anything wrong. 

At this stage, I thought I was going a insane because nothing was obviously wrong and I could smell something that wasn't there.

The next morning we topped up the engine oil and looked again but couldn't see anything wrong.  I left for work and I could smell it again.  I got home and told hubby about it and he suggested we go for a drive around the block.  Yes, that smell was there and while I wasn't happy of something burning, I was glad I wasn't going crazy. 

We checked under the bonnet again and found the electronic rust inhibitor has burnt and melted.  I had had a fire under the bonnet of my car! I don't know much about cars but I reckon that a fire in the engine compartment of your car isn't a good thing, even if its only a little fire.   

God had protected my life, my husbands life and other road users lives from potential disaster at high noon!

We have since found out this particular electronic rust inhibitor has been recalled because of this problem, but we didn't know it at the time.  I didn't even have time to fear disaster but God's angels stepped in and took control of the situation.  Gods angels  were with me wherever I went in my little red car!

Our God is good and worthy of praise. selah!

I thought I would share my testimony with you and hopefully encourage you to remember in those times when you think disaster is striking, something much worse may have happened if God hadn't been there to step in and protect you.

Have a wonderful week and as you go about your busy lives, may you get a quiet moment to sit and hear our Heavenly Daddy's heart as it beats for you. 

Great Meaning Hidden in Simple Stories

As I write this post, I can hear thunder in the distance.  Hubby and I had been out tonight to have dinner with a group of people and remember a dear friend who passed away a year ago today. When we were driving home we could see flashes of lightening in the sky.

I admit that I love electrical storms.  I will sit under the cover of my verandah and watch lightening in the sky and I still get a big grin on my face whenever I hear thunder.

When I was a child, the house I lived in had huge picture windows in the loungeroom.  When there was an electrical storm, Mum would open the curtains and raise the venetian blinds as high as they could go and we would sit and watch the exciting show of lightening slashing white lines in the inky blackness of the night sky.  To ensure my sister and I wouldn't get scared of the loud claps of thunder, mum told us the rumbling was Santa rolling his big barrels packing up or preparing for Christmas, depending when each particular storm was. Looking back, I know Mum told us a story to make the scary storms seem exciting to us children and, of course, her story of Santa and his barrels made perfect sense as in Australia, we tend to have the majority of electrical storms in December and January.

As an adult, I know more of the science of electrical storms but still, there is a magic and enjoyment for me about them.  

Jesus used to tell stories to his Disciples, Pharisees and any who took the time to listen about Heaven and God's love for the world.  He used things that were everyday parts of life to make the big and difficult to comprehend into something easily understandable.  An example is Jesus' parable of the fellow who finds a treasure hidden in a field, went and sold all he had to buy the field.   To me, this parable is about how Jesus sees each one of us as a treasure and gave all he had, His life, to buy you and me.  A simple story to show our value to God and how he wants to lavish His love on us, when for generations, people were taught that to gain God's approval was complex and full of sacrifice and hard work.

Its exciting to me, to know God's love is so great for me and for you

Our Overly Generous God

Last year, my hubby an I installed solar panels on the roof and a water tank in our yard.  We use the water from the tank on the veggie garden and the plants have seemed to do better with rain water rather than town water.  We have a hose attached to the tank and when the tank starts overflowing, we run the water onto the bare patches in the back yard.  And when it comes to solar, I was hoping the electricity bills would be cut in half but we have found out electricity bills to be a third of the amount it was this time last year.

When I think of the blessings of solar power and overflowing water tank, I think about the generosity of God.  We read in the Bible over and over again about how God gives to all without finding favour. 

The other day, I read a blog post by Bob Stone and in it he said "In creation God forms, fashions and then releases His gifts and blessings with open hands—He is an opened-handed God, a generous God." 

If you ever feel that God hasn't done anything for you lately, just spend a few moments reflecting on the fact He gave His Son to us, to take the punishment for our sins and to make a way for us.  And He has given us eternal life.  We get to spend the rest of our earthly lives in communion with Him through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit and when our lives are finished here, we get to spend eternity with Jesus in the Heavenly Realms.  When we think about these gifts, how can we not worship Him?  How can we not praise Him?  How can we not utter continual 'thank you's with our hearts and our lips?

I know its impossible for me not to say thank you to Him for all He has given me. 

Christian Life & The Superbowl. A lesson in being prepared.

There has been lots of talk both positive and negative about sport this week.  I'm not a huge fan of sport but my hubby is.  It doesn't matter what the sport is, he will watch it.  On Monday afternoon, I came home from work and hubby was watching the Super Bowl live on TV. (We live in Australia and we are about 14 hours in front of the US)  I was a little disappointed that I missed the part I considered my favourite bit of the game...the entertainment that is at half time. 

I went about making myself lunch when hubby exclaimed "Uh oh!"  I asked him what the problem was and he said the stadium had lost power and all play had stopped.  I then sat on the lounge with my sandwich and watched the confusion a little.  It was actually quite entertaining as the cheerleaders were jumping and dancing around and the commentators were trying to sound like they knew what was going on. 

The announcers soon came on saying officials had found the problem and it could be up to half an hour until play resumed. Even then, no one was sure the game was actually going to continue.
I found it interesting that the coaches hadn't taken the players from the field but had kept them on the ground stretching, keeping warm and throwing the ball around.  The coaches and managers were very angry with the officials but the players seemed to take the unexpected interruption in their stride and kept on with preparations for when the power was to come back on and they could resume play.

It occurred this is a parallel to our Christian life.  As Christians, we should keep ourselves warmed up and prepared for when the power of the Holy Spirit comes upon us to do some major game playing in the Father's Kingdom.  We are not to get angry or impatient but to keep on with the preparations because we never know when we will be called into the game but just be ready when the time comes.  And even if we never get called into the game, the fact we are ready to go at a moments notice is more important in God's eyes.
Who knew the Super Bowl in the US had such parallels with God's kingdom throughout the earth?  I didn't.