Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2015 - Don't Be Like Lot's Wife


Remember what happened to Lot's wife – Luke 17:32

As I come to the end of 2014 there is a tendency to stop and take a look back over the highs and lows of the past twelve months. This time last year I posted my highlights of 2013 and over the past few days I have been enlightened on Facebook with a kaleidoscope of some of my friend’s 2014.

Thinking about 2014, one verse from Luke keeps coming back into my mind, “Remember what happened to Lot's wife.”  Most of us know the story, God told Lot and his family not to look back at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, but Lots wife unfortunately did glance back and she was reduced to a pile of salt. The temptation not to look back proved too great, because in reality the desire of her heart was still with the burning cities. If she would have kept her eyes focussed on the future, on the road ahead, she would carried on walking into all God had for her.

We too have a choice we can look back on our failures and fears, on the times of regret and missed opportunities and be captive to another year of the past in our lives or we can recognise the bad times, cast them into the ocean of God’s mercy and move on into all God has for us in 2015.

The enemy would try to hold us captive to the past, the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. He wants to scare us and distract us away from all we have in Christ.

So as we come to end 2014 and start 2015 let us:-

  • 1.       Remember the victories and meditate on God’s faithfulness
  • 2.       Forget and destroy the memories of failures, God does not remember or recall them neither should you.
  • 3.       Remove the focus from the past
  • 4.       Remove the distractions of the world and listen to the whisper of his voice
  • 5.       Delight in the lord with all your heart

Let our focus and eyes be on God and the finished work on Christ because all the promises of God are yes and Amen In Christ and:-

  • 1.       He is faithful to His word
  • 2.       He is patient, not impulsive or hasty
  • 3.       His voice will always leave us with hope, not discouragement or depression
  • 4.       His voice instils confidence,  not fear or intimidation
  • 5.       He will never leave us, he is with us every moment, every second of every day.

He has promised to do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think, according to the power that works in us, and let 2015 be an ever increasing opportunity to experience the grace of God overflowing in our lives.

So here is my 5 little heart exercises to mediate on as I start the New Year: -

  • 1.       Enjoy and abide in the presence of God
  • 2.       Keep a “YES” in your spirit to God at all times
  • 3.       Get rid of “Never” from your vocabulary with God
  • 4.       God trusts you, act like He spoke to you.
  • 5.       Keep your eyes on Jesus, Keep your heart open to people and keep your focus off yourself.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Listen My Beloved



Listen! My beloved!
    Look! Here he comes,
leaping across the mountains,
    bounding over the hills.

My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
    Look! There he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
    peering through the lattice.

 My beloved spoke and said to me,
    “Arise, my darling,
    my beautiful one, come with me.


Song of Songs 2 : 8-10

Listen 2015


Monday, 15 December 2014

Christmas 1914 - Miss Violetta Thurston In Russia



Miss Violetta Thurston, was an English nurse who went to Belgium with a 'Flying Column' early in the war and was subsequently ordered by the Germans to leave Brussels when it fell. She was sent across Germany, having a tedious and uncomfortable journey, and when at Copenhagen she offered her services to the Russian Red Cross. Her offer was accepted, and she went to Lodz, where she was posted to a hospital in what was once a girls’ day school.

Her book 'Field Hospital and Flying Column, Being the Journal of an English Nursing Sister in Belgium & Russia' is available on line at Project Gutenberg. It is a fascinating and informative narrative of her part in the war. This extract describes her experience of Christmas 1914 in Russia, with a Christmas Day meal of roast horse and boiled potatoes: -

"We had left Zyradow rather quiet, but when we came back we found the cannon going hard, both from the Radzivilow and the Goosof direction. It would have taken much more than cannon to keep us awake, however, and we lay down most gratefully on our stretchers in the empty room at the Red Cross Bureau and slept. A forty-eight hours' spell is rather long for the staff, though probably there would have been great difficulty in changing the Columns more often.

I woke up in the evening to hear the church bells ringing, and remembered that it was Christmas Eve and that they were ringing for the Midnight Mass, so I got up quickly. The large church was packed with people, every one of the little side chapels was full and people were even sitting on the altar steps. There must have been three or four thousand people there, most of them of course the people of the place, but also soldiers, Red Cross workers and many refugees mostly from Lowice. Poor people, it was a sad Christmas for them—having lost so much already and not knowing from day to day if they would lose all, as at that time it was a question whether or not the Russian authorities would decide for strategic reasons to fall back once more.
And then twelve o'clock struck and the Mass began.

Soon a young priest got up into the pulpit and gave them a little sermon. It was in Polish, but though I could not understand the words, I could tell from the people's faces what it was about. When he spoke of the horrors of war, the losses and the deaths and the suffering that had come to so many of them, one woman put her apron to her face and sobbed aloud in the tense silence. And in a moment the whole congregation began sobbing and moaning and swaying themselves to and fro. The young priest stopped and left them alone a moment or two, and then began to speak in a low persuasive voice. I do not know what he said, but he gradually soothed them and made them happy. And then the organ began pealing out triumphantly, and while the guns crashed and thundered outside, the choir within sang of peace and goodwill to all men.

Christmas Day was a very mournful one for us, as we heard of the loss of our new and best automobile, which had just been given as a present to the Column. One of the boys was taking it to Warsaw from Skiernevice with some wounded officers, and it had broken down just outside the village. The mud was awful, and with the very greatest difficulty they managed to get it towed as far as Rawa, but had to finally abandon it to the Germans, though fortunately they got off safely themselves. It was a great blow to the Column, as it was impossible to replace it, these big ambulance cars costing something like 8000 roubles.

So our Christmas dinner eaten at our usual dirty little restaurant could not be called a success.
Food was very scarce at that time in Zyradow; there was hardly any meat or sugar, and no milk or eggs or white bread. One of us had brought a cake for Christmas from Warsaw weeks before, and it was partaken of on this melancholy occasion without enthusiasm. Even the punch made out of a teaspoonful of brandy from the bottom of Princess's flask mixed with about a pint of water and two lumps of sugar failed to move us to any hilarity. Our menu did not vary in any particular from that usually provided at the restaurant, though we did feel we might have had a clean cloth for once.

Menu - Christmas 1914

Gravy Soup
Roast Horse, Boiled Potatoes
Currant Cake
Tea Punch

We were very glad to go up to Radzivilow once more. Our former dressing-station had been abandoned as too dangerous for staff and patients, and the dressing- and operating-room was now in a train about five versts down the line from Radzivilow station. Our train was a permanency on the line, and we lived and worked in it, while twice a day an ambulance train came up, our wounded were transferred to it and taken away, and we filled up once more. We found things fairly quiet this time when we went up. The Germans had been making some very fierce attacks, trying to cross the river Rawka, and therefore their losses must have been very heavy, but the Russians were merely holding their ground, and so there were comparatively few wounded on our side. This time we were able to divide up into shifts for the work—a luxury we were very seldom able to indulge in.

We had previously made great friends with a Siberian captain, and we found to our delight that he was living in a little hut close to our train. He asked me one day if I would like to go up to the positions with him and take some Christmas presents round to the men. Of course I was more than delighted, and as he was going up that night and I was not on duty, the general very kindly gave permission for me to go up too. In the end Colonel S. and one of the Russian Sisters accompanied us as well. The captain got a rough cart and horse to take us part of the way, and he and another man rode on horseback beside us. We started off about ten o'clock, a very bright moonlight night—so bright that we had to take off our brassards and anything that could have shown up white against the dark background of the woods. We drove as far as the pine-woods in which the Russian positions were, and left the cart and horses in charge of a Cossack while we were away. The general had intended that we should see the reserve trenches, but we had seen plenty of them before, and our captain meant that we should see all the fun that was going, so he took us right up to the front positions. We went through the wood silently in single file, taking care that if possible not even a twig should crackle under our feet, till we came to the very front trenches at the edge of the wood. We crouched down and watched for some time. Everything was brilliantly illuminated by the moonlight, and we had to be very careful not to show ourselves. A very fierce German attack was going on, and the bullets were pattering like hail on the trees all round us. We could see nothing for some time but the smoke of the rifles.

The Germans were only about a hundred yards away from us at this time, and we could see the river Rawka glittering below in the moonlight. What an absurd little river to have so much fighting about. That night it looked as if we could easily wade across it. The captain made a sign, and we crept with him along the edge of the wood, till we got to a Siberian officer's dug-out. At first we could not see anything, then we saw a hole between two bushes, and after slithering backwards down the hole, we got into a sort of cave that had been roofed in with poles and branches, and was absolutely invisible a few steps away. It was fearfully hot and frowzy—a little stove in the corner threw out a great heat, and the men all began to smoke, which made it worse.

We stayed a while talking, and then crawled along to visit one of the men's dug-outs, a German bullet just missing us as we passed, and burying itself in a tree. There were six men already in the dug-out, so we did not attempt to get in, but gave them tobacco and matches, for which they were very grateful. These men had an "ikon" or sacred picture hanging up inside their cave; the Russian soldiers on active service carry a regimental ikon, and many carry them in their pockets too. One man had his life saved by his ikon. He showed it to us; the bullet had gone just between the Mother and the Child, and was embedded in the wood.

It was all intensely interesting, and we left the positions with great reluctance, to return through the moonlit pine-woods till we reached our cart. We had indeed made a night of it, for it was five o'clock in the morning when we got back to the train once more, and both the doctor and I were on duty again at eight. But it was well worth losing a night's sleep to go up to the positions during a violent German attack. I wonder what the general would have said if he had known!
We finished our forty-eight hours' duty and returned once more to Zyradow. I was always loth to leave Radzivilow. The work there was splendid, and there more than anywhere else I have been to one feels the war as a High Adventure.

War would be the most glorious game in the world if it were not for the killing and wounding. In it one tastes the joy of comradeship to the full, the taking and giving, and helping and being helped in a way that would be impossible to conceive in the ordinary world. At Radzivilow, too, one could see the poetry of war, the zest of the frosty mornings, and the delight of the camp-fire at night, the warm, clean smell of the horses tethered everywhere, the keen hunger, the rough food sweetened by the sauce of danger, the riding out in high hope in the morning; even the returning wounded in the evening did not seem altogether such a bad thing out there. One has to die some time, and the Russian peasants esteem it a high honour to die for their "little Mother" as they call their country. The vision of the High Adventure is not often vouchsafed to one, but it is a good thing to have had it—it carries one through many a night at the shambles.
Radzivilow is the only place it came to me. In Belgium one's heart was wrung by the poignancy of it all, its littleness and defencelessness; in Lodz one could see nothing for the squalor and "frightfulness"; in other places the ruined villages, the flight of the dazed, terrified peasants show one of the darkest sides of war."


(Miss Violetta Thurston was born Anna Violet Thurstan in Hastings in 1879, the daughter of Dr. Edward Paget Thurstan. She trained as a nurse at The London Hospital, and The Children’s Hospital, Shadwell, at that time using the name Violet Thurstan.

Educated in France and Germany she spoke these languages fluently. Before the war she was prominent in her profession as an administrator, organiser and lecturer, and was highly respected by both the nursing and medical professions. She became the one of the most ‘high profile’ of all nurses who served in the Great War and from the early days her name was rarely out of the nursing press, and she wrote long letters, which were published week by week).

Friday, 5 December 2014

Grace Nuggets - God's Mercy



God’s mercy is forever flowing toward us. His mercy stops God giving me the judgement I deserve. His mercy puts my judgement, my condemnation, my guilt upon Christ and Christ died in my place.

I can live free from condemnation and guilt and my body has been healed all through the mercy of God.

Grace inspires God to freely bestow and give me what I don’t deserve but gives me what Jesus deserves.

Because Jesus died on my behalf and in my place and as me.

Every day of my life God’s desire is to pour out to me all the goodness of heaven.

I receive all the riches of heaven that Jesus deserves and my old sin nature that deserves judgement is dead.

It has nothing to do with me and my ability; it is all freely given and has everything to do with Christ.

Every moment I live God wants to overwhelm me with his grace and mercy.

Friday, 28 November 2014

In A Mirror by Zach Langhamer



When Jesus comes to show you his glory, he comes as in a mirror.

But we all, with unveiled face, "beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord," are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 NASB)

We're going to have to get over our false humility one day, suck it up and begin to live like who God says we really are.

You are beautiful
You are perfect
You are loved beyond any measure you could imagine

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Forgotten Heroes - Sergeant Percy Statton, V.C. MM.


Sergeant Percy Clyde Statton MM, 40th Battalion, Victoria Cross action at Proyart, France.

Percy Statton was born in Tasmania, and enlisted in February 1916. During his battalion's first major action, at Messines in June 1917, he received the Military Medal. In October he was wounded, and in June 1918 he was gassed.

On 12 August 1918 Statton's battalion advanced until stopped by an enemy barrage, near Proyart, France. Over the next few hours Statton performed a number of brave actions, at one point rushing four enemy machine-gun positions armed only with a revolver. He disposed of two of the posts and killed five of the enemy. Later he went out under heavy fire and brought in two badly wounded men.
Statton came home in November 1919 to a hero's welcome; however, his wife was unhappy about his long absence, and they divorced. He remarried twice more, and worked as a farmer and in the timber industry.

VC Citation:
'For most conspicuous bravery and initiative in action when in command of a platoon which reached its objective, the remainder of the battalion being held up by heavy machine gun fire. He skilfully engaged two machine gun posts with Lewis gun fire, enabling the remainder of his battalion to advance. The advance of the battalion on his left had been brought to a stand still by heavy enemy machine gun fire, and the first of our assaulting detachments to reach the machine gun posts were put out of action in taking the first gun. Armed only with a revolver, in broad daylight, Sergeant Statton at once rushed four enemy machine gun posts in succession, disposing of two of them, and killing five of the enemy. The remaining two posts retired and were wiped out by Lewis gun fire. Later in the evening, under heavy machine gun fire, he went out again and brought in two badly wounded men. Sergeant Statton set a magnificent example of quick decision, and the success of the attacking troops was largely due to his determined gallantry.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 23
Date: 12 February 1919

MM Citation:

'On 7, 8 and 9 June 1917 during operations south east of Messines, Belgium, for exceptional fine work and gallant conduct whilst under heavy enemy artillery and machine-gun fire. He supervised and conducted carrying parties to the advanced troops with great determination and never failed to reach the next advanced line although on several occasions the party was decimated with shell fire. He set a fine example to the members of his parties.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 219
Date: 20 December 1917

Monday, 17 November 2014

Grace Nuggets - We Have Access


Through the cross and the shedding of Jesus blood, Jesus paid the admission for us into the family if God.

We have access into the throne room of God; his presence is eternally with us,

All the time
Every moment
Every heartbeat
Every breath
Every thought
Every blink
Every touch

We are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

If There Are Words by Brian Johnson



“If there are words for Him then I don’t have them.

See my brain has not yet reached the point where it could form a thought that could adequately describe the greatness of my God.

And my lungs have not yet developed the ability to release a breath with enough agility to breathe out the greatness of His Love.

And my voice, see my voice is so inhibited , restrained by human limits that it’s hard to even sing the praise up, you see, if there are words for Him, then I don’t have them.

My God, His Grace is remarkable, mercies are innumerable, strength is impenetrable, He is honorable, accountable, favorable.

He’s unsearchable yet knowable, indefinable, yet approachable, indescribable, yet personal

He is beyond comprehension, further than imagination, constant through generations, King of every nation, but if there are words for Him, then I don’t have them

You see my words are few to try and capture the ONE TRUE GOD, using my vocabulary will never do, but I use words as an expression, an expression of worship to a Savior, a Savior who is both worthy and deserving of my praise, so I use words.

My heart extols the Lord, blesses His Name forever.

He has won my heart, captured my mind, and has bound them both together.

He has defeated me in my rebellion, conquered me in my sin,

He has welcomed me into His presence, completely invited me in.

He has made Himself the object of my sight, flooding me with mercies in the morning, drowning me with Grace in the night, but if there are words for Him, then I don’t have them.

But what I do have is GOOD NEWS, for my God knew that manmade words would never do, for words are just tools that we use to point to the truth.

So He sent His Son Jesus Christ as THE WORD, LIVING PROOF, He is THE IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD, THE FIRST BORN OF ALL CREATION, FOR BY HIM ALL THINGS WERE CREATED, GIVING NOTHINGNESS, FORMATION.

AND BY HIS WORD HE SUSTAINS IN THE POWER OF HIS NAME. FOR HE IS BEFORE ALL THINGS AND ABOVE ALL THINGS HE REIGNS. HOLY IS HIS NAME!

SO PRAISE HIM FOR HIS LIFE! THE WAY HE PERSERVERED IN STRIFE. THE HUMBLE SON OF GOD BECOMING THE PERFECT SACRIFICE.

PRAISE HIM FOR HIS DEATH! THAT HE WILLINGLY STOOD IN OUR PLACE THAT HE LOVINGLY ENDURED THE GRAVE THAT HE BATTLED OUR ENEMY, AND ON THE THIRD DAY ROSE IN VICTORY.

HE IS EVEYTHING THAT WAS PROMISED.

PRAISE HIM AS THE RISEN KING.

LIFT YOUR VOICE AND SING, FOR ONE DAY HE WILL RETURN FOR US, AND WE WILL FINALLY BE UNITED WITH OUR SAVIOR FOR ENTERNITY! ETERNITY!

SO IT IS NOT JUST WORDS THAT I PROCLAIM, FOR MY WORDS POINT TO THE WORD, AND THE WORD HAS A NAME,

HOPE HAS A NAME,

JOY HAS A NAME, 

PEACE HAS A NAME,

LOVE HAS A NAME,

AND THAT NAME IS JESUS CHRIST!


PRAISE HIS NAME FOREVER!!!!!!!!” 

By Brian Johnson

Original from newtonatheroyaldiadem

Friday, 14 November 2014

Grace Gems - Release


It is your spirit that is instantly changed at salvation. It is perfect (Heb. 12:23). It cannot sin (1 Jn. 3:9). Everything that is true of Jesus is true of our born-again spirit. Your spiritual salvation is complete. At salvation, you receive the same spirit that you will have throughout all eternity. It will not have to be changed or cleansed again. It is sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13) and therefore, is sanctified and perfected forever (Heb. 10:10, 14; 12:23).

For the remainder of our Christian life, we must not try to obtain faith, joy or love from God, but rather release what we already have in our spirits (Gal. 5:22-23) into our soul and body. Failure to understand this has caused some people to despair when they don't see sufficient change in their life after coming to the Lord for salvation. It must be understood that the change is internal in our spirit and the outward change will take place as we renew our minds through God's Word.

Andrew Wommack

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Grace Nuggets - Jesus Our Affection



Every promise of God has its completion in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the Way, the Truth and the Life.  All the purposes and plans of God are wrapped up in Christ and before time Christ had our names written on the palms of His hands.

We live and breathe in a world that is strewn with barricades and has put up walls to make us feel blind to the love of the Father through Christ. But God’s desire for us is that we feast on the finished work of His son. God sent his son into the world not to condemn us but to release us into abundant, everlasting life.

But how do we receive all that God wants us to have? By fixing our eyes on Christ. Desire comes first by peering at the object of our affection. When we see Jesus in all his goodness, all his love, all his beauty and the fountain of eternal unmerited grace, we will slowly become more like him.

When we see Him in all his beautiful grace, we fall deeper in love with him. We realise with overwhelming delight that we are now Sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ and that Christ is totally united inside of us, closer than a lover, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Grace Gems - Knowing Jesus


My personal experience of the relentless tenderness of God came not from exegesis, theologians, and spiritual writers, but from sitting still in the presence of the living Word and beseeching Him to help me understand with my head and heart His written Word. Sheer scholarship alone cannot reveal to us the gospel of grace. We must never allow the authority of books, institutions, or leaders to replace the authority of "knowing" Jesus Christ personally and directly.

When the religious views of others interpose between us and the primary experience of Jesus as the Christ, we become unconvicted and unpersuasive travel agents handing out brochures to places we have never visited.”

― Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel


Monday, 3 November 2014

Grace Nuggets - Limitless Power


I have now the limitless power of God inside me.

I am a store of his glory and power, His kingdom has come and reigns inside me.

By the grace of God, everything of God through Christ's atonement is available to me, because God lives and dwells inside me.

By my union with Christ I have arrived in the fullness of all his grace, his unmerited favour, all the riches of heaven, an enjoyment of the Promised Land that  I had already entered.

My prayer to God has changed from , “I want more, there must be more.”

To, “Thank you lord, Let me bask and delight in all you have poured into me. Reveal to me all the wonderful grace and unlimited power that you have provided.”

Through the new birth I am complete in Christ, and my hunger is only for more revelation of what I already have in Christ

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Charis Notes - Your New Nature In Christ


When we get born again our spirit is made alive to God in and through Jesus Christ and has been seated in heaven. This causes our spirit to come back to the place of ruling and reigning with full dominion and authority.

Our spirit is perfect. It is part of God. It is one with God. It has his nature in it. It has been given the fullness of Christ.

We possess His perfect:-

Love
Joy
Peace
Long Suffering
Kindness
Goodness
Faithfulness
Gentleness
Self Control

The fruit of the spirit is in your spirit; therefore as you walk in the spirit you will automatically operate in the fruit of the spirit.

It is not the fruit of the Holy Spirit that you get on occasions, it is the fruit of your re-born spirit that, when you walk by that spirit, those fruits begin to manifest.

The fruit of the spirit is who you are in Christ. The fruit is your true identity in Christ.

Just recognise who you are in Him, and let it flow out from your new nature.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Forgotten Heroes - Lieutenant Alfred Gaby, V.C.


Lieutenant Alfred Edward Gaby, 28th Battalion, Victoria Cross action at Villers-Bretonneux. It was a posthumous award.

When he was a boy in Tasmania, Alfred Gaby (1892-1918) had seen his brothers go to the Boer War. He later served in the local militia before joining the AIF at the beginning of 1916. He was commissioned the following year.

The large-scale action in which he won his Victoria Cross was one of the most successful that Australians were ever engaged in. During the advance, in a lone attack, he got through the barbed-wire and drove the enemy off, capturing four machine-guns and 50 men. He then led the company on to its objective. Three days later, while walking along the line to encourage his men, he was killed by a sniper.

VC Citation:

'For most conspicuous bravery and dash in attack, when on reaching a wire in front of an enemy trench, strong opposition was encountered. The advance was at once checked the enemy being in force about 40 yards beyond the wire, and commanding the gap with machine guns and rifles. Lieutenant Gaby found another gap in the wire, and, single handed, approached the strong point while machine guns and rifles were still being fired from it. Running along the parapet, still alone, and at point blank range, he emptied his revolver into the garrison, drove the crews from their guns, and compelled the surrender of 50 of the enemy with four machine guns. He then quickly reorganized his men, and led them on to his final objective, which he captured and consolidated. Three days later, during an attack, this officer again led his company with great dash to the objective. The enemy brought heavy rifle and machine gun fire to bear upon the line, but in the face of this heavy fire Lieutenant Gaby walked along his line of posts, encouraging his men to quickly consolidate. While engaged on this duty he was killed by an enemy sniper.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 31
Date: 4 March 1919

Friday, 3 October 2014

Safe


Safely held tight in your embrace
Free from harm, my hope and shield
Accepted in the Father’s love
Anchored heart through strengthening grace
Ripples of constant affirmation
For by His stripes I am healed
Welded into one forever
Saving love expressed in grace.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Grace Gems - Clothed In Christ


For just as the body is clad in clothes, and the flesh in skin, and the bones in flesh, and the heart in the whole, so we, body and soul, clad and enclosed in the goodness of God. Yes, and even more intimately because all these other things will wear out and vanish, but the goodness of God is always whole and close to us without compare.

Elizabeth Obbard

Saturday, 20 September 2014

The Graveyard



Among the granite slabs
Of monumental lives
Erected to the fallen
The wooded path winds
Drifting through a forest
Of deeds and acts recorded.

Just spend a moment
To take special time
With senses of aged wisdom
In the copse of graves
The dead lie still
Void of sin and temptation.

Will you find fallen acts
All cavorting together
By the dead?
Their lives extinguished
On this carnal realm
Free from the deeds of Adam.

We in Christ are dead to sin
Silent is our accusations
Righteousness is now our life
Alive in the new creation
As the Spirit gives life
So we live in His resurrection.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Charis Notes - Jesus Is The True Picture Of God


Jesus is the only filter we look and evaluate scripture through -
John 14:7 - "If you had known Me you would also have known the Father."

Jesus is the true picture of God. In Jesus we see God and we see who God really is.
Everything in Old Covenant was a shadow and picture of who God was. The images in the Old Covenant were like individual pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece was important, each piece showed an image, each piece told a story, but each piece was only part of the story. Jesus was the whole jigsaw puzzle put together and his resurrection completed the jigsaw puzzle.

Everything Jesus did he did in relationship, with God, with the Holy Spirit, with man, because the Father is only revealed within relationship. Take God out of relationship and He becomes supreme and man cannot relate to him. Suddenly, It becomes the duty of man to keep this supreme being happy and to appease his anger. We cannot experience him totally because we are always afraid we might upset him and he will punish us.

To know the Father you have to know Jesus. You can only experience who God really is through Christ

Look at the life of Christ, those he was in fellowship with, those he healed, his heart of compassion, his overflowing power, his overwhelming love, see Christ and you see the true heart of God.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Charis Notes - Separation Is In Our Minds


Colossians 1 : 21
And you who once were alienated and enemies in your minds, by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.

Our lives produce what we believe in our hearts, how we see and understand God will eventually show in our lives. Here in Colossians, Paul uncovers the heart of the problem; our alienation from God is in our minds.

Adam in Genesis 3 was alienated from God in his mind after he fell. Adam was afraid to meet with his loving Father; he expected punishment instead of love. If we see ourselves as sinful, dirty, separate in our minds, this will manifest in our lives and actions.

God is not alienated from us, but we in our minds are alienated from him. We need our minds transformed into the truth of his goodness and His unconditional love. God never has separated himself from man, we separate ourselves from him.

All our sin, past, present and future sin was nailed to the cross with Jesus and died at the cross. Everyone born this side of the cross, 2,000 years ago has had their sin forgiven before they were born. They made have been born into Adam but their sin was already washed away never to be recalled. Sin does not separate us from God, unbelief in God’s goodness; in our minds is what separates us from God.

As we look on Jesus, feast on His love, bask in his grace and are consumed with his words, we are transformed in our minds and start to reflect our new born spirits. 

Monday, 8 September 2014

Charis Notes - The Power Of Sin


Genesis 3: 9-10
Then the Lord God called Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

In these two verses we confront the power of sin. When Adam sinned, everything in his world changed. More importantly Adam’s heart changed towards God, but God’s heart towards Adam stayed exactly the same. Sin turns our back on God and makes us ashamed. Sin turns a loving Father into an angry God who must be appeased. Sin brings us under the deception of punishment. 

Sin made Adam cover up and hide behind the tree. It was sin that caused the separation between man and God, and this separation was only in the mind of Adam. In his mind Adam now saw himself condemned and hid in fear from the punishment he expected to receive from God. Every day he had walked and fellow-shipped with God, they had laughed together, talked together, and were both eternally and blissfully joyful and happy. Adam in his foolishness had thought that he could add something to this wonderful bliss God had provided, that he could make it even better. But he already had perfection.

Our sin causes us to judge God, in our minds we determine what makes God happy or angry and what we have to do to make it right.

Sin causes us to have unbelief in the goodness of God.

God in Christ took all the consequences of our sin. Christ nailed our sin, our old selves to the cross and died as me. Sin no longer causes the separation between man and God. The only separation is in the heart and mind of man which causes him not to believe in all Christ has achieved for him at the cross.

We question God because we are afraid of him, Adam thought God came to punish him, but God came to have fellowship with him. God wants to have intimate, close, fellowship with us every second of every day enjoying all the riches of his grace.  

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Charis Notes - Where Are You?


Genesis 3: 9-10
Then the Lord God called Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

Perhaps here we have the heart of the gospel emanating from the unconditional love of God to us in those few words, "Where are you?". Our wonderful, all knowing, all seeing Father knew every action that Adam and Eve took, He knew that they had succumbed to the Serpent’s deception and by free choice had tried to be righteous by their own act. Adam was not trying to be evil when he committed the ultimate evil of eating from the morality tree. He was actually trying to do good and avoid evil so that he could be more like God. But he already was like God. 

God knew man had sinned and had fallen into the evil of self-righteousness, but he did not separate himself from fallen man. Everything changed when Adam sinned, everything but God. God did not change His relationship with man because of sin. God loved Adam, He cared for Adam, He was there in the garden wanting to talk and fellowship with him. God is the same, Yesterday, Today and Forever.

The unconditional love and heart of God is that He desires with an unquenchable passion to bring us into the eternal dance of his glorious trinity. His cry to us, to everyone is “Where are you?” for everything that would separate us from Him has been taken and placed on Jesus and we can now freely respond and enter into the joyous dance of the Father.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Charis Notes - Made In God's Image


Genesis 1: 26
The God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.”

It was the divine dance of bliss and happiness that created man. God here in Genesis is an “us”. An eternal, uncreated, trinity of passion, wonder, creativity, expression, love, grace, joy, happiness, fulfilment. God has never existed in a place of loneliness. God has never felt alone. He has never felt deserted. He has never felt the need to create something to fill the void of loneliness in his magnificent existence.

Out of God glorious goodness and infinite passion He was so overflowing with infinite joy that He created man to share and experience the wonderful, blissful fellowship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Man is an expression of all the glory and goodness of the Trinity created out of dust.

Man in God’s image has all the creativity, passion, wonder, love and beauty of the abundance of the Trinity. God’s abundance is so overwhelming He could not stop Himself from giving it away, and He gives it away to us.

Christ came to give us life and give us His life to the abundance. Rivers of the Trinity to fill us up and overflow into every word, thought and action of our lives. Christ gave us by grace; all that He had created us to be.


We are wonderful, creative, glorious, beautiful, creations made from the abundance of God’s love and his passion to share everything He is.  

Friday, 5 September 2014

Gaze



Gaze upon His goodness
With unveiled face
Boldly we approach
The throne of grace
Taste freely His kindness
Love so intense
Beauty in desire
Filling every sense
Insecurities die
And fears fall away
Replaced by shadows
In the new born day
All through Christ’s blood
Life is made complete
Love now accepted
My chains released.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Exuberant



Veins of exuberant joy
Life in everything now possessed
Deepest buried imparted love
Unutterable joy, pulsating grace.
Cherished by blessings kiss
Eternal union in Christ expressed
Certain hope fulfilled inside
Invigorating faith, intimate grace.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Forgotten Heroes - Corporal John Mackey, V.C.


Corporal John Bernard Mackey, 2/3rd Pioneer Battalion, Victoria Cross action on Tarakan. It was a posthumous award.

John Mackey was born at Leichhardt, Sydney, and until his enlistment worked in his father's bakery. He embarked with the 2/3rd Pioneer Battalion in November 1941, serving in Syria and in the later operations at El Alamein. He also took part in the New Guinea campaign. The landing on Tarakan Island, Borneo, was the battalion's final campaign.

Mackey had already been recognised as an outstanding and brave junior leader. On 12 May 1945 he displayed those qualities again on Tarakan Island, Netherlands East Indies. Together with his lance corporal, Mackey approached a well-defended position along a steep and narrow spur. Reaching a Japanese light machine-gun post, the two men killed four enemy soldiers, but Mackey's companion was wounded. Mackey killed the remaining Japanese, then dealt with a heavy machine-gun crew in an adjacent bunker. Taking up an Owen gun, he moved towards another heavy machine-gun nest, and managed to silence it before he was mortally wounded. Mackey was eventually laid to rest in Labuan War Cemetery.


Mackey was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, and service medals for the Second World War.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Grace Nuggets - Ephesians 2 v 19


Ephesians 2 v 19 - So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.

Because of Christ’s reconciling work of the cross, I have a new position in Christ. I am a fellow citizen of heaven with all of God’s children. I am part of the same household of God and I am now part of God’s building. This is because I am united by new birth into Christ I am now inseparably part of God.

Jesus was raised was back to life and made perfect by his very own blood. The bible says he is the first fruit and the first born among many brothers. That means that just as he was raised and made perfect, so too am I when I believed in Him I was “raised and made perfect. Perfectly righteous, perfectly born-again, perfectly set apart unto him, perfectly right with God, perfectly permanently and eternally saved.

God never intended for me to be righteous of myself but, by faith, to enter into the rest of being made his righteousness. That is why when Jesus walked the earth he fulfilled the six day covenant on my behalf. He fulfilled the law for me. He did the work. And once fulfilled he said, “It is finished.” And then laid his head to rest.

He sweated drops of blood from his brow to break the curse. His body was lashed open for my healing and bled for my forgiveness. The punishment that was on him was for my peace. He became sin so I could become his righteousness. He took my poverty so I could receive his riches. His death was my victory. He is my perfect and complete salvation. I cannot add anything to it but simply believe it and rest in it.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Grace Gems - Blessed


Do you believe that every day, your family and work life are blessed? Or do you think that you are blessed only during Christmas when you receive your gifts and year-end bonus, or when you get that promotion you have been wanting? Perhaps you think that the blessed life only begins when you meet the man or woman of your dreams!

No, my friend, you are blessed every day and you have God’s Word for it. Psalm 68:19 says, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation!”And because God’s Word says so, believe that every day of your life is loaded with benefits. Every morning, when you get up, believe that it is a day that the Lord has made, and rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24) Start the day expecting it to be loaded with the benefits that God has prepared just for you.

At night, when it is time to sleep, know that you will be blessed when you get up in the morning because there will be another load of benefits from your heavenly Father, who so loves you unconditionally, waiting for you!

You can’t make your blessings happen. But if you will just believe what God has said in His Word and act like it is so, the blessings will manifest in your life. In fact, God wants to bless you more than you want to be blessed! His Word declares it: “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out…Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation!”

Joseph Prince

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Hope by Ryan J. Rhoades



In our pursuit of perfection,
We deny our reflection
Sacrificing connection
Clouding mental perception


By the lies that we're sold
From politicians enrolled
In a system I'm told
Is as corrupt as it's old


But my heart still keeps beating
I don't know where it is leading
As I ignore all the cheating
Greed and war and the bleeding


That pollutes all our minds
With fear, pop media's lies
If the blind lead the blind
Then what's to come for mankind?


Defying all norms
We will conquer these storms
Rejecting the pain and the scorn
Embrace for what we were born


As blood fills all the streets
In my heart, hope still beats
These three things we all need
Embrace life, love and peace


So abandon pursuing
That which brings our undoing
The perfection you seek
Will leave you empty and bleak


Lost, broken, hurt and confused
Just ignore all the news
And the garbage they're selling
With all their shouting and yelling


Be the change you wish to see
Look within, trust and believe


It makes all the difference, I swear that it's true

For hope to survive, it's got to start with you.


- Ryan J. Rhoades

Friday, 8 August 2014

The Rock


I sit on a rock.
solid, sure, crimson and
gaze at eternity

I listen with my heart.
touch your forgiveness
vaulting time.

Imprinted love
deep within my spirit.
eternal rainbow

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Forgotten Heroes - 2nd Lieutenant Harry Murray, V.C.




2nd Lieutenant Harry Murray of the 13th Battalion, AIF at Cheshire Ridge - Gallipoli, November, 1915.

Harry Murray was born at Launceston, Tasmania, on 1 December 1880. As a youth he helped run the family farm. He was also interested in the military and joined a militia unit, the Australian Field Artillery, in Launceston.

Murray moved to Western Australia at the age of 19 or 20 where he worked as a mail courier on the goldfields. When he enlisted in the AIF as a private on 30 September 1914, he was employing timber-cutters for the railways in the south west of Western Australia. He landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 as a member of one of the 16th Battalion's two machine-gun crews. Murray was wounded several times, spent June in hospital, was promoted to lance corporal on 13 May and won the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his bravery between 9-31 May. He was wounded again on 8 July and a month later experienced a remarkable series of promotions. On 13 August he was made a sergeant, commissioned second-lieutenant and transferred to the 13th Battalion.

By 1 March 1916 Murray had reached the rank of captain and soon after sailed for France with the 13th Battalion. On the Western Front Murray defied the statistics, participating in each of his unit's major actions and surviving. He received the Distinguished Service Order for his role in the fighting at Mouquet Farm, where he was twice wounded. His wounds kept Murray from the front until October.

Four months later, on the night of 4-5 February, Murray led his company's attack on Stormy Trench, near Gueudecourt. Over almost 24 hours they repelled counter-attacks, fought in merciless close quarter battles and suffered under intense shell-fire. Some 230 members of the Battalion were killed in the fight and Murray won the Victoria Cross.

In March 1918 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and given command of the 4th machine gun battalion. He remained in this position until the end of the war. In April during the attack on Bullecourt Murray won a bar to his Distinguished Service Cross. In October 1918 Murray was awarded the French Croix de Guerre and in May 1919 was promoted to CMG.

With the fighting over, Murray toured England studying agricultural methods. His service in the AIF ended on 9 March 1920 and he settled on a grazing property at Muckadilla in Queensland. The following year he married Constance Cameron, but the marriage lasted just a few years and in 1925 he moved to New Zealand where he married Ellen Cameron. The couple returned to Queensland in 1928 and purchased another grazing property at Richmond.

Murray enlisted for service during the Second World War and commanded the 26th Battalion in north Queensland until August 1942. He retired from the army in early 1944. Regarded as a shy and modest man, he was described as the most distinguished fighting officer of the AIF. Murray died of a heart attack following a car accident on 7 January 1966.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

First World War - That Ration Fatigue


This excellent little article comes from the great book “Bullets & Billets" By Bruce Bairnsfather.

Here he describes the trenches in Belgium and at the undesirable job of being on a ‘Ration Party’.

THAT RATION FATIGUE

They seemed to me long, dark, dismal days, those days spent in the Douve trenches; longer, darker and more dismal than the Plugstreet ones. Night after night I crossed the dreary mud flat, passed the same old wretched farms, and went on with the same old trench routine. We all considered the trenches a pretty rotten outfit; but every one was fully prepared to accept far rottener things than that. There was never the least sign of flagging determination in any man there, and I am sure you could say the same of the whole front.

And, really, some jobs on some nights wanted a lot of beating for undesirability. Take the ration party's job, for instance. Think of the rottenest, wettest, windiest winter's night you can remember, and add to it this bleak, muddy, war-worn plain with its ruined farms and shell-torn lonely road. Then think of men, leaving the trenches at dusk, going back about a mile and a half, and bringing sundry large and heavy boxes up to the trenches, pausing now and again for a rest, and ignoring the intermittent crackling of rifle fire in the darkness, and the sharp "phit" of bullets hitting the mud all around. Think of that as your portion each night and every night. When you have finished this job, the rest you get consists of coiling yourself up in a damp dug-out. Night after night, week after week, month after month, this job is done by thousands.

As one sits in a brilliantly illuminated, comfortable, warm theatre, having just come from a cosy and luxurious restaurant, just think of some poor devil half-way along those corduroy boards struggling with a crate of biscuits; the ration "dump" behind, the trenches on in front. When he has finished he will step down into the muddy slush of a trench, and take his place with the rest, who, if need be, will go on doing that job for another ten years, without thinking of an alternative. The Germans made a vast mistake when they thought they had gauged the English temperament.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

First World War - Trench Life


This is an excellent extract from the book “ Kitchener's Mob, The Adventures of an American in the British Army” By James Norman Hall, which can be found at Gutenberg.org

It gives a great description of trench life on the Western Front. I especially like the final paragraphs on rations, flies and rats.

“All of the dugouts for privates and N.C.O.s were of equal size and built on the same model, the reason being that the walls and floors, which were made of wood, and the roofs, which were of corrugated iron, were put together in sections at the headquarters of the Royal Engineers, who superintended all the work of trench construction. The material was brought up at night ready to be fitted into excavations. Furthermore, with thousands of men to house within a very limited area, space was a most important consideration. There was no room for indulging individual tastes in dugout architecture. The roofs were covered with from three to four feet of earth, which made them proof against shrapnel or shell splinters. In case of a heavy bombardment with high explosives, the men took shelter in deep and narrow "slip trenches." These were blind alleyways leading off from the traveling trench, with room for from ten to fifteen men in each. At this part of the line there were none of the very deep shell-proof shelters, from fifteen to twenty feet below the surface of the ground, of which I had read. Most of the men seemed to be glad of this. They preferred taking their chances in an open trench during heavy shell fire.

Realists and Romanticists lived side by side in the traveling trench. "My Little Gray Home in the West" was the modest legend over one apartment. The "Ritz Carlton" was next door to "The Rats' Retreat," with "Vermin Villa" next door but one. "The Suicide Club" was the suburban residence of some members of the bombing squad. I remarked that the bombers seemed to take rather a pessimistic view of their profession, whereupon Shorty told me that if there were any men slated for the Order of the Wooden Cross, the bombers were those unfortunate ones. In an assault they were first at the enemy's position. They had dangerous work to do even on the quietest of days. But theirs was a post of honor, and no one of them but was proud of his membership in the Suicide Club.

The officers' quarters were on a much more generous and elaborate scale than those of the men. This I gathered from Shorty's description of them, for I saw only the exteriors as we passed along the trench. Those for platoon and company commanders were built along the traveling trench. The colonel, major, and adjutant lived in a luxurious palace, about fifty yards down a communication trench. Near it was the officers' mess, a café de luxe with glass panels in the door, a cooking stove, a long wooden table, chairs,—everything, in fact, but hot and cold running water.


"You know," said Shorty, "the officers thinks they 'as to rough it, but they got it soft, I'm tellin' you! Wooden bunks to sleep in, batmen to bring 'em 'ot water fer shavin' in the mornin', all the fags they wants,—Blimy, I wonder wot they calls livin' 'igh?"

I agreed that in so far as living quarters are concerned, they were roughing it under very pleasant circumstances. However, they were not always so fortunate, as later experience proved. Here there had been little serious fighting for months and the trenches were at their best. Elsewhere the officers' dugouts were often but little better than those of the men.

The first-line trenches were connected with two lines of support or reserve trenches built in precisely the same fashion, and each heavily wired. The communication trenches which joined them were from seven to eight feet deep and wide enough to permit the convenient passage of incoming and outgoing troops, and the transport of the wounded back to the field dressing stations. From the last reserve line they wound on backward through the fields until troops might leave them well out of range of rifle fire. Under Shorty's guidance I saw the field dressing stations, the dugouts for the reserve ammunition supply and the stores of bombs and hand grenades, battalion and brigade trench headquarters. We wandered from one part of the line to another through trenches, all of which were kept amazingly neat and clean. The walls were stayed with fine-mesh wire to hold the earth in place. The floors were covered with board walks carefully laid over the drains, which ran along the center of the trench and emptied into deep wells, built in recesses in the walls. I felt very much encouraged when I saw the careful provisions for sanitation and drainage. On a fine June morning it seemed probable that living in ditches was not to be so unpleasant as I had imagined it. Shorty listened to my comments with a smile.

"Don't pat yerself on the back yet a w'ile, mate," he said. "They looks right enough now, but wite till you've seen 'em arter a 'eavy rain."

I had this opportunity many times during the summer and autumn. A more wretched existence than that of soldiering in wet weather could hardly be imagined. The walls of the trenches caved in in great masses. The drains filled to overflowing, and the trench walks were covered deep in mud. After a few hours of rain, dry and comfortable trenches became a quagmire, and we were kept busy for days afterward repairing the damage.

As a machine gunner I was particularly interested in the construction of the machine-gun emplacements. The covered battle positions were very solidly built. The roofs were supported with immense logs or steel girders covered over with many layers of sandbags. There were two carefully concealed loopholes looking out to a flank, but none for frontal fire, as this dangerous little weapon best enjoys catching troops in enfilade owing to the rapidity and the narrow cone of its fire. Its own front is protected by the guns on its right and left. At each emplacement there was a range chart giving the ranges to all parts of the enemy's trenches, and to every prominent object both in front of and behind them, within its field of fire. When not in use the gun was kept mounted and ready for action in the battle position.

"But remember this," said Shorty, "you never fires from your battle position except in case of attack. W'en you goes out at night to 'ave a little go at Fritzie, you always tykes yer gun sommers else. If you don't, you'll 'ave Minnie an' Busy Bertha an' all the rest o' the Krupp childern comin' over to see w'ere you live."

This was a wise precaution, as we were soon to learn from experience. Machine guns are objects of special interest to the artillery, and the locality from which they are fired becomes very unhealthy for some little time thereafter.

We stopped for a moment at "The Mud Larks' Hairdressing Parlor," a very important institution if one might judge by its patronage. It was housed in a recess in the wall of the traveling trench, and was open to the sky. There I saw the latest fashion in "oversea" hair cuts. The victims sat on a ration box while the barber mowed great swaths through tangled thatch with a pair of close-cutting clippers. But instead of making a complete job of it, a thick fringe of hair which resembled a misplaced scalping tuft was left for decorative purposes, just above the forehead. The effect was so grotesque that I had to invent an excuse for laughing. It was a lame one, I fear, for Shorty looked at me warningly. When we had gone on a little way he said:—
"Ain't it a proper beauty parlor? But you got to be careful about larfin'. Some o' the blokes thinks that 'edge-row is a regular ornament."

I had supposed that a daily shave was out of the question on the firing-line; but the British Tommy is nothing if not resourceful. Although water is scarce and fuel even more so, the self-respecting soldier easily surmounts difficulties, and the Gloucesters were all nice in matters pertaining to the toilet. Instead of draining their canteens of tea, they saved a few drops for shaving purposes.

"It's a bit sticky," said Shorty, "but it's 'ot, an' not 'arf bad w'en you gets used to it. Now, another thing you don't want to ferget is this: W'en yer movin' up fer yer week in the first line, always bring a bundle o' firewood with you. They ain't so much as a match-stick left in the trenches. Then you wants to be savin' of it. Don't go an' use it all the first d'y or you'll 'ave to do without yer tea the rest o' the week."

I remembered his emphasis upon this point afterward when I saw men risking their lives in order to procure firewood. Without his tea Tommy was a wretched being. I do not remember a day, no matter how serious the fighting, when he did not find both the time and the means for making it.

Shorty was a Ph.D. in every subject in the curriculum, including domestic science. In preparing breakfast he gave me a practical demonstration of the art of conserving a limited resource of fuel, bringing our two canteens to a boil with a very meager handful of sticks; and while doing so he delivered an oral thesis on the best methods of food preparation. For example, there was the item of corned beef—familiarly called "bully." It was the pièce de résistance at every meal with the possible exception of breakfast, when there was usually a strip of bacon. Now, one's appetite for "bully" becomes jaded in the course of a few weeks or months. To use the German expression one doesn't eat it gern. But it is not a question of liking it. One must eat it or go hungry. Therefore, said Shorty, save carefully all of your bacon grease, and instead of eating your "bully" cold out of the tin, mix it with bread crumbs and grated cheese and fry it in the grease. He prepared some in this way, and I thought it a most delectable dish. Another way of stimulating the palate was to boil the beef in a solution of bacon grease and water, and then, while eating it, "kid yerself that it's Irish stew." This second method of taking away the curse did not appeal to me very strongly, and Shorty admitted that he practiced such self-deception with very indifferent success; for after all "bully" was "bully" in whatever form you ate it.

In addition to this staple, the daily rations consisted of bacon, bread, cheese, jam, army biscuits, tea, and sugar. Sometimes they received a tinned meat and vegetable ration, already cooked, and at welcome intervals fresh meat and potatoes were substituted for corned beef. Each man had a very generous allowance of food, a great deal more, I thought, than he could possibly eat. Shorty explained this by saying that allowance was made for the amount which would be consumed by the rats and the blue-bottle flies.

There were, in fact, millions of flies. They settled in great swarms along the walls of the trenches, which were filled to the brim with warm light as soon as the sun had climbed a little way up the sky. Empty tin-lined ammunition boxes were used as cupboards for food. But of what avail were cupboards to a jam-loving and jam-fed British army living in open ditches in the summer time? Flytraps made of empty jam tins were set along the top of the parapet. As soon as one was filled, another was set in its place. But it was an unequal war against an expeditionary force of countless numbers.

"They ain't nothin' you can do," said Shorty. "They steal the jam right off yer bread."

As for the rats, speaking in the light of later experience, I can say that an army corps of pied pipers would not have sufficed to entice away the hordes of them that infested the trenches, living like house pets on our rations. They were great lazy animals, almost as large as cats, and so gorged with food that they could hardly move. They ran over us in the dugouts at night, and filched cheese and crackers right through the heavy waterproofed covering of our haversacks. They squealed and fought among themselves at all hours. I think it possible that they were carrion eaters, but never, to my knowledge, did they attack living men. While they were unpleasant bedfellows, we became so accustomed to them that we were not greatly concerned about our very intimate associations.”

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