Monthly Archives: March 2012

A “Must Read”

The following was passed onto me after reading yesterday’s post on age and wisdom. This report is exactly what I was talking about. Take time to read it and delight in it! I was humbled by this beautiful story and I rejoiced when I read the last line.

Oldest Living Couple on Earth Gives Great Relationship Advice

Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher

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Age and Wisdom

One of my favourite Mark Twain quotes is:

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.

For me this process of learning hasn’t finished even though now I am probably older than Mark’s father was. I am continually amazed how much wisdom older people have. The tragedy is, that unlike mark Twain, we as a society have been failing to listen to the our seniors for many years.

Readers of my blog know that I am a passionate advocate for young people but I am also an advocate for those who have experienced much and have wisdom to offer. Yes I have come across a few old fools who make sure that everybody knows their opinion – ad nauseum. But there are many more older people who have a quiet and experience wrought wisdom which has been nurtured through faith. All we need to do is ask. We have to ask because too often they have been told their opinion is not worth anything.

Job 12:12 asks

Is not wisdom found among the aged?
Does not long life bring understanding?

Think of the questions we need to ask our elders:

How did you keep your marriage working?
What obstacles to faith do we need to keep alert to?
What did you do that was particularly effective in raising your family?
What mistakes did you make?
What boundaries did you set on your children?
How did you cope in the traumas of life?

And there are many, many more questions. If we don’t ask, we won’t find out. If we don’t find out, we will be the poorer.

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A Prayer – by John Calvin

We tend to think of Calvin as the theologian but he was also a pray-er with a deep relationship with his God. After all, he was known by some as the ‘theologian of the Holy Spirit.’

I discovered a number of his prayers at Below is one example taken from his commentary on Hosea:

Grant, Almighty God, that as thou hast not only of late adopted us as thy children, but before we were born, and as thou hast been pleased to sign us, as soon as we came forth from our mother’s womb, with the symbol of that holy redemption, which has been obtained for us by the blood of thy only begotten Son, though we have by our ingratitude renounced so great a benefit, – O grant, that being mindful of our defection and unfaithfulness, of which eve are all guilty, and for which thou hast justly rejected us, we may now with true humility and obedience of faith embrace the grace of thy gospel now again offered to us, by which thou reconciles thyself to us; and grant that we may steadfastly persevere in pure faith, so as never to turn aside from the true obedience of faith, but to advance more and more in the knowledge of thy mercy, that having strong and deep roots, and being firmly grounded in the confidence of sure faith, we may never fall away from the true worship of thee, until thou at length receives us in to that eternal kingdom, which has been procured for us by the blood of thy only Son. Amen.

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Two Messages Exploring Our Humanity

Recently two videos have been recommended to me. Both (with the usual caveat that we read and watch material critically) are well worth watching and being challenged by.

The first was recommended by one of my daughters (an introvert) and she found this to be very affirming of her own character and traits. Teachers and pastors, I believe, will be challenged by this.

Susan Cain speaks about the power of introverts

The second is also a TED video and speaks of vulnerability. Brene Brown speaks of her own journey. Christians, I believe have a chapter to add to this story about the one who made himself totally vulnerable for us, but even by itself, it is a powerful image  of our humanity.

Brene Brown speaks about vulnerability

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Two Images of God’s Unique Creation

All God’s creatures are unique:

An Emu getting up close and personal. He was after my wife's bread roll.

Here is proof! A marsupial that doesn’t often drink and a bird that doesn’t fly.

A Koala drunk on eucalyptus leaves having a snooze.

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The Night Sky – continued

After being amazed by the night sky two nights ago, my wife and I spent time looking at Psalm 8. Here are a few thoughts:

1. Psalm 8 echoes Genesis 1. We see God’s creation reflected in the Psalm: from stars to fish but it ends in the highpoint  – the creation of man in his own image.

2. It is very easy to feel insignificant after staring at the stars for too long. But both Genesis 1 and Psalm 8 remind us that we have been created (and recreated in Christ) with a purpose  – to glorify God.

3. The Psalm starts with “Lord,our Lord“, This opening acknowledges both the majesty of a creating God but also the intimacy of a God with whom we are called into relationship.

4. The thought that my wife, especially, delights in, is that God uses the small and weak, that is, “children and infants” to give Him praise, and by so doing His enemies are silenced. It is so easy for us to take on the world’s ideals and methods of strength and power. God’s are totally different. His son at the weakest moment, dying on a Roman cross, achieved victory over death, sin and Satan. The seemingly small and weak in the family of God share in, and can attest to, that victory and thereby silence the mocking world.

Your homework! Find a good, cloudless, night time place where pollution and light pollution is absent. Spread a blanket on the ground and just stare and wonder at the majesty of the stars. Then read Psalm 8 (use a torch) and allow God to remind you of where you fit into His eternal plans. As Jesus’ brothers and sisters we share in His eternal rule.

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The Night Sky

Tonight my wife and I were looking at the night sky with the aid of the Night Sky app. We are in the country away from the city lights and pollution. The night sky is just brilliant with its display of stars. The Southern Cross, Orion, and big orange Betelgeuse were all set against the brilliance of the Milky Way.

Every time again it is a “wow!” moment.

Now I have two essential choices to make about the origins of this majestic picture. One, it is a giant accident with spectacular results or two, there is a divine hand behind all this.

In Psalm 147:4 we read, “He determines the number of stars and calls them each by name.” This reveals two incredible aspects of God: His omnipotence and His attention to small details. If the name of each of His stars is important to Him, then what about us, whom He made “a little lower than the angels?”

Psalm 8 tells me that I am important to God. Looking at the stars reminds me of this!

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“Youth is wasted on the young” George Bernard Shaw

Energy to spend
on chasing, running and childishness.
To have passions that ignite.
Intoxicating dreams that abound
of worlds and hopes, futures
and possibilities.
To be young again!
To have time to wonder
and aspire,
fall and rise
without broken bones –
or bruised hearts.
To be a Jeremiah
– set apart,
– doing what is right
– with a youthful love of God
or Mary
– with a humble heart.
The priceless, momentary
gift of being young
must not be chained or bound
in our past mistakes.
Free the young
to prophesy and envision,
thrive and grow
so our jaded hearts are gladdened
and God rejoices.
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A few years ago we lived in the UK for 16 months. What struck us was the distinctiveness of the seasons – the warmth and humidity of the Summer, the cold of the Winter and either the coming to life or the dying of Spring and Autumn.

Below are two videos taken from either end of a local street made up of photos taken approximately once every week (or so) over a year. This was not a technically precise exercise. (Click on the photos to be taken to the videos).

Stanier Square

Stanier - Other end

Even in a suburban environment we have glimpses of God. We don’t have to go to the edge of the Grand Canyon or into the starry outback in Australia. The changes of the seasons, the springing into life of the trees, the blossoming of flowers, wherever we are, are all reminders of the divine hand of God.

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Vale, Encyclopaedia Britannica

I read with resigned sadness that Encyclopaedia Britannica is ceasing its print production after starting its life in Scotland in 1768, 244 years ago. In this time it has grown from a modest three volumes to 32 volumes in the latest edition. In its heyday the Britannica commanded a great deal of respect as it was filled with many scholarly articles in a world craving for knowledge and understanding. Today, with the internet and the over abundance of resources, as well as the increased level of education, that honour has diminished somewhat.

Being a bibliophile, I love my Britannicas. I have three sets: A Replica of the first edition, the 9th edition (C19th – pictured) and the 15th edition (from 1975). The truth is, however, I use them very little nowadays. Just as a lot of my Bible study is done from behind the keyboard, with computer programmes and online resources, so is my research. The online Britannica gets more use than the print edition. More often than not, the volumes are used as weights for my wife’s paper making. Today I use my iPad for quick reference and to read books because the public library or book store is “too far away”. I am part of the blame for the printed Britannica’s demise.

But still my emotions stir with this news because I love the feel of a book and turning its pages. Then again, the Scribe might have said the same about unrolling the scroll, or the artisan about chipping into a stele.

As a Christian, it is amazing to reflect on this change in “technologies” over the years. The Bible, too, has been part of these changes. However the Holy Spirit has never been bound by technology. From word of mouth, to Kindles and iPads, the Word of God has continued to spread, inform, challenge and change people over the centuries.

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