The Good Life

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THE GOOD LIFE

Tony Doyle poem & testimony

 

Just give me the ‘good life’” I once use to cry,
I measured success by the things I could buy

Material things were my food and my drink
in a futile attempt to find life’s missing link

A sinner’s existence was an everyday scene
with scornful dismissal of Jesus routine

It took me some time and some heartache to see
this ‘good life’s’ not all that it’s cracked up to be

 

I wasn’t aware of the prayers being said,
I couldn’t care less, save my ego was fed

Then one day I went to the house of the Lord
and was shown by my brother (John) the power of his word

I listened reluctantly, clutching my pride,
not knowing the spirit was moving inside

Then Jesus said “I love you no matter what’s been,
just take up your cross and I’ll wipe the slate clean”

I couldn’t believe He was speaking to me
but I swear to you now it was as clear as could be

Without hesitation I committed my all
and gratefully answered the life changing call

 

Since that day my old life has sunk without trace
in peaceful contentment I treasure God’s grace

And if there are times when I think of the past
I speak to my Lord and the doubts never last,

 

It won’t always be easy the cost maybe high
but Jesus’ sacrifice saved you and I

A wonderful legacy, lest we forget,
lets not waste what truly is the greatest gift yet

As my new life begins it’s the end of my search,
I experience great joy when I enter His church.
With Jesus beside me I’ve nothing to fear, brother and sisters the

                                   ‘Good Life’ is here!

 

Written by Tony Doyle, Baptismal service: 5th January 1992

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In the Cool of the Day

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by Graham Mol

When the shadows stretch across the garden and the harsh brightness of the sun softens; when the heat abates and a cool, gentle breeze drifts through the air, this is the best time of day. I have fond memories of the cool afternoons, when my father had come home from work and we had convinced him to come out into the garden to play cricket or soccer. Other times, my sister and I would carry on playing our games until either it got too dark or my mom called us in for supper.

Even now, as I have kids of my own, they often disappear into the garden in the late afternoon. It really is the best time of day and this is not just my opinion, it’s a Biblical truth!

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day… (Genesis 3:8) 

The implication of this verse is that God would often come walk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day (or the time of the evening breeze as is sometimes translated), it was a time of close fellowship with the Lord. I could imagine both Adam and Eve looking forward to this time of day where they got to experience and enjoy the presence of their Father. It is all the more tragic that Genesis 3:8 speaks of the moment that they hid from the Lord in shame after disobeying His command.

Today we are blessed in that we can “walk” with the Lord at any time of day for His Holy Spirit is with us always. And yet, the cool of the day, that time after the busyness of work, in the moment between the going down of the sun and the arrival of the night, still remains a great moment to take a breath, maybe even step out into the garden, and just appreciate the blessed company of our heavenly Father.

 

God Bless

Graham

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Nothing is Impossible

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by Caryl Moll

I sat at the kitchen counter and put my head in my hands. I was distraught…

“Please Lord, can you help? I know it’s a small thing for you, but I feel so attached to this strange, wild bird. This is an impossible request I know, but you have said that ‘nothing is impossible for you’. Forgive my doubt with these things Father, but I really pray for a miracle for our dear ‘Seagull’. Please can you intervene? Seagull’s ankle is tangled up with fishing line.  We are desperate to catch her, remove the entanglement and release her.  Please Father…Is it possible somehow that you are able to cause the twine that is wrapped around her ankle to just disappear…? Or can you help me to catch her with our trap? Please Lord, I pray for a miracle for Seagull.”

I felt rather bashful putting this request to our mighty God. Aren’t there much more important matters for Him to hear? Why should my obscure little prayer be heard by the almighty Father of the Universe? I didn’t hold out much hope at all… I’d probably just have to accept Seagull’s horrible fate.

But God had other plans…

 

“SEAGULL’S” STORY

Two years ago a little Hadedah Ibis chick hatched in a nest in our neighbour’s big tree. We woke up, one day, to the most awful, grating screech – very unlike the usual Hadedah calls in our city. Fearing that the bird was caught up somewhere, I rushed out to investigate and potentially rescue it. The horrible vocalization drew me to the tree where the chick was perched. It was a real surprise to discover that there was nothing visibly wrong with her – except for the crazy vocalization.

We named the chick “SEAGULL”

The weeks that followed were extremely noisy.  We had to endure some serious screeching emanating from the tree as her mom dutifully fed and cared for her. Soon Seagull was trying to fly. The odds were out as to whether she’d survive or not. We heard her antics constantly – often waking up to her screech in the morning and breathing a sigh of relief with the knowledge that;

“SEAGULL is alive!”

Over the months that ensued we followed (audibly and visibly) this strange bird’s progress. Her voice didn’t change but I worried about her ability to integrate into Hadedah society. In addition, her flying skills were hampered – she demonstrated suspect aerial manoeuvres and just managed to skirt electric fences around our neighbourhood. In addition, she sported badly ruffled feathers and mostly perched on only one leg.

For two years we watched Seagull mature and then amazingly she pitched up with a mate one day. Her looks improved too. Eventually, the two produced a chick of their own.  For many months we followed their progress. Seagull was alive and thriving and retained her odd voice. (Most Hadedahs look similar, but this was Seagull’s unique quality which enabled us to follow her so closely) Quite simply…she was beautiful! SEAGULL became a permanent neighbourhood resident and often visited our garden for lunchtime foraging. I’ve taken tons of photos over the years.

Then on the 16th November, everything changed…

As usual, Seagull arrived on the neighbour’s rooftop that morning. This time, however, her distinct cry was absent. She arrived in silence. She was alone too – usually she came with her mate. I was very concerned and I grabbed my binoculars.

On closer inspection, I noticed the horrible mass of fishing line that was caught around her left ankle. Her voice, too, was almost non-existent.  Was something stuck in her throat too? I knew that if the fishing line wasn’t removed, Seagull could lose her leg; a painful process; sadly an all-too-common occurrence amongst city birds. I called numerous bird rescue societies for advice. My only option was to set up a trap so we’d potentially be able to catch her and remove the shackle. But it was a really long shot – Seagull is a wild bird with a large home range.

We have a large green belt that runs through our neighbourhood as well as a pretty dam where some children fish. Unfortunately, many water birds get entangled with gut that has been left behind. It’s a jungle out there for our avian friends who have to battle all kinds of human encroachment.  Add fireworks and parties to the mix. An ailing bird has small chance of survival!

Nevertheless I had to try something, so we set up a trap for Seagull in our garden – hoping that by some remote chance she may offer me the opportunity of catching her. Admittedly, I didn’t hold out much hope.

—xXx—

Then on Thursday last week a miracle happened…

I heard her familiar screech as Seagull flew in to land on the neighbour’s roof. Seagull’s voice was back.  I ran for my camera and my binoculars. … Then I stared in awe…

THE ENTANGLEMENT ON HER LEFT ANKLE WAS GONE!

It was totally unbelievable. Jaw-dropping. How had this happened? Had God really heard my prayer?

To say that I am thrilled is an understatement! Yes, unfortunately Seagull has lost two toes during her ordeal (The last time I photographed her with all her toes was the 18 August 2020) but her injury has healed up nicely and isn’t affecting her in any way. She can perch well despite the missing appendages and looks vital too.

And…as if to show me more of how God had worked his miracle, she dropped into my garden, stood up in alertness and gave me her beady eye.

Oh how I love that bird!

—xXx—

I sit with my head in my hands…

“Thank you, Father, for hearing my small voice. Thank you for this incredible miracle. Forgive me for ever doubting you. You are our Father and you hear every thought in our heads – even the small ones. Thank you for hearing my cry. Thank you for rescuing our dear Seagull.”

I will always remember that it’s never ‘just a creature’ but rather…every creature is important in our Lord’s creation. We are their custodians…and we should take that seriously.

 “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26)

 

With love, in Christ

Caryl

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Honouring Those Who Have Gone Before Us

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by Luke Kincaid

Up until a few moments ago, I realized that I was prone to take for granted that Paul, who wrote a majority of the New Testament, was a real, flesh and blood, Holy Spirit led, human being. He was just like you and me and he was able to make such an incredible impact on the world around Him because of the incredible value he placed on knowing and obeying Jesus.

I was reminded of this while reading through the first chapter of Matt Chandler’s book “To Live Is Christ To Die Is Gain” which is a road map for authentic Christian maturity from the book of Philippians. In chapter one of his book, Matt Chandler recounts the start of the Christian church in Philippi as told in Acts 16 and this is the portion of the story that really stood out to me:

20 Bringing them before the chief magistrates, they said, “These men are seriously disturbing our city. They are Jews 21 and are promoting customs that are not legal for us as Romans to adopt or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in the attack against them, and the chief magistrates stripped off their clothes and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23 After they had severely flogged them, they threw them in jail, ordering the jailer to guard them carefully. 24 Receiving such an order, he put them into the inner prison and secured their feet in the stocks. – Acts 16:20-24

Paul and Silas were imprisoned because of Paul casting out a demon from a young slave girl who was making money for her owners through demonic means. The following is a rather lengthy excerpt of Matt Chandler’s words but I think they paint such an amazing portrait of who Paul was:

As Westerners, when we think of ‘the stocks,’ we picture New England in the 1700s, the embarrassment and shame of having your head and hands stuck in a public contraption. But that is not what first-century Roman Empire stocks were like. These devious contraptions would contort the prisoner’s body into all sorts of excruciating postures, locking limbs and joints into place to the point of making the entire body cramp. The prisoner’s body would seize up with searing pain, and then the Romans would just leave the person there for days. Notice that the jailer is not commanded to treat his prisoners this way. The magistrates simply ask him to keep the missionaries safe, and instead he tortures them. So we aren’t dealing with a very nice man at this moment. This jailer is very good at his job, and he probably likes it more than he should. But when it comes to taking pride in one’s work, this guy could not out-enjoy Paul. ‘About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them’ (Acts 16:25). If you hated the gospel, wouldn’t the apostle Paul be the most frustrating human being alive? It did not matter what you did to this man, he loved God and continued to show it in every possible way… Paul is, as Richard Sibbes says of everyone united with Christ, a man who ‘can never be conquered.’

Paul is such an example to us in that it is possible to live a life that is sold out to following Jesus regardless of whatever circumstances we find ourselves in right now! I am so grateful for this reminder today that Paul, our fellow brother in Christ, was proof that an authentic life in Christ is possible, no matter the cost.

 

Much love,

Luke

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