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THE TREE LOPPER

 

Mrs Marshall, a little Welsh lady migrated to Australia with her husband and seventeen year old son.   The couple wanted a better life for their son and thought a new start in Australia might be the answer.

One of Mrs Marshall’s problems was a tree in the wrong place in her backyard.  She applied to the Housing Trust of South Australia from whom she was renting her home to have it cut down.  They consented and Bruce, the local tree-lopper as well as the pastor of a local church, was employed to remove the tree.

The Marshall family were having a hard time making friends in their new country, nothing was working out and they were wishing bitterly they had never come.  Everything that could go wrong went wrong, and when Bruce kindly remarked, ‘you seem to be having a hard time,’ it was the cue for Mrs Marshall to list her mishaps and disillusionment with Australia.

Six months previously, she underwent a hip replacement.  She hardly settled back home with her new hip when she fell and broke her leg. Back to hospital for several weeks.  The pressure of all their mishaps caused Mr. Marshall to suffer a heart attack and be placed in Intensive Care.

Teen-aged son was alone, unsupervised, no-one to care for him and unable to care for himself.  He fell into bad company and was running amok.  Mrs and Mrs Marshall were both in hospital and helpless to care for their son, fretted and worried.

Returning home the second time, you’ve guessed it, she fell and damaged her knee. Mrs Marshall was getting about with the aid of crutches and feared she would never walk again.

Bruce alerted the ladies of his fellowship to Mrs Marshall’s plight and they responded with food, house-help and friendship.

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With the drop of a tree, God stepped in. God didn’t exactly answer Mrs Marshall’s prayers the way she expected. She was angry at God for his apparent desertion and not answering her prayers. Besides, in Mrs Marshall’s world, pastors didn’t have secular work, they were equal with God. Her concept of Christianity was challenged.

It may seem a funny way to love us, but God’s love for us caused his son, his beloved son to die and indwell us, making us acceptable to God.  Of course, we have to believe and accept this truth if we want to access this wonderful place.

God’s actions and those of Jesus cannot be retracted just because we have hard feelings toward him.  God’s love for us never falters. As Mrs Marshall reconnected with God his love drenched her again, and after being prayed for she put away her crutches for good.

Bruce adhered to the thought of worker/priest because it kept him in touch with people.  Bruce believed that to serve only as a pastor was to live in isolation. He felt it was an unnatural life.  He also believed it was not the practise of the early church or of the Lord himself, and he sought to break the image.

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BREAK THE IMAGE

Jesus was the greatest image breaker of all.  As the Son of the Father, he was present at the creation of the universe, he was a prince, he, and the Father were one.  Yet Jesus consented to come to earth as a lowly carpenter, live in poverty, and walk around demonstrating the love of his Father for the people. Jesus spoke in synagogues, homes, on hillsides, he ate with the rank and file. Jesus didn’t fit the image then and he doesn’t now.  Most people want to keep the images and concepts of the law and self-effort rather than replace them with the truth as presented by Jesus.

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RESTORED

Jesus, the heavenly image breaker, captivated Bruce the tree lopper and the two became as one.  Mrs Marshall and her family were among many that were restored to the Father.

 

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WATCH YOUR STEP

 

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It is Christ who backlights us and sylhouettrs us against a dark work as children of light. 

Don’t keep looking up at Heaven and hoping you are going to make it, experience it here on earth now.

The number of people having accidents with ladders is scary.  Did you know that 30,000 people fall off ladders every year?  Were you aware that 6,000 die from falling off ladders each year?  First principle in using a ladder is to make sure it is stable.  Impatience and carelessness causes us to stand a ladder on uneven ground or platform or even prop it on against an unstable gutter.  There is a superstition about walking under ladders because it brings bad luck. I am not a superstitious person but I don’t walk under a ladder because it is dangerous, the ladder might fall on me. My husband takes a great delight walking under a ladder and proving the superstition wrong.  He has successfully survived Lady Luck and escaped falling ladders.

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Some further ideas for the safety conscious.

  • Don’t be silly enough to stand the ladder on top of another object making it unstable.
  • When using an A frame ladder make sure the brace is locked in place.
  • Never leave ladders unattended, – kids just love to climb them.

So much for these few tips.

Now for a few tips on how to buy real estate in Heaven; when we think of Heaven we think of sitting on fluffy clouds, playing a harp, walking on streets of gold, and living the good life.

But that is just one of those myths invented eagerly by someone wanting to dodge the real issue.

It really is very simple to obtain real estate in Heaven; and it isn’t by climbing the ladder, or being good for Father Christmas even trying to bribe God with our works of charity.

  • All that has to happen is to believe that God is; that he has sent Jesus to mediate between us and God. ‘For if you tell others with your own mouth that Jesus Christ is your Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from dead, you will be saved.’ (Romans 10: 9 LB)
  • Accepting the death of Christ on the cross as a work of reconciliation, which is, restoring our union with God that was broken by our rejection of Christ. ‘It was through what his Son did that God cleared a path for everything to come to him – all things in heaven and on earth – for Christ’s death on the cross has made peace with God for all by his blood.’(Colossians 1: 20 – 23 LB)

Recognising Christ as God’s son and accepting him will obtain real estate in Heaven. Of course, there is a little more that can be done like allowing Christ to access our life to live his life through us. ‘But if you give yourself to the Lord, you and Christ are joined together as one person.’(1 Corinthians 6: 17 LB)

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Allowing God to direct us and use us and give purpose to our lives.  It’s not just about owning a bit of real estate in Heaven it’s also about living a useful, purposeful and happy life here. It’s about living heaven here on earth. ‘…remembering that it is the Lord Christ who is going to pay you, giving you your full portion of all he owns.  He is the one you are really working for.’(Colossians 3: 24)

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SEVEN POINTS OF LIGHT

‘Contrast is what makes photography interesting,’ states Conrad Hall and what better way for the beginning photographer to create contrast than the use of light and shadow.                           P1260500

SOFT COLOR

Morning light produces tender beautiful light and is sought by photographers. To catch early-morning light calls for an early rise, when the alarm is set, warm clothes worn. Our camera bag is packed the day before. The color is soft, delicate and mysterious. The hard angles in the landscape are smoothed into gentle contours. Shadows are distorted and produce images of interest and beauty, it’s easy to be creative in such glorious light

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AT THE ZENITH

We move on to midday when the sun is at its zenith. Light is bright, shadowless and harsh.  Scenes become washed out, faces lack color and contours.  Landscapes are over-exposed.  Midday is a time to avoid.

 

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THE GOLDEN HOUR

Late afternoon and the light changes yet again. A glittering gilded hue, like a halo, surrounds gardens and landscapes. Poets, writers, and photographers refer to this hour as the golden hour. The sunlight sparkles on every leaf, like a diamond. The scene is enriched with soft color. Giving it a romance, a beauty that excites photographers. This is the photographers’ hour.

 

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THE BLUE HOUR

The blue hour it’s called but not because it brings on a bout depression. When the sun is below the horizon and residual, indirect sunlight takes on a blue shade. The sky is often streaked with pinks and purples creating a heaven filled with drama, black moods, mystery, and a sense of foreboding. The blue hour is a creative and challenging time for the photographer.

Be aware of your surroundings, always look for that special moment. That scene when light, shade, and action come together at once and the photographer is in the right place, at the exact time and your favorite camera is in your hand. An intuitive sense needs to be developed, we need to observe with another eye, the third eye. Developing the third eye, so to speak, calls for practice, the daily use of the camera, taking many images. The advice of one photographer is to take fifty images a day.

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WHY LIGHT

Light must have a source from which to shine. Outdoors it’s the sun indoors it is lamps, torches, globes to aid lighting.  Many types of artificial illumination are used in which to create effects of mood and emotion the ambiance of a room.  There is a vast amount of equipment available to enhance images and manipulate them in whatever way we like. There is more to be said about the use of light, I have only outlined the use and need of light. I wonder if the subject of light could ever be fully explored.

As people, we too need light to live.  Without daylight, we could not enjoy a healthy lifestyle.  Our world needs the sun to grow food.  We could not live in a world of darkness.  Yet we do – a mental darkness.  We try to create our own brightness but it soon dies, it is an artificial radiance gained from things.

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THE SOURCE

Ever looked into someone’s face and felt a darkness? The expression is closed, dark, depressed and sad.  We meet another person who exudes joy. Their face is open, alight, they are full of enthusiasm.  They are lit up from within.  Needless to say, we need illumination within and without if we are to function healthily.

The source of that inner light is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Jesus says of himself, ‘I am the light of the world.’ When I first accepted Jesus as my savior, I was struck by the clarity of color, and how in focus everything was. I thought I must have imagined it, not understanding that Jesus gave me a new spirit and pristine heart. I was a brand-new person. Later, I found others had experienced the same thing. My inner light source changed, for the better, I might add.

One day Jesus was speaking to a crowd of people, ‘I am the light of the world, so if you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, for living light will flood your path.’(John 8: 12 LB) Throughout my life Christ has lit up my life with a living light that has not been able to be extinguished.  Grief, loss, depression, poverty or hardship even happiness and comfort, have all been my experience, but they have not been able to put out my inner source of life. Once Jesus is enthroned within our being, we are lit with an eternal radiance.

To be a good photographer we need light and know how to use it.  To find true health and know how to relate to our fellow humans, we need a pure light.  Jesus is our pure inner source. He said of himself, ‘I have come as a Light to shine in this dark world so that all who put their trust in me will no longer wander in darkness.’ (John 12: 44 -47 LB)

 

 

 

 

 

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VISION GLORIOUS

 

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Piccadilly Valley South Australia viewed from Mt Lofty

PLANNING THE CLIMB

Rising dark and forbidding in the early morning, its head swathed in a scarf of mist, Mount Toolybrunup is the second highest peak in the Stirling Ranges of Western Australia.

Over breakfast, around the campfire, my family and I planned the climb the mountain.  It was 3,000 feet the highest we had ever climbed – the prospect was daunting yet exciting.

We set a goal – to have lunch at the top of the mountain.  It should have been easy. We were not far up the mountain when our lungs began to pump like a blacksmith’s bellows.  Our hearts pounded against rib cages like birds trying to escape. Our resolve was starting to weaken.  The higher we went, the harder it became.

Vanessa, now my son’s wife, slapped her aching legs, ‘Legs, do as I say.’  She was trying to summon up energy, willing her legs to take yet another step and another.  We were suffering from jelly-legs.

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Panoramic view, Mt Lofty

ON THE TOP

We sat on a rock, taking a rest in readiness for a final onslaught to the summit.

A wide semi-circle of mountains surrounded us, beyond, rows of mountain ranges marched northward.  Beautiful in their varying shades of blue. Vanessa smacked her legs again saying, ‘I feel angry with my legs.

‘Don’t waste energy on anger,’ I replied. Getting frustrated was the last thing we should do if we wanted to reach the top.  Eventually, we clambered over the last boulder and were on the summit of the world.  What a vision!

 

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A blue wren, Mt Lofty

ANOTHER VISION

There is another lofty vista, a different one, one that is vital to our well-being here and now and in the future.

Christ lifted us from the valley of death to the heavenly heights to sit with him in the heavenly realms. What a vision but it is more than a vision, it is a reality bought by Christ. We do sit with him in the celestial altitudes, we have entered the throne room of God with him because he made us as righteous as he is. What a remarkable fact.

We eventually had to clamber back down from the giddy tops, but as the children of God, we never have to leave the giddy peak of God’s throne room.

The fact of living in the throne room of God means that we are above the fog of living bound by our circumstances.  Our vision is clear, we live in the sunshine of God’s acceptance of us.

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A fire spotting tower, Mt Lofty

MUCH GREATER THINGS

‘We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, ’needs to be our motto.  Added to this thought, Jesus spoke of us doing all that he did and even greater things.  Have you ever thought about praying for the dead to rise?  For a miracle to take place when you’ve prayed?  No, the thought pops up, ‘It might not be God’s will.’  It is God’s will for us to be in health and prosper.  It is God’s will that our prayers are answered, ‘Ask what you will, and it will be.’  Another quote, ‘speak to the mountain and by faith, it will move the sea,

THE CHALLENGE

I climbed Mount Toolybrunup and sat on the tallest crag and drank in the glory, another tick on my bucket list.

My biggest challenge as a Christian is to acknowledge that I am just as Jesus is right now in Heaven – recognizing that all of his glory, power, and perfection is in me and I can climb mountains of faith, even cast them, if need be, into the sea. I see the vision splendid, and I press on claiming as mine, the reality of Christ in me.