Monday, May 29, 2017

Get Dressed

Often during my Bible reading, or listening to a sermon, a thought, a phrase, or a verse will jump out at me and start the wheels turning in my mind and make me dig deeper in the Word of God, searching for more light on the subject.

This weekend was one of those times. I heard the phrase “get dressed spiritually”, and I began to muse over this phrase and it's full meaning.

Every morning, as we wake up and begin our day, we give some thought as to what we are going to wear for the day. We think about what we'll be doing that day and it determines what clothes we'll wear. Is it a work day? Is it a church day? Is it a cold day? A hot day? Will we be getting dirty? Will we be sitting in an office? Will we be meeting with a friend for coffee? Our mind runs those scenarios over in our heads, and we plan accordingly.

But now to crunch time, and the point of my writing.

How often do we get up and “get dressed spiritually”? Do we rise every morning and plan what to wear spiritually? We read in Ephesians 6:10-17 about the clothes that God wants us to wear.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

The whole armour of God! God tells us what we are to wear spiritually. He gives us clear instructions.

We would never, even on our most brain dead days, get up to start our day, without stopping to get dressed. No! We put at least a little bit of effort into clothing ourselves.

Why then, do we neglect to clothe ourselves spiritually? Why do we think we can make it through the day spiritually naked!

Some people think they can get by with a spiritual clothing once a week. On Sunday, they soak up the Word, read and pray, then for the rest of the week, they get about without their armour (spiritual clothes) on. And yet, they take care to get dressed physically each and every day.

The Bible clearly tells us why it's important to be clothed with His armour. We will be able to “stand against the wiles of the devil”. We will “be able to withstand in the evil day”.

I don't know about you, but I feel like we're living in the 'evil day'. Unless you live under a rock (like my 12th grade geography teacher thought of me because we didn't have a television), or you are in denial about the wickedness in the world today, you too know that we live in evil days. All the more reason to put on God's armour.

The Bible also tells us in verse 16 that we'll be able to “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked”. I know I don't want to take on a fiery dart without some protection.

So often we're guilty of taking care of the physical and neglecting the spiritual. We need to be in God's Word, daily, continually, wholeheartedly, to be able to find the armour we need.

One of my sister's used to tell me in my teenage years, that it looked liked I'd rolled around in my drawer and got out (due to my wrinkled state). Well, it's not enough to 'roll around in the drawer' of God's Word, metaphorically speaking, and expect to come out with your armour on. You can't expect to be clothed right if all you do is read your Bible on Sunday, and maybe a little verse along with a nice story every other day.

As you dig deeper, God's Word comes alive. As you memorize scripture, God's Word, God's truth, is hidden in your heart and is there ready for the enemy's attack.

We need protection against the devil's tricks and manipulative methods. And only by mediating on God's Word and obeying God's Word, and living God's truth, are we going to be able to stand against the devil, prepared for the battle.

The Bible is full of promises that we can claim. We can trust in God's protection, but He expects us to clothes ourselves, with His help, and be ready.

So get serious and get dressed!

Psalms 28:7

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

Psalms 84:11

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Lion from a Thicket

Dad wrote this article in the church
bulletin this week and it was so
good I wanted to post it here.

Sometimes, as I read my Bible, a verse
leaps out at me that I never noticed
before, but often to me, it's like
a brick in the face!

I really like Dad's 'Lion from a Thicket'
analogy so much better.
If you haven't already read it,
please take the time to read it now.
Here it is:

19th century pastor Charles Spurgeon once wrote of preaching in the dark at Metropolitan Tabernacle when the gaslights failed. Interestingly, he told that during the last hymn before he preached he was looking over his sermon notes, and 'from across the page a text leaped upon me like a lion from a thicket.' He said it seized him in its teeth and pierced him deeply. So obvious were its truths, so pointed its message and so clear were the headings of its outline that he felt led to lay aside the sermon he had prepared and to change his sermon. So he preached from the LIONLIKE TEXT.

No sooner had he begun to speak than the lights in the auditorium went out. People and preacher were plunged into darkness, but he had no need of sermon notes. He knew the new text from memory. The outline was fresh in his mind, so he calmed the people and preached with great power. In the dark. He recounted that he was sure that God had directed him to the new text.

It is that saying of his that keeps coming back to me, 'a text leaped upon me like a lion from a thicket!'

Have you ever had that happen to you in your devotions, in your Bible reading? I gather that it is almost unknown among the Lord's people. Very seldom do we see (or even hear of) a brother being broken, torn, rent in pieces by a LION OF A TEXT OF SCRIPTURE. Rather, neo-evangelicalism has conditioned us to study only the 'safe texts' and avoid all thickets of Holy Scripture where LION TEXTS lurk. We've absorbed the soft lies of the neo-theologians who smilingly whisper to us that all LION TEXTS have been retranslated so that they are now tame tabbycats, purring on our laps. Modern culture teaches us that being mauled be a Bible verse is an alien experience for modern day pastors. Brokenness is out of date and baptistically incorrect.

Ah, but if our hearts are tender, if we lay aside our worldly wise armour we may fall under the onslaught of a mighty text, torn limb from limb, rent in pieces by the ferocity of truth, helpless in its jaws. How long is it since that has been our experience? Not for a long time. In fact, I sometimes despair of experiencing again that blessed crushing of my stubborn will, that breaking of my hardened heart, that wounding of my arrogant pride.

It is not that God has lost His power or that His Word has no teeth. Rather it is that Christians keep their distance from LIONLIKE TEXTS. They ride in air conditioned comfort through lion parks where they can observe at a distance the great Bible truths that used to devour men.

I have decided that I need to hark back to Spurgeon's description of 'the text leaping upon him like a lion from a thicket.' I am convicted of being overcautious in my reading of God's Word. The Lord is challenging me to risk my soul, to hazard my all, and to prowl all the thickets of God's Word. I need to probe every bush, and to follow every game trail I find in hope of springing a LIONLIKE TEXT.

As time passes I find I am becoming more adventurous, and even beginning to leave my cardboard armour at home. In fact, I noticed the other day that it is gathering a lot of dust. I cannot yet boast of great numbers of LIONLIKE TEXTS found, but I can give thanks for some small progress. I am occasionally being torn by the Lion of Truth. Is it fearful? Yes and no. It was terribly frightening at first to be seized and dragged off to the lair of the Lion of the tribe of Judah. But I am discovering that His deepest wounds are for my good. Like Jacob, I am finding that all God's valiant men limp from the wounds of LIONTEXTS. Jacob was only a supplanter, a trickster, until God crippled him, and then he became Israel the prince of God. I am coming to believe that LIONLIKE TEXTS are the best kind. In fact, one of my friends suggested to me that most texts of Scripture will be found to be ravenous, if I read them in faith.

I suspect that the Christian who lays aside his armour of self will and intellectual pride and then prowls among the thickets of Scripture will find many hungry LIONTEXTS there. There is surely nothing better for God's people than for their pastor to limp to the pulpit with many a scar from having wrestled with a LIONLIKE of Scripture until it did its work in him. And nothing brings joy to a pastor's heart like looking out over his congregation on a Sunday morning and seeing many whose hearts have been chewed by texts that leaped upon them like lions from a thicket!

May they leap upon us as they did upon Spurgeon!

Pastor Buddy

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Baby Shower 🚼👶🍼

As promised, here are some pictures from
the baby shower held for Abbi recently.

We were blessed with many of the
ladies from the church
coming, bearing gifts and all sorts of yummy treats.

We drank coffee and tea and munched on and on.....
played some baby related charades,
and each took turns giving Abbi some
baby and mothering advice.
Even her sisters and cousin pitched in
their two bits worth.
(and good advice it was too!)

With not long to go now, the days
are swiftly flying by and soon it'll be
Grandma and Grandpa Holmes around here!


And I am sooo getting this shirt for Dave!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Little Brother Visits
and so does Mum and Dad
and a cousin!

A couple of weeks back, I was very
excited to get a visit from my 'little' brother!
All the way from Brisbane!
He had never visited us here in the Territory
and he was only here for 2 nights, so we tried
to make the most of the time we had.

We did some sight seeing out at Katherine Gorge,
a selfie on the Katherine River Railway Bridge,
Youth group on Friday night,
Markets and coffee on Saturday,
Teen youth group on Saturday avo
and lots of fun family time playing pool,
telling jokes and reminiscing.

And that's Jer up there doing the YMCA chant

Pretty trippy light play??

I cherish any time I get to spend with my siblings
and mum and dad, as we're so far from anywhere.
It was great to have that special time.

Then, right after Jer's visit,
we were again blessed to have
my parents and niece
visit for a week.

We tried, to no avail, to let mum and dad rest
and not do too much, but alas. They won't sit still!
Grandpa won many rounds
of pool and I think Grandma even
did too! We did ALL the op shops (without Grandpa)
and enjoyed family time. Grandpa worked with Dave
some and they got some projects
around the house done too.
We were even able to have a baby
shower for Abbi
while they were here.
(photos coming up in the next post)

The girls really enjoyed having
their cousin to stay up late
and chat with, sitting out on the
tray of the ute staring up at
the stars ✩ and listening to the
neighbourhood sounds. Hmm.
Sorry, India, that we couldn't go camping.
Maybe next time. ⛺

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day

Okay, so I'm a little behind,
Mother's Day being yesterday,
but hey!

Here is a sweet picture of my mum
and me. Awwwww.

And here, is a picture of us now.

Okay, so not so big an 'awww' this time?

Life these last 2 weeks has been crazy
so be prepared for a run of posts on various subjects.

But the most important was Mother's Day!
How I thank the Lord for my mother.
She really has become the Proverbs 31
woman and a great example to me.

Well, every year since Dave and I were married,
I have taken a family photo on Mother's Day.
It is always fun to look back on these pictures and
see how the girls have grown (taller) and
Dave and I (wider).

And now, as the years fly so swiftly by,
we see the numbers in our family photo
dwindling. With 2 daughters married, we're
now down to only 5 of us. Sigh.

But we have gained 2 great son-in-laws
and Lord willing, lots of adorable grandchildren!

So, now to the mug shot for this year.
But before that, I want to take you on a short trip
down memory lane to some past Mother's Day
photos, just for nostalgia's sake.

My very first Mother's Day

The year 2000



And the last photo with all of our girls at home
in 2014

And now for this year
Oh, how our numbers have dwindled....

And, in case you want to see how tall the
girls are compared to us.

And now, I'll leave you with this very
wise piece of advice ............

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Singing in the Fire

"Mrs C.H.Spurgeon, wife of the
famous Victorian preacher,
was for many years afflicted with illness
which at times was acutely distressing.
One wintry evening, as the deeper darkness drew on,
she lay on her couch, much discouraged,
and wondered again why such lingering affliction
should be allowed to frustrate the service
she would fain have been rendering
to the Lord's servants.

Suddenly, she heard a clear, musical
sound like the trill of a robin;
but no, surely no robin could be singing
out there in such wintry darkness.
Again the plaintive, melodious notes
stole into the room;
and then she found to her surprise
that they came from the fireplace.

The fire was letting loose the imprisoned music
from the heart of an old oak log which
was burning there.
The old oak had garnered up that song in the days
when all went well with him,
when birds twittered merrily
on his branches, and the soft sunlight
flecked his leaves with gold.

But since then he had grown old and hardened;
ring after ring of knotted growth had
sealed up the long-forgotten melody,
until at last the fierce tongues
of the flames consumed
his callousness and enabled him to sing his
sweetest song even amid self-sacrifice.

"Singing in the fire"! Says Mrs. Spurgeon,
"If that is the only way to get a song of praise
from these apathetic hearts,
then let the furnace be heated
seven times hotter than before!"

I read this story recently and began to think about the trials in my life, and whether I ever
'sing in the fire'.
It seems, of late, that the burdens are heavy and trials and testing abound, and some days the waves crash overhead so often and so fierce, that I almost give up hope of my little boat staying afloat.

But, I was encouraged by the verse Paul wrote in

2 Corinthians 4:17

For our light affliction,
which is but for a moment,
worketh for us a far more
exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

Now, if you've ever studied the life of Paul, you'll know that he had his trials.

2 Corinthians 11:24-27 

Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

So, for Paul to say his affliction was 'light' and that it was 'but for a moment' is
amazing to my understanding!
Paul realized that our trials 'work for us'
an eternal glory.

The trials we face work for us and in us. To develop and strengthen our faith. To mature us. To purify us. To make us more like Christ.

Over the past few months our Pastor has been teaching through the Psalms. We have been gleaning an insight into the life of David and the huge trials he faced. But despite his overwhelming troubles, he stayed faithful to God. And it is evident in so many of the Psalms, that he had learned to 'sing in the fire'!

We see him on his face before God. Crying out for mercy from his enemies. And then, we see him on his feet, praising the God of his salvation, often even before the trials has ended.

Psalms 3:3-5 

But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.

I love verse 5. David is confident in God's protection. He has armies chasing after his blood,
yet he lays down and sleeps.

In Psalm 4:8 it tells us that he lay down
in peace and slept.

"I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.

There is a sweet peace that only God can bring
during our trying times. And there is a song
that only God can bring forth out of our aching
hearts. He and only He, can teach us to
'Sing in the fire'.

And all those around us, can be encouraged
and challenged and blessed by our song of praise.
God will be glorified by our right response
and His name lifted up.

Sometimes, God has to send the flames
to teach us to sing.