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.

NEW MEMBER - Meet 'n' Greet...

A big hello and welcome to a new member, Bonnie.

Bonnie, thanks for coming on board - it's lovely to meet you and I hope you enjoy the journey. God bless - Toni xxx

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Subtle Idolatry - Idolatry non-the-less

With the Olympics currently dominating most TV households, and hearing how ensconced some are becoming, even to the cost of their Christian commitments, my heart is troubled. In the past (and sometimes even still) I have been just as consumed by my favourite sport - Tennis. And for some people (again, me included) this obsession is not just limited to sport.

At Bible study last night our Minister pointed out that hobbies, while all fine and good to pursue in moderation, are detrimental if they take over your time and life above God. See the very first line of the Ten Commandments - this must be a pretty important issue if God puts it first in His Commandments to us....
The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17 NKJV)
1“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.
2“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My Commandments.
3“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
4“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
5“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
6“You shall not murder.
7“You shall not commit adultery.
8“You shall not steal.
9“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10“You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.”

What a wake up call I've received. (I'll write about the topic of my obsession one day...but not yet!)

In the meantime;

Let's pray...

Loving Heavenly Father,
Forgive us for making gods of sport, entertainment, pleasure, eating, toys, and technology. We have lost our way, and our focus on You. Have mercy on our foolishness. I pray that this world will move from spiritual darkness and allow ourselves to be saved before it is too late. Deliver us, in Jesus' Name, from idolatry and be our Lord. We pray to give You more of our attention. Father, help us recognise the difference between Your words of wisdom and the deceit of Satan. Watch over us, keep us safe and guide all the decisions we will make today and everyday, to be honouring and glorifying to You. In Jesus' precious and mighty Name I ask these things, amen.