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Royalty, Wife, Mummy, friend, teacher, student & fitness blogger

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Bible College

Keeping the mountain in sight

So, who else can go through times of losing sight of God’s plan for them?

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During one of my lectures last week, there was a great visual illustration discussed that really nails this topic on the head.  The story goes that a missionary went to speak in a remote location in India.  When he was picked up by his host, he noticed that they were heading straight towards the biggest, most majestic mountain he’d ever laid eyes on.  He was surprised to see how close they were actually getting to the mountain as they drove along, and was quite pleased when they arrived at his hosts home and found that the bedroom that was allocated to him had a balcony that looked directly onto the mountain.

That afternoon, the missionary thoroughly enjoyed watching the sunset splash brilliant yellows, reds & oranges over the mountain as it went down behind him.  A full moon then came up and lit up the towering beauty for the evening.  He spent quite a bit of time out on his balcony (is anyone else thinking that maybe this was kinda rude to his host??  Just sayin) that afternoon & evening and certainly by the morning, he’d made up his mind… He wanted to trek to the base of the mountain that day.  He went to his host and put the suggestion forward, saying the surely he could make it to the base by lunchtime and then head back to return by dark.  His host smiled and said to him “It is a very rugged 4 day trek to the base of that mountain.”  His host went on to explain that the mountain’s sheer size made it appear far closer than it actually was, but also, out of sight between the host’s home and the base of the mountain, were several smaller mountains, and of course valleys between.

This was used as the analogy to depict what our spiritual life can often be like.  When things are going fantastically, and we’re up on a peak… we have a clear view of God’s ultimate plan for us… the majestic mountain…  but when we head toward it, we must travel down into the valleys, through hard times etc.  It’s at those times that we may not be able to see God’s ultimate plan for our lives.  We inadvertently come back up out of our particular valley, having learnt much, and once again get a birds eye view of our ‘mountain’.

Many would say “I just wish God would chopper me into the base of the mountain, that way I can skip over the heartache.”  It would seem much simpler wouldn’t it, but I firmly believe that if we were able to do that, we’d arrive and find that we were ill-equipped for what God has for us there.

It’s in those valleys, and in particular, making out way out of them, that we learn our greatest lessons, strengthening & equipping us for what’s ahead.  God’s not silly…. he knows we’re limited by out ‘humanness’.  He only equips us for the next mountain peak and no further.  This was highlighted in today’s message at church, entitled Worry vs Thankfulness.  Matthew 6:34 tells us therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.  I believe that we can allow worry to get in the way of growth.  We know that we will have struggle ahead of us, seeing as we know that’s how we learn (and of course the obvious point that we live in a very broken world), but if we spend our time worrying about what the NEXT valley, or even the next part of the valley, will be like, we risk missing our lesson… and having to do it all over again.

This illustration reminded me so much of a previous one that was in Old Testament Survey.  Talking about Cycles (lots of focus on the book of Judges…  the Israelites experience a cycle of rebellion, retribution, repentance & restoration) and how God can be bringing us through a growth stage, but if we fight against it, not learning what it is He has for us in that particular season, we can end up going back to the beginning of the ‘lesson’ so to speak.    Just like the Israelites, who managed to turn an 11 day journey into a 40yr journey.  We may not have too many ‘valleys’ between us and God’s ultimate for us, but we can be stubborn and not learn what it is He has for us, therefore ‘cycling’ around the same valley over and over again.

I know for a fact that I did this within my marriage for many many years.  Oh my goodness, there were so many things  I was doing wrong… trying to achieve things in in ‘my timeline’ and using ‘my methods’.  I thought I needed to change DH, or convince him to change.  I wasn’t drawing on God’s strength within me and I certainly wasn’t doing anything about the enemies schemes.  I would give The Lord a cursory thank you if I believed I’d achieved some victory, or beat myself up harshly when a particular valley seemed excessively deep.  It wasn’t until I fully learnt & accepted who I AM in Christ, as well as learning to incorporate spiritual warfare in my daily prayer routine, that I felt equipped to ride through those valleys, as hard as they were, learning much along the way.

Believe me, I certainly don’t think I have it down-pat… NO WAY …..  but I have ridden through enough valleys now to know that I WILL get to the next peak if I keep in fellowship with The Holy Spirit and His leading.  When I reach that particular peak, I’ll be refreshed and rejuvenated by taking in the view of ‘my mountain’.  Each time it gets that little bit closer.  I’ve also learnt the hard way that it’s no fun to realise you’re back on the peak you started on because you didn’t learn what you needed for that season.  It’s not a fun feeling knowing you need to ride through that valley again, so that’s just more encouragement to stay the course & learn through struggle.

I can rarely get though a blog without highlighting the benefit of doing life with fellow Lionesses (& Lions for you guys reading). We are ALL walking this road with The Lord.  Our peaks & valleys can be really similar, or vastly different, but we lean on God’s word that tells that us in Proverbs 27:17 As Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  Our sisters (& brothers) in Christ can often be the ones that can highlight to us that maybe we’re not learning all we can be in this particular valley.  It can get tough ‘down in the trenches’ and sometimes we get weak, drop out shields a little… and it’s then that we need our Godly friends .  We need to make ourselves accountable to trusted Godly friends in order to travel our journey WELL !!

Earlier this year, I followed a particular leading of The Holy Spirt in relation to a dear friendship.  I really really didn’t want to & it broke my heart to do what He asked of me.  The common sense side of me knew that there would be heartache ahead, for me and the person involved.  I didn’t understand His leading…  it didn’t look like a cut & dry lesson…  I wanted to challenge Him on it, as I had before on this same issue.  But, you know what… last time, when I challenged Him.. when I thought I knew better, it didn’t end well.  It might have seemed like it went well temporarily, but in the end, I was back on the original peak… and that’s not fun !!   So, right now I’m riding through a journey .. and it’s been tough….  it’s been tortuous at times…. but I’ve been through a few valleys now and I have absolute confidence that this lesson will be well worth it.  I think I’m seeing some light up on the peak, and I CAN’T WAIT to see what God has for me next.

And no, I also can’t get through a blog without tying in a fitness element… and do you know why…  these same cycles get us in our fitness journey too.  I know, because I’ve been on that particular peak before.  Four years ago, I decided to get fit, and did a very good job of it… reached my goals etc etc.  But I didn’t learn the lessons GOD had for me… I just learnt the ‘logical’ lessons.  Eat well, exercise, hydrate… you know, all the stuff a good PT will tell you.  I didn’t, however, learn the lesson that my body is a temple and that I’m worshipping God when I look after my body and make good decisions in regard to it.  I got the ‘physical satisfaction’ last time I travelled the course… I lost weight, I was happy with how I looked etc etc, but God wasn’t a part of my journey in earnest.. and I thoroughly believe I’m now walking this journey again because I didn’t learn HIS lessons last time.

This is why I’m determined to walk it WELL this time, learning from HIM !! I have a great PT & I love her, but my ultimate PT is Jesus !!  I’ve said it before… He’s with me through every workout, He’s with me through every thought process around food etc etc.

So peeps, if I can tell you anything… stay the course with HIM !!!  Even when it seems unbearable and you think you won’t make it.  It’s a heck of a lot easier to ride through it now, even when it feels like you can’t survive it, than to go back to the beginning and start the lesson over.

Much love to you all.

Blessings  xox

 

Surveying the Old Testament

This afternoon, I finished my final lecture in the subject entitled Old Testament Survey.  It was a very long 29 lectures, with so so much information within the teaching, but I loved every minute of it.  Once again, I am riding that feeling that I haven’t taken everything in, but as I’ve said before, I have learnt that it sits in there and digs in deep (The roots of my tree planted by the water are going in deep), ready for me to draw on it in the future when I need it.  :0)

One fun part was memorising the minor prophets.  The point was made that we remember things best when we teach it to ourselves in the silliest fashion.  I don’t know how this is going to come across on paper, but here goes…

Imagine a hose (Hosea).. now imagine a jewel (sounds like JOEL) pushing it’s way through the hose.  It flies out the end towards a target, but misses it … a miss (Amos).  Now imagine a whale …  makes you think of… (Jonah).  The whale has an eye patch … Oh, bad eye (Obadiah).  The Whale now steps up to a microphone (Micah) and clears his throat (Nahum).  He’s nervous… he needs to have a cup-a-tea (Habakkuk).  Look into the cup of tea and you’ll see a car, a particular car… a Zeffa (Zephaniah).  Zoom in on the car and you’ll see a rather unattractive lady is driving ..  a bit of a hag to be honest (Haggai). She isn’t valued by others, she’s ‘not work a Zack’ (Zechariah).  This whole thing has been quite the malachi (Malachi).

I told you it was going to be silly…. but it actually works.. I doubt I’ll ever forget the canonical order of the minor prophets again.  ha ha !!

I also came to realise how much Veggie Tales taught me in the years that I inflicted my children with their DVDs.  A lot of Sunday school teaching can give quite a brushed over teaching of the well known bible stories.  eg.  Cute little Ark’s with giraffe heads sticking out the windows and monkeys hanging off the sides.  Within the teaching of the book of Jonah, many probably do read the story and believe that he didn’t want to obey God’s directive because he was scared of the Ninevan people… because they were wild, rough and troublesome, when in fact he himself did not have a clean heart towards them. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to go because he thought they wouldn’t listen to him… he didn’t want to go in case they DID listen to him.  Jonah KNEW that God was a good, gracious and merciful God and that he would forgive them of all wrong and bless them.  Jonah didn’t want them to be blessed, so he ran away…. literally in the opposite direction. And, well, you know the rest of the story.

Another fascinating thing that I gleaned from OT survey (particularly in the book of Judges, but also in most of the minor prophets) was the cycles that the people of that time went through.

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I think I’ve said it before, but I would strongly recommend bible college to ANYONE who is keen to grow in their walk with The Lord.  I had already developed a love for bible study over the last few years, but this is just like that.. on steroids… LOVE IT !!!!  I think the biggest take-home from the OT is God’s faithfulness.  It’s just awesome to sit back and soak in that knowledge…. KNOWING that He is so faithful, merciful, trustworthy,true.. and so much more.  It really does make you feel that you can handle anything that life throws at you when you have that knowledge on-board.

Historical content is something I love delving into.  There’s just so much to be gleaned from the OT, but when you marry the historical content up with the story, the depth of learning expands amazingly.

I know a lot of us have maps and charts in the back of our bibles, but memorising those maps and charts can hugely magnify your depth of learning.   Knowing how close, or far, people travelled can add an entirely different dimension to what you are reading.  We all know that the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years when it was, in fact, an 11 day journey, but it really brings it home exactly how CLOSE they were to the promised land when you consult the map in conjunction with reading it.

I could really go on & on, but I’d really rather sign off here, hopefully having stirred up a little bit of additional interest in the Word, but particularly the OT..   Dive into it peeps, it’s beyond rich in it’s content.  If you aren’t able, time-wise or financially, to be able to commit to a year of bible college, there are great bible studies that can start you off.  Beth Moore does a fantastic study on Daniel, Esther, Deuteronomy … to name just a few.

Within my own church, you can attend Bible College one evening a week and complete two subjects over the course of a year, so see if there’s something in your area that offers something similar.  You’ll grow in so many ways… not just in your personal walk with The Lord, but in your marriage, friendships, work-life, family relationships etc etc.

Blessings.  xox

 

 

 

Lane sisters take Adelaide

Time for another travel blog peeps !! This time (actually again), it’s Adelaide. This time it’s with my absolute fav sister !!!  Yes, she’s my only sister but that’s not the point, she’s still my fav.

I should take this opportunity to apologise and give an out to those who read my ‘McLeod’s Daughters Travel Blog’ last March.  Yes, there will be some similarities, but hey, it’s all interesting if you’re a die-hard MD fan like me.

Last Wed morning saw us waking to the ghastly alarm sound at 3.50am…. yes, I said AM… why must they make all those cheap flights so early?  Anyway, at the airport by 5am we were.. and onto our 6.10am flight with no hassles.  First and only disappointment of the trip…  I stopped at a coffee shop on the way out to the gate for my much craved Caramel Chai latte on Soy milk… only to get out to the gate, take my first sip.. and realise that I probably should have checked that the chick on the til who looked about 12 actually KNEW WHAT A CHAI LATTE WAS !!  I do not like coffee… and that’s what this was .. a DIRTY CHAI….  Seriously…  I know it seems like an insignificant thing, but It’s not… it’s just not.  (Well, actually it is.. but you know… there’s always room for some dramatic text within a blog.. lol)

After arriving in freezing Adelaide and collecting our zippy hire car without incident, we headed off to our first destination, Influences Leadership College.  Well, technically, it was our second stop after we went thru a Maccas drive-thru for some brekky.  I was super excited to get my photo taken AT the bible college that I study through…. of course whilst wearing my ILC hoodie !!!

After having a squizzy around the college, which is really just the gigantic church that is Influences (previously Paradise), we headed off to Hahndorf, in the Adelaide Hills.  A good friend of mine, as well the Pastors of our church, who are both from Adelaide, had said we HAD to go to Hahndorf.  We didn’t get there when we were there last March, so I was pretty determined to get there this trip.  The weather was pretty darn dismal, but it was still beautiful and rustic.  Hahndorf is the oldest German settlement in Australia.

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It really reminded me of Montville, in the Sunshine Coast Hinterlands.  Lots of cute boutiques, cafes and interesting shops. One of them being a distinctive German shop that sold a LOT, and I mean a WHOLE LOT of cuckoo clocks.  There was a small museum in the town centre too that had loads of interesting info on the town over the years, listing many of the Lutheran families who established the area.  While it was drizzling the whole time, it was still lovely to walk the streets and enjoy the warmth when going into each shop.

After having some super delicious lunch at a German cafe, we headed on to the Barrosa Valley where we were to spend our next two nights.  We did come across a lovely Lavender farm along the way that was interesting to look at.  After settling in at Lyndoch Hill, we headed out to do a bit of exploring.  Lyndoch Hill is a simple Motel type accomodation, but is very popular for weddings and other events due to it’s stunning surrounds.  They have more than 50 varieties of Roses, but we weren’t there at the best time of year to showcase them… there were only a few in bloom.

As we’d both had pressure from friends back home to wine test, even though neither of us actually drink, we thought we should probably at least taste some wine while in the Barrosa.  So, we each had all of a half sip of a white Moscato and a Red Chiraz.  No offence to the wine industry, but I’m afraid the taste test did nothing to lure us into a wine drinking habbit.  :0)  Another interesting point about Lyndoch Hill is that my sister and I were the youngest guests by about 30yrs.  It seems there’s a big market with retirees wanting to go on wine tours.  Another confirmation of this is that when we went over to the dining room for our included breaky, the cereal selections were ‘for the older generation’ (LOL), not a cocoa pop in sight, but plenty of porridge and muesli.  Now, it just so happens that I eat muesli for breakfast these days (the healthy eating doesn’t stop on holidays peeps… just a few ‘treats’)  My sister and I joked that at least we’ll be regular while traveling.  ha ha.

As we had quite a bit of the afternoon available, we decided to take the 20min drive to Freeling, which is the town that was called ‘Gungellan’ on the show.

Of course, I’d seen these spots when here last March, but it was exciting for my sister to see the familiar sights from the show.  The Gungellan Hotel, the truckstop.  We also saw the town hall, the police station, post office and alleyways that were all used regularly throughout the 8 and a half years that the show ran.  We decided it would be fun to have dinner at the Gungellan pub and interestingly, we spoke to a local while there and he told us how annoying it was to be a local during filming times as he’d come to the pub for a coldie after work on a Friday and not be able to buy one if filming was going on.  He was pretty good about it though, quite friendly and willing to chat about it.

The bathtub and windmill from the show are on display in the park in the middle of town, but I have to say, it was darn cold to sit in the cast iron tub in the late afternoon when the temps were at about 9 degrees.  As a result, some warming up at the fire inside the pub was in order.  The meal we had was quite delicious, generously sized, and normal good pub meal price and hospitality.

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We had a toasty nights sleep in our Motel room before waking up super excited to head to ‘Drovers Run’ for our lunch and Meet & Greet with two of the stars from the show, Simone Jade McKinnon who played Stevie, and Aaron Jeffrey who played Alex.  It’s funny how they make out in the show that Drovers Run is hours and hours from Adelaide, when actually it’s only just over one hour away.  Also, in the show, they kinda depict it as being quite out of the way, far from a main highway.  If you’re a die hard fan like me, you’ll know that in the final two episodes of MD, they couldn’t get Road trains to take their cattle to the sale yards, so had to drove them to the main highway where a trucking company was able to meet them and take the cattle from there.  This drove took them 2 days, but it’s pretty funny that the main highway is actually about 500m from the gates of ‘Drovers Run’.  :0)

After Channel 9 finished up MD, they sold the property to a gentleman who did it up and turned it into an exclusive B & B called Kingsford Homestead.  While very little of the exterior and surrounding buildings have changed, the interior of the house (according to google images) is quite different.  Very swanky and modernised of course… to be able to charge the exorbitant prices that they now charge.  If anyone is feeling ridiculously rich, you can have the entire house to yourself for the tidy sum of $6,000 per night.  Tempting, but I think we’ll just stick with our $148 per night room at Lyndoch Hill.

So, back to our exciting visit…  we turned off the highway, headed the 500m in, but only got about 350m in and had to come to a stop at the end of a line of cars waiting to go into the same event we were.  I very, very naively guesstimated that there’d maybe be 40-50 people having been sold tickets to this lunch, as it was advertised an an ‘Intimate lunch with the stars’.  We were quite surprised to find out that there were going to be 130 people attending.  So, while we were not disappointed with our visit and certainly don’t regret doing it, we did spend 2 of our 4hrs there lining up to have a picture taken with Simone & Aaron for all of 20secs.  It was still lovely being there though.  It’s such a lovely setting !!  Hearing stories direct from Aaron & Simone in person was really interesting.

It was pretty darn cold that day in SA, but we braved the freezing windy conditions and headed off on a tour around the house after lunch and our pictures etc.  The only building from the show that is no longer there is the shearers quarters, so it really does look pretty much the same, but tidied up a little.  The tennis court has also been removed and a pool put in it’s place, but that is in an area close to the house that we couldn’t access anyway, so it doesn’t really make too much difference.

That bottom right image is the ‘carport’ that went up to ‘the yards’ in the show, however, during the show, there was a timber ramp that lead up to it.  I don’t really know why the new owner took it away.  Also, it had started raining, which is what you can see in that pic.. pesky raindrops on my camera lens… whoopsie.  3pm came around way too quickly and it was time to say goodbye to Drovers Run and head on back to Lyndoch Hill.

We had decided to have dinner in the Lyndoch township.  We went into the ‘quickie mart’ (my sister called it that which I thought was hillarious) to buy some yummy travel supplies and asked the attendant there about a good place to eat dinner.  He told us anywhere in town was really good and that we should expect to pay maybe $130-$150 for the two of us.  We were like “WHAT THE FROGLEGS”.  After paying for a $20 pub meal the night before at Gungellan, we were pretty much looking to spend the same.  He told us the Lyndoch pub was also in this high price range he’d spoken of.  Well, we chose to not believe him, and take our luck at the pub.  It was a good choice as our meals were, you guessed it, $20… and they were huge !!

After another comfy nights sleep at Lyndoch Hill, we woke up to another dreary, cold South Australian day.  Everything was still beautiful though, so we didn’t mind too much.  We took a few pics around the Lyndoch Hill property before leaving and making our way back to Adelaide.  The steps that my sister is standing at the top of is where the brides arrive I’d say, and then the venue is that building I’m standing in front of… the one that looks like something out of Sweet Home Alabama.  Very Plantation like. :0)

We headed to Adelaide via Mt Lofty which had a great view of Adelaide City when we were there last March, but this time, it was nothing but fog.  Disappointing, but oh well, what can ya do.

Our ultimate destination for the day before our 7.45pm flight was the city centre, but after making our way to Glenelg Beach and having a good walk around there for a few hours, we decided that the city wouldn’t offer much more, so we bypassed it and went straight to the airport.  We did have a lovely lunch though right by the Glenelg Marina and then a yummy afternoon tea at Gloria Jeans (Yes, experiencing the real Adelaide culture there).  We had been told that the Glenelg beach was stunning, but I don’t know if it was the dreary weather, but it certainly wasn’t stunning.  The absolutely bitingly freezing cold blustery conditions may have ruined it for us too.  It was still a fantastic day though, with some great shopping purchases made.

We returned our trusty hire car, a tad dirty, but heck, what can they expect with the combo of many dirt roads and wet weather.  We ended up being at the airport 3 and half hours before our flight, but it really wasn’t that bad.  We had books, music and a few shops to look at, so we were all set.  A rather uneventful flight took us home to Brisbane where we were picked up by my niece & her boyfriend.  I think my head managed to hit the pillow by midnight on Friday night.

All in all…..  a super awesome 3 days away with my Sis !!!!!  There were lots & lots of laughs had and lots of great memories made over the 3 days, which won’t be quickly forgotten.

& No, I cannot finish off a blog without a bible verse (or 13), but I think this one is really suitable for our trip.  This verse, found in 1 Corinthians 13, is very often used at weddings, but in correct biblical reference, it actually is referring to brotherly love… or in this case, I’m applying it to sisterly love.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Blessings Peeps xox

It’s a wrap on NT survey !!

So, after a month of thirty 1hr long lectures & over 500 pages of student notes to read through, as well as, I have no idea how many scriptures to add to my scripture devotion book, I have finally completed New Testament Survey.   YAY !!

My thoughts.. it was amazing !!  I really do think that everyone would benefit from doing this subject, if nothing else, as a one-off subject, in order to more greatly enhance their knowledge of the scriptures.  The course structure is set around each book having a different theme, and an image representing both the book name and the theme.  The idea of these is that you can far more easily memorise what each book is about.  eg.  1 Peter’s theme is ‘Faith under pressure’.  The image for 1 Peter is 2 peas with a tear in their eye (Pea-tear) sitting in a vice.  They’re a tad corny, but it really does work to help you remember the theme of each book.

Being able to draw on this info more easily would be really helpful in a situation where you have a friend seeking certain clarity on something, or going through a tough time, you can quickly know which book might be helpful to them etc.  I mean, we all have the well known ones in our heads…  Feeling like you’re being treated unfairly? read Psalms.. etc, but it’s great to widen that scope of ability to help out others.  #servantleadership

I must say I was really looking forward to the last lecture, covering Revelations (I do love to study end times), but I was a tad disappointed with the amount of content covered, but hey… how much can you cover in 60mins.  So, with this in mind, it’s prompted me to hold off on beginning Old Testament Survey and complete ‘Exploring last things’ between the two subjects.  It’s only seven 1hr long lectures, so I’ll complete it within a few days and can then dive on into OT Survey.  (Really really looking forward to this subject!)

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More than anything though, I just can’t get over how BLESSED I am to be able to do this course, broaden my biblical knowledge & grow in The Lord under these teachings.  I’ve seriously loved every single lecture.  Funny story though… the principal of the College is the lecturer for NT survey, and while 27 of the 30 lectures are recordings made only last year, the last 3, for some strange reason, are recordings from 2005, so this probably 60ish yr old man, suddenly drops 11yrs for the last 3 lectures….  Blonde hair instead of grey, fall head of hair at that, as well as just some younger person type mannerisms etc.   It was a bit amusing.

I can’t express enough how impressed I am with Influences Leadership College.  I’ve received a call from the college Principal, as well as the lecturers of two seperate subjects.  They had noticed that I had unlocked the subject, so simply rang to offer any help if I should need it along the way etc.  I thought that was pretty amazeballs service to be honest.

OK… that’s about it for now.. I’m sorry this may be one of my more boring blogs, but wanted to keep you up to date on my Bible College journey.  I’ll try and get a fitness blog up t’row as I do have lots to tell  you on that front.

Blessings Peeps !!  xox

 

Let your character speak above lies

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I’m baaaaaaack….  Yes, I know, it’s been 6wks since blogging.  It’s not that I haven’t thought of it.  I’ve actually thought of it nearly every day, but I think the copious amounts of notes being taken in my Bible College studies, as well as the copious amounts of info being taken in, effects the clarity of what to blog about.

There is so many topics near and/or dear to me in these last weeks but I’ve decided to focus on the above title as it really does cover many areas of struggle in our lives.

One of my lecturers a few weeks back said “You’ll have people that think the world of you, have total confidence in you as a leader and steadfastly encourage you along the way.   Sadly though, you’ll also have people that despise you.  Be prepared for the reality that the closer you walk with The Lord, and the deeper you delve into the things of HIM, the longer that second list of people will grow.”

It’s extremely sad, and extremely difficult to accept, but all I can lean on is the absolute knowledge that we can simple SOAK in God’s word at all times. (& yes, I’ve mentioned this several times in my blogs over the last few years). When we are treated badly, spoken badly of, had lies spread of us, experienced deceit and harsh words towards us, we are in very good company.

2 Timothy 3:12 tells us..  Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 

Persecution is one of the last things a Christian would consider a spiritual blessing. Like suffering, no one needs to seek it out. Jesus did not avoid this subject, but spoke boldly that those who choose to live uprightly and stand for God and speak the truth will be persecuted. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.(Matthew 5:10-12)

The word persecution literally means to pursue. However, it includes malicious intent. It can vary in severity from just speaking nasty words to inflicting brutal violence. Jesus said to be happy about it because “great is your reward in heaven.” Most of the prophets were treated harshly, because they confronted God’s people with truth and reproved their godless behavior and their hard-hearted unbelief.

David was persecuted by King Saul, among others. The motivation was jealousy and envy. Saul was tormented by an evil spirit. David knew it was a spiritual conflict and refused to “stretch out [his]hand against the Lord’s anointed.” He said in Psalm 69:4: “Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; They are mighty who would destroy me, being my enemies wrongfully.”.

How do we practically deal with this in everyday life though?  It’s all well & good to have these and other scriptures on hand to draw on when these situations arise, but in reality, it can be hard.  Feelings are real and it hurts when someone you care about believes lies, or is even the one spreading lies about you.  It always reminds me of that quote “Let your character be such that no-one would believe lies about you.”  I bring this to mind in these situations as, for me personally, I know I have such dear friends who fall into that first category above, have my back, encourage me, push me when needed, call me on things when I slip etc etc.

My biggest ‘take home’ on this issue though is 2 things….. the first is the obvious, lean on Scriptures, memorising them so that they’re easy to pull into your thoughts when needed… and two, ALWAYS try and see people as God sees them, no matter how hard that is, no matter how much the enemy tries to tell you they don’t deserve it.   You can usually find this an easy thing to do if you’ve had a falling out with a friend or family member, as you’re bound to have good, even fantastic, memories with these people, so simply draw on  THOSE memories and not the negative.  That’s what I choose to do everyday.  It’s not always easy… there are days that the enemy feeds rubbish into my head and it can get me ‘thinking’ instead of praying, but I just need to remember who has the victory and who is defeated and I’m able to re-boot my thinking.

Another aspect to this is that if you choose to dwell on something someone did or said to you, you’re actually not allowing the possibility that they have changed.  I have two people in my life that are very dear to me but have turned away from me.  Both of these women have amazeballs qualities, so I CHOOSE to think on that, pile blessings on them on a daily basis, and leave it in God’s hands to ‘do what He does best’.   I declare that even if these relationships aren’t restored one day, God will use even that for good.

Isn’t God just awesome !!!  Just being able to have that confidence that He loves to so much and wants the absolute best for us.

Ok peeps… Nighty night.  It’s to bed for me.

Blessings.  xox

Developing a hatred for sin

Deep title right ?  Well, it’s certainly a deep issue and one that was, amongst other things, looked at in one of my BC lectures today.  I’m currently working my way through the subject, ‘Jesus’ Leadership Style’ and when looking at the area of our sin issues, something was really revealed to me about a facet of going through these issues that can be quite difficult.

When we have a particular area of sin that we struggle with… let’s just look at gossiping for example, it’s best for us to recognise it as the weakness in us that it is, and then ask The Lord to break out heart for what breaks His, and in turn, give us a hatred of that sin.  This is a great method if you really apply it, as you allow God to get into that area of your life, work on you and teach you how to change.  (One of Jesus’ best styles of leadership… He didn’t just tell us what.. he told us how.. and gave us the power to do it.)

However, it can greatly effect your friendships and relationships in general.  eg.  If you liked to have a good ‘ole gossip sesh with a particular girlfriend, and that girlfriend isn’t on-board with your recognition of gossiping being a sin issue that needs God’s hand in changing, you’re going to end up with issues with that friend.

thecompanywekeep

The Bible explains that relationships can have a powerful effect upon us.  In 1 Cor 15:33 it says “Evil company corrupts good habits.” and on the positive side, Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend”

Looking more closely at sin issues, an illustration that was used today was of a house and how we can tend to have that ‘nice room’.  In older style houses it was usually the front living room.  That was where the ‘good’ furniture was, and the cabinets with the good crystal were displayed etc.  We’d bring guests into that room coz it was always kept neat & tidy.  The  rest of the house could look like a bomb had gone off, but that room was always respectable.  We can attempt to present ourselves to God & others in that way too.  We’ve got a ‘front room’ that’s ‘got it all together’. …  a bit like a Sunday selves and a Monday-Saturday selves.  At church on Sunday we’re perfectly put together, quietly spoken, patient, dependable, loyal (& lots more complimentary adjectives), but through the week we’re a loose canon.

We need to allow God into all of our ‘rooms’ and allow him to do a Reno on us.  Allow him into those back rooms, the ones we like to keep hidden.. the anger room, the selfish room, the gossiping room, the inappropriate room… or whatever your particular sin issues are.

Renos are dirty and dusty things…  not pleasant to live through, uncomfortable, painful, pushes us out of our comfort zone and sometimes past our point of ‘I’m gonna lose it’.  It’s the same when we allow God to do a reno on us.  It’s not gonna be pleasant, but we know that God sees us as the finished product.  He doesn’t see the peeling wall paper, sagging ceiings and tatty carpet… He sees fresh paint, beautiful ornate features and glossy polished floorboards.

I believe it’s also really beneficial to remember that God has a renovation shedule mapped out for our lives.  We’ll never be completely done until we’re standing in His presence in Glory… and I for one want to let Him deal with my ‘rooms’ on this side of eternity. (even when it hurts a bit..or a lot). I know I always harp on about it, but this is just another important reason why we need to stay in constant communication with The Holy Spirit.  We’re constantly ‘putting rooms onto our houses’ and new sin issues are going to come up for us, and we’re not always going to find it easy to let God into every room.

In Romans 7 Paul gives us a very encouraging word when he tells us : What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Yes, sorry that the gold nugget was in the last line, but hey… it was a good read for you anyway.  :0)

Another great illustration of how we can best be an effective Christ follower is to remember that we have the Power of Christ flowing through us, and when we allow sin issues to take hold of us, it creates ‘blockages’.  The Lord will simply not be able to work in and through us with the most effective results while these ‘road blocks’ are there.

Ok peeps…  I’m signing off for now.  As usual, I could type on you simply ages.  I’m continually blown away by how much I learn anew and am reminded of in each and every lecture or bible study session.

What I learnt or was reminded of today – I’m a living breathing construction site !!  (PS.  I wear a pink hardhat)

Scripture I’m soaking in today – Ephesians 2 :10 – For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

xox

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons from Biblical leaders

This past Friday saw me finishing up week 5 of my Bible College studies.  Although I’ll be honest and let you know that I’m a little behind because of two things..  One being that I actually didn’t get my courses ‘opened’ until the end of week 2, and Two, I’m still finding my rhythm in order to best fit in with the kids HS timetable etc.  I managed to get 4 lectures in over the weekend though so that’s encouraging !!

Open Book

While not surprised, I’m constantly blown away by all I’m learning through the lectures etc.  We are currently looking at Biblical leaders and have so far covered Nehemiah, Saul, David, Solomon, Rehoboam & Adonijah.  We have one more of the leaders to look at before we cover Jesus…. I’m really looking forward to that one.

The subject is covering ‘first things’ that each leader did, and also how they fared on the ‘start, run, finish’ scale.  We looked at all 19 Kings, finishing with our Saviour King, Jesus.  eg.  David started well, lost his way in the ‘run’ stage, and then was repentant and finished well.  Saul started well, didn’t run well and didn’t finish well.  Jehoam crashed out on all 3.  Jesus, of course, had the trifector.  There’s so much can be learnt not just from what a leader did RIGHT, but also from what a leader did WRONG.

It’s fun to find out things that I’d never known before.. Like the fact that Solomon’s brother got cocky and threw himself a self-crowning party as King and ended up with egg on his face when David crowned Solomon as King right in the middle of Adonijah’s party. (awkward much).  It’s always interesting to delve into scripture and find out that there were several ‘layers’ to the Sunday school version of the bible story you’ve known forever and a day.

Also what I found interesting, while not new information, was the concept of ‘looking for donkeys’ as Saul was doing when Samuel found him and anointed him.  Saul was known for ‘being diligent in the little things’.  A great lesson can be learnt from Saul on the importance of doing ‘the menial tasks’ and not only doing them, but growing in The Lord while doing them.  For me personally, my menial tasks are making meals for my family, doing laundry, marking tests etc etc.  It’s not at all hard for me to see how God comes and meets me in those situations every single day in order to teach me new things, and to stretch me.

Another think I love discovering is how so many of the stories that we know of from way back in Sunday school days are actually interlocked.  eg.  When Saul stepped in to rescue the small insignificant town of Jabesh Gilead.  (sidenote – Saul was standing by Isaiah 61 – Free the captives, heal the brokenhearted.) When Saul & Jonathan were beheaded on the battlefield and their bodies displayed in humiliation, it was the men of that small insignificant town of Jabesh Gilead who fought there way through much in order to rescue their bodies and return them to Jabesh Gilead, where they are buried.   The heart of what appeared to most to be a ‘small insignificant town’ can be changed dramatically when someone shows them that they are of great WORTH !!

And then to further interlock stories, David (2 Sam 9:1) when first in power as King asked if there was any of Saul’s family that he could show God’s kindness too.  (which Jonathan had asked him to do).  Jonathan’s son, who was crippled and expected to be put to death by David, was instead seated at David’s table.  In doing this, he honoured the covenant relationship he had with Jonathan.

When we got to Rehoboam, we learn that his ‘first thing’ wasn’t too fab.  He chose to ignore the advice of the elders, and heed the advice of the younger men who he had grown up with… living in the palace.  They, along with Rehoboam, had no perspective on the situation of the outside world and hence made a decision that lost him 90% of his kingdom and 3 generations of work in one day.  Praise God that Jerhoboam restored that during his reign that followed Rehoboam.

So, to review… here is some of what we can learn from these 4 Kings –

Saul – Resist temptation of Self-justification

David – The power of keeping covenant.

Solomon – The value of right motives

Rehoboam – The need to be a servant leader.

While there is so so much more I could share with you from my last week of study, I’ll sign off for now and get back into it.

What I learnt this week – As I’ve already covered, bible stories are very often interlocked and have many gold nuggets of wisdom hidden within when you investigate this ‘interlocking’.  Also, what was taught through these scriptures all those years ago, is still very very pertinent today.

Scripture I have soaked in this past week – Well, there has been so many, but if I were to pick one, it would be 1 Kings 1:6 His father had never at any time displeased him by asking “Why have you done thus and so?  (Seems like a pretty normal verse right, but there’s a pound of parenting advice in there when you delve in… on what NOT to do.)

Blessings peeps !!

xx

Jesus is my study buddy !!

So, how is Bible College going for me?  On the whole, I LOVE it !!  It’s just like the thrill of the Bible Studies I’ve been doing for the last few years, but times a million-ga-zillion.   I know I’ve said before that what I love most about bible study is that you delve in through the layers of the scripture.  You go in past the words and discover their meaning, historical content, as well as other fascinating info that can easily be missed when simply reading a scripture at face value.

I’m currently about two thirds of the way through my lectures in ‘Lessons from Biblical leaders’.  We are looking at Nehemiah and it still amazes me how much you can gleam from a text when you stop and do a word study on it. Not to mention reminding yourself of the historical content as well as taking into consideration the emotions attached to each person in the situation.  Nehemiah

I particularly loved looking at Nehemiah 3:23 and the reference to ‘made their repairs outside their house’.  I would easily have just skimmed over that in the past and maybe thought “Oh how nice for them…  no commute.”  (LOL), but when you factor in the emotion involved in working with a trowel in one hand and a sword in another.. knowing that they were under almost constant attack.  It shows great leadership on Nehemiah’s part to place his team where their heart is.  If an attack occured, it makes sense that the greatest concern was going to be for their own family back at home.  If their family was right there behind them then they were going to fight their hardest AT THAT POINT!!   This has a double benefit as each person was sure to put their absolute BEST efforts into their part of the wall, as that part of the wall protected their own family !!  I just LOVE it !!

That is just one of the many, many gems I’ve uncovered since beginning my 2016 study journey.  If I wasn’t already super expectant for the year ahead, I certainly am now.. plus some !!

I will be totally honest though and share with you all that it is NOT easy studying full-time while homeschooling 3 children.  While they are on totally independent learning programs, they still have the odd question, and when there’s 3 of them, the ‘odd question’ usually occurs a few times each morning and arv session.  I defs will be working within a study plan that includes night time lectures (after the kids are in bed).  Afternoon’s when the kids are finished their schoolwork can work too, but it certainly does make for a long day.  I’m sure I’ll the right groove for me before too long.

The enemy does certainly like to make himself known though even more so of late.  He really doesn’t like me being in The Word more than I was already.  Also, lots of conversations come up with the kids that speak to living with a Biblical view and not a worldview.  Lots of things going on here at home, as well as nationally and internationally give cause for conversations with the kiddos.  Here in Australia at the moment, there is lots of social media traffic in regards to the ‘Safe Schools’ program being introduced in Victoria.  All I can say is, I’m extremely glad I took my kids out to Homeschool them when I did.  Christian schools may be able to keep it at bay just a little longer than the government schools, but it won’t be for long.

I am constantly reminded that it’s not just my children that I need to be aware of with things that are going on with schools etc, but my grandkids, great grandkids etc etc. (However, I’m really hoping Jesus returns before then.)  Miss 14 is pretty adamant that she wants to Homeschool her kids in the future, but of course it’ll really come down to who God has put aside for my boys as to whether they’ll go down that path.  I wonder if it’s ok for me to ask for her to have a heart for homeschooling when I’m praying for my sons future wives.. ha ha.  In all seriousness though, all I need to do is make sure my children  not just know The Lord, but have a personal relationship with Him, discover their giftings and seek the guidance of The Holy Spirit.. and they’ll be fine.  Oh, and always remind them of the strength that is within them to put on that armour & hold up that shield !!

 

The title says Jesus is my study buddy, which is so true (online bible study does kinda encourage that situation, which no actual classmates around you. ), but as there are people at my church doing two of the Bible college subjects, I look forward to having some chats with them too.

What I’ve learnt/been reminded of today – BIBLE STUDY ROCKS !!  There is so much growth to be had when studying The Word. Also, studying it just the once in no way gives you everything you need to learn from it.  Studying a book, a biblical figure, a character trait, a life issue within the word, can you teach you new things every time you look at it.

Scripture I have been soaking in today –“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).
Blessings Peeps xox

Bible College Week 1… DONE !!

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Ok, so these four emojis basically cover my week !!  Super excited, so tired I feel I could sleep for a week, realising I’m a natural nerd, and finally… LOVING every second of it !!

& then there needs to be a blessed emoji in order to convey that emotion.  Seriously, how blessed am I to have the opportunity to even do this study !!  Finances weren’t looking like they were going to line up for me to be able to do this year long course, but I simply put it in God’s hands… and doors just opened up left, right & center.  #Godisgood

This might sound a little cliche, but I have a lot to thank #BethMoore for this week.  It was Miss Beth that got me hooked on Bible Study about 4yrs ago now and I didn’t even realise that as I’ve travelled my bible study journey, I’ve excersised crazy good study patterns.  Who woulda thought it.  The only element about it that doesn’t surprise me is that I have always been very good at making lists, making plans, structuring things etc etc, so my study notes were always along that same vein.  English was also my best subject at school (I got that from my Mum, and her Dad, my Grandpa)

When doing my 3 Orientation lectures this week, I was amazed to see that I already did my notes the way they suggested for optimal learning intake.  Woot Woot !!

So, THANKS BETH MOORE !!!

Another significant element in my reality for 2016 is that I’m still homeschooling 3 kiddos.  So, as a result, sometimes lectures get paused to do a grade 6 spelling test with Master 10.  #homeschoollife #balance .  The orientation lectures would have actually been really beneficial for the kids to listen to, as they had loads of great info in them.  Master 10 probs would have found them a little boring, but the older two, especially Miss 14 would have gained a whole lot from them.  Might section off 3hrs next week in order for her to view them.  :0)

My first offical lecture today was lesson one of ‘Lessons from Biblical Leaders”.  We are looking at Nehemiah.  So much goodness found in only the first chapter… and then there’s 7 more lessons on this book…. can’t wait !!!  The one thing I’ll need to be careful of though is not letting my hunger for learning get carried away, resulting in me rushing.  One of the important learning principles is ‘Space vs. Mass’ – taking small amounts of info in on a consistent basis is best for taking it to your long term memory bank. 

Weather-wise, it’s been a very very strange week here in Brisbane.  Stinking hot (like 38 degrees) and then muggy/rainy weather for a couple of days.  Today is the first ‘ok’ day as far as comfort goes.  All I can say is Praise The Lord for Air Conditioners.  

What I learnt/was reminded of this week – God’s timing is so mind blowing.  I would never have thought that these past 4yrs of bible study was preparing me for Bible College.

What scripture am I soaking in  

Isaiah-40-31

Blessings Peeps xox

 

 

 

 

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