Monday, 15 October 2012


Matthew 10:26 - “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known." (Italics added by me)

As I was walking down the street this morning, as I do each morning - at the same time - along the same route - which takes me past the Primary School, I witnessed an amusing thing. This morning there was a police car parked on the side of the street at the corner boundary of the Primary School. There was no mistaking it was a police car; bright iridescent yellow, blue and white check stripes up the side and across the back, uniformed officer sitting behind the steering wheel...and if none of that gave it away, the word POLICE was positioned across the back in large bold lettering and there were the blue and red lights on the top. Yep, it was definitely a police car!

Now that wasn't the amusing thing, and he could have been there dropping his own kids off to school before going to work. What was amusing about him being there was the traffic slowing to a below 40km school zone pace, when usually they drive in ignorance of this speed limitation. Parents who normally 'pause' their car long enough to let their children out to cross this busy street unaided, actually got out of their cars this morning and held hands and walked children across the road. Drivers handling steering wheels one-handed whilst using their mobile phones with the other, this morning seemed suddenly uncaring as to whether Aunt Fudd wanted to talk at that very moment or not.

It's amazing how our attitudes, actions, and attention changes when we know someone is watching! Especially someone with the authority to fine us or even lock us up, depending on how rebellious our everyday behaviour might be.

In this day of modern technology, more than ever before, Big Brother is watching, and not always as obviously as this policeman was this morning. It's not hard to imagine 'he' sees more than we're even aware of. I thinks it's so common-place now that we even disregard the knowledge of that and go along doing our own thing anyway. And the world even encourages and welcome liberal, free thinking. But if we thought about it more - the fact that 'we are being watched', perhaps we wouldn't drive those 10-15kms over the limit, or we wouldn't download that song by that artist we just love, or we wouldn't eat that 'small' bunch of grapes while pushing a trolley around a supermarket, or drink that bottle of water before we get to the checkout.

The thing to remember is that while, in the world, we may think we are getting away with something, or even think that by world standards that 'thing' borders closely on being okay, so it doesn't matter, we are not fooling God. God does not judge by world standards! "He is a God Who considers hatred to be murder - and lust to be adultery." (paraphrased quote from the movie "Fireproof") The world might not always see what we do, and certainly if we can keep our mouth shut about it, the world has no idea what we are thinking, who we're hating, or lusting after, or bitter and angry toward....but God knows, God sees, God hears, God is aware of it all!

What would happen if we all decided to live our lives AWARE that God is watching. He is, you know. How much more pleasant would it be? How much happier would those around us be? How much more joyful would your own lives be? I've touched on this topic before, but it's worth being reiterated....often.

Think about it....

...and then, give it a try!

God bless.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

NEW MEMBER - Meet 'n' Greet....

This is awesome. I am please to introduce another new member to our journey. Please make welcome Glamm Girrl - it's so good to have you on board and I pray you are blessed as we move forward in our collective, and individual, walk with Christ.

Love Toni xxx

Sunday, 30 September 2012


Have you ever thought about the things that God provides us with?

Often we think in huge terms, things like homes, jobs, cars, etc. But have you ever considered the little things?

The other day, I did an extra day of sorting at our local Bargain Centre. Now, sorting means being out in a hot, dusty shed, surrounded by bags and bags of donations- all gratefully received. Being Spring, with the weather warming rapidly and trees and flowers blooming everywhere, it's also hayfever season. So, add to that the dusty shed and bags of donations and what happened was a bout of hayfever, sneezing, runny nose and eyes- and I was very glad to have been alone. However, what it also meant was I quickly realised I had embarked on this morning of sorting unprepared.

After half an hour of the usual aforementioned symptoms, I finally prayed and God, in His awesomeness, provided. The next bag I opened contained masses of toddler clothing, mostly pink indicating it belonged (hopefully) to a girl but there was also a neatly folded, pressed and clean men's handkerchief.

GOD PROVIDES EVERYTHING!! Even the little things. Take care, don't overlook them.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (MATTHEW 7:7)

God bless you all.

Love Toni

NEW MEMBER - Meet 'n' Greet....

Good morning,
I'd like to introduce our newest member - AlondraV. It's so nice to have you on board, and I pray you are blessed along the way.

Love Toni xxx

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

NEW MEMBER - Meet 'n' Greet...

It's always a thrill to come to my blog page and find that there is someone new following. Today I want to introduce you all to our latest member - The Lafskytribe! This is exciting for me, especially - because this is another of my brothers! Ahhh, I love my brothers! Dean - enjoy the journey and thanks for coming on board - Love heaps, Toni xxxx

Monday, 17 September 2012


According to different sources I've read on the Internet recently, it took Noah between 20 and 75 years to build the Ark. Of course, the Bible doesn't give a specific time-duration, and the '120 years' mentioned in Genesis 6:3, it is said, refers to the commencement of the lead-up to the flood; it doesn't refer to the day God told Noah to start building. And, as with many things we read in the Bible, it is easy to forget the day to day view of it, and think only of the broad brush view. God said to Noah that the people of the earth were really bad and He was going to destroy everyone except Noah and his family, and Noah was to build an Ark. So, being a righteous man, Noah did as God said and built an Ark....and so the story goes; the flood came, and the Ark bobbed around for forty days before the rain stopped. It may even seem that all the while they were playing happy families with the best line-up of pets in history! Then we might even find ourselves thinking; "Wasn't Noah amazing - I wish I had that kind of faith and those abilities." But we forget, Noah wasn't a ship-builder by trade, and Noah didn't build this thing over the period of a weekend!

This was a monstrous undertaking. The movie "Evan Almighty" depicts a Noah-like character building an 'ark' in his suburban neighbourhood, and given the way the movie flows, it's subtly suggested the process of building this 'ark' took only a few weeks. Yeah, even with it's much smaller size, maybe if you had some behind the scenes help!

Genesis 6:22 says; "Noah did everything as God commanded him." But whether it be 20 or 75, this took years....and years! It's easy to even think, well - okay, it took years, but he did it, and with ease because God told him to, and God was with him, and Noah was some kind of superman. Hmmm, I don't know about that! Of course, God was with him - we know that because the Bible says so - Genesis 6:8; "But Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord." Genesis 6:13a; "So God said to Noah..." Usually when God is speaking to anyone, including you, He is with you. But the Bible says nothing about this being an easy task for Noah. I imagine it was actually pretty difficult!

For many years I was a penpaller, writing to people from all over the world, sharing my day to day life - the condensed version of it at least. I still have a few people I write to. A few months ago one of my son's got married, and with these few remaining penpals I shared photos of this momentous day (yeah, I'm still in the 'my son is the first in the world to ever get married' mindset!), and one response was amazement that I now have a married child. "Penpal" remembered only the moments of my son's life that I had shared; as a toddler, as a teen, school days, new job, etc. Anyone on the outside looking in would feel the same. Fleeting glances and exclamations of 'where did the time go?' But for me, I lived every day (every hour!!) of my children's lives. I experienced the tears and laughter, the new teeth, losing teeth, teeth being knocked out on scooter handlebars, or chipped on railings that were crashed into. I patched up the scraped knees, sat in hospital waiting rooms while they were stitched up, sat beside beds when they were ill, endured the birthday parties at home. I've lived the good, the bad, and the ugly- every day of my 25 years (so far) as a mum, and there was a nice balance of all of those things, as any parent would know.

Noah experienced every day it took to build the Ark. We experience only the 'highlights' and only a handful at that!

Let's say, for arguments sake, it took fifty years for Noah to build the Ark. When I was 9 or 10 I used to try and imagine myself as a lady of 50, and that seemed not only really, really old, but such a long time away too - way, way off into a future I couldn't even imagine. Now though, it doesn't sound much when you say it fast! Okay, so imagine it took Noah 50 years - don't just see the 5-0. Put it in perspective...God told Noah, in a time when rain had never fallen on the earth EVER before and people had no idea what a flood even was, to build a boat, the task of which was going to keep him busy, and take every day of those fifty years to complete. That's 18,250 days....of mocking, ridicule, taunting, aching shoulders and hammered thumbs...every day for 18,250 days. Maybe Noah even faced saboteurs, stolen or hidden property, misplaced tool, unco-operative sons, days of illness, or times of aftermath from Mrs. Noah's cabbage stew, which tasted a little funky when he ate it but he was famished after a hard day of Ark-building so he ate it anyway...these are the thing we don't know about, and very rarely cast a thought to.

I think there were also days when he questioned. Or days when he didn't work quite as hard as he had the day before. Or days when he was tired or cranky. I think there were days when he woke up and felt like a right idiot building a boat for a flood that was coming when the sky was clear and the day was sunny! I think he especially felt like this on days when the crowd had gathered and was pointing and staring and shouting those derisive comments. God provided everything he needed, including the measurements and the instructions, but we don't know how much other 'heavenly assistance' he had, or what that might have been. Though I doubt God built a wall around the construction site to shield Noah from the hurtful remarks hurled at him.

Nor do I believe this undertaking sped by in the blink of an eye. How did Noah's patience hold up? Were there days when he woke up, discouraged that he was doing the same 'ole thing again for the 1,017th time? Were there days when he just wanted to throw in the hammer and walk away, back to the 'old days' when life... -  - okay it wasn't quite as good, but it sure made more sense? How many times whilst hauling himself upward on the swinging plank-seat to reach those beams at the very top did he have to tell himself, out loud, that even though this seemed a very odd thing to be building, God knows what He's doing. How many times did he says to himself; "I don't get why this is taking so long, but God, Your timing is not my timing."

I wonder how many of us would hold up, if we were in Noah's position? I wonder how many of us would have even said yes to God?? Being told by God to not only do the impossible, but do something that is going to convince every single person you know that you are crazy, AND take years to accomplish! How many of us would step out in faith, armed with bucket loads of patience and get on with it? How many of us even have one bucket load of patience? Yeah, I struggle there!!!

Quite often we just don't understand why or how God arrives at His timing or purposes. But are we meant to know? Why should we know? We're not God! And anyway, armed with all that information, but minus the 'all-knowing-God-ness' of our Father in heaven, how many of us, including Noah, would respond with something like; "Well, I don't think that's a very good idea!"

Can you imagine Noah...
"A boat? Out here?"
"What's rain?"
"A flood - what's a flood?"
"It's gonna take me how long?"
"Oh, but God, I don't think that's a very good idea!"

So, my petition to you, Dearest Reader, is summed up in a quote my mother loves and has written in the front of her Bible (I have it in mine too, now), which goes like this: "Lord, I do not understand Thee, but I trust Thee." Even when it makes no sense at all, if God is asking let us do. No matter how long it takes, or how much patience we have to muster. And while we're doing, let us trust that God knows what He's doing, and why He is asking for our obedience in this task He has chosen us for, and why it will take the time it is going to take to accomplish it.

Let's pray...
Lord, so often we don't understand Your ways, or why You ask of us the things You do. We don't understand why our prayers aren't answered as quickly as we would like, or why we aren't healed the way we want, or at all. But we are strengthened by faith in You. We know that Your Word and Your promises are truth, and in them we can place our faith and be made strong in You. And we can endure anything through faith in You. We can also rest in knowing You are in control and with us always, through everything, and Your timing and purposes are perfect. Thank You, Lord, for that perfection, and for the comfort we draw from You. In Jesus' Name, amen.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012



Dearest Readers,
Ordinarily I don't like to do this too often - cut and paste a large pieces of anything, including the Bible ,and then say "Here, read this!" However, today I am breaking this 'rule' and doing just that. Lately I have been reading, and re-reading John chapter 17 - which is where Jesus prays His longest recorded prayer in the Bible. I've been studying it and looking deeper, and I really want to share this and encourage you all to read it too....really read it. Look deeply at what Jesus is doing and saying here...especially look at the section I have highlighted (verses 20-26), where Jesus is praying for YOU. When the true revelation of that hit me I was awestruck, and a little emotional. 2000+ years ago, when He knew what was about to happen to Him, He set that aside and prayed for me! And you...and every other believer. Whoa, that is a little overwhelming, don't you think?
Also, I underlined the first part of verse 24...Jesus is asking God for us to be with Him in heaven! How does that make you feel? To know that our Lord and Saviour was thinking of you all those years ago before He was to go to the cross for our sins, and more than that, He wanted us....with heaven! He petitioned the Father for us!
How deep is His love?
How immense is His desire for us?
The King of kings and Lord of lords is in love with us! :-)
"Here, read this!" :-)
Please read this chapter, Dear truly is worth the time it will take to read 26 verses, and to hold these words of our Lord close and safe in our hearts.
God bless you all,
Love Toni (Jeanne) xxxxx

John Chapter 17 [New International Version (NIV)]

Jesus Prays to Be Glorified

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You. 2 For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. 4 I have brought You glory on earth by finishing the work You gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world began.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

6 “I have revealed You to those whom You gave me out of the world. They were Yours; You gave them to Me and they have obeyed Your word. 7 Now they know that everything You have given Me comes from You. 8 For I gave them the words You gave Me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from You, and they believed that You sent Me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those You have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is Yours, and all You have is Mine. And glory has come to Me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your name, the name You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name You gave Me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
13 “I am coming to You now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of My joy within them. 14 I have given them Your Word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; Your Word is truth. 18 As You sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify Myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. 22 I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are One 23 I in them and You in Me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.
24 Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, and to see My glory, the glory You have given Me because You loved Me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know You, I know You, and they know that You have sent Me. 26 I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Sunday, 9 September 2012


When I was putting my joggers on this less than one year old Slazenger joggers (bought because they were drastically reduced in price, NOT because I'm a name-brand junkie!), I noticed a hole in the top. You know what that means - I'll notice that hole every time I wear them now, and it'll seem bigger every time, too. I may even, one morning, put my toe right through the hole, accidentally of course...and that will be the end of my discounted, name-brand joggers. And let's not even discuss what's going to happen when it rains and I have to go walking!

Do you remember the days when you get more than a year's wear out of a pair of shoes? Or more than five years out of a washing machine, or a refrigerator? My mum had one of those agitator washing machines with the wringers on top for over 30 years. I remember the excitement of it after the copper boiler she used to use for doing the washing when I was a little girl. I know she still had the agitator one when my now adult children were in their early teens.

Oh, and what about the days when you could get more out of a printer than the duration of the ink cartridges? My printer developed a quirk in behaviour a few weeks ago - after every page it printed it would spit out a blank piece of paper, then refuse to spit out anything, declaring on its little display screen that there was a paper jam. Of course there was no paper jam, but I would still have to comply with the computerised demands by going through the motions of un-jamming this imaginary paper jam before it would print again...but only one sheet more before we danced the same dance again. It was a slow and painful way of printing even the few pages I needed. And now it has corrected itself and works as it should! I guess some mysteries are not meant to be solved. During the course of this idiosyncratic printer behaviour I found myself thinking; "Well, if it dies I'll just get another one!" The sad irony is that it would be cheaper to throw away this printer and purchase a new one, than to get it fixed. These days it's cheaper to buy a new printer when the ink runs out than buy new ink cartridges. Appalling, isn't it!

Oh, and don't get me started on the dramas I'm having with my mobile phone right now, and have had since I got it! It's currently not working, other than being able to be used to play music and see the time. So basically I'm paying a handsome monthly fee for a clock radio! Hmmm... *shakes head disapprovingly* The realisation for me right now is just how distanced I feel from everyone when my phone is...uhm, I mean was my primary, and often used, source of communication (and will be again, when it's fixed! - one more day to endure!), via calls, TEXT, email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. AND I've realised also how much we all must (and I have done) take such things for granted these days. Now that I'm without it, I feel a little lost...I might as well be on another planet in terms of knowing how everyone is and what they're doing, even though there have been many times I've wanted to throw that stupid phone out the window!

We've become a very 'throw-away' world, haven't we? Things get outdated so fast, and there is always the temptation of something bigger and better, with more features that can do something new or amazing being dangled before us. Nothing is made with any semblance of quality - not even name-brand shoes. Nothing seems to last anymore...

...except Jesus Christ! A relationship with Jesus and the love He has for us is beyond the meagre limits of this world and our feeble ideas of time. ETERNITY is one word that is used so often in the Bible to express time and a life with Jesus Christ. FOREVER is another.

In the throw-away world, even people are too easily disgarded. How many marriages reach the ten year mark, let alone survive past that? "I will love you forever" - beautiful words until forever turns out to be only 'until you annoy me or make a mistake', or 'until someone better or more exciting comes along', or 'until I find myself or sort myself out'.

It's not like that with Jesus. He stays. Even when we get busy, or distracted, or lazy, or stupid...our Lord stays!

Jeremiah 1:5a says; "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart." These words were spoken to the prophet Jeremiah, by the Lord, when he was called by God, but they apply as much to you and I as to Jeremiah. Imagine the Lord speaking those words to you! He does, you know. The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 1:4; "For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight." Psalm 139:16b reveals; "All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be."

*Before you were born...
*Before the creation of the world...
*Before one of them came to be...

Do you see a trend here? We've been on our Lord's mind for a long...Long....LONG time. He was thinking about us when He left the paradise of heaven and all His own Kingliness and came to earth. He was thinking of us as He grew into a man. He was thinking of us when He began His ministry. He was thinking of us when He suffered unbelievably at the hands of the soldiers, and when He carried His cross, and when He was nailed to that cross, and when He died in agony, in our place, on Golgotha. He was thinking about us and loving us before the world was even created, and still thinks about us today - NOW, as He sits at the right hand of His Father in heaven.

The world we live in might have a throw-away mentality, but Jesus Christ does not. Our value and worth to Him is immeasurable, so let us honour that by living according to His will and His Word in the time we have here on earth, so we are prepared when we go to be with Him, FOREVER in ETERNITY.

Let's pray...
Loving Saviour and King,
Thank You for all You have ever done for us, and for all You continue to do. We know Your dedication to each of us is spread wider and deeper than any of us realise or can fathom. We praise You as our Lord and King and Saviour, and long for the day when we dwell forever in Eternity with You. Strengthen us through Your love and guidance during our time here, however long or short that may be, and prepare our hearts and spirits for when You come to take us home. In Your mighty Name I ask these things, amen.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012


I've noticed something on Facebook and Twitter lately that is bugging me, so I feel a rant coming on....then I'll let it go! :-) Of course, I know that 50% or more of what is posted on these social network sites is nonsense, but this thing is bugging me more than some of the things on FB and Twitter usually do. There are often the tweets declaring that if you 'follow' you'll gain thousands of followers yourself, instantly! Really? I don't think so, and who wants followers that way anyway!? There's the spam/junk mail that comes in all forms. Because I have a boys name (Toni) I get sent a lot of offers for Viagra! Uh-huh! *shakes head* Or there are the tweets claiming that someone has filmed you in a nightclub doing something stupid or obscene. I get those daily! Things like that I can confidently ignore because I've been in a nightclub once in my life, about 15-16 years ago - that was for a party I won in a radio contest, so all the people there I knew because I invited them!

But, none of those things are the blood boiler...

The particular irritation are the posts declaring something like this; "Click like if you support cancer research" or " Hit share if you love your daughter". The list of these popping up goes on and on, and seems to be growing as fast as people can think them up...'Click share if you agree"....ah-ha, see! And I admit that I purposely don't share or like these posts, and until recently I've ignored them with a fair amount of composure. But this one crossed my timeline a week or so ago, and the wording was exactly this; "Share if you love Jesus. Don't share if you want to go to hell". I KID YOU NOT!!! I dare anyone to tell me I don't love Jesus, or I'm going to hell just because I didn't share that post!

Back in the late 70's and early 80's when I was heavy into penpalling (snail mail - stamp, remember, yeah?) chain letters were what went around, declaring that if a copy of the letter wasn't sent to ten different people within three days someone in your family was going to die, or some nonsense like that! I was young and timid back then, and naive, until a kind Postmaster explained the truth of these scare tactics to me....but prior to his kindness it was frightening for a pre-teen like me. However, afterwards the amount of them I ignored should have eliminated my entire family, and several friends - if there was any truth in them at all!

These forms of intimidation have been around for many, many years, and while they have changed form and may now travel in different ways they still amount to nonsense. But, just as when I was a young girl these words were frightening, so they still are to a young girl or boy now reading them on Twitter or FB. As older, more mature people (I would hope - and Christians especially) we have a responsibility to the younger generation, and sometimes that responsibility includes NOT sharing ridiculous, emotionally bullying, subtle though they may be, posts like that. As adults with any amount of common sense we KNOW this is a whole lot of nothing, but a shy 12 year old girl from a broken home whose only thing to cling to is a new, infant faith in Christ, or a new adult-age Christian, might not know that.

I love Jesus Christ! (AND I'm going to heaven, by-the-way!) I love my daughter, and my sons...and my elderly mother! I have compassion for ill-treated animals, wild-life, rainforests, and for abuse victims. I support organisations I feel drawn to, the identity of which is between me and God. I don't need to share or like a FB or Twitter post to make any of that true, or not true.

Ok, I'm done now. But I will add one more thing. I love it when people share my blog posts and comment on them, but DON'T ever feel obligated...or bullied to do so. I trust in God and happily leave it to Him to determine who sees them, reads them, and shares them.

God bless,
Toni (Jeanne) xxxx

Monday, 3 September 2012


Did you know that not all the things that God doesn't want us to do are bad or evil? This is a lesson I am just learning. Well, I sorta knew it before, BUT it is just now coming to my attention that this lesson doesn't just apply to's for me too! I'll tell you a story shortly, but first...

There's become such a blurry line between right and wrong in the past few years. Have you noticed that? Perhaps it is longer than just a few years - perhaps the line has always been blurry and it is only maturing in age that makes it more noticeable. Whatever it is, let me put it this way - I've become more aware of this blurred vision lately, between the world's idea of YES and God's command of NO.

One of the things that the Bible tells us is that false prophets will come among us, and what they will tell us will sound good, make us feel good, and be embraced by the world around us. (See 2 Peter 2:1-3) It can become dangerously easy, for Christians especially, to get caught up in this new-age thinking. But anything that loosens the guidelines on Biblical teaching is not of God.

Our minister at church spoke in one of his sermons recently about a preacher who had written a book, part of which declared that Christians should be encouraged to pursue money and better financial blessings. This seems okay, right?....a preacher wrote it, after all, right? seems fair and acceptable, right? WRONG!!! The Bible says this in 1 Timothy 6:10a; "For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil." I wrote in a previous post about the importance of coming back to God's Word and double checking everything you read, or hear, or see...even if it is written by a Christian preacher! Because Satan has all kinds of people out there doing his bidding and making things that are against God's word seem okay. Dig deeper, because surface appearances can often hide the real truth.

I think what we watch and read and play and listen to goes a long way toward blurring the line between right and wrong...or between what is accepted and what shouldn't be. Oh, there was a time I would have argued that point relentlessly, I confess. But praise God He has opened my eyes to HIS TRUTH!

How many TV shows today would have, in the 60's and 70's, been considered pornographic? Or be deemed outrageous due to their blatant mocking toward Christianity and Christ? A statistic I heard recently stated that in the 60's 50% of households attended church in Australia. Now, only between 1% and 2% of people are evangelical Christians - that is; 'Pertaining to or in keeping with the Gospel and its teaching.' How many TV shows are even encouraging criminal activity? I watched a sitcom several months ago where one of the regular, weekly characters was freely and openly using drugs, and this was laughed at! Computer and PS games are mostly violent and/or sexual in content, and this is deemed entertainment. Most TV shows and movies these days promote pre-marital sex. Last week, while sitting in a hospital waiting room, the TV was on showing a morning show. I couldn't hear it well, but the running caption across the bottom of the screen declared; 'An affair could help your marriage!' Is infidelity now to become acceptable by the world's standards? Abortion has been made acceptable. Homosexuality has been made acceptable. The age of consent continues to be lowered. Where does it stop?

It is socially acceptable, it seems, to take on the attitude that 'if it's not hurting anyone, it's okay to do as I like.' Not much has changed in history, has it? The entire book of Judges, in the Old Testament, talks about the Israelites and their repeated 'do as we please' attitude and subsequent pleas to God to 'bail them out' after they had made a colossal mess of things. Sadly this is an attitude Christians today still adopt. I did! Back in a previous post (Subtle Idolatry - Idolatry None-the-Less - August 1st) I made mention of an obsession that I would write about at a later date. Well, why not now?! And then I can tell you what I've learnt...

My IDOL, is writing! More than that, it's the type of writing I used to do. I've always had an interest in the supernatural, and a stint with Character/Ghost writing many years ago fed that interest to the point of obsession. I used to write about all the usual stuff that now saturates the literary AND media markets; vampires, werewolves, ghosts, angels, etc - and I was good! (I say that not to boast, but only to emphasise the struggle of giving it up!) I'd done this kind of writing since the late 80's, so for more than 20 years I wrote in this genre to the point where I still worry and wonder can I write anything else??? I guess God is showing me that, through Him, I can, because I never thought I could be a non-fiction writer, let alone a writer of blog/devotionals.

In the few years since 'whether or not I should write in this subject' became an issue, emotionally and spiritually I travelled through honestly and truly NOT KNOWING what I should do, to knowing but fighting it while trying to ignore the truth of that knowing as well. I asked the advice of so many people, BUT it's only on reflection that I can see that subconsciously I was pretty clever about who I chose to ask. It shames me to admit that I was asking people I sorta knew would say yes, it's okay! I never asked my minister at church! I NEVER ASKED MY MOTHER!!! Now, that's not to disparage the advice I was given by any of those people I did speak to. I confess, in hindsight, I can see that I manipulated that survey completely! God, however, cannot be manipulated or swayed on what He chooses is right for me and what is His will for me. His will for me is NOT to write supernatural fantasy. His will may also be for me to never write fiction again...I don't know that yet. For now I am doing as He asks of me which has brought me here.

Now, don't misunderstand me, because I am in no position at all to cast judgement on whether supernatural writing is good or bad. There is a new concern in me now, especially after a conversation I had with a bookstore owner yesterday - again the question is raised WHERE DOES IT STOP. Moreso, how far will it go before it stops? This store owner was telling me that the supernatural line is petering off now in terms of sales, and is being replaced by erotic, I found that so disturbing, in a two-fold manner. Firstly because things that shouldn't even 'be' to begin with are now becoming 'okay' and 'encouraged'. And secondly because, in terms of the supernatural side of it, I WAS A PART OF IT. I may not have been published (and I thank God I wasn't) but I was there, far would I have gone???

Maybe to the world it's not bad, but...

....what I have learnt is that it is bad for me. I still like the still interests me...perhaps like an alcoholic it will be something I will constantly be drawn back to and even crave, but it's not what God wants me to use His gift to me for. That's what God and I have battled over for several years now....well, I say battled like it's been an all-out war, but the truth of it is I've been the one battling whilst God has been patiently waiting for me to surrender to His will. I have now, by-the-way. Satan, in his cunning way, still tries to lure me back into doing what God does not want me to do...and I fear I will slip still.

I am comforted by the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 7:15-25; "15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but sin living in me. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
      21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!

There is hope! Jesus Christ is my hope! What I have learnt is that while the world may say it's okay (and it has said!), God is telling me NO. And when He says NO He means NO. In this case good or bad is kind of irrelevant, because God is saying this...for me.

And something I have noticed since I completely surrendered to God about this (and that surrender has come only in the last month and a half) - as much as I loved the 'other writing', I have never enjoyed writing as much as I am right now!

Let's pray...
Loving Heavenly Father,
You know the things we struggle with in our lives, and You know what is best for us at all times. Strengthen us as we learn to trust You about that, and surrender to Your will for us. Remind us to listen to Your guiding and loving voice, rather than the lying words of the world. In Jesus' Name, amen.

NEW MEMBER - Meet 'n' Greet....

Dearest Readers,

I am pleased to introduce and welcome Katherine Hunter to our little 'Blog-Family".

Katherine, it's such a joy to have you on board, and I pray that God blesses you and your family in many ways, including through this blog, and the interaction coming from this.

Love Toni (Jeanne) xxx

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

NEW MEMBER - Meet 'n' Greet...

Dearest Reader,

This is a bit of an extra special meet 'n' greet. I value all the wonderful people that follow my blog and get so chuffed when I see a new member has come on board. This time it is EXTRA SPECIAL because the new member is my BROTHER!!!!

Everyone, meet Gareth!

Hey Gareth, thank you so much for following my blog, and for being such a great source of encouragement for me. I'm looking forward to catching up again, and I love you heaps. KEEP UP WITH THE MUSIC!!!

Love Toni xxx (Jeanne)

Tuesday, 28 August 2012


Are we giving Satan a foot in the door?

Sometimes on a Sunday morning, especially after a night of NOT sleeping well, I get up and don't feel like going to church. I confess that sometimes I have given in to that and not gone! Lately I've come to realise that when I do give in I am making Satan happy! Ugh! I so do not want to do that! None of us do, right?!

It's the same when we don't read our Bibles, or we neglect our time with God. These are the things that make Satan happy. Satan is never happy when we are following God and doing what God wants us to do for His glory and the expansion of His Kingdom. And Satan will use any means to keep us from doing that.

This is something I've known for a while now, but lately there has been a new level of awareness for me regarding this, and the lengths Satan will go to to deter me. Satan's attacks aren't always obvious! Sometimes they are subtle and sneaky and go almost unnoticed, or certainly unrecognised. Praise God for His Holy Spirit, our Guide to alert us to the cunningness of that snake!!! Especially since starting my blog up again in obedience to God, Satan has strengthened his attack on I can only conclude that he doesn't like it. Good! When I sit down to work on my blog, or read my Bible, or even when I am posting to Facebook or Twitter, I will suddenly become incredibly tired, or my head will start to ache, or my Internet will start doing strange things. Not too long ago, while posting my blog link on Facebook, I was suddenly blocked completely and could get into my own Facebook account at all. I did get back on eventually with the help of my daughter, but only after changing my password and going through arduous rigmarole! This is not the first time Satan has tried to keep me from obeying God - but God always comes out the Victor - and He always will.

Other times, while about God's work, I will be distracted by something, or many things. And beware Dearest Reader, because sometimes those distractions are not bad things either. The other night I got all settled to spend time with God, and my brother was available for a chat. I hated having to tell him that I couldn't chat right then, because I love cyber-handin' with my bro - he lives so far away that I don't get to see him, so chatting with him is the next best thing...I could have done just that if I had pushed God to the back burner - just as Satan was hoping I would. But we have to be tough sometimes...we have to be strong in our stand to 'make time' for God, to put God first before ALL things, even at the cost of having to put someone else off for a little while- including brothers (I love you, Dean!!!). Thankfully on this night my brother was understanding and easily accepted it when I explained that I was about to start God-time.

I believe these things can sometimes be a bit of a test as well, to see just what lengths we will go to, and how much effort we will put in to complete the task God has set before us. (This was something the same aforementioned brother - Dean - told me years ago....see, I do listen and take notice of good, Godly advice! :-) ) How many of us wanna just quit when things get hard? I know there have been times, I confess, when I have just wanted to throw my hands up and walk away because it feels too hard, and I am overcome with feelings of 'I can't do this'!

I beseech you to push forward, in Christ, through all the hurdles, and roadblocks Satan tries to put between you and God. When you find yourself tired, or busy, or distracted, or just plain not in the mood, remember that Satan doesn't deserve our attention or our time...God does! So PUSH THROUGH it all and annoy the devil back to hell!

Many of you might have heard or seen the quote by John Bunyan; "Pray often, for prayer is a shield for the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan." I believe this applies also to reading God's Word, and spending time in devotion with God.

Psalm 119:11 says; "I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You." Let's fill our hearts with the Word of God. Let's set our hearts and minds firmly on God and be a scourge to Satan.

Let's make Satan really UNHAPPY!!!!

Hugs Jeanne (Toni) xxx

Monday, 27 August 2012


Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

I think we take for granted sometimes the truth of this very first sentence of the Bible, instead seeing it as a broad-brushed overview; "...the heavens and the earth." Yeah, okay, that means everything...I get that! This is something we're taught, something we know, but when you break it down and look deeply into that fact, it's a little overwhelming.

Edward Hindson & Edward Dobson write; "God created everything that exists - every molecule - from the smallest single-cell animal to the most complex of His creatures - human beings."

Whoa! That takes it so much deeper than this feeble little mind can fathom!

God created everything...every blade of grass, every burr, every grain of sand, every hair on our heads. He created the clouds and He is the reason they don't fall out of the sky. God is the Artist behind a purple and orange sunset, or a mix of green and salmon leaves on a tree. He is even the reason we just plain don't fall off the ROUND planet we live on!

It's even more overwhelming when I think of the complexity of how things are put together and just how amazing God's attention to detail is. I don't get to see the molecules with my naked eye, but that doesn't mean they're not still there. They are, and God is aware of them, because He created them, along with the intricate makeup and workings of everything. I don't see every day the dust mites that invade my home - and that's probably a good thing, otherwise I might be frightening aware of just how many there are! - but they are there and made up of all their body parts in the right order doing the job they were created to do.

God's got His hand on the existence and workings of it all.

I have a printer and a computer and for the life of me my mind cannot work out how what I have on the screen of my computer can travel down a little cable and come out of my printer onto a sheet of paper. Or how the information from my phone can travel along a USB thingy to my laptop. But God knows all about it and how it works and why it works because He is in control of even that. He put the idea and the formation of that idea into reality into the head of someone and gave them the ability to make it happen.

We talk in general terms about how big God is, but God is bigger than we can even imagine. Louis Gigglio gave a talk a couple of years back at the Hillsong Colour Conference (2008) and he spoke on the universe...God's universe. He used pictures to show how small we really are in comparison to some of the stars and planets out there...our minds really can't fathom the enormity of it, nor can we often understand our place in it. However, to God, our place is right with Him. Not at the end of some long, endless line formed according to size. Not at the back of a crowd gathered according to our importance in the world - phew, coz I'd been soooo far at the back! Our place is right with God as a priority, as a desire, as a target of a deep affection and longing for intimacy.

We can apply this overwhelming knowledge to our lives today by remembering two things;
* Firstly, God created us.
* Secondly, God is on control.

Everything about each of us is how God chose us to be. I remember years ago when the realisation hit me that when I loathe something about myself I am loathing God's creation, and every suggesting that God made a mistake. But He doesn't make mistakes, and amazingly enough, God longs for me....for all of us. He longs for a relationship with us...little 'ole insignificant us. We are being pursued by the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Wow!

And when I find myself in a situation that feels out of control I need to remember God is in control. God's power of creation is over everything, even the little things that go unnoticed by the naked eye. A lesson in that fact for all of us is not to take things - anything for granted. Nothing on this earth just happens to be was all created...

...for a purpose... God!

That includes you, you know!!!

Let's pray...
Mighty Father,
Thank You for showing us that no matter how big or scary the world can seem sometimes, filled with things we don't understand, You are always there to hold our hands through the darkest dark and the most uncertain of uncertainties. With You we are never alone, and we never need feel afraid or abandoned. Father, thank You that even if there are days when nothing seems to make sense, the one thing we can rely on is Your love for us, and Your attention to every detail of our lives, and of this universe. And because of that knowledge, we don't need to worry about anything. In Jesus' Name, amen.

Thursday, 23 August 2012


According to His many of us forget that part in our prayer life?

In a recent sermon at church on the book of John, the question was posed; How many of us think on Jesus as a Genie, here only to grant our every wish?

Prayer, of course, takes on many forms, including prayer for whatever happens to be needed or desired at any particular time. Restored health for ourselves or a loved one, a financial blessing - over and above enough in some cases. And when we're not getting what we want and it seems our prayers aren't being answered, it becomes common practice to get frustrated and begin to question. Some people even turn away from God, blaming God for what they see as non-deliverance on their prayers, and even accusing Him of not caring.

The prayer of Jabez, for example, is all too often wielded as a Biblical magic wand to be waved around when a new boat, car, holiday, house, or piece of land is desired. This is a common example of a good and just passage of the Bible, in some instances, being completely taken out of context and twisted to suit greedy materialistic thinking.

The prayer of Jabez goes like this (1 Chronicles 4:10); "Jabez cried out to the Lord of Israel, 'Oh that You would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.' And God granted his request."

You know, in all of this we have a part to play as well. God isn't just here to be at our beck and call. And yet, how often do we think on Him in exactly that way? This prayer that Jabez prayed could have come from anyone; a believer, a non-believer, an upstanding citizen, a murderer, a teenager, or an old man. And based on the books, thoughts, and interpretations written about this prayer by dozens and dozens of people it seems almost as if it's encouraging us to pray like this; ask God and He will give it to you...the Bible says so!


...Yeah, you knew it was coming. But, what is so often overlooked in this passage from 1 Chronicles 4 is verse 9. The materialistic focus stays only on verse 10 and the fact that it is written that Jabez asked and God granted. But verse 9 says this; "Jabez was more honourable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, 'I gave birth to him in pain.'" (Underline added by me.)

Jabez was honourable...that was his part to play, and he played it. It's the role set out for us all! Perhaps if the person making this request was not like Jabez, even if it was one of his not-so-honourable brothers, the outcome would have been vastly different. Jabez had the right motivation, an attitude that began with his very life and how he lived it, and which flowed into his prayer life. James puts it plainly (James 4:2-3); "You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."

How are our motives stacked up, I wonder? There's a lesson in that for all of us, for two important reasons...

*2nd - (Yes, I'm starting with the second thought!) We can keep in mind that whilst it is encouraged that we pray to God for the things we want, need, or desire, how dare we do that very thing if we are not prepared to do our part? It's like a teenager praying for good exam results but with no intention of studying. Or saying to a friend; "Do this for me and I'll do nothing for you in return." Doesn't seem fair, does it?

*1st - And most importantly, we need to always pray ACCORDING TO HIS WILL!! People forget the according to His will part. Greg Laurie (an American Pastor) said in a podcast on prayer that (and I'm paraphrasing) it is true that the Bible says "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will open to you. For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door will be opened." (Matt. 7:7-8), but if two or three more people are gathered and asking for something completely stupid God is NOT going to grant that request - because it would not be according to His will! It would, most likely, not be God's will that our neighbours cows burst into flames! It was not God's will that the Apostle Paul be healed of his affliction (2 Corinthians 12: 7-9a); "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.'"

So we can sit around all we like, thinking of all the things we think we deserve, or have earned because we are good Christians, or a good parent, or have had a hard life, but whatever comes our way will do so only according to God's will.

And His timing! Psalm 27:14 says; "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." I think this especially applies when we are facing health issues, those of our own or of a loved one. It's so hard sometimes to wait on the Lord, when all we want is for the pain to stop, or when we want a loved one to live, despite debilitating pain caused from terminal illness. I know many people who have lost a family member or close friend and all they wonder is why God allowed this. Sometimes there is no answer to that...there is only faith. Faith is not having the answer to that question but KNOWING that God knows what He's doing.


In everything...

Let's pray...
Dear Lord,
Sometimes we just don't have the answers. Sometimes the questions mount up until we feel buried by them. Lord, I ask that Your Spirit continues to be our source of comfort and knowing that in You we can always trust, even when nothing else makes sense. Remind us that our faith in You will not go unrewarded, and that no matter what trials or challenges come our way, Your arms of protection are always there to guide us onward and catch us if we fall. In Jesus' Name, we thank You, amen.

Sunday, 19 August 2012



Each decision has its consequences - that is, the things that follow as a natural result or logical conclusion. That's the technical description of it, at least. In layman terms whatever we do will bring about either positive or negative results and followups. We must all sit down at the banquet of consequence, or in the Biblical phrase from Galatians 6:7 - "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." (Underline added by me.)

Jesus, on a number of occasions, warned people that what they seek now will determine their future;
- The pursuit of personal pleasure tends to end in a kind of frustrated lack of satisfaction.
- The pursuit of personal wealth is a kind of endless wheel that spins on and on, until it controls us.
- The pursuit of persona; glory in sport, leadership, ministry even, or some other human endeavour, is usually short-lived and where do we go then?

John Wesley recognised that worldliness was an insidious master. "Whatever cools my affection for Christ, is of this world." Amen to that!!!

If we value the heaven God offers us, we will go after it. If we value other things more, we will ignore, or down-grade what God offers - and then we will end up missing it - forever!

What a horrifying thought!

Let's pray...
Father God,
We so easily get caught up in here and now, when You call us to think on all that is to come. You have told us that what we can see is only temporary. Father, we need Your help to see this great difference and to expend our energy, thought, and time thinking on Your revelation about the hereafter. Lord, may we prepare for it with full-hearted awareness of all that is offered through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, 18 August 2012


Years ago, in the early 90's, I was doing a writing workshop. Ahhhh, there are some good memories still lingering about those days. I learnt a lot about the type of writer I wanted to be, and about the kind I DID NOT want to be. Of course, even what I wanted at that time has changed because now I just want to write for God.

But one thing we were taught in this workshop, that has stuck with me all these years, was how to K.I.S.S.! Sounds dubious, doesn't it?

Keep It Simple Stupid...that's how to K.I.S.S.

Sidney Sheldon knew how to K.I.S.S. as a writer...James Patterson knew it...Chaucer - hmmm, not so much! Keeping it simple...yeah, it's a good guide to write by, I was taught.

In actual fact, it's a good standard to live by too, because really, don't we human beings know how to complicate things? Oh my gosh, I do! I was talking to a friend from church this morning, over coffee, about this very thing. We're not all designed with minds that can absorb the ins and outs of theology or Biblical customs. I know I'm not - my brain is just not put together that way! As much as I love it - I love the old language, the history, the customs...I have books, and books, and BOOKS on it all - but for me it's such hard work to understand and absorb - it's like homework in overload!!! A fellow blog writer I read often writes to most amazing articles, but it does take me a few goes through to get it all straight in my mind, because - well, my brain is just not put together that way! :-) It's actually hard work, but in both respects (the blog and Biblical history) I plod along regardless, because I am interested.

Whilst none of this extra curricular learning is a bad thing, God never meant the fundamentals of our Christian walk to be that hard. He never meant for ALL of us to be put together that way. I confess, sometimes I wish I could grasp the theological/historical side of it with the ease that some do. And it's fair enough for me to enjoy learning these finer theological aspects of the Bible and Christianity, but not at the cost of the ground-floor truth - that truth is...
* ...that God loves me.
* ...that Jesus died on the cross for me, that I might be saved through belief in Him, and acceptance of His Salvation, and therefore have eternal life.
* ...that Jesus rose again.
I remember writing these very Christianity basics to a Jehovah's Witness penfriend I had years ago. Her response to that, from the J.W. mindset of having to earn your way into heaven, was, "It cannot be that simple." But, it IS that simple! It is!!

A few weeks ago one of our weekly Bible study members said in regard to the 1John study we are currently doing - "When first saved ALL I knew was that Jesus loved me and through Him I have eternal life." Now that is amazing! That's ALL we need to know. 1John 2:24-25 reads; "See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what He promised us - even eternal life." (Underline added by me.)
* Remember what God has done.
* Remember that God keeps His promises.
* Remember that if we are burdened, God will help us.

What follows from that is all bonus material, I believe, icing on the cake of Salvation. This Christian walk is meant to be a journey of growth, and we will all learn things along the way. But what we learn will vary, and our rate of learning will differ from one another - sometimes greatly, and thank goodness for that because I would be left so far behind otherwise! But in the end none of that matters when we stay grounded in the truth of our Salvation. John 6:28-29 says; "Then they asked Him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent."" (Underline added by me.) Later on, in Revelation, Jesus rebukes the church at Ephesus on this very thing (Rev. 2:4); "Yet I hold this against you; You have forsaken your first love."

The further we travel into our Christian journey do we also forget our first love - Christ? Remember when you were first saved, how that felt, how it was all about Jesus? You couldn't get enough of Him...nothing else mattered! What has become of that heartfelt enthusiasm in most of us? I know I have lost sight of that at times - I've been so caught up in doing this or that under the motivation of being a good Christian, but forgetting about having time with Christ, in His presence, in His Spirit. "Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10a) That's pretty simple, isn't it? Be this modern technology age, with so many things distracting our very minds, it's hard to just be physically AND mentally still, isn't it? But we need to be, especially if we want to hear the soft and gentle whisper of our God.

Let's pray...
Loving Heavenly Father,
We praise Your glorious Name, and honour Your majesty. Lord, forgive us for times when we are too busy complicating our lives to even notice You - our God who wants to free us from burden and complication. Remind us through Your Spirit to be still in Your presence, and know that You are God - our God who loves us and desires time and a relationship with us, and desires also to make our lives simple and enjoyable. Your will for us is NOT complicated! Praise You, oh Lord. In Jesus' Precious Name, amen.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012


How many of us read the instructions...really? On anything?

I remember many years ago when I got my first ever computer - it came with two LARGE instruction manuals which my husband told me I was to read thoroughly before I even touched this new toy I had that was all set up on the desk and calling to me in seductive tones. Was I going to read those two BIG books? I don't think so! A heated exchange followed, which I won - sort of - but the point is, reading those two books, which might as well have been in Greek for all I understood of what I did read anyway, seemed like WAY TOO MUCH hard work, when what I really wanted to do was play! :-) I suffered for it! I deleted stuff I shouldn't have, had no idea how to retrieve anything, and took the long way around finding out how to do this or that. I struggled, and yes, I cried. But did I learn my lesson?! *bows head in shame* I'm still not good at reading the instructions.

Some instructions are just plain stupid! Have you noticed that? There's a well known kitchen cleaner on the market, which I won't name lest I get myself sued, but the commercial for this cleaner shows a woman using it to clean a rather filthy stove. This cleaner wipes away the grime in one easy sweep leaving a trail of sparkling clean behind it. It all looks so promising, until you read the instructions on the back of the bottle. The first one reads; "Clean surface thoroughly before use." Uhm...really?? Okay, but doesn't that sound a little contradictory to the products very purpose?

Imagine if that was how it had to be for us before we could come to God. "Clean up your act before presenting yourself before Me!" Oh boy, there would be no hope for any of us. I know in some areas of my life there is still a grimy mess. Oh, but I am so glad I didn't have to clean up first, before I invited Jesus in. He is a considerate and gentle resident and He cleans up for me. He's thrown out a lot of stuff that shouldn't be in His temple, and there is peace there now that was absent before.

Our Bibles, God's Love Letter to us, His Instruction Manual...what a gift that is, one which should be opened and used every day. I am blessed to have a Bible that once belonged to my Great-Great-Grandfather, gifted to him by a dear friend in 1877. It's a little Bible, what would today be termed 'pocket-sized', with a brass clasp and brass edging around the gold embossed covers. The pages are edged in gold and there are beautiful colourful pictures throughout. The Bible is falling apart! There are loose pages, some curled and worn at the edges. After showing it to a friend from church, he suggested to me that I could have it restored to it's former glory. But no! That former glory in no way compares to the exquisite beauty I see in it now, in its worn and well-read state. My G-G-Grandfather must have loved this Bible, and read it a LOT, and I love holding in my hands what remains of this man's faithful obedience to God.

Psalm 12:6 says; "And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times." If we adhere to God's Word we will not be led astray by false advertising and shifty instruction. We can also be assured it will never go out of date, because the instructions within apply as much today as they did when first penned. Hebrews 4:12a says; "For the word of God is living and active."

And Dear Reader, test everything you hear or read, even from other Christians, against the truth of God's Word, because THAT is one thing we can rely on fully, whereas people we cannot. I read something recently written by a Christian man that was so sadly wrong...very, very wrong! Go back to the Bible on everything, because God and His Word WILL NOT lead us astray.

Let's Pray...
Heavenly Father, Trustworthy God,
Thank You for the Bible, for Your Word and its instruction in our lives to make our way straight and easier. Thank You that in You we know we can always put our trust and a world so full of uncertainty, lies, deceptions, and abuse, it is a comfort and security to know that in You we can so fully and unabashedly trust. Lord, burden our hearts to go to Your Word and guidance every day, and through that Word, Lord, I ask that You reveal to us all You want us to known and learn. In Jesus' Mighty Name I ask these things, amen.

NEW MEMBER - Meet 'n' Greet...

How exciting...two new members!!! A huge welcome and thank you to Rachel and Michael. It's such a blessing to have you on board. Thank you so much for your interest, and God bless you in everything you do according to His will.

Love Toni xxx

P.S. Comments and discussion on any of my posts is most welcome, and encouraged.

Sunday, 12 August 2012


WHAT DO YOUR ACTIONS SAY ABOUT WHO YOU ARE? In an article recently written for a friend's (Navjot) blog, I posed the question; "How is a Christian supposed to live and act and speak?", and suggested in answer to that, that a firm foundational beginning was LOVE, as exampled by the life of Jesus Christ. This can be looked at further...Love as an action, as a basis and motivation for all we do. Love for God, love for Jesus, love for others, and for ourselves. It's a beautiful and rewarding place to begin and continues as the perfect fuel source for all our actions. But how detrimental are the situations where the actions fail to measure up to the words? We all know of people who have been turned off church and 'religion' (and sometimes God, sadly) by a Christian not walking the walk. I was speaking to a man today about that very thing. People wear crosses around their necks, have the Jesus fish on their car and ritually attend church every Sunday, and on the surface the first thought is CHRISTIAN. But with mediums like Facebook and Twitter, and any number of other platforms for fraud, all of us are aware, surely, of how easy it is to fabricate a truth in a way so believable it may never be revealed. What is spoken of as truth can be as far from that as possible, limited only by one's creative imagination and another's naivety. For many years I was a Character Writer. For those of you who don't know, it's much like Role Playing, only on paper. Each writer assumes a fictional identity of their own creation and a correspondence is begun. The storyline builds and is reliant on the imaginational input of another writer. I did this form of writing with a girl (Jennifer) from Texas for about three years. For the first six months of this writing journey all I knew her as was a terminally ill French woman from a year somewhere in the 1800's, and Jennifer knew me only as a 25yr old biker who died in 1955. Now, in this case the fiction was evident. But there are many times in real life when it is not! If I was to stand before you wearing a Karate Gi, cinched at the waist by a black belt would you presume I was a martial arts master? If I had a tennis racket and sweat bands would I pass as mixed doubles partner to Rafael Nadal? (I wish!!!) Holding a Gibson guitar, even with Phil Collen or Santana in tow, wouldn't make me a guitar player any more than wielding a machete or crossbow would make me a weaponry expert. A potential maniac perhaps! I think I'd be in a world of trouble if any of these was how I presented myself, and then I had to prove it with actions! Words are all well and good, sweet to the ear even, but they amount to little more than lip-service when they come without the backing of our actions. Often enough in the past I have been told (and fooled by) the things I wanted to hear. Well articulated words that sounded so good at the time, but which fell to nothing when it came time to back them up. How many of us, honestly, have encountered Christians even, who, based on their words and Sunday activities alone have led us to believe wrongly in the depth of their Christian walk? When I was newly returned to the fold of the church, about ten years ago, I encountered a situation where I saw a side of a Christian man outside the walls of the church building that, at the time, was disillusioning to this 'new Christian'. To this day I am thankful I have a mother I can go to for right Spiritual guiding. It can be confusing, even to seasoned Christians, to know what is right and wrong behaviour for Christians. Some things are obviously wrong, like stealing, murder, adultery. What about the fine-lines? I know the well known question 'What Would Jesus Do?' (WWJD) has seen many quandaries more easily answered for me. Would Jesus sit and watch that movie with me? Would Jesus listen to that song? Would Jesus blow off Bible study because the tennis was on? At the 2008 Hillsong Colour Conference in Sydney, Priscilla Shirer used a similar thought process. Would we do things differently if we knew Jesus was right there with us? Well, He is, you know. Would we rethink taking just one bottle of soft drink from work without paying? Or taking ten minutes more on our lunch break than we know we should? If I'm telling people I'm a Christian, they are not going to believe me if I then say it's all right to gossip about someone from church or craft group? It's not all right! And even if we're convincing them and ourselves, we are NOT convincing God! So, in our Christian walk, by way of our desire to be honouring and obedient to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, let's walk as He did. Let's love like He does. Let's be a truthful and unquestionable example to those God places in our path. Because as one statement I recently heard reveals, WE may be the only BIBLE that person ever sees. Hugs ~ Jeanne.


Emotionally I crash on a regular basis. When the crisis has passed I often realise it's quite an unreasonable reaction - just DON'T tell me that at the time!!

There are any number of things that can cause this...things like plumbing, faulty wiring, big-bad-meanie business people...did I mention plumbing??? Things that are beyond my control-freakish abilities.

My fob-off to these often irrational emotional crashes has always been; "I don't handle stress well." The truth of that is actually two-fold. I DON'T handle stress that involves me or my family...or plumbing. Other people's stress?...well, I can be an in-control tower of strength with words of comfort, but when it comes home to nest that's a whole other story. You see, when it happens to other people there is a cut off - a point where it no longer travels with you, where you can leave it behind, cast a thought to it once in a while, pray, but for the most part you don't have to think about it 24/7. Home-front challenges are a little different though.

I worked as a Barista for a well known coffee franchise in Sydney, and like most we were understaffed and overworked. I had no problem dealing with grinders that wouldn't grind, dishwashers that wouldn't wash, delivery men that wouldn't deliver, and less than motivated staff. But at the end of the day I wasn't the boss so if it didn't get sorted on my watch it wasn't my problem. However when the issues became personal and were unable to be walked away from - when they became mine and the gap between them and me narrowed considerably, that's when I was in need of a place to crash land!

I've learnt recently that Jesus stands in the gap between me and difficulty...whatever form that takes on. Matthew 11:28-30 says; "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Rest for our souls! What a sweet thought, because sometimes our very souls can become so heavy with the burdens of life. A woman I know recently endured the heart wrenching care of her mother with cancer, and her subsequent death. Another close friend is supporting her husband who had just lost his mother. Yet another friend has just been diagnosed with a brain tumour. Even I have recently journeyed through uncertain darkness as two of my brothers went through open heart surgery - praise God both are recovered and well again.

EVERYONE is facing SOMETHING. Health issues, financial struggles, mental illnesses, addictions, emotionally/spiritually/physically lost children...the list of burdens goes on.

Our souls are depleted.

Our souls are in desperate need.

Jesus promises to be our rest, our safe place, our comfort corner somewhere, and our shoulder to cry on. So, I know I can still emotionally crash from time to time, because no matter how imbalanced or out of control that may happen, Jesus is in the gap between me and complete emotional detriment. Deuteronomy 33:17a says; "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." This is one of my 82yr old mother's favourite comfort verses - and she's been through a LOT!

I think for me, at this time in my life, I am drawing deeper on that comfort which comes only from Jesus. As my understanding grows I can see amazing, heart-hugging ways in which Jesus is the Lover of my soul, and interested in me, even when I am needlessly wigging out! I think back on how many times I looked in the wrong directions in the hopes of someone taking an interest in me, in who I am, in what I like, in all the quirks that make up ME, and even in the things that cause me to sometimes be an emotional basket-case...and I was always disappointed.

In Jesus there is no disappointment.

There was a time when I knew of Jesus, knew He was there but I had no idea what it meant to have a personal relationship with Him. It always seemed like something you had to be a priest or a nun to grasp, or there had to be an astounding understanding of the Bible in order to be worthy of this intimacy. But that's not so. This is a freely offered gift for anyone who wants to accept it.

Hope comes from Jesus because without Him none of us would see Heaven. None of us would be worthy of being in the presence of God, because under our own abilities and without Salvation we are too tainted and tarnished for the eyes of God.

Comfort comes from Jesus because as flesh He experienced all the things we will, in order to empathise with us in our lives. We can draw comfort from that because He knows, He experienced and truly understands the things we face in our day to day life, and through Him we have the means to cope and overcome. There is astounding comfort in a King who fights for us, intercedes for us, and campaigns for us. There is astounding comfort in knowing we can bring everything to Him and be restored and healed and encouraged onward.

As we grow to understand who Jesus truly is; the Son of God, God Himself, King of kings and Lord of lords, a sacrificial Offering of Innocence for sin, a Redeemer, a Saviour, a Friend, we are then able to truly grasp our own worth to Him. That He would be all this, and willingly so, for the lost and lonely, the sinful and undeserving of this world...our King loves us that much! He spread His arms and died!

Our part to play all this is by turning to Jesus in everything - though every up or down, every joy or sadness, through every emotional melt-down, reasonable or not!...He'll soon set us straight about that too, be assured! By realising that we can hide nothing from Him anyway, and that going to our Lord in truth and repentance is freeing beyond imagination. Joyce Meyer writes; "Secrets keep you in prison!" So true.

We can remember also, that seeking Jesus daily will bless us with a deeper relationship with Him, greater than we could fathom or ever hope for with anyone else. There is no one who will understand any of us more intimately, who is more interested in us than He is, or who loves us more unconditionally as Jesus does, and pursues us with an unfathomable passion and desire.

Why would anyone NOT surrender to that?

What better place to crash land when our worlds spiral out of control?

Our wonderful and Passionate King, Jesus,
Thank You for Your abounding love and comfort, for being our Hope, for Your sustaining desire for us. Thank You that in You we are worthy of eternity, and because of You we are saved and redeemed. You paid a price You did not owe because we were incapable of paying our debt. Jesus, our Lord, thank You for all the ways in which You have pursued us, and we ask You please to never let us go. In Your awesome and beautiful Name, amen.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


...You are Almighty God, worthy of our praise and glory, of our honour, service and obedience. Lord, may we - as we greet each new day, and at the close of every day - come before Your Throne of Grace in reverence of You - our Glorious Creator.

...that You continue to renew, rebuild, strengthen and make our families whole. Whole in body, spirit and mind - giving us the ability to operate fully with use of all facilities, limbs, and the guiding light of the Holy Spirit.

...that we can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us. And that in all things we can precede in the confidence that You equip us with all we need to honour You in willing obedience to Your will.

...that in Your eyes love is never absent. In Your heart forgiveness is never impossible. In Your embrace no one is ever alone or forgotten. In Your care none are lost or abandoned. I am thankful that You are never too busy eleswhere to attend to our need and desire to be with You.

...thank You for the perfect peace we can know in You - a peace that surpasses all human understanding. We are so blessed to know You personally - to have an intimate RELATIONSHIP with You - the Creator of all things.

...forgive us for our sins - past, present, future, and unknown. Help us to learn to love like You - UNCONDITIONALLY. Keep us strong in You, that we may be protected from the temptations of the world and Satan's lure.

...I ask abundant blessing upon all who read this. Draw them ever closer into Your loving care and embrace. In Jesus' Precious Name, amen.

NEW MEMBER - Meet 'n' Greet...

A warm and heartfelt welcome to Victor, our new member. It's an honour to have you on board, and I pray you are blessed in your day and your life.

- Toni

Monday, 6 August 2012


I stopped in at the Doctor's Surgery this morning to run an errand for mum, and was greeted very pleasantly with "Good morning Francis, how are you?" Now, you'll all see that my Christian name isn't Francis - Francis is my surname, though this confusion has come about many times before. It's one of the outcomes of having a first name for a surname. Then of course I am known by most as Toni - a boy's name (though NOT boys spelling), and I can't tell you how many people on Twitter have thought I was a man!

I have many names, in fact...

A Christian name - -

A second name - -

A nickname - -

A married name - -

And two...yes TWO maiden names - - trust me on that because it's way too complicated to explain!

My initials read like an eye chart!!

And then there are those who see the spelling of JEANNE (pronounced like Genie in a bottle) and can't wrap their minds around that, so I have been referred to by names such as Janine, Dianne, and Leanne. It doesn't bother me - not anymore. I confess it used to, but it actually makes for a good conversation opener.

And in the end, the ONLY name that matters is the Name of God!

Edward Hindson, D.Phil. and Edward Dobson, Ed.D. write;
Jesus personifies the Living Word from God Himself. He is the Word made flesh, the Name above all names. For many the Name of Jesus brings extraordinary comfort and hope. But others use His Name to express anger, amazement or disgust; to them it is no more than a convenient expletive. The Name that is like no other stirs conflicting emotions in those who hear it, because Jesus is more than just a religious leader and teacher. He is more than simply a figure in history. He is more than merely a moral influence. Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

I am learning to think on the Lord's Name with more respect and honour than ever before, rather than using it as even a seemingly harmless exclamation. I read once that in Biblical days a person's name held a deep meaning and revealed so much about who they were. Names were chosen based on their meaning and what they would go on to say about the person it was bestowed upon. Many times in the Bible God changed a person's name according to a crucial change in their life; like Paul who was renamed from Saul after encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-9).

Even today, choosing a name for a new baby is a big deal. My eldest son has the names of 3 Saints. My second son is named after his father. My daughter has an unusual second name that I fell in love with 7yrs before she was even born. The right name for my youngest son wasn't settled upon until he was half an hour old.

Now think of this, what if, instead of crying out the Lord's name when we kick our toe - rather than using a swear word - someone cried out the name of one of our children?  "Oh John Smith, damn and blast, that hurt!"

I don't think I'd like that very much....would you?

Does God - when His Son's Name is blasphemed?

When it comes to the Names of God we need to be more aware of our use of them, and seek deeper understanding and respect for the Names of our God and Creator. Most people were raised knowing it's discourteous to use the Lord's Names as curse words, but the use of His Name as an exclamation of any sort is disrespectful, including those of joy. This came as an awakening for me. More reverence and honour needs to be given to the Name of God, at all times! It cannot be a case of respect and honour one day, and complacency and casualness the next. God is deserving of honour at all times. We don't want to be so caught up in being friendly with God that we overlook worshipping Him and bowing before Him in complete surrender and obedience to His will.

There is a young man I know who is certainly on fire for God - no doubt about that, but he continually refers to God as "The Big G", or "The Man Upstairs", and he speaks of Jesus as "The J-Man". I saw on Twitter recently someone referring to Jesus as "My Homie".

We need to be cautious, attuned to what's in a name, especially when that Name is that of our Saviour, our Creator, our King, our God. As Christians even more so, we need to be the examples in every area of our walk, including in our words and how we speak them.

In Jesus' Name - what power those three words hold. John 16:24, Acts 4:12, Romans 10:13, Colossians 3:17...just some of the passages declaring the reverence of the Name of Jesus. Philippians 2:9-11 says; Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Loving Father, Mighty King,
We praise Your Name! None will know the true majesty of Your Name until we stand before You in glory. Father, place a burden on our hearts to come more and more before You in praise and worship, honour and come into Your throne room and bow before You as You deserve. You are our Loving Father, our Gentle and Tender King, but You are also our Creator, the Beginning and the End, and we worship You. In Jesus' Precious Name, amen.