Sunday, 15 July 2018

GOD is contagious

2018 hasn't been the best year for us personally down here in Australia - We  have had a tough year - it seems we have lurched from one crisis to another.

Recently, after recovering from a scam that would have been devastating financially we were then hot with the news that our youngest grandblessing is suffering from a mild form of epilepsy called Absence Seizures.

It means she has to undergo a battery of tests just to make sure that everything is OK and that there is no underlying serious condition that needs addressing. A worrying time for all. 

Then we had the phone call that sort of tested out faith and our well being. 

A friend of mine whom had I thought was pretty close and who had contacted me six months prior and confided that he was suffering from a mental illness, phoned me again and wanted to meet up for a coffee.

It was during this meeting that he told me that my sense of humour and my personality traits were the two main reasons triggering his mental problems and it would be best if I changed to suit his condition or else we would have to terminate our friendship.

As you can imaging I was pretty shocked and disappointed - he also told me that he was terminating the friendship of a member of his family for something that happened 20 years prior and for very similar reasons.

He was pretty stark and REALLY harsh in his condemnation of me and through the conversation (if you could call it that - it was pretty one-sided) I could feel my heart beating faster and my anger rising in my throat as he accused me over and over of the things that happened in our friendship that had triggered his illness. He also attacked my faith in God.

But alas that wasn't all - I was then faced with fall-out from a family incident that has driven doubt and a would-be wedge between my siblings that could see us all floundering around trying to take sides!!

What do we do when our world is suddenly shattered and people try hard to bring you down - How do we react when MEANNESS rules and keeps getting fueled by more and more anger which seemingly knows no end.

Well something inside of me wanted REVENGE with a capital "R." I wanted so much to defend myself and to tell the aggressors just where to get off! I wanted so badly to be mean back to them in  a BIG way.

The thing is Jesus in His amazing wisdom can override our human instincts to attack and keep on attacking! God is SO much bigger than our desire for revenge - He is actually CONTAGIOUS in His love.

In return for His contagious love - he makes our attitudes also contagious!

This is something that I am still coming to terms with even though I am getting older and older - Contagious attitudes can quickly spread to others around you - I could have so easily had two GIGANTIC arguments just in the last two weeks alone - I am certainly praising God that His contagious love stopped me from doing just that.

On saying all that - does this mean that we become 'doormats' for everyone to walk over at their will? Not at all!!

BUT we definitely don't have to take their attitudes onto us. We don't have to use their way of 'fighting' and adopt it as ours. Our GOD is so much bigger than man's attitudes.

Without God our attitudes can be so contagious. Meanness breeds meanness - hostility breeds hostility - revenge breeds revenge. Oh what a sorry world we live in! BUT.....

With God our very attitude can be ruled by Him. God's graciousness and Mercy can overrule our desire for revenge and retribution.

Let's be grace-filled by the very mercy of God - and if really nasty and vindictive people don't want to and are so very negative and mean towards you to accept that then there MUST come a point in time when you HAVE to walk away.

There are so many positive people who love Jesus like you do and there are also so many needful projects in this flawed world that really do require our love, kindness and compassion that we should be focusing our efforts there to the very glory of God.

So not only are bad faults contagious and if we spend long enough with mean and distrustful people there is a real possibility we will catch their negativeness BUT on saying that the opposite is more than true!

God Himself is contagious!

If we let His grace, mercy, truth and love into our lives then can be spread about to all we meet - it's in our faces and in our lives just who we belong to.

So let's choose God - HE'S CONTAGIOUS!


Monday, 2 July 2018

.....And diamonds stud the heavens

Listening to a good old Cliff Richard song as I jogged before dawn this morning called Miss You Nights I was struck by the phrase he used "Midnight diamonds stud my heavens". It was still very dark being a new moon and all and as I stopped in a particularly dark place I glanced at the heavens and was completely awestruck.

The stars were amazing - made me wonder yet again how awesome is our God.

When you think about it here we are perched on a spinning giant ball hurtling through space at a rate of half a km every second - we are spinning at 1,675 km's an hour.

That borders on the bizarre really - freakish even - when you actually take time to analyse it.

We are the only planet in this huge amazing cosmos that supports life - lunging through the atmosphere, circling a gigantic fiery planet big enough to fit 1.3 million 'earths' in it's vastness at 108,000 km's an hour.


That is totally  mind blowing - when you stop and actually think of our sun - it's huge; amazing - spell binding - a fiery ball of gas and plasma which can blind us if we look at it for any length of time.


The sun is the very centre of the solar system and here we are hurtling around it at incredible speed and yet the very force of our spinning creating 'gravity' which keeps our feet on the ground. We don't appear to be spinning and we feel we are on a firm footing and yet we are actually rushing at incredible speed.


You can't possibly feel that all of this just happened to fall into place - the balance of the universe alone is enough to make God real in every sense.


The Bible says in Romans 1:20 that we have no excuse WHATEVER in not knowing God. - the whole creation screams at us of a Creator God -  God: awesome in power, majesty and might Our God that you can see in everything.


God has revealed Himself plainly in creation: he created you and me - we didn't just evolve - we were created uniquely and divinely not just some accident in space spat out in an explosion of molten fluid and gases.


God created and we sinned - we were the ones who turned our backs on Him - He has always been the same and will be for eternity - This old world of ours will gradually teeter and spin out of control BUT God will remain - Yesterday, today and for eternity.


You have really got to to hear this! - God loves us - you and me - He sent His own Son to bear the punishment which should have been metered out to us - Our punishment - not His - Our sin - not His. He took our sins and killed them stone dead on that cross all those years ago.


Its totally and utterly crazy that God; the creator of this amazing spinning universe had His own son punished for us and why?


Because he loves us that much - The very God, the Creator God, the majestic God, the awesome God, loves you; actually LOVES you.


He loves us and wants desperately to have a personal relationship with us: again, how spellbinding is that!!! - the very Architect of the Universe wants to have a personal relationship with you!!!


We have to make a choice here; Gods wants desperately to forgive your sins  and have that personal relationship with Him BUT you have to choose to accept Him.


Thing is - when we actually stand before our Mighty God we only have one plea and that is JESUS - He paid my penalty for me - He paid the price that should have been mine. When God looks at me He will see Jesus - Will you be able to say the same?


Today, even right now you can KNOW for sure that when you die you will spend eternity with God. You need to get alone with God and accept His amazing offer of forgiveness and let Him change your life.


Begin this awesome walk with God - You will never be the same again - even in the bad times He is there with you.


The God of the universe LOVES you! - He wants so much for you to come to Him.Don't delay there is nothing to delay about! - You can know today for sure that Heaven is yours - It's time to stop, think and act. Today is the day of salvation.



Saturday, 16 June 2018

Yesterday's gone!

Nick Vujicic is a literally a walking miracle!!!  I say that because Nick was born without arms or legs - he tried to drown himself when he was just 10 years old - can you believe that? - fortunately for us he couldn't do it - GOD HAD A PLAN FOR HIS LIFE

He has such a remarkable testimony he is so sure that just a glimpse of Jesus can change a life so much - when you are broken and really in despair - Give your all to Jesus - He can take you through each day - If you hold on to Jesus your yesterdays are gone and forgotten, along with your guilt along with your shame along with your hopelessness and despair.

With Jesus He will help you start all over again when you are broken - Here is the link to his song and testimony - I pray that it will help you as much as did me

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrV_ZvwZRvw

Jesus will capture your heart in a very special way and if your testimony is anything like mine your heart will need capturing in a big way - I was such a slave to sin.

Yet Jesus turned me around - I had wondered far and wide and turned my back on the precious Lord Jesus who shed His blood for me on the dark but beautiful day on Calvary all those years ago.

God is my refuge in my storms - He is far beyond the ocean waves and when I go through the raging times I will not be overcome I am not afraid. God is with me all the time. God keeps His promises - and I know He will see me through.

God has won the battle and he is beside me at all times and he knows the battles I face and he will definitely see me through.

You too can have this amazing certainty in your life too. Changing hearts is really up to God and if we as offenders come to God in true repentance then He will turn us completely around and make us into new creations washed clean by His shed blood.

In Isaiah 43 and verse 25 God says through Isaiah very plainly that He blots out our sins/transgressions and he chooses to forget our sins entirely. It is most interesting because God is almighty and created the world of course He CHOOSES not to remember - Amazing you must agree.

God's amazing forgiveness helps us to 'put to bed' finally, our past whatever our past entails. God choosing to forget our past enables us to move ahead stepping out with Him and having Him to guide wherever he would take us.

God could so easily treat us all as we deserve but instead He gave us a way out and sent Jesus to be our penalty payer and in Psalm 103 and verse 12 He tells us exactly how far he has removed our past from us - look it up it is unmeasureable.

Does this mean that we no longer sin when we become His? Unfortunately no - we still have that old self living inside of us but like so many recorded in the Bible we can forget what is behind us and step out boldly with God knowing He will not only forgive us but He chooses to forget our sins and put them behind His back.

With God you can live every day just as He has ordained for your life - you can put behind you the past with your sins and foibles - you can move ahead into a new life with Jesus.

In Philippians 3:13 Paul tells how he and we can forget what is behind and we can look forward to what lies ahead - what a great encouragement is that! YESTERDAY IS GONE and with Jesus beside us we can take each day as it comes to us with all of it's troubles and woes with all of its happiness and love in fact anything that this world dishes out to us.

Once we have repented of past sins and failures, no matter what they are, God, in His mercy and love and forgiveness will not hold us accountable for any of them.

Sure we mess up - I am the King of mess ups, but I know that God forgives me and washes me clean each and every time. I praise Him for that. This is another reason that SueAnn and I love writing because we both want to proclaim EXACTLY what Christ has done for us and He can do EXACTLY the same for you!

Make today a very special day in your life. Repent of your past sins and turn to Jesus right now.
In fact if you pray a prayer, from your heart and honestly mean it in your own words, something like this:-

Dear Lord, today I ask that you forgive my past
Please take my life and help me to step out with you
Lord I confess you as Lord and Saviour
Fill me with your spirit and make me your child
Help me when I mess up to come to you knowing that you love me
Thank you for your forgiveness.

Once again my beautiful friend from Lubbock Texas - Felicia Galey has inspired me to include a song from my friends in the Solomon Islands called  'One day at a Time'.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qxYPE3xm8Q

May God go with you this week as He and you put your past well and truly where it belongs - in the  past. And know for sure that God in His love will choose to forget and forgive









Saturday, 2 June 2018

The Hero of Harlem - the Subway Superman

Wesley Autrey the Hero of Harlem - The 2007 Subway Superman - What brought this guy to be included in the list of 100 men and women whose power or moral example transformed the world?

That year was extra special for Wesley:-

This was written by Donald Trump in 2007 and I quote:-

"Autrey, 51, was waiting for the subway in New York when a young man suffered a seizure and fell onto the tracks. A train was coming into the station, and Autrey knew the man would be killed, so he quickly jumped onto the tracks and covered the man with his body.

Autrey does construction work, and he has good instincts about confined spaces. He realised there might be a chance of survival if he could keep the man still until the train passed.

It passed over them with inches to spare, so close that there was grease on Autrey's cap from the train.
I have great respect for construction workers and Wesley Autrey is a great example of why I do. They work hard, and every day requires courage. Autrey automatically became an influential person by merit of his extraordinary bravery, which I hope will encourage and inspire other people to follow his example."

WOW!! What a story - when I was reading about Wesley's act of bravery I was gobsmacked to say the least - It really made me wonder if I would even think of doing such a thing in such a split second?

I am awestruck by that man's courage and bravery in saving the life of 20 year-old film student  Cameron Hellopeter.

When I had time to digest exactly what Wesley had done my mind traveled to another Hero - a Spiritual Hero - A hero of mighty proportions - A Hero of incredible fortitude and courage and a Hero who not only was prepared to lay down His life for one man but willingly laid down His life for all of us.

Yes! you guessed it - Our Lord and Saviour - JESUS the Christ.

The moral courage of Jesus is beyond words - more than mortal man can ever express - His bravery and love for mankind is above and beyond anything that has gone before and will ever be seen in the future.

On the night Jesus was handed over to be crucified, he knew what lay ahead of him and He knew what the Garden of Gethsemane held for him - a band of brutal soldiers - a so-called friend and colleague plotting his downfall for mere monetary gain - A hostile throng of people - He knew what was coming.

He could have escaped while the going was good - He could have hidden anywhere - I'm positive without the slightest doubt that the rest of his disciples would have assisted him if he had confided in them.

He could have been taken straight to Heaven right in front of the soldiers eyes or he could have asked His father for a band of mighty warrior angels to surround and protect Him. - He was the Son of God after all!

Those angels could have carried Him away or struck them all dead in an instant but NO! He knew what the Father had sent Him to earth for - he was our Warrior Prince of Peace, The MIGHTY King of Kings - His courage to stand alone and accept what was inevitable for Him is so awe-inspiring it blows me away.

Jesus stayed in that garden - in the place where He knew he would be arrested - He calmly let the soldiers man-handle him to Pilot and thence to the crowd - whipped beaten, mocked, scorned and finally nailed to a cross to die a criminals death and all for what??

Jesus. the one they sought in the garden that night, willingly gave himself over to be crucified to save us from our sins and often our very dreaded past.

Jesus paid OUR penalties for us - Jesus, the sinless one, offered Himself to die instead of us. He paid the price for your sins and mine that night - He could have easily come down from that cross and I daresay what a HUGE surprise they would have all got had he done so. But NO! he stayed where He was to pay that price for you and me - WHAT LOVE IS THAT!

So what  truths can we take away with us today from such bravery and courage of Jesus?

Jesus died for the ungodly, for the unloved, for the sinners and yes! even for enemies - He prayed for them as they mocked him as they drove those nails into his hands and feet.

Jesus'death paid for your sins - He died in your place assuring you of a place in heaven for eternity with Him but only if you turn to Him and ask Him to lead your life - if you focus on Him and trust Him with all of your heart - not just sometimes but all the time.

Jesus took the wrath of God on Himself and willingly gave up His life for you and me. Peter writes in 1 Peter 2: 24 "Jesus Himself bore our sin in his body on the tree that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed".

What amazing love was this? What incredible courage and bravery especially given that He didn't have to do it!

So what are you going to do with Jesus? - He gave all for you - there is a song from way way back called just this WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH JESUS? - my dear friend Felicia from Lubbock Texas encourages me to put a song on my blog so here goes. Here is the link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJii3o_gOiU

I love the ending of this song that my 16 year old sister used to sing such a long time ago now - but the last stanza says "One day your heart will be asking - What will he do with me?"

It's such a good question - What will God do with us if we haven't given Him our hearts?

Jesus died for you - that should be enough!

God bless you this week as you contemplate exactly what Jesus did and why - Like Wesley there are many many heroes - putting their own lives at risk to save others.

Hand your life over to Jesus today and put yourself in the loving hands of the greatest hero of all time.



Monday, 14 May 2018

Focusing

The very first time I had ever seen REAL snow was when I was a young father and we holidayed  way over in the Australia's snowy mountain region in lower NSW.

It was there, and I might add at the beginning of a blizzard, that we took the chair lift to the top of the mountain with the two kids.

The chair lift only held two at a time, so we decided that our eldest child - Mr two year old, Danny,  went with Mum and I was left holding our one year old, Rachael.  As the chair lift came and whisked them both away. they seemed to be having a wonderful time with Danny squealing in delight.

Then suddenly it was our turn. The guy handling the lift said "Don't look down" and quickly grabbed Rachael while I scrambled on.

All I remember of that journey up that very steep mountainside was a screaming baby and I mean SCREAMING - she was so frightened of that guy grabbing her she became hysterical.

I tried valiantly to put the seat belt around us both as she tried with all her might to get off that thing and get to her mother - I had no option but to look down as I used every ounce of muscle to hold that wriggling child in that chair.

Never was a father more glad to be at the top of a mountain in a blizzard - thankfully there was a restaurant there and as we sat there looking at that white out with the wind blowing and snow I was just so grateful to have my family - it was such a touch and go situation.

All I could think of during that time was WHOA!!! such a long way down with the snow so deep and wind blowing -  if we fell there would be no way we would ever survive let alone be found!

As I sat in that tea house for a few hours and waited till the worst of the storm had passed with the little ones warm and playing I was just so grateful.

The words of the guy on the chair lift kept coming back to me - DON'T LOOK DOWN  - I have often wondered about those words and just what he meant.

I guess it was the sheer drop and all that snow and wind I suppose it could  really overwhelm you as it did me - all I could think of was to keep my little girl safe and get to the top as soon as possible.

It was during that time that the Word of God came to me in a clear and special way.

I hadn't been walking with God - I had just been way too busy - I was paying off a mortgage and working my butt off trying to get a hold of our finances, while Sue was busy being a full time Mum.

I guess in lots of ways I was looking down - I used to go to church but as far as making a commitment to God and giving my life over to Him - no way! - I was far too busy!

As the years went on I have never forgotten that special day - I ended up making a total commitment to God but I must admit it still took me a quite a few years.

Focusing on Jesus is the only way to counteract all the things that happen to you through this crazy life we all seem to live - Sue was diagnosed with cancer and again the only way we seemed to be able to cope was to focus on Jesus.

Just recently we were the victims of a fraud which amounted to quite a bit of money.
It was a trying time yet we got through it - it took quite a while and the only way we coped was to focus on Jesus.

Our youngest Grandblessing is undergoing tests as I write this blog to determine just why she has these absence seizures, which only last seconds, but still a great concern. How do we cope with that - to keep focusing on Jesus

There a few things we can do to help us keep focusing on Jesus - Prayer and getting into God's word is essential to keep our attention drawn again and again to Jesus the very one who gave His life for us.

The other thing we need to do is to trust God - I know it is often easier said than done but I have proven through our blackest times that trusting in God and keeping our eyes fixed on Him, who alone has the ability to see us through whatever it is we are facing. We still may have to go through it BUT God will see us there on the other side.

A full commitment and the beginning of a relationship with Jesus manifests itself in a deep down peace which I can't possibly explain except to say that concern for what you are going through is still there but somehow the foundation of your relationship sort of keeps you going and strengthens you to face the troubles ahead.

One of my dear friends and one of my supporters Felicia Galey from Lubbock Texas, suggested I include a music link in this blog to assist in the message that I have been given by God - well here is one from one of my very favourite groups - SELAH

Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLoH6wixFlk


God is waiting to welcome you - Just like He welcomed me even though I had strayed away for almost fourteen years. Turn your eyes on Him and focus on Him alone - you can be changed for good for ever.

God go with you this week as you focus on Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Drawing back the curtain

Drawing back the curtain was the title of the sermon last Sunday morning as we studied Revelation chapter 9.

We have been going though Revelation and it has been an eye opening experience for me one could even say eye-popping as well.

And I must admit when I read this chapter I wondered in my heart where on earth was our minister going to go with this one?

It was all about locusts like scorpions that came out of an abyss that roamed the earth torturing people. All pretty ghastly really.

But the things that came out of all of this is really drawing back the curtain to reveal what our world is like - we certainly live in a crumbling and darkened world where satan seems to have the upper hand.

Revelation reveals to us what is going to happen in the last days and believe me it is not going to be pretty for those who do not heed the word of God and who haven't repented of their sins and turned to God who sent Jesus to pay the price of those sins.

Revelation 9 is  really a revelation of what will happen if we do not turn from our sins and trust Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

But if we have given our lives to Him, then the most amazing things will happen - we will be washed clean even if we have committed the most dastardly deeds known to man.

Hans Frank (1900 - 1946) was a lawyer in Germany and before he took his final exams was an ardent supporter of the  Nazi party. He finally worked his way up the Nazi ladder to become the personal legal advisor to Hitler.

At the outbreak of World War II he was appointed Governor General of Poland - occupied by the Germans. Frank became known as "The Butcher of Poland" and was responsible for the exploitation and murder of hundreds of thousands of Polish citizens.

He oversaw the distribution of grains and food stuffs from Poland transported back to Germany and mercilessly watched as the Polish people men, woman and little children literally starved to death because of food shortage. Every piece of food was transported back to Germany at the expense of the Polish people.

He was also responsible for putting down the Warsaw Uprising and running concentration camps, including Auschwitz-Birkenau. In Poland alone, at least 3 million Holocaust victims perished under Hans Frank

The amazing part of Hans Frank's story is that at the end of the war while he was waiting in the cells after being convicted as a war criminal during the trails of Nuremberg, and due to a visiting priest, Frank became a Christian and through an amazing conversion process realised that what he had done was so so wrong and that even though God has absolved him of his sins, he still had to be held accountable here on earth.

After the war ended, Frank was put on trial, found guilty and hanged on 16th October, 1946. He willingly went to the gallows knowing that he had to pay the price for his past. His last words were "Jesus have mercy".

God hasn't any degrees of sin - what I mean by that is that God who is perfect cannot look on sin of any kind - and what he sees in us is sin - we ALL have sinned - each one of us - not one of us is perfect. And as it says quite plainly in Romans 3:23 is that "we all have sinned and fallen so short of the glory of God" - not one of us is exempt from that.

Once we have accepted Jesus as Lord of our lives, then we can expect that suffering here on earth will stop here on earth. Once we have given our lives to God and followed and focused on Him then, whatever happens to us on earth cannot go any further and God will see us righteous and holy only through the very blood of Jesus.

God is a righteous and holy God he is also a judging God - in fact the very holiness of God requires Him to pronounce judgement - that's justice. If he didn't judge and punish sin he would not be a holy God.

Before Jesus took the punishment for sin by dying on the cross, judgement fell upon all of us sinners. No matter what people did, no matter how many sacrifices they offered nothing completely and permanently satisfied the washing away of sin in their lives.

Only through the cross of Jesus did mercy triumph over God's judgement - from that day on every single person coming to God and asking forgiveness of their sins, their past, present and those sins in the future, God's mercy and grace washed them away completely, gone and forgotten, through the blood of Jesus.

So let's make sure we come to Jesus as we are right now, asking Him, to forgive us our sins, and fill us with His Spirit. That way we will never have to face the judgement that is surely coming to this wayward, self-centred and foolish world of ours.

Whatever Revelation chapter 9 stands for, I really feel, that great suffering tends to intensify whatever is in a persons character.  If someone is already God-fearing and sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in their lives, then suffering may make him or her more so.

But if a person mocks God and is rebellious, scorning His name and all that He has done for us in sending Jesus to pay the penalty for their sins, then, I feel suffering may increase these characteristics in their lives.

So what can we learn from Revelation chapter nine? I now know that the end times are definitely coming and we as God's people need to be so prepared for them. They aren't going to be easy times for anyone let alone those who proclaim the name of Jesus.

So let us turn to Christ now while there is still time - Let Him heal our lives and change us into His likeness.

God bless you this week as you consider your life with Jesus - may he have your full attention as you step out with Him.



Saturday, 14 April 2018

A quick jaunt in the woods

Don't you love going to the woods (or the bush as we call it in Australia) - I love the woods/bush - the smell, the silence, the things to do - the getting away from it all.

Tramping, trekking, rambling and hiking are what you do in other parts of the world but here in Oz we call it bush walking and it is extremely even supremely popular in Australia where we have vast tracts of untouched scrub and bush which gives us ample opportunity to indulge in what many Aussies call their favourite pastime.

Let's see? what are some of the things we can do in the bush?  I checked out the website for the national trust and I gleaned some fabulous clues for my Grandblessings next time we head off bush walking.

TREE CLIMBING:

Lots of fun in tree climbing - I remember it well - Ahh the memories!

Tree climbing is mentioned in the Bible - Zacchaeus is the renowned tree climber chronicled so well for us in Luke 19:1-10.

Zacchaeus, the Tax collector - hated by everyone - a Jew - one of the people yet turned against his own, to work for the Roman elite - swindling his fellows. He was pretty small - He was despised and looked upon as THE worst of sinners by most people but became completely changed after spending time with Jesus.

Zacchaeus the tree climbing tax collector, sees the crowd - wants to be part of it - realises he has no hope - no one was going to let him see what was going on (remember he was hated by the crowd), so he hitches up his robes and runs ahead and climbs a sycamore tree. Pretty funny really. This little guy climbing a tree.

A sycamore tree is pretty leafy so I suppose he thought no one would see him tucked up there in the branches but as we know the story so well, Jesus knew him before he even thought of climbing that tree. Jesus got him down even went to his house (you can imagine what the crowd thought) and changed Zacchaeus life forever.

His life was changed from one who people hates to a person who is willing to help others.

Zacchaes trusted Jesus so dramatically that he was changed in such a dramatic way.

I personally can vouch for how Jesus can change lives - he changed mine in a most remarkable way. I was so lost in sin, so self-centred and so full of myself it astounds me that my sweet wife has managed to stay married to me for so long. Even she can see such a huge difference in my life to the guy she married all those years ago and all she can do is to praise God for it.

Like Zacchaeus of long ago neither of us didn't have to attend some amazing course to make us aware of where we were failing as a person - he and I probably wouldn't have gone anyway! - But what we both did do was to meet Jesus - Him up a tree and me by reading a book (Driven by Eternity by John Bevere) the ONE amazing experience delivered completely in differing ways changed both of our lives for good.

We both trusted Christ and were both bowled over by His forgiveness, mercy, grace and love. Both of us repented of our sins and let Jesus change us from the inside out.

How about you? Are you ready to be changed? You can't change by yourself - Believe me I tried for donkey's years - only one person can change you and that person is Jesus.

Another amazing thing to do as kids in the bush is....

CUBBY BUILDING:

It's a great past time in the bush - When Ben, my Grandson came to visit -we used to love to build cubby houses (as we call them in Australia) in the bush not far from our home. You guys call then DENS but we still love our CUBBIES.

We'd choose a spot - maybe even in a tree, use what ever was around - leaves, branches, twigs - you name it we used it and we would build THE most amazing creations.

God wants to build amazing creations out of the mess we made in our own lives - He looks at our lives and, where all we can see so often is just rubble, twigs, branches and dried up left overs, he sees what could be there - he sees His creation and what/who Jesus died for.

The story is told of a guy who fell into a muddy ditch. The poor guy tried as hard as he could to dig himself out but the more he tried the deeper he got.

Along came a friend of his and said "Mate, how did you get in there? I would help you, I promise, but I've got a lot to do today my diary is choc-a-bloc - if you are still there when I get back I promise I will haul you out - good luck bro"

Next along came the Pastor from the church down the road, saw the man, and said "Brother my poor brother how did you come to be in there?" The poor guy explained and asked for help - "Of course I'll help" said the Pastor - "I'll go to the church and pray for you straight away - God bless you my friend".

Then the guy met Jesus, without so much as a word, Jesus threw His strong arms around him and lifted him out of the ditch, washed Him off, bandaged up his cuts and abrasions, re-clothed him and virtually made him a new creation.

The guy couldn't help himself, His mate couldn't help him, even the pastor couldn't help - only one person can help you out of the messy cubby that you have built for yourself and that person is Jesus.

You can try all you like - you can go to whom ever you choose - you can pay extraordinary amounts of money and time visiting all sorts of gurus and healers but when it all boils down, Jesus has the answer.

Jesus can not only clean you but also your cubby - He can make you into a real warrior for Him. He can do what seems like the impossible and make you a completely different person.

There is heaps to do in the Aussie bush - I remember again when young Ben and I used to go bush bashing as we called it back then we just loved....

FLOATING BOATS IN THE BUSH CREEKS

We had so much fun building boats sometimes out of all sorts of stuff we found and floating them down the creek that runs not far from our home and right in the middle of a typical Aussie bush, especially straight after a heavy downpour - so much fun and we got so so filthy - all fun when you are a grandfather of a ten your old.

God has a mighty plan for you and me - Ben and I didn't have a plan for our boats at all we just had huge fun watching them floundering on the rocks and quickly sinking.

God's plan for us may seem strange at times and completely coming from left field but be sure that God always knows what he is doing, not like Ben's boats who were rudderless, captainless and completely out of control and at the mercy of whichever way the tide took it.

Often we make so many mess-ups and even when we don't know what we are doing we can rely on God that he indeed does now what He is doing and he doesn't "mess up".

Let's not be like Ben's boats in the muddle of raging water. Let's not be at the mercy of whatever tide is running at the moment. Let's put our hands in the hand of God and let Him lead, I know I did and I have never regretted it.

Sure, things haven't been all that plain sailing but this one thing I know for sure is that God will never let us go. If he brings us to it, in His mighty plan for us, He will certainly see us though it.

God bless you this week - Keep focused on Jesus - He will keep His hand in yours