New Year’s Visitor – 2

bucks2-iconHere I was with 2 on-heat bucks running loose among my does.  Didn’t I decide 9 years ago that I was done with the ‘Births, Marriages and Deaths‘ scenario?  This was by far the worst thing I could think of!

I went down to the house and over a cup of coffee was inspired (thank goodness) to give myself a real hard talking to:

“Pat, this is the Serpent messing with you.  He’s got you in a right stew and as long as you’re in a stew, you block the Lord’s work.  Remember what He said: “Focus on Me!”  Just do it, and stop falling for Satan’s talk.  Whatever happens, it’s not the end of the universe.  With the Lord’s help, you will get through it.  And remember, “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”  (1 John 4:4)

Thank you, Lord.

In trials like these, it can be very difficult to realign your thinking.  All the evidence is against that, all the facts point one way, and the news is all bad:  ‘No-one in their right mind would think any differently.’   But Paul emphasized the importance of walking by faith, not by sight.  And he was tested sorely throughout his ministry: you can’t accuse him of not knowing what he was talking about.

Paul said, “So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.”   WHICH TRANSLATES:

The more we engage with worldly thinking the more we turn away from the Lord’s power.  So we need always to be of good courage and walk by faith in Him, not by what we see.”   (2 Corinthians 5:6-7)

Our limited minds are always searching for answers and solutions: “How, how, how can this come right?”  “What can I do to sort this problem?”  “Can I think of some way out of this situation?”   It’s hard, with our worldly drive to organize and plan everything, to ‘opt out’ and let things go.  We get hammered with the goal setting, visualizing and life planning ideologies of the self improvement gurus.  Not to mention  the ‘I Did It My Way’ would-be standard for living enshrined in the world’s thinking over 46 years ago.  What a travesty that was!  How many people were fooled by it!   Still are.

Didn’t Jesus say, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)  No DIY, no  goal-setting instructions there.

How many of those who heard Him, and how many of us, struggling with the issues and dramas of everyday life, have thought, “This guy was crazy!”   And yet … ‘this guy’ holds the keys to the universe, life and death, in His hand.

Somehow, I managed to settle down and quit worrying.

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It would be nice to say that next morning the bucks had disappeared – well at least I couldn’t see them anywhere.  I opened the paddock gate again and the does went up.  Washing the dishes, I was full of hope – until I heard an irate call that didn’t sound like a doe.  It was Himself, allright – suddenly realizing they’d got away from him.  As I watched from the kitchen window, he charged through the open gate and on up the paddock in search of his harem…

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But now, 7 days down the track, I can pretty definitely say the bucks are not on the property.  None of the does is on heat and I haven’t sighted Himself or his offsider for over 6 days. Maybe they are like sailors with a girl in every port…   Somehow, they must have got back through the fence into the bush and I have a window of about 2 weeks to get the fence mended before the does come on heat again (if they haven’t taken to service).

As far as I could tell, only 2 of the does cycled.  So if I can keep Himself and his offsider out, the kid drop may be less than I feared.

Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…”  (Psalm 103:2)

Yes indeed – Regardless.

Patricia

The Tempest

tempest-iiconThe September (spring) equinox is approaching.  Equinoxes for us are times of strong gales.  Well, it’s started already.  We have just had about 3 days of very strong winds and rain.  Never a good combination.

On Friday night things came to a head.  As I sat up in bed at about 9pm reading, I heard the unmistakable sound of a tree folding up – the crackling, the slow whoosh.    This was followed by several very loud thumps and bangs.

A tree had fallen, most probably on my roof.

It was very dark and to be quite honest, I was almost afraid to go look – afraid of what I might see.  I live alone, so no-one else to send, no ‘moral support’.  Except for the Lord.

I picked up courage and the small torch.  It felt a bit like ‘putting on the armor’ (Ephesians 6: 13 -17).  Venturing out through the carport, I could just make out a great deal of foliage piled up against the lower house wall about 10 feet from where I had been sitting.  Something above banged from time to time in the wind.  Obviously, the main damage would be up there, and I wasn’t going to investigate.  At least the rain had stopped for the meantime.  “Get back inside”, I thought, “there’s nothing you can do right now.”

A swallow from under the carport decided morning had come and fluttered about my head, drawn by the torchlight.   It flew with me into the entrance hall, so I shut off the house light and went outside again, hoping it would follow.  It did – whew!  Nice to have the company, though, in a time of stress – a message from the Holy Spirit, perhaps.  “Yea, the swallow has found her a nest and the sparrow a place where she may lay her young –  even at thine altars, O Lord.”  (Psalm 84:3)    I really shouldn’t let these birds nest in my carport, but I do.

Back into bed.  The only thing to do is wait on the dawn – and seek His face.  With all my heart I reminded The Father that He was still on the throne and very much in charge (He didn’t need that reminder, but I sure did).  I prayed that whatever had happened, I would thank Him for his mercy and see His hand in the event.  I prayed that the rain would hold off (more forecast for Saturday).   I carried on praying in this vein and finally fell asleep.

Morning came.  At least the wind had dropped.  I felt strangely calm – if a bit shattered.  Gathering up courage again I went outside, asking the Lord to be with me.

Oh yes – it wasn’t good:

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Photo taken 7.30am – I have outlined the upper foliage of the tree.

What next?  It’s Saturday morning.  I have no insurance, so can’t ring a company and hand the issue over to someone else to deal with.  Just hope I can afford this without totally running through my small reserve of funds!

Something had to be done right away.  It was still only about 7.30am and it sure didn’t feel good to ring people at that hour on a Saturday.  But I rang my neighbour over the road, who has agreed to do some paid chainsaw work for me.  No reply, so I left a message.  Then I rang an old friend down the road.  He was out but I got his partner.  She was brilliant – gave me the names of an arborist (new to the district) and a roofer.

I rang the arborist and he came right away.  A very nice guy called Brian Fletcher of A B Trees, with heaps of experience and an ethic of service to the customer.  What a nice change!  What a miracle – it can be very hard to pin down contractors up here, as my father found over 40 years ago and I have found many times since.  It’s something to do with fishing and boating, and trying to stack up as many jobs as possible :-).

Chopping branches as he went, Brian walked up the trunk onto the roof and started cutting back up there to get the weight off.  The root ball was then supposed to lift the tree slightly and make it easier to deal with.  That didn’t work and he found this very tall Banksia tree in fact had precious little root run.  Thank goodness I hadn’t known THAT over the years!

Brian mounted his next strategy from the veranda, cutting back stubs and branches further down.  One nasty moment came when the tree settled slightly, but in fact it couldn’t move very far.

Then back down to ground level where Brian said the only option now was to undercut the trunk, and let the top part fall. hoping it would not do damage on the way.

I told him I was going to pray, and shot into the house praying strongly, calling upon the Lord to have His hand on this last episode.  The chainsaw howled.  Then silence, followed by two loud bangs.

Back outside, I peeped round the corner.  Brian was smiling.  “You did well there,” he said, “It dropped just where it was supposed to and fell neatly parallel to the house.”  Glory Be!!

He took out a silver fir I had foolishly planted nearby, years ago, and ringed up the trunk of the Banksia.  Then we went to have a look at another problem tree that he’s going to deal with next week.   It was all over by 11am.

I can’t count the number of things I need to be grateful for.

Although there is damage to the roof, guttering and soffit, that is actually in quite a good place for repairs.  The concrete veranda and wooden railing are unharmed and not a single pane of glass was broken.  Truly amazing for a house that has 3 ranchsliders all along the front upstairs, and two large windows down below.

Praise You, Heavenly Father!  Not only for your hand on the accident and the clean up, but also for sending such a good contractor!  Please go with me now on the next stage…

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  (2 Timothy 1:7)

“It was good for me to be afflicted
    so that I might learn your decrees.”   (Psalm 119:71)

And it still hasn’t rained.

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

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Prayer For Help

deliverance-iconWho among us has not been in this situation?

Who has not felt themselves dwelling among the tents of the wicked?  In a strange land?  Surrounded by enmity to which there is seemingly no response?

David the mighty king and quintessential warrior knew this so well.  And while his fame lay in his mastery of the slingshot and the sword, he knew the most effective weapons, and in fact the only truly effective weapons, are spiritual:

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“I call on the Lord in my distress,
and He answers me.
Save me, Lord,
from lying lips
and from deceitful tongues.
What will he do to you,
and what more besides,
you deceitful tongue?
He will punish you with a warrior’s sharp arrows,
with burning coals of the broom bush.
Woe to me that I dwell in Meshek,
that I live among the tents of Kedar!
Too long have I lived
among those who hate peace.
I am for peace;
but when I speak, they are for war.”

Psalm 120.

Meshek –  a son of Japheth, the people descended from him, and their land (Russia – Scythia).
Kedar – a son of Ishmael, the people descended from him, and their land (Arabian Desert).

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Leave vengeance to the Lord.  It is His prerogative, not yours.  If you are truly walking with Him, He will take care of you and your reputation.

Sometimes the hardest thing of all is to say with Paul, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)    This is not an empty phrase, and it helps to remember that the desire for revenge is one of satan’s favorite mind controls.  With it, he keeps people on endless treadmills of bitterness and retaliation.

Artwork and Products available in my Damascus Road Gallery. Or click on the images.

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

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Wings Of The Morning

wings-of-morning-iconIf anyone knew how to live life dangerously, it was David the Psalmist.  Slaying a lion, a bear, and Goliath as a boy was not even the start.  He had already been secretly anointed as king of Israel by the prophet Samuel at God’s command, while another king was on the throne.

As David’s fame grew, so did the jealousy of King Saul, so that by the time he reached manhood, he was forced to live in hiding in the hills and caves of Judea, or in exile, with a band of followers, on the run from the king’s wrath, fighting against the enemies of Judah and Israel, risking his life daily.  It is notable that twice during this time he had the opportunity to slay Saul, but did not because he would not lay his hand upon the Lord’s officially anointed one.

Even after Saul died in battle and David became king, danger was ever-present.  There was much work to be done in war and diplomacy, uniting and consolidating Israel, building up her army, and defeating her many enemies. He established Jerusalem as the capital and built his palace there. Finally, he had to deal with revolts against his kingship, including those by two of his sons, one in David’s old age.  He left a huge national legacy.

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Out of this tumultuous life, and rooted in his years as a shepherd boy tending his father’s sheep, comes the Book of Psalms – an expression of many emotions, from joy to sadness, from hope to despair.  But above all in these 150 songs, the prevailing theme is trust in the Lord.  David was a sinner at times (like us, for those who like to point the finger) – but he was “a man after God’s heart” precisely because of his faith and trust, his love of God and the word, and his willingness to repent and ask forgiveness.

Let us remember that God does not require perfection – He knows we cannot hope to attain anything even close to that on our own.   In fact the only words of condemnation ever used by Jesus were spoken against the established religious leaders of His day who thought they were perfect and influenced others to have the same opinion.

God asks only for a willing spirit of devotion that He can work on “from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

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Artwork and Products available in my Damascus Road Gallery. Or click on the images.

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

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