Sunday, February 22, 2009

My music

When I published this post, I was looking for a way to include the music for "Home Free" so you could hear what a great song it is. Now you can. Maybe not the whole song, but at least you get a taste or maybe I should call it a tease.
I have now added links to some of my favourite music and you can click on the appropriate tune on the RH side to hear it for yourself. Enjoy!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Emotional fallout

The emotional fall out from the natural disasters that have befallen Australians in the past few weeks have been as variable as the disasters themselves.
With the arrest of an arsonist responsible for one of the fatal fires, anger and hatred seem to be the over riding emotions. That is human nature. People in grief experience anger as well as depression, denial, shock, bargaining and even physical symptoms.
For those who have suffered loss these things are normal and will eventually fade.
I have a problem with the fact that so many who have not suffered personally, and particularly the media, get on the band wagon and incite more anger and more hatred.
  • They don't have the excuse of personal loss to justify their emotive outbursts.
  • It's really a bit selfish too, because it distracts attention from those who need it - the real victims.
  • Instead, those shouting the loudest with the most hateful invective become the focus of attention.
  • And it's counter productive because it gives the perpetrators more fame and attention, even if it is in a negative way.
  • It doesn't help the victims move on either, but keeps pulling them back to the anger stage of their grief.

Doesn't our human dignity mean that, no matter what is done to us, we are not beasts? We don't repay in kind, because that would cause all humanity to degenerate to the lowest level.

We don't treat criminals with sadistic torture (even if we think they deserve it), because to do so lowers us to their level or worse. We are made in God's image, even though a bit tarnished. To act with violence and hatred would be a disgrace to that image, wouldn't it? It would also be to take authority away from God. Vengeance is his prerogative alone. I prefer it that way because only he knows the whole story. Only he is entirely just.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Natural disaster

Fire storms explanation here

Floods explanation here

Droughts explanation here

Crocodiles explanation here

Disease explanation here

This is all happening here in one country, Australia, and only on the east coast. If we look further, there are ice storms and blizzards in the USA, earthquakes in China and Japan, volcanoes in the Philippines, famine in Ethiopia and wars all over the place.

I can't answer why God has not answered the prayers of many in relation to these tragedies and yet he does answer prayer. Why some and not others? I don't know. All I know is that (according to the Bible) :

God does not cause or allow needless suffering;

Satan is the prince of this world;

this world is not our home;

our earthly life is only temporary and we will all die one day and (unless we opt for suicide)

we do not choose the manner of our death.

Suffering in this life is not proof that there is no God

Turn the clock back 2000 years and some of Jesus larger group of disciples (not the 12) left him when the going got tough. Jesus and Peter are talking about the loss of faith of these disciples:

From this time on, many of his disciples turned back. They no longer followed him. "You don't want to leave also, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, who can we go to? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." Then Jesus replied, "Didn't I choose you, the 12 disciples?
John 6:69-70
That's it then. Who else can we go to?
A man made statue, an astrologer, a shaman, a dead ancestor, a dead prophet,
a living God who promises better things ahead,
who has overcome death,
who never breaks a promise
and who has shown us that he knows suffering 1st hand and
through his suffering and death has shown us how much he loves us?
I've made my choice.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Wayne Watson says it so well

While I've been on the subject of death and heaven I can't leave it without one more post. My favourite song on the subject is by Wayne Watson.

His song, Home Free, has probably been the most successful of his career. I've used it when I've taken memorial services inside prison. Recently I used it for the background to a power point slide show (Experience Jesus in the the good times, the bad times and beyond the GPS) at a women's camp. I always get asked - Who sings it? Where can I buy it? What is the title of the CD?

At memorial services there was never a dry eye left after I'd played it. The tune is great too. Go and buy it or just listen to it at your Christian bookstore. He has recorded it on a couple of his Cd's. You won't regret it.
Here it is.

I'm trying hard not to think you unkind
But Heavenly Father
If you know my heart
Surely you can read my mind
Good people underneath the sea of grief
Some get up and walk away
Some will find ultimate relief

Home Free, eventually
At the ultimate healing we will be Home Free
Home Free, oh I've got a feeling
At the ultimate healing
We will be Home Free
Out in the corridors we pray for life
A mother for her baby, A husband for his wife
Sometimes the good die young
It's sad but true
And while we pray for one more heartbeat
The real comfort is with you
You know pain has little mercy
And suffering's no respecter of age, of race or position
I know every prayer gets answered
But the hardest one to pray is slow to come
Oh Lord, not mine, but Your will be done
Let it be...
Home Free, eventually
At the ultimate healing we will be Home Free
Home Free, oh I've got a feeling
At the ultimate healing
We will be Home Free
Home Free, eventually
At the ultimate healing gonna be Home Free
Home Free, oh it's more than a feeling
At the ultimate healing
Gonna be Home Free

Monday, February 2, 2009

More about heaven

This poem was in a sympathy card that a friend of mine received a few months ago. I thought it was great and since I have a wall with a rose bush growing up it and a decorative 'crevice' in it I'm hoping to someday get a photo to accompany the poem.
Near a shady wall a rose once grew,
Budded and blossomed in God's free light,
Watered and fed by morning dew,
Shedding its sweetness day and night.
As it grew and blossomed fair and tall,
Slowly rising to loftier height,
It came to a crevice in the wall,
Through which there shone a beam of light.
Onward it crept with added strength,
With never a thought of fear or pride,
It followed the light through the crevice's length,
And unfolded itself on the other side.
The light, the dew, the broadening view
Were found the same as they were before;
And it lost itself in beauties new,
Breathing its fragrance more and more.
Shall claim of death cause us to grieve,
And make our courage faint or fail?
Nay! Let us faith and hope receive:
The rose still grows beyond the wall.
Scattering fragrance far and wide,
Just as it did in days of yore,
Just as it did on the other side,
Just as it will for evermore.
by A. L. Frink
At another funeral I went to last year. The deceased lady's sister invited all of the great grandchildren to come forward. She gave them each a pretty seashell to keep. She then explained how like that seashell their Granny's body was. The living, thinking, loving part of her was gone, now with the Lord. The coffin only contained the empty shell.
She even invited them to ask questions, which they did. Brave lady. You can imagine the questions. They were very candid, but the children had a real need for answers (even to questions that seemed a bit macabre to us).
It was a great send off for that much-loved great grandma.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


A little girl by the name of Tuesday Fiona Whitt lost her battle with cancer a couple of days ago. I have been following her family’s blog for a while and was amazed that they continued to update their blog throughout the whole nightmare.

Their faith and courage is as evident right the way through, as much as their pain and fear for their little one.

It prompted me to think about heaven again and to do some research. I do this every now and then because there are so many wrong ideas about what heaven is like and who gets to be there. I need to dig into my Bible and remind myself why I believe what I do believe.

(All direct Bible quotes are in italics)

· Firstly for Tuesday and all little children there is this - your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.
· He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
· He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces
· you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
· God himself will be with them
· In my (i.e. Jesus) Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
· God . . . has prepared a city for them.
· There is wow factor: You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly
· Jesus called it “paradise
· There will be nothing to fear in heaven. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
· Children will not even fear the dark for there will be no darkness. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
· No disease or famine or war. No longer will there be any curse
· On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there
· into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you,
· they will be like the angels in heaven
· we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
· In this you greatly rejoice though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
· Heaven is better than anything we can even imagine. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
· And so we will be with the Lord forever.

The Bible has even more than this to say about heaven, but it's a start.