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COUNTING THE HOURS

The era this house was built can be estimated by the way the chimney is built.

The life span of the average person is about eighty years.  It seems a long time when one is living the moments, the days, the weeks, and the years.  Rearing children and educating them, maybe re-joining the workforce and coping with a mortgage.  One becomes so busy that every day is a memory before it has dawned.  Retirement looms, we make plans for this third phase, often times those plans don’t materialise because old age sets in.  Our health, mental and physical fails and we become prisoners of our minds and bodies.

If we have failed to plan for our retirement both in the financial area and lifestyle, life becomes an open road with nothing in sight but boredom, discontent and bitterness at being served a lemon. A person’s attitude to life plays a large part in developing a happy old age.

Analyse eighty years and this is what you get; twenty three years sleeping, fourteen years working, eight years in amusement, six years eating, and four years in transportation.  Four years spent in conversation, one year reading and one year in learning.

If one is a church goer and attends every Sunday and stayed to the last hymn and they prayed every day for five minutes night and morning, the time spent on God would only amount to five months.  Five months out of eighty years!

HANG ON A SECOND

The author of this book ‘The Key” is investing beyond herself. She is hoping her writings will outlast her lifespan.

Eighty years is but a second when compared to eternity, yet those eighty years determine where one will spend eternity.  So much depends on the choices made during the eighty maybe ninety years.

The greatest use of life is to spend it on something that will out-last the here and now. Life will have been misspent if one gets to the end without knowing a living Christ, so as we face the future there will be choices that will affect one’s life forever.

 Good intentions and resolutions leave us sitting on the fence disengaged with life.  There is no second chance at life to rectify the mistakes one has made however much we try to patch up the errors. Of course, owning up to the mistakes and making restitution is important, the past though, is not like a pair of jeans that can be patched and restored like new. Only God has the power to make us new people.

Guilt, the fruit of the past, trips people up if it is not dealt with. Knowing Jesus deals with the past.  Jesus took our past onto the cross with him and carried it into the grave and buried it with himself.  God, his father, remembers our past no more.  We have become guiltless and without a past, by Jesus’ action on the cross

Anna has invested both time and money into her singing/songwriting career. Busking is a part of that investment.

INVESTMENT

When we have Jesus we have everything, so the Bible declares. When we have Jesus, we have all that he has, we become a joint heir with him in the Father’s will.  Imagine inheriting from God everything Jesus inherits.

God has invested Jesus, his only son, in us. God values us equally with his only son. What have we invested in God?  Five months?  There seems to be an imbalance here. Our whole life needs to be spent, not on the concepts and of God, the habits of going to church and the praying and reading the Bible and the doing good,  but we need to invest in  the life long relationship with God. 

To count the time God has spent on us is impossible. Our five months of time spent on God is very puny by comparison. Only a relationship with God will be comparative and satisfactory to both parties.

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INTRODUCING THE CARTOONIST

Paul finishing off a five minute caricature.

by Paul Duff, guest writer

‘What made you become a Christian, Paul?’ I asked.  Paul had been a follower of Christ for most of his life.  There had to be a reason for him to remain as true to Jesus as he had.

Paul’s story is amazing, interesting and moving, so much so that others want to find what he has and change their lives as well.

‘I have an older brother,’ Paul begins his story. ‘When I was seven years old, he was invited to a birthday party.  I had to tag along, I was the kid in the corner.  The teenagers, just to have a bit of fun got out the Ouija board. My life was impacted by that ‘bit of fun’ over the next few years with a lot of demonic activity. I became aware of a spirit world, it seemed a black world – evil – because of that night.  I recognized this spirit world but thought it all bad, hateful.

I was now ten years old and already a broken personality. My family life was highly dysfunctional. My parents told me there was no such thing as love.  I grew into an angry, swearing, hateful person who steal his grandmother’s socks. Nobody wanted to know me.

The incident was normal for a year five boy. It was the era when teachers wrote notes up on the board and students had to copy them into their books.  It was called learning, it was also boring so I began drawing cartoons in the back of my book. The boy sitting next to me stopped writing up the notes and watched me draw. It was a big risk for him if we were caught.  Before long half the class was watching me.

Paul is a popular entertainer at weddings and parties.

The teacher, Mr Nancarrow, turned around and saw half the class watching me.

‘Paul, bring that to me,’ he said.

I took it to him, showed him the cartoon.

‘Where are the notes?’

‘I didn’t do them, they were too boring.’

‘Paul, you know what is going to happen?’

Remember this is 1968 and caning is still practised.

‘Yes.  You’re going to send me to the office and I’m going to get the cane.  You’re going to send a note home to Mum.’

‘No. I’ve tried that so many times and it hasn’t worked. No! I’m going to do something different.’

‘O-K. ‘I wondered what that ‘different’ was going to be and felt very wary. Mr. Nancarrow had my full attention now.

‘What we are going to do,  Paul, is you are going to go back to your desk and write up the notes and whatever time is left over I will give you a stick of chalk and you can show the class how you draw cartoons.’

‘Really, Sir?’

Absolutely.’

I raced back to my desk and scribbled down the worst written notes in the world.  The boy next to me said,

‘What are you doing?’

‘Be quiet, I’m busy,’ I said.

I hurried back to Mr Nancarrow with the notes and five minutes to spare. He couldn’t read them but he kept his word.

‘Books down, Paul is going to show us how he draws cartoons.’ He passed me a stick of chalk.

A FIVE MINUTE CARTOON BY PAUL DUFF

I then ran the first of many thousands of workshops in the Banksia Park Primary School.

‘Paul,’ the Lord said, ‘anyone who knows you has no hope for you. But I have a hope for you, I have a plan for you, I have a future. If you come with me, I will stay with you and it will involve a lot of cartooning. Today, you’ve learnt the power of Grace, you didn’t deserve it over the justice you did deserve. Paul, I’m all about grace not about what you deserve, but what I want to give you.’ This was the first time God spoke to me.

Of course, I ignored God for eight or nine years until after a failed suicide attempt.

I was outside of the Piccadilly Theatre, North Adelaide, on a bus. At eighteen years of age I had reached rock-bottom and there was nowhere to go except to God.

‘Lord, I can’t do this anymore.  My life is dark with all sorts of horrible things which started when I was seven. I can’t do this anymore, I can’t even kill myself. I don’t know what to do.’

‘Paul,’ the Lord was quick to reply, ‘I’m here for you.  Just remember, I never left you, you left me. If we do this, I don’t do trial runs. It’s all or nothing from today. Let’s do this.’

‘You can have it all,’ I said.  ‘I am nothing, I have nothing to give. You can have all of that’.

Even though for many years of my life, I’d caught that bus and as corny as it sounds, for the first time that day I noticed the trees were green, the birds were singing and the sky was blue. I was eighteen years old but had never noticed the colours before. I had no idea what had happened to me. I’d had to teaching, or training, no Bible before.

Not knowing what had happened to me I went back to do the same old things with the same people in the same old places.  There was a difference though, I didn’t fit in. I felt like a turnip in a fruit salad. It just wasn’t the same anymore. My life changed instantly. All the demonic activity just fled and the darkness immediately lifted. I had been born again on that bus and the year was 1976. God had come into my life and changed me completely. I was freaked out. Just prior to the experience on the bus, I had been investigating with my drawing all kinds of dark, unusual areas.  God removed all that from me.

The Lord spoke again, ‘Paul, I don’t want you to do anymore drawing until I say so.  When you draw again you will do it for me.’

Eighteen month later, when I was praying, God spoke,

Paul is experimenting using crayons to create portraits of animals.

‘Paul I want to start drawing for me.’

‘OK,’ I said, ‘what will that look like?’

Next day I received a phone call from a guy, ‘Paul, I hear you can draw. I’m designing a gospel tract to be used in Estonia. I need such and such a design on the cover Could you do that for me?’

It’s now fifty years later and God has been true to his word. I haven’t always been true to his word but he has been true, faithful and loyal.

I’ve drawn an unusual number of cartoons in that time just as he said I would.

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THE QUESTION IS:

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Idracowra or Etikaura.  The whiteman’s name is Chambers Pillar. The pillar was once part of a high mountain range through central Australia

People are varied and their experiences and opinions in life are just as varied. So it is with God.  Some people readily believe there is a God. Others struggle with the question, finally concluding there is no God and find alternate answers to life’s big question. Still others seek, question, examine the question. Only then will they believe.

I asked three people the question, Is there a God? Their answers are in brown text.

Bruce Leane has been a pastor for over sixty years, pastoring and preaching throughout the state of South Australia.

‘Yes, the mystery of creation is too great for there not to be a divine mind. The Bible declares there is a God and I believe these ancient writings to be true.’  Bruce Leane

All the while God is in the wings, waiting leaving a trail here and there, with signposts so we can pick up the signs that lead to him. We miss them too often and continue to agonise over the question.  Still God waits with yet more signs.

Naomi Wilson is a singer/song writer.

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These lillies grow and bloom in the harshest of country.  It sometimes doesn’t rain for months .  These bulbs create beauty in the desert.

‘I always answer this with a YES! And it is always followed by the question, how do I know? Well, for me God is the warmth when life leaves me out on my own; God is the laughter when my life is good; God is the hope when I think my dreams are fading; God is the celebration when I succeed. I know he is real because he is alive in the everyday experiences of my life.’  Naomi Wilson

What is required to unlock the presence of God is faith.  ‘You can never please God without faith, without depending on him. Anyone who wants to come to God must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely look for him.’Hebrews, 1: 6.  LB

Jojin George was born in India and emigrated to Australia.  Jojin George is a Digital Marketing Consultant.

Yes, there is a God; he is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, maker of heaven and earth, he is God almighty who gave his only son Jesus Christ as a sacrifice so that we might live with him eternally.  The word of God clearly invites us to Taste and See that God is good.  “Is there a God?” is not an unanswered question for me, I have personally tasted and seen that God is good and he is as real for me as you are.  I did not have to search or research for an answer, all I did was ask God and he answered. Jojin George

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The Ebor Falls  in the New England region of New South Wales  Australia

 

 

 

 

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THE MIRACLE OF A BROTHER

Author unknown

BEING PREPARED

Like any good mother, when Karen found that another baby was on the way, she began to help her three year old son Michael, prepare for his new sibling.

To encourage Michael to build a bond with his new sister he was allowed to sing to her every day while still in the womb.

Then it was time for the baby to be born.  Things didn’t go well for the little girl and she was placed in the neo-natal intensive care unit at the hospital.  The paediatrician delivered the sad news that the little girl wouldn’t make it.

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69685965-stock-vector-little-girl-hugging-a-baby

KEEP SINGING

Michael badly wanted to sing to his sister and kept begging to be allowed to. Karen decided to ignore the rules and dressed him in a scrub suit and took him to ICU looking like a laundry basket.

After some strong words on Karen’s part Michael got to sing to his sister.  When the pure three year old voice rang out, ‘You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…’ it was noticed that the baby responded.

Keep on singing,’ urged Karen.  Michael sang, ‘You’ll never know dear, how much I love you…’ ‘

Keep on singing,’ the nurse urged.

The next day, incredibly, the baby went home.  It was called the Miracle of a Brother’s song.

Love is so incredibly powerful.

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Two brothers  fossicking for gold on worked out fields.

A POWERFUL LOVE

How can we measure a love that is depthless, width less and height less?  Mount Everest is the pinnacle of our concept of height but how puny when compared to the love God extends to us. From the beginning of time we were the love object of God.

Calvary is spoken of as the climax of love but the love of God goes even beyond Calvary, from the known and explored to the unexplored and unknown.  Can the human heart ever plumb the depth of God’s love?  We can only get a glimmer every now and again.

God’s love is none the less real, it saves us, heals us, lifts us beyond what we can be.  God’s love is without conditions, we don’t have to work hard to earn God’s love, and his love is not a commodity to be bought, paid for in kind. God’s love is there all we have to do is accept it and live in it and rest in it, not questioning as to why he love us but that he does.

Such love is called Grace, the unlimited favour of God. The favour of God is upon you just live in it.

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This dog is listening his master’s song of love.

DO YOU HEAR THE SONG OF LOVE?

Michael’s sister heard his song of love and she lived. Have you heard your elder Brother, Jesus’ song of love and live?