It’s the most wonderful time of the year…..

Merry Christmas! I hope whatever you are doing over the next few days brings great joy to your hearts.

It’s seems to be the time of the year when people either love Christmas or hate it. And a lot of that, I guess, has to do with what their previous experiences have been and how this year has unfolded.

Which leads me to this quote I love from Ann Voskamp ‘I want a Christmas that whispers Jesus’.

I’d tweak it to say “shouts” but that’s maybe because the world is SO noisy it’s hard to hear anything of value sometimes.

It’s so easy at this time of the year to be caught up in buying the perfect gift, cooking perfect meals and wanting perfect weather but while these things aren’t wrong in themselves; they are of lesser importance and dare I say no or little lasting value in the vastness of your decades of living.

So this year, as Christmas rolls into full swing remember that it’s a time we celebrate the birth of Jesus. The start of His journey on earth that would eventually lead to His death and resurrection. And the restoration which is available to all of us if we choose to enter into relationship with God.

So, look up from the myriad of tasks, wants and desires and instead love on someone who is doing it tough. Show interest is someone who may be difficult to connect with in a real conversation. Remember, that Christmas is better when it’s shared, and more fun when it includes others beyond our immediate network.

My favorite memories growing up included having others join us for Christmas, friends not traveling to family or tourists picking fruit as they traveled around Australia which we’d met at church. Sharing a meal and buying them pressies was fun. But laughing together, telling stories and enjoying getting to know each-other is the lasting memory.

Whatever Christmas brings you, I pray it is fun, joyful; and full of love and celebration for the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Until January sometime ……Happy Pondering

Love ya XX

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Remembrance Day

Well, it’s November 11th, and in Australia (and other commonwealth counties) that means it’s Remembrance Day. At 11am we have a moment of silence (usually a minute) to stop everything and remember those who died in the line of duty, during war. They sacrificing their lives for ours. 

Shrine of Remembrance- Melbourne June ‘17

Such a heavy price was paid- the lives of countless men and women. They paid the ultimate price, and sacrifice for us to live in freedom. (Always reminds me of a man who did the same for us – called Jesus. And the freedom which was availed to all who would receive. Not in our nations so much, although that too,  but our very bodies, souls and spirits).

For me, as we approach the 11am mark in just few hours, I’m reminded of other things that have taken place on this day in my world. Some I definitely don’t want to remember and others that leave me with awe and wonder at how things unfold. So no matter what’s going on today (and every day for that matter), steal that moment whether it be at 11am or 3:47pm and stop a moment. To be thankful for those that pathed a way in your world, the others that sacrificed so that you may enjoy something. And breathe. Breathe deeply in the goodness that life can hold. Yep….even in the middle of hay fever 😉, responsibilities, and chaos. 

So today, on Remembrance Day, I remember all those who sacrificed for me to have this life I live. 
I remember the freedom I have in the country I live in was brought at high cost. 

I remember, the relationship I have with Jesus was brought at high cost. 

I remember the ACL I had created from my body, was done only because a surgeon paid a high cost to learn those techniques and perfect them. 

I remember that the house I live in was brought at high cost( literally in Melbourne these days😉) and loaned to me on a month by month agreement, some might call it a rental. But I call it my home. 

I remember the little girl born on this day, who I taught in kids church,  who this week graduated from Police Academy👮(no- not the movies😂) and paid a high price to train to protect the freedom of others. 

Are they all of equal weight-no. Should I be grateful for it all- definitely! 

We generally don’t need to look to hard, to find someone, who did something, for our benefit. The world is crying out for us all to be more grateful and thankful for what we have and less entitled. There I said it (sorry, I don’t really pull those punches, as we just need to hear it straight sometimes. Trust me, I felt it connect in an ouch, as I typed it too).

So today, the challenge to both me and you, is to remember to be more thankful for what I have and who I am, than I was yesterday. 
Can I hear a ‘challenge accepted’! 

Until next time, happy Pondering 

Below are a few the other photos from my visit to Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance in June. 

…. greater love

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There I did it – I just used Wikipedia as my guide to history –please forgive me!  This week as we approached ANZAC DAY in Australia we remember the massive sacrifices which were made for us to live in the freedom we do – we are a very blessed nation, As a foodie, the famous biscuit crossed my mind.  You see them everywhere at this time of year, but we don’t always stop to ask why.
So here’s my Wikipedia bit….
Anzac biscuits have long been associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War I. It has been claimed the biscuits were sent by wives to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzac_biscuit).
I wanted to give you a little insight into the Famous ANZAC biscuit and prompt you to maybe bake a batch between now and next Tuesday and remember the sacrifice that the generations that have gone before have brought us.
‘There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  John 15:13
And by generations I don’t just mean the last few, but the countless generations who have been before us.  We live in a time of untold gratitude towards those who paved the way for the good, no great things, we have in our lives.  No matter where we live, no matter whether you had loved ones who went to war or not, we all know people who have make sacrifices for big and small for others, for us.  There the ones I feel prompted to say thanks too, along with being filled with gratitude for those made the ultimate sacrifices for freedom (this always reminded me of Jesus too – now amazing His sacrifice of love)
fresh vegetables on wooden tableOh, before I go, here’s a link to a ANZAC recipe (I prefer them on the chewy side, or straight from the freezer..yummm delicious!) http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/anzac-biscuits/cc4e2031-8b63-48e7-8eff-b2637f472180
Next week we have a guest blogger, who’ll be joining us.  I’m so looking forward to it…….
Until then, Happy Pondering x

 

i want to know what love is…

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I’ve heard is stated simply ‘show God’s love practically and give to those in need’. Heidi Baker frames it this way, ‘love looks like something’. For God, it looked like Jesus coming to earth and dying upon a cross for all of humanity, throughout all time. The Bible says God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21). Blows me away, that’s a whole lot of love right there!
We all hate the word sin, because it seems like judgment; but truth is everyone mucks up, and the result of mucking up is that we are distanced from God. Look at the world, there’s lying, cheating, hating, grudges, pride, stubbornness, doubt, low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. I know you’re thinking, some of them aren’t sin- you’re right in a way. But some of them are the effect of the mucked up state of our lives and world. Life is full cause and effect.  Drink too much; get drunk.  Eat too much; put on weight. Doubt yourself and your potential; welcome low self-esteem. Don’t talk to God about your concerns and worries; open the door to fear and anxiety.  Try to long to be strong in your own strength…. .  Hope your catching my drift.  And here’s where I’m heading with it, (but before I do.  I don’t lightly say that issues of depression, low self-esteem, anxiety are an effect of a mucked up world, I say it from a place, where I’ve seen it, lived, it, battled it and been able to find strength in God as I’ve moved thru it.) .  Ok, as I was saying ….. Hope your catching my drift.  And here’s where I’m heading with it, in spite of all of this, God choose, and Jesus agreed to come and sacrifice His life, so that we could come into relationship with God and step into freedom from all the cause and effects that make the world, and our worlds – simply mucked uP!

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Often, we hear God spoken about and think of Him as some judgemental dude, who either has old glass windows in a building or a mega big building filled with riches.  But that’s more an image of religion- a lifestyle of do’s and don’ts.  However, there is an opportunity to have a relationship with God, where you can talk to Him about the very real things that are going on in your life.  To read the Bible and see how some of those Old Testament girls and guys actually have stories which can help you out in the tough times you’re facing.  To welcome the Comforter (AKA Holy Spirit) into your life and have one who will help, guide, encourage and talk with you about life.  And as we approach Easter this year, I just wanted to encourage you not to just think about the Hot Cross Buns, Chocolate and Easter Bunny; but instead ask:
  • How am I really doing at life? . (I always seem to do this – I ask you to ask massive questions, in a light -hearted manner.  Sorry, if it’s a brain bender).
  • Could I use a relationship with God to help me get through the day?
  • Does what I’m reading, question what I’ve known of God.
  • Do I know God or do I just know a little about Him.
  • Am I happy with my relationship with God
Just a few things to ponder as we sip on coffee and eat (hopefully) a delicious Lindt Bunny (… see I’ll eat Chocolate too this Easter).  Knowing that as I do, I can chat with my God about the very real highs and lows of life.  And that’s worth celebrating each and every day.  Not just when the supermarket throws hot cross buns (yummy) and choc eggs at me.
And if, as you have pondered those questions, you think, I’d like to know more about the God she talks about.  Start this way ‘hey God, can we talk, I’d like to know if you’re really there….’.  I’m sure He’ll answer you, after all its His nature to talk to those He loves.
Until next week
Happy pondering xx

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Sacrifice – groan…. I can almost hear it audibly as I type.  What’s she gonna tell me I have to give up now… groan.

 

Nuh, it’s not like that at all. Sure, there is an element of giving up something, it’s even in the definition 😉 , but look at what follows … ‘for the sake of something regarded as MORE important or worthy’.  In simple terms is it really a sacrifice to give up the last Tim Tam Biscuit (yumm… I’m on a no chocolate or coffee self-imposed thing, at the moment, and each time I type about them, it’s like I can remember the fabulousness of them.  Anyway, focus ER!) As I was saying before, I licked my lips, is giving up the last Tim Tam biscuit really a sacrifice when the person you’re giving it to means so much more to you.  Ok, bad example for all the chocolate lovers out there who are screaming at me – Yes!

 

But the key thing in sacrifice is that the thing you are giving up, is of lesser value than the ‘who’ you are giving it too.  Where it gets harder to comprehend, is that people have sacrificed their own lives, for the freedom and safety of others.  That’s where love enters the equation of sacrifice. We see it time and time again, when people lay themselves down as a sacrifice, whether it be a teacher giving a kidney to a student (saw that on the new the other week – amazing !!). A mate in war, giving there life for another; or someone intervening in a fight they wander past on the street.   We hear it said in news reports all the time, it’s what anyone would have done.  Deep down we know its no though. And this is where the challenge lies.

I consider it a case of preferring another to yourself. And here’s where the challenge is applicable every day.  Do I prefer Bob more than the last Tim Tam, do I prefer the red car merging in before me, more than I do my own driving agenda. Do I prefer my friends and family, and therefore compromise my wants for the benefit of them.

So whilst sacrifice is about giving up things, it’s also about loving others first.

Until next week

Happy Pondering

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