Seeking 1 out of 99 readers

God plays an active and unapologetic role in my book.  He appears as ‘The King’ in various roles.  Sometimes he refers to Himself as the Shepherd.  Why?  Well, we are all like sheep who have gone astray. 

Sheep can get into a lot of trouble.  Growing up on a New Zealand sheep farm I’ve rescued them from creeks, mud, and barbed wire.

I loved finding the lost lambs, and so does Jesus.  Here’s me back from the lambing beat, with a lamb in my arms, about a hundred years ago …

Lambing Beat Aug 197452

Ever heard the parable of the lost sheep?

Jesus told the Pharisees and teachers of the law this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:3-7

My book will appeal to those who understand the wilderness.  The reader I am looking for may not know the Bible, or God – but will love redemptive romance and a great good versus evil story.  I’m not writing for 99 people – I’m writing for one.  Come into the pages of my book.  The path will begin in a field.  Follow the butterfly.

book_by_fantasyart0102-dabdbjlSource of image: Deviant Art, Book by FantasyArt0102

Feeling insignificant?

sea-of-facesDo you feel small and insignificant to God? Just a face in the crowd? Lost in the big picture?

Go to this site, place your computer’s cursor in the mass of people and double-click a  couple of times. Scary sharp!!  Not so easy to hide in a crowd anymore.

http://www.gigapixel.com/image/gigapan-canucks-g7.html

This was from an email sent to me by my Aunt.  The picture was taken with a 70,000 x 30,000-pixel camera  (2100 Mega  Pixels.)  These cameras are not sold to the public and are being  installed in strategic locations. The camera can identify a face among a multitude of people.

If the camera technology we’ve now got can pick you out of a crowd, how much more can God?

Did you know God saw you and wrote about you before you were even conceived?  It’s there in Psalm 139, and it says that God’s thoughts outnumber the grains of sand.

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite songs by Kutless, Sea of Faces.  Enjoy, and remember that as far as God’s concerned, you’re to die for.

“I see the city lights all around me
Everyone’s obscure
Ten million people each with their problems
Why should anyone care
And in Your eyes I can see
I am not just a man, vastly lost in this world
Lost in a Sea of Faces
Your body’s the bread, Your blood is the wine
Because you traded Your life for mine
Sometimes my life it feels so trivial
Immersed in the greatness of space
Yet somehow you still find the time for me
It’s then You show me Your love
And In Your eyes I can see
And in Your arms I will be
I am not just a man, vastly lost in this world
Lost in a Sea of Faces
Your body’s the bread, Your blood is the wine
Because you traded Your life for mine
If only my one heart
Was all you’d gain from all it cost
Well I know you would have still been a man
With a reason
To willingly offer your life
I am not just a man, vastly lost in this world
Lost in a Sea of Faces
Your body’s the bread, Your blood is the wine
Because you traded Your life for mine
Just one in a million faces” – Kutless

The road few find

Kaukatea Valley Rd 1978 resized
The road I grew up on was a difficult road that few bothered to travel without good reason. Our nearest neighbours were a mile away, so we could be as noisy as we liked. 

‘Mount Zion,’ the sheep station at the end of our road straddled two valleys – ours and Longacre, and part of it bordered our farm. Mount Zion could be accessed from a paper road which connected with our road – but you had to know where it was.  I used to ride there to get horses shod.

I learned to drive on that road and it was difficult, handling a motorbike on the gravel.

Poplars that had grown from fence battens the original farmers used lined the road. Number eight wire was used with the fence battens.  There were lots of interesting places along the road – even a cave, which is included in the video clip below.

This is the actual road, filmed by a motorcyclist.

So that’s my narrow road in the natural.  There’s another road, and another Zion.  Named as “the King’s holy mountain and the place where God dwells with man,” Mount Zion is referenced in the Bible at least 52 times.

The Bible points to the narrow road which leads to Zion.  Jesus said on the mountain, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14

In my thirties I wandered off, got lost and found myself on the wrong road.  I couldn’t find a lot of help when I wanted to get off that road.  After two unsuccessful attempts at counseling I gave up and turned to the pages of the Bible, because one of the King’s names is “Wonderful Counselor.”

This is his promise; “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”  Psalm 32:8

I had to get some help from somewhere.  So I went to the King for counseling.  It was the best thing I ever did.

In New Zealand we’ve had to be resourceful because of the difficulty sourcing stuff, being at the ends of the earth as we are.  We are known to “fix things with number eight wire.”  Using inventive number eight wire mentality, and thinking outside the box, I built a world I could go into and hear from the King, who counseled me on the way I should go.  I wrote down His words in my story.

As for the setting, God knew I’d write it into a book later on in life.  My book is a paper road that leads to Zion.  It’s for those who want a good, unconventional read from a traveler, a stranger, a sojourner on the road not well-traveled.  I promise you that you’ll never read another story like it.

Click on the Amazon link at the top right-hand side of the page to purchase the book.

Kaukatea Valley

Kaukatea Valley Road


The fading flower …

Shortly after my last post where I asked “Who wants to live forever?” my mother passed away.  For most of her life she grappled with the highs and lows of bipolar disease.  She’s free of her demons at last. 

My memories of her when she was bipolar aren’t good, but in between times she had a happy, sunny nature.  And that’s how I want to remember her.

I’ve made a youtube video of the powerpoint I prepared for the funeral, showing scenes from her life, which I and my family feature in.

It’s here if you want to see it.  The music is “Who am I?” by Casting Crowns.

It brings to mind the scripture that God has compassion on us mortals – who are here today and gone tomorrow, just like the grass and flowers.  That’s why Jesus wept at the grief of Lazarus’s sisters.

As a father has compassion on his children
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.”  Psalm 103:13-19

I wasn’t sure of how things were with her and God.  He gave me a story to tell her on the last occasion she had a serious heart attack, which I wrote here.

superscript_seven_u2077_icon_256x256God gave us a sign that she’d gone to be with him.  Seven is the number of rest, and she’d entered his rest, dying at 7pm on the 7th day of the 7th month, aged 77.

He explains about that rest in Hebrews 4;

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest … Hebrews 4:9

I recommend reading the whole passage from Hebrews 4:1-11.

SeriousFaith_ImagesREST

Hebrews 4:1-10 The Promise of Rest

So now I know what can go on my mother’s headstone; “At rest.”  Two simple words that say so much.

Who wants to live forever?

Here’s an interesting post from another blog which gives three ways to avoid life’s greatest certainty, death.
Click on the picture on the right and it will take you there.

I don’t think it’s wise to rely on the Tech giants solutions (especially after reading about Microsoft’s latest mishap with ‘Tay,’ their embarrassing AI chatbot.)

No one wants to die, because we were made for eternity.  It’s been set in our hearts.

In Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV) we read “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

But forget about Eternime, where you go virtual, or Cryogenics where you have your head frozen.

Only one man came guaranteeing us immortality.  Jesus said Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.”  John 8:51 (NKJ)

So if you want to live forever, believe in the Lord and the one who sent Him (God).  Keeping His word means reading it and storing it up in the heart, where eternity has been set.

I’ve read and stored His word by weaving it into a story, but do whatever works best for you.

Finally, we can’t cheat death here – but we can get a rough idea of how long we’ll live.  Just take this test.  Apparently I’ll make it to 91!

http://media.nmfn.com/tnetwork/lifespan

psalm90_12

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.      Psalm 90:12

Having ears to hear

When Jesus wanted to communicate truth, he used stories and said it was “for those who had ears.”  How many of us are deaf to God because of unbelief?  It shuts us down because we can’t believe God would want to have a real conversation with us.  And when we do, we don’t always hear in the same manner – or we doubt what we’re hearing.  We’ll trot out our objections with “Yes, but …”

We have to test the spirits.  Because Lucifer can pretend to be an angel of light.  He is completely deceptive.  Don’t go near him.

My spiritual hearing wasn’t that great.  That’s why I constructed my story, so I could keep a record of the things that God told me and check it against the Bible.  God became the main character in “The Kingdom” through me doing that!

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAMy husband hears God’s voice differently from me and wants to hear from him better.  He’s a bit goofy at times, as you can see with these ‘ears.’

We spend our day solving technical problems on computers and computer networks.  He has to think on his feet.  Sometimes he arrives at an answer so quickly I go “How did you get that?

He doesn’t know whether his decision speed is from his thought processes or God’s voice.

Early one morning he was thinking about the day ahead. “God, the other day I asked you about my decision speed getting in the way.  Is it my thought processes, or is it you?  I never heard an answer.  So what is it?” he asked.

John 3″ was the instantaneous reply.  In John 3, Jesus was explaining to a religious ruler what people have to do to see the Kingdom of God.  The verses that spoke the most to my husband were 3:8 and 3:29.

“8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

The same month I watched kite surfers on the beach at the end of my street, as they were borne along by invisible wind currents.  It was on a hot Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks ago.  I didn’t even notice the breeze but they were finding it offshore.  It was a beautiful sight to see them glide across the water.

So it is with us when we are born of the Spirit and are able to hear God, the Holy Spirit’s voice.  When we realise we can hear him, we can actually hear God, it brings joy – and hope.  Our morale and spirits soar.

If we hope in the LORD we will renew our strength. We will soar on wings like eagles; we will run and not grow weary, we will walk and not be faint. 
That’s a promise from Isaiah 40:31.

Wind

Snells Beach, Feb 2016. This is my picture which you are free to use.

The master’s voice

The other verse that spoke to my husband, verse 29, was where John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus exalts the King.  John is comparing himself as the best man at Christ’s wedding.  29″ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.”

I can’t find a picture for that – but look at the joy this dog is showing to hear his master’s voice.  It sums it up for me.

My first book review

The Bookworm, Carl Spitzweg

The Bookworm, Carl Spitzweg

Try and imagine bookshelves lined with millions of books – and my book is just one of them.  And the bookshelves keep growing.  My book has gone from one in a million to probably one in two million by now!

I’ve probably got the worst person possible in charge of book promotion – me.  Marketing was my worst subject when I was doing the Dip of Business, unfortunately.  But I did learn about the five ‘P’s of marketing; People, Price, Placement, Product and Promotion.

It’s a struggle.  Who do I tell about the book?  Christians obviously, but I hope to get it to the New Age market.  I know they would love the King in my book if they read about Him.  As for the product – the book is in a genre all by itself.  I struggle to even describe it’s genre.  I said it’s a cross between a memoir and a fantasy novel, but my first book reviewer said it’s actually an Epic Journal. My book is unique; one in a million – and not just because of it’s place in Amazon. For placement, I’ve gone to where the readers are.

In order for me to promote the book, I need praise.  I mean, I can praise it – but I’m the author!  Today I got some much needed praise.  I joined Goodreads, and I’ve received my first book review from Valicity Garris, author of Cross Academy.

It was brilliant, five star review.  It’s helped me to keep going with my efforts to get the book out to the wider world.  So it’s made my day.  Come and read my first review, and celebrate with me.

Here’s the review:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1523617863?book_show_action=false

Good Godwit

Bar-tailedGodwitIt’s spring here in the southern hemisphere.  September heralds the arrival of the Godwit.  These small birds have flown all the way from Siberia to New Zealand – non-stop.  That’s 11,700 kilometres (around 7000 miles).  They’re the bird world’s long distance champions.  

The name Godwit originates in Old English with god meaning good, and wit coming from wihte, meaning creature.  God is good, and so is his creation.  Here the Godwits are at the beach where I live, having a well deserved rest behind the Heron.

Godwits Terns Gulls and Heron resting Snells Beach 2013

Godwits Terns Gulls and Heron resting at Snells Beach, NZ

I walk, run and pray along this beach in the early mornings before work, doing about 5kms per day.  When I first started in January, I got tired very quickly, and I started losing weight.  I’ve lost 8kgs so far.  When I see these guys just in from Siberia, I realise I don’t know what tired is!  They teach me a lesson about endurance.

Do you get tired, do you get weary?  I want to give you a word of encouragement;
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:28-3

The race of faith

Patient-EnduranceHold fast to what you have, and run.  Run your race of faith, holding on to that which has been given to you.  All I know is we need to run our race, shake off the sin that so easily entangles, and keep the faith.

tiredBut we need to know what we’re running for.  I hate that scene in Forres Gump where Forres is running, and people have been inspired to join him – but he’s running for no reason and then stops, with no explanation!  That’s no good.

Enjoy this quick video.  It’s an ad but it says it all. Can God speak through a wordly ad?  I think so.  Instead of a starters gun, there’s a shofar.  Rosh Hashanah is when the shofar (ram’s horn) or trumpet is sounded.  For Israel, the Days of awe which have just ended are a call for repentance.  Just as the shofar called the Jewish nation to turn their attention to the Lord and ready themselves for the Day of Atonement, so will the “trump of God” call us to heaven and warn the world of coming judgement.

It’s interesting that strange sounds like trumpet blasts have been emanating from the skies since 2011.  Is God trying to get our attention?

We are in the “times of the signs”, as Chuck Misler calls it.

“When I return, will I find faith?” Jesus asked, after telling the parable about the persistent widow who never gave up on her petitions.  (Luke 18)  Let’s just fix our eyes on him, the author and finisher of our salvation, and let’s run the race of faith.  And remember the Godwits.

The Need for Self-Discipline

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.  No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”  1 Corinthians 9:24-27

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”  Hebrews 12:1-2

That sneaky woman

yeastHere’s another parable that’s difficult to explain;  “The Kingdom of Heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”  Matthew 13:33

The trouble with this parable is that leaven (yeast) is likened to pride and sin!

Some say that in this instance leaven is a good thing. It means the good news of the Kingdom will change the whole world, and then the Kingdom of God will come.  I don’t think so.  There’s nothing to back that up in scripture – nor has it come to pass.  How many of us have families who are all following the Lord?  The gospel brings persecution – not peace.

Jesus, when he was talking about persecution, said “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”  Matthew 10:34-36. 

Let’s look at what Jesus meant when he said “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”  Matthew 24:14.  If you read this in context you’ll see he’s talking about the tribulation after the disciples asked him about the end times.

I believe he’s speaking of the preaching of the two witnesses and the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, after the Church has gone.  Because he said in the next sentence that when they see the Abomination of Desolation in the temple, to run for the hills.  Matthew 24:15.  And he was speaking to the Jews because he said to pray that their flight did not take place on the Sabbath.  Matthew 24:20.

So what did Jesus mean by “the Kingdom of Heaven being like leaven?” Well, lets look at what was specified for offerings in Leviticus;

On the eighth day they must bring two male lambs and one ewe lamb a year old, each without defect, along with three-tenths of an ephah (three measures) of the finest flour mixed with olive oil for a grain offering, and one log of oil.” Leviticus 14:10

So the woman sneaked leaven into the offering.

Jesus said I AM the Bread of Life.  He is bread without leaven.  This unleavened bread has stripes.

The Body of Christ is likened to bread, but unlike Jesus, it has leaven.  “Is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?  Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.”  1 Corinthians 10:16-17

The leaven has had 2,000 years to rise!  It’s really puffed up in some places.

There’s different types of leaven, just as there’s different types of yeast.

quotesram.com OtEAV3i

First, Jesus warned about the leaven of the Pharisees:  “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”  Mark 8:15Matthew 16:6-11 

He explained that the yeast of the Pharisees is hypocrisy.  Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” Luke 12:1

In Matthew 23, A Warning Against Hypocrisy, he pronounced seven woes on the Teachers of the Law and said “You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” Matthew 23:13.

And then there’s sexual sin.  Sexual immorality is leaven within the church, destroying its fellowship. Paul took on the church at Corinth who were proud of their tolerance.  They had sexual sin of the kind that even the pagans didn’t tolerate.

He said,

“Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens [ferments] the whole lump [of dough]? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump [fresh dough], as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Corinthians 5:6-8 RSV)

The festival that Paul told the church at Corinth to celebrate was the Festival Of Unleavened Bread that the Jews observe at Passover.

Finally, in the book of Galatians 5:9, Paul speaks of leaven, this time in connection with legalism, with trying to put people under the Law.  Christ came to set us free from that.

When I was handed my baton in Chapter 8, The Year of Inheritance and learned about the race of faith in Hebrews 12, I was warned about this.  The legalism for me came in the form of prosperity doctrine.  And it was subtle.  The leaven was well and truly hidden.  It did hamper me from running my race, until we got out of that church.

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?  That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.  “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”  Galatians 5:7-9.

Now we don’t know who the sneaky woman was who introduced the leaven.  It could be Jezebel, mentioned in Revelation 2:20.  That spirit likes to promote immorality.  It twists and distorts the truth, teaching so-called secret things.

As for things done in secrecy, Jude warned For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” Jude v4.

Jude was the brother of Jesus Christ, and one of the Twelve Apostles appointed by Jesus to lead his Church, and he urged Christians to contend for the faith.  In England, on the same day the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation was celebrated at Westminster Abbey, the peers voted to allow David Cameron’s same-sex marriage Bill to continue its passage through parliament.  The Queen, who is called “the Defender of the Faith” broke her oath by signing the Bill into law the following month, July 2013.

Within months England had a string of severe storms and floods in the UK, beginning with the St. Jude storm on 27-28 October 2013, which was also known as CycloneChristian’.  Prime Minister Cameron called the UK floods ‘biblical’ after the Thames burst it’s banks on 11th Feb 2014, but I don’t know if Britain noticed the sign about Jude.  I wrote about it in my other blog Red Sky in the Morning.

Jude also warned against those who run greedily in the error of Balaam, who prophesies for profit.  (Jude 11 and Revelation 2:14).

We have to accept that there will be leaven in the bread, but we can combat it by knowing our Bible.

Timothy, pastor at Ephesus between AD 64-66, wrote “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4:16.

Finally, a bit of trivia.  The word “yeast” comes from Old English gist, gyst, and from the Indo-European root yes-, meaning “boil”, “foam”, or “bubble.”

It brings to mind the opening scene from Macbeth where the witches are going “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.”

I think the sneaky woman with the leaven would have got on just fine with the witches.

Get the gist?