Saturday, December 29, 2012


A massive head injury as the result of a tragic car accident left Krickett Carpenter in a coma just two months after her marriage to Kim. When she finally emerged from the coma, she recognized everyone in her life except her husband Kim! 
Starting all over, they built a new love and dedicated their lives to each other all over again. Their story was captured in book and film and entitled The Vow.

Imagine. It would be like fitting all the odd pieces to make sense of the pattern.  Knowing you once loved this stranger, yet possessing none of the emotions you would expect to experience. You would need to accept your husband or wife filling in all the special memories you had forgotten.

I'm certain it would be a horribly frustrating and scary situation in which to find yourself. Everything that was told to you would have to be accepted by faith. And could you really trust this stranger? Would everything he or she told you be the truth? It would be something you'd have to figure out by listening to the relatives also, and watching how everyone related the whole story. Look at wedding albums and see the proof with your own eyes.

Even so, it would be a matter of faith in the long run. Do you believe what others tell you about this person? It's your choice to believe and accept, or to reject. You don't have pictures to look at but you do have the testimonies of many hundreds of people from long ago and also the present time.

Maybe this is similar to the Christian faith. Can you accept what others say about Jesus?  Are you prepared to read what is written about Him in the Bible? Or you can simply reject what others have experienced of Him and go your own way. After all our gracious God has given us a free will. This is a precious gift we should not hold lightly.

Let us face this New Year learning all we can about this God Man Jesus who cared enough about us to willingly come into our world to teach us the way to live and the Way to follow. And may you enjoy a Happy & Blessed New Year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Is Christmas a holiday you've been looking forward to? It's a special time for family members to get together and celebrate, isn't it? 

Yet Christmas can be a very stressful time with all the planning of meals and gifts associated with it. Even buying the right gift for the person who has everything is a real hassle. And too often the credit card is stretched to the point of incurring a sizeable debt.

My friend asked her small son to end his prayer with the Lord's Prayer and when he got it muddled up she corrected him. What he'd said touched her and she wrote this poem.

Forgive us our Christmases

“Our father who are in Heaven”,  Prayed the lisping three-year-year-old.   He paused while Mummy prompted, then continued as he’d been told.

Again he raised his sweet clear voice, “Give-us-this-day-our-daily-bread,                             
... and-forgive-us-our-Christmases ...”   Then Mummy lifted her head.

That isn’t in the Lord’s Prayer, dear,  She gently reminded him.                    
It’s “forgive-us-our-trespasses”,     And they bowed their heads again.

The prayers were done;  he was tucked in bed;    And Mummy tiptoed out,                            
But the words he had prayed,  still lingered on,     Perhaps he was right at that.

“Forgive-us-our-Christmases?”   Oh Lord, It is so true,                           
We pamper ourselves and everyone else,      But forget to remember You.

We buy the presents for our friends,    When it’s really your birthday,                            
 We decorate and motivate,              It's our favourite holiday.

How this must grieve the heart of God,     When He looks down upon ...                         
The sons of men to whom He gave,           The greatest GIFT, His Son!

“Joy-to-the-World” we glibly sing,           And promptly then forget,                    
That to Him Who made the Heaven’s ring,     We owe a tremendous debt!

“Forgive-us-Lord,-our-Christmases”,     With all their wasted endeavour,                   
And may this Christmas honor Him,        Who lives and reigns forever.
But there's another side of this special holiday. Police say that squabbles break out even among family members. Too often long held bitterness comes to the fore, because of alcohol freely consumed. And it's not long before violence erupts and things get nasty.

And what of those who haven't families to gather around them? So often they're left out in the cold. If it wasn't for charities offering the comfort of Christmas dinners, so often these folk would go hungry.

Let's remember it's Jesus' birthday we remember and honour. He is the Prince of Peace. Let us share His love and His peace to those around us.  Happy Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2012


Abbie (pictured) shares her thoughts when "things don't work out".

Hovering beneath Christian jargon and hiding our authentic God-given judgment hides us from reality. Some days will be hard (like when you want to console, or be consoled by, an ex), and some situations are plain awkward (like seeing an old crush or seeing a new one with your old best friend). The alternative, however, is to stuff our pain in statements like, “I know God, so I shouldn’t be upset,” or “God always has a happy plan and future for me, so I’ve just gotta suck it up and move on.” Truth never modeled such a tale. To risk hurting one’s feelings, or risk handing over your real feelings, will usually be hard. But if God is true and truly Lord over outcomes (including feelings), we’re better off being authentically upset, heartbroken, and maybe even awkward, rather than maturing a lie.

Scripture says His overarching will for our lives is holiness. But what about when holiness doesn’t fix us or necessarily make us feel happy? And why is it that holiness seems to happen more often, even, through the likes of heartbreaks and breakups, than smooth-sailing life? Although sometimes holiness involves happiness, other times it involves suffering, even unfulfilled longing. However, the challenging belief is that God is good and has His (and your) best interests in mind.

Either God is good and for our good and knows what He is about, or He doesn’t. Either pain and death are the end of our stories, or they’re not. Successful dating should not just be classified as those who “get hitched.” Successful dating, or “courtship,” or life, that is, happen when a man and a woman are moved closer to God. Even in courtships that break up, then, or unrequited love that never requites, God’s hand is still initiating and making something new. Sometimes God breaks up two good people with two good paths for no other reason than to draw us closer to Him.

Friday, December 7, 2012

CHINA - Book on Marriage

 As a former corporate executive ,Andrew Yuan Da Tong is possibly China’s most famous proponent of marriage and parenting. He has been in ministry since the 1990s  in China, ZDL Books, are proud to be long-standing supporters of Andrew. His most recent book on marriage is entitled  Marriage, a Covenant for Life.

Andrew’s primary goal is to influence leaders, to share with them that their marriage is a reflection of their spiritual life and has a direct correlation to a healthy family and church. For many Chinese pastors, this is counter-intuitive. The perception is that ministry and service to the church come above their responsibility to their wife and family. This year alone, Andrew has conducted training sessions for over 12,000 people. He has spoken at the Three Self Patriotic Church, the Family churches and has been asked to teach at Yanjing Seminary.

 Some responses from pastors:

“This content is not from overseas. This is heartfelt and your teaching really touched us”
Pastor from Anhui Province

“We have never heard this before. When can you come back again?” Pastors from Wenzhou

Please pray for Andrew and his wife Erling's health and ministry as they increasingly devote themselves to sharing this desperately needed message.

Friday, November 30, 2012


This young wife and mother has brilliant blue eyes, but it's the tattoo on her wrist that captures attention. On it is the word Redeemed and that sums up Kacy's life experience.

Together with her husband Justin and two fine children she began a ministry to share her story. A story of God's love and grace.

In many ways, Kasey Van Norman has suffered more heartbreak than one woman can bear. 

Growing up, she endured her parents’ divorce, date rape, and years of addiction to sex, cutting, and eating disorders. 

As an adult, Kasey has endured a painful miscarriage; the heartbreak (and restoration) of infidelity; a cancer diagnosis; rejection by her friends, church, and community; and her mother’s death from cancer. 

But at the end of this twisting path of sorrow, Kasey walked out of the wilderness and into a place of God’s merciful and miraculous healing and redemption. 

In her book, Named by God, Kasey shares her story of God’s infinite grace and compassion so that others might learn from her experience as they encounter a depth of Jesus like never before!

As the picture of the book cover shows, you can order it from AMAZON.

Friday, November 23, 2012

They told it all - Beyond Ordinary

Everyone likes a good love story.  But many of us spend our lives slightly disappointed in the love story we’re trying to live. 

How safe is your marriage? The answer may surprise you. The biggest threat to any marriage isn’t infidelity or miscommunication. The greatest enemy is ordinary. Ordinary marriages lose hope. Ordinary marriages lack vision. Ordinary marriages give in to compromise. Ordinary is the belief that this is as good as it will ever get. And when we begin to settle for ordinary, it’s easy to move from “I do” to “I’m done.”

Their three sons
Justin and Trisha Davis know just how dangerous ordinary can be. In a beautifully written book, Justin and Trisha take us inside the slow fade that occurred in their own marriage—each telling the story from their own perspective. Together, they reveal the mistakes they made, the work they avoided, the thoughts and feelings that led to an affair and near divorce, and finally, the heart-change that had to occur in both of them before they could experience the hope, healing, and restoration of a truly extraordinary marriage.

The following endorsement is of their book BEYOND ORDINARY 

Dr. Wess Stafford, President and CEO, Compassion International :
Justin and Trisha have lived through extreme difficulty and brokenness in their marriage, but the Jesus we follow loves to take broken things and put them back together. That kind of deep healing has been part of my story, and it’s the story of so many of the children Compassion is blessed to serve every day. I hope that as you read these pages you’ll find a deeper understanding of how complete dependence on God is the only way to fully live.

BEYOND ORDINARY can be pre-ordered from Amazon

I'm so glad to be able to promote this real life story. How great is Jesus' love to each of us, if He can forgive our sins then surely we can also forgive those that sin against us.

Friday, November 16, 2012


I have asked a dear friend, Anne Riethmuller, to share her story with us. A few years ago she had a very traumatic experience.

I was 16 years of age in 1968 when the Evangelist Billy Graham came to Sydney and preached the good news of Jesus Christ. As I listened that day I heard that God loved me so much that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for my sins. I believed this and accepted Jesus as my Saviour, received His forgiveness and became a child of God. As a consequence my life has changed dramatically.
I now have real joy in knowing more about Christ and my heavenly Father from the Scriptures. I strongly feel Christ’s presence with me each day.
After my acceptance of Christ I began to attend Fairfield Brethren Church. It was the people of this church who took me to the Billy Graham Crusade in their rickety old bus. While at that church I learned about how to live faithfully as a Christian, as well as how to be useful and helpful in my contribution to church life. I met many wonderful friends in that church and in their exciting and active youth group.
It was here that I met Michael Riethmuller. He is a high school teacher and came from a wonderful godly family. His ideals were high and wanted to see me grow in my Christian faith. As I grew we were attracted to each other and eventually married in 1979. We now have 3 grown up children and even a delightful grandchild. Each of our children have come to know Christ and are very active in their local churches. God has blessed us in so many ways.

 In 2009 I had a very serious fall at home and woke up from an induced coma in hospital with amnesia (not the Hollywood type). It would be 8 months before I returned home (not including weekend visits). During this time many people (including many whom I did not know) were praying for me and I felt that my life was entirely in God’s hands. I had a peace about God’s plan for me that if He called me home to Heaven I would be with Him and that I would not regret that shortening of my life.  I still bare some of the effects of this accident but my desire is to move on with my life with God’s help.

I endeavour to live according to scriptural principles. My desire is that people will see in me a Christ-centred person who cares and loves those I meet. And I hope they would see I have something they do not have, yet need. Yes, trusting in Jesus Christ was the greatest and most important decision I have ever made. He has given me forgiveness, a place in Heaven, a purpose, as well as strength and guidance to deal with whatever situation I face in life.

Friday, November 9, 2012


Nick Vujicic was born with no arms and legs. Yet he placed a ring on his bride's finger while she in turn placed a ring-bearing necklace around his neck.

Committed to being a devoted husband, the 29-year-old limbless preacher hoped to do all he could to be a blessing to Miyahara, who he believes is the greatest gift "after life, salvation, and a relationship with God."

Born with Tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by the absence of all four limbs, Vujicic does not let his disability overtake his life, having learned how to write, use the computer, play tennis, drive, beat a drum, pen an autobiography, start his own nonprofit foundation, and even surf.

At every speaking engagement, he has been vocal about God's vital role in shaping and renewing his life, which was once full of depression and bitterness. "I found the purpose of my existence and also the purpose of my circumstance," he revealed. "There's a purpose for why you're in the fire."

Through his faith in God, whom he credits for turning his life around and giving him hope, Vujicic has touched millions of lives with his testimony, encouraging those who are broken and weak to trust in the Lord for provision and freedom.

"It's not about the outside. It is about being complete on the inside," he shared at a previous event in Seattle. "Because I have seen so many people complete on the outside but who don't know the truth. It is the truth that sets you free and who the son sets free is free indeed."

Just before he left on his honeymoon, he tweeted a message of praise to God, saying, "Here we go –WOO HOO! God is AWESOME!"

Credit: Christian Post News for this touching and inspiring story.

Friday, November 2, 2012


As the P and O Liner slipped away from the       
Fremantle Wharf on that September day so long
ago, I could feel the pang of loneliness creep up
my spine. The streamer became tighter as the
young nurse on the wharf wrapped her end 
around her hand. I leaned over the deck rail
hanging onto my end as long as I could. Finally
the paper snapped and we were reduced to waving until we could no longer make out each 
other's face. What had I done? What had brought us to this moment of painful separation?
Two years earlier, a Gospel preacher gave the challenge,“Is God sending you to a lost world?” He seemed  to be pointing his finger right at me and I responded, convinced that India was to be the “world” which I would love for my Saviour. No sooner  had I come to that conclusion than a telegram arrived from my mother saying “Dad died last night. Please ring.” How could I go to India and leave my Mother and siblings in a difficult situation? So I finished my course at Emmaus Bible College, and somewhat perplexed, returned to Western Australia.

Only a few months after settling in Perth things changed a great deal in my family’s circumstances and I prayed “Lord I believe You have freed me to respond to your call to India, but when and where?” That night I received a phone call about a new venture (now called GLO Ministries) and a team was being formed to work in Madras, (now Chennai) India, to spread the Good News via literature and visitation. About this time two young Queensland girls had just finished their general nursing training. Deciding to qualify in midwifery they applied and were accepted at the WA King Edward Memorial Hospital. Both were keen Christians and turned up at my home church. We mixed socially and on one occasion with no thought other than to be polite, I suggested coffee while waiting for her friend to come off duty. It was over coffee in the El Calib Cafe in Hay Street, Perth that I fell in love with Daphne.

What a dilemma! I was committed to going to India. Daphne was committed to doing her training. Would I cancel my plans for India, or would Daphne quit her nursing course and come to India with me? We both believed that God was in control of our lives and that He had planned our future for us so we prayed in earnest. We reasoned together that God had led me to missionary service in India before I met Daphne and that God had led her to her present course of action before she met me. So we made the most difficult decision of our lives. I would go to India and she would complete her plans and then we would marry. For six months we prayed and planned and, yes, we had the peace of God about our decision.

On the lighter side, my workmates at the Kodak Company, were convinced that no girl would wait for me while I flitted off in some hair-brain scheme for two years and were prepared to “put money on it” They lost but I never saw the cash! As I think back, I realise that if I had gone to India earlier, as planned, I would never have met my Daphne. So, I learned that my disappointment was God's appointment. After two years and 1500 letters we were married, but the drama of that “near miss” is another story woven into the fabric of God's perfect will. And for 46 years God has remained faithful to us.

* Thanks Ken for sharing your touching story with us. Ken Harding is involved in an itinerant Bible teaching and evangelistic ministry.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Terry Burns - Bringing the Old West to Life

Agent with The Hartline Literary Agency, Terry Burns tells how he came to faith. I gave my heart to Jesus much younger but did not get up the nerve to get out in that aisle until I was fifteen. (I was and still am a very shy person, but that's another story) Some ten years ago I decided to incorporate my faith into my writing and went to the Christian Writer's Conference at Glorieta New Mexico to decide how to do that.

My wife and I met at church and went steady in high school. When I went off to college life got in the way and we ended up with other partners. Thirty years later, both single, we met at a funeral and got back together again.We've been married almost twenty years now and are very happy together. If we had stayed together after high school we would be coming up on our fiftieth anniversary. We often think about how those years would have been and how they would have changed. We have five kids between us but do not differentiate as mine and hers but rather as ours. We have ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. We consider ourselves extremely blessed.


Janie Benedict has led a sheltered life. She’s never had to worry about anything with a father to care for her, servants, then a husband that saw to her every need...until the first two potential converts he tried to minister to immediately sent him on to his final reward. But faith will find a way and the love of a good man helps fill the void. She finds her way to a little town nicknamed “Saint’s Roost” whose real history is more fascinating than any fictional tale. The adversity that comes in the process teaches her much about herself and she does keep her promise, but in ways she could not imagine.


They were all dead. No one alive in the whole wagon train. He was alone.
When Bryan Wheeler's parents are killed by Comanche raiders, he wonders how he will survive without them. With a few supplies, two guns, and his mother's Bible, he sets out to create a new life for himself in the western wilderness.

 The companion book to the popular program that Terry presents on how to do queries and  pitches, how to write winning proposals and  how to develop a strong platform. The content for this book came out of a month long online course at the American Christian Fiction Writers that had over 600 writers registered for it.

I can personally recommend this as I ordered the online course some time ago and it was a very helpful, clear cut set of guidelines for a serious writer.  
His books and Downloads are available at: Mountainview Publishing

These are just a few of Terry Burn's many books. They are entertaining and uplifting. Look him up on the web for more information

Thanks Terry for sharing with us.       


Friday, October 19, 2012

What Does Marriage Mean to You?

PART TWO of  last week's post with advice
from Debra Fileta a professional councellor.
Marriage alone can't give you purpose.

One thing I noticed while attending a Christian college was the all-consuming search of young adults who were out to fulfill one mission in life: find a godly spouse. Don't get me wrong. I personally was on the lookout, too. But there was something behind the drive of these young people that really disturbed me. Their sole purpose in life was to catch a mate. Some of the girls even joked they were there to get their "M-R-S" degree.

Something has gone terribly wrong when young Christians believe their sole purpose in life is to find marital love. This belief is dangerous; it robs us of true joy and real purpose in life. True purpose is eternal and can never be taken away. The Bible encourages us to live this life for God's glory, to love Him and to love others in an attempt to leave His fingerprints all across this world. We are each made for a unique reason and design that may include marriage but goes far beyond its scope. Though marriage can be an incredible gift, it is a means to the end, not the end itself.

When we see relationships as the last step on our road of purpose, we find ourselves facing a wall of disappointment with nowhere left to go when we finally arrive. Marriage may be an avenue in fulfilling our purpose, but it is never the final destination. We need to seek God's purpose for our lives far beyond finding a spouse, allowing His will and His plans to be the course that guides our lives and influences our direction. Rather than asking what God can do for us, we need to look to Him in seeking what we can do for Him. In this is true purpose. And who knows? We might just run into a spouse along the way—this one I can personally vouch for—but purpose is not dependent on this possibility.

Thanks, Debra, for this down to earth and godly advice!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Mixed Messages About Marriage

Excellent advice from Debra Fileta, a Licensed Professional Councelor who has the honor of sharing in the lives of others.

First and foremost I'm a woman in love with her Lord. Secondly, the wife of an amazing husband. Thirdly, a proud mother to a precious one year old.

With all the mixed messages our world offers us about love and relationships, sometimes it's hard to imagine marriage accurately from the perspective of a single young adult. Even with all the chaos modeled in modern-day marriages all around us and the national divorce rate consistently hovering at 50 percent (with only 50 percent of those who remain married reporting that they are happy in their marriage), somehow the idea of marriage still gets idolized beyond reasonable expectations. Everyone believes their marriage will be different, looking to Hollywood dreams and fairy tale romances as their example. 

I meet with singles in my counseling practice and get emails from all over the world from young adults looking for love. They long to be married and have an insatiable desire inside their hearts to meet the significant other they can finally call "the one." It makes sense that the topic of love is such a universal obsession. God created love and has placed the desire to be loved unconditionally within each of our hearts. Marriage is a natural overflow of that desire.     

Yet within this sacred and natural pursuit of marriage, it's easy to fall into the lie that finding a spouse will be the ultimate road to happiness and great satisfaction. That all problems, fears and deficits will fade away in the presence of true love. While this may be true of God's love,  it isn't true in the world of marriage. 

There is no doubt marriage is a great blessing and that those who find a good spouse have truly found a great gift (Proverbs 18:22). Having been married for five years, I can wholeheartedly say that marriage has enriched my life in so many ways. Yet for all the things that it has done to enhance my life and stretch my love, there are still some things it will never be able to do.

Marriage doesn't erase your insecurities.

I'm not sure why young singles ever believe that it would. For some reason, the idea of being loved unconditionally by another human being sounds like it would do the trick in helping us feel better about ourselves. We fall into the belief that being married and seeing ourselves loved through the eyes of another will really teach us how to love ourselves. Wrong. So very wrong.

That way of thinking has done more harm than good to many a marriage in our world. No one has the power to deal with our inadequacies and insecurities but us. Putting those types of expectations on a spouse will only cause harm, because there is a 100 percent chance they can't change how we view ourselves.

No matter how much encouragement, affection, affirmation and validation you receive from your spouse, true security comes when you choose to see yourself through the eyes of God, not through the eyes of your significant other (or anyone else, for that matter). Relying on your spouse to fill those insatiable needs is a recipe for disaster—because no one human being has the capacity to offer you what is needed for true value and self worth. That can only come from within. True security comes from the intimacy of your relationship with God, and whatever praises and encouragement you receive outside of that are simply overflow.

PART  TWO next week ....Marriage alone can't give you purpose

Thursday, October 4, 2012


It's a classic, and these words of an old favourite hit the target. None other than the  late Johnnie Cash spelled out a vow that needs keeping.Otherwise where's the commitment? Very few
can claim we've never been guilty of a pair of roaming eyes.

So what's the remedy?

It's a case of good old-fashioned will power!

The Song I'LL WALK the LINE sums it up beautifully.

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine.
I keep my eyes wide open all the time.
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds,
Because you're mine, I walk the line.

When those eyes of ours see something they want, but shouldn't have, it's time to call on our will power to say "NO". Keeping our eyes wide open helps to recognize the trap. And we can only recognize this sneaky temptation if we have already committed to keeping a watch on our heart or emotions. Oh yes, those emotions of ours can always lead us astray. The tie that binds is the vow we make in our hearts and before God that we will stay true to our loved one. It's a matter settling in our minds that we will walk the line, and refuse to stray where we place ourselves directly in temptation's path.

Our human nature wants to stray - it's kind of an inbuilt thing. The path back is hard and we may never find our way back because of the consequences we have brought down upon our loved one and ourselves. That's why we need the power of God's Holy Spirit in our lives. We're all sinful people even though we may think we're upright, decent folk. And it's only when temptation hits us do we realize we're weak and need help. Long ago the Lord God saw our need and that's why He sent His son Jesus to pay the price for all of our wrongdoing and to lead us into a life that doesn't just give in to those wrong desires that creep up on us.

It's a matter of a simple prayer like this: "Lord, I believe you came to earth to show me a better way. I believe you died on a cross to take the blame for all my sins. I ask you to forgive me and come into my life to lead and guide me. Amen."

Find a Bible and read the New Testament. It's the Manufacturer's Directions for your life. God bless you!