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reports, reviews, thoughts, news (and fun) posted by Gary Ware

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One Of Many Privileges This Week

A final blessing in a week full of fellowship and fruitfulness was attending the last Code Committee meeting chaired by Rev Dr Paul Logan, retiring Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Australia.
Paul is a wonderful example in serving Jesus, the Gospel, and the Church.
Contact with him has always been an encouragement.

Now it’s time to go home.

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Prepared to Lay Down His Life for His Flock* (via Bondia Timor-Leste)

Gary Ware:

Mount Gambier Presbyterian Church will give thanks for Manuel’s life this Sunday and consider how we may offer practical help to his widow and children.

Originally posted on Bondia Timor Leste:

*The title of this post is the heading for an article published in the third edition of BondiaTL (published before the blog came into existence).
Manuel and Rob

Evangelist Manuel with Rob Duncanson. April 2009

The minute you met Evangelist Manuel Rodriquez, you were struck by the radiance of the smile which took up the whole face of one of the smallest men you have ever met (not even reaching 5 feet high).

The second he opened his mouth to speak, you would recognise that here is a man who is passionate for life and the gospel of the Lord Jesus.

My memory vividly recalls him asking a question one day in a teaching seminar. Ev. Manuel asked, “what should I do when one of my neighbours gives me a gift of a picture of Mary or one of the saints?” The reply came back that he could give them a copy of…

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The ‘Immanuel Mantra’

No, it’s not mumbo jumbo.
It’s a simple and clear Gospel introduction based on three points.
1. I’m a complete idiot.
2. My future is incredibly bright.
3. Anyone can get in on this.

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Real Christmas Shines In The Darkest Of Places

This poem by Glenn Scrivener expresses something of what we’ve been experiencing lately.
The full text of the poem is at the youtube page.


Be Strong And Courageous – An Update On Jozua

Yesterday’s late evening update from Jozua’s mother contained the news that sedation is being reduced, but he has not yet regained consciousness; some bodily movements have been observed, which is good news primarily because it seems to indicate no paralysis; concerns for restoration of normal bodily functions and protection against infections continue; and that in their new relationships and contacts lots of people are finding out where the Zwijnenburgs are getting the strength for this season from.
They’re thankful for prayers and numerous tokens of support that are being received in Adelaide.
And they commend James 1:2-4, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” as a text that is providing great encouragement to them.

This song is pretty much our staple at the moment.


A Time Of Lament

Today has closed with a prayer meeting at which our church prayed for the preservation and healing of a twelve-year-old who has severe head trauma as a result of being hit by a car while he was riding to school this morning.
His family are with him in Adelaide.
We are in Mount Gambier 450 kilometres away.
The next 48 hours are considered vital.

Our collective sense of longing for the return of the Lord Jesus has grown very real.
It is such a privilege to sit and listen to the prayers of a church for an hour and experience their ministry to the soul.

We also found comfort in the truths expressed by the answer to this question which begins the Heidelberg Catechism.
It is a comfort which this family have, and which sustains us all in times such as these.

What is thy only comfort in life and death?
That I with body and soul, both in life and death,
am not my own,
but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ;
who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins,
and delivered me from all the power of the devil;
and so preserves me
that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head;
yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation,
and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life,
and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.

And songs like help as well.

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The Lesson Of Sour: You Can’t Turn Life’s Lemons Into Lemonade (via Courtney Reissig @ The Gospel Coalition)

The proverbial expression about taking the metaphorical lemons life gives you and turning them into lemonade begs always leaves you wondering where you can consistently get that much sugar.
Instead of trying to find a good perspective on a bad situation, Courtney Reissig provides the helpful perspective that sometimes Christians can only look from the sourness of life’s experiences to the sweetness of eternity.

Her conclusion:

God is not in the business of “making the best of it” when things don’t go our way. He doesn’t just sweep in and pick up the pieces after our best-laid plans fall apart. He is always working, even in our disappointments, and using those trials for a greater purpose. So we don’t deal with disappointing circumstances by picking ourselves up by our bootstraps or turning our frown upside down. Rather, we trust in the God who is always working things out for our good (Romans 8:28).
Life most certainly hands us lemons. But we need more than sweet lemonade to replace the sourness of the circumstantial lemons. Every disappointing day reminds us that this is not our home. When the days don’t go our way, we long for a better life, where there are no more tears, disappointments, sorrows, and suffering. A life where the God who faithfully promised to keep us to the end will wipe every tear of disappointment away forever. And that, my friends, is way better than even the best lemonade.

Read the whole post at The Gospel Coalition.