29 December 2007

The Road to Emmaus

Very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, carrying the spices that they had prepared. When they found the stone rolled away from the entrance, they went in. But they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus, and they did not know what to think. Suddenly two men in shining white clothes stood beside them. The women were afraid and bowed to the ground. But the men said, "Why are you looking in the place of the dead for someone who is alive? Jesus isn't here! He has been raised from death. Remember that while he was still in Galilee, he told you, 'The Son of Man will be handed over to sinners who will nail him to a cross. But three days later he will rise to life.' " Then they remembered what Jesus had said.

Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and some other women were the ones who had gone to the tomb. When they returned, they told the eleven apostles and the others what had happened. The apostles thought it was all nonsense, and they would not believe. But Peter ran to the tomb. And when he stooped down and looked in, he saw only the burial clothes. Then he returned, wondering what had happened.

That same day two of Jesus' disciples were going to the village of Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. As they were talking and thinking about what had happened, Jesus came near and started walking along beside them. But they did not know who he was.

Jesus asked them, "What were you talking about as you walked along?"

The two of them stood there looking sad and gloomy. Then the one named Cleopas asked Jesus, "Are you the only person from Jerusalem who didn't know what was happening there these last few days?"

"What do you mean?" Jesus asked.

They answered: Those things that happened to Jesus from Nazareth. By what he did and said he showed that he was a powerful prophet, who pleased God and all the people. Then the chief priests and our leaders had him arrested and sentenced to die on a cross. We had hoped that he would be the one to set Israel free! But it has already been three days since all this happened. Some women in our group surprised us. They had gone to the tomb early in the morning, but did not find the body of Jesus. They came back, saying that they had seen a vision of angels who told them that he is alive. Some men from our group went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said. But they didn't see Jesus either.

Then Jesus asked the two disciples, "Why can't you understand? How can you be so slow to believe all that the prophets said? Didn't you know that the Messiah would have to suffer before he was given his glory?" Jesus then explained everything written about himself in the Scriptures, beginning with the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets.

When the two of them came near the village where they were going, Jesus seemed to be going farther. They begged him, "Stay with us! It's already late, and the sun is going down." So Jesus went into the house to stay with them. After Jesus sat down to eat, he took some bread. He blessed it and broke it. Then he gave it to them. At once they knew who he was, but he disappeared.

They said to each other, "When he talked with us along the road and explained the Scriptures to us, didn't it warm our hearts?" So they got right up and returned to Jerusalem. The two disciples found the eleven apostles and the others gathered together.
Luke 24:1-33 (bolding mine)

At first glance, these guys seem a bit clueless. But stop and think about it:
  • They'd never seen anything like this before
  • Everyone else expected the same things
  • They were living in the physical world, and subject to the same problem almost everyone who lives here suffers - a tendency to expect physical results
Do you think maybe you suffer from the exact same tendency? I know I do. I pray for healing and feel sad that my cold is still with me - and miss that God's healed me of a years-old hurt that was affecting how I reacted to everyone. I pray for a new job and get upset that God hasn't delivered the one I want, ignoring that he's given me a new ministry. I consistently get confused between the short-lived physical world and the far more important, eternal world. My values get hopelessly mixed up.

So what do we do if we do suffer the same tendencies as those disciples heading for Emmaus?

How about talking to Jesus, and asking for an eye-opener?


28 December 2007


Christmas has been a good opportunity to slow down, relax, and think a bit.

I hope you're managing something similar. Bless you! :-)


20 December 2007

Not Very Feminine?

Do you ever feel as though you're not very feminine? Have you ever been told that this is a problem - either biblically, or relationally, or just because it's not right? Do you think this is right? What is God's idea of femininity?

The Creation

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

The Job Description
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31:10-31

Women Around Jesus
There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
Matthew 27:55-56

Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.
Luke 8:1-3

I think it's important to note that the bible actually says very little about 'femininity'. I can think of no attributes given to christian women that are not also given to christian men and/or Jesus himself. The inner 'feminine' and 'masculine' attributes we hear today were largely created in the western world during the Renaissance and Industrial Revolution, when the physical differences between men and women became less important (financially) than they had been in previous generations.

Are there cultural standards of masculinity and femininity? Yes, although they're rapidly disintegrating. Are there biblical standards of masculinity and femininity? Perhaps - but these have very little to do with dress code, social etiquette (aka 'acting like a lady') and personality traits.


18 December 2007

Recipe - Christmas Cookies


1 cup of brown sugar
250g of margarine (I use Nuttelex)
2 cups of plain flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 cup of chocolate chips (I use dark chocolate - Aldi have some lovely no-dairy dark chocolate chips at the moment, which are as rare as hen's teeth!)
1/2 cup of glace cherries, chopped (red and green for the 'proper' festive touch)
1 tsp of vanilla essence
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1/2 tsp of cloves (finely ground)


Cream the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add everything else and mix thoroughly. Either roll out to about 1cm thick and cut shapes, or roll into balls and flatten with hands to about 1cm thick. Widely space on a baking tray (greased or covered in baking paper) and bake for 10-15 minutes at 200C (until golden brown on top).

17 December 2007

Art 101 - Tom Roberts

For something a bit different, I thought I'd have a look at an Australian artist. See Wikipedia's article for information about Tom Roberts.

The Big Picture (Opening of the First Parliament)

Mosman Bay

I have a bit of a soft spot for this next painting - it's based on a farm near Brocklesby, very close to where I grew up. I suspect that's the town's only claim to fame!

Shearing the Rams

16 December 2007

My Utmost for His Highest - Dec 15

Apologies for the silence, people. I've been running around like a chook with its head cut off - although that's got little to do with christmas! That's practically sorted.

This entry in My Utmost for His Highest really struck me yesterday:

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth —2 Timothy 2:15

If you cannot express yourself well on each of your beliefs, work and study until you can. If you don’t, other people may miss out on the blessings that come from knowing the truth. Strive to re-express a truth of God to yourself clearly and understandably, and God will use that same explanation when you share it with someone else. But you must be willing to go through God’s winepress where the grapes are crushed. You must struggle, experiment, and rehearse your words to express God’s truth clearly. Then the time will come when that very expression will become God’s wine of strength to someone else. But if you are not diligent and say, "I’m not going to study and struggle to express this truth in my own words; I’ll just borrow my words from someone else," then the words will be of no value to you or to others. Try to state to yourself what you believe to be the absolute truth of God, and you will be allowing God the opportunity to pass it on through you to someone else.

Always make it a practice to stir your own mind thoroughly to think through what you have easily believed. Your position is not really yours until you make it yours through suffering and study. The author or speaker from whom you learn the most is not the one who teaches you something you didn’t know before, but the one who helps you take a truth with which you have quietly struggled, give it expression, and speak it clearly and boldly.

11 December 2007

After the Show is Over

I saw a link to this article at Jesus The Radical Pastor. And I thought to myself, "this I gotta pass on."

Sally Morgenthaler writes about the Church and where it's going by using the example of an ordinary-but-not-so-ordinary woman named Laurel. And she raises the question - what traditionally feminine attributes are needed here and now? Have a look. It's well worth the read (and the thinking afterwards).

Laurel’s field of choices and her effectiveness as a result of those choices are conspicuously off the radar in current discussions about women and leadership in the Church. Could it be that women have spent so long trying to climb the ladder inside old church and leadership systems that the very questions they’re asking about gender equality, opportunity, and power are stuck? Perhaps the real questions go more like this: what does it mean to seek biblical [equality] if the Church itself is no longer functioning in biblical ways? What does it mean for women to pursue the full use of their gifts in the Church if western Christianity has lost its missional purpose? What does it mean to hitch ones’ star to the Christian status quo, especially if that status quo is a narcissistic, capitalistic perversion of the Gospel? In summary, what does it really mean for a woman to be released into her potential, to be trusted with a ministry role, or to secure a salaried ministry position only to find that, for all her new-found freedom, authority, and seeming equality, she is only rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic?
Read the whole article here - After the Show is Over: The Rise of the Feminine in the Postmodern Turn


10 December 2007

Practicing the Presence of God - pt 5

He said that as far as the miseries and sins he heard of daily in the world, he was so far from wondering at them, that, on the contrary, he was surprised there were not more considering the malice sinners were capable of. For his part, he prayed for them. But knowing that God could remedy the mischief they did when He pleased, he gave himself no further trouble.

I find myself partly agreeing with Brother Lawrence, and partly disagreeing vehemently. There's almost a sense of 'leave the world to its own problems' in this quote that I find distasteful. But then, it pays to remember that he was a monk in a sheltered environment, who felt that he was called to a life out of the world.

If that's true - what can we in the world get from this bit of his teachings? It seems to me that he understood two things:
  • Sometimes all you can do is pray for people
  • We can't fix all the world's problems ourselves - our best chance of maximising our effectiveness is to faithfully follow God's leading all our lives.
That's the best we can do, I think, to help people. Pray for ourselves, pray for them, and follow God's path for us - trusting that he'll equip us to deal with whatever he wants us to do, and that he'll get someone else to do what we can't or shouldn't.


07 December 2007

Diary of a Broken Heart - pt 6

One week before surgery

I have a better idea of what to expect when it comes to the little things, now.

So, the little things. I won't be able to raise my hands above my head (thank God for wrap-around tops). I'll need a pair of non-slip slippers to wear for walks around the ward as soon as I'm capable. Oh, I wish I could remember it all. I'll try to remember to document as much as possible after the surgery. Right now I'm trying desperately to set up my laptop for use in the hospital - not for typing or internet usage (I think that'd be a bit optimistic) but to play DVDs. In Queensland, individual TVs are available in public hospitals... but they cost. So I'd prefer to take my laptop and some DVDs.


04 December 2007

Ethical Christmas Presents

If you're in Australia and looking for well-priced, guilt-free Christmas presents, have a look at these two online stores:

Both offer Fair Trade products which help people not just survive, but to work for themselves.


02 December 2007

Recipe - Baby Cake

I call this 'baby cake' because I came up with the recipe for our baby, Eli. He enjoys it!


1 cup of wholemeal flour
1/4 cup of carob powder
1/2 cup of dates, cut in half or quarters
1 ripe banana
hot water


Put the dates in a bowl, just cover with hot water. Leave to soak for 5-10 minutes. Add the banana and mash into a pulp. Add the carob powder and flour and mix well. Pour into a small tin (greased or lined with baking paper). Bake at 170C for 20-30 minutes.