Mission Statement

In classical sacrifices, the people get the good bits, and the gods get the refuse, the bits that would get thrown out otherwise.

Not our God. Leviticus (particularly Leviticus 3) describes the sacrifices that our LORD demanded from His people of Israel. God gets the kidneys, the tail, and all the fat. He gets the prime steak, He gets the best.

Today we do not literally give sacrifices of animals. For us the ultimate sacrifice has been made through our Lord, Christ Jesus. But should always be our ambition to do the same thing - to offer God the best of what we have, to offer Him the fat, and not the smoke and bones.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Philippians 3

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. (verse 12)

No Christian will be perfect this side of heaven. We are all inherently sinful, sinning regularly through both omission and commission. Paul, one of the most effective Christians of all time, canonised as a saint in the Roman Catholic church and writer of much of the New Testament, fully admits to this. He knows that he is far from perfection.

Yet he still presses on towards greater godliness. He does this not in spite of the grace that God has shown him through Christ, but rather BECAUSE of it.

This is the reaction that we need to have. We should be eternally grateful (and grateful in the here-and-now) for the grace of God through Christ, and this gratefulness should be manifesting itself through a changed life, through a greater seeking after godliness.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Memorial Box Monday

Last year, I hurt my back at work. I work in childcare, so it’s a fairly common thing to happen. And while it is mostly better, sometimes it can get really sore.

Well, Monday I woke up and my back was really sore. As in, it hurts to BREATHE sore. Tuesday came, and my back was still sore. I’m trying to pray more specifically, so I prayed that night that I would wake up the next morning and my back would be better – and not just better, but so completely fine that I wouldn’t even realise that it was better until later.

I woke up, and didn’t even notice that my back was fine, until someone else at work complained about their back! That was around lunchtime, so over 5 hours after waking before I even noticed! That’s how much better my back was!

Praise God!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Philippians 1

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment (verse 9).

As Christians, we are to love. It is the sign that we are Christians – His new commandment (John 13:34). And our love is to grow from day to day. It will not stay static, just as we will not stay static, but will grow as we grow in Christ. We will go from loving those who are loveable, to loving those who are difficult, to eventually loving those who are unlovable by the world’s standards.

But it is not enough that our love increase. We need to be tempering our love with knowledge and discernment. Love in order to be effective needs to know the beloved’s needs, and it needs to be able to discern these real needs from the beloved’s wants and desires. Then we need to know the way we can best meet the needs of the beloved. Sometimes, this means ‘tough love’, not giving the beloved what they want if it is bad for them, and standing firm in this.

It is the love that God in Christ has for us.

And praise be to God, we get to – no, we are COMMANDED to – reflect a small measure of His love to the world around us.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

If We Are The Body

But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way

Jesus payed much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the body of Christ

Jesus is the way

From the song If We Are the Body by Casting Crowns

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Ephesians 6

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one (verse 16)

We are told here to always react with faith, no matter what the circumstances are. That does not just mean in good circumstances – all means all! It is when we are able to look at our ‘bad’ circumstances – circumstances that are difficult for us, even impossible seeming – when we can look at these circumstances and know that God is for us, it is THEN that our faith grows.

I am not in an easy circumstance right now. Someone in my church has decided that I’m broken and need ‘fixing’ and is chancing me around to tell me that that she ‘understands’ and can ‘fix’ my problems. It’s incredibly frustrating, especially as in all her ‘understanding’ she hasn’t actually listened to a word I’ve said at any point. It’s hard to see how God is going to us this for god- for my good, for her good, or the good of the church – but ultimately He will. Faith knows it, and faith lives by it, even when we cannot see it.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Book Review: Green Leaf in Drought

This is the story of the escape of two of the last of the China Inland Mission’s missionaries, Arthur and Wilda Mathews, from Communist China, along with their young daughter, Lilah. (All three were in the last 5 to leave,Wilda and Lilah were allowed to leave before Arthur was.)

This was a great book to read – Isobel Kuhn, the author, was also a missionary with CIM, so she was really involved with praying for their safe exit. She also had access to them, their papers, and a knowledge of the culture that they were reaching and some of the different effects that the communist government had on the missionaries.

I think that the best thing about this book was the fact that their struggles were not minimised. The Mathews had a lot of struggles, and the temptation with many modern Christian books is to minimise the difficulties and maximise the triumphs. This book doesn’t do that – it’s very honest, and I really liked that. It’s important to know that the Christian life is not an endless sea of triumphs and contentment and ease, even (indeed, especially) for missionaries.

So this was a great book on missionaries in China and the CIM.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

We Are the Church

But what I sometimes think we forget is WE ARE THE CHURCH.

And often times we use the church as our excuse to not have to do what we are called as individuals to do.

We hide behind the title 'the church' and forget the church is made up of individual Christ followers who are all to do their own part.

Because after all, He is a personal God.

Personal to me- and personal to you.

While the church as a whole is powerful enough to knock out the orphan crisis- it's going to take all of us to do our part to make it happen- or it never will.

And yet all too often we sit and we wait...

For someone else to take care of the problem...

For someone else to give...

For someone else to serve...

For someone else to do something about it...

And we excuse ourselves of our individual responsibility.

When perhaps He was talking to us all along...

From this post at Building the Blocks.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Review: Jesus: The Only Way to God

This is another book by one of my favourite authors, John Piper. This is a very short book, and probably one of Piper’s easier books to read. The full title really explains the whole premise of the book – Jesus: The Only Way to God: Must You Hear the Gospel to Be Saved?

Piper thoroughly explores the different aspects of belief about salvation, including looking at the Biblical evidences for the different point of views, and how these beliefs impact missions. He comes to the seemingly obvious, but incredibly important conclusion that we must both hear and accept the gospel in order to be saved.

This is an incredibly important message for most of the modern Western church, which sees tolerance as the ultimate good, and the exclusiveness of Christ as being harsh and unloving. A GREAT book. I’ve recommended it to a few other people, some of whom will be reviewing it shortly.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Bible in 40 Days

Most people think that you need to read the Bible in little pieces, a chapter or a verse here and there. This is good, if you do it regularly (as in every day), but it takes time. If you read only a chapter a day it will take you three years to read the whole Bible. In that time, you will have forgotten a lot of the details from the first bit of your reading.

You can read the Bible in less time than that! There are quite a few programs where you can read the Bible in a relatively short space of time. For Easter a few years ago, I made my own. Here it is.

40 days before Easter, I began reading the Bible. I read it in place of my usual books as well as for my Quiet Time. I read it as much as I could. Some days that was a lot of reading, some days it was less. By the end of the 40 days, I was in Hebrews. I finished a few days after Easter.

I really recommend that everyone do this on occasion. I was amazed at the things I picked up – similarities from the psalms to Isaiah and the other prophets stood out to me especially in that lot of reading. God’s plan for the nations and the poor also began to stand out to me at that reading.

Will you miss things? Yes, of course. But you will pick things up too! No matter what plan you have for reading or studying the Bible you will end up missing things. But you will pick more up the next time you read it, or the time after that. And God will make it all plain in heaven!

So sit down, pray for His Holy Spirit, and start reading!

This year, I am aiming to read the entire Bible during Lent (which starts tomorrow, on the 22nd of Feb!). Want to do this with me? I'll be sharing some of the things God teaches me!

Monday, 20 February 2012

My Heart for Missions

Recently a lot of people have been asking me about how I developed my heart for missions in general and Uganda in particular. I’m usually fairly evasive to them – if they ask about Uganda I’ll usually talk about the drastic need there, which is true, and they usually need to know. But it doesn’t explain how I became passionate about missions in the first place.

You see, I was never going to do missions. On my not serious blog I have a post a few years ago saying how you’d never get me going on a short term mission trip, let alone a long one. And I’ve now been to Uganda, and I’m preparing to go back again for another short term trip (at least one) this year, and then hoping to move there for several years. But that was not my plan.

I had it all figured out. I had a friend who was going to be a missionary, to PNG. She spent some of her childhood years there, she spoke the language, she was comfortable in its culture. She was going to be a missionary, and I was going to stay home and have lots and lots of babies. She would do her work for the faith, and I would do mine.

Then she went on a short term trip to PNG. And met a boy on the trip. Then she left our church, claiming that she never wanted to be a missionary anyway and our church was mean for trying to make her. Our friendship broke up (as did her friendship with several other people in our church). She has since married said boy, and now lives in the outer suburbs.

I remember when I realised (before she left our church) that she wasn’t going to be a missionary. That night I spent a lot of time praying about it. She was supposed to! That was what she had always wanted! And now God was down a missionary (not that He’s wringing His hands for them). I felt terrible. And after a long time of prayer, I told God that while I wouldn’t be anywhere near as useful as a missionary as this girl was, because I only spoke English and wasn’t culturally dexterous in any culture other than Australian / English, He could have me as a missionary, even to a really terrible place, like Africa. But if He wanted me to do it, all He had to do was change my heart to where He wanted me to go.

And He did that. I already had a big concern for the many children who were orphaned around the world (I just planned to adopt a few). But soon I was becoming passionately interested in one country, in the terrible Africa (about the last place I’d want to go in the natural sense), and the beautiful people there. And so I began to make plans to go.

I’m probably not going to be an especially awesome missionary. I’m not even an especially awesome Christian (listen to me talk if you don’t believe me!). But God isn’t looking for that. He wants someone willing. Someone willing to trade their dreams for His. And while sometimes I still want my own way, I am willing.

And so, I go.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Isaiah 58

3 'Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?' Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.
4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD?
6 "Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? (Isaiah 58:3-7)

In most Christian traditions, fasting is done. Exactly how will vary from denomination to denomination. Now days, many churches fasting to be of things other than food – entertainment is a big one.

All these fasting can be true fasting, and they can be false fasting. False fasting is seeking to make God do what you want Him to, usually for yourself. It is selfish fasting, a fasting that ignores, even hurts, those around them during the fast – perhaps more in the fast than before.

How are you fasting? Is your fasting seeking to loose the bonds of wickedness? Is it seeking to do good to those around you, both with your prayer and your actions? Or is it all about you? Because God only acknowledges one as true fasting. Then when we call on Him He will answer, and He will guide us continually and satisfy our desire.

That’s what I want.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Ephesians 5

“making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (verse 16)

We are to redeem the time. We are not supposed to simply fill the time with ‘good Christian activities’. We are not to simply avoid spending our time on bad things or on time wasters. We are to make the BEST use we can of the time we have.

I know I do not do this. I fritter away a big chunk of my time on useless things – movies, card games on computer, and books that are not worth my time – and more goes on things that are really just marking time as I prepare to go to Uganda again.

This is not Biblical. I need to pray that I will be given the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those around me, and that I will take advantage of the opportunities that God sends. Then I need to act in faith, and DO SO.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Ephesians 4

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (verse 29)

Nowadays it is very easy to speak corruptingly. I know that I do, appallingly often. I swear, I gossip, I lie on occasion. And while I do not use the term ‘OMG’ – though many Christians around me do – I have been known to say things like Oh my goodness, which is still not acceptable. All of my speech is something I need to work on a great deal, given the importance of words in Scripture.

But the Biblical standard is not merely to avoid the bad; it is to actively practice the goo. It is not enough not to swear – I need to speak forth the Scriptures. It is not sufficient to refuse to gossip – I need to instead encourage those around me to follow Christ more closely. It is not enough to not say evil, I need to be exhorting myself and others to the Good.

I fall so far short that it horrifies me at times. To think – my Jesus died, DIED, for me, and I can barely stop saying cuss-words for Him. But He is changing me, making me over with His love, by His grace. I cannot speak rightly by my own strength, but though Him I can!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Katie Davis

And this is what I learned: the hard does not minimize His goodness but allows us to experience His goodness in a whole new way.

From this post on her blog.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Do You Groan Over Iniquity?

And the LORD said to him, "Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it." And to the others he said in my hearing, "Pass through the city after him, and strike. Your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity. Kill old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one on whom is the mark. And begin at my sanctuary." So they began with the elders who were before the house.
Ezekiel 9:4-6

This passage really struck me when I read it. You know, often we cannot do that much about the iniquity of other people. We can gossip about them. That doesn’t help. We can talk to them about it, and pray for them over it, but that’s about it. It is up to them whether or not they will change.

But do we have sorrow over their sins? Do we groan over the sins that have been and continue to be committed by the people of God? The determination to look the other way when someone needs our help; the deliberate taking advantage of those who are less fortunate than we are, to the often condoned sins of the flesh that echo the perversions of the world?

In this passage, God commands an angel to kill all those who do not mourn over the iniquity of the people of God. And he says to start the killing with those who should know better, those who serve God in the sanctuary.

We cannot do much about other people’s iniquities. But when we express Godly sorrow over the sins of ourselves and others, then God will save us (certainly from our own tongues!). And when we mourn over the sins of His people (us and others) we will pray about them, pray sincerely, God will protect us, and cleanse us from these sins.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The Three Enemies


"Sweet, thou art pale."
"More pale to see,
Christ hung upon the cruel tree
And bore His Father's wrath for me."

"Sweet, thou art sad."
"Beneath a rod
More heavy, Christ for my sake trod
The winepress of the wrath of God."

"Sweet, thou art weary."
"Not so Christ:
Whose mighty love of me suffic'd
For Strength, Salvation, Eucharist."

"Sweet, thou art footsore."
"If I bleed,
His feet have bled; yea in my need
His Heart once bled for mine indeed."


"Sweet, thou art young."
"So He was young
Who for my sake in silence hung
Upon the Cross with Passion wrung."

"Look, thou art fair."
"He was more fair
Than men, Who deign'd for me to wear
A visage marr'd beyond compare."

"And thou hast riches."
"Daily bread:
All else is His: Who, living, dead,
For me lack'd where to lay His Head."

"And life is sweet."
"It was not so
To Him, Whose Cup did overflow
With mine unutterable woe."


"Thou drinkest deep."
"When Christ would sup
He drain'd the dregs from out my cup:
So how should I be lifted up?"

"Thou shalt win Glory."
"In the skies,
Lord Jesus, cover up mine eyes
Lest they should look on vanities."

"Thou shalt have Knowledge."
"Helpless dust!
In Thee, O Lord, I put my trust:
Answer Thou for me, Wise and Just."

"And Might."--
"Get thee behind me. Lord,
Who hast redeem'd and not abhorr'd
My soul, oh keep it by Thy Word."

By Christina Rossetti

Monday, 13 February 2012

Ephesians 3

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think (from verse 20).

God is able to do far more abundantly, not only than what we ask, but what we think! I know that sometimes I feel like I’m asking God for a lot, nagging Him even. I pray for things to go well, for healing for myself and others, for my friends to grow in areas I know they are struggling with, for my non-believing family and friends to come to Christ, for contentment in my single state, for wisdom (boy do I need that one!) and for so many other things. God can do all that. He can do more than all that! He can do even more than I think of, or think I need or think would be nice.

God is not only able to do more abundantly, but He DOES more abundantly! It amazes me when I look back how much God has done for me – the healing, the orchestrating of events, changing my heart so that I desire Him and His ways more than I desire my own. And they are just the things I notice! How much more He does that I shall not discover until I get to heaven!

What a friend we truly have in Jesus!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Who Shall Deliver Me?

God strengthen me to bear myself;
That heaviest weight of all to bear,
Inalienable weight of care.
All others are outside myself;
I lock my door and bar them out
The turmoil, tedium, gad-about.

I lock my door upon myself,
And bar them out; but who shall wall
Self from myself, most loathed of all?

If I could once lay down myself,
And start self-purged upon the race
That all must run ! Death runs apace.

If I could set aside myself,
And start with lightened heart upon
The road by all men overgone!

God harden me against myself,
This coward with pathetic voice
Who craves for ease and rest and joys

Myself, arch-traitor to mysel ;
My hollowest friend, my deadliest foe,
My clog whatever road I go.

Yet One there is can curb myself,
Can roll the strangling load from me
Break off the yoke and set me free.

By Christina Rossetti

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Ephesians 2

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (verses 8 and 9)

It is not our doing that we are saved. We like to think it is, even just a little. We like to think that somehow we are more loveable than the unsaved, or slightly nicer than the unsaved. This is so completely untrue. We are every bit as depraved as many others around us who are still estranged from Him. It is all His doing; we have no right to boast, not even to ourselves.

That is a great temptation – to think of ourselves as slightly better for having had the gospel revealed to us. Yet how far this is from the truth! We need to remember that we were dead – completely and utterly dead – in our trespasses when Christ saved us. We were as dead as any saved sinner is now. And if our behaviour has changed (as it should have) to reflect our alive-ness, then that is no merit to us, and no demerit to the dead. It is as it should be, and it is all Christ’s work.

LORD, make me grateful to You for my salvation. Help me to never boast, even to myself, as thought Your Work was mine. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, 10 February 2012

The Thread of Life

The irresponsive silence of the land,
The irresponsive sounding of the sea,
Speak both one message of one sense to me:--
Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof, so stand
Thou too aloof bound with the flawless band
Of inner solitude; we bind not thee;
But who from thy self-chain shall set thee free?
What heart shall touch thy heart? what hand thy hand?--
And I am sometimes proud and sometimes meek,
And sometimes I remember days of old
When fellowship seemed not so far to seek
And all the world and I seemed much less cold,
And at the rainbow's foot lay surely gold,
And hope felt strong and life itself not weak.
Thus am I mine own prison. Everything
Around me free and sunny and at ease:
Or if in shadow, in a shade of trees
Which the sun kisses, where the gay birds sing
And where all winds make various murmuring;
Where bees are found, with honey for the bees;
Where sounds are music, and where silences
Are music of an unlike fashioning.
Then gaze I at the merrymaking crew,
And smile a moment and a moment sigh
Thinking: Why can I not rejoice with you?
But soon I put the foolish fancy by:
I am not what I have nor what I do;
But what I was I am, I am even I.

Therefore myself is that one only thing
I hold to use or waste, to keep or give;
My sole possession every day I live,
And still mine own despite Time's winnowing.
Ever mine own, while moons and seasons bring
From crudeness ripeness mellow and sanitive;
Ever mine own, till Death shall ply his sieve;
And still mine own, when saints break grave and sing.
And this myself as king unto my King
I give, to Him Who gave Himself for me;
Who gives Himself to me, and bids me sing
A sweet new song of His redeemed set free;
he bids me sing: O death, where is thy sting?
And sing: O grave, where is thy victory?

By Christina Rossetti

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Novus Homo

I was recently reading about ancient Rome. Most people are aware that the majority of the ruling was done by the patrician (upper) class. However, this eliminated a lot of people (i.e. the majority of the population) from governing their own society. Some of these people, called plebeians, were obviously very talented, and more capable than some of the patricians were.

So in 368-367 BC, the constitution of Rome was altered to allow plebeians to be elected to public office. Any plebeian elected because a ‘Novus Homo” quite literally a New Man. Until they were declared a New Man, they were not fit to rule.

As Christians, we too have been declared New Men. We have been declared fit to govern – people who otherwise, by attribute of their birth were completely unable to rule. Yet because of Christ’s death, we are now elevated to a new station.

How wonderful our Lord is to us!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

O Lord, when Thou didst call me

O Lord, when Thou didst call me, didst Thou know
My heart disheartened through and through,
Still hankering after Egypt full in view
Where cucumbers and melons grow?
--'Yea, I knew,'--

But, Lord, when Thou didst choose me, didst Thou know
How marred I was and withered too,
Nor rose for sweetness nor for virtue rue,
Timid and rash, hasty and slow?
--'Yea, I knew.'--

My Lord, when Thou didst love me, didst Thou know
How weak my efforts were, how few,
Tepid to love and impotent to do,
Envious to reap while slack to sow?
--'Yea, I knew.'--

Good Lord, Who knowest what I cannot know
And dare not know, my false, my true,
My new, my old; Good Lord, arise and do
If loving Thou hast known me so.
--'Yea, I knew.'--
-Christina Rossetti

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Memorial Box Monday

Neither Kallie (my housemate) nor I drive. We get around to and from church events either via lifts or public transport. Sometimes this can be difficult, especially getting back from late night church events via public transport.

We have a regular church prayer meeting, and this particular Tuesday was wet and dark. Kallie had a cold, and I have really bad asthma, so getting there (which we always do via public transport) was not much fun. We entered the prayer meeting more than slightly wet, and had only slightly dried out by the end of it.

At first we thought that people were just late. But eventually we realised that in fact numbers were rather less than usual. Then we noticed that the numbers lacking included every one of our potential lifts. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

I prayed that we would be able to have a lift back at least to a station, and that someone would offer it to us rather than us asking (because I don’t like it and Kallie dislikes asking even more).

Immediately after prayer had finished, Paul came up to us and asked us if he could give us a lift back to a station. We got a lift to a station on our line (as opposed to the other lines that have stations nearby, meaning we didn’t have to go into the city and back out) and I got to thank them for bringing Samuel (their son) to prayer because I love to see children in prayer meetings with us.

And as a result, neither Kallie’s cold nor my asthma got worse!

Yippee Jesus!

Monday, 6 February 2012

International Voice of the Orphan

Linny from A Place Called Simplicity is starting a ministry that will pray for, feed and support orphans in Africa! There are HEAPS of ways of getting involved - youc an donate craft items to sell, praying for a child, donating, or going as part of a mission team.


Do check it out!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

The Lowest Place

Give me the lowest place: not that I dare
Ask for that lowest place, but Thou hast died
That I might live and share
Thy glory by Thy side.Give me the lowest place: or if for me
That lowest place too high, make one more low
Where I may sit and see
My God and love Thee so.

By Christina Rossetti

Saturday, 4 February 2012

By His Stripes We Are Healed

I attend a Pentecostal church. So everyone believes that miracles are still available for God’s people, most people speak in tongues (as in more than 95% of the congregation), and they all believe in diving healing.

Which makes me a little awkward. You see, I’m sick.

I’ve been sick all my life. Seriously, I sometimes joke that I had 7 near death experiences – and then I got born. Since being born, I’ve been hospitalised for asthma, had cancer, had chronic fatigue, every contagious childhood disease except mumps in spite of immunisation (whooping cough sucked), and a breast cancer scare. I’ve cut an artery. I apparently had 2 blood transfusions during my operation for cancer. When I had my wisdom teeth out, I had 3 allergic reactions, lost 10.5kg (going from 49kg to 38.5) in 3 days, and was hospitalised “dangerously dehydrated and malnourished”. (Joke: I’m never getting my wisdom teeth out again!)

Then I became a Christian.

Less than a year later I was hospitalised, initially with the doctors thinking that I had advanced meningitis, and that I was most likely going to die. Turns out it was “just” pneumonia. As can happen with pretty much anyone, and is more likely to happen with people who already have lung issues, I didn’t get properly better – my x-ray showed that I had lung damage, and that it was most likely to be permanent. So when I had asthma attacks all night I just chalked it up to pneumonia.

Eventually they got worse. They go so bad I was getting 3 hours of interrupted sleep a night – while working full time – for about 2 years. My iron levels plummeted, and I started having chest pains. After a barrage of medical tests I found out that dairy makes me stop breathing. I’ve probably always been mildly allergic to dairy, but having pneumonia really brought it out. Also turns out I’m coeliac, which is why my iron levels plummeted. I had to have an iron infusion after I collapsed and couldn’t walk for 3 hours. Try getting home by yourself when you can’t walk. Especially when there is a dead rat on the footpath. Not fun.

When I avoid all allergens, I am relatively healthy. But boy, does this cause issues.

Now, you see, I get the “Jesus died for our healing” every second week. He died so we could be fully healed of all of our diseases and live the victorious Christian life, without a day of sickness, etc, etc, etc.

Now, aside from the fact that I think that’s historically bogus, (St Paul appears to have had health issues, most likely with his eyes, and Timothy had stomach problems, and other great saints of the past have had a variety of health issues), quite frankly it annoys me.

Firstly, I AM HEALED. Jesus does not just heal people via miracles. Sometimes (often, these days) He uses doctors. It took several doctors to figure out what was wrong with me, and initially, I didn’t spend much time praying about it, because I just assumed that what I had would be easily figured out and fixed. As I said, it took about 2 years of doctors visits. But by the time of this specialist, I was spending a lot of time in prayer about this issue. Jesus healed me alright. He just used a doctor.

Secondly, my allergies do not bother me. They bother other people. I know them, I can cope with them just fine. But just because they bother you does not give you the right to tell me that I need to rely on the blood of Jesus to heal me of my diseases. And you definitely do not have to right to pray for me and then suggest that I go and drink a milkshake. Should you do so, I reserve the right to punch you repeatedly on the nose and then pray for your healing.

Thirdly, if you follow this argument theologically, you are going to run into trouble. What if I never get “healed” of my allergies? Does this mean I’m a bad Christian? Or a non-Christian? What about the people who prayed for me? Are they bad Christians, or non-Christians? What if they are leaders in our church?

And what happens when you get sick – really sick, not like a cold sick? What if you don’t get better in a few days, or weeks, or years, or ever? What if you are sick for the rest of your life? Will you still tell me that by His stripes we are healed, and that means that you aren’t really sick?

We are healed by Jesus. Sometimes that healing takes place physically in this life – sometimes even by miracle (and I have at least 2 miracle stories of my own, but I’m not sharing). But Jesus heals all who will come to Him of their greatest illness – the disease of sin, and that is the greatest miracle of all!

Friday, 3 February 2012

All Heaven is Blazing

All heaven next hit is blazing yet
With the meridian sun:
Make haste, unshadowing sun, make haste to set;
O lifeless life, have done.
I choose what once I chose;
What once I willed, I will:
Only the heart its own bereavement knows;
O clamorous heart, lie still.
That which I chose, I choose;
That which I willed, I will;
That which I once refused, I still refuse:
O hope deferred, be still.
That which I chose and choose
And will is Jesus' Will:
He hath not lost his life who seems to lose:
O hope deferred, hope still.

By Christina Rossetti (yes - O'm reading a collection of her poetry at the moment!)

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Galatians 6

For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (verse 8)

Which am I sowing to – the flesh or the Spirit? It is easy to fool oneself and think one is sowing to the Spirit when we are only sowing to the flesh. We need to take a sober look at oneself in the light of God’s Word in order to know which we are sowing to.

Although I sow less to the flesh than in times past, I still sow abundantly to the flesh. I have several areas I need to work on: day-dreaming, lust, and use of my tongue. For me, each area relates to the others, so reducing the time I spend day-dreaming results in less impatient rebukes or gossiping.

My duty is to walk before the LORD now, this day. Not in some day in my imagination when all my dreams have come true, but today, this real day God has given me. Dreaming otherwise is but sowing to my flesh, and it is something I need to work on with the help of His Spirit.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A Better Resurrection

I have no wit, no words, no tears;
My heart within me like a stone
Is numbed too much for hopes or fears.
Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
I lift mine eyes, but dimmed with grief
No everlasting hills I see;
My life is in the falling leaf:
O Jesus, quicken me.

My life is like a faded leaf,
My harvest dwindled to a husk:
Truly my life is void and brief
And tedious in the barren dusk;
My life is like a frozen thing,
No bud nor greenness can I see:
Yet rise it shall--the sap of spring;
O Jesus, rise in me.

My life is like a broken bowl,
A broken bowl that cannot hold
One drop of water for my soul
Or cordial in the searching cold;
Cast in the fire the perished thing;
Melt and remould it, till it be
A royal cup for Him, my King:
O Jesus, drink of me.

By Christian Rossetti.