Friday, April 29, 2011

Wedding Preparations

Carriage with the bride on the way to the wedding ceremony
The preparations. The endless count-down. The possible design of the wedding dress of the decade has been talked about and opinions given left, right, and centre. Nothing will be left to chance on the Big Day. Rehearsals are meticulous. Security is high.

Citizens from all over the United Kingdom wait and watch. The faithfuls even camp by the roadside for a glimpse of the prince and his soon-to-be princess.

And the bride, herself? She will look at her most beautiful on this day of all days. Her wedding dress will be pristine. Her face will radiate happiness. For on this special day she will be given in marriage to the love of her life, the prince.

After the wedding ceremony a great celebration at the palace takes place. Invitations to this event are highly sought after. Some from humble backgrounds are elated, while others of celebrity status are left out. Yes, by invitation only and many are left wondering just what they've missed.

I'm going to a spectacular wedding one day. I've been invited and have accepted. In fact, I'm a part f the Bridal party. I've been making preparations ever since I took the Lord Jesus, into my heart and life. But I don't know when the wedding will take place, so I need to be ready for when He comes. Revelation.19:7-8 "Behold, I am coming soon. Let us rejoice and be glad, for the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean was given to her to wear,"  He says to all who'll listen.

And another promise, "According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming f the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. After that we who are still alive and left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words." I Thessalonians 4:15-18

You have been invited. His special invitation is there for you in John 3:16. Have you accepted?

Friday, April 22, 2011

WHEELS to WINGS - From Indiana to the Outback

One of Martha's many LP records
Raised on a farm in Indiana, young Martha Chastain yearned to be a singer. So when the Macauleys came to town it was providential that they needed a soloist for their evangelistic team. In God's perfect timing she soon became a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and within a year sang her way across the United States.

It is ironic that at her graduation she sang "Far away places with their strange sounding names are calling, calling to me" And when the team, by invitation, sailed to Australia to hold evangelistic crusades she met a dedicated young man who played the accordion. Her first impression of Leslie Nixon was that he swung his arms in a swagger very much like John Wayne!

Determined not to miss the opportunity, a smitten Les invited Martha to a romantic cruise on Sydney Harbour before she returned home, And after many letters were exchanged their love steadily grew. Soon Les headed for studies at a university in the United States. Things developed from there, and on spring break he accompanied Martha back to the farm to meet her mother. The bus was packed with standing room only for Les. Yet word somehow got around that an engagement ring was burning a hole in his pocket.

At 1am, the bored passengers needed some excitement and began egging him on. "Go on, propose to her. Do it now!" Letting go of the strap, Les dipped his knee, took her hand, and proposed. The whole rocking bus strained to hear her soft answer, "Yes". The passengers broke out into enthusiastic applause with some even dancing down the aisle!

After their marriage, they returned to Australia to begin taking tent missions throughout rural areas. However, many years of this exhausting ministry drained them and they had to take time off to regain their health. Les realized there had to be a better way to cover the vast distances of Outback Australia. He found a beat up old WWII plane that had ended its previous "Flying Doctor" career. It was perfect for missionary patrol work and he paid for it by engaging in aerial photography. With children at home, Martha was snapped up by Channel Nine on "My Song For You" and "Strike a New Note", and she produced many fine recordings.

This was the beginning of a fruitful time of the aerial ministry known as OUTBACK PATROL. And for the past several years they have enlisted many other gifted folk in this exciting outreach to outback folk.

They have produced an entertaining and educational DVD How We Began in which the beginnings of Christian faith in Australia is traced through narration and with fifty singers and their songs.

For more details go to their informative website for updates at

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sugar Babe

Made from sugar, this little darling looks so real!
So what has a little sugar baby got to do with our story?

Well, a special friend of mine just fits the bill!

As the second eldest in a family of six girls and one boy, Hilda was born in Penang near the village of Raki Raki in northern Viti Levu, the largest island in the Fiji group. Along with other local men, her father worked in the huge CSR Sugar Mill. Some of her fondest memories centre around that sweet stuff. And she and her siblings' favourite pastime was to gain a free ride on the back of trucks transporting the bagged sugar to Ellington Wharf. These imps also satisfied their 'sweet tooth' cravings by grabbing sticks of sugarcane off moving trucks. An exciting but dangerous diversion that would have gained far more than a scolding from their hassled parents had they known. But what goes around comes around, because they'd usually gain a fair spanking from jumping fully clothed into the river. Ah, those were the days!

Hilda became a true believer in Jesus in her late teens and in her early twenties felt called to learn more by emigrating to Australia to study at a Bible College. She later applied for citizenship. Eventually she landed a secretarial position with Ford and shared an apartment in the famous Sydney suburb of Bondi with her older sister and brother. Sometime later she met Al at a Christian youth meeting but neither made an impression on the other. Ah, but when Al was asked to take her and young bro home from church one night, Al became smitten with the sweet miss. From then on his little blue car would regularly pull up outside their apartment to visit Hil. Naturally that met with some ribbing from young bro!

Looking back, she knows the Lord led them together, and many years later she and Al have been blessed with two lovable grandchildren. She also treasures the memory of a praying father. And although she once longed to be a missionary to Brazil, she is herself now involved in a ministry of prayer with Elijah House.

When I asked Hil if she had a favourite Bible verse, she admitted she has far too many to enumerate. Knowing how my friend avoids sugar nowadays, nevertheless, this particular verse sums up her attitude ...
"How sweet are Your Words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth."  Psalm 119:103

Friday, April 8, 2011

TREE HOUSE HERO - A story from South Africa

Once upon a time a little girl dreamed of playing in a tree house with her brother and his three friends. But she knew boys didn't play with girls and they definitely didn't invite them into their tree houses.

One day the middle brother of the three friends felt bad that the little girl was left all alone on the ground. So when the others weren't around, he invited her up to his leafy pad. And like a monkey, she eagerly clambered up to join her hero. But not long after, Hero moved away to a distant boarding school and they didn't see each other anymore.

The little girl grew into a young woman. She too moved from the village to follow her dreams into a big city far, far away. Sadly, she kissed a few frogs as she searched for her prince, her only true love.

Years later, on a trip back home, she saw Hero sitting on a wooden pew in the village church. He was also home, visiting his kin. She couldn't help noticing her tree house hero had grown into a handsome young man. Although shy, Hero wasn't blind to the fact that his little tree house playmate had blossomed into a beautiful young woman. From that day on they were inseparable.

The above picture shows Noel and Marion at the time they celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.

Marion says that marriage is not handed to anyone on a "silver platter", but comes from years of perseverance, working through times when many would think it easy to give up. She believes communication is vitally important and also remaining faithful to your marriage partner.

An author herself, she quotes Geff Gerke in his book, The Art & Craft of Christian Fiction. He says, "Be sure you understand Who you're writing for and why you're writing it for Him." The same wise advice fits well for marriage in placing the needs of your loved one before your own. She reminds us from Ephesians 5:    "....They two shall be one flesh; nevertheless, let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife, see that she reverence her husband."

She goes on to say that lack of communication is cited as the #1 reason for divorce. Better communication can, however, save a marriage. And when husbands and wives communicate, they move their marriage forward from one year to the next ... and the next ... and finally, a lifetime.

Marion Ueckermann is a member of  International Christian Fiction Writers.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Giggling Bride

Although christened in the Lutheran Church in Germany, Margaret was always a rebellious teenager. Religious morals did not suit her, and who was the Church to make rules about right or wrong? She believed, along with many other university students, that Science opposed the existence of absolute standards. So she determined to make her own way.

When she was nineteen, she met an unusual foreigner who had rented a room at her grandmother's residence. He'd actually been born in Germany, but his parents migrated to Australia when he was ten years old. Now he'd returned for a working stint to soak up the culture. Holger spoke and dressed differently than other fellows, and he acted in a confident manner which thoroughly intrigued her.
Now, grandmother (a natural born matchmaker) invited the two of them to dinner one night. Holger was taken with this lively, intelligent fraulein and promptly asked her to attend a concert with him. The attraction was mutual.

After a two-month-long engagement, they were married. However, Margaret's mother was outraged at her daughter's behaviour at her own wedding. Completely irreverent, Margaret giggled and whispered throughout the whole solemn ceremony. Her mother decided then and there to pray for her daughter and son-in-law to take God seriously.

When the pair moved to Australia, Holger soon started a successful communication business. She began a practice as a naturopath and hypnotherapist. By this time, Margaret had drifted into New Age concepts and joined the Rosicrucian Order. But then something unexpected happened. In answer to her mother's prayer, two lovely ladies from New Tribes Mission visited her clinic and told her about Jesus' death on the cross to save sinners. This shook her to the core, for if this God of the Bible was real, then she truly was a sinner who needed salvation. That very night she fell on her knees and repented of her rebellion against God and asked Jesus into her life. Soon after, Holger also became a follower of Jesus.

She now belongs to a rare breed, that of a Christian naturopath, where she truly seeks to guide people with a genuine God given gift in order to treat body, soul and spirit.

Once a giggling bride, Margaret has become a thoughtful wife. Along with her husband and children, she now belongs to the church - the Bride of Christ. You can contact Margaret via her website