Thought I would write a brief blog to encourage you and show you what God has been saying this week. I am enjoying exploring and enjoying Canberra. It is a lovely city to visit and explore!
1. 100th Anniversary - Royal Australian Air Force
On Thursday I say by the lake and watched the 2.5-hour flyover celebrating the 100th anniversary of the RAAF. I was right under where the planes and helicopters flew and as they flew quite low it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The Roulettes put on a 15-minute acrobatic air display that was amazing to watch. The photo shows of five planes very closely following the lead plane. It reminded me of the 5 fold ministry and how God has made the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to work together closely. As they stay in close formation, honouring each other, they will be able to keep their eyes on Jesus, who is the author and perfector of our faith. Together, following Christ, they can protect, help and achieve amazing things when they learn to stay in formation.
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, Ephesians 4:11-12.
2. God Is Working In Hollywood
What do you do when your values and beliefs are challenged every single day when you go into work? And even more so, the work itself eats away at your conscience bit by bit? Two successful Hollywood filmmakers, Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman experienced just that… and had a choice to make. (They are the makers of "Unplanned") Click HERE for an interview with these filmmakers on the NTD website.
This is a very encouraging section of last week's Eye Opener with Michael Lewis. So good to see God is causing influential people to stand up and choose to walk in righteousness. Instead of being polluted by Hollywood, they decided to leave and as a result, they have produced some movies that have had a huge impact on the world. Despite what you are reading in the news, there are some courageous and influential people really making a difference in the world.
But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Genesis 50:20
God Is Working Behind the Scenes
“So, Job, use your head; this is all pretty obvious. Can someone who hates order, keep order? Do you dare condemn the righteous, mighty God? Doesn’t God always tell it like it is, exposing corrupt rulers as scoundrels and criminals? Does he play favourites with the rich and famous and slight the poor? Isn’t he equally responsible to everybody? Don’t people who deserve it die without notice? Don’t wicked rulers tumble to their doom? When the so-called great ones are wiped out, we know God is working behind the scenes. Job 34:16-20 MSG
3. The Sunsets ..... God Has Been Busy!
Fortunately, I have been able to get out and watch the sunsets. They have been spectacular! I am learning to stop and smell the roses, spend time with God and enjoy what He makes for me. The plane trails are a feature of one of the pictures.
Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10.
3. I Am Important To God
One of my favourite places to visit in Canberra has been the War Memorial. When I walk into the memorial, I am overwhelmed with stories of incredible hardship and sacrifice people have made for others and their country. There are two massive walls with names of all who have died in wars fighting for Australia. Each time I have visited I have looked for any Pedens. On the right wall, this was what I found...
At each evening there is a service at the War Memorial that commemorates the life of one person that died in the war. Their life story and their contribution to the war is read out and they are honoured. No one will be forgotten!
I believe God is the same. He does not forget anything that you do, no matter how insignificant. There will be a time what you do is read out and remembered. God is watching and He is so excited when you fulfil the destiny He has made you for. Every time you obey Him even when it looks impossible, and when you do the thing that looks insignificant BUT actually changes what happens on Earth as His plans are enacted.
Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
4. Burning The Ships
I went to the National Museum of Australia last weekend. I had time chatting with a staff member talking about some of the Australian history, especially the early discoverers. He mentioned a historical record of a leader taking his men to conquer a city, but because of the fortifications at the port they took their boats up the coast and after leaving the boats the sailers looked back and found that the boats were burning. The only option was to go forward and achieve their objective and fight.... the option of going back the way they arrived had been cut off. Cortez also used the same strategy. What does this mean for us as Christians?
In Acts 27 we read the story of Paul being shipwrecked. He still knew that what God had told him would happen would actually happen. He trusted God and decided to keep moving forward. God has plans for you to be successful. Dont's look back....keep looking forward to the directions God has for you! If you are following His blueprint you cannot lose!
In Luke 14:33 we read, "In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” Like the old explorers, the New World had unlimited promises but great danger including strange cultures, dangerous animals. As a result, many explorers returned home having failed their goals.
When you become a disciple of Jesus, to be successful you need to be bold and face many dangers. Christians cannot compromise but need to embrace everything that is written in the Bible. Christians are called to take up their cross, to die to their flesh and to live differently to the culture around them. When we say yes to Christ, we say goodbye to everything that we once held as important. Choose to live totally for Jesus and give Him your all ...... then you will be able to live a life of victory.... choose to burn your ships!
5. Asking Questions instead of Giving Your Opinion
I was listening to Stephen Furtick talking about the way Jesus interacted with people. I was quite amazed to find that in the New Testament, Jesus asked 339 questions. He also told some amazing stories and explained the scriptures. I find it is amazing that He was such a good teacher, but communicated very effective by asking questions. In an article by Bob Tiede, (https://www.biblicalleadership.com/blogs/why-did-jesus-ask-so-many-questions/) he mentioned a number of reasons asking questions is an important way to engage in communication with others. They are:-
Questions built relationships
Forced those he was interacting with to have to think
His listeners were more likely to own their own conclusions
He sometimes answered questions with questions of his own
He sometimes asked warm-up questions to get the conversation started
His article is really worth reading you want to communicate more effectively with others.
If you have time, this video is really worth watching as Stephen shows how asking the right questions is very powerful.
6. If You Fail .... It Is Not The End
When at the War Memorial, I noticed that there were many stories of people who appeared to be successful the first time they tried something. The person below is an interesting story as he did not do very well at his first time fighting and through what is read, it appears that he should not have returned because of his terrible failure. To his credit, he enlisted under a different name and went overseas to fight a second time. Many people were blessed through his bravery and courage. He won bravery medals including the Victoria Cross.
We have to be careful not to write us off because we have failed once. Get up, learn from your mistakes and you could be that person who changes history through your courage ... even when you initially failed. Also, be careful before you write off others .... they might be the person that brings you victory!
As God forgives us when we get it wrong, ensure that you are able to forgive others and where appropriate, welcome them back to have another go. Do this with God's wisdom!
So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.
2 Samuel 12:13
7. Looking At History - Understanding Different Perspectives
When looking at the Captain Cook display at the Australian National Museum, I was fascinated by the different perspectives. Initially, I found some of the comments hard to understand and was even slightly offended at what was written. This was until I started thinking more deeply about how to listen, understand and love others.
When loving others, we learn to appreciate their perspectives without being offended. We can accept their opinions and love them, even when we do not agree. My opinion on Captain Cook has come from what I have been taught, my family of origin and so many different factors. How can others think about this topic exactly as I do? And is my perspective right?
In the book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", Covey has a habit that says that we need to understand before being understood. If we did this, there would be less fighting, disagreements and we would be able to accept and love people in a new way.
8. Canberra Spillway
Last weekend I rode my bike around the western section of Lake Burley Griffen. Quite a ride, but really enjoyable. Slept well that night!
On my way around, I saw the dam allowing a lot of water through after the recent rains. A person watching the water showed me how the birds cleaning themselves in the spray. The overflow of water caused a mist that was a way for the birds to be refreshed and cleaned.
One thing that I get from this is that I desire God to fill me to overflowing. As I overflow, I pray my words and actions not only encourage people but they will be refreshed by the words that I speak from God into their lives.
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4:29