Does the Bible Forbid ‘Swearing’?

Little girl me

I was a very literal child.  This gave one of my elder brothers no end of amusement as he trained me to be a pedantic debater, and some of my greatest Moments of Triumph as a child were when I successfully defeated this brother with his own logic.

I was also a remarkably deep thinker.  I remember a church camp one year where there was a trampoline, accompanied by the usual RULES sign: Shoes off; One at a time; No dangerous tricks, etc.  Good and literal child that I was, I was extremely distressed that some of these rules were being disregarded, specifically ‘One at a time.’

I don’t pretend that my distress didn’t stem from my selfish disappointment in the fact that whilst there was a single other child on the trampoline I couldn’t jump on it.  Nonetheless, my key memory is the shock of telling these children they were breaking this rule, only to hear in response, “Well, we’re not breaking any other rules!” Continue reading

An Unusual Car Crash

The heavy afternoon traffic was merciless. Turning right seemed an impossibility. The vehicles kept up their relentless pace, allowing no opportunity for anyone to break in.
I had crossed the south bound lanes without too much difficulty, but was now stuck in the middle of the road, poised, and ready to press the accelerator.
I took no real notice of a semi-trailer approaching from my left until its right side indicators signalled the driver’s intention to turn right into the road from which I was emerging.
‘This should be my opportunity’, I said to myself.  There was a right turning lane into which the semi-trailer had only just begun to move and within moments, the space vacated by it would be mine to take.
It all worked beautifully.  I carefully joined the inside lane of the north-bound traffic which, for an unknown reason, had suddenly slowed and was by then barely going faster than the proverbial ‘snail’s pace’.
Bang!  Crunch!  Bounce! Continue reading

Quit Being Selfish – and Take It!

I was very young when I first noticed it.
Mum and Dad and my little brother and I all went to a holiday resort for a week, and my aunt came along too.  Mum and Dad had paid for the resort, but my had aunt arrived first.

When we walked into our accommodation, a HUGE hamper was sitting on the bench, overflowing with goodies.  I was old enough to understand what had happened from the conversation that followed.  (No, of COURSE I don’t remember who said what, when, where, or how.  But the conversation MUST have gone SOMETHING like this…)

Mum: Wow, look at this!
Dad: Wow!
Me: Wow!
Bro: Wow!
Mum: The resort can’t have left this. Continue reading

Resenting God, and a Fresh ‘I Trust You’.

This morning I repented of resenting God.
You see, the last eight years have been extremely challenging.  My husband and I, along with our two youngest children, have been through some very deep waters.  I’ve lost count of the times I have had to say a fresh ‘I trust You Lord’ after yet another round in which we were knocked down.  I even got to the point I said to God, ‘I’m tired of having to get back onto my feet.  I’m tired of having to encourage myself in You.’
The amazing thing though is that every time I have determined afresh to trust God, He has given me the added strength I’ve needed.  He’s simply never failed me.
Despite that, and without my realising it, the difficulties, the losses, the restrictions, the pain, had resulted in a quiet resentment toward God settling in my heart.  Continue reading

The Mystery of the Gumby Gumby Capsules

‘Why don’t you try Gumby Gumby capsules?’  Chris’s brother-in-law, Trevor, looked enquiringly into Chris’ face then continued.  “I’ve been taking them for a while and I think they’re helping.’

A few weeks later, a parcel arrived and inside were eight packets of Gumby Gumby capsules.

I emptied a packet into a small plastic container and placed the container in a convenient place for Chris to access.  Because the container was clear, I could easily see when it needed replenishing, so when there were one to three capsules left, I would empty the next packet of capsules into it.
This was the routine over the next year until the day came that I emptied the last of the eight packets into that container.

About two weeks later, I realised that the container still looked full.  I picked it up and shook it.  It didn’t even rattle. Continue reading

Lessons from a Perilous Journey.

One of the ‘warm and fuzzy’ family experiences I enjoyed as our children grew, was listening to my husband read books to us.  He tended to choose ‘real life’ accounts that inspired and encouraged us as Christians.

One such book was ‘The Small Woman’ (or ‘The Little Woman’)  It’s the story of Gladys Aylward and her work in China.  My purpose here isn’t to summarise the book for you, so if you aren’t familiar with Gladys’ life then I urge you to read the book – you can get it on Amazon.

Gladys answers the call of God to go to China as a missionary – and eventually finds herself in a war zone.  She ends up taking 100 children on a perilous journey to safety.

As I reflected on the book, I wondered how Gladys felt on that amazing journey with the children.   The thing that struck me most was that, as we read about those events and consider them retrospectively, it’s easy to see how God was looking after Gladys and the children.  ‘But’, I asked myself, ‘was God’s daily care something that was obvious to them during the journey?’

The journey was very taxing physically.  There were 100 mouths to feed and, and apart from 2 baskets of millet that lasted just a few days, she had neither food nor money.  They relied on dew and streams for water.  They went hungry and thirsty.  They had to hide in caves away from Japanese soldiers.  Continue reading

A Cracked Ankle Bone Healed

I was looking forward to the weekend.  There was a camp for the youth from a friend’s church, and I was going to be part of it.
It was early 1972 and I was 19 years old.
Until now, any church camps I attended had accommodated us in timber buildings, with a kitchen to cook our meals and a dining room in which to eat.  But this time, we were going to be ‘roughing it’ in Megalong Valley, in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney – with the sky and tents as our roof, open fires for our kitchen, and fallen trees and grassy patches as our dining chairs.
About seven months earlier, I had met a young man named Chris, Continue reading

The Story of E.B.D. T.T.G.O.G.

I love cricket.  Really.  Like, I play it, I watch it, I follow it, I play it in the back paddock with my brother, I play in all girls’ teams – as well as in boys’ teams, I do cricket-skills-building exercises when I’m bored … I love cricket.

A couple of weeks back, I was suited up, ready to bat if my side called on me (It did.  I scored an even 0.) when my teammate’s voice called from behind me.

“Okay, Sophia, you’ve got me,” she declared.

I turned for an explanation and saw my friend staring at the label on my bag.

“I get that this line is your name,” she nodded, “and the digits are your phone number.  But what are these letters?  ‘E-B-D T-T-G-O-G,'” she read.   Continue reading

Our 40th Wedding Anniversary

Our wedding anniversary is usually celebrated with a hot drink.  My husband nearly always buys a coffee, and I always buy a hot, hot, hot chocolate.
Total cost?  Less then $10.
A week ago, we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary.  It was a Sunday, so we decided to ‘splash out’ and buy lunch to celebrate.
We went to a nearby hotel that has a pleasant restaurant and dining room, and found that the Special of Day suited us nicely – a buffet Roast Lamb and Pork with all the trimmings.
We made two other separate orders – one for a dessert, and one for a drink.
Total Cost for our 40th wedding anniversary celebration?
$40.40.
I felt like God was smiling.   :)

Abraham – The ‘Facts’ or the ‘Promise’?

I was reflecting on some of my own challenges recently, and my thoughts turned to verses from Galatians 4:19-22 that speak of Abraham’s response in the face of the impossible …

The facts were staring Abraham in the face.  His own body was no longer able to produce offspring.  Sarah’s womb was likewise, dead.
They were the ‘facts’, and any sensible person would have faced those facts and gotten on with whatever life they had left.
But Abraham had something else. Continue reading

Hope for a Newly Married Friend

Dear XX,

It was lovely to see you at Church yesterday.  Unfortunately, it was all a bit of a rush.  It would have been nice to have had time to sit and chat for a while.  However, I appreciated that you took the time to come and say hello.

I was saddened to learn that you are struggling at the moment.  After I saw you, my son told me that you had finished a counseling session just before you came and spoke with me.  I felt bad then, as I realised that your pain would have been heightened as a result of the counseling, and would therefore have been very near the surface as you spoke with me.

My heart goes out to you both.  For that reason, I am writing to you both, so would you please show (your husband) this email also.   Thanks.

The joining of two independent individuals in marriage doesn’t always come easy.  However, do remember that once the the ‘rubber meets the road’, it’s not unusual for couples to have a bumpy ride for a while. Continue reading

The Story of ‘Very Good’.

The Story of ‘Very Good’ and the Lengths the Maker Went to to Save What He’d Made.

We’re gonna die, you and me.  Y’know why?
A long time ago, the world wasn’t like it is now.  Everything was perfect.  The Maker finished making everything and he said, “Voila!  It’s Very Good.”
The plants were Very Good, the animals were Very Good, and the people were Very Good.  Because they were made Very Good, the people could even hang out with the Very Good Maker himself!  Nothing died and nothing went wrong.

But the people had a choice. Continue reading

In Which Town was Jesus when the Wise Men Visited Him?

A Simple Quizz
In which town was Mary and Joseph when the Wise Men visited them?
Bethlehem?
Nazareth?
Jerusalem?
Other?

Don’t read any further right now.
Stop!
Determine your answer.
Now read on.

Tradition has it that the Wise Men visited Jesus at the stable in Bethlehem shortly after He was born.
But is ‘tradition’ right?
Let’s look at the facts.

We all know that Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem.  (Matthew 2:1 and Luke 2:4-6)
We all know that the shepherds visited the family in Bethlehem.  Luke 2:15,16 tells us the shepherds said, ‘Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing …’, and that they ‘came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.’

So Jesus was not only in Bethlehem, but still in the stable, when the shepherds visited.

We also know that Bethlehem wasn’t ‘home’ to Mary and Joseph.  They had to travel to Bethlehem from another place in Israel because of the census requirements.  When the angel came to Mary to tell her that she would be the mother of Jesus, she was living in Nazareth. (Luke 1:26).  Continue reading

Where was the Garden of Eden?

Most Bible commentaries state that the site of the Garden of Eden was in the Middle East, situated somewhere near where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers are today. This is based on the description given in Genesis 2:8–14:

“The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden. . . . Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. The name of the first is Pishon. . . . The name of the second river is Gihon. . . . The name of the third river is Hiddekel [Tigris]. . . . The fourth river is the Euphrates.”

Even the great theologian John Calvin struggled over the exact location of the Garden of Eden.

Go here to find out more.  http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab3/where-was-eden

Our Gumby Gumby Miracle

We have Gumby Gumby capsules in a small plastic container.  The container sits in a box with other containers of supplements.  My husband bought the Gumby Gumby capsules in small zip lock plastic bags from a man in Queensland.  The container fits just one plastic bag full with very little room to spare.  When the container is emptied, I fill it again with the entire contents of the next plastic bag.   The last time I did this was about six weeks ago – exactly how long ago doesn’t matter for the purposes of what happened.

The container itself is clear, so one can easily see its contents without opening the lid.  Over the last 2 weeks, I became aware that the container of capsules was still chock-a-block full.  In fact, the container was so full that the contents didn’t even rattle when I shook the container.  I hadn’t been taking the capsules at all, so I concluded that my husband had stopped using them at the time I last filled the container. Continue reading