Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Enigma Code

I have just completed reading Enigma by Hugh Montefiore. It details the history of the attempt by the Allies to decrypt the messages of the German military, just before, and during WW2.

It is a tale of spies, subterfuge, boffins and hours of hard, and often fruitless, work in which the unlocking of a message that could save or cost thousands of lives. This tale of daring do was brought home to me when we lived in Bletchley, UK. One of the first visits I made was to Bletchley Park – the home of decryption in the war.

The unlocking of the Enigma Code played an enormous role in WW2, possibly changing the outcome but certainly shortening its length.

The passion and sacrifice of these men and women to defeat Hitler’s ambitions was staggering. Human lives, especially in the UK and on the high seas, depended on their work.

There is an even greater battle that we face on a daily basis. It is evil and life denying. It is the person and power of Satan. The battle may not seem so obvious but it is even more deadly than that fought in WW2.

Hearts and lives are at stake – the health of our children, families and society. Psalm 1 reminds us that our natural inclination and direction is evil. It challenges us to (in God’s strength) choose wisely and be anchored in the life giving soil and life that comes from God, (in Christ) alone.

The Enigma tale has reminded me that if we understand the dangers we can also find the passion and zeal to withstand and conquer them – through a faithful God.

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The Light of Christ

When we travel we like to listen to our favourite music. Having been on the road for the last week we listened to a lot of music. Michael Card is one singer/song writer whose songs we both like.

In the song, “For F.F.B.” he sings of his grandfather with the words, “In you I learned the kind of faith that looked up to the mountains. In you I saw just what I’d like to be. Oh, Grandad, I wish you could be here to tell me what to do, ‘cause I first saw the light of Christ through you.”

The phrase, “‘cause I first saw the light of Christ through you” made me think of those who first allowed me to see the light of Christ. When we were impressionable children who were those people through whom Christ shone? Parents? Grandparents? Family? Friends?

This is such a profoundly important concept, than for no other reason than the eternal faith of our children, our aim as adults should be to grow in Christlikeness.

Just after our fist child was conceived we received a visit from our pastor who reminded us that a child is conceived into an eternity of heaven or hell. Very blunt! But his point was simple, nothing is more important than the faith of our children and as parents we must do everything we can to prepare our children for an eternity with God. Or in Michael Card’s words to allow our children to see “the light of Christ through” us.

Categories: christian, Devotional, Faith, Family, Reflections | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

What Am I Doing Here?

There are moments in your life when you think, “What am I doing here?” My wife and I had that thought half way up to a place called “The Saddle” on our way to St Mary’s Peak in the Flinders Ranges. On the way up, there were a few “don’t look down” moments.

The walk had gone from a strenuous hike, to a scramble over rocks, through to white knuckle clasps on protruding rocks, while inching ones way along a ledge. My wife later told me that she should have taken more notice of the rock climbing instructors when she took her girls’ group to the rock climbing centre. When we finally got to the Saddle the views were spectacular. It was worth the angst.

To be perfectly honest, we took this route because it was half the distance of the other route. We thought we would save ourselves 7 kms.

We took the longer route back. It didn’t take us much longer but it was a lot safer!

There are so many lessons in this story. I’ll let you work them out for yourselves.

P.S. I wish I had a photo of us half way up because I don’t think our children will believe us!




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Wilpena Panorama

It are the unexpected joys that one encounters on a trip that are often the highlights. We encountered one this morning. (In fact I wrote this two days ago but we were wireless less)

In the small South Australian town of Hawker, just south of the Flinders Ranges is a beautiful panorama of Wilpena Pound. Painted by local artist, Jeff Morgan, it is a picture of the area from St. Mary’s Peak. It is well worth visiting the website and Jeff’s own page. If you are ever in the area a visit to the actual panorama is a must!

One sign declared, “Creation, God’s First Missionary.”

That about says it all.

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We Find It Everywhere

The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 1 Corinthians 15:26

A Cemetery in Alesund Norway

One of my more macabre pastimes is to visit cemeteries. They are a fount of history and stories. We can learn much about places and people from headstones.

But the point is, they are everywhere. There is no escaping them. Towns, villages, cities and rural areas all have them. They can be found on the outskirts of town, next to churches, in churches and even in prisons. I have found these sober reminders of our mortality in all sorts of places. Simply put, millions have gone before us.

Why is it that so many of us live as though death doesn’t exist, or that it doesn’t matter?

A Pilgrims’ Cemetery on the Camino to Santiago

1 Corinthians 15 is the Apostle Paul’s wonderful exploration and apologetic for the reality of the resurrection. He declares that for the believer “death has lost its sting”. Sadly, for many, the sting hasn’t been removed from death because they refuse to rely on Christ – the sting remover.

Cemeteries are a constant reminder for me of what Christ has done but also a challenge to seek and find the lost before it is too late.

Burial Mounds at Gamla Uppsala Sweden

Categories: Cemetery, christian, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

The Simpler Life … continued

Some of my recent posts have stirred up more old memories. They made me think about how we entertained ourselves as children in the 1950s and early 60s. Here are a few of things that I remember doing:

Courtesy: Google Images

My dad was a green grocer with a huge stack of fruit boxes. These could be constructed into the most wonderful cubby houses – in fact they became a cubby city with tunnels and streets. I remember doing a similar things in a haystack on a farm I visited regularly. Many Saturday and summer hours were whiled away here.

When I was 10 or 11 I constructed my first crystal set to pick 3GL the Geelong station. Construction was a regular pastime – model “Airfix” planes which I would hang from my bedroom ceiling, and later balsa and paper planes powered by tiny 2.5 cc motors and guided by control wires.

Walking the streets of our town was never an issue – even at night. People looked out for each other and their children. In fact, if I did do something naughty it would usually get back to my parents. We would take walks along the beach collecting cuttlefish and other “treasures” or tramp through the bush behind our town known as Cuthbertsons. If we were sick of walking there were always bike rides to neighbouring towns.

Courtesy: Google Images

On a couple of occasions we went to the local airstrip to look at the planes and on at least two occasions we went up for a gratis joy ride. I can’t imagine that happening today without eyebrows being raised – to say the least.

Camping at a friends farm, playing sports at the local football and tennis clubs, playing cricket and football on the unpaved street, “cowboys and Indians” in the scrub, marbles, swapping comics, playing with a chemistry set (do you remember Ron?)… are just a few more of the things that come to mind.

Finally, as we didn’t have a TV set until I was in my mid teens, I spent some time in the evening listening to the serials on the radio or crystal set. Biggles, Dad and Dave, No Holiday for Halliday are just a few I remember.

What do you remember doing as a child in the “olden days”?

Categories: Family, Reflections | Tags: | 2 Comments

With all the trivia available for iPhones and iPads, here is an app that has lasting value!

A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

There’s an iPhone and iPad app (there’s an android version too) called the “Fighter Verse App” that many Christian parents are finding helpful in aiding to memorise Scripture. The Paquettes have used it and here is their conclusion:

In order for us to be intentional about our kids memorizing Scripture this year, James and I have sat down and made a plan through December. During carpool to school each morning, (approx. 8 minutes), we use this time to have our girls memorize Scripture. For 3 years now, they have memorized over 50 verses. After we made the plan, I thought, why not post it on my blog so others can follow along too, or ask me about it to make sure we are keeping up [also see video above]!

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The Already and Not Yet

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus … Ephesians 2:6

Image courtesy: Nadeau’s Auctions. 

When I was five years old we lived in a small country town where phone numbers were between one and one hundred and everybody knew everybody. There was a General Store that supplied all our needs from cereal to rakes.

As we were recent immigrants, money was scarce and every penny (pre-decimal days) had to be turned over twice. On a high shelf of the General Store was the “toy department”. It had cars, dolls and games. But there was also one big red Tonka tow truck. It was every young boy’s dream. I left my mother in no doubt that I liked this truck. However the answer was always the same. We can’t afford it.

So each time we went shopping, as my mother stood at the counter I would wander off and stare wistfully at the red truck. Then horror! One day it was gone. I was shattered. All my dreams had disappeared in one cruel blow. That was it!

A few days later I was trawling through a cupboard looking for something when I noticed a brown paper parcel. On closer inspection the contents had torn one small corner open and I noticed the hook end of a red tow truck.

Mum had bought the truck! I knew it was mine. My brother had not been born and my dad was too old. It was mine! Oh the joy!. There was one problem. My birthday was not for another few months. So I had to wait to receive the present. But the truck was mine!

In some ways our place in heaven is like that. As Ephesians tells us, we are already seated with Christ in heavenly realms. Because Jesus is there, we are there. That is a reality. On the other hand we have not seen it or received it clearly yet. We are still waiting for God’s call. In the meantime we can rejoice at the reality and the anticipation.

Categories: christian, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Use By Date

On jar lids

See how the flowers of the field grow

packet edges,
in neat computer printing
are dates:
“Use by …”
“Best Before …”
A sign of finite life,
Limited use,
and inevitable corruption.
The average life span for men
in Australia is.
79.7 years.
Is that a “best before”
or “use by” date?
Or is every second
a gift
to be cherished
and lived,
whether many or few?
For there is no 
“Use By” date”
in the Kingdom of God.
Categories: christian, Christianity, Faith, Poem, poetry | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments


The following is a quote from Teresa of Avila in a piece that she writes for her fellow nuns:

I was once considering what the reason was why our Lord loved humility in us so much, when I suddenly remembered that He is essentially the Supreme Truth, and that humility is just our walking in the truth.  For it is a very great truth that we have no good in us, but only misery and nothingness, and he who does not understand this walks in lies: but he who understands this the best is the most pleasing to the Supreme Truth.  May God grant us this favour, sisters, never to be without the humbling knowledge of ourselves.

Teresa of Avila. Santa Teresa an Appreciation: with some of the best passages of the Saint’s Writings. Kindle Edition.
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