sin lies still

Sin lies still
deep, deep within
it’s not dead, it’s not asleep
it just lies there
silent, watching, waiting

It sees gratification
self-satisfaction, the delusion
that it has been wrestled with
and overcome

But there it is—still, deep, watching, waiting
crouching at the door

Just a little ajar… just a little
so it can quietly nose its way in
to wriggle and squirm its way
back to where it squattered so long
unwelcome, unwanted
but desired

Sin is not arrogant or rude
it does not insist on its own way
Sin is patient—it will wait its turn

For its turn will surely come again

sin is crouching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must rule over it
(Genesis 4:7)

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europe and australia

We visited Europe where human history goes back to forever.

A place of castles, cathedrals, museums, art galleries, iconic structures and statues, cobblestone roads, crumbling facades, Roman ruins, different languages, different currencies, labyrinths of metros and lots and lots of people. And did I mention castles and cathedrals?

There’s the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, Tower of London, Grand Canal, Colosseum, Sagrada Familia, Stonehenge, Buckingham Palace, Arc de Triomphe, Schönbrunn Palace… The list is endless.

Europe is a place where humans have made their mark.

I am from Australia where human history goes back around 40,000 years with the Aborigines, so it is said, and 228 years of European settlement. Apart from the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, iconic structures made by human hands are few and far between.

kakaduNatural icons, on the other hand, abound: the Great Barrier Reef, Ningaloo Reef, Uluru, Kakadu, Karijini, the Bungle Bungles, the Twelve Apostles, the Snowy Mountains, Mount Augustus, Lake Eyre, the Great Australian Bight, Daintree Rainforest, Eighty Mile Beach, the Nullarbor Plain… The list goes on.

There are jarrah, karri and huon pine forests, deserts and vast spaces devoid of people. We also have kangaroos, koalas, dales-gorge-karijiniwombats and numerous other animals indigenous to Australia.

One national language is spoken. One currency is used. No metro. A few museums and art galleries. And you can’t see all the sights in a day or two. You can’t hop on the metro or tram to see one or another. You have to travel months in order to see all the sights Australia has to offer.

I think I can sum up my thoughts thus:

Man made Europe.

God made Australia 🙂

for my dad

He’s gone now
An old farmer
Who loved his sheep
Who loved his wheat
Who loved his land

My dad the gentleman
A gentle man
Who never raised his hand
Who never raised his voice
Who never raised a harsh word

Except when he lost his dignity
The indignity of old age
The indignity of loss
Loss of continence
Loss of independence

Ninety seven and counting
Only we are counting no longer
The years have stopped
Ceased to roll
Ceased

When dad was alive
Death was not an option
Life would continue
Life would roll on
Life would not be swallowed by death

For my dad
Now in death
Life is the only option
Life in Christ
Life eternal

My dad loved quietly
My dad was quietly loved
For my dad love lasted a lifetime
My dad was faithful in his love
And God has been faithful in his love

For my dad

the gospel

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and, on her head, a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.red dragon

And another sign appeared in heaven: a great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and, on his heads, seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. The dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth so that when she bore her child he might devour it.

She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the wilderness where she has a place prepared by God in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth and his angels were thrown down with him.

I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony for they loved not their lives even unto death.Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows his time is short!”

And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.

The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman opened its mouth and swallowed the river the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

a very good friday

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

The above words from Isaiah 53 are some of the most well-known words in the Bible. This is because they very clearly and succinctly tell us exactly what Jesus Christ’s purpose was and what he did in fulfilling that purpose.

But why ‘Good Friday’? What is so good about this day Christians worldwide stand in awe of?

It was surely not a good day for Jesus. He suffered horribly at the hands of the Jewish religious leaders and the Roman rulers.

But it was a good Friday for us.

It was the piercing and crushing of his body and the chastisement of our iniquity laid on him that brought us peace. By his wounds we are healed of the consequences of our sins.

We have peace and healing because Christ took those consequences for us thus appeasing the almighty, sovereign God’s indignation and wrath.

A good Friday indeed.

when I survey

When I sit quietly and meditate on the wonderful cross on which the Prince of glory died, I have to count my most valuable possessions as nothing but a miserable burden, and in humility, despise my own conceitedness and arrogance.

Lord, do not allow me to gloat over any achievement other than the cross of Christ my God. All the useless and worthless things that monopolise my affections, I offer them as a sacrifice to his blood.

From the wounds in Christ’s head, hands and feet, I see not only blood, but also sorrow and love flowing, mingling together. When has there ever been such a portrayal of love and sorrow together in one person? Or when did a brilliant, bejewelled, regal crown ever display the richness and beauty and kingship of the crown of thorns worn by our Lord?

Like a shroud, Christ’s dying blood envelops his whole body, and like Christ, I as his body, the church, I die to the world, and all that is in the world and all that the world epitomises is dead to me.

If all the universe were mine to give back to God, it would in no way repay all that Christ has done for me. For such love demands nothing short of my soul, my life, my all.

Isaac Watts (1674 – 1748) complained to his father about the ponderous and awkwardly worded metrical psalms they were required to sing in their church worship services. His father challenged him to write a hymn suitable for the congregation to sing.

So he did. In fact he wrote hundreds of hymns. ‘When I survey the wondrous cross’ was one of the hymns he wrote, and it is still a favourite of many.

I wrote this paraphrase a number of years ago in an effort to grasp a deeper understanding and appreciation of what Jesus Christ did through his death on the cross for me, and to give my response to Christ.

I thank God for hymn writers like Isaac Watts, as well as modern song writers because they are able to express in verse what we in the congregation have in our hearts. And we can sing our little hearts out to God on Sundays, and every other day of the week.

When I Survey The Wondrous Cross – Fernando Ortega