Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Firm Foundation

The Wise and Foolish Builders

"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."
~Luke 6:46-49

Practically, I think I only came to understand this passage in its entirety this week. I read this as part of my daily Bible readings last Tuesday night, just after I'd learnt that my father would have a triple bypass heart surgery the next morning.

For almost as long as I can remember I have 'heard Jesus words and put them into practise'... sure I've failed heaps of times, but all in all the main focus of my life has been to live for Christ, follow his teachings and strive to have a relationship with him.

Over the past semester at college, I've learnt so much more academically about the Christian faith, and in a way I think it made me a tad complacent and tough to the relationship side of my faith. I haven't had the best time relating with other people or God himself as I gained all the head knowledge, but couldn't convert it into my true relationship with God.

However during this week as a huge 'flood' came to wash me away, it was the foundation of Jesus on which I have been building for so long that kept me standing. The flood waters came, and this passage doesn't say they don't damage the house, you'd have to imagine they would (think of the recent flooding in Brisbane, the houses withstood the water, but the land around and parts inside were still damaged), but they can't destroy it. And in a way it's been the same for me this week... I've still had damaged emotions, my world was shaken upside down, but through it all I was not destroyed.

In every moment of this week I have known my God, and in everything that was happening his hand was covering it. If that meant Dad would return home to him then that wouldn't crack my foundation - because Jesus gives us more than an earthly perspective - he gives us an eternal perspective.

Then Sunday night on my way home from church I saw a man crash into a sign post on his scooter - it flicked him off and he crashed to the ground unconscious. I pulled over and with the help of an off duty police officer we cared for the guy until paramedics arrived. Ends up the guy was drunk, and not seriously hurt, but he was still incoherent when the ambulance left 30 minutes later. Even during this quite chaotic and suddenly intense time I knew God was working - there had been no cars around for ages and I just happened to be there right as this guy had his crash and he was flicked off to the side of the road so people would not have seen him if I hadn't of actually seen the crash. God was looking after this bloke, even in his stupidity of riding a scooter drunk.

What's God done in your life to be looking out for you lately? And do you have a strong enough foundation to withhold a flood?

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Coming through...

Dad came through his triple bypass surgery well.

He's still in ICU but I visited today and he was awake and alert. I was still pretty down last night because after a whole day of waiting, when we were finally allowed in to see Dad he was still unconscious and on a breathing machine. Not the nicest way to see your father!

But today we chatted, made plans to see Transformers in a week or so when he gets home and there was just enough in the conversation to give the idea of a beginning of the return to normalcy.

He has a long rehab ahead, but in most cases the really risky stuff is over.

Praise God he has given us this chance to continue in relationship!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

When your world is turned upside down.

Monday just after lunch I was just getting changed and ready to go out and see a movie when my father called me.

He called to tell me he was being admitted to hospital because they thought there was a blockage in his heart. He had been having some chest pain, and had been to, and failed, a stress test that afternoon. I went and saw him last night and he seemed pretty ok, being monitored and having a procedure this morning to find the extent of the block.

We found out that he has 4 blocked arteries, one major block in the main artery and then 3 minor ones. I sat with him and Mum all day in his room waiting for the doctor to come with his course of action but he never came. I left about 90 minutes ago, and during the drive home everything has changed again.

The doctor conferred with a specialist, they both visited Dad and explained that a stint would be risky and possibly not a 100% solution in this case, so they then had a surgeon come in and walk Dad through the triple by-pass he will perform at 8am tomorrow morning.

This has all been so sudden that it is a great shock. The surgeon said that it is a miracle that Dad hasn't had a massive heart attack already with the blocks in his heart.

In a way that sums everything up, right from the point where all my plans changed with Dad's phone call, to right now knowing I won't see Dad again before he goes into the biggest surgery of his life, I know with 100% certainty that God has been in control of everything. In every painful aspect of this whole ordeal there has still been so many things to praise God for.

Emotionally I'm a wreck, but I don't think I have ever been more spiritually strong or covered by grace and love. All the theological 'mind-work' stuff I have learnt at college was today turned (by God) into a practical understanding to a point where I know the realness of what God is doing in this situation, and that no matter what I can praise his name.

So please be in prayer, our God is big and there is nothing that he cannot do. Yet praise God as well, because in the good and the bad God's grace covers all! And when your world is turned upside down, it is still apparently clear that God still holds that world in his hands!

Please Pray

Dad's having some heart trouble.

Simply don't want to say much more, but God knows and is faithful.


Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Goodbye Best Mate!

Over 12 months ago I posted here about my dog Wilson starting to slow down. At the time he stopped eating and wouldn't get up when people came outside - luckily back then it was just a tummy bug of some sort and he got better in a few days.

But at 13 we knew he was slowing down for other reasons too, and now a year on at 14 Wilson passed away today.

He's been getting worse and worse these last few months. Arthritis in his back had caused his back legs to grow really weak and he had struggled walking for a while. However no matter his physical condition Wils had continued to show a great spirit of life and push through any physical difficulties to continue being a faithful dog and companion.

This past month has been really hard though, he was totally deaf and it became obvious he was losing his sight as well. He
kept falling off the veranda at home and could not make it back up the single step, so would just collapse on the cold grass and wait for someone to find him. It's been really tough on Mum, since Brett and I have moved out and she's been left caring for him. We knew Wilson's time was almost up, and with winter coming that he would not be with us much longer. Ever time I've visited Mum and Dad out in Ipswich I have made sure I've spent plenty of time out the back with Wils not knowing if it would be the last time I'd see him.

Last Sunday I noticed a distinct difference, he seemed confused and disorientated, constantly stumbling in circles and not interacting with me like he has for the last 14 years. Today Mum let me know that he was having some trouble breathing, and couldn't stand at all. They made the decision and took him to the vet. Mum said that on the vet table Wilson just lay down and closed his eyes, he was ready, and it's so strange how dog's can sense timing so well. Usually he hated the vet and was abnormally agitated but this time Mum said he was totally at peace.

It's hard not being there, and knowing the next time I go 'home' he won't be there.

We've had Wilson since he was 6 weeks old, just a little bundle of white and grey fur which grew to be my best mate. I was in high school when he came into my life, and through all the troubles of growing up I always knew if I went into the backyard to vent my dog would always come and sit with me - it was like he always knew when I needed company and comfort.

I've been privileged to only have 2 dogs in my life, both of them living till they were 14. My childhood is filled with great memories of Sol, and then Wilson was there as I grew to become a man. I think pets really teach us important responsibilities and Wilson was mine through those important stages of my life.

I always joked (but in honesty with much truth) that while in Africa I missed my dog more than my family - every time I've been away from Ipswich I have always missed my pup, wanting to get home to see him.

And now the thought of returning there and him not being there causes tears to flow down my face.

I don't know how to round this post up, I just felt the need to spill my thoughts and emotions somewhere - I know some people would think it silly, writing an 'ode' to a pet - and I know some people don't get attached to their pets - but I feel like I've lost my best mate, and I'm gonna miss him.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Time For a Break

Well this past week and a half has been quite an intense and overwhelming time. I haven't had to sit exams for about 5 years, and the experience was not a welcome one really. Such focused times of study, and higher than usual stress levels have made this week a real struggle to get through.

The Greek exam last week went fairly well - I'd studied so hard, and knew most of the vocab straight away - the rules and everything were pretty easy and I think I got most things right.

This week I've had to write two exams, an Old Testament and a New... Both exams were 3 essay questions, in two hours. I just sat down and at the start of the exam started writing and didn't stop until the two hours was up. It was insane - in fact I didn't really get the Old Testament on finished, which was really disappointing.

But now I'm on holidays for a few weeks. Honestly I don't think I've worked as hard as I have this semester in a long time. I certainly didn't work this hard doing my I.T degree, and don't think the work was even as intense when I was a Network Support Officer. Bible College is tough, but I find the topics all feel so personally relevant that the hard work is always worth it.

However, I do truly feel worthy of these weeks off, and am going to be using them to catch up with friends, get back into jogging and just generally have a good rest!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Greek Exam this Thursday

ούκ έπιστευσαν οί Ίουδαιοι περι αύτου ότι ήν τυφλος.

If you can read and understand that then you understand the pain I've been through this week studying.  People who haven't done NT Greek just don't have any idea of what it takes!

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