Thursday, 28 November 2013

Always....


Always God is good

Always God makes me happy and produces surrendered joy

Always live by my new nature

Always live by God’s desire

Always walk in the Spirit’s covenant

Always remind myself of the finished work of Christ

Always declare that I am the righteousness of God

Always see his ridiculous, scandalous grace

Always all righteousness, life and goodness are found in him

Always let my heart be overwhelmed by my outrageous oneness in Christ

Always declare my absolute forgiveness

Always incline my ear to God’s word

Always I am immersed into Christ

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Forgotten Heroes - Sub Lieutenant Roderick Dallas. D.S.O., D.S.C.


Sub Lieutenant Roderick Stanley (Stan) Dallas, No 1 Squadron, Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) in the cock-pit of his aircraft.

Born in Queensland, Dallas sailed to England at the start of the First World War, seeking flight training and after being accepted into the RNAS, was commissioned as a Flight Sub Lieutenant, joining No 1 Squadron in December 1915.

During his service on the Western Front, in 1916 and 1917, he proved himself as an exceptional pilot and on 14 June 1917 he was made Commanding Officer of his Squadron. In 1918 after the amalgamation of the two air services to form the Royal Air Force (RAF), he was transferred to 40 Squadron RAF and held the rank of Major. ...

While on a reconnaissance operation, Dallas was struck with 3 bullets to his leg, after his safe return to base he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) having already been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) and Bar and the French award, the Croix de Guerre and Palm.

Major Dallas was killed in action on 1 June 1918, aged 26, while engaged in combat with Fokker Triplanes over France and is buried at PĂ©rnes British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. Major Dallas is officially credited with shooting down thirty nine enemy aircraft.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

From A Park Bench - My Adoption Papers


Ephesians 1:5
‘He predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.’

At work I have been in the process of upgrading our internet banking system, the helpful bank consultant took time with me explaining the alterations that would be put in place and confirmed all the critical information. It was an almost painless initial information gathering session and at its conclusion, he informed me that I would be receiving all the relevant paperwork which he would prepare for me. All that I need to do is read it, check it, sign and return it.

Before the world was created and before light was created, God had written and completed all my adoption papers, signed them, sealed them and kept them in his safe keeping.

There they waited, for Christ to come and die for me, because he took my place, all my sin, sickness, depression, shame, separation, so I could receive all His goodness,

And when I believed in Christ I was crucified with Christ because Christ died As me. I died with Christ, I was buried with Christ and I was resurrected In Christ and now I am a new creation and Christ lives and works inside and through me.

My adoption was made complete In Christ, but only when I believed and received His righteousness.

Now the adoption has been accepted I can never be separated from all the blessings that God has freely given me. He is mine and I am his, eternally and my adoption is complete.

Monday, 25 November 2013

The full revelation of what the Cross accomplished by Kris Vallotton




The full revelation of what the Cross accomplished in history is so dynamic that those who experience it are literally translated from the province of bondage to the gates of “Graceland”. Leaving the old country of death and despair behind, these folks come into the new world of mercy and hope. The people who successfully leave the old paradigm and begin to live in this new reality are those who understand that there is a dramatic difference between the ministry of the Old Covenant and the supernatural ministry of the New Covenant. While the ministry of both covenants is marked by divine demonstrations of power, the driving purpose behind these displays is completely different. 

Christians who come to the shores of this new world, called the Kingdom, but persist in walking in judgment have brought the stone tablets of the old country with them. These folks have a B.C. mindset—they understand the fact that sin requires judgment, but fail to realize that the wrath of God poured out on the Cross of Christ quenched the fires of judgment, unlocking the treasure of mercy in the heart of God Himself. People who don’t believe that the blood of Jesus altered Heaven’s perspective towards this planet scare me! They create a schizophrenic culture because they bring the cold steel values of the Old Covenant into their grace-filled life in Christ. This usually results in a strange mixture of judgment and mercy that is not only confusing but is also self-mutilating, faultfinding and often downright heartless.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Held and Kept



It is an awesome thing
That God is our shepherd
And we are his sheep
He always speaks
The truth of promise into our hearts
I know His voice
A quiet whisper
A gentle message of love
Then as I dwell, meditate
In his presence, spirit
Depression, trouble,
Stress, status,
Are lost at the cross.
A bruised and broken life
Made new by His Spirit
And where He is
I am safe and warm
Held and kept
By His power
Alive inside
He is always here.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

When Did The New Covenant Start by Zach Langhamer


When did the new covenant start?
- When Jesus died, not when Jesus was born.


"For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives." - Hebrews 9:17


So what covenant was still in effect while Jesus was alive teaching and preaching?- The old covenant


Does that mean we lump everything Jesus said and did into an "old" category that doesn't touch the new?- No, we don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Neither do we administer certain medicine for one person's sickness to another without that sickness.

Jesus was the master physician and knew the entire purpose of the law was to break anyone of their self-righteousness so that they would cry out for a savior - it was the schoolmaster that pointed us to our need for Christ. (Gal 3:24)


So you see Jesus doing 2 things during his ministry:


1) Raising the standard of an already unkeepable law (613 commandments) to the very thoughts & intents of hearts. Pharisees thought if they never murdered, they were righteous, Jesus raises it and says if you are angry, you're a murderer. If you lust, you're an adulterer. You're only forgiven if you forgive. If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off (this one gets washed over as hyperbole and exaggeration.)


What is he doing? Bringing the law back to its pristine standard and purpose - the intention of God was never that men keep the law - it was to break anyone of their ability to trust themselves - it was perfect medicine for the self-righteous heart so that the new covenant of grace would be received with humility, not with entitlement.


2) Ministering grace, love, unconditional forgiveness & acceptance to those who were already humbled, & broken. The woman caught in the act of adultery - by standards of the law was to be stoned, but Mr. Grace (Jesus) showed her grace & chased away every condemning voice against her. It was in this pure environment of no condemnation (no law but grace) she was empowered to go and sin no more.

The stories continue with lepers, tax collectors, cheats, the low caste of society - he had a much different message for them - the lost coin, the lost sheep, the prodigal son, than he did for the self righteous.


Was Jesus mixing covenants?- No, he preached law to those whom it was made for - the self-righteous, and prophesied of the grace that was to come after his death for those who were already broken. God in Christ was resisting the proud (law), and giving grace to the humble. (James 4:6) , What he taught his disciples was notably different than what he spoke against Pharisees. That comforts me.

Concerning responsibility for sin - if we are conditionally forgiven based on our forgiveness of others - I find it funny that Paul never once mentions it. Yet there are a whole slew of scriptures that attest to all of our sins being laid upon Christ - past present and future, and all sin being forgiven by God in Christ. My present position is that God has imputed all of my sin upon Christ with all of sin's punishment, wrath etc.. and IF I do sin, then my job is to get my eyes back on Jesus, not focus on my sin. Holy Spirit convicts me of righteousness, not sin. God has promised me under the main clause of the new covenant:

"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." - Hebrews 8:12


The hot point of this statement makes people assume one is giving license to sin & they can just go do whatever they want if you tell people all of their sins are forgiven (even future sins)


*If that is all that you preach - unconditional forgiveness - that Jesus died for you (took all of your sin) and you DON'T preach the other half - that Jesus died as you (your old sinful self is dead and the new you is resurrected in Christ with a new clean, sinless nature) - then yes, you are setting people up to fall into licentiousness.


The message of finished works is 2-fold:


1) Jesus died for you (took all of your sin, sickness, poverty, shame etc..) so you could have all of his good


2) Jesus died as you (included you in his death, burial and resurrection to kill the old man and resurrect you into new life with a new heart and a new spirit - his law already written on your heart.)


Without both sides of this message - the grace covenant will continue to get discredited by preaching the incomplete gospel and creating grace hippies that don't know they have a new set of desires conducive with their new nature. Or we create people who know their old life is dead - but still relate to God on a performance-based relationship instead of grace-based where we "earn" (for lack of a better word) blessing from him rather than receive freely, and steward well in thanksgiving.


I'm so sorry this is so long. For sake of explanation on some of the above stuff I included a link to notes I made of a word I taught with a lot more scriptural references concerning law & grace, distinguishing covenants, and our role in them if anyone is interested.
http://tiny.cc/lawvsgrace

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Forgotten Heroes - Captain George Wilkins M.C & Bar


Captain George Hubert Wilkins awarded bar to Military Cross.

Captain G H Wilkins, official AIF photographer, rallies United States troops at the battle of the Hindenburg Line, while taking photographs. For this action he was awarded a bar to his Military Cross, becoming the only Australian official photographer to be decorated for bravery in the field.

George Wilkins, explorer, war photographer and cinematographer, was born on 31 October 1888 at Mount Bryan East in South Australia. He studied electrical engineering at the South Australian School of Mines, mechanical engineering at the University of Adelaide and music at the University of Adelaide's Elder Conservatorium. At the same time he developed a keen interest in photography and cinematography.

In 1908 he moved to England to work for the Gaumont Film Company as a 'cinematographic cameraman'. Soon afterwards he began work as a reporter for the London Daily Chronicle, travelling to report on events overseas. He learned to fly and take aerial photographs and, in 1912, he left England to report on the Balkan War, becoming the first person to take motion pictures in the front line of a war zone. In 1913 he accepted a place on a Canadian Arctic expedition and was still there in 1916 when he first heard that the world was at war.

On returning to Australia he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Australian Flying Corps but was prevented from operational flying because of colour blindness. In July 1917 he was appointed as an official photographer with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and reached the Western Front in time to photograph the Australians during the Passchendaele campaign. By mid 1918, now a captain, he was given command of No. 3 (Photographic) Sub-Section of the Australian War Records unit. More adventurer than photographer, Wilkins was sometimes a participant in, as well as an observer of, war. In June 1918 he was awarded the Military Cross for helping wounded under fire and, in September, earned a bar to the award for leading a group of inexperienced American soldiers through a dangerous action. He is the only Australian official photographer to have been decorated.

In January 1919 Wilkins travelled to the Gallipoli Peninsula as a photographer with the Australian Historical Mission under the official historian, Charles Bean. His appointment with the AIF ended on 7 September 1920.

In later life Wilkins set out to explore the Arctic by air and flew from Alaska to Norway, for which he was knighted. Wilkins won a number of awards for his pioneering exploration work. In November 1928 and January 1929 he explored the Antarctic by air, and in the 1930s, made five further expeditions to the Antarctic. In 1931 he unsuccessfully attempted to take a First World War submarine, the Nautilus, under the Arctic ice to the North Pole. He subsequently worked in defence-related positions with the US Weather Bureau and the Arctic Institute of North America.

Wilkins died on 30 November 1958 in Framingham, Massachusetts. He was so highly regarded in the United States that his ashes were scattered at the North Pole by the crew of an American nuclear submarine. His output is represented in the Australian War Memorial collection by eight films and hundreds of photographs from the First World War.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

From A Park Bench - God Chose Me In Christ


Every promise of God finds its completion In Christ. God chose me to be holy and blameless in Him before the foundation of the world and before I had done a single thing to earn it but rather through his glorious grace in which he makes me acceptable to himself. It was predestined that Christ would be the cause of my adoption not me.

God predestined me to relate to him by his righteousness and not my own. Before time God chose me. In time he justified me. After time he will glorify me. Neither my adoption, justification nor my glorification has anything to do with me. Only God can qualify me. The only thing I am called to do is have faith in Jesus and that faith is a gift given to me by God, I did not even have it. Faith is just my positive response to all God has provided for me by grace.

God called me to him because I was incapable of qualifying myself to respond by faith, it was all His ability to qualify me. Because he called me in Christ and He justified me In Christ, I will be glorified because I am In Christ. Likewise, those people who trust in their own self-efforts to be qualified will be lost for eternity.

I am now filled with the sunlight of God’s grace. God delights in me  because he sees Christ in me, I am the apple of my fathers eye and the joy of his heart. As a chosen child of God I have all the riches and glory of heaven living now inside of me. The overflowing waterfall of all heavens grace flows and cascades over every part of my life.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Grace Notes - Matthew 26:28


Matthew 26:28  "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
The amazing, wonderful reality of the New Covenant  is that God has now come to live inside man. We have access to God through Christ every second we live. As long as we breathe we can touch and know the presence of God.

Jesus will never leave us, by the Holy Spirit he is interwoven into our Spirit and Christ in all his fullness dwells within us.

We are never alone, we are never separated, the only barrier to living in the fullness of Christ is us. It is all there for us to receive and live in but it is limited by our response to his grace. God will not force himself upon us the more we enjoy, revel and depend upon his grace the more it will overflow out of our lives.

As Andrew Wommack explains the New Covenant is all about what God has done for us and made available to us.  

The principle of the Old Covenant was "do" and you shall live. The principle of the New Covenant is "it is done," and includes redemption, reconciliation, righteousness, and sanctification. The work is finished! We are complete in Him!

If the Old Covenant had no defects, there would have been no attempt to institute another (Heb. 8:7). In the Old Covenant, men found themselves unable to abide in its agreement, for it was based upon a man's performance.

The new agreement, however, is based totally upon God's grace. Under the Old Covenant, men approached God through a priest, while under the New Covenant, we have direct access to the Father through Jesus Christ. Under the Old Covenant, a man's sin led to his death while under the New Covenant, God is merciful to our unrighteousness. Under the Old Covenant, man could not be cleansed of a consciousness of sin while under the New Covenant, our sins and iniquities are remembered no more, and our guilty consciences are cleansed.

Prior to salvation we are incomplete and there is a constant striving in every person to satisfy their hunger. Through the new birth we are complete in Christ and our hunger now should only be for more revelation of what we already have in Christ.

In the same way that Jesus had the fullness of God in Him, we also have the fullness of Christ in us. That makes us complete or perfect in Him,  that is speaking of our spiritual man. Our born-again spirit is identical in righteousness, authority, and power to Christ's spirit, because our born-again spirit is the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9). It has been sent into our hearts crying "Abba Father" (Gal. 4:6).

Sunday, 17 November 2013

The Bride by Bill Thomas



As clear as crystal and shining like jasper,
She comes to take her place.
How long has she waited, how long has she yearned
To see her bridegroom’s face.
Her beauty like diamonds, her purity clear,
She waits for Him to appear;
No longer in thrall to the confines of earth,
For she’s waited many a year.

But who is this bride, this beauteous one,
Who waits for her suitor with pride?
Who is this queen, this princess of grandeur,
Who takes her place at His side?
She’s the true bride of Christ, she is every believer
 Made new in the Saviour‘s own blood;
Now gathered together, their lives changed forever,
As His mercy came in like a flood.

She is you, she is me, she is my family,
She’s that  girl with the long, curly hair,
She’s that man in the pulpit, that woman in tears,
That young man on his knees deep in prayer.
Every tongue, every nation takes part in her station,
And none her honour can smirch,
Her righteousness safe in the true arms of faith,
For she now dwells in Christ;  she’s The Church.

By Bill Thomas
                                             

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Wonderful Grace


Helpless to raise, ungodly my heart
Drawing of favour, daily the mercy
The endless grace freely given.

So take his love
With undeserved heart, in our sin
He took my place, act of free grace

You the unqualified, rebellious and dirty,
Qualify by his grace,

There his salvation, his love, his atonement,
And his precious blood poured for me
And his life forever given

Unconditional love, undeserved and free,

Found in Christ, wonderful grace.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Already.....


Already he has poured out all that heaven has to offer

Already I have died and am one with Christ

Already I am seated with Christ in heavenly places

Already I have access to an open heaven

Already His breath fills my lungs

Already His life flows through my veins

Already He animates my heart, gives it life and vitality

Already He has provided by His grace everything I need before I needed it

Already He forgave all my sins before I exisited

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Forgotten Heroes - John Dwyer. V.C.



Sergeant John James Dwyer, 4th Machine Gun Company, Victoria Cross action at Zonnebeke, Belgium.

Jack Dwyer was born at Lovett (now Cygnet) Tasmania. He enlisted in early 1915 and served on Gallipoli with the 15th Battalion. In 1916 he went to France with the 4th Machine Gun Company.

Next year on 26 September 1917, during the battle of Polygon Wood (Zonnebeke, Belgium), Dwyer's Vickers machine-gun team came under fire until he rushed his gun forward, and at point-blank range put the enemy gun out of action. He then took both weapons and helped repulse a German counter-attack. Later, after his Vickers was blown up by shellfire, he led his team back through the enemy barrage to secure another and then bring it into action. At all times, he showed "contempt of danger, cheerfulness and courage"....

Dwyer was commissioned in May 1918 and returned to Australia five months later. Back in Tasmania, he became active in local affairs and politics. He established a sawmilling business at New Norfolk. In 1931 he entered state parliament and eventually held several important offices, including that of deputy premier.

Dwyer received the Victoria Cross, service medals for the First World War and coronation medals for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Armistice Day - A Letter from A Father To A Son


Whilst looking for information on Private Sidney Long, I discovered this letter held at the Australian National Archives which was written to Private Roy Long (Sidney’s brother) by their father.

The letter is dated 14th January 1915, Roy Long joined up on 24th March 1915. He was killed in action on 29th July 1916 whilst serving with the 28th Battalion aged 20.

It is a remarkable letter:

Dear Roy

Just a line to you to let you know how I and mother are getting on, have you enlisted if not you had better do so at once you are doing your duty and fighting for your country. So Roy do what I tell you join the Forces at once it will make a man of you and me and mum will be much pleased of you. Things are looking very great over here, Fred is going to enlist very shortly and so would I if I was a bit younger, if you can’t pass let me know. Make up your mind and be a man and we will think a lot of you. We aint going to stop you from going to the front.
Best love from your loving father and mother.



Sunday, 10 November 2013

Remembrance Week - Bullets by Edward Dyson




BULLETS

As bullets come to us they're thin,
They're angular, or smooth and fat,
Some spiral are, and gimlet in,
And some are sharp, and others flat.
The slim one pink you clean and neat,
The flat ones bat a solid blow
Much as a camel throws his feet,
And leave you beastly incomplete.
If lucky you don't know it through.

The flitting bullets flow and flock;
They twitter as they pass;
They're picking at the solid rock,
They're rooting in the grass.
A tiny ballet swiftly throws
Its gossamer of rust,
Brown fairies on their little toes
A-dancing in the dust.

You cower down when first they come
With snaky whispers at your ear;
And when like swarming bees they hum
You know the tinkling chill of fear.
A whining thing will pluck your heel,
A whirring insect sting your shin;
You shrink to half your size, and feel
The ripples o'er your body seal-
'Tis terror walking in your skin!

The bullets pelt like winter hail,
The whistle and they sigh,
They shrill like cordage in a gale,
Like mewing kittens cry;
They hiss and spit, they purring come;
Or, silent all a span,
They rap, as on a slackened drum,
The dab that kills a man.

Rage takes you next. All hot your face
The bitter void, and curses leap
From pincered teeth. The wide, still space
Whence all these leaden devil's sweep
Is Tophet. Fiends by day and night
Are groping for your heart to sate
In blood their diabolic spite.
You shoot in idiot delight,
Each winging slug a hymn of hate.

The futile bullets scratch and go,
They chortle and the coo.
I laugh my scorn, for now I know
The thing they cannot do.
They flit like midges in the sun,
But howso thick they be
What matter, since there is not one
That God has marked for me!

An Eastern old philosophy
Come home at length and passion stills-
The thing will be that is to be,
And all must come as Heaven wills.
Where in the swelter and the flame
The new, hot, shining bullets drip;
One in the many has an aim,
Inwove a visage and a name-
No man may give his fate the slip!

The bullets thrill along the breeze,
They drum upon the bags,
They tweak your ear, your hair they tease,
And peck your sleeve to rags.
Their voices may no more annoy-
I chortle at the call:
The bullet that is mine, my boy,
I shall not hear at all!

The war's a flutter very like
The tickets that we took from Tatt.
Quite possibly I'll make a strike;
The odds are all opposed to that.
Behind the dawn the Furies sway
The mighty globe from which to get
Those bullets which throughout the day
Will winners be to break or slay.
I have not struck a starter yet

The busy bullets rise and flock;
They whistle as they pass;
They're chipping at the solid rock,
They're skipping in the grass.
Out there the tiny dancers throw
Their sober skirts of rust,
Brown flitting figures tipping toe
Along the golden dust.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Remembrance Week - Crater Pool by Henry Weston Pryce


This excellent First World War poem is by the Australian poet Henry Weston Pryce.

Crater Pool

Draw near-draw near, brave soldier!
Through the darkness to my side draw near!
Here I wait who e'er may chance,
Dreaming darkly, dreaming deep,
And my cruel musings creep
O'er my face as trench flares dance;
Cold is my heart, O soldier!
As thy lips are cold with fear.

Beware! beware, good soldier!
Others such as thou, have come this night,
In the dark, the rain and sleet,
Pressing each upon his foe....
Saw, to late, my face aglow,
Felt my fingers clutch their feet;
Dark are my depths, good soldier,
But thy fevered eyes are bright!

Look down! Look down, poor soldier,
Where the bubbles of decay arise:
See them, note them-how they lie,
As they grappled, as they fell:
Foes in life-in death as well,
Foot to foot and eye to eye;
The pestilence I send thee, soldier,
Is the hate that dimmed their eyes.


(Henry Weston Pryce was born at Woolway Station in Monaro, New South Wales in 1891. His occupations included salesman, insurance agent, clerk, soldier and journalist. He contributed verse and stories to Australian literary journals for several years. Pryce joined the 9th Machine Gun Company of the A.I.F. on 16 June 1916 and sailed from Melbourne in October 1916. He returned to Australia on the 25 November 1917. Both his brothers died in the war. Pryce joined the staff of the Sydney Sun. He died in 1963).

Friday, 8 November 2013

Remembrance Week - Letter Arrived Too Late


This article comes from the fantastic book “Mud and Khaki Sketches from Flanders and France” by Vernon Bartlett.

This part of the book describes a night in a trench, when Barlett as an officer looks on his men.

Carrying on the theme of letters to the soldiers he describes the ‘buzz’ as the letters arrive and how the letter from home to ‘Denham’ arrives too late.

"I wander on my rounds to see that all the sentries are on the alert, and, suddenly, nearly fall over a man lying face downwards along the bottom of the trench. "Here, you can't sleep here, you know; you give no one a chance to pass," I say, and, for answer, I am told to "shut up," while a suppressed but still audible giggle from Private Harris warns me that the situation is not as I had imagined. The figure in the mud gets up and proves to be an officer of the Engineers, listening for sounds of mining underneath us. "I think they're at it again, but I'm not certain yet," he says cheerfully as he goes off to his own dug-out. I, in turn, lie down in the mud with my ear pressed to the ground, and I seem to hear, far beneath me, the rumble of the trolleys and the sound of the pick, so that I am left for the rest of the night in the uncomfortable expectation of flying heavenwards at any moment.

A buzz of voices which reaches me as I return from a visit to a working party informs me that the one great event of the night has taken place—the rations and the mail have arrived and have been "dumped" by the carrying party in a little side trench. Before I reach the spot a man comes hurrying up to me, "Please, sir," he says, "young Denham has been hit by a rifle grenade. 'E's got it very bad." Just as I pass the side trench, I hear the sergeant who is issuing the letters call: "Denham. A letter for young Denham," and someone says, "I'll take it to him, Sergeant, 'e's in my section."

But the letter has arrived too late, for when I reach the other end of the trench Denham is dead, and a corporal, is carefully searching his pockets for his letters and money to hand over to the platoon commander. They have carried him close to the brazier for light, and the flames find reflection on the white skin of his throat where his tunic has been torn open, and there is an ugly black stain on the bandage that has been roughly tied round him. Only one man in millions, it is true, but one more letter sent home with that awful "Killed" written across it, and one more mother mourning for her only child.

And so the night draws on. Now there is a lull, and the sentries, standing on the fire platforms, allow their heavy lids to fall in a moment's sleep; now a sudden burst of intense fire runs along the line, and everyone springs to his rifle, while star shells go up by dozens; now a huge rumble from the distance tells that a mine has been fired, and we wonder dully who fired it, and how many have been killed—dully only, for death has long since ceased to mean anything to us, and our powers of realisation and pity, thank God! have been blunted until the only things that matter are food and sleep."

(Charles Vernon Oldfield Bartlett CBE (30 April 1894, Westbury, Wiltshire - January 18, 1983) was an English journalist and politician.

After education at Blundell's School Bartlett was invalided out of the Army in World War I. As a journalist he worked for the Daily Mail, and was a foreign correspondent for The Times. In 1922 he was appointed director of the London office of the League of Nations. In 1933 he joined the News Chronicle, and was its diplomatic correspondent for 20 years).

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Remembrance Week - Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen


I thought I would publish the famous poem ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ by the great Wilfred Owen.

It was as an impressionable 18 year old that I first read this poem during a college English Literature class. The poem and the college course changed my life and I have been interested in the First World War ever since.

Owen makes the whole dimension of the war come alive with the full horror of it all. It is amazing the way he involves the reader into the horrific world by using the word ‘you’. No longer are you looking in at a scene, you become part of it.

“DULCE ET DECORUM EST” is the first words of a Latin saying (taken from an ode by Horace). The words were widely understood and often quoted at the start of the First World War. They mean "It is sweet and right." The full saying ends the poem: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori - it is sweet and right to die for your country.

You can make up your own mind, whether Owen thought the slow agonizing death from drowning in poison gas was a “sweet and right thing”!


DULCE ET DECORUM EST

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .

Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.


For more information on the poem here is an excellent article by Nicole Smith:
"Dulce et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen and the Transition of History

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Remembrance Week - A Night Scouting by Captain R. Hugh Knyvett


This comes from the book "Over There" With The Australians by Captain R. Hugh Knyvett (Anzac Scout) Intelligence Officer, Fifteenth Australian Infantry.

This great article describes the horror of a  night’s scouting, it’s terrifying how difficult the wire was, “It was a breastwork trench and I climbed up the sand-bags, but tripped over a wire at the top and came down with a clatter.”

"There was one night when I was making a way through the German wire, and had my hand up cutting a strand, when a sentry poked his head over the top and looked straight at me not three yards away. I froze instantly in that attitude but he fired a shot at me which, of course, went wide, being aimed in the dark. He then sent up a flare, but the firing of this dazzles a man for several seconds, and then so many shadows are thrown that I was no more distinct than previously. He went away, returning a minute or two later to have another look. By this time I was feeling quite stiff, but he was quite satisfied that no live man could be there. Had I jumped into a shell-hole, as fear prompted me to do, he would have roused the whole line, and a bomb would likely have got me. However, I thought this would be a good opportunity to take a look into the trench, for I reasoned that this sentry must be alone or some one else would have put up the flare while he fired the shot. Probably the rest of his regiment were on a working fatigue not far away. It was a breastwork trench and I climbed up the sand-bags, but tripped over a wire at the top and came down with a clatter. A red flare went up and I heard the feet of many soldiers running along the duck-boards. I only had time to roll into the ditch at the foot of the back of the parapet, where I was quite safe from observation, when they manned their trench to repel the "raid."

After several minutes when about a hundred rifles, several machine-guns, and a trench-mortar were pouring their fire into No Man's Land, I began to recover my nerve and saw that it would be a good opportunity to mark the position of one of these machine-guns which was firing just above my head. In fact, I could, with ease, have had my hand drilled just by holding it up. I tore a page out of my note-book and placed it in a crevice between the sand-bags, just under the gun. Hours afterward when all was quiet I returned to our own trenches and fastened another piece of white paper to a bush half-way across No Man's Land that I noticed was in line with a dead tree close to our "sally-port," and my first piece of paper. In the morning the artillery observation officer could see these two pieces of paper quite plainly with his glasses, and that trench was leveled for fifty yards. "

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Remembrance Week - The Trenches by Frederic Manning



I love this poem by the Australian Frederic Manning. It gives a real sense of what it must have been like on a cold frosty night on the Western Front:-


Endless lanes sunken in the clay,
Bays, and traverses, fringed with wasted herbage,
Seed-pods of blue scabious, and some lingering blooms;
And the sky, seen as from a well,
Brilliant with frosty stars.
We stumble, cursing, on the slippery duckboards,
Goaded like the damned by some invisible wrath,
A will stronger than weariness, stronger than animal fear,
Implacable and monotonous.

Here a shaft, slanting, and below
A dusty and flickering light from one feeble candle
And prone figures sleeping uneasily,
Murmuring,
And men who cannot sleep,
With faces impassive as masks,
Bright, feverish eyes, and drawn lips,
Sad, pitiless, terrible faces,
Each an incarnate curse.

Here in a bay, a helmeted sentry
Silent and motionless, watching while two sleep,
And he sees before him
With indifferent eyes the blasted and torn land
Peopled with stiff prone forms, stupidly rigid,
As tho' they had not been men.

Dead are the lips where love laughed or sang,
The hands of youth eager to lay hold of life,
Eyes that have laughed to eyes,
And these were begotten,
O love, and lived lightly, and burnt
With the lust of a man's first strength: ere they were rent,
Almost at unawares, savagely; and strewn
In bloody fragments, to be the carrion
Of rats and crows.

And the sentry moves not, searching
Night for menace with weary eyes.


(Frederic Manning was born in Sydney Australia in 1882. He attended Sydney Grammar School and at the age of 14 he went to England. During the First World War he served as a private in the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry Regiment and fought on the Somme and Ancre. After the war he spent most of his time studying and writing. He died in 1935.)

For more information please see: Frederic Manning at Wikipedia &

Frederic Manning at the Australian War Memorial.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Remembrance Week - The First Night In A Trench


The book Bullets & Billets by Bruce Bairnsfather, gives a fantastic account of Bruce’s first night in a real trench in Belgium. This was a trench of 1914 and describes how uncomfortable and awful it must have been in those early days on the Western Front.


THOSE PLUGSTREET TRENCHES

“An extraordinary sensation—the first time of going into trenches. The first idea that struck me about them was their haphazard design. There was, no doubt, some very excellent reason for someone or other making those trenches as they were; but they really did strike me as curious when I first saw them.

A trench will, perhaps, run diagonally across a field, will then go along a hedge at right angles, suddenly give it up and start again fifty yards to the left, in such a position that it is bound to cross the kitchen-garden of a shattered chateau, go through the greenhouse and out into the road. On getting there it henceforth rivals the ditch at the side in the amount of water it can run off into a row of dug-outs in the next field. There is, apparently, no necessity for a trench to be in any way parallel to the line of your enemy; as long as he can't shoot you from immediately behind, that's all you ask.

It was a long and weary night, that first one of mine in the trenches. Everything was strange, and wet and horrid. First of all I had to go and fix up my machine guns at various points, and find places for the gunners to sleep in. This was no easy matter, as many of the dug-outs had fallen in and floated off down stream.

In this, and subsequent descriptions of the trenches, I may lay myself open to the charge of exaggeration. But it must be remembered that I am describing trench life in the early days of 1914, and I feel sure that those who had experience of them will acquit me of any such charge.

To give a recipe for getting a rough idea, in case you want to, I recommend the following procedure. Select a flat ten-acre ploughed field, so sited that all the surface water of the surrounding country drains into it. Now cut a zig-zag slot about four feet deep and three feet wide diagonally across, dam off as much water as you can so as to leave about a hundred yards of squelchy mud; delve out a hole at one side of the slot, then endeavour to live there for a month on bully beef and damp biscuits, whilst a friend has instructions to fire at you with his Winchester every time you put your head above the surface.

Well, here I was, anyway, and the next thing was to make the best of it. As I have before said, these were the days of the earliest trenches in this war: days when we had none of those desirable "props," such as corrugated iron, floorboards, and sand bags ad lib.

When you made a dug-out in those days you made it out of anything you could find, and generally had to make it yourself. That first night I was "in" I discovered, after a humid hour or so, that our battalion wouldn't fit into the spaces left by the last one, and as regards dug-outs, the truth of that mathematical axiom, "Two's into one, won't go," suddenly dawned on me with painful clearness. I was faced with making a dug-out, and it was raining, of course. (Note.—Whenever I don't state the climatic conditions, read "raining.") After sloshing about in several primitive trenches in the vicinity of the spot where we had fixed our best machine-gun position, my sergeant and I discovered a sort of covered passage in a ditch in front of a communication trench. It was a sort of emergency exit back from a row of ramshackle, water-logged hovels in the ditch to the communication trench. We decided to make use of this passage, and arranged things in such a way that by scooping out the clay walls we made two caves, one behind the other. The front one was about five yards from the machine gun, and you reached the back cave by going through the outer one. It now being about 11 p.m., and having been for the last five hours perpetually on the scramble, through trenches of all sorts, I drew myself into the inner cave to go to sleep.

This little place was about 4 feet long, 3 feet high, and 3 feet wide. I got out my knife, took a scoop out of the clay wall, and fishing out a candle-end from my pocket, stuck it in the niche, lit it and a cigarette. I now lay down and tried to size up the situation and life in general.

Here I was, in this horrible clay cavity, somewhere in Belgium, miles and miles from home. Cold, wet through and covered with mud. This was the first day; and, so far as I could see, the future contained nothing but repetitions of the same thing, or worse.

Nothing was to be heard except the occasional crack of the sniper's shot, the dripping of the rain, and the low murmur of voices from the outer cave.

In the narrow space beside me lay my equipment; revolver, and a sodden packet of cigarettes. Everything damp, cold and dark; candle-end guttering. I think suddenly of something like the Empire or the Alhambra, or anything else that's reminiscent of brightness and life, and then—swish, bang—back to the reality that the damp clay wall is only eighteen inches in front of me; that here I am—that the Boche is just on the other side of the field; and that there doesn't seem the slightest chance of leaving except in an ambulance.

My machine-gun section for the gun near by lay in the front cave, a couple of feet from me; their spasmodic talking gradually died away as, one by one, they dropped off to sleep. One more indignant, hopeless glare at the flickering candle-end, then I pinched the wick, curled up, and went to sleep.

A sudden cold sort of peppermint sensation assailed me; I awoke and sat up. My head cannoned off the clay ceiling, so I partially had to lie down again.

I attempted to strike a match, but found the whole box was damp and sodden. I heard a muttering of voices and a curse or two in the outer cavern, and presently the sergeant entered my sanctum on all fours:

"We're bein' flooded out, sir; there's water a foot deep in this place of ours."

That explains it. I feel all round the back of my greatcoat and find I have been sleeping in a pool of water.

I crawled out of my inner chamber, and the whole lot of us dived through the rapidly rising water into the ditch outside. I scrambled up on to the top of the bank, and tried to focus the situation.

From inquiries and personal observation I found that the cause of the tide rising was the fact that the Engineers had been draining the trench, in the course of which process they had apparently struck a spring of water.

We accepted the cause of the disaster philosophically, and immediately discussed what was the best thing to be done. Action of some sort was urgently necessary, as at present we were all sitting on the top of the mud bank of the ditch in the silent, steady rain, the whole party being occasionally illuminated by a German star shell—more like a family sitting for a flashlight photograph than anything else.

We decided to make a dam. Having found an empty ration box and half a bag of coke, we started on the job of trying to fence off the water from our cave. After about an hour's struggle with the elements we at last succeeded, with the aid of the ration box, the sack of coke and a few tins of bully, in reducing the water level inside to six inches.

Here we were, now wetter than ever, cold as Polar bears, sitting in this hygroscopic catacomb at about 2 a.m. We longed for a fire; a fire was decided on. We had a fire bucket—it had started life as a biscuit tin—a few bits of damp wood, but no coke. "We had some coke, I'm sure! Why, of course—we built it into the dam!" Down came the dam, out came the coke, and in came the water. However, we preferred the water to the cold; so, finally, after many exasperating efforts, we got a fire going in the bucket. Five minutes' bliss followed by disaster. The fire bucket proceeded to emit such dense volumes of sulphurous smoke that in a few moments we couldn't see a lighted match.

We stuck it a short time longer, then one by one dived into the water and out into the air, shooting out of our mud hovel to the surface like snakes when you pour water down their holes.

Time now 3 a.m. No sleep; rain, water, plus smoke. A board meeting held immediately decides to give up sleep and dug-outs for that night. A motion to try and construct a chimney with an entrenching tool is defeated by five votes to one ... dawn is breaking—my first night in trenches comes to an end."

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Forgotten Heroes - Lieutenant George Ingram. V.C.



Lieutenant George Ingram, 24th Battalion, Victoria Cross action at Montbrehain, east of Peronne, France.

Born at Bendigo, Victoria, George Ingram was a carpenter before joining the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force for service in New Guinea, then enlisting in the AIF. He arrived in France in early 1917. He was awarded the Military Medal for his work near Bapaume two months later.


Ingram was a tall, well-built man and despite illnesses which hospitalised him several times, was in fine form when his battalion took part in the last Australian infantry action of the war, the attack on Montbrehain on 5 October 1918 . When the battalion came under heavy fire, Ingram rushed an enemy post and captured nine machine-guns, killing 42 of the enemy in the process. Several more times throughout the day he displayed great courage, capturing posts and many more prisoners.

After the war Ingram worked as a building foreman and a farmer in Victoria. During the Second World War he served with the Royal Australian Engineers, attaining the rank of captain.

Ingram received the Victoria Cross, the Military Medal, service medals for the First and Second World Wars, and coronation medals for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

I Cannot Make You Love Me by Adrian Plass



If I wanted I could take the light
One shining sheet of paper
Crush it in my fist
And then - it would be night
If I was so inclined
I could destroy the day with fire
Warm my hands at all your charred tomorrows
With the smallest movement of my arm
One flicker of my will
Sweep you and all your darkness from the land
But I cannot make you love me
Cannot make you love me
Cannot make you love me
I cannot make you, will not make you, cannot make you love me



If I wanted I could lift the sea
As if it were a turquoise tablecloth
Uncover lost forgotten things
Unwritten history
It would be easy to revive the bones
Of men who never thought to see their homes again
I have revived one shipwrecked man in such a way
The story of that rescuing, that coming home
Might prove I care for you
But though I can inscribe I LOVE YOU in the sky and on the sea
I cannot make you love me
Cannot make you love me
Cannot make you love me
I cannot make you, will not make you, cannot make you love me



I can be Father, Brother, Shepherd, Friend
The Rock, the Door, the Light, Creator, Son of Man
Emmanuel, Redeemer, Spirit, First and Last, the Lion or the Lamb
I can be Master, Lord, the Way, the Truth, the Wine
Bread or Bridegroom, Son of God, I am, Jehovah
Saviour, Judge, the Cornerstone, the Vine
I can be King of Kings, Deliverer, the Morning Star
Alpha and Omega, Jesus, Rabbi, Carpenter or Morning Dew
Servant, Teacher, Sacrifice, the Rose of Sharon
I can be - I have been - crucified for you
But I cannot make you love me
Cannot make you love me
Cannot make you love me
I cannot make you, will not make you, cannot make you love me.

by ADRIAN PLASS from Learning to Fly, 1996

Friday, 1 November 2013

Hidden Treasures


On the side

Of a cluttered room

It sits

Unopened

Untouched

Waiting

For a trembling hand

Of expectation

Anticipation

To reach out

To hold

To devour

For discovery

 Of hidden treasures



On the side

Of adventure

He waits

Contemplates

Anticipates

The moment

Of elation

Aroma

Joy

Of hidden treasures.



On the side

Of ecstasy

The smell

Of Holding

Opening

a new book

Into a journey

Of endless

Possibilities

Promises

Realms

Adventures

Of hidden treasures.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...