Night Sky Greeting Cards on Zazzle.co.nz.
Night Sky Greeting Cards on Zazzle.co.nz.
While many of us in the Northern hemisphere are celebrating the start of the spring, the nice days, we here in New Zealand are ‘celebrating’ the start of Autumn: the coloring of the leaves and .. mushrooms, lots of them it seems. In the garden, as well as in the forest. Maybe I was not paying attention in previous years or maybe it has to do with the earthquake(s) but there seemed to be more of them this year than I noticed in previous years.
I have to say never before have I seen them freshly shot out of the ground so clearly, as the needles of the pine trees were still standing up around them.
They were everywhere in different shapes and sorts.
But I guess the highlight for all of us was to be greeted by a fantail, just as curious about us as we were about him or her.
More photos will be uploaded to my flickr photostream. See you there as well.
A great idea!
Young restless teeenagers. Did we get a glimpse in the future of what it is to have teenagers in the house or is this a warning to make sure that we give our children a place they can call home at all times, a place where they can feel loved and where they can feel safe and at peace. Some weeks ago we offered one of our boys’ rooms to a member of our church because he no longer had a place he could call home, a roof over his head after the earthquake.
I can’t help but being sad to see how our young guest does not seem to have a clue as to what it is to be part of a family. Relatively unaware, he pops in and out without ever thinking about the rest of the family here. No other consideration it almost seems, not for leaving us in doubt whether or not to include him in the cooking, for the fact that our oldest son generously parted from his room so that he could have a place to withdraw and get back at peace, and he decides late at night to not come home. Restless.
A child (as that is what he still is) from a broken family with seemingly no father or mother to hang on to. It saddens me even more to realize that there are so many of these out there. Clueless, directionless, because they have basically been neglected by their own (broken) families and our education system is engineering them to think of themselves as the center of the universe, an education system that no longer teaches children to concentrate and go deep.
It is painful to see how much damage parents can cause (also thinking about the damage I may have caused already with my own boys) when children do not feel loved and are neglected. No discipline, no sense of participation, all self-centered if only because that was how to survive from a young age onwards, direction-less, unsure of their self-worth. I find myself in pain for our young guest. How can someone raise and maintain a happy family when he has never known one? Of course with the help of God, but as parents should we perhaps not keep in mind that we are not just participating in a family but also peparing the next generations to raise the families of the future? I guess this is something that I may want to reconsider while we try as good as we can to raise our own children. If they follow our example or if our example sets the norm than what an important responsibilty we have for the future to set an example worthy of following: an example of what it means to live according to the priority God, family, community.
It is in these last weeks I am realizing that I need to change, a lot, and that I will need God’s help to do just that. It is in the last weeks that I started to understand how important it is to provide a loving environment and most of all that love also means that you are not going to let your children live out their mistakes. Most of all I am starting to realize that teaching, instructing is best done by providing a leading example His Kingdom is one of power not of words. In that respect I may have a lot to work on and actually need God’s help more than ever. This is why we must be careful in everything we do. Along with loving God and being a godly example by committing ourselves to His commands, we could start by the command of Deuteronomy 6:7-9 regarding teaching our children to do the same, in words and action.
“7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
Instruction so it seems from this verse is of an ongoing nature and can be done at all times – at home, on the road, at night, and in the morning, in word and in action. The Bible thus becomes the foundation in our home, for our family life. By following the principles of these commands, I can teach our children that worshiping God can and should be constant, not reserved for Sunday mornings or nightly prayers or thanksgivings. Moreover that it comes from the heart and through thoughts, words AND actions.
God, family, community as the paradigm and leading by example as the strategy. An ongoing epiphany so it seems. Where do I start? This weekend when talking to one of my boys, he expained to me that as a result of my example he and the boys will have a higher chance of becoming a smoker. I guess change is already taking place as for the first time I did not try to argue that with him. Instead we ended up talking about how I started smoking, he wanted to know whether or not his Oma smoked (and yes my parents did) and that is where I see how children are being taught at school. I should not feel guilty for my smoking as that was Oma and Opa’s fault, since they smoked. When will he realize that in saying this he already has the perfect escape for any wrong choices he may make when he grows up where he has seen me make them. Children are not taught to take responsibility but to transfer culpa.
Another point of attention for me. As for me, I need to step it up and make sure he sees me making the right choices (and persevere with God’s help) and be a good husband, father, head of the family and a member of the community.
Thank you for trusting me with the raising of a child. But I cannot do this on my own strentgth. Forgive me for being a terrible example at times, forgive me for being angry and at times to hard for the boys, forgive me for all those times where I set a bad example as to what it means to be a loving and caring father and husband. In the name of Jesus I ask you to make me into the husband and father you want me to be, with You and Jesus as my shining examples and guided by Your Holy Spirit, so that we as a family and my sons may become shining examples of Your glory, Your power, Your love, Your compassion, Your grace, Your Wisdom, Your patience, Your goodness, Your caring nature, Your plan for us, and everything else You are that I just forgot.
In the name of Jesus, Amen
My latest card at zazzle. Inside text:
May you find REST and COMFORT in God.
In his Love
In His Light
In His Peace
In his Presence
This afternoon we went for the first time since the 22nd of February to the beach at Sumner and we ended up driving through town just to get a feel for what it is really like.
Even though this is a photo journal I can but say that no picture can do justice to what it is to physically experience the sight, smell and noise of piles of rubble for as far as you can see, your own city cordoned off by military, almost damaging the car because the road goes like the surf of a beach.
The road to Sumner was open and although not too bad the cracks and bumps are still there for sure, and it requires you to pay even more attention that usual.
Substantial parts of the road were protected by containers so as to avoid rocks falling on the road and cars.
Shag Rock at Sumner is one of those iconic little spots here: was I should say. Last year I took this picture.
And yesterday, this is what I found:
The reserve on the other side of the road is now covered in rocks that came down from the rock face. We could not help but wondering but wondering whether there may have been some unsuspecting people covered under there: perhaps going for a little walk through the reserve, perhaps having a quiet lunch in the sun out of the wind.
Cave Rock, further down the beach is a place of good memories for me. It is the place where I had my first beer on the beach with the family and friend Jason Wilcox. I remember well how cool I thought it was to be able to be sitting in the shade of a small cave, what a change from the crowded beaches in the Netherlands.
To give you a feel of what the beach looks like on a sunny day in the Netherlands see the picture on the left side.
All that is missing is a guard blowing his or her whistle so we can all turn at the same time to sunbath our other side. That same little cave at Cave at Cave Rock caved in.
I guess when you arrive at the place from the parking lot you get a good indication of what to expect straight away.
On the way back we went past the city center and as it is cordoned off, you can’t come to close and get yourself into trouble. But it was there where it started to hit in how enormous the damages really were.
Road may be open but that does by no means mean that they are still qualifiable as safe roads. It was as if we were riding the surf.
We drove up towards one of the fences that mark the cordon and when I walked out and looked at what seemed to be endless amounts of rubble, with a building here and there I simply was not able to shoot any picture and not feel like a complete @#$%&*!
Most of all it was then that I realized that no picture could ever do justice to what I was seeing there. My oldest son grabbed my hand and like me he was not able to say anything. Sure enough most of it can be replaced but I have serious concerns not just for those who have loved their loved ones in all this but also for those that had their livelihoods, their businesses (small businesses) in the struck areas: the dairies, the small boutique little businesses, coffee shops and restaurants that have been kept afloat by these courageous people with a vision, with a passion and which made Christchurch the lovely place it is. And I am sure it will be that same great place again but the road ahead, the road to restoration of people, lives and property will probably be long and steep.
Enough said, time to pray for the city and time to prepare for guitar students coming in. And in the complete faith that nothing is impossible with God, I pray for restoration of the people and city of Christchurch.
This was one very good article that was also published in the Investigate Magazine. I suggest that if you’d like some fresh insights on this for New Zealand so relevant subject: divorce and the Bible.
“Christ’s response, in this context, is a rejection of the liberal reading in favour of the conservative one. In fact, Brewer notes the very phraseology and wording Christ used was the same as that used by the Shammaites; however, his claim “whoever divorces his wife, except for adultery, and marries another woman commits adultery” took the conservative reading one step further. Not only are liberal “any reason” divorces wrong but they are invalid. People who have divorced on the “any reason” ground did not gain a legitimate divorce.
Brewer’s analysis is the best I have come across to date; it makes sense of the text without requiring the reader to turn a blind eye to the bits that don’t seem to sit right. His argument further explains the apparent differences between Mark, Matthew and Paul. Mark’s gospel is significantly more summarised than Matthew’s, hence his unqualified claim that divorce is forbidden is simply a summary without qualification. Similarly, Paul’s application in 1 Corinthians is not in any real conflict with Jesus’. Taken in its context, Jesus was not condemning a person who, after being abandoned, walked away from the marriage and remarried. Material and physical neglect as a ground of divorce was not in question. In Jesus’ teaching he was simply rejecting the “any reason” approach of the liberal school.
This background to Paul’s writing is strongly suggested by the fact that in the same passage he refers to sexual activity between spouses as a ‘debt’ mutually owed to each other. Brewer notes that Paul’s language and teaching here reflects rabbinical understandings of Exodus 21, which allowed divorce for failure to provide “conjugal rights”. Paul is therefore not adding to Christ’s teaching, he is simply applying it to a different situation.”
Read the complete article at Contra Mundum: “Till Death do us Part” Christ’s Teachings on Abuse, Divorce and Remarriage.