Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Forgotten Heroes - Private Joergen Jensen, V.C.

Private Joergen Christian Jensen, 50th Battalion, AIF, Victoria Cross action at Noreuil, France.

Joergen (Jorgan) Jensen was born in Denmark. He came to Australia as a young man and was naturalised in 1914. He enlisted in the 10th Battalion and was sent to Gallipoli in September 1915. Following the evacuation he transferred to the 50th Battalion.

In Noreuil, France, when an Australian advance was checked by a manned enemy barricade, Jensen threw in a bomb and rushed the post. He then threatened the occupants with two more bombs, having extracted the pin of one of them with his teeth, and forced their surrender. A prisoner was sent to a neighbouring enemy party to demand their surrender, but they were fired on by the Australians. Jensen stood up, ignoring the danger, and waved his helmet until the firing ceased. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his efforts, 2 April 1917.

On 5 May 1918, while on patrol near Villers-Bretonneux, Jensen was severely wounded and was eventually invalided to Australia. Still troubled by war injuries, he died in Adelaide in 1922.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Religion by Jeff Turner

"Religion" is not a person, nor a group of persons. It is a system that enslaves the mind and stunts the growth of the inner person.

It discourages critical thinking, the asking of questions, and listening to the Spirit for oneself. It demands uniformity. In order to belong to the system one must look the same, talk the same, think the same, and do the same as other members. To break with the norm is to risk cold shoulders and possibly excommunication.

Religion makes countless demands on your time, energy, finances, etc..., but never so much as tosses a bone in your direction as payment. It takes, and it takes, and it takes, but it knows nothing of giving. It never says "thank you", for your participation, as your services are seen as obligatory.

Consequently, it can do nothing but produce head cases and control freaks, or burn outs and drop outs. A healthy, balanced lifestyle is not something that "religion" is able to contribute to.

In the Kingdom, however, there is a celebration of diversity!

It frees the mind, and increases our capacity for love, life, laughter, and creativity!

The King always encourages us to think, to feel, to ask and to experience! In the Kingdom, you're encouraged to be different. To be unique! You're celebrated when you color outside the lines, and with the brightest crayon in the box, for to break with the norm is to look like the King!

The Kingdom gives, and gives, and gives, with no expectation of being reciprocated. It is not interested in what we can do in return, as it's foundation is self-giving, others-centered love. It appreciates, and honors those who serve, while never pressuring you to "do more" or to "be more". It's culture is so healthy, unforced, and warm that, in time, it naturally causes one to want to serve in every and any way possible. Spiritual, emotional and even physical health are the natural consequences of life in such a realm.

Bottom line: Religion kills, isolates, and creates the very problems that it rails against, while the Kingdom gives life, includes all, and benefits everything it touches.

Which realm are you living in?

Jeff Turner

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Grace Gems - God Has No Dark Side

God has no dark side.

Jesus revealed the full and complete truth about God, His past, present, and future - His "I Am-ness". Who God was revealed to be in the person of Jesus is Who He always was, even in the Old Testament, and is Who He will be in the future, regardless of our views on the second coming.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever..."

What the Son revealed about the Father is the ultimate truth. He was not concealing a part of His nature which would be revealed at a later time, but revealed the whole picture. Jesus was non violent and non retributive (cleansing the Temple does not count as violent) and therefore neither is His Father. Jesus does not marginalize or discriminate and therefore neither does His Father. Jesus does not inflict men with sickness or disease and therefore neither does His Father. He does not stir up storms and natural disasters to discipline the disobedient and therefore neither does His Father.

Unfortunately, many see Jesus as having come the first time as a gentle Lamb, but then insist He will return as a violent and vengeful lion. The truth, however, is that who Jesus was is still Who He is. There is no further installment to come in which we'll see God's dark side. No, what Jesus revealed was sufficient and what Jesus revealed was eternal love.

God has no dark side.

He is good.

Jeff Turner

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Forgotten Heroes - Captain Percy Cherry, V.C.

Captain Percy Cherry, 26th Battalion AIF, Victoria Cross action at Lagnicourt. It was a posthumous award.

Percy Cherry was born at Drysdale, Victoria. He spent his youth in Tasmania, where he served in the militia before enlisting in the AIF in March 1915. He was sent to Gallipoli, where he was wounded and shortly afterwards commissioned. In 1916 he was promoted to command an infantry company.

On 26 March 1917 Cherry's battalion, 26th Australian Infantry Battalion, was ordered to capture the village of Lagnicourt, and his company had the task of sweeping into the village. There was strong enemy opposition, and soon all of the officers in the company became casualties. Cherry organised machine-gun and bombing parties, sent back frequent reports of progress, and, when wounded later in the action, refused to leave his post. Late in the afternoon, however, a single shell killed him instantly.

Cherry never learnt of the honours bestowed upon him: a Military Cross awarded earlier and the Victoria Cross for Lagnicourt were both announced after his death. He is buried in the Queant Road Cemetery, Buissy, France.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Touched Our World

Absolute reality, before time existed
Endless ages when nothing was created
Unique existence infinite eternal
The greatest hidden mystery of all.

The first and last, the spoken word
Pure love, majesty in one occurred
Eternally begotten, glory and power
Grace and mercy, unparalleled wonder.

Essential deity joined with humanity
Clothed with flesh, this is the mystery
Touched our world, embraced our frailty
Kissed my pain, felt my misery.

Pierced with nails, became my redemption
Bestowed on me the radiance of salvation
Entwined inside with everlasting fullness
Enjoying life in Christ in all His vastness.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Grace Gems - Our Identity Changed

Christ died for us on the cross. He was raised from the dead for us at the tomb. When we believed in the Saviour’s death and resurrection, we were dipped into the same scene. Our identity changed. We didn’t feel it, we didn’t see it, we didn’t hear it, but it occurred, nevertheless. When we came to Christ, we were placed into Him as His death became ours, His victorious resurrection became ours, His “awakening” to new life becames our “awakening,” His powerful walk became our powerful walk.

Charles R. Swindoll

Friday, 18 April 2014

Stations of the Cross - It Is Finished.

It is finished
Punishment kissed as death embrace
It is finished
Slowly in agony sin banished
Innocence suffered, took my place
The final breath perfect in grace
It is finished.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Stations of the Cross - Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

Crimson cruel nails
Streams of loves redemption
Crimson cruel nails
Fathers love in Christ never fails
Punished for my rebellion
Nailed for my reconciliation
Crimson cruel nails.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Stations of the Cross - Jesus is Stripped of His Garments

Exposed and shamed
Humbled before hostile eyes
Exposed and shamed
Religiously stripped, falsely blamed,
With tender care all heaven cries
The precious one made ready to die
Exposed and shamed.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Stations of the Cross - Jesus Falls

Kiss the hard ground
Abandoned struggle held secure
Kiss the hard ground
Human suffering in weakness found
Prince of life, prostrate, passion, pure,
Unmerited grace for me is sure
Kiss the hard ground.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Stations of the Cross - Simon of Cyrene.

Carry the weight
Receive the heavy affliction
Carry the weight
Mercilessly scorned taunts of hate
Every hurtful tribulation
The despised humiliation
Carry the weight

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Stations of the Cross - The Cross Accepted

A purple cloak
Woven with poured out ruby tears
A purple cloak
Crushed beneath the heavy yoke
Impaled on mocking cruel sneers
Ridiculed torment crimson fears
A purple cloak

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Stations of the Cross - Jesus is Condemned.

Accused with lies
Deceits injustice His embrace
Accused with lies
Hate and fear in powerless eyes
Tortured and fettered, rejected place
Pierced with crimson scars touched by grace
Accused with lies.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Grace Gems - As Far As East Is From West

“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm. 103.12).  

They cannot be removed and be here still.  Then if thou believest in Christ, thou art no more in the sight of God a sinner; thou art accepted as though thou wert perfect, as though thou hadst kept the law—for Christ has kept it, and His righteousness is thine.  You have broken it, but your sin is His and He has been punished for it.  Mistake not yourselves any longer; you are no more what you were; when you believe, you stand in Christ’s stead, even as Christ of old stood in your stead.  The transformation is complete, the exchange is positive and eternal.  They who believe in Jesus are as much accepted of God the Father as even His Eternal Son is accepted; and they that believe not, let them do what they will, they shall but go about to work out their own righteousness; but they abide under the law, and still shall they be under the curse.  Now, ye believe in Jesus, walk up and down the earth in the glory of this great truth!”

C.H. Spurgeon

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Forgotten Heroes - Lieutenant Colonel William Waite, DSO. MC.

Lieutenant Colonel William Charles Waite DSO, MC.

Born in 1880, Waite was educated at St Bartholomew's Church of England School, Norwood, and Prince Alfred College, Adelaide before joining the South Australian Garrison Artillery (militia) in 1897. 

With the outbreak of the South African War, Waite embarked for active service in November 1899 as a corporal with the 1st South Australian Contingent. After twelve months of campaigning he returned home and re-enlisted with the 6th (Imperial Bushmen) South Australian Contingent in 1901 as a lieutenant. The unit operated in Transvaal, Cape Colony and the Orange River Colony, and Waite was mentioned in despatches.

Following the war, he kept up his military associations as a second lieutenant and then a lieutenant in the field artillery. Waite joined the Australian Imperial Force as a lieutenant on 20 August 1914 and was posted to the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade; shortly before embarkation he was promoted captain and transferred to the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade Ammunition Column. His unit landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 and Waite served there until the evacuation in December, first commanding the 7th Field Artillery Battery and then the 8th.

For his Gallipoli service he was awarded the Military Cross and was mentioned in dispatches.

After a brief time in staff appointments in Egypt, Waite was transferred in March 1916 to the newly formed 4th Division, AIF, as lieutenant-colonel commanding the 24th Field Artillery Brigade. In June he embarked for France and the brigade went into action at Bois Grenier and Fromelles, and at Ypres, Belgium.

Waite took command of the 11th Field Artillery Brigade from January 1917. He served as an artillery brigade and group commander in operations on the Somme, at Bullecourt, Ypres, Messines, Dernancourt and Villers-Bretonneux, received the Distinguished Service Order, particularly for his work at Fromelles, Ypres and the Somme, and was again mentioned in dispatches.

In August 1918 he was invalided home to Adelaide. He retained his commission in the militia and in 1926-30 commanded the 10th Battalion (Adelaide Rifles).

In the Second World War he resumed full-time military duties, initially as camp commandant at Wayville and Woodside, and later as deputy director of recruiting at Keswick Barracks, Adelaide. At 90 he presided over the last memorial meeting of Boer War veterans. He was especially well known as chief marshal on Anzac Days in Adelaide; mounted on a dapple-grey charger, he led the parade on twenty-nine occasions.

Forgotten Heroes - Lieutenant George Thomas Kellett Tench

Lieutenant George Thomas Kellett Tench, 32nd Battalion AIF.

A building contractor from Prospect, South Australia, prior to enlistment, he embarked as a Provisional Sergeant with the 4th Reinforcements from Adelaide on 9 March 1916 aboard RMS Mongolia for Suez. These reinforcements relocated to Plymouth for further training where he reverted to the rank of Private. He was promoted to Acting Corporal and then proceeded to join his battalion on the Western Front, near Dernancourt, France, on New Year’s Eve 1916. He rose rapidly through the ranks and on 9 March 1917 he was appointed Regimental Sergeant Major with the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1.

In late October 1917 he was recommended for the DCM for actions near Zonnebeke, Belgium. He was appointed Quarter Master with the rank of Honorary Lieutenant on 3 November 1917. Lt Tench was evacuated to England with an eye infection in December 1917 which required extensive treatment. While en route to his unit in late April 1918 he was wounded in action due to gassing and was again evacuated to England before finally rejoining the 32nd Battalion near Amiens.

Lt Tench was wounded in action near Bellicourt, France, on 29 September 1918, died of these wounds later that day and is buried in the Bellicourt British Cemetery. He was aged 35 years.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Grace Gems - Give Up

If you feel like you're losing your faith or lost your faith - I need to tell you something.

What you believe about God, yourself, and your future matters infinitely less than what God believes about you, and your future. You may doubt yourself, Him, and any outcome of good for your situation, but God believes otherwise.

No matter what anyone has told you, no matter what you have experienced, nomatter any feeling, emotion, anything at all,

He loves you, and he believes in you.
He is for you. 100%
He won't love you more when you "get better" & he won't love you less when you "do worse." His love is always 100% through thick and thin. He's your dad, till the end.

You don't disappoint him if your faith wanes, your dad knows the real you.

So here's my advice:

Give up
Give up trying to hold onto "faith"
Give up being the captain of your life
Give up being the captain of you own salvation.
Give up trying to make it all work

Give up having to have it all together and acting like everything is always peachy keen when you honestly don't believe it in your heart.

And when you give up, realize that your creator - your dad, is a lot bigger than you, I, or anyone realizes. Realize that you're not holding onto Him, he's the one holding into you. Realize his faith is the only faith that really matters.

If you are faithless, He is faithful to you!
Because He cannot deny himself. He made a promise to himself that he was going to love you, bless you, keep you, sustain you, and save you no matter what!

If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
- 2 Timothy 2:13

Zach Langhamer

Monday, 7 April 2014

First World War - Life in Dug-Out

This article was first published in ‘The Sphere’ in February 1916 and gives the readers at home an idea of what life was like in a front line dug-out and trench.

It all rather ‘nice’ and doesn’t convey any of the horror of the war to those at home, but it is still an interesting piece.

"'Life in Dug-Out and Trench' within the British Lines

All the Comforts of Home

In the course of a letter which accompanied the above sketch the writer says: "Here is our gun emplacement! This is the place in which we live, sleep, and operate against the enemy. I wonder if the picture explains itself? It was drawn under difficulties with ordinary lead pencil and the common paper of my writing pad. On the left are our sleeping apartments. Here we lie when asleep with our feet projecting, so that when the gunner, sitting in front of those ammunition boxes to the rear of the hut, requires to wake someone up he can just reach our feet and kick. The little round bag hanging outside the 'Tamboo,' as the sleeping apartment is called, is our tea bag, which comes in for much hard use, and is then put up out of the way. The sandbags are numerous, so that we are fairly well protected. You will have spotted the gun in the background. We call this part 'the Kinema,' and, of course, our belt of bullets represents a kinema film. The front of the 'Tamboo' faces the German trenches. The table is one I knocked together. I am going to put another up opposite shortly. The bottle (no, it is not what you might think) contains the solution for our respirators. We have regular duties, and someone has always to be in readiness. Just before we came here we were sitting in our garden at Mt. Neverest when a shell dropped about 15 yards in front and to the left. It threw up about 20 ft. of corduroy road quite 15 ft. in the air, knocking branches off trees and leaving a fair hole in the ground. Thank goodness it wasn't shrapnel or I fancy we should have got it. I forgot to tell you the sketches we've put up in the hut are to be increased in number from the three you can see. We intend shortly having a picture gallery!"
An officer at the front, who is familiar with the caves of the Mendip country, sends us the following interesting account of life in a dug-out in France. He writes: " During all these months of strenuous trench warfare I have often vividly remembered our cave-work miles away in old Mendip. Sometimes when wandering around at night I have dropped into one of the dug-outs to smoke a cigarette with the infantry officer in charge. It is then that I have obtained an impression of the interior, just a little earth passage or chamber where our party stopped for a meal or to smoke; at times, in fact, it almost seems as if we were back to the old cave life.

"The accompanying sketch will give you some idea of a typical trench dug-out; every trench is, of course, in telephonic communication with battalion headquarters a little behind, and with brigade headquarters right to the rear of the lines.

"The wires are frequently cut by shell fire during the day and have to be repaired at night. Here the telegraphist is seen handing to the officer a message which has just been received, perhaps to ask if all is well or to say that a relief or ration party is on its way up. The little recesses cut in the side of the trench hold his belongings and the lighted candle; the wires also can be seen, one going to the earth the other out at the roof. With the receiver strapped to his head he receives every message; there is usually a buzzer as well, which he has by his side.

Another officer is making a brew of cocoa in his mess tin over a little spirit stove. On many cold and rainy nights I have been invited to have a cup, and have found it very good.

" With a waterproof sheet on the ground and a blanket round him he can make himself very comfortable, and even get a good sleep, whilst off duty. He always has a Very pistol handy in case of emergency. This is a fat brass instrument used for shooting up flares which are intended to illuminate the ground between one's own trenches and the enemy's. (A Very pistol might be very well used in some of the larger chambers or high rifts of Mendip.)

“In the trenches one often sees newspapers only three or four days old, and even novels too; these help to pass the time until a relief comes along.

"The far side is revetted with sandbags, which make a strong and secure wall, easily repaired if knocked about by shell-fire. The roof is supported by boughs from a neighboring wood, and is usually made of boards, brushwood, and even old timber or doors from a ruined village — if there is one near by — all covered with from 6 in. to 1 ft. of earth. If a shell comes right into your dug-out nothing, of course, will stop it, but this protection is sufficient to stop shrapnel bullets or splinters of high-explosive shells.

"Dug-outs such as these are for men to rest in whilst off duty, i.e., when not posted as look-outs, or to take shelter in during heavy firing. Sometimes the colonel has rather a luxurious dug-out in the rear, quite large enough to stand up in, with a table, chairs, bunks, even a gramophone, perhaps.

"At this stage, when one is always near the enemy's lines, all the work of the Engineers, such as putting up barbed wire; digging trenches, or building dug-outs, has to be carried out during darkness, so that for some time past we have been like night birds — coming out at dusk and returning to rest in the early morning." "

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Noah by Zach Langhamer

In light of the recent Noah movie that came out, I wanted to give true biblical context as to why God destroyed life on Earth, sparing only Noah, his family, and 2 of every kind of animal. 

In a very real sense, Noah was a living representation - a shadow of the second Adam who was to come and represent all of humanity.  This theme carries on throughout the bible.  God's dealings with man weren't so much on an individual basis, but in dealing with the one, he dealt with all.  For example:

Adam's represented all of humanity in his fall and it's effects affected all of humanity. We see this contrasted with Christ and his work of grace repeatedly in Romans 5.

Noah represented all of humanity as the "chosen man" inside the ark - which was a type of Christ. In going through the death of all creation, burial in "baptism" in the waters, and emerging on top of the mount Ararat - we see the death, burial, resurrection and ascension to the throne of the Father of creation inside of the one man - Christ.

Abraham represented all in his promised covenant - he would be a father of MANY nations, not just Israel. The intention was that through blessing Abraham, every single family of the Earth would be blessed through him.  

Israel was chosen as a light to the nations (Genesis 12:1-3) 

We see repeatedly that the issue of election comes up, not as a means of exclusivity as many have interpreted it, but as a means of all-encompassing inclusivity.  That God chooses one man to be the point in which he deals with all.  This is where the conversation could divulge into the issue of election in Romans 9-11 and Ephesians 1,2 - but suffice to say, it is NEVER biblical to say God handpicked one OVER the other, rather, the one He picked - Christ was the means by which he dealt with all!

Back to Noah:

The lineage from Adam to Noah reveals the entirety of God's gospel plan.  Their meaning of their names show God's plan of redemption from the beginning:

Adam - "man"
Cain - "appointed"
Seth - "mortal/frail"
Enosh - "sorrow"
Mahalalel - "the blessed God"
Jared - "descended/came down"
Enoch - "teaching"
Methuselah - "his death shall bring"
Lamech - "powerful"
Noah - "rest"

If you put it all together you have the plan of God from the beginning assuring humanity of God's promise of redemption.  The whole thing was sealed up and done from the beginning as far as God was concerned!

Man appointed mortal sorrow  - This is the fall of Adam in sin, sorrow fell on all of us because of death
The blessed God came down teaching - Who is that - Jesus!

His death shall bring powerful rest - That's the gospel - Christ's death brought us into the rest of God, all work is finished, we need not add to it, only receive it and let it live through us!

In this very real sense, Noah represented the intention of God to bring humanity's sinful, alienated heart back to rest in Him.  Remember, in dealing with Noah, God was going to deal with all - as a type and shadow of Christ who was to come.

Genesis 6 picks up and we see that "sons of God" had come down and married women and began to conceive.  We know these were most likely fallen angels because the same hebrew word used to describe them was also used in Job 1:6 and 2:1 - referencing sons of God as angels, Ha-Satan being one of them.  The offspring of these mixed angel-people were called nephillim.  Lots of speculation and legends surround these beings and I won't engage those right now.

We do know that people had grown incredibly wicked in their hearts.  Starting with the fall in the garden, Cain's murder of Abel, and continuing on through, the bible says that the hearts of men grew progressively more perverse.  Noah then seems to stand out from everyone else as the only one who found favor in God's eyes. 

Why is this?

The bible says that Noah was considered righteous "tzaddik" before the lord and blameless "tamim." The key to understanding the reason for the flood, and Noah's selection resides in that word "tamim."  Remember the law hadn't been given in the time of Noah, God's ordinance of what defined his character and nature wasn't defined on anything written until thousands of years later - at the time of Moses. Noah had no way of definitively knowing what was perfectly pleasing to God apart from what was inherent in his nature.  So we have to rule out selection on the basis simply of the "tzaddik."  Remember, years later it was Noah who had a major drinking problem - Genesis 9 he passes out drunk and has to be covered by his 2 good sons. Not exactly a "righteous" guy by the standard of the law.

The word blameless "tamim" is key here. The word means "complete, unblemished, without defect, without mixture."  This was the hebrew word used to describe a sacrifice which was acceptable to God.  For example: you bring your lamb as a sin offering to the priest, if it is a pure-bred lamb without defects or mixture, it is considered "tamim." It was then acceptable.  The word is used to describe *physical perfection.*

Now, lets put this in context:  Angels are coming down, sleeping with women, making half-breed creatures and everything is getting corrupted.  God is deeply grieved at all of this.  Why in the world would fallen angels want to come down and sleep with women and populate all the world as half-breeds?  Why would God choose to destroy the Earth saving only Noah and his family?

Remember back in Genesis 3:15 God's promise to Ha-Satan? 

"And I will put enmity Between you and the woman,  And between your seed and her seed;
 He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.
The promise from God was that Eve's seed - a man was going to destroy Satan and his seed.  Can you see it now? Satan could not allow man to live - knowing that Eve's seed would destroy him and his seed.

**The only reason Noah found favor in God's eyes was because he was "tamim" - the only family left on Earth that had pure "DNA" - that had not been contaminated by the half-breed nephillim.  Only a man from the pure lineage of man could fulfill the promise of God and redeem humanity.**

 The whole Noah's ark story is a picture of the coming Christ.  Christ comes to show us both what is "true God" AND what is "true man."  He comes to redeem humanity in his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension back into the original and likeness of which they were created.  Christ came to destroy the works of the devil, which he did. The one man represented all, and included all of the cosmos in his act, of which Noah including 2 of each kind of animal in the ark is a shadow and type of what was to come. In his work, he summed up all things and united all things to himself.  Everything testifies of Him, everywhere you look, He is there, in a hidden way, but in a very real way for those who have eyes to see.

In Christ's work, he now stands as the mirror of what creation looks like - he is the mirror that reflects humanity's image and likeness and reminds of of how we are seen before the Father.  We see Him and we find ourselves. We see how much he is loved, honored, favored, blessed, and we see ourselves as equally loved, honored, favored and blessed, because "as He is, so are we in this world!" (1 John 4:17)

Know this - the rainbow by which God promised to never again condemn or destroy is the same rainbow that hangs over the throne of God - beckoning all to draw near, assuring us of God's promise to be gracious, loving and merciful to us, never to have wrath again! It's a green (new) rainbow to assure that his new covenant of grace stands forever!

"And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance." - Revelation 4:3

Zach Langhamer

Friday, 4 April 2014

Friday's Five - Joy

A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness. - John Keats
I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for joy. - C. S. Lewis
The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again. - Charles Dickens
Be good, keep your feet dry, your eyes open, your heart at peace and your soul in the joy of Christ. - Thomas Merton
A laugh, to be joyous, must flow from a joyous heart, for without kindness, there can be no true joy. - Thomas Carlyle

Thursday, 3 April 2014


Joy is a sweet savour
A gaze of love melts a cold forlorn night
A golden delight springs a fountain of honour
A whisper of praise delights an altar of time
A drop of oil breaks an alabaster frown
A silver coin brings a path of comfort
A heart’s melody gives glory and praise
Joy is a satisfied heart
Joy is an overflowing fountain
Joy is glory received
Joy is poured out grace.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Forgotten Heroes - Corporal Leslie 'Bull' Allen MM

Corporal Leslie 'Bull' Allen MM, of the 2/5th Australian Infantry Battalion.

On 30 July 1943, during an attack by American troops on Japanese positions up Mount Tambu, Allen carried to safety twelve wounded Americans. The man he was photographed carrying had been knocked unconscious by a mortar bomb.

Like many men in the veteran 17th Australian Infantry Brigade, of which the 2/5th Battalion was part, 'Bull' had earlier served in the Middle East. He had come to notice there for determination and bravery as a stretcher-bearer, recovering wounded men during battles in Libya and Syria. Later, after being sent to New Guinea, during the defence of Wau in January 1943 he had rescued men under intense fire, and was awarded the Military Medal.

Born at Ballarat, Victoria, in 1918, Les had a tough childhood – he and his sister were raised in an orphanage, and at about the age of 12 the boy had to start earning a living. By the outbreak of war in September 1939, he had been in the work force, mostly farm labouring, for almost a decade. Then in April 1940, aged 21, he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. He was reinforcement to the 2/5th Battalion, which was training in Palestine, and was made a stretcher-bearer in 'D' Company.

Les acquired the nickname of 'Bull' in Palestine. A keen sportsman, with an imposing physical stature – 5 feet 11 inches (180cm) tall, solid and strong – he would charge down the opposition while playing Aussie Rules, hence 'Bull'. He also had a wicked sense of humour and a booming voice and laugh – one of his mates recalled, 'You could hear him a mile off!' 'Bull' was thus one of the battalion's most recognisable, and one of its most popular characters.

'Bull' was revered by the men he served alongside. He was said to be one of the very few who never showed fear. The citation for his Military Medal pointed to 'courage and untiring efforts'. Bill Carty, a cameraman who later witnessed 'Bull's rescue of the Americans recalled a 'gigantic man striding up Mount Tambu like he was on a Sunday jaunt', describing Allen as 'a huge man with obvious physical and emotional strength, perhaps borne of a difficult childhood'. But this was an incomplete picture of the man. While he did not display his fears, 'Bull' was inclined to bottle them up.

Shortly after his first campaign, in Libya, in early 1941, 'Bull' had been admitted to hospital suffering from 'anxiety neurosis'. After treatment and rest, he returned to his battalion, and performed admirably in Syria and then at Wau, and throughout the Wau-Salamaua campaign that followed. Time and again, he gave his all to bring in wounded men. Mount Tambu was merely another episode.

The strain began to show only when 'Bull' was out of the battle area. In late 1943, at the conclusion of the Wau-Salamaua campaign, the survivors of the 17th Infantry Brigade were withdrawn to Australia for recuperation, much needed leave, and the rebuilding of their units. Allen had always been in trouble in one way or another and he exhibited a certain disdain of authority. But now, while training in Queensland, his behaviour became erratic, and he ended up punching an officer. He was court martialled, and medically discharged in September 1944.

So traumatised was this decorated veteran of three campaigns by the experience of war, he retreated to an uncle's farm, having lost his power of speech, and took many months to start returning to 'normal'. It was during this time that the Army posted Leslie 'Bull' Allen a second medal, the US Silver Star, awarded for his actions on that day up Mount Tambu.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Grace Gems - Joy of the Lord

Many believers wait until their emotions feel like praising the Lord before they enter in to worship. They think it's hypocritical to act like they are rejoicing in the Lord if they don't "feel" it. But our spirits are always rejoicing in the Lord. It's actually hypocritical to go by our feelings and not magnify the Lord with our souls when our born again spirits are already rejoicing.

Our born again spirits are always in tune with the Lord and walking in the joy of the Lord. Our flesh is often dominated by what it sees and feels.

Sometimes it doesn't feel like praising the Lord, but the choice rests with our souls. If we choose to praise the Lord, our emotions will follow.

The decision is yours (Dt. 30:19).

Today, choose to walk in the joy of the Lord.

Andrew Wommack


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