Blog Archive

Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Years Eve 2017 From "My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers

As the year turns this attached message from Oswald Chambers is very helpful.

Security from Yesterday. “God requireth that which is past.” At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise from remembering the yesterdays. Our present enjoyment of God’s grace is apt to be checked by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them in order to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual culture for the future. God reminds us of the past lest we get into a shallow security in the present.
Security for To-morrow. “For the Lord will go before you.” This is a gracious revelation, that God will garrison where we have failed to. He will watch lest things trip us up again into like failure, as they assuredly would do if He were not our rereward. God’s hand reaches back to the past and makes a clearing-house for conscience.
Security for To-day. “For ye shall not go out with haste.” As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, unremembering delight, nor with the flight of impulsive thoughtlessness, but with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ.
Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands, and step out into the Irresistible Future with Him.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Christmas Message

I would like to share a few thoughts as we pass from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day.

A time of celebration for the millions of Christians around the world and the millions who are not Christians but like to join in.

We celebrate the birth of Jesus as God's only begotten son.

Born of the Virgin Mary.

Conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Born to die on the cross.

    for the sins of mankind,

and to destroy the works of the devil .

Born to be resurrected to show us His absolute Divinty as part of God's Holy Trinity.

Born to heal, to release people from bondage, to restore sight to the blind.

Born to give the second birth to those who will receive Him as Lord and Saviour.

The giver of eternal life.

A wonderful message to those of us who have entered into His Truth.

A message of offense to those who prefer darkness to light.

What will you do with Jesus this Christmas?

Is He calling you?

Many are called but few are chosen.

Many hear His call and ignore it as they want to claim their right to do whatever they like.

Don't be so silly to do that.

Mind you becoming a Christian in this nearly post Christian age could be dangerous.

Have a truly blessed Christmas and enable Him to walk and talk  with you in the new year.

From Darkness to Light

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Unwanted Encounters with Australian Wildlife(Possums)

Australian possums are I think, as far as cuteness goes, the equivalent of Europe's squirrels.

The possums are varied, a few separate species.

The most common in our area is the Brush Tailed possum.

They are quite common in Adelaide's suburbs and occasionally they will take up residency in your roof.

That's what has happened to us.

Every night as dusk gives way to night the possums, a mother and baby,come out bounding over our shed roof and into the backyard trees.

At about 5am ,just as the birds are starting the dawn chorus, we hear them come back into the roof.

We will need to block the entrance one night but so far we haven't been able to organise this.

We love the possums but they can be a nuisance.

Tonight I finally got a shot(pic) of the baby one.

As they are a protected species we will have to learn how to live harmoniously with them.

Ps. We have now succeeded in getting the possums out of our roof. They are still in and around our house and invading all the neighbour's properties as well.
As far as I can tell they haven't got back in our roof.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Unwanted Encounters with Australian Birds-The Noisy Miner

This was an attempt to produce an educational video on how to use an incident light meter with my good friend Greg. We may continue and add to this at a later date.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Encounters with Australian Birds Parrots Ep 5

Episode 5 in my Encounters with Australian Birds series.
A correction is in order here. The shots of the Crimson Rosella at the close of the clip were at at Strathnairne near Canberra not Strathgordon.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

"Think on these things" by Geoff Thompson

“Think on these things”

This is the message I brought to the Parkrose Village Congregation on 15/10/17.

Phillipians 4
“8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

That is the KJV, we had the Living Bible read to us earlier.

I chose this passage and topic because apart from it being the recommended passage for this week in the lectionary, it reminds me of the occasional letters and notes I would get from my late Aunty Alma.
She was my mum’s sister and a keen reader,teacher and author.
When I was a child, and probably due to the influence of my English grandmother, I used to receive as a Christmas present the Rupert Bear Annual.
Does anyone here know Rupert?
Beautiful books that had a longer version of each story below the beautiful illustrations,
but if you were lazy
 you could just read the shorter rhyming version as a caption beneath each illustration.
See sample here.

Rupert has his origins in England.
I used to love these books and the family tradition continued for some time until “we grew out of childish things”.
One year when I was an adult,
 and a reasonably new Christian,
I received a Rupert Annual in the mail from my Aunty Alma who lived in Victoria.
In the front she had written the verse we have today.
“8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
I was very much into a steep and fast learning curve about Christianity at the time,
into some of what I thought was more important theology.
I was into the
Theology and gifts of the Holy Spirit,
The second coming of Jesus,
Healing prayer,
Learning how Jesus can heal our sub conscious,
How to deal with the devil and cast out demons if required,
Which Baptism was right,
What must I do to be saved?
Creation verses Evolution.

Now these things were and are important,

but I thought to myself that here was Aunty Alma getting all poetical and profound again and I thought I want more “meat” than something as cute as that passage.

Besides she was Anglican and I was Church of Christ.

What would she know?

Not a good attitude was it?

Now as a more mature Christian,
 and knowing the battles she had in life,
emotionally and spiritually,
 her note to me is more relevant and now I appreciate why she sent it and why she packaged it with Rupert Bear.  

Rupert Bear books were something I remember as  wonderful as a child.

His world had much drama and conflict but always ending with a positive outcome.

Idyllic scenes of an imaginary English countryside.

Wonderful uplifting stories with very appealing characters much as the young ones today have things like Peppa Pig and their various cartoon characters.

“whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report”

Rupert certainly ticked those boxes for me back then.

The Bible teaches us to become as a little child and how the faith of a child keeps it simple and full of trust and belief.

A popular saying we have in our country and elsewhere is “take time to smell the roses”.

That is really a spin off from this passage also.

“Think on these things”

which means not only thinking,
but appreciating,

looking at our world in the way God did when we read these words in Genesis.

“So God made man like his Maker.
Like God did God make man;
Man and maid did he make them.
28 And God blessed them and told them, “Multiply and fill the earth and subdue it; you are masters of the fish and birds and all the animals. 29 And look! I have given you the seed-bearing plants throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. 30 And I’ve given all the grass and plants to the animals and birds for their food.” 31 Then God looked over all that he had made, and it was excellent in every way. This ended the sixth day.[j]”
We do need to slow ourselves down from the pace of modern life and to in effect count our blessings.

We do need to stop and think of the wonder of God’s creation and what He has provided for us.

When we stop and do this we are doing ourselves and those around us a real big favour.

We can be relieved of much of our stress and anxiety if we follow the instructions in todays passage.

“4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
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.”

We have been rejoicing and giving thanks through our music,

We have prayed together as a Church,

As we have come to worship Jesus at the Lord’s table
 we have examined ourselves
 and repented of bad attitudes and un forgiveness. 

We have been gathered in Jesus name and He has been and is here with us.

Have you been aware of Him?

Don’t worry if you haven’t.

It can take a lifetime of growing as a Christian to know His presence sometimes.

We are not exempt from growing as a Christian even though we might be getting on in years.

He has been here whether we have felt Him or not.---

If we think on the positive things,

look for all the reminders around us of God’s absolute power,

His creation

 and love

 our faith can only be strengthened.

We can better face whatever comes our way.
Back in the 1960’s the Bachelors had a hit record called “I Believe”

Many others recorded it also.
I love the lyrics although it is not a Christian song but it points us in the direction of the creator who is our Lord.
Here is how it goes.

“I believe for every drop of rain that falls a flower grows
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night a candle glows
I believe for everyone who goes astray someone will come to show the way
I believe, I believe

I believe above the storm the smallest prayer will still be heard
I believe that someone in the great somewhere hears every word (that someone is Jesus)
Every time I hear a newborn baby cry or touch a leaf or see the sky
Then I know why I believe"

By practicing the essence of our Bible reading today, we can in effect help prevent ourselves from being led astray.

It is easy to be seduced by the goodies,

the world,

the secular world,

 has to offer.

We need to be on our guard when temptation comes our way.

So some practical things we can do to make today’s message real in our lives.

 Ask ourselves when we

watch TV,

 read a book,

look at the internet,

talk on the phone,

 if Jesus was with us and watching over our shoulder would we feel good in His presence or would we think He would not approve of this.

We might feel shame!

Would Jesus see what we are  doing is




of good report,


Think on these things!

Remember that while this message today points us in the right direction,

if we fail,

 then we have our Lord Jesus,

who is always there to pick us up.

We just go to Him!

We are now going to sing our closing Hymn.

All things Bright and Beautiful.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Canberra Botanical Gardens

We never tire of visiting the Canberra Botanical Gardens.

We do get tired as par for the course.

Some pics from today.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Some Birdshots from Canberra and Bonsai plants at the Canberra Arboretum

Some shots of birds in Canberra and Bonsai Display at Canberra Arboretum.

Black Backed Magpies

Pied Currawong

Pied Currawong

Australian Crow

Yellow Rumped Thornbill

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

"A Preacher's Progress"--Roy Raymond

Roy Raymond was a pioneering Churches of Christ Pastor.

He was the father and father in law of our late friends Patricia and Ira Raymod.

His remarkable story is told in his autobiography.

You can read it at the link below.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

"His Call" by Patricia Raymond

Patricia Raymond was a wonderful older friend of ours, as was her husband Ira Raymond.
We were honoured to be appointed their "guardians" while they were alive.

Patricia died in 2011.

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 on that day.

“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.”

This poem,written by Patricia, was read out on the day that is a wonderful testimony to faith in God.

            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

Is God calling for you?

Have you responded to His call?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Are we going on with Jesus? Oswald Chambers

Here is today's reading from My utmost for His Highest.

Make it a habit to read My utmost for His Highest daily.

Are You Going on With Jesus?

By Oswald Chambers

It is true that Jesus Christ is with us through our temptations, but are we going on with Him through His temptations? Many of us turn back from going on with Jesus from the very moment we have an experience of what He can do. Watch when God changes your circumstances to see whether you are going on with Jesus, or siding with the world, the flesh, and the devil. We wear His name, but are we going on with Him? “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66).
The temptations of Jesus continued throughout His earthly life, and they will continue throughout the life of the Son of God in us. Are we going on with Jesus in the life we are living right now?
We have the idea that we ought to shield ourselves from some of the things God brings around us. May it never be! It is God who engineers our circumstances, and whatever they may be we must see that we face them while continually abiding with Him in His temptations. They are His temptations, not temptations to us, but temptations to the life of the Son of God in us. Jesus Christ’s honor is at stake in our bodily lives. Are we remaining faithful to the Son of God in everything that attacks His life in us?
Are you going on with Jesus? The way goes through Gethsemane, through the city gate, and on “outside the camp” (Hebrews 13:13). The way is lonely and goes on until there is no longer even a trace of a footprint to follow— but only the voice saying, “Follow Me” (Matthew 4:19).
Wisdom From Oswald Chambers
A fanatic is one who entrenches himself in invincible ignorance. Baffled to Fight Better, 59 R

Sunday, September 17, 2017

What about forgiveness?

Walking in the light.

 Today I had the privilege of leading the worship at the Parkrose Village United Church. Lesley played the piano.
The theme was on forgiveness from a very challenging passage in Matthew 18. Look up the various translations on the Bible Gateway website.
Here is the order of service.
Welcome and Opening Prayer

Hymn: “God of Mercy,God of Grace” 218 3v

Announcements: Geoff

Bible reading: Matthew 18:21-35Living Bible (TLB) Pat

Hymn: “Here at thy Table Lord” 238 4v


Church Prayer: Geoff. (Include the Lord’s Prayer)

Hymn:”Open my eyes Lord” 172 4v 
Sermon: “What about forgiveness?”  Geoff 
Hymn: “God forgave my sin” 3 verses.

Benediction and Vesper:  Now unto Him

Here is the sermon outline which had a few off the cuff remarks added as we went.  

What price forgiveness?
Or What about forgiveness?
This passage we had read today is one of the most challenging in the New Testament.
Many seemingly fine Christians find it a great stumbling block.
It seems a very hard teaching.
Let’s talk about forgiveness.
You might know someone who has been seriously hurt by someone else’s behavior.
It may even be you, or me.
This has been a serious hurt and very wrong.
It might be a sudden action,
 a one off,
or it might be something that happened over many years.
How do we deal with it?
When we read todays reading it is obvious as Christians we need to forgive those who have wronged us.
For us to go up to someone and say you should forgive  that person,
for what they did to you,
 while it might be well intentioned,
it can be met with a very painful reaction.
You might be met with the retort;
“Why should I?
“Why should I forgive?”
Not after what they have done to me or my family!”
The person reacting like this obviously is suffering from very painful memories and sometimes physical scars of what has been done to them.
Some might say I know I have to forgive but I can’t.
 It was too bad!
 what was done!
to me!
I was hurt so much!
In any case I can’t forgive until I feel I can!
And I can’t forgive until I see justice served.
Until I get my revenge!
So if it is so hard for people to do this what is the consequences of our unforgiveness?
Before we tackle that let’s get back to our own forgiveness by God.
Was it because He loves us?
Yes it is.
He does love us,
 but not because we are good people worthy of His love.
Our forgiveness is not based on any good qualities He sees in us!
His love for us is unconditional.
His forgiveness is the result of His sacrifice for us,
His death on the cross,
In reality we are no better than anyone else.
It is only through God’s providence,
 and how we have been blessed,
that we have not committed the horrible things that others do.
Given the same  circumstances, we are quite capable of the same evil.
If we think we are above others we are fooling ourselves.
We don’t understand the Gospel.
The consequences of our un-forgivness of others are many.
Unforgiveness in our hearts can cause us:
 to lose sleep.
to become emotionally crippled and withdrawn,
to always be full of anger,
to have a short fuse,
to be super critical and judgemental of everyone,
to be full of fear,
to never have any joy,
to have all sorts of pyschosomatic illnesses,
like ulcers and other things,
and the list can go on and on.
Our unforgiveness will cut us off from really knowing the peace and fellowship of God.
That’s why our passage today tells us we should forgive 70x7.
So, two things to ponder!
1.  Our lack of forgiveness is sin.
God clearly requires us to forgive when we read the scriptures.
What caused our distress in the first place was likely the sin of someone else.
We don’t have to say “well that person was quite ok to do what they did!”
We don’t have to feel love for them before we exercise our forgiveness.
Forgiveness is an act of the will.
It is not a feeling!
We use our will power to forgive and ask God to help us with that.
If we are walking in the Light, as He is in the Light, continuing in unforgivness is not an optional extra.
The passage read to us today is very severe in it’s consequences.
I don’t think it is saying we lose our salvation if we don’t forgive others, but it is saying our unforgiveness will cause us a lifetime of grief.
The second thing to ponder.
2.Healing from the effect of other people’s sin.
Healing from all these consequences will often only come about as we forgive the perpetrators but also as we ask Jesus to heal our many unhappy memories.  
Often we have things deep down that we have suppressed.
Hurts that we have suffered even as little children.
 We are not necessarily conscious of them.
We just know things aren’t right.
We can ask Jesus through His Holy Spirit to heal us of these unhappy memories.
In summary,
 if we truly forgive others,
 from our hearts,
it will be,
 that for those we have forgiven,
 they will sense a change in us, if we are still in contact.
Often the person who has wronged us is full of guilt themselves .
It is important that we know how to forgive ourselves,
 but also how wonderful when the person we have wronged forgives us.
How wonderful is reconciliation with someone when it really takes place.
The disciples of Jesus remonstrated  with Jesus over Mary, the prostitute, who anointed Him with expensive perfume.
Jesus told them “Where much has been forgiven, the same shall love so much.”
Folks we are so blessed to have received the Grace of God.
To know God’s forgiveness.
One of the statements I hear often these days, and you do to, is when someone being interviewed on TV, often after a court case says “well now we might have some “closure”.
They know in reality that there is not closure even when justice seemingly has been served.
The wrong that has been done is still not healed,
The only true statement and act of “closure” was by Jesus on the cross.
He said. “It is finished!”
The reason He came to earth was accomplished.
He had finished His work so that His cross could become active in our lives.
The work of reconciliation and forgiveness and healing.
I close with a reasonably well known story of Corrie Ten Boom.
Corrie and her family were locked up in a prison camp in the second world war.
It was one of those places where many Jews and their supporters were murdered in the gas chambers.
Corrie and her family were imprisoned there because thay had been hiding Jewish people in their house in Holland.
The Ten Booms were a fine Christian family.
Corrie was the only one who was released eventually from the prison.
The only one of her family.
While in the prison Corrie and her family were treated very badly and she witnessed her sister, on one occasion, being badly beaten by one of the guards.
After the war Corrie became a Christian author and travelled around the world conducting Christian meetings throughout Europe.
At one of these meetings she was approached afterwards by a man who said this to her.
“Frauline, I was a guard in your prison, I am a Christian now. Will you please forgive me?
He extended his hand to her.
Corrie immediately recognized him as the man who had cruelly beaten her sister.
Her memories and image of her sister suffering at the hands of this man came flooding back.
She thought how can I possibly do this?
She thought I can’t,
Look what he did to Betsy,
but she knew she had to forgive him as a Christian.
She asked God to give her the power to take his hand.
She grasped his hand in forgiveness.
She said she felt a current of love run through from her head to her toes as she did this.
You can imagine what this meant to this contrite man.
I am going to pray now and ask God to help us, if we are harboring unforgiveness, to really forgive from the heart.
We will thank Him for our own forgiveness,
 that we don’t deserve,
that was bought for us on the cross.
 We will ask Jesus to heal our often damaged emotions that might be buried deep down.
Shall we pray?