Lest We Forget…

I have forgotten the name of my year 2 teacher in primary school.  I have forgotten how to do quadratic equations.  I have forgotten where the really nice Indian restaurant was in Pymble that I used to visit.  I have forgotten appointments that I made but didn’t write down.  I have forgotten to bring home the milk.  I have forgotten people and different incidents from my past.  I have forgotten many things as I am sure you have as well. But this week is a week where we are challenged to remember.

 

ANZAC Day is a day set aside to recall all of those men and women who have served their country by giving their lives in wars or military operations to protect and secure our future.  In each generation we have had people who have stood up to take their place in the defence of our nation and have paid the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ for their devotion.  All around our nation we stand silently in remembrance as we listen to the words of “The Ode” and in unison we respond with “Lest we forget”.

It is both a remembrance and a call to each of us to keep the memory of significant action and a demonstration of love alive.

If one generation fails to remember then who will pass it to the next?   

 

I am always encouraged by the number of people who prove their remembrance by attending an ANZAC event.  It is both a sign of national pride and a sign of faithfulness and appreciation.

I know that as I work with members of the ADF this remembrance is appreciated and valued more than you know.

 

Jesus said “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends”

John 15:13

So, I thank you for remembering the ANZACs this week, I thank you for remembering all those who follow in their example but I also encourage you never to forget the One who gave His life for us all so that we need not fear death.

 

So no matter how many things you have forgotten, no matter if everything that was poured into your mind at school has fallen out – let’s not forget those things that really matter and let’s together say… “Lest we forget”.

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To many ‘uns’

I realised that I have been a lot of ‘uns’ in the past…

I have been Unwise – 7 years old when I wanted to test how strong the motor of the blender was by holding the blades and pressing the ‘pulse’ button.

I have been Unattractive – when I wore a Hawaiian shirt with a chequered pair of shorts.

I have been Unkind – sending my dog as test pilot into the middle of the river in my cardboard box boat.

I have been Unteachable – when I applied the final coat of varnish to a table 2 hours earlier than the tin suggested because I knew better.

I have been Unwilling – at times to accept my faults and lean on others for help.

I have been Unmerciful – to people who deserved to be given a second chance.

I have been Unapproachable – when I have been tired, frustrated or insecure.

I have been Uneasy – not sure of which way to turn next or which decision to make.

I have been Unqualified – at times for the tasks I have been expected to fulfil.

I have been Unaware – of the pain that I have caused others inadvertently.

I have been Unfair – in the way I have treated people who I didn’t understand.

The truth is that I am aware that I have been Unrighteous, Unworthy, Unsure, Unforgiving, Undesirable, Undecided and Unfit.

That’s a lot of uns! When you look at a list like this I am sure that you will agree with me that it is pretty Unimpressive.  But for all my faults, all my limitations and all of the things that are preceded with ‘un’ in my life…there is one ‘un’ that I am very happy to report cannot ever be said of me – I have never been Unloved!

The Bible says it this way… “The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you’”.                                                                                                         Jeremiah 31:3

So this week I encourage you no to focus on the  parts of your life that are Unworthy or Unimpressive but be aware of the reality of the fact that you are never Unloved and allow that truth to change the way you look at yourself.

Unscheduled India Trip

I had an unscheduled and very quick trip to India this week.  It did not involve a plane or any other normal form of transport but came in the form of an unpaid toll notice for the M5 motorway.

The trip to India happened as I made the local call and through the wonder of modern telecommunications was transferred to a call centre somewhere on the subcontinent.

 

The operator was polite, helpful and was able to process my request effectively.  She was also determined to appear as though she was just across the road rather than servicing my mundane request from the other side of the globe.  She had an almost acceptable Australian accent; she was familiar with slang terms and idioms; she was aware of my location and she had a slightly uncomfortable amount of information regarding my driving habits.  However, with all that information at her fingertips, with all the training and practice she had obviously worked through, I still knew that I was talking to someone from a different place – someone whose life was significantly different to mine, whose experience could not line up and whose culture was dissimilar.

 

I am not complaining, I am not even uncomfortable with being sent to a call centre – I am amazed that they can make it work from so far away.  But I do note this one thing, ‘the game’ – trying to make me believe that I am dealing with someone just down the street – doesn’t work…I feel like I am being played and that I have to pretend that I don’t notice.  The fact is that I do notice and no matter how nice the person is on the other end of the phone, I find myself reacting to it.

 

There is a natural desire for honesty built into each one of us; there is desire in each of us that people will deal straight and true.  There is also a desire to be understood; that another will truly come alongside and experience life from our point of view.  Call centres try to do this but fail.

 

Some people view the Lord as far away and from a very different planet.  I have not found Him like this. Yes, He is different but He understands and communicates more clearly with me than any other I have met. The Bible says “we have a High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses and was in all points tempted as we are”.  Now that’s a call centre worth talking to!

Are you listening?

Have you ever noticed how much louder people speak when they are wearing headphones?  We are living in the world of the podcast and headphones have actually become a fashion accessory!  The problem with listening to loud music (whatever your taste) through headphones is that you are cut off from what is going on around you.  Whenever I walk into a music store my kids make a b-line to the headphones on the wall and I always get a laugh out of the fact that I can hear them talking loudly to each other from the other side of the store. See, the problem is, you have to speak louder to compensate because what you have chosen to listen to is affecting your ability to hear anything else. This is why I gave up listening to my ipod whilst riding my pushbike; I could choose some really enjoyable music but what I really need to hear is what is going on around me.  You might not spend a lot of time listening to music but we all select what we will hear.  What we choose to listen to affects what else we will be able to hear.Jesus often said these words… “He who has ears, let Him hear!”  See Jesus understood that listening is an active choice, not simply an automatic response. So my question to you today is… How loudly would God have to speak to get your attention?   Is it possible that He has been speaking but you haven’t been listening?

It’s the little things

Little things can really make a difference. Little things can have a huge impact.

A small match can kindle a fire that will destroy hundreds of homes…a small crack in the fuselage of a plane can render it unfit to fly…a small hole in a bucket is all you need to loose what you are carrying. A small person can impact the world for good (Mother Teresa) or for evil (Adolf Hitler). Small does not necessarily mean insignificant.

We have to be careful to control the small things which have the potential to cause harm. Our tongue is a small thing, and yet very dangerous. The words you speak can bring joy, encouragement and love or else they can bring sorrow, judgement and pain. This little thing that waggles about in our heads is quite a worry. If you can control your tongue then you are strong indeed; your friends and family will feel safe around you. But if you tend to fly off at the mouth then don’t be surprised if people are hesitant to share deeply and meaningfully with you!

When we speak harshly or when we enter into gossip we are using our tongue in a way that can cause irreparable damage and we need to be careful. Harsh words or gossip tend to feel great whilst they are being exchanged but afterwards there is nothing but destruction.

Speaking of the tongue James says …“it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:8

Let’s guard our hearts and hold our tongues!

i wl B w8ng 4 U @HrsB CU@5 outsd MCDs

People love sending text messages and they love receiving them, it has become one of the most common forms of communication. But with the advent of SMS a whole new language has emerged that we are all trying to get our heads around.

You see, sending an SMS has become quite an art form, where people try to communicate a complex message with as few keystrokes as possible. This is, of course, all part of the game. The Melbourne Age reported that eight out of 12 secondary schools said that students were increasingly using SMS-style English in their class assignments. For instance, some students now spell the word ‘before’ as ‘b4’, ‘night’ as ‘nite’, ‘great’ as ‘gr8’ and ‘with’ as ‘wif’.

We can complain as loudly and as long as we like about the change and degradation of our language but the fact is that in the future we will not know what people are writing about unless we seek to understand them. With a little effort we can keep in touch.

One of the major problems I observe is that people are out of touch, not just with each other, but with God. The way He speaks and expresses Himself has become foreign and His important messages seem like the most garbled SMS.

The Lord has a lot that He wants to say to you. RU redd?

“Give ear and hear my voice, Listen and hear my speech.”

Isaiah 28:23

Negativity

It is amazing how a single splinter can spoil your whole day. Even though it is small and apparently insignificant it makes a lasting impression and no comfort is found until the offending item is removed. Negative things are like that. It seems that a negative thought or a negative word will stay with you throughout the whole day. It is so easy to get stuck on a “not so merry-go-round” as we replay the problems, the mistakes or the pain others have caused us. A “negative” is about having something taken away, and we all suffer them from time to time. Jesus said that there would be negatives in our lives. “The thief comes only to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

The devil is the ultimate minus sign. “-” He seeks to remove every good thing from you; he is out to take away every part of your life but Jesus is different…He is the plus sign “+” The Bible shows us that Jesus suffered the loss of everything He had, so that He could give us life. His death on the cross was the definitive action which guarantees the possibility of life for each of us. It is so easy to focus on the splinter; the negatives which take away from our lives, but I encourage you to look again at the possibility of the positive which can be found in Jesus Christ. Jesus adds value to life!