Archive for the ‘Bible Study’ Category

Totes Def Faithful!

God is totally, definitely faithful.

Today was a stark reminder for me.

It was a really yucky day and as we drove home from work I was feeling a little helpless.

You know when you are not exactly sure how God is handling a situation, and you have a few suggestions for Him that might help ūüôā All of a sudden He tells you to snap out of it and refocus. All it took for me today was a message on Facebook from a friend who was obedient to God and gave me a word. She was faithful to what He wanted her to say to me, and little did she know, the timing was absolutely perfect to the moment, the message went to my core, the promise relit a fire in me. I spoke something to Him out loud and my answer appeared in seconds. It was a message I needed to hear and one I intend to cling to.

God is totally, definitely faithful.

I am so grateful my friend was faithful too.

Prime Minister of Israel: speech to congress!

God tells us to¬†‘pray for the peace of Jerusalem: may those who love you be secure.’¬†(Psalm 122:6). No hidden messages there – it is what it is. ¬†You need to know what is going on so you know what to be praying for. When you read the Bible, you can see throughout the whole book that Israel is the place to watch – the Holy Land.

This is the video footage of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the congress on May 24th 2011. ¬†It is VERY good and VERY important to watch. Everyone really needs to be up to date on what is going on in the Middle East as it does and will affect all of us.

Dancing the Night Away – Prayer for Israel Conference

For the past 10 years I have been a part of a dance team that has been asked to dance all over the countryside.  We are a group of Christian women who worship through dance. Here is our missions statement:
The Jubilee Ministry Dance Ensemble is a Christian, Australian based Davidic praise and worship team, incorporating dance, flags and banners, all used to the glory of God. Our mission is to proclaim the word of God, through worship, over our nation Australia, as well as over the nation of Israel, in obedience to Psalm 122:6, to ‘Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.’¬†

Our team is made up of the most beautiful group of women with incredible hearts. It is such a blessing to be in the team and minister with them.  We are definitely a family.

Last night we danced in Brisbane at the annual PFI (Prayer For Israel) Conference.

Our team, minus two.

'The Great South Land of the Holy Spirit'

A beautiful lady, Grace, doing her drama.

Dancing with the congregation.

Dancing 'Yeshua' with Susanna Galer singing.

Changeroom mischief. A spot of planking. We had a good laugh at this ūüôā

My husband took came along and took these photos for us. ¬†So many to choose from so you may see some more popping up here and there ūüôā

I Am A Total Princess.

Prince William and I

First thing is first. ¬†My husband is totally cool with this photo….he created it while we were watching the wedding together on the couch. ¬†It was for a bit of a laugh on facebook ūüôā

This wedding made a lot of girls think about life as a princess and what it would be like to one day be the Queen of a country. ¬†I had many conversations with friends leading up to the wedding about the pros and cons of being a princess, “I would hate it cause you have no privacy, poor girl”, “Imagine having her life and being in her shoes right now – how exciting!”.

Perhaps it has something to do with the age of the prince and princess (being close to your age it makes you think…wow, it could have been me!!!….kind of….I guess….if I looked like her…and lived in England….and did all the things she did…and went to school with Prince William….okay, fine – it could never be me…..).

I love that we all are princesses of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords….our own heavenly Father! ¬†If you have no idea WHAT I am talking about, you absolutely need to read: Captivating. This book unveils the truth behind God’s creation of woman and her purpose. ¬†It explains why, as little girls, we loved to dress up and pretend to be princesses at some stage – it has been ingrained in us by our Creator! ¬†It details why we still love to be treated like princesses by the princes in our lives. ¬†I love that my husband (after 12 years together) still carries things for me, does things for me like vacuuming and cleaning the bathrooms and fixes everything…even when he is exhausted, desires to spoil me and make me feel beautiful and special. ¬†And he calls me princess. I love that I married my very own prince…and God is my ultimate King.

God’s a Pushover? I don’t think so!

Hubby and I were driving home from Brisbane one day when he asked if I could read out loud to him the book of Hosea in the Old Testament from the Bible. ¬†I haven’t really spent much time in this section before and I was really blown away by something.

So many people think that God is a bit of a pushover.  They may not use those words exactly, but they sum Him up something like this:

“God would never send anyone to hell, he is not mean.”

“God only has love in Him so He wouldn’t harm.”

“God can’t be real cause there is so much hurt in the world…wouldn’t He just fix everything?”

“I can just do the wrong thing (sin) and ask for forgiveness, then do it again, then ask for forgiveness – He is a forgiving God after all! Easy.”

Hmmmm….this is not the same God of the Bible, especially the one in the book of Hosea! First of all, let us get one thing straight. ¬†The book of Hosea says the following about God:

  • Hosea 1-3 He is a sovereign God
  • Hosea 4-7 He is a holy God
  • Hosea 8-10 He is a just God
  • Hosea 11-14 He is a loving God
He most certainly is, without a doubt, all those things and more goodness!  He is LOVE after all.
He is also a jealous God, one who likened Israel (His people) to that of a prostitute who had run away from her loving and doting husband Hosea (who represents God). God is so disappointed and angry that after all this time, after freeing Israel from the clutches of Egypt and doing many miracles for her, Israel would still turn her back on Him and look to other gods and idol worship. Forgetting Him. God had basically had enough and it was time to let Israel know the consequences of turning her back on God.
”I have been the Lord¬†your God¬†ever since I brought you out of Egypt. You must acknowledge no God but me,¬†for there is no other savior.¬†I took care of you in the wilderness,¬†in that dry and thirsty land.¬†But when you had eaten and were satisfied,¬†you became proud and forgot me.¬† So now I will attack you like a lion,¬†like a leopard that lurks along the road.¬†Like a bear whose cubs have been taken away,¬†I will tear out your heart.¬†I will devour you like a hungry lioness¬†and mangle you like a wild animal. You are about to be destroyed, O Israel‚ÄĒ¬†yes, by me, your only helper. Now where is¬†your king?¬†Let him save you!¬†Where are all the leaders of the land, the king and the officials you demanded of me?¬†In my anger I gave you kings,¬†and in my fury I took them away.’ – Hosea 13: 4-11

Yikes, I would not want to be in the bad books with God….the word that comes to mind is fear. ¬†He is mighty and powerful and patient….but continually turning your back on Him may cause Him to get your attention at some stage. ¬†You can only be ignorant of Him for so long.
‘I want to heal Israel,¬†but its sins are too great.¬†Samaria is filled with liars.¬†Thieves are on the inside¬†and bandits on the outside!¬†Its people don‚Äôt realize¬†that I am watching them.¬†Their sinful deeds are all around them,¬†and I see them all.’ – Hosea 7:1-2

So why does God feel this way towards Israel? ¬†Let’s see a part of the reason…..
‘O Israel¬†and Judah,¬†what should I do with you?‚ÄĚ asks the Lord. “For your love vanishes like the morning mist¬†and disappears like dew in the sunlight.¬†I sent my prophets to cut you to pieces‚ÄĒ¬†to slaughter you with my words,¬†with judgments as inescapable as light.¬†I want you to show love,¬†not offer sacrifices.¬†I want you to know me¬†more than I want burnt offerings.¬† But like Adam,¬†you broke my covenant¬†and betrayed my trust. “Gilead is a city of sinners,¬†tracked with footprints of blood.¬†Priests form bands of robbers,¬†waiting in ambush for their victims.¬†They murder¬†travellers¬†along the road to Shechem¬†and practice every kind of sin.¬†Yes, I have seen something horrible in Ephraim and Israel:¬†My people are defiled by prostituting themselves with other gods!” Hosea 6:4-10

So, what of Hosea’s prostituting wife and unfaithful Israel?
Then the Lord said to me, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them. РHosea 3:1

Shame Hitler didn’t understand God’s relationship with Israel, one of the many reasons given for the holocaust was because Hitlers twisted mind originally thought he was doing God a favour by wiping out His people, the Jews. ¬†Very messed up. ¬†Hitler wanted the Jews annihilated as he believed that God had finished with them (antisemitism).
‘Oh, how can I give you up, Israel?¬†How can I let you go?¬†How can I destroy you like Admah¬†or demolish you like Zeboiim?¬†My heart is torn within me,¬†and my compassion overflows.¬†No, I will not unleash my fierce anger.¬†I will not completely destroy Israel,¬†for I am God and not a mere mortal.¬†I am the Holy One living among you,¬†and I will not come to destroy.¬†For someday the people will follow me.¬†I, the Lord, will roar like a lion.¬†And when I roar,¬†my people will return trembling from the west.¬†Like a flock of birds, they will come from Egypt.¬†Trembling like doves, they will return from Assyria.¬†And I will bring them home again,‚Ä̬†says the Lord.’ – Hosea 11:8-11
And finally,

‘Return, O Israel, to the Lord¬†your God, for your sins have brought you down. Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord.¬†Say to him, ‚ÄúForgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises. Assyria cannot save us,¬†nor can our warhorses.¬†Never again will we say to the idols we have made,¬†‚ÄėYou are our gods.‚Äô¬†No, in you alone do the orphans find mercy.‚ÄĚ

The Lord says, “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever.  I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon. Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon. My people will again live under my shade. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.

‚ÄúO Israel,¬†stay away from idols!¬†I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you.¬†I am like a tree that is always green;¬†all your fruit comes from me.‚Ä̬†Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully.¬†The paths of the Lord¬†are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.’ –¬†Hosea 14: 4-9

My goodness, there is so much to write about! ¬†I urge you to read Hosea, the whole lot, even if you do not believe in Him. ¬†It is not very long and you will be glad that you did. ¬†It gives a bit more of an understanding of God’s character.

Be Patient; It’ll Happen in God’s Time!

I was at work when a friend handed me a piece of paper she had ripped out of her magazine. She said she had been reading this particular article and thought of me and all the things my hubby and I had been going through (read about it here).  It is a fantastic source of encouragement for whatever anyone is going through:

Lake Mystic by Tad Cholinski

‘Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.’ – Psalm 37:7

‘Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart’ (Ps 37:4). But usually He makes you wait. Dennis Wholey says: ‘Waiting is an art…if you can wait two years, you can achieve something you could not achieve today however hard you worked, however much money you threw at it, however many times you banged your head against the wall. ‘There are things you can’t have today as you will be able to have them in the future. So it doesn’t make sense to drive yourself crazy and put your life on hold struggling to accomplish something now, that’ll be easy when the time is right.

James says, ‘But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing’ (Jas 1:4). God allows certain things to take place in our lives to teach us important principles like:

(a) developing new skills

(b) showing grace and controlling our responses

(c) maintaining our faith when times get tough

Paul writes: ‘Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering’ (Col 3:12); and ‘rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer’ (Ro 12:12). When you spend time in God’s waiting room, He’s developing qualities in you that simply can’t be developed any other way. When He’s finished, you’ll come out stronger and wiser. And you’ll have the maturity to handle what He has in mind for you. ‘Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him’ (Ps 37:7).

36 Week Abortions!

****Warning – if you agree with abortions, you may not want to read this as I am very against it and my comments will offend you.

If you have had an abortion, please know that God knows your pain and wants to fill that space with His love for you. This post is about my shock and anger at how abortion has been watered down to make it less offense or upsetting for people. It is not a personal judgement (I have close friends who have had abortions) as we all do things we regret in life, but it’s about the fact that our government see that taking a child’s life is a totally acceptable act.¬† If you call it a different name (abortion) and it does not breath air and you can’t see it, then it is not a problem to get rid of it.

 

Yes, the title of this post is no typo.  Abortions in Australia at 36 weeks pregnant.  Just so you get a clear understanding of what this means, this is a 36 week baby who was born 4 weeks before its due date.

Proverbs 31:8 ‚ÄúSpeak up for those who cannot speak for themselves‚ÄĚ

I was horrified when I heard this.¬† How can you not call an ‘abortion’ an act of murder?¬† What is going on with the world when you can legally take the life of a human. How did this law ever get passed?

I don’t agree with any form of ‘abortion’ (I will call it abortion for this post, but its real name is plain and simply murder) as I believe in Psalm 139

“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God‚ÄĒyou’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration‚ÄĒwhat a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.”

People who are pro-abortion stand up for it by saying that it is the womans body and therefore she should be allowed the choice on whether her baby is to live or not.  That is absolutely ridiculous. You have a life inside you, your body is not just your own anymore. You have a responsibility.  We all have choices in life whether we like them or not, and sometimes the outcome can make our lives really, really tough and daunting and scary. We have to take responsibility and the right choice. God is the author and creator of life.  In the Bible, God reassures us by saying that He only gives us what we can handle.

I know in my previous post: Nic & Fertility & Meanies, I said that “I say, before you slander someone, take a walk in their shoes!”. I still very much stand by and agree with what I wrote.¬† I feel ‘abortion’ is not on the same page, or even in the same book, as surrogacy.¬† I do not believe that if you murder a human being (whether living in the womb, or an adult) is okay.¬† I think if I walked in the shoes of a murderer and knew the motive behind their action I would still be against it….obviously.¬† How is ‘aborting’ a baby any different.¬† Look at the above picture of the baby again.¬† How can you kill such an innocent, perfect human who has spent months hearing and recognising your voice while in your womb?

There is medical video footage of a 12 week abortion taking place, and using ultrasound, you can actually see the baby scrambling away from the knife.

Here are 10 arguments against abortion and 10 arguments for abortion.¬† I read it and it amazes me some of the ‘reasons’ for abortion!¬† They just don’t make sense. An example of one of the arguments for ‘abortion’: Adoption is not an alternative to abortion, because it remains the woman’s choice whether or not to give her child up for adoption. Statistics show that very few women who give birth choose to give up their babies – less than 3% of white unmarried women and less than 2% of black unmarried women. Ummm, excuse me?¬† So you are saying that a reason to have an ‘abortion’ and kill a baby is so that the mother does not have to make a tricky decision when the baby is born as to whether she keeps it or gives it to another family who really want a baby?¬† AND, she may change her mind and decide to keep it in the end?¬† How horrible for a mother to decide to keep her baby once she has brought it into this world (note my major sarcasm here). Imagine if she had aborted and regrets it, if she had a chance of actually wanting to keep it in the end.¬† That whole argument is twisted!! Let me paraphrase this argument again – “We better kill this baby before we change our mind and want to keep it”. No wonder ‘women who have abortions suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome more often than Vietnam vets do.’

One final thought: If I am pregnant and a robber breaks into my home and beats me up and kills me, he will be tried on two counts of murder; one for me and one for my baby. If I hire a doctor to do an abortion, it is somehow magically now not a person. Illogical.

If you are reading this and you are ever left with the choice to abort or not to abort your baby, please read this first. It explains the stages in a baby’s development, being presented with the possibility of having a baby with a disorder, rape victims points of view, etc. I hope you make the right choice.

 

You Have Been Tilt-Shifted.

Tilt-Shift Photography Рwhat do you think?  I think it is adorable!  It reminds me of an excursion I went on in primary school where we visited a town made out of miniature models.  I used the entire disposable camera film that my parents gave me for the trip on these mini-marvells.

Tilt-shift also reminds me of what God must see from above ūüôā¬† We are so small and busy and all over the place….like little ants.¬† So many people wandering all over the landscape, how cool to spot yourself in one of these pics.

I remember talking to my class about one of the reasons God came as Jesus to be with us.¬† It went something like this – “Imagine you are God and all the people in the world are ants.¬† You are above them, looking down at what the little ants are up to.¬† You can see they are so focussed on what they are doing, and busying themselves with providing themselves with what they need.¬† As God, you can also see what lies ahead of them – dangers and obstacles.¬† You can see that some of the ants are making wrong choices and heading in the direction of danger or hard times.¬† You care so much about these ants (cause you made them) and you don’t want one single ant to get hurt, so you begin calling down to them!¬† They can’t hear you, as they are too busy doing their own thing,and they never look upwards at you.¬† Even if they could hear your voice, they wouldn’t be able to understand you.¬† So the ONLY way you can save them and tell them how the choices they are making in their ant-life are causing or going to cause them harm, you decide to become a tiny, little ant – just like them.¬† You go down as an ant, they see you (cause you look like them), they can hear you (cause you are speaking ‘ant’).¬† You begin to teach them the right way and hope that when you go, they will remember you.”

Somehow, when I look at tilt-shift photographs, it reminds me of this story.

My Husband Smashing Glasses!!

I have a story that I need to bring up after my husband broke one of our glasses today.

He has the worst track record when it comes to glassware.¬† It’s like he gets nervous about handling things that can break. After we first got married we bought a heap of beautiful wine glasses from Freedom.¬† Gradually as time went by, the quantity of glasses in our home decreased, until we were left with one lonely little wine glass (and a few less drinking glasses, and plates).

During one of our visits to IKEA in Brisbane, my husband decides that we should replace all our broken wine glasses so he leaves me in the lighting zone and heads off to the glass area.¬† Soon I hear a loud CRASH echoing over the crowd of shoppers. Oh.My.Goodness…..I immediately know what has happened and have quite a vivid picture in my head. When I turn the corner I see my husband standing in the middle of an assemblage of broken glass with a sweet IKEA lady trying to clean up the mess.¬† He starts to tell me that he was looking at a glass, tried to pick it up and knocked the one next to it over, and this movement of the neighbouring glass knocked over a whole community of other glasses. I just silently shook my head in disbelief. However, we did end up leaving the store with some nice glasses which we still have to this day.¬† It was ‘just’ a ceramic one he broke today.

September 2003 - our wedding

The only time I have been stoked that my husband smashed a wine glass was when he had just become my husband – on our wedding day.¬† He has Jewish ancestry and we wanted to honor that in our wedding, we also loved the beautiful symbolism and emotion that Jewish weddings evoke.¬† Once we both had said “I do” and shared a glass of wine (communion), our Pastor wrapped up the empty glass in some material and placed it onto the ground for Kirk to smash with his foot. “Mazel Tov!”

So why deliberately smash a glass at your wedding? There are so many different interpretations as to why this is done at a Jewish wedding.

  • the marriage will last as long as the glass is broken– forever.
  • the husband and wife drank from a glass that no other will ever drink from (cause it is broken), in other words the marriage is just for the husband and wife….no one else can drink from that cup (if you know what I mean?).
  • our previous ‘single’ lives are in the past and we are starting a new life together as a married couple.¬† The old/past is done with.
  • the most widespread meaning attached to the glass-smashing ritual is that it symbolises the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70AD. As the Temple functioned as the centre of worship in Judaism, its destruction has been devastating to the Jewish people. By remembering this national sadness during the joyous festivities of a wedding, Jews ‚Äúset Jerusalem above [their] highest joy‚ÄĚ (Psalm 137).
  • Jewish men may also joke at the wedding that this is the last time the groom gets to ‘put his foot down’!

What was something special that you did or would like to do at your wedding?

Loving the Makeovers!

‘Should a thing that was created say to the one who made it, “Why have you made me like this?” – Romans 9:20

I am a major sucker for makeovers.¬† They get hold of some lady who wants a fresh look, chuck her into some modern clothes, do the makeup to flatter her features, tidy the hair and BAM – she looks transformed!¬† I was watching my favourite TV show the other day, ‘Modern Family’ and there is a part where the gorgeous latino named Gloria makes over a stranger.¬† I could see it coming long before she even hinted as to what she was going to do and I was so excited already.¬† In my head I am thinking, ‘Yipee, please do a makeover!’. Yep, I love makeovers.

I really think that the reason why I love them so much is because of the confidence the person who is getting spoilt permeates from the inside out.  They stand taller, the smile on their face is wider, they speak better, their outlook just seems more positive.  It is all about just feeling better within yourself I guess. Even I know how great it feels to step out of the hairdressers with a new style.

Our society puts so much pressure on everyone to look beautiful (or handsome) and to always be at our very best, or the-girl-sitting-next-to-us best.  The thing we all tend to  forget is Who made us and what He considers to be beautiful.  Here is what God says about beauty in the Bible:

  • Psalm 139:14 ‘I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.’ This basically means each individual has been made in the image of God.¬† No two people are the same and God sees you as a masterpiece.
  • I Samuel 16:7 ‘But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” Yep, unfortunately the world mainly focusses on what people look like on the outside.¬† God really challenged me to think about where I put most of my effort: on the outside or the inside? There is nothing wrong with wanting to look your best, but we have to make sure it is all in balance.
  • Proverbs 31:3 ‘Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.’ This may come as a shock to some people, but outward beauty does fade with time.¬† God wants us to fear Him, not to be afraid of Him, but to be in awe of Him and all that he has done. To fear Him in a healthy way where we respect Him.
  • 1 Peter 3:3-4 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.’ This scripture is not talking about braiding hair as being wrong or wearing nice things as being negative and evil – cause it’s not.¬† It was written to warn women not to follow some of the customs from the era of when that verse was written, when the Egyptian women would spend many hours a day working on their outer appearance (although many women still do that to this day).¬† God says He wants us to work on the kind of beauty that lasts forever, the inside stuff.
  • 1 Timothy 4:8 ‘Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next.’ Of course, exercising and staying in shape is a good thing, but God expects us to stay in shape spiritually by reading our Bibles, praying and going to church for teaching and fellowship on a regular basis. Perfect bodies won’t get anyone through the gates of heaven.

My most favourite scripture on beauty comes from Psalm 45:11 ‘The King is enthralled by your beauty.” ‘Enthralled’ means to be enchanted, captivated, mesmerised, fascinated – this is what God, the King of all the kings and the Creator of everything, says about YOU.¬† Now that is awesome!