Blog Archive

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

RED DIRT COUNTRY

copyright Geoff Thompson

copyright Geoff Thompson

copyright Geoff Thompson  Lesley and I in Central Australia 2009

copyright Geoff Thompson

copyright Geoff Thompson


My wife comes from a town in South Australia's Riverland called Renmark. It is situated on the Murray River , Australia's longest and largest river.The word Renmark comes from an Aboriginal word and it means "Red Mud".
Lesley and her family made many trips to the bush around Renmark as we still do .
Her love for this country and the red dirt and it's complimentary Blue Bush that is wide spread in Outback Australia, and also the many grasses such as Spinifex and trees including Native Pine and Black Box and River Redgum and Mallee, has rubbed off on me since I have been visiting the area since 1966.
Much of Central Australia has very similar landscape.
So rather than travel overseas our joy is seeing our own country.
We have visited many places some of which have already appeared on this blog and more will do so in the future.
Places we have been include: Broken Hill,Silverton  and the Darling River in NSW; Flinders Ranges South Australia, Nullabor Plain South Australia and Western Australia,Uluru also known as Ayers Rock,Kings Canyon. The Olgas, Alice Springs,Darwin,and greener places like The Grampian Mountains,Tasmania,Kangaroo Island,Wandillagong, Victoria,Bright,Victoria and the Australian Alps and The Ovens valley in that area. Sydney, Melbourne:Echuca on the River Murray is also a favourite spot we will be revisiting soon where there are lots of Historic river Paddle Steamers.Canberra is a frequent destinationThe list goes on but Red Dirt Country is our favourite.Just a few photos for a taste.

Spring at Our Place

Musk Lorikeet
The bottlebrush are starting to bloom on our street footpath and very soon these trees will be full of Lorikeeets( 3 types) Red Wattle Birds , New Holland Honey Eaters to name a few.A great time of year. Several New Hollands had a dip in our birdbath this morning.This is one of the lorikeets, The Musk Lorikeet.

The Ins and Outs of Rejection



a book and Christian teacher that I have found very helpful in my own life and in counselling others is "The Ins and Outs of Rejection" by Charles R. Solomon and also "Handbook to Happiness".
In them the author shows us how our responses to rejection plays such a big part in our lives as we are growing up.

The most interesting concept is the fact that there are 2 basic types of rejection. Overt and Covert. The Overt ones are quite obvious, (physical and sexual abuse) but the Covert are a bit more subtle.
Things like being an adopted child, or an unwanted child or children with Divorced parents( we think we caused the split) can cause us big problems as we search for our identity.

.
Charles  Solomon is a Christian who worked in engineering in America  when

his own personal crisis in his life  caused him to find out about the deeper meaning of the cross in his

life.  He subsequently went on to found a Christian Counselling ministry called Grace Fellowship

International.The organization is still active today in training people to become Christian Counsellors

that is what he calls Christian Disciplers.

In the book Hand Book to Happiness he outlines that the secret of the abundant or happy Christian life is a total entering into the

life of Jesus as a co crucifixion experience as outlined in Galatians 2:20.

“ I have been crucified with Christ; and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the real life

I now have within this body is a result of my trusting in the Son of God,  who loved and gave himself

for me”

When we reckon ourselves dead to self but alive in Christ all sorts of freedom become ours.

We no longer eg need to worry what people think about us because if we are crucified with Christ we

can experience his resurrection power and know that our worth is based in him loving us not anything

else. Also he experienced that rejection on the cross in our place because he loves us.

It is possible for all of us  to  know Peace with God, if we are Christians,

ie forgiveness of sin,escape from judgement and assurance of heaven,

but we may not know the peace of God. The peace that passes all understanding.

 Phillipians 4:6,7.:

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God ,which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”

It is the peace of God that the neurotic or depressed person or psychologically disturbed person is

desperate  to know.

It is likewise this peace that the seemingly well adjusted person needs even though they may not

understand they have a problem until their comfortable world starts to come apart at the seams.

A big part of our need to know God’s peace and experience the abundant life is tied up in our need to be accepted and loved.




Listen to this verse from a poem by Dr Solomon.


“ Oh to know acceptance
 in a feeling sort of way;
To be known for what I am-
Not what I do or say
It’s nice to be loved and wanted
For the person I seem to be,
But my heart cries out to be loved
For the person who is really me!”

If we are in Christ, we have been crucified with him (Romans 6),
We can know

“ I am accepted”

“ I am secure”

“I am significant”

We can know the deep Love of God through Jesus and be set free.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Is it worth it? by Frank Hunting

Bob,Now with Jesus.
Is it worth it being a Christian?

Is it worth it,
    when being a Christian
        is really hard and costly,
        especially if you are
             being misrepresented?

Is it worth it
      when no one appreciates you
             because you stand for Jesus?
       Is it worth it then?

Such situations are often
       designed by God to confront us
           with reality:

"Lord to Whom shall we go.
 You alone have the words
       of eternal life."

When we get the issue down
    as clear as this,
          there is only one way to go.


From "Speaking Personally" by Frank Hunting

Please see my blog "About Frank Hunting" 23/8/09












Working witrh an Assistant-Wedding Photography

Assistant and/or 2nd Shooter
The second shooter is valuable person in the wedding shoot.

They can capture things that the principal might miss and will have  more time usually to be creative.

They can anticipate any needs and support you might have.

They can help with driving if things are tight re your timetable.

They can get shots from pleasing non front on angles.

If required they can step in and do the wedding shoot if you are injured on the job or take ill and can even step in at the last moment if you are not well enough to do the wedding.

In my quoting if I have a Photographer, not just my wife booked as my helper, it is good to be able to say that my second shooter can do the job if I take ill.
Of course to do the wedding by themselves they would need to be an already accomplished and experienced wedding photographer or assistant.
You wouldn't land that job on someone who does not yet have the confidence or skills to be the principal photographer.

Some people are good second shooters but might never want to progress to the main job. 

It's good to have someone to talk to during the day as your assistant as you can share ideas and if you are nervous it can settle your nerves.

I started out paying assistants very little  as they were getting valuable experience as a follow up from my wedding photography course but if someone comes on a regular basis you should pay them well and have that factored into your  quoted price.

I sometimes have assisted on friend's shoots and it is a good experience to do this as well.

Sometimes  assistants will get  the shot of the day.

The assistant will also often want to be booking their own jobs so you need to have someone who is committed to your shoot regardless as often you are booked up as much as 12 or more  months ahead and your assistant may be approached by someone else in the meantime.

A good source of assistants are people studying photography or you can run an ad offering to train someone as a wedding photographer on the basis of becoming an assistant.

Make sure whoever you choose has high standards of personal behaviour and appropriate communication skills.













The best feed back you can get from your customers is not only do they like the work of the second photographer but they hardly noticed they were there but also felt that your assistant was an important part of their day also .

All the above photos are 2nd shooter images.

All photos copyright Geoff Thompson

Any students of photography living in Adelaide are welcome to approach me re possible one on one tuition in wedding photography training or as part of a small group. These notes are helpful but a lot more can be discussed in an informal learning situation and with plenty of audio visual material.















Saturday, August 27, 2011

From Rock and Roll to Opera

Russell Morris singing "The real thing"


Last night Lesley and I went with friends to see a 60's and 70's dinner concert featuring Australian performers from that era. Darryl Cotton, Jim Keays and Russell Morris.
We have seen them before and once again if you like what they did then , they still do it well now and a great night out was had by all the baby boomers there.

Tonight we go to the Opera to see the Australian Premiere and the only performance this time round in Australia, in Adelaide of a new opera about Moby Dick.
It is written by an American composer and will be performed by the state opera of South Australia.
Moby Dick was one of my favourite novels from my youth so it will be interesting to see this production. It is supposed to be very good and has only been performed in America so far.

Music is such an interesting thing. It speaks to people of all ages and all nationalities.
It's influence can be good and can be bad.

On that note I'll finish this little piece.(Pun intended)

PS.  Having now been to the opera of Moby Dick let me say it was a very impressive production.
Not the usual love duets and death of the heroine but spectacular sets and visual effects and a powerful moody music score.The opening of the opera I believe is similar to the opening of some of the epic space films.The singing was powerful, acting dramatic, story understandable and drove me online to read the opening chapter of Moby Dick the novel. (see http://www.online-literature.com/                                       ).
Getting back to cotton ,keays and morris. Jim Keays introduced a new song he wrote called Cancer Blues. He has been treated for cancer over the last 2 years. It had a fanastic bluesy intro and then opening line  "Well I woke up this morning!" then the song abrubtly stopped. A great case of finding humour in adversity.

foot note: since this was posted Daryl Cotton has died in 2012 after a short fight with cancer.


Group Praying in Agreement and Authority when someone is addicted to Drugs.
Part 2  BY FRANK HUNTING.( YOU WILL NEED TO READ PREVIOUS BLOGS ON 10/8/11 AND 18/8/11 TO APPRECIATE THIS PART OF THE PROCESS AND AUTHORITY INVOLVED TO SET SOMEONE FREE FROM DRUG ADDICTION)

This tape deals with how to pray to release someone from the addictive power of drugs.

The power of addiction in drugs is either satanic or demonic.

If it is demonic, then the addiction comes through demons that are in residence in the person.

In other words , there are demons within the person, and those demons are causing the person to take drugs.

They are binding the drug taking to the person with the purpose of destroying that person.

If the addiction is satanic, then the drug taking is the result of an attempt to alleviate certain emotional feelings.

The emotional feelings being in the realm of feelings of depression,

feelings of inferiority,
a very poor self image that is, feelings of insecurity,

 or feelings of rejection or jealousy.

Feelings of that nature which cause the person to feel very gloomy, or bored, or dull or depressed. or uncertain and the drugs are taken to alleviate that emotional feeling .
Now the drugs at the beginning may be taken to alleviate an emotional state, but satan will take control of the person through the drug taking, perhaps through the chemistry that responds to the drugs, the chemistry in the body that responds to the drugs, and he will begin to use  the states of the person, their depression, or despondency , or insecurity.
he will begin to use these feelings to cause the person to continually take the drug .
And in  the end the person becomes,in our terms,"hooked" or dependent upon the drug to be able to-- well, live any sort of a life at all.
life becomes impossible to be lived without the support of the drug.
Having said that, in this satanic area, we can pray in a way that will enable Jesus , to break the power that satan has in the life of a person who is addicted to drugs in this way.

The redemption of Jesus means that Jesus Christ can put into any man the disposition that ruled His own life.
And all they standards that God gives are based upon that disposition.
in other words, Jesus is able through His atonement to put into the life of any person, the disposition of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now that means in the area that we are dealing with that Jesus in place of say, the sense of rejection, can give a very wonderful realisation of acceptance.
The person's acceptance by himself and as he realises that Jesus has accepted him and he begins to accept himself he begins to realise that other people are accepting him too.

And so that sense of rejection goes.

Insecurity, he begins to realise that God will never leave him.

God will never forsake him.

He has no reason to be afraid, and, he will not be.

And so it goes on with inferiority.

The person comes to see that they are a "worth" person because they are of worth to Jesus, to God.
That they have their right to play their part in life as only they can and that God is very happy with them, with them as they are,and therefore they can be happy with themselves.

And so as Jesus is really able to take over in the life of a person so is He able to set them free.From the emotional feelings that cause them to turn to things like drugs to give them a support to make life, as they would put it, have a few kicks in it.

To make life possible to live what they would think high above the depression and the gloom  and the boredom and the inferiority and insecurity that they feel.
So we 're going to look now at how you are going to pray and we are going to take each of these things that could be in -------'s life, jealousy, depression, inferiority, insecurity, rejection and we 're going to pray about them in the victory of Jesus, but we are going to pray from the stance of the victory of Christ.

That we have the victory, that we have the authority, that we are not asking but commanding, we are not pleading but insisting, we are asserting Christ's victory and are honouring Him.

It is His victory, and we are not going to allow one of His children to be bound by the devil whose power was taken from him at the cross when Jesus shed His blood and God raised Him again from the dead .

Now the first thing you are to do is to protect yourself and your family and your possessions,

 protect yourself with the blood of Christ. 

and you will do it something like this;

"Gracious Heavenly Father, I come to you to protect me fully from any onslaught, from any way whatsoever that the devil can reach me,or touch me or any of my loved ones or anything belonging to me.
I place myself under the protection of Cross of Jesus Christ my Lord.
I protect myself and all of my loved ones and all of my possessions with His shed blood.

I ask you gracious God to place around my mind, around my body, and around my comings and goings, around my thinking, around my deciding, a circle of light through which no evil can penetrate, and in the innermost depths of my being,I ask that I will be protected by your glorious light from all evil.

Thank you Lord, thank you, in the mane of Jesus I am before you."

Now the way that you are to pray is something like this.

Take the time and the trouble to realise the presence of Jesus.

Take the time and the trouble to realise you are in  the presence of the living Lord Jesus.

The all victorious Lord and Saviour who, at the cross, disarmed satan of all his power when He died, shed His blood and rose again. Because in these prayers you are going straight to Jesus,
you are coming to Him and you are going in His victory to give to Him the faith to deliver-------------from the bondage that he is in.

So, you will pray somewhat like this, and you will take each of the things I have mentioned,
jealousy,
depression,
inferiority,
insecurity,
rejection,
boredom if you like,
you will take all of these and pray for each one of them in a manner similar to what I am going to suggest.

Here is the suggestion.

"Lord Jesus , in the power of your victory over all the power of the devil,
when you died on the cross and shed your blood and rose again,
I deny to satan any power to satan to bind to -------drugs as a compensation for jealousy."

Now if you have fully protected yourself by the cross, by the blood of Christ you may continue thus.

" satan, in the name of Jesus you are to release ------from all the power drugs have over him.
He is Christ's child, I deny to you on the authority of His cross any right of any kind, to any hold or power over him."

Now you will pray that prayer as I have said putting in the end as a compensation instead of jealousy,
you will say depression,
and then again instead of depression inferiority,
insecurity,
rejection and so on.

And then you may pray
"Lord Jesus, drugs come from the evil one,
in your name  and in the victory of your cross and resurrection I am asserting your power to set-------- free from drugs.
I thank you Lord for your victory,
I thank you that you are greater than any power of evil that I can see,
I am praising you and giving to you the victory,in the life of -----------.
Thank you Lord. Amen."

Now as the group, those of you who are gathered here,today, as you begin to make this a special prayer project, for --------, and you pray this prayer,each day as you bring him in this way,
and you assert the victory of Jesus over all the power of the evil one we can expect -------to be set free.
We can expect him to be capable of breaking the power in his life that drugs have over him.

I have also given you a gold sheet under the title of "overcoming satan".
This sheet was specifically prepared for someone  who was demonically afflicted but you can very easily adapt it in your praying to the need that is in -----------'s life.
Actually if you have a look at the sheet and you go down to the 4th paragraph where it says "you loose your grip on me and go to the pit where you belong"
All you need to do is to change that from "you loose your grip on me to "on ----------- and go to the pit where you belong".
"On the authority of Jesus word I command it."

you will be able to use this sheet quite effectively in your quiet time.


                END




"










Thursday, August 25, 2011

From the Wayside Chapel





Dear Inner Circle,

Getting into my car on Sunday, a well dressed lady knocked on the window, "Are you the Wayside Chapel?" (So many funny responses were possible; I wanted to say, 'No, I'm Fred Nile and I'm just here to monitor iniquity.') O well, so much for a quick get a way! I got out of the car and the lady asked if we could walk and talk. Aristotle favoured the 'walk and talk' thing and although it was a bit odd, I thought the peripatetic thing might be ok. We paused on the corner of Hughes and Macleay and while I didn't think I was making much of Aristotle's method, I don't think the ancient master ever left his phone and wallet in an unlocked car. The conversation began with a trivial incident that had occurred with her neighbour. By the time we'd reached the corner, we were talking about a life long pattern of relationships that ended in self blame. Tears were streaming down the lady's face. I'd never seen this person before and expect that I never will again. I can't imagine what I might have said that was helpful but she gave me a big hug and walked down towards Woolies. This whole episode took place in only minutes and the phone and the wallet were still in the car upon my return.
A lovely friend took me gliding yesterday. We got towed up to 3,000 feet and then went looking for air that would uplift us further. The pilot said at one stage, "Your aircraft" and I had a sick feeling that he meant that I was in control. He then clapped his hands to prove that he wasn't touching the controls. I wanted to yell, "You fool!" but no noise was possible out of my mouth. The pilot soon had control and we silently flew around Camden on a bright, clear, beautiful day. What a fabulous gift my friend made to me. As we went to sleep I whispered to Robyn, "You reckon we could afford a glider?" She muttered, "I knew it!" "Just kidding"  I said. She's been waiting for me to grow up for 40 years.
A young couple made an appointment to see me and it turned out that they wanted to both make certain confessions to one another. She was a dancer but her job required other duties. It was a moment of pain that had both young people trembling as they talked and listened. Once this truth was revealed the young man revealed his own secret that was just as tough to endure as her revelation. Both young people are quite damaged and both are quite ambitious and keen to make their way in life. They took a referral to a counsellor that I trust but as they left me, I was both inspired by their brave bringing of truth to one another and overwhelmed by all the issues that they face. These were both good looking kids who were well dressed and to look at them, you'd never guess the pain that they were carrying.
I'm writing this early in the morning and by the time you read this, I'll be on my way to Adelaide to visit my Mum. I have't seen Mum since she went into care some months ago. The family went through agony over this move for Mum but from the moment she arrived, she loved it. I'll be back to Wayside for Sunday.
For the past 12 months, a dear little old lady has given me $2 every week. Every week she's handed it to me and said, "This is brick money". Last week she made her way over to me out the front of our building and gave me $2 and her usual line about brick money. I told her that the new building was finished and that I didn't really need her to be giving me any more money for bricks. "You're not going to be able to run the building on fresh air darling" she said as she insisted that I took the money. What a lovely old thing!
thanks for being part of our inner circle,
Graham
Rev Graham Long
Pastor
The Wayside Chapel
Kings Cross
 
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NB: from Geoff Thompson.I apologise for the cuts at the end of sentences. Not sure why this happens. All looks ok in edit mode. My guess is you can still make some sense of it anyway.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Glory of God


The following is a sermon/talk I gave at the Parkrose Nursing Home sunday morning service at Everard Park in Adelaide on 30/1/11. geoff thompson

                              
                        The Glory of God—

2 Corinthians 3:7-18

New Living Translation (NLT)
The Glory of the New Covenant
 7 The old way,[a] with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. 8 Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? 9 If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! 10 In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. 11 So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever! 12 Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. 14 But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15 Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.
 16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.



Our Bible reading today talks about  the transformation that can be hours as we walk with God.

It talks about how in the Old Testament Moses received the ten commandments and it was a glorious revelation and his face shone but the glory on his face was even then fading and the Israelites could not look on his face at the time.Their minds were made dull.

Even now to this day, they and those of other nations, are also blinded but when anyone turns to the Lord the veil or the blindness is taken away.

The passage tells us how much more glorious is the revelation given to us of Jesus who brings life not death.

In Ephesians the Apostle Paul tells us if we are Christians we are already seated in heavenly realms.

Seldom though do we ever feel that we are.

If we are dissatisfied with our Christian lives and feel inadequate then that is not necessarily a bad thing.

If we think we have arrived as Christians we really have stopped growing more and more into the likeness of Jesus as our Bible passage tells us.

It is healthy to have a gap that we are seeking  to fill which is what is needed to make us more and more like Him.

On Friday we attended a memorial service for a dear older friend Patricia Raymond.

A lovely person who was one of the most diligent letter writers and gift givers you would ever meet.

She was well known in her local community. She reached out to all in her gentle and humble way.

She would travel by public transport and foot all over Adelaide to visit people and give cards and gifts of flowers.

A person who reflected the love of God but who herself battled through her life in her own health both physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Yet her niece summed her up in the eulogy.

“Maintaining her absolutely vital interest in the lives of others, right to the end.
Remembering pertinent details and asking in depth about what was happening in others lives and being genuinely engaged in every conversation.

That ever present gorgeous sparkle of life and love in her eyes.

You felt you were the centre of her very universe.”

Isn’t that how God treats us.

If no one else existed but you or me Jesus would still have GONE TO THE CROSS because He loves us so.

I was going today to read today some writings of Frank Laubach who was an amazing missionary in the Phillipines many years ago.

Suffice to say my lovely Lesley read my sermon based on his writings and also my chosen bible reading and told me that did I think anyone would understand any of that.

She said the words he used were too complicated and people just need to hear that God loves them.The bible verses I had chosen she said did not even fit what I had written.

Well she was right of course. If you want to know about Frank I can lend you one of his books or you can google him..

I often tell people who ask me how to be guided by God a formula for that I learned, and then I usually add at the end of it and “then I ask my wife.”
It is a good formula none the less and one of it's points is to ask another mature Christian how much of self they see in your proposal.
My wife is very good at spotting that straight away.


Last Sunday at Edwardstown Church of Christ our guest speaker who was one of the congregation told how when she meets people who don’t believe in God for various reasons, she says things along the line of haven’t you ever held a kitten in your arms, smelt a beautiful rose, watched a beautiful sunset. The Glory of God is all around.

Today you may not be feeling all that great.

You may really be struggling with poor health or things troubling you.

Well Jesus knows all about them. He knows all about you.He has prepared a place for you in His Father’s house.

He is just a prayer away. Just say  His name softly to yourself and He is there with you. He is here with us in this room as we are gathered in His name.

He experienced all of your pain and struggles in life on the Cross as he hung there dying. He did that for every one of us.

He wants to take you in His arms now and comfort you.

Reach out in faith  and touch Him today.

 He knows exactly how we feel.

He is our counsellor and healer.

He is the Prince of Peace.

I would like to close with this poem from Patricia.

We did not realise that she was a poet.

This poem was on the back of the memorial service programme.

It is my prayer that it will speak to many of us here today.


            His Call

Outdoors, the scene was bleak and dreary.
Indoors,anxious and fearful of the day,
Restlessly I turned pages, read verses.I found myself in a market-place.
A flute was playing,
The clouds had lifted, the air shimmered.
A a flute,His flute was playing for me.

The music,pure and peaceful,drew me nearer.
Its vibrant notes sang of joy and bounty and light.
insecure,imprisoned in myself,
All my yearnings, all my aspirations welled up.
The radiant grace of God opened my heart:
The sweetness and the warmth flooded in.
The flute,His flute was playing for me.

He calls me to come and follow Him, the prince of life.
He calls me from fear into the courage of faith.
He calls me from sin's trammels into the freedom of love.
He calls me from estrangement into the family of God.
He calls me from my sickness into the health of peace.
In my Saviour's plenitude of grace
The Flute, His flute, is playing for me.

Patricia Raymond  1928-2011





Monday, August 22, 2011

Our Heritage of Bird and Nature Writers and Illustrators and Photographers

An excited participant in the Birds of Prey spectacular show at the Taronga Park Zoo Sydney,Copyright Geoff Thompson
The number of people in our recent Australian past who contributed much to our knowledge of God's creation in this country are many. Gradually some of them fade from view, even the more well known ones.

There are people like Neville Cayley,John Gould and there ilk and even more recent ones like Harry Butler,Vincent Serventy, The Leyland Brothers, people and many others who have produced film and television documentaries as well as books.
H. J. Frith was excellent.
David Parer and Elizabeth Parer-Cook has a brilliant dvd documentary on Australian Parrots called "Australia land of Parrots." ABC shops.

Of course most of the first writers and illustrators of wildlife and bird books were artists not photographers and there is a current excellent book "Feather and Brush" three centuries of Australian Bird Art by Penny Olsen. There are still many wonderful bird artists today and it is my intention to move into this area myself using all my Bird photos as a guide for subject matter.
Jeremy Boot is a great bird artist resident in South Australia.

There are many current wonderful photographers and writers like Steve Parish,Pete Dobre and Ken Duncan.Before them Jocelyn Burt,Michael Morecombe. Nicholas Birks is another current or recent wonderful wildlife photographer specialsing in Birds of Prey.

I find much inspiration from all of these people.

This is by way of introduction of discovering two writer/photographers this week that I hadn't heard of before.Surprisingly I realised that one of them Charles Barrett, was someone my late father in law Dudley Foweraker had corresponded with when he was a young boy.
His knowledge of Birds and Butterflies at the time was probably 2nd to none. It is interesting which birds were considered rare at the time or endangered when reading his notes on  many of the Australian Birds.

My wife and I were in an antiques and bric a brac shop on the weekend and I found a copy of a Sun Nature book No. 3 "Australian Birds and Butterflies" by Charles Barrett who also wrote the introduction to the other wonderful book we found "Australian Nature Stories" by Ronald K. Munro.1944. This latter book was the only one the author produced as he died from what I can determine, as a young serviceman in the 2nd World War.
From the introduction by Charles Barrett some extracts.

"as a boy, Ron Munro spent most of his time in the Gippsland Bush.It was there that he first conceived the idea of writing nature stories. Later he took up photography with the object of illustrating his stories.--For years until he enlisted in the second AIF he was a press photographer on the staff of the Melbourne "Herald" . ---It has been the author's aim to tell bushland stories in such a manner that they will interest both children and grown up folk. --- Ron Munro says that he will be well repaid should his book foster in young Australians a love of wild nature :that assuredly it will do."

 The book is delightful and contains the following list of short stories.

The Kid from Next door.
Freda and Freddie
"frill" the Frogmouth Baby
The Cuckoo in the Nest
Children of the Storm
The Boo Book family
Butcher Bird babies
The lord and Lady of the Swamp
Minnie Miner's Triplets
The Cosy Hollow in the Dead Tree
Teddy Bear and his Pals
Wings over the Lignum
In the Treetops with the Nuthatch Family
Penguins of Phillip Island
Where the Seagulls Nest
Maxi Mudlarks Great Adventure.

I believe this writer and Charles Barrett were much responsible for inspiring my Father in Law to write a similar short story in 1946 called "Puddin'" and then some others in recent years.

see link to Charles Barrett info below
http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/barrett-charles-leslie-5142
Charles Barrett with Camera


I am intending to put at least one  of Dudley's short stories on the internet .
See his Eulogy on this blog.


So to all photographers , writers and artists involved in presenting the Natural world keep up the good work. I particular admire the work of Arthur Morris who is right up there as bird photographer. Arguably the World's best.
Special congratulations to Steve Parish who is continuing in the spirit of his predecessors.

A link to Pete Dobre's website  http://www.petedobre.com.au/

Also a wonderful wild life photographer who has spent a lot of time in Australia is Thomas Marent and his signature book. "Rainforest"  .Check out his website.

http://www.thomasmarent.com/ 

Addendum: 20/10/13 I have now found and purchased a book called.
"Land  of Wonder" compiled by the late Alec Chisholm.
 A wonderful book you should seek out. "an illustrated anthology of the best Australian nature writing"
It was publishes by Angus and Robertson.
My edition was published in 1979.





Geoff Thompson

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Suicide Bridge-Old Coach Road

before

after
Suicide Bridge is an old bridge on the Old Coach Road which was used in the early days of Australia as a Cobb and Co. Coach route.Yes we had stagecoaches in Australia that were often held up by bushrangers.This bridge is in outback country between Wentworth in NSW and Renmark in South Australia.I have been taking photographs in this area for more than 40 years.I don't know why it is called Suicide Bridge but it would be very dangerous to try and drive a vehicle over it now. The Old Coach road can still be traced for a lot of it's former route but it is not a road as such but you can still drive a car along some parts of it. There are preserved wheel ruts from the coaches near Lake Meritti in South Australia.
I love how this shot looks in monochrome with just a few adjustments in iphoto on the Mac.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tragic Crash in South Australian Outback

Three of the ABC's top news gatherers have died in a helicopter crash at South Australia's Lake Eyre our vast inland lake that only rarely fills with water.These three a journalist, cameraman and pilot have been documenting the wonders of this area over the last 3 years. Now tragically gone.My thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones and colleagues.

The Documentaries they have made are stunning.

Below is a link to the ABC news website


http://www.abc.net.au/news/








Thursday, August 18, 2011

Group Praying in Agreement and Authority when someone is addicted to Drugs.Foundations

Group Praying in Agreement and Authority when someone is addicted to Drugs. Transcript from tape. Side 1: Frank Hunting

This  is a study on group praying for for those afflicted by drugs prepared on july 27th 1978.

 In this study we are going to look at how we can pray as a group for   those who are afflicted by or addicted to drugs.

In the first place we know our enemy.

No. 1 We know our enemy.

If you would turn to or write down and look it up later,
if you turn to Ephesians Chapter  6 verse 12, in the Living Bible there you have it set forth for us very clearly and very plainly.

It says. "For we are not, we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood but against persons without bodies, the evil rulers of the unseen world.Those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the unseen world .

 Now let's have a little look, just for a moment at how the devil is able to rule us in this world.
It says there "The great evil princes of darkness who rule this world."

In the case of drugs something like this happens.

The person feels depressed, maybe Christian or otherwise, may feel insecure, they may feel rejected,they my feel inferior.

Now those feelings have become strong, and there may be plenty, as they look at life, as they've seen life,  as they have reacted to life there may seem to them to be plenty of good reason why they have these emotional feelings.

Now nobody likes to feel depressed, nobody really likes to be insecure, and none of us are particularly happy at feeling ourselves to be inferior to everybody else and certainly none us enjoy feeling that we have been rejected, we are being rejected by people.
Now to compensate this and easy way that is being taken today to try to compensate or to try to combat or change, or to make different these feelings is to turn to drugs.

And the very words that are used explain this.

That on drugs you go "high" , on drugs you have good ,lovely feelings, while the effect of the drug lasts.

So that's the reason why people turn to drugs and when they do, the evil one, because drugs and all those sort of things associated with them belong to his kingdom.

And when they do, instead of turning to God for the answer, to their depression or their inferiority or their security, or their rejection, instead of turning to God for His answer to these things, turning to drugs they do in fact, without knowing it in most cases, open their lives to the control of the evil one.

And through their minds, through their bodies, sometimes through the chemistry in their bodies, he is able to control them in the way that we call addiction and is often able  to do  what he is always seeking to do, destroy them.

We in the first place know our enemy!

In the second place we know our victory!

Number 2 . We know our Victory!

And you will find this given for us very clearly, in the 3rd chapter and verse 8 of  John's 1st letter.
 1 John 3:8

This is what it says.

"The reason the reason the son of God was made manifest visible , the reason why the Son of God came to this earth and lived among us as a human being was to undo, destroy, to loosen and destroy the works of the devil, the works the devil has done. "

Now the reason Jesus came to earth in one area of our living was to undo the works of the devil through drug addiction.

The power that the devil comes to have over people through their turning to drugs to alleviate some feelings that they have had some time or other.

So we know our victory.

Jesus came to undue those works, that power that the devil has.

If we look again we see where He did this,where the victory of Jesus took place.

And its found in Colossians and other places too for that matter,but a verse that sets it forth very clearly, is in Colossians Chapter 2 and verses 14 and 15.

I am reading to you now from the Revised Standard Version.

It says in verse 14. "Having cancelled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands,this He set aside, nailing it to the cross."
That's simply saying that everything in your life and mine,everything about us that would separate us from God, that would mean we are unable to come to God, these have been all of them set aside.

They have all of them be nailed to our Saviour's cross.

And then he goes on to talk about the devil, "He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them,triumphing over them in Him, in Jesus or,  in His cross.

Now Moffatt translates that this.
It's a good thing to look up the various translations because they are really needed to get all the meanings that are encompassed , contained, in the Greek.

This is what Moffatt says verse 15, "When He nailed them to the cross, when He cut away the angelic rulers and powers from us.
The angelic rulers and powers, Jesus cut them away from us exposing them to all the world and triumphing over them in the cross."

That's Moffatt's translation.

Now the same wonderful truth comes out in Barclay's translation.

"He stripped the powers and authorities of all their power, at the cross."

Now the devil claims to have power, he bullies that he's got power, he threatens that he has power, he lies and deceives and makes people believe he has power, he gets us looking at the situation, in this case he gets us looking at the person, and he'll say "that person is addicted, there's no power on heaven or earth that can set that man free.he is addicted! There's nothing you can do about it!"

And so we believe his lie.

And our God shrinks to the size that you could put him in a match box.

And we believe the devil's lie.

Not God's truth.

"He stripped the powers and authorities of all their power.
and publicly put them to shame and through the cross led them captive in His triumphal train."

No2. We know our victory.

Number 3. We know our authority.

This is made very clear in chapter 10 of Luke verses 17-20.

And this was a battle that the Disciples had in a head on confrontation with the powers of the evil one in the form of demons.

"The seventy returned with joy saying  "Lord, even the demons", the demons from very hell itself, the demons who are the slaves and servants of the devil,the demons who are evil,evil active agents of the devil in this world,"these demons are subject to us, subject to us in your name "

" In your name" and He, Jesus said to them " I saw satan falling like a lightning flash from heaven.Behold I" who? Jesus! " I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions and physical and mental strength and ability over all the power, all the power that the enemy possesses and nothing in anyway shall harm you."

There we have our authority delegated to us by the Lord Jesus Christ but only made to operate as we believe the Word of God as we assert our authority.
As we in our assertion of the authority, make the devil submit to what is true, that he is defeated, he must yield, he must give way when the power and the victory of the cross is brought down on him.

Number 3 . We know our authority!

Number 4. We know our weapons!

We know our weapons!

And we turn now to 2nd Corinthians Chapter 10, verses 3 to 5, and it's very admirably spelt out for us, what this passage is saying,in the Living Bible.

 Here is what it is saying. Now this ought to give you a lot of comfort what it is saying and teaching.

'It is true that I am and ordinary, weak human being,(now I guess you're feeling that way about yourself, that you are an ordinary weak human being, so was Paul, but the difference between him and so many other Christians was this) but I don't use human plans and methods to win my battles.(He knew he wasn't fighting against flesh and blood so he didn't use human plans and methods)  I use God's mighty weapons , not those made by men, to knock down the devil's strongholds.(Now we are concerned about the stronghold that the devil has in the life off a human being through drugs) These weapons can break down every proud argument against God and every wall that can be built to keep men from finding Him.With these  weapons I can capture rebels and bring them back to God, and change them into men whose heart's desire(the deep down desire) is obedience to Christ."

Well as far as I know there are 8 of God's might weapons.

You may use one singly at one time or several or all of them according to the need.

Hère they are.

God's mighty weapons.

1. Faith that brings God into the situation.Faith that brings Almighty God into the situation.

2. The Word of God. The Living Word of God.

3. The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit controlling, leading and giving insight.
The Holy Spirit.

4. Intercessory prayer.Now intercessory prayer is prayer that identifies with God's will, God's purposes in the life of that person for whom we are praying.And in the case of someone afflicted by drugs is God's will that that person be free from the power that drugs have in the person's life.
We are in intercessory prayer to identify with God's purposes in the life of the person for whom we are praying.

5. The realisation of and the exercising of our delegated authority and power over the devil.We've already had a look at that in Luke 10: verses 17-20.

6. The word of our, or my testimony.Revelation Chapter 12 v11.now in this case  if you are a bit baffled as to what the word of your testimony is to be it is this.
The word of your testimony is to be in this case, is to be the actual power of God to set this person free.

That Jesus is victorious that whatever the power,that the devil has in this life through drugs,Jesus has defeated the devil , Jesus has made the devil yield his power,and we are declaring that.
We are saying that, we are believing that and we are saying what we believe.

7.
The 7th mighty weapon that God has given us is the Cross and the Resurrection of the lord Jesus Christ.
The Cross and the Resurrection of the lord Jesus Christ.
Brought out in passages like Hebrews ch2 v 14.
Colossians ch2 v 14 and 15,
Revelation Ch:12 v11,
1st John 3:8 , passages that you have already had.

8. And the 8th mighty weapon that God has given us is The Power and Authority of Jesus name.
The Power and Authority of Jesus name.
And the passages that we are to soak right in to very depths of us are John 14:13,14.
John 15:16,
Ephesians 1:21,22.
Phillipians 2:9-11.


So in the 4th place we know our weapons.
We know our weapons.
The invincible weapons of God.
And in this case as we apply them,to somebody afflicted by drugs we are learning how to use the weapons God has put into our hands.


5. We know God's power.

God's power is greater than anything we see.

It is greater than the power of evil in any life that we see.

God's power is greater than any circumstance, any situation we see.

It is greater than anything that we look at.

All to often, all to often, when we look at some person who is being controlled by some evil,when we look at some person who in one way or another is being pushed around by the devil, or by their circumstances or by their past life or whatsoever, we get to looking at the person and we look so hard at the person,and their problems and their needs becomes so big that we cannot see God and our God shrivels up into a tiny little God that you can put in a matchbox.
And the devil wins his victory.
We cannot exercise the faith , we do not exercise the mighty weapons that God has given us.
Now one of the contributing factors to that is,usually we can only see one or two or three ways at the most that God can do anything.

Noe God has a million ways we know nothing at all about,whereby He can exercise His power.
What He needs is not us knowing how He is going exercise His power but our Faith.
When we give Him our Faith then He works in ways of which we may know nothing.

So we are to give Him our Faith and let Him work it out in His way.

I'm going to turn over now to the other side(cassette tape) and we are going to look specifically at the one for whom we are going to pray.

What I've said are the general principles , the general basis from which we operate.

The foundation, foothold if you like Victory from which we are to operate in the life of particular persons who are afflicted by drugs.




Foot note: Please see my earlier blog introduction to this topic.
http://geoffthompsonsblog.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/group-praying-in-agreement-and.html

I will be presenting side 2 of the tape on how we actually are to pray in this situation as soon as I can set aside the time to transcribe from the tape with my 2 finger typing. I welcome any emails from people if they want more information about this subject and other relevant subject matter.
Side 2 link
http://geoffthompsonsblog.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/group-praying-in-agreement-and_27.html

geoff thompson

More from The Wayside Chapel



Dear Inner Circle,
My heart is heavy after a discussion with a man (maybe 30 years old) for the past hour. A history of sexual abuse has set him off on a campaign that has become all consuming. There is something healthy about this struggle although he seems to have forgotten the good ("Justice" I presume) toward which the battle was directed. I suspect that there isn't a shred of belief, even in the idea of justice any more. So his combat now is with everyone who breathes and while he can talk all day about his struggle, he can't say what he hopes to achieve. He's become an "I" faced by no "thou". The man is not hard to like and we even had moments of "glory". I mean by "glory", that I could feel something of the wonder that his father ought to have felt when he gazed upon this kid growing up. This phenomenon is at its strongest when I cup my hands around the face of my grand daughter and see that my son, her daddy, is present. So, this fellow had no interest in me except to the extent that he could engage me in his battle. He will win no prizes for strategy because he seems to have the knack of turning everyone away. Even people who want to help him are soon drained and looking for an exit. Around here this week, you can see him get and give the 'cold shoulder' to everyone. His arms are a mass of scars from self harm. I desperately wanted to ask the man if he wanted to live but today he would have heard judgement in the question and I wouldn't hurt him for anything.
I was called to a death bed this week and stood with a man who had to part with his wife of nearly 50 years. These two had managed to stay in love and dote on each other for all these years and now they faced the unfaceable. As I held his hand and hers, I sang, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness O God." It surprised me and the husband that I broke into song and while it was not an aesthetically pleasing moment, there was a strong sense for us that their love would remain, even beyond death. I've learned from some of my African friends how beautiful it is to sing to the dying.
Gosh, our play, Stories from the Wayside is a sell out! We've extended the season for a week so that now the last show will be on Sunday evening 4th September. I've only seen minutes of this thing but it was enough for me to know what an astonishing event this will be. It's raw, real and a tribute to beauty that will take your breath away. We've had some major sponsors who made this possible and our thanks goes to, "Blueprint/gifts.com.au", "Man", "Orion asset management", and "Propex". Our thanks also goes to all the supporting sponsors, "Actors Centre Australia", "Griffin Theatre Company", "Mango", "Megadeck", "Officeworks", "Pages Event Hire", "Seat Advisor", "Southern Colour", "Sydney Theatre Company", "Tamarama Rock Surfers" and "2SER". Our friends David Wenham and Claudia Karvan have also lent their weight to the event and I don't doubt that everyone is going to be pleased that they had a part to play in this stunning phenomenon. I would like to acknowledge the giant efforts of Gus Anderson without whom this play would have remained only a good idea. There are tickets available for some shows still on http://www.thewaysidechapel.com/.
A mate of mine came to the "soft opening" of our building and must have thought that I looked tired. He offered to take me gliding. I jumped at the chance for such a complete break away from Wayside. Since I said I'd go, I've been pondering about being 10,000 feet in the air without an engine. I'm sure this will seem like a good idea once I'm safely back on the ground. Next Wednesday is the day.
As I was heading up to write this note, a lady walked out of our new cafe and said as she passed me, "Jeez, things are going downhill around here!" I was at first shocked because street people have unanimously expressed thanks for the improved facility of this building. Before she'd disappeared from view, I yelled out, "Thank you". No doubt she thought I was being sarcastic but I really did want to thank her for reminding me that I'm free from the need to be just that little bit wiser than everyone else around me and for that reason, I'm having a good day.
I hope all of you, our inner circle, have a good day too,
Graham

 
 
Rev Graham Long
Pastor
The Wayside Chapel
Kings Cross
 
 
 Protecting your privacy and the confidentiality of your personal information is important to us, as it is fundamental to the way we operate. All information is kept in the strictest confidence and is stored in a password secure database. Levels of access to information are determined by an authorised employee's specific need to do their job. Personal information collected by The Wayside Chapel is never sold or passed on in any way, shape or form to any other organisation or non-authorised person for any purpose. If you would like to seek access to, or revise your personal information or feel that the information we currently have on record is incorrect or incomplete, or you believe that the privacy of your personal information has been interfered with, please contact us. Our appointed Privacy Officer is Stephanie Guerin stephanie.guerin@thewaysidechapel.com
 
Footnote: Graham is a friend and relative by marriage of our family.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More Bird Encounters-Ibis and Lorikeets

Sacred or White Ibis
Rainbow Lorikeet
Yesterday I heard the familiar sound of Rainbow Lorikeets  which are frequent visitors to our house. This time though it was a large flock in 2 groups flying overhead at quite a high altitude.
It was late afternoon.
Flying amongst them was a solitary white ibis.
I soon realised that the lorikeets , one at a time , were harassing the ibis.

They were all flying quite quickly.

Many birds chase off predators but I had never seen a sight such as this before.

I have read that Rainbow Lorikeets are aggresive with other birds when caged.

I can only assume that the  ibis may have taken one of their young.
Maybe they were sharing a tree and the lorikeets didn't like it.
If anyone else has seen this before or would like to make a comment please do.








Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Marketing and positioning your wedding photography business.

My photography started off as a hobby as I am sure it does for many people. After doing several weddings and getting good results the temptation was to try and make some money. Initially I never even thought of going full time in wedding photography until I was facing redundancy in my government job and a friend suggested why don't you try wedding photography. That is a skill that you have.
Well between jobs I did start do weddings full time but the going was hard work. I was in demand but felt I could not charge high enough amounts to make a decent profit. Also photography and running your own business from home is 24/7 thing.Any self employment can be very stressful even though you are your own boss.
After 9 very busy months the opportunity came to go back to full time govt. Job so I took it and continued with my weddings part time.
I also had begun to develop and teach a course in wedding photography through a popular training organisation. This was successful and I unearthed some very good photographers.
Some went on to successful full time careers.

In Marketing your wedding photography it's not necessarily about how good a photographer you are but how you have pushed yourself into the limelight by winning industry run awards.
My favourite wedding photographer(Australian) from times gone by, Ian Hawthorne, used to criticise these awards saying  they were not real in that mostly they are not judged by customers.
The more of the awards you display on your shelf or your website the higher the price you charge is how it goes.
People use this quite successfully to get their name out there very quickly even though they might be short on actual years in the business.
There work is usually of  a high standard but does not necessarily mean that is the person you would want to do your wedding.
I used to say you must like the work, the price and the photographer.
As a photographer you may decide that the "chemistry" is wrong in your potential relationship with our clients.
Some photographers are probably confident enough to say that up front ie. "I don't think this will work out."
Sometimes your marketing ideas can come unstuck though.

I have recently read some Bride's forums where they were criticising some noted local photographers.
Some of the criticisms, "a different photographer turning up on the day", "sitting around drinking while he should have been taking photos."

On the same forum I thankfully got a good mention.

The higher your price the higher the expectation and if you don't deliver quality to the level of your hype or behave in a professional manner, then years of hard work can start to go down the drain.

You are only as good as the next wedding you are about to do. It doesn't matter how good all the others have been if you make a mess of the one you are on.

Word of mouth has always been my main method of marketing and would still be working for me if I had not spread around I was retired or about to be.

Nonetheless it is important to use modern technology to now help you with your marketing.

It's important to respect your customer's opinions and feedback.
A family member recently had some portraits done of their son.
They loved the photos but when they ordered prints and enlargements they found that the photographer had his large brand name emblazoned in gold on the bottom of the print.

When they pointed this out and asked that it be removed because they didn't like it interfering with the prints they were not given any joy from the photographer.
He said that's how he marketed himself and in effect too bad.
This was not spelt out in contracts either.

So he has probably lost future work from this family and their friends through recommendations even though the work is very good.
He still has their son's photos prominent on his website.

 Rembrandt signed his work but most of us have not reached that stage with our photography.

So think about your marketing and positioning.

You do need some form of advertising.

Michael Warshall prominent Australian Photographer and Lab owner says " He who doesn't advertise is like one who winks in the dark. He knows what he's doing but no one else does."

I was on a wedding service referral website for a couple of years  but I found that this, while getting lots of email enquiries, rarely resulted in an actual interview/consult.

Word of mouth was lot's more productive.

Think about your ethics and whether you just want to make a buck at all costs. That sort of approach usually comes back to bite you somewhere along the way in my opinion.

Technology wise there has probably never been a better time to start wedding photography but in terms of  how many people you are competing with, established and emerging photographers, it may not ever have been harder.






















Monday, August 15, 2011

TURNED ON BY PRAYER




by Ray C. Stedman

With Verse 15 of Ephesians 1 we leave the great doctrinal passage in which the Apostle Paul has been teaching the great facts underlying the Christian faith, and we turn now to his prayer. This study will be a helpful revelation of the place of prayer in the Christian experience, especially in believers who are maturing, and in relationship to the study of Scripture. This brings prayer and the Scriptures together. The apostle, having finished the great passage in which he has set forth what the three-fold God is doing for us, now adds these words addressed to the Ephesian Christians:

    For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened... (Ephesians 1:15-18a RSV)

We will stop there and finish the rest of the passage next Sunday. I want to call your attention to the reason why the apostle prayed for these Christians. He starts with those very words: "For this reason," and then he goes on to list the evidence which makes him confident that they are Christians. The phrase, "For this reason," looks back upon the great passage that we have just covered, from Verse 3 through Verse 14, in which the apostle has been outlining for us the great, fundamental facts about our faith: Our call by the Father, His destining us to be his sons, the redemption and forgiveness available to us in the Son, the opening of our eyes to the whole plan of God, our sealing by the Spirit, our enlightening by the Spirit in our lives and hearts, and His guarantee that we shall inherit all that God has provided for us. It is for this reason, Paul says, that he prays for the saints at Ephesus and others who read this letter. It is because they need to understand these truths.

He is convinced that they are Christians because of two things which have come to his attention -- their faith, and their love. That is most instructive. The apostle evidently has heard in Rome of the faith of these Christians, many of whom were in cities around Ephesus and whom he had never met. He has heard of the fact that they have confessed Christ and turned from their pagan idols. They have acknowledged that Jesus Christ is Lord, and have taken open positions as Christians. But the thing which convinced him that their faith was true was the evidence of their love -- faith that works by love. It was the fact that love was beginning to be shown among them, love for all the saints, which made him aware of the fact that the faith they exercised was genuine.

That is very helpful to know, because, if your faith has not resulted in your becoming a more loving person, in your growing in this direction, then it is not genuine faith. It is merely an intellectual acceptance, which means nothing. Remember how James stresses this very fact. He says that faith is revealed by the concern that it awakens for the hungry, the homeless, the needy, and the heartbroken, and our willingness to reach out to heal the hurts of those in society around us. He said, in effect, "Show me your love, and I'll see your faith; but don't talk to me about faith unless love is present," (James 2:18). And Paul agrees. He has heard of their love, and so he is aware that their faith is genuine.

And notice that it is love toward all the saints, not just toward some of them. Some saints are easy to love. Some are beautiful people, joyful and happy, and everybody likes to be around them. But Paul is struck by the fact that these Christians love all the saints, and, therefore, their love is not based upon people's personalities, their friendliness, nor upon their wealth; rather, it is based upon the fact that they are saints, they belong to the Lord Jesus, they are in the family of God. This is what every family must learn. If you want harmony in your home, you must learn to love your brothers and sisters. They may not be always the most pleasant people, but they are your brother, your sister. This is what the apostle is struck by among the Christians in Ephesus.

Today, too, one of the most remarkable signs that a person has genuine faith is that he loves anyone who loves the Lord Jesus. It doesn't make any difference what the person might be like. I have just returned from a large middle-American city where I was involved in several churches, and I was struck by the fact that oftentimes it is so difficult to get Christians to begin really to love one another. They resist opening up to each other and bearing one another's burdens. They have been taught and trained, somehow, to live in isolation from each other, and not to want to get involved with anyone else. (That is the way the world lives today.) But this is always a mark of the fact that their faith has diminished. Because if your faith in Jesus Christ is genuine it always results in love.

Those two qualities, then, have convinced the Apostle Paul that these Christians are real. Therefore they need to know and grasp the great truths he has outlined for them, and it is for this reason that he prays. Now, I want you to notice that. This indicates that the command of truth, the knowledge of doctrine, is never enough to enable one to grow up as a Christian. You can learn all that there is in the Bible, and be able to write a very profound and scholarly theological treatise on it, but if it hasn't reached the heart it is absolutely worthless. Truth known never changes anybody; it is truth done, truth which has flowed through the emotions and gripped them and thus motivated the will.

Thus this passage beautifully takes into consideration the way God has made us. He has made us so that truth hits the mind first of all. And that is where it should strike. We ought to be exposed to the facts, as Paul has exposed us here, but that is never enough. There are some people today who think that if you merely study your Bible and take the right courses and learn all these great facts, learn the doctrine, the truth of the Scriptures, that is all you need. But the apostle makes very clear here, that is never enough. Just that much will never change anybody. But that truth must somehow move from the head down to the heart. It must grip "the eyes of the heart," to use the beautiful figure that Paul employs, and there must be a moving of the emotions so that the whole man gets involved, and, thus, the will is properly motivated. He is talking about motivation. And this wise apostle knew that nobody ever gets motivated by truth alone. Truth can be dull and academic and deadly. Your heart also must be stirred. So he prays for that.

It is instructive to see that prayer is what will do that. I must confess that I have been greatly moved by this passage because it has made me aware that we must add, deliberately and intelligently, this dimension to our teaching. Teaching truth is never enough. We can teach another person -- a student in the Sunday school or our own children at home -- and they are able to parrot the truth back to us, and oftentimes we are satisfied by that. We say that they know this truth. But the apostle was not satisfied. He knew that you don't know truth in that way. You never know it until it has gripped you, and you have been changed by it. So that is what he prays for. God has designed life that way.

Next, notice the one to whom he prays. He uses two unusual names for God: "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory." Why does he call him that? Of course God is "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ" when Jesus was here as a man. Yet there is no recognition, here, of the fact that the Son is equal with the Father. Paul is not praying directly to Christ; he is praying to the God of the Lord Jesus. That is amazing when you think about it. Why does he do so? Well, the reason is that the evidence we have that God will answer this kind of prayer is that he is the One to whom the Lord Jesus prayed. He is the One upon whom Jesus depended for the enlightenment of his own disciples. For he, too, could not merely teach them and thus deliver them from evil. He had to pray for them in order that the truth might grip their hearts and they might be changed by the truth that they knew. That is why you often find our Lord praying for his disciples, why he spent whole nights on a mountainside, at times, praying truth into his disciples' hearts.

Do you remember when Peter came to him with his confidence, his strutting boldness, and told him, "Lord, don't worry about me, I'll never leave you. These other rascals will defect and run away, but you can count on me, Lord. I'll stick with you." Do you remember the Lord's answer to that? "Peter, Satan has desired to have you, that he might sift you like wheat [that he might run you through a sifter so all the phoniness will be made visible]," Luke 22:31). And Jesus implied by that, "I'm going to give you to him, I'll let him have you." Yet he went on to say, "but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail." It was that prayer which held Peter together when, three times in one night, he denied his Lord. Finally, gripped by the awfulness of what he had done, he went out and wept bitterly in the streets of Jerusalem. But something held him steady -- it was the prayer of the Lord Jesus, the light which came from that prayer, which gripped his heart and held him on course. And so the very God to whom Jesus himself prayed, and upon whom he depended to keep his disciples in the truth that they were learning, is the same God to whom we are to pray, that the Father of glory may open our hearts and lives.

I love that phrase: "the Father of glory." There is a lot of hope in that! Do you know what that means? It could mean, of course, "the glorious Father, the Father who is himself glorious." And God is glorious. But I think that here it means instead "the One who originates glory, the One who begets glory, the Father who produces it."

I attended a wedding reception some time ago, and what a glorious occasion it was! Everyone was joyful and happy, rejoicing with the young couple. And it was in a beautiful setting. There was a scrumptious spread of food, and the decorations made it a lovely place. I circulated around, and off in the corner I found a man standing by himself. I talked with him and discovered that he was the father of the bride. He had been paying all the bills, and, as father of the bride, he was the father of glory. He had produced all the glory of this occasion.

And this is the idea conveyed by that title "the Father of glory." When you pray to God about understanding truth you are asking him to make this truth glorious, to make it come alive, to make it vivid, living, vital. That is what he promises and is able to do. He is the Father of glory. That is why Paul uses that title here. The God to whom Jesus prayed is also the Father of glory, is able to produce glory.

Paul turns now and prays for these Christians. Notice what he prays for: "...[that he] may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, ..." Why does he say that? Aren't these Christians? Haven't they already been indwelt by the Holy Spirit? Yes. Paul has already acknowledged that. He has said that they were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. So he is not praying that they will be given the Holy Spirit. He is praying for a special ministry of the Holy Spirit. In the book of Isaiah, the prophet speaks of the seven spirits of God -- the spirit of wisdom, the spirit of understanding, the spirit of counsel, the spirit of knowledge, etc. He doesn't mean that there are seven Holy Spirits; he means that there is one Holy Spirit who has a seven-fold ministry of illuminating and enlightening the heart. That is what Paul is praying for here.

Notice that he doesn't take it for granted that this is going to happen. This is not an automatic feature of the Christian life. If you want the Scriptures, the Word of God, the truth, to come alive to you, you must ask for illumination. That is what this passage teaches us. And if you want it to come alive to someone else you must ask that they be given the spirit of wisdom and of revelation. Remember that James says, "You have not, because you ask not," (James 4:2). Everything that God has is for us, but it won't be given automatically.

Any wise father knows that you can't give to your children in that way. If you were to anticipate all your children's wishes and were always to have whatever they need ready for them even before they become aware that they needed it, they would soon take it all for granted. They would fail to develop a thankful spirit. They would fail to develop any sense of need in their lives. No wise parent does that. You learn to wait until your children sense some need, until they come and ask you for help, or until they realize that they are up against it and that there is no other way it can be provided. Then is the time to step in. And God does that. He is teaching and training us, and he never allows the Scriptures to come alive for us without our sensing a need for this.

That is why for so many, probably for all of us, there comes a time when the Bible becomes dull. You read it and it doesn't say anything -- there is no illumination; or you are listening to a message and it falls flat -- other people seem to be blessed, but you get nothing out of it. What is the reason? Well, it is part of the great conflict which Paul speaks of in the last chapter of this letter -- the blinding, hardening, darkening work of the powers of darkness which keeps us from grasping the truth. To counteract that, there must be the ministry of prayer, of asking God for a spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that the truth may come alive with vitality. That is what Paul is asking for here.

I wonder sometimes if much of our teaching doesn't fall flat and much of the training of our children isn't a failure because we have never prayed this for them. Notice how the apostle does, how he is so concerned that these mighty truths should be more than mere sentences on the page, that they will really grip the lives and hearts of these Christians. And notice also that it is wisdom and revelation "in the knowledge of him" for which Paul prays. That is where truth finally leads. It leads to the understanding of the Person of God.

Do you pray like that when you read your Bible? Do you open the pages and say, "Lord, show me yourself?" This is not merely a book to read in order to learn what is going to happen as prophecy is fulfilled. It isn't merely a book from which to get some ethical guidelines on how to behave in the relationships of life. Primarily and paramountly this book is designed to lead you to stand in the presence of the living God, to feel him, to know him, to sense his love, his wisdom, his strength, his might, his incredible grasp of circumstances, his control of human events, and to enable you to understand your relationship to him, to have him stand in your presence living, breathing, compassionate. That is what the book is for. That is the wonder of it. No other book has that quality, but this one has. Christ can step out of the pages and be a living presence in your life and heart, if you pray and ask him to give you that spirit of wisdom and of revelation. But it will not come in any other way.

So, if your Bible study time is dull and dreary, take that as a hint and begin to pray that it might come alive, that you may know him. Remember what Jesus said in his great prayer recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John. He prayed, "Father, I thank you for our relationship, and I pray that men may know thee, the only true God, for this is eternal life," John 17:3). And if you want life -- life with that quality of abundance which characterizes God -- then that is the way to have it. It comes with knowing God, knowing who he is and what he is like.

I remember reading some time ago in the China Inland Mission Journal, an account of two churches among a group of churches in a certain province in the inner part of China. These two churches flourished tremendously, while the others were just dawdling along at a slow pace. The mission director of that area became very interested in why these two churches were doing so much better than the others. He investigated and found that a couple of years earlier, at a conference in England, information had been given out regarding all these churches, and certain individuals had been requested to pray for the churches. One man took these two churches upon his heart and remained steadfast. Every week he had been praying faithfully for the Christians in these churches, that the truths they heard would be understood. The result was that these churches were like flowers with abundant sunshine and rain. They grew bountifully, while in the other churches the same truth was being taught, but no one seemed to grasp it and lay hold of it. This was tremendous testimony to the fact that prayer has this power to open eyes.

Now look at the last thing the apostle says in this introduction to prayer -- the instrument by which this occurs: "having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know ..." Then he lists the things they are to know (we'll look at them in detail next Sunday): The hope of our calling, i.e., our future expectation; the riches of Christ's inheritance in the saints, i.e., his present inheritance, and the exceeding greatness of God's power, i.e., the present experience of the believer. Paul's prayer is that we may know these things, but they will come to us as the eyes of our hearts are enlightened.

That's a strange expression, isn't it: "the eyes of the heart." We know how eyes are expressive. You can sometimes look at a face that seems dull and impassive, a "poker" face, but if you look at the eyes you can see something happening within. Oftentimes I have visited people in the hospital whose faces and whole bodies are wasted away, but their eyes are speaking volumes. Eyes are extremely expressive. And they are the instrument by which we perceive, by which we see things. The mind also has eyes. If you listen to truth in any area, or if you study a subject by means of a book, your mind is perceiving. The eyes of your mind are grasping ideas. But the apostle tells us here that not only does the mind have eyes, but the heart as well. The heart needs to see things, needs to grasp truth and understand it. And the heart is always used in Scripture as the seat of our emotions.

In other words, God is facing what the present generation has so beautifully rediscovered for us: We consist of more than mere minds operating; we need to have our emotions stirred and caught up and captivated by truth. Truth must come first to the mind, then to the heart. But the will is never properly motivated until the heart has been moved as well. The whole man must respond to the truth of God. When that happens, then a deep-seated certainty results. You will know something when both the mind and the heart have been touched.

You remember the episode which Luke records for us in his 24th chapter -- that walk to Emmaus when the risen Lord appears to those two disciples. They are so defeated, so downcast by the horrible thing which has happened in Jerusalem. The Lord joins them, but they don't know who he is. He walks along with them as a stranger. And unfolds to them all the passages in the Old Testament Scriptures concerning the promised Messiah, including his sufferings and his resurrection. Do you remember what they said afterward as they were discussing this? They said to one another, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked with us along the way, while he opened to us the scriptures?" Luke 24:32).

That "burning of heart" represents the eyes of the heart being opened. It is the enlightenment, the inflaming, of the heart, so that it comes alive, vital, and is deeply stirred and moved. It is this burning of heart that the apostle desires for these Christians. When the heart begins to burn with truth, when truth from the Word of God becomes so vivid and real to you that your heart is captured by it and you begin to burn, when it takes root in you and you simply must respond to it, that is when you know with certainty that God is real, that the hope of your calling is genuine, that the power of his presence is available, and that the riches of his ministry through you is manifest to others as well.

I could illustrate this in many ways. I remember an incident some time ago here at PBC. A young man became a Christian, came into the church, and married a girl who had grown up in this church. At first his Christian life was glorious to behold. He was warm, open, responsive, and eagerly read the Scriptures. But after a while it all began to ebb away, as often happens. Many Christians go through this experience. He turned cold, lost his interest in the Scriptures, and quit coming to church. He was no longer interested in fellowship with other believers and he avoided them. To use the term of a generation ago, he "back-slid."

Naturally his wife became very concerned. So she and a friend decided that they would pray together for her husband every day. She decided in her heart that she would not nag him nor plague him nor push him. She wouldn't urge him to come to church, and thus gain some kind of outward conformity by pressure, because she didn't want him to come if his heart wasn't in it. She resolved simply to pray. And she and her friend met daily. For a month or more nothing happened. He went on in pretty much the same way. But they took the advice of the Lord Jesus: "Men ought always to pray and not to faint, not to give up," (Luke 18:1). So they kept on praying.

Gradually her husband's attitude began to change a bit. One day she came home and found him reading the Bible. But she didn't say anything to him, and he didn't say anything to her. But it was a note of encouragement. Then, one Sunday, he announced that the was going to church with her. Again she rejoiced inwardly, but didn't make a big deal of it. After a while, he finally said to her, "You know, dear, I've really been way out of it! Somehow or other I lost all my interest in the Lord. But God has moved in, and met me, and brought me back." And he came alive again. What a wonderful testimony to the power of prayer to open eyes!

It isn't enough simply to teach truth. It isn't enough to spread doctrine. It isn't enough to have a Bible class in which you are getting the students to learn certain facts from the Scriptures. The Apostle Paul, and the other great leaders of the early church, understood man much better than that. You never get the whole man until the heart is moved, until the eyes of the heart are enlightened, until truth is moved from the head down to the heart, and thus it has gripped the emotions. Then the will is properly motivated. Then the person begins to grow tremendously.

So what an encouragement this is to a ministry of prayer! Pray for one another. Pray for the class that you teach. Pray for your children -- that the truth they are learning, both at home and at Sunday school, will become vivid to them. How many times have we allowed them merely to learn factual matters, and have never prayed about it, and then wondered why the truth doesn't seem to affect them very much. Pray for your father and mother -- that the truth they are learning may change their hearts so that they will be easier to get along with. Pray for your husband, pray for your wife -- that this enlightenment of the heart may come. See how Paul understands this and how he stresses it with us. He says, "For this reason ..." there is no use teaching you this truth unless I also pray for you, unless prayer changes your life so that you are 'turned on,' so that your hearts come alive with the truth of God." And, if we do the same, we will understand that God has designed truth to make its appeal to the whole of our humanity, the whole being, the whole man, and we will become whole in Christ.

So let us pray together now.
Prayer:

    Our Heavenly Father, we thank you so much for this revelation of the way we are made. Thank you for the wisdom of the Apostle Paul, who knew that you can't simply pour out so many facts, write them down in a letter, and expect to have people grasp them and live by them. There must be the bending of the knee, the opening of the heart, the imploring of the Spirit, the bathing of the truth, the Word, in prayer, so that it becomes vital, living, attractive, compelling. Lord, help us to pray for each other. We need this truth greatly today, and we pray that you will drive it home to us with clarity and with power, in Jesus' name, Amen.

Title: Turned on by Prayer
By: Ray C. Stedman
Scripture: Ephesians 1:15-18
Date: October 1, 1972
Series: Riches in Christ
Message No: 6
Catalog No: 3006

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geoff's footnote: Ray stedman came to our Church in Adelaide in the 1970's. A great servant of Jesus. His expositry preaching all available on his memorial website have been and are a blessing to many.