31 December 2010

Live Caleb's Way

Numbers 13:30 (NLT)
30 But Caleb tried to encourage the people as they stood before Moses. "Let's go at once to take the land," he said. "We can certainly conquer it!"
At the ripe old age of eighty-five, Caleb said to Joshua, 'the Lord has kept me alive just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day. And Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb because he wholly followed the Lord' Joshua 14:10-14.

There was nothing half-baked or half-hearted about Caleb. His dream kept him alive; he got out of bed every morning intent on pursuing it. When God gives you a dream as big as a mountain, it will keep you going while others around you are giving up.

But be careful who you listen to. Don't let the critics discourage you by saying, 'You're too old.' The Bible says that like a palm tree, you can produce your greatest harvest of fruit in your final years Psalm 92:12-14. When the sun goes down the stars come out so you can shine brightest in the closing chapters of your life.

Barbara Klassen says: 'My great-great uncle lived to one hundred and six. He was healthy and spry and took joy in chauffeuring his less able-bodied senior friends around town. On his hundredth birthday his driver's licence came up for renewal. When he went to the licensing bureau a sceptical clerk said, 'You're a hundred years old! What do you need a driver's licence for?' My uncle, completely nonplussed, replied, 'Somebody has to drive the old folks around!' He continued to have a legal driver's licence for the next five years.'

Caleb said to Moses, "Let us go up at once and take possession [of the Promised Land] for we are well able" But the men with him gave a bad report saying "There we saw the giants and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight” Numbers 13:30-33.

Notice two attitudes at work in this story:

1. An attitude of doubt.
Ten of twelve spies came back saying, 'It can't be done!' But the majority isn't necessarily right. If God promises you something, it's yours, even if you're in the minority. The majority report terrified God's people; they got spiritual amnesia; they forgot the years of His supernatural provision.

They talked themselves into believing that Egypt was actually the land of milk and honey. '...you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness' Numbers 16:13. Incredible! Egypt was a land of straw and slavery, not milk and honey.

What was their problem? They allowed their surroundings to influence them more than God's promises. When that happens you dry up spiritually, begin to grumble and say stuff like, 'God may have worked miracles in the past, but He doesn't do it anymore.' As a result of their unbelief, not one of them entered the Promised Land except Joshua and Caleb.

2. An attitude of faith.
God said, 'But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land...and his descendants shall inherit it.' Numbers 14:24.

Contributor - Anonymous

So, which attitude do you (generally) have?

Have you given some thought about how you would like to start the new year 2011? .....with an attitude of doubt or will you much prefer Caleb's way, with faith in God the Father and Christ Jesus the Son of God.

May God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.

29 December 2010

Melbourne - Royal Botanic Garden

It was one autumn weekend that we wanted to see some autumn colours. So instead of going to Bright, a Victoria town where it is known for its autumn colours, the next nearest best spot we have was the city botanic garden.

Victoria has many gardens so much so that it is also known as the Garden State of Australia. The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne was formed to administer to the many gardens in and around Melbourne, with their very own vision, mission and objectives. The Royal Botanic Gardens encompasses two diverse sites; South Yarra and Cranbourne locations.

The photos in this posting are from the South Yarra site, consisting of over 36 hectares and displays as many as 50,000 plants and it is one of Melbourne's most popular tourist attractions.

Strangely, I do not have any photos of the flowers in the garden, only some of the views of the garden. Maybe it is because I have been to the garden so many times, that the flowers have lost its impact on me, simply due to familiarity. It is like driving to work using the same route every day that it is easy to then miss things we have never really seen before. However, I do remember seeing flowers that blooms in the autumn season.

Then there is the lesser known perspective of the garden.

There always seems to be something happening in the garden. A lot depends on the season and the weather for the day. There are the usual tourist, seasoned "fitness fanatics", the occasional art classes and nursery market, strollers passing time and the conducted/guided tours of the garden.

The guided tours is a treat. It gives you the history and cultural significance of the garden and more importantly a new appreciation of the garden and its purpose. Some of the walks and guided tours you can find are:
  • Summer Discovery Walk
  • Aboriginal Heritage Walk
  • Gardens by Twilight
  • Birds, Binoculars and Botanics
  • Garden Snapshot
and more.

Tours can be arranged at the Visitor Centre, Observatory Gate at the Melbourne Observatory, just outside the gate from The Ian Potter Foundation Children's Garden. For more details, search the garden web-site.

The Children's Garden is the place for children who like to get their hands and clothing dirty; digging, building, hiding and exploring the gardens such as the Ruin Garden, the Meeting Place with a water feature that sprays up out of the ground in summer, a Wetland Area, Bamboo Forest and lots more. There is even a Kitchen Garden for the future master-chefs.

Then again if everything above is a little too many activities or buzzziness for you, there is always the stroll around the garden or even through the garden to the city for a different kind of "adventure".

"In The Name Of The Lord" - Sandi Patty

This was one of the songs sung in this year 2010 Vision Australia's Christmas Carols by Candlelight, held at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne.

Love the lyrics so I went searching and found this one in You Tube.

25 December 2010

Where's the Line to See Jesus? - Becky Kelley

Every now and then, you come across a music or a song that kind of hit the spot. Well, this is one such song that did it for me, thanks to a friend who sent it to Margaret. Thanks Julie!

So I thought, why not share this with you. Hope you enjoy this as much as we did.

Merry Christmas!

For those who wish to sing-along, the following are the lyrics to the song, thanks to John.

Christmas time was approaching; the snow is starting to fall
Shoppers choosing their presents, people filling the mall
Children waiting for Santa with excitement and glee
A little boy tugged my sweater, looked up and asked me

Where's the line to see Jesus? Is He here at the store?
If Christmas time is His birthday, why don't we see Him more?
Where's the line to see Jesus? He was born for me.
Santa Claus brought me presents, but Christ gave His life for me.

As I stood in amazement at this message profound
I looked down to thank him, he was nowhere around
The little boy at the mall might as well have had wings
As the tears filled my eyes, I thought I heard him say

In the blink of an eye, at the sound of His trump
We'll all stand in line at His throne
Every knee shall bow down, every tongue will confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord

23 December 2010

Are you Jesus?

A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night's dinner.

In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples at the airport. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding. ALL BUT ONE!!! He paused, took a deep breath, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned. He told his buddies to go on without him, waved good-bye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor. He was glad he did.

The 16 year old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping and no one to care for her plight.

The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket. When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl,....

'Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay?'
She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, 'I hope we didn't spoil your day too badly.'

As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, 'Mister....' He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, 'Are you Jesus?'

He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered. Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: 'Are you Jesus?'

Do people mistake you for Jesus? That's our Destiny, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, life and grace.

If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would.

Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church. It's actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day.

You are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by a fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit.

Something to ponder about.

Contributor - Anonymous

21 December 2010

Merry Christmas! 2010

Merry Christmas! and Good Cheers! to you all.

Since we are now into the Christmas season, we should be thankful for both the trials and blessings of the year. Enjoy the holiday periods and rest as best you can, between Christmas and the New Year because 2011 is going to be an exciting one.

Christmas is a time when we remember the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and the reason he was born into the world. Christmas is also a time when we focus and fellowship more with our family and friends, and we pray that you have a good, fun-filled and safe celebration.

So have a Merry Christmas and a Joyful New Year!

Here is our prayer for you for this Christmas season and for the New Year. May you have more and more of God's special favour and wonderful peace.

Margaret + Simon

It's such a blessing just to know
that since your life began,
The Lord's been guiding
all your steps
according to His plan -
And be assured that,
day by day,
He'll give you all you need
to prosper and be happy
as His plans
for you succeed.

Let your faith and your joy
and your trust in the Lord
touch your heart and your life
day by day,
Remember His promise
to be there beside you
and guide you
each step of the way....

with hope in your soul,
for His grace
has made everything new,
And know that you're kept
in the warmest of prayer
for His blessings
to shine down on you

Words of Emily Matthews

19 December 2010

Melbourne - Heide Museum of Modern Art

Have you ever drive along a road or freeway and notice one of those tourist signs that says something about a place to see or visit, and you always wonder what its about or say to yourself that you'll do that one, one of these days ....and that day has yet to come.

Well Heide Museum of Modern Art, commonly known as Heide, was one such place. Finally decided one weekend to take the plunge and go explore the place, and we were plesantly surprised.

It is a contemporary art museum located in Bulleen, east of Melbourne. It is a small museum on a large ground; 16 acres of buildings, gardens and sculpture park presenting a dramatic combination of indoor and outdoor spaces, on which you can explore and depending on the day, you might just prefer the outdoor than the indoor.

There is a small admission fee for any exhibitions that may be happening at the day. There are also conducted tours of the place but the grounds; gardens and sculpture park are FREE.

If you fancy a bite or two with a latte or a pot of tea, there is Cafe Vue at Heide. For those who like shopping there is always the Heide Store.

This is a place to wild away a couple of hours or a whole day with friends or families. Good place to have a picnic at the park, plenty of space for the children to run around among the sculptures while the rest of the family could stroll along a path and admire/contemplate the sculptures.

There’s much to explore. One of the attractions of the site is the original home of art patrons John and Sunday Reed, the heritage-listed, Victorian farmhouse, Heide I. There is the iconic McGlashan and Everist designed modernist building Heide II, the recently redeveloped Heide III building featuring the Central Galleries, Albert and Barbara Tucker Gallery, Kerry Gardner and Andrew Myer Project Gallery.

Heide also boasts several iconic art pieces of Australia's best-known modernist painters, such as; Albert Tucker, Laurence Hope, Joy Hester and Sidney Nolan. Heide house the Sidney Nolan's Ned Kelly series.

The above are photos of some of the outdoor artwork, sculptures, gardens and buildings you can see. Some of the photos above, with a special thank you from me, are contributed from Sarah, Margaret's niece who is also a keen photographer.

Click on this link to Wikipedia for more on Heide Museum of Modern Art; early history, buildings, access, collection and gallery.

07 December 2010

Why Did Jesus Fold The Napkin?

John 20:6-7 (NLT)
6 Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, 7 while the cloth that had covered Jesus' head was folded up and lying to the side.

Why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection? The Gospel of John (20:7) tells us that the napkin, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes. The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded, and was placed separate from the grave clothes.

John 20:1-10 (NLT)
Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.

She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, 'They have taken the Lord's body out of the tomb, and I don't know where they have put him!'

Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see. The other disciple outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen cloth lying there, but he didn't go in.

Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the line wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus' head was folded up and lying to the side.
Was that important? Absolutely!

Is it really significant? Yes!

In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition.

When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it. After the table was furnished perfectly the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating and the servant would not dare touch that table, until the master was finished.

Now if the master were done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table.

The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, 'I'm done'.

But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because....... the folded napkin meant, 'I'm coming back!'

He is Coming Back!

Contributor - Anonymous

Now, is this not awesome? Even a small detail like this folding of the napkin (John 20:7) that is mentioned in the Bible has its significance. It goes to show that no small detail in the Bible are in-significant. If the Holy Spirit sees fit to mention it in the Bible, it is worth contemplating its significance.

The following passage makes reference to Jesus return

Luke 12:35-38 - Be Ready for the Lord Coming
Matthew 24 - Jesus Foretells the Future

However, no one knows when this will happen and this is stated by Jesus Himself, but He did give an indication of what the world would be like at the time of His return.
Matthew 24:36-37 (NLT)
36 "However, no one knows the day or the hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.
37 "When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah's day.
So until His return, a word of encouragement.
1 Corinthians 1:7-9 (NLT)
7 Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
8 He will keep you strong right up to the end, and he will keep you free from all blame on the great day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.
9 God will surely do this for you, for he always does just what he says, and he is the one who invited you into this wonderful friendship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

25 November 2010

Kuala Lumpur Highlights - Fish Spa

While window shopping at Mid Valley, we came across this interesting store. Outside the store there is a huge aquarium tank with lots of small fish in it.

The store is actually a Fish Spa, where you are allowed to put your feet into the aquarium tank and the fish gets to eat the dead skin cells of your feet. I heard of such a place from friends who last visited Kuala Lumpur and did not think much of it, till I saw this store.

I was told that it is really fun, a different form of feet massaging. So I decided to give it a go. Margaret wasn't game for the fish spa, so she settled for an actual feet massage.

The place consists of a few sections with pools of different sized fish (small, medium and large). First of all I had to wash my feet. Mustn't pollute the waters and the fish like their meals clean.

Then I was told to sit at the first pool, facing the window, where the small sized fish are. Initially it was very ticklish but surprisingly quite relaxing once I allow myself to relax and accept the fact that these fishes are literally eating me, alive.

Of course when you do see lots of the fish surrounding your feet, you know then how dirty you feet really is. Later on, I moved to the medium size fish. They feel much better, nibbling on my feet and not ticklish anymore. The larger size fish nibbles are harder and at time felt more like bites rather than nibbles.

Once in a while, passerby and window shopper do stop to have a look at the fish feeding, prompting a few remarks.

Now what do this sign really mean?

Reviews and background on Fish Spa
Kenko Reflexology and Fish Spa, Mid Valley
Wikipedia on Fish Spa - Doctor Fish
Garra Rufa vs Chin Chin Comparison
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