Friday, December 16, 2016

The Penman

Perhaps he was in the middle of writing a contract out or a letter, per request and there was a queue. Jeremiah comes to him, “Write down everything God has told me.” He does so. After all, Baruch is the scribe. Just the scribe: the penman to jot down that which he is directed to. Did his hands ache as the scroll curled by his hand and darkened with the ink of many, many words? Finally, Jeremiah’s voice must have faded into silence as the dictation was completed. Maybe Baruch breathed a sigh of relief and shook his hands to help them relax.

“Go… read…the words of the LORD in the ears of the people in the LORD’s house…” This next request from the imprisoned and disliked prophet probably didn’t cause much excitement to its recipient. After all, where had all these warnings gotten Jeremiah? Yet, Baruch followed the instructions, as given. He read it once. Then twice, when the absent princes heard they had missed out. Next, it was borrowed, read again, and then burned. Burnt!

When news got back to Jeremiah, directed by God, he called Baruch again. “Take thee another roll,” he said, “and write all…” Again the pen deftly spells the doomful, warning tones. This time, it was all that and more.

I can only imagine the thoughts that this servant of the nation may have felt, at times. He was only the scribe. Merely the penman, to write what others requested. Not even famous for his own writings. 
Yet, God takes a pause, for him – Baruch, the scribe.

Perhaps this work isn’t well-honoured or prestigious, maybe you feel like a nobody.

“…seekest thou great things for thyself?” God asks.

“…seek them not.”

I will bring evil upon all flesh… but thy life will I give thee…”

They might not notice you. But, I have.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Not Seen

"Oh, I'm so tired! I'm definitely going to bed by 8 tonight," little sister confides.

The stated time is hours away. In the meanwhile, she gets busy with gathering up rubbish from the lower paddocks. Slowly, the trailer was fills up with twine from haybales and other other no-longer-useful items.

A while later, she returns to the house. Her face echoing her announcement, "I'm done! Trailer is full.. Let's go to the tip, right now."

Feeling a bit unwell, the idea has no appeal to me. I have a license though. I grab a tissue and agree.

Though the sun is slinking behind the hills, Jana is keen to see her project completed. The return trip takes an hour, missing her bedtime only slightly. Mum gives us the okay. We rumble out the driveway.

Before dashing out the door, I grab the camera and my purse. The latter, just in case I need to show any police, that yes, I am a law-abiding citizen.

We see the first kangaroo resting on the bridge. I slow down and toot the horn. I smile, relieved to watch it jump off the road, rather than into the car. So far, so good!

"Ah, Stella, turn that way - around the back. Watch out for the ruts! I guess you haven't been here before?" The sudden commentary makes me laugh.
"No, I guess I haven't really. Not a big fan of the tip."
She laughs. It isn't exactly like she loves it either.

"Slow down," she warns me. "that's the gate."
I obey.
"How about I back it in?" she adds.
"Definitely! That's your expertise!" I willingly admit.

In a moment, we are inside the fence, forward-facing though. Still, Jana has a plan.
"I'll drive towards the right and reverse towards the middle opening."
Harder said than done. She tries from the left. Better success.

"Hey, don't hit that pine tree," it's my turn to warn.
"Hmm, that being there sure makes things harder," she grimaces.

After trying this way and that, we get it into a satisfactory position. She turns off the ignition. Happily, we swing open the doors and have a look. At least, it had looked okay inside the car. Once out, we aren't so sure.

"Needs to be backed up just a little bit more," we concur.

The key is turned. Click. Dashboard lights flash on, but apart from the dull "click", there is silence under the bonnet.

Suddenly, we realize that it's quite dark... and we're stuck in the tip - in a not so highly-reputable neighborhood too. My nose starts to tingle. The dirt brings on a volley of sneezing. I need a tissue. We have no torch, but feeling for it, I find the tissue. Still, I'm not enjoying this.

A few more unsuccessful tries. We pray together (and constantly in our minds thereafter.)

Finally, we decide to empty the trailer. We hope that rest might convince the car to perform.  Every last piece is discarded. The trailer door is swung back up in place. The bolts screwed back on. We instinctively head back towards the front doors. Will it start now?

I pray silently. Watch apprehensively. Click. Nothing. The battery was undeniably flat. Realization washes over me. We have no way of getting ourselves out of here. Short of walking all the through the night and leaving the car behind. I remember that I left my mobile behind. I had brought my purse instead. How un-helpful now!

Apprehensively, we walk away from the vehicle. The clouds cover the moon. It's dark. We're not usually outside at this time of the evening. As we walk together, I realise I'm afraid. Not terrified, but in need of some assurance. I pray silently. The promise comes to the surface of my thoughts, "The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him and delivereth them." Claiming it, believing it, I know it is true - that very moment. I couldn't see angels. I couldn't even feel their presence. Yet I knew.

 We head towards the light. Is it an oncoming car? Soon, we realise it's not. Must be houselights. We consider knocking on doors. We exit the treed area, our shoes touch the bitumen. We stop momentarily. I'm surprised by what I see. Or rather the lack of what I see. Despite being only 9 o'clock, there is not a single houselight. We recognize the light to be the lone street light, revealing a payphone.

Hope sparks. Our key to help! We quicken our pace. Cutting across the green, we soon are under the light, surrounding by thousands of happy insects. I look through my coins. Oh, no! Do I only have American coins? I wonder under my breath. I look on the over side. Then up at the payphone. How much do I need? Will 20 cents do?
"Fifty cents is the minimum for a call," Jana informs me.
I groan. I have none of them! But wait, how many 20s do I have? Three! I quickly drop them in; dial home. Mum answers. Relief! She's awake!
"Mum, we're stuck. Please come and help us!" we plead instantly.
The answer takes us by surprise. "Don't worry, just go back and relax. Dad is on his way already."

We walk back, confidence lengthening every stride. There is not a hint of light from the cluster of few houses.. I could feel scared again, especially walking away from the light. But I don't. The angels. They are not seen, but surrounding us. I know it! It doesn't take long for us to be seated back in the vehicle.
I snap a picture and blow my nose. We sit together. I don't know how long it is between when we first sit down until I see the approaching light. Not long.

"That's Dad!" we both shout. We jump out of the car and go to meet him. We hug gratefully. So grateful to have a father who anticipates our needs.

It's a bigger job than we anticipated, to get the car started. But, I'm not worried. I know Dad has it under control. It's very late when we finally get home, but we didn't have to walk.

I climb up onto my bed. Tonight, I kneel, just like every other night. What I say differs though. I'm grateful, so grateful for so many things.

"Thank-You, Father for everything. For the angels that surrounded us. For sending Dad to help us." I smile. And I realize that it must've have been about the time that we prayed together that Dad woke up and got the idea to come check on us. "For anticipating our needs and providing for them. Father, thank-You for being the best Father in the universe. Thank-You, that You have everything in control, even when I can't do anything myself."

I pause. Why was I so sure that angels were by us? God's hand was certainly over us. But, how could I have known for sure that what I couldn't see was a reality?

The verse returns, crystal clearly to my consciousness. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

That's the reason I knew. Faith - the Evidence of what's not seen

Monday, October 28, 2013

Long time...

It's been a long time since  I've even logged into blogger or wrote anything, but a lot has happened including the biggest and most wonderful event in my life...

Elisha Z. and I began our journey of "happily ever after"

And three months later on the other side of the world, still happy and only more in love. :)


Now you know the reason for my absence! :)


Friday, May 24, 2013

"Two Are Better Than One" - Our Love Story

Elisha and I wrote our story! :-) Visit our wedding website to read it, view pictures etc...

"Two are better than one..." Ecclesiastes 4:9

Oh and feel free to sign our guestbook too! ;)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

He Asked... and I said "Yes!"

I haven't posted anything in a long while, but I have a very good reason. :-) 
A really amazing, special man who loves God and me, asked me if I would be his best friend forever!
I said "yes!"

And another amazing part to the story? I will be Christella's sister for real, this summer!! 

Photo credits - Samantha R.

Friday, December 21, 2012

17 and counting!

"Have you been praying that I have a baby?" my sister grinned at me.
The question caught me by surprise. Of course I had. How did she know?
"Why? Are you expecting?" I finally asked.
The smile was enough. I knew. Before Cherith could say more, the big grin had duplicated itself on my face and I wrapped my arms around her.
"Yay!" I squealed.
"Quiet!" she ordered me, "you're one of the first people to know."
"Oh, I hope it's a girl! We need to balance out the nephew and niece numbers!"
We laughed and hugged again.
Any addition to our family is the best news. Babies most of all.

It took a while for baby's existence to be noticeable. It wasn't until Cherith's belly got really round that it finally hit me. A miracle was taking place inside of her! A brand new life was being created! Truly, "children are an heritage of the LORD: ...[babies] are His reward!"

Early pregnancy went well. No hiccups at all. But as she progressed, crazy days ensued.
Early labour (which thankfully the hospital staff were able to stop.)
Nearly constant braxton hicks.
Fragmented sleep.
Everyday before the due date, it seemed the baby would enter the world. Not so.
Instead, Cherith passed her due date and things settled down. Apparently, the little'un wasn't keen on coming out after all!
Then labour did kick in, for real. A few complications later.... which Ben wrote about...

Little lady bug ;-) was welcomed into this world!

A week after her birth, I was able to meet her.
One of my brothers called up, asking me what I thought of her. 
"Oh, she is so cute!" I answered.
"Cute?" he seemed unimpressed. "I've seen pictures, and to me, she looks beautiful!"
"You know what? you're right! In answer to your question -- she is beautiful." 

I thank God for the beautiful, little number 17 in our blessed family -- 
Katherine Melody!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Children about to be Confiscated

"Quick! Here comes the school bus!" The cry sent five little children dashing for cover. They were walking to get the mail from the letterbox. 
It was always fun hiding from traffic that passed by the family property. But there was an aspect of fear to it too. 

Why were they hiding? The parents followed their convictions to home school. However, the state which they lived in said it was illegal.  Said that the government should educate the children. 

Australia now recognizes home schooling as a legitimate and legal choice for parents. The research is there, which shows that children can be educated at home -- and thrive. At the recent Global Home Education Conference in Berlin, Dr. Gordon Neufeld stated that learning happens in the context of relationship, or "in the village of attachment" as he referred to it. The home is the most obvious environment for such relationship. 
He even stated that the child's measured IQ goes down by 21 points when learning is attempted outside of this village of attachment.

Yes, there are parents who don't feel the conviction to home school or are not able to. Yet, they and the government are beginning to recognize the far-reaching benefits of home schooling -- in some places. What are they exactly? You can read more about Dr. Brian's research on the topic at:

I and my siblings, personally have greatly enjoyed the benefits and freedom of home education. Yet, in the past, it wasn't legal.

It's wonderful not having to worry about such things. A huge relief.

But, there is another family who can't feel at ease about home schooling.  In fact, right now, they're fighting to be able to keep their own children. I know what it feels like to have to fear. Yet, I don't know it to their extent. 

The parents' choice of the education of their children is an undeniable, international right. Most parents enjoy this freedom. When these freedoms are challenged and trampled upon though, we who have it easy, we have a duty. To be the voice for the oppressed. 

The Wunderlichs are one such family that need our support. Mum personally met them in Germany at the Global Home Education Conference in October. A quiet, unassuming, conscientious family, they sought to follow their convictions. The government claims they have no right to though. 
What can we do to help? Dr. Michael Farris of the Homeschool Legal Defence Association asks that we send a statement to the German officials involved in this case. To let them know that the world is watching Germany and that the Wunderlichs are not alone. 
You can read more here and get the address for the officials here:

A few years ago in Australia, the courts were arguing over the custody of a young girl with cancer. When the public were alerted to the situation, the support was enormous. Two thousand letters came into the department's office in a day. The public opinion and support was so outstanding that the case turned for the family. The department had little other choice.

Will taking 10 minutes to write and post a letter really count? Yes. Each letter adds up.

Let us take this opportunity to be Jesus' heart and voice for this family. In letting them know that the Christian world cares. Let us fight for religious freedom. Parents' rights to choose the education of their children is an extension of this.  ...and let us pray for them too.

If I was about to be separated from my family, it would mean the world to me.....

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

'E' would happen to be....

"'E', Mum, what is a good original 'e' word?" there was a momentary silence as we walked in the dim twilight, back from the garden and goats.
I added, "I wish "f" was one of the letters in "GreaThings". It is the first letter of so many things I'm grateful for -- especially family... and friends.
"I've already thought of one word that I'm grateful for, but I want my wonderful family to have a mention some where in this challenge."
"Encouragement," she simply offered. 
That was the word I was wanting...
"Thanks, Mum." I turned and smiled. Despite the near darkness, I saw her return the smile.

We fell back to silence again as I thought about how much my family have encouraged me. My parents -- the ones that pour their lives into giving me a firm foundation for life. Parents do so much, yet it's easy to take them for granted. I don't want to though. So this year, I'm taking the opportunity to thank God for them; their encouragement and persistence in raising my siblings and I -- even on our rascal-ie days.

As for my siblings, they really do keep me human. ;) Full of practical advice for my improvement and honest to a fault; it certainly helps keep me humble... but I appreciate it. I love them all so much.

Over the years, God has brought many friends across my path. Some of them are but distant memories; some only a phone call away -- or email, as I prefer that method. I thank God for them all though, as He has used each to encourage me in different ways. I'd fill up this blog post to mention you all, but nonetheless you know who you are; also know that you are each, very appreciated and loved.

Oh, and all you blogger friends out there, that are striving for the heavenly goal and sharing your journey: thank you for being a tool in God's hands. You're all an encouragement.

Early. I mostly like that word. You know, early in arriving some place, versus late; early harvests... Sometimes I don't like that word though -- like when something I don't want happening, comes early. 
But combined with another word, it's one of my best friends.

Early mornings.
I smile as my mind's eye sees again the faint light as it slowly brushes the sky with tints of yellow and pink: banishing the night. My favorite time of the day. Even though my personal habits change over time subject to the seasons, I always enjoy it. In winter, it's through glass windows. (either that, or putting 7 layers on and venturing out) When it warms up though, I love to take a walk in those crisp early hours. The chilly air stings my face, but the air is so pure and fresh. They say that in nature you see a picture of God -- I'd say that it's most true in the early mornings (and in my favorite season -- spring.) ;-)

Meeting with God early in the morning sets a whole tone to my day. If I don't do it one day -- I know it. My day is much harder. But not just that, I miss the fellowship with God in His word. Some days I can sense His presence; recognize His voice in the Scripture speaking to me. Other days, I can't. Yet I persist in my quest to know Him ever better, as it is by faith that I climb the ladder to heaven, not feeling. On the days when I feel very far from God, I know that, "He is not far from every one of us." Acts 17:27

I will admit, there a days when I do miss out on this blessing, or feel like skipping out....
That's when Natasha's words spoken in Europe resound:
"Man shall not live by sleep alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

Early mornings. Encouragement given by family, friends and my God.
Daily gifts that help me press forward.
Thank You, Father for these "e" words!

stop press!
.....And Elisha! The one who made the hilarious speech at Cherith's wedding -- yeah, he's back home right now. Which means, lots of talking, working together, besides keeping me on my toes. This afternoon, we had a sudden thunderstorm. Hail and heavy sheets of rain pounded the thirsty ground.
Bursting into my room (after knocking), he announced, "It's time to garden now! This is just what I've been wanting. You coming?"
I hesitated, wondering whether I really did want to get saturated.
"You want to come, I know it!" he beamed convincingly.
He succeeded. We cracked up laughing as we ran out in the rain to the 4WD with the trailer on the hitch.  We had to empty it. When down at the garden, two kms away, we got slightly cold -- you know how the wind chills after rain? Soon though, it was just the grand thunder, and the sun peeked out. We worked past dark, and as we came back I knew I had to add him to this post. I am definitely thankful for my brother too! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

GreaThings: Invisible Answers

The Bible. It'd been a few years since I'd read it the whole way through.
A world-view I'd never previously heard of, and a debate that surprised me, challenged me to pick it up again and read it right through. I wanted to understand better how God relates to mankind. To see more of the big picture of the plan of salvation. ...and I have. I've come to know much better the God who "is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy." I've read it in many different passages over and over again. Seen it in the lives of His people of the past... and present.

That was a little over a year ago now. During that year, many things have happened.
Through it all, there have been Scriptures that have helped me incredibly on my journey. Verses that have strengthened me to push on when I felt tiny and helpless, and ready to stop fighting.

As I flick through my diary to remember which passages have meant a lot to me, I find a page written exactly a year ago, the 20th of November. I'd struggled with not understanding why I'd had acne. Why me? I'd grown up so healthy, and as a teenager always avoided all and any foods people suggested might contribute. I prayed too. Begged God to show me the answers, to heal me so I could be like everyone else. That's when I read Job's story. As I read it once again, I was fascinated. When everything went wrong on him, he ripped off his clothes, shaved his head, fell down on the ground --- and worshipped! Not cried, or screamed, or cursed. He worshipped. Wow! "blessed be the name of the LORD," he praised. His question hits me. "what? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not accept evil?" 
Job wasn't heartless. It wasn't as if losing all his children didn't affect him. His friends "saw that his grief was very great". To think... yet he praised God.

As I learnt more about God, His wonderful character of mercy, and also, the fierce battle that is taking place, I knew I had to stand up and join the fight. Yet I felt little. Only just a child. As I read through the Word, I met a new friend. I wrote about him and his experience, earlier this year. I discovered that he too was young. And felt too young. God's promise to him, has encouraged me through many trying, discouraging situations, ""Say not, I am a child... be not afraid of their faces... they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee."  (Jeremiah 1:4) And He has been with me. 

More recently, I've watched one of my dearest persons going through a crisis. It angered me. You know the kind of angry when you want to punch a tree, but you know it won't help? That desperate, helplessness as you look on, knowing nothing you can do will help. I skipped meals. I prayed. My stomach knotted up. I didn't want to think about it, yet couldn't stop myself. The tears would come at any given moment. Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined this would happen. I wished it only was a dream.

The days of suspense as I helplessly watched, felt like weeks. The months, years. I prayed constantly. Yet, finally, I knew I had to stand on the promises. As I searched for one relevant to this situation, I found one relevant to all of life's problems. 
"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us:  And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. " 1 John 5:14, 15

In times past, there's mostly been a little bit of visible hope that I've focused my faith on. Now, I'm coming to have hope through the eye of faith, on "the evidence of things not seen". I can't see the work that God is doing. But I'm praying. And I know it's God's will. ...I know too, that though I can't see it, He's answering those petitions.

I'm so thankful for these so-far invisible answers. Thankful for the "word of his grace, which is able to build {us} up, and to give {us} an inheritance among them which are sanctified." Acts 20:38

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Great Things

Ever since my eldest sister married an American and lived there, I've heard about the wonderful Thanksgiving Day. Well, I guess I had read of it in story books before then, but she told me how special and amazing it was. The idea fascinated me. A whole nation setting aside a day in the year to express their gratitude to God? I mean, sure, we are supposed to express gratitude everyday, as Christians -- but a whole nation? That's different!

I've yet to experience an American Thanksgiving Day, (though I hope I'll get a chance sometime soon). Nonetheless, I've decided to join in the November thankfulness, Australian as I am. ;) I'd been thinking about writing a post with such a theme, but wasn't sure how or when. Chantel's GreaThings challenge has provided the perfect opportunity for this.
As I'm joining late, and (accidentally) followed last year's schedule,  I'm going to do it a little differently, (as I've already written this post out.)

What does gratitude mean to me?
A heart of genuine appreciation. "Thank-you", while showing good manners, I've noticed it can be bit meaningless. As a little girl, I once gave a friend a gift. She thanked me and stuffed it in drawer. I was very disappointed and regretted giving it to her. She didn't seem to appreciate it very much. Thereafter, I decided I would always try to show any givers I was blessed by, true appreciation -- taking the opportunity to do "thank-you!" When my great aunt made me a dress, I made sure I wore it around her and showed her that I really did like it. I loved to see her proud smile as she surveyed her handiwork in use. She sensed the childish heart of genuine appreciation. Her caring gift made me smile. My obvious appreciation made her heart smile.

R is for....
I was down in the garden holding the kinked hose so that it'd be un-kinked while Mum watered. Standing there, I  thought about what "R" word captured something I'm grateful for. Redemption, came to mind. The word that summarises my captivity and the act of love that freed me.

Even though Mum never taught us about wars, as children, we eventually found about them. When I heard about the atrocities Hitler committed, I instantly hated him. How could any one ever be that cruel?
My attitude changed recently when Mum explained to me what "total depravity" meant. When I realised that without God's Spirit in my heart; without redemption -- I'd be destined to be as hopeless as wretch as Hitler became, I was humbled. It was a chilling thought. Previously, I hadn't really understood the verse where Paul said that there was nothing good in him -- nothing at all. Wasn't he an astounding, godly man, one like those in Acts 15:26, who "hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ"? If that's not "good", what is? That's when Mum explained that anything good in us is God's goodness in us.
The opportunity to live a fulfilled, happy life: possible because of the amazing event of Redemption... the moment in time when Jesus stepped down from heaven, where He was adored and angels joyfully fulfilled His bidding; stepped down to this earth, where He was not particularly wanted. Yet He took on our helplessness; swapped places, to give us a second chance.
A simple "Thank-you" seems puny in light of such a gift. Thinking about it, I become aware of the opportunities I have to show appreciation in action. A gift like that deserves sharing. It makes me smile to hear someone proudly show off something I've given them. ...

I can't help but think that the Father smiles when He sees and hears us telling and sharing with others His gift. 
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