Abiding Life Discoveries Australia - March 2014
Welcome to our Newsletter
During some recent times when I was really struggling, I found myself selfishly reflecting on Jesus's words "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?". At the time I felt very alone!
Later I recalled a story told as an illustration by the late Mike Nelson, a wonderful Christian communicator. The setting was the sixties in the USA, convertible sports sedans with front bench seats. A couple was driving down the highway and in front of them was a convertible with what appeared to be one body and two heads on the drivers side, for the female passenger had snuggled in extremely close to the male driver. The wife in the car that was following observed this scene for a little while and then asked her husband who was intently driving, "How come we don't do that anymore?". The husband thought carefully for a moment then replied, "Well I haven't moved!".
I was reminded that if we allow our Heavenly Father to do the driving in our life, He will never move from that position. We may slide away and stray, but He still has His hand on the wheel and all we have to do is slide right back to Him.
May God bless us all as we learn to allow Him into every minute of every day.
He's All I Need! A Formula For Life That Works!
We sang it in Church, but that simple little Sunday School ditty was haunting me for days:
He's all I need, He's all I need; Jesus is all I need!
Eternal Truth encapsulated in juvenile simplicity. And yet, in a world of frenzied stress and escalating uncertainty, He is still The Way. Jesus is not the solution; rather, He is The Way to the solution.
Centuries ago, the prophet Jeremiah wrote similar words to a people living in exile under oppressive captivity. "I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare (Heb: shalom - peace, life, well being) and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope."1
For them, there was no future and they had no hope. They had nothing. They sat by the rivers of Babylon and wept.2 Back home, they had failed God. Their temple was in ruins. Now they were abandoned.
The context of Jeremiah's letter to these people explains the journey whereby that simple Sunday School song can become an exciting lifestyle for us today.
It was a plan that worked (subject to the Old Covenant) 600 years before Christ. In Him, 2014 years after Christ, subject to the New Covenant, it can be an abiding lifestyle. This too, is determined by our choice.
He's all I need; He's all I need, Jesus is all I need.
1 Jeremiah 29:11; 2 Psalm 137:1; 3 Jeremiah 29:1 (NASB); 4 Jeremiah 29:4 (NASB); 5 Jeremiah 29:11; 6 Jeremiah 29:12; 7 Jeremiah 29:13;
8 Jeremiah 29:14a
How Much Do I Know?
How much do I really know?
In preparing for life, we recognise that to stop learning is to degenerate. Yet in preparing for eternal life, the majority exist in a pre-school mentality.
A little girl said to her father one morning, "Daddy, I have thought and thought and there is nothing I don't know!". She was 5 years old.
At 15, she would be thinking, "There are some things I am not sure of!".
At 25 she would be saying, " There are many things I do not understand".
At 65 her thought would be, "As the end of my day draws near, I don't really know much at all!".
Paul, in writing to the Church at Philippi, made the statement, "That I may know Him ....".
Many believers know a lot about God; Christian bookshops profit from information regarding God; Theologians debate in words about God (and gain a PhD for their trouble); and much discipleship and mentoring is merely housetraining and disciplinary coaching in Christianity.
Amidst all this, the inner spirit of humanity is craving to KNOW God in personal reality.
There is a growing awareness of what it is to live in relationship with God; yet very sadly, many of the housetrained are far more involved in their Church, or their favourite theological bias, than they are with God.
As the end draws near, we don't know much at all. The Church and theological dogma may fill the human mind, but does not satisfy the human spirit. For a Christian to stand on the brink of eternity not knowing God in relationship can bring a fear of judgement rather than the welcome of "Well done, good and faithful servant".
To know Him we must be prepared to spend time with Him. It is the way with human relationships. So it must be with God.
Maybe we can learn from the apostle Paul.
Imagine the scene: a brilliant scholar, schooled in Judaism, expansive in lifestyle Christianity, sitting alone in a prison cell at the end of his life, one thought burning in his mind, "that I may know Him ....!".
How well do you know Him?
On The Home Front
Since our last Newsletter ...
The Hopsons: Summer with the Hopson's has not been too chaotic. Having Don & Wendy Rea on board means that Geoff is able to spend a lot more time developing Abiding Life Discoveries Australia, the ministry operating out of Mount Alford Lodge. This includes an abridged presentation of Breaking Free that can be used in a local Church or Home Group over an evening plus half a day. We are upgrading many of our resources to make a wider range available. Geoff is finding that a lot more time is spent with people on a one-to-one basis either in person or on the phone. He is also grateful for the outside speaking opportunities given to him, and is looking forward to participating in the Mount Tamborine Easter Convention in April. Beryl finds plenty to do in the behind-the-scenes affairs of the Lodge. Despite the excessive summer heat and limited tank water, most of her favourite plants are still surviving; and the prolific summer tennis/cricket-tv-coverage has enabled her to make a number of rugs she knits for the homeless on the Gold Coast!
The Bells seem to be getting even busier (there has been some discussion about the possibility of an eighth day in every week). The constant taxi activity for Makarla and Mitch has finally worn Wendy's car out with a replacement one that avoids kangaroos (we hope) purchased. Wendy says she is also wearing out, but there has been no talk (that I have heard) of replacing her. Phil has done another short stint at Jackson and when not there continues his projects in the Lockyer Valley. Makarla and Mitch continue to perform well in their pursuits although they are quickly learning that life is all about decisions. I am told it is only a matter of weeks before Makarla can get her learners driving licence - that will cause Phil some anxiety!
The Reas have had a quiet few months socially. With the lack of mowing due to the grass being dead, Don has managed to complete a few outstanding tasks around the property. Wendy continues to assist wherever needed. There have been no trips to Melbourne to visit the grand children and of course their parents and Aunty; but Wendy has firmly locked in a visit in the near future.
Around the Lodge - we are pleased to report that all our projects for the summer "break" were completed satisfactorily; even an unexpected one (we will leave you to discover that one when you next visit!). So the road is resealed (we wanted that completed before the summer rains - what rains!), the meeting room has been made larger with the removal of the laundry, and Cabin 5 has had a makeover. Yes before you kindly ask, we were a little weary for the start of the new year of hosting.
He Will Keep You
I am coming to you, Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name. JOHN 17:11
There are always times in a believer's life when present circumstances and the baggage of the past simply overwhelm him. It is as though all of hell's forces are unleashed upon him. Emotions are confused and the mind races to find a way out, although there seems to be none. At this point it is important that the believer NOT look to his own ability to be kept. He must remember that it is God who does the keeping; if it were up to him to keep himself, he would have been overcome long ago. Therefore, each night before he goes to sleep, he can lay the future before the Lord. "Lord, I cannot keep myself, all is confusing, all appears hopeless, and now YOU keep me." HE WILL KEEP THE BELIEVER! IT IS HIS JOB!
Taken from "My Weakness for His Strength" by Dr Michael Wells
Come and Join Us!
2014 is shaping as an exciting time of fellowship at our numerous weekend retreats. Come and join with us!
Fri 13 to Sun 15 June, 2014
Presenter: Keith Adams
Theme: "An Empowered Life"
Cost: $175 per person twin share. Includes all meals from Friday dinner to Sunday lunch, all sessions, accommodation in twin ensuited rooms (all linen etc provided) Check-in from 2.00pm Friday.
This will be a powerful weekend. Keith is passionate yet humorous. He has been blessed with a God given gift to communicate the scriptures in a way that touches all generations. (Read More)
Bookings and enquiries: Ph: 5463 0999 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org
30 May - 01 June 2014
1 - 3 August 2014
7 - 9 November 2014
Presenter: Geoff Hopson
Why is it that many things we pursue in life don't provide the anticipated fulfilment or outcome?
Something is missing!
Breaking Free examines the reality of this incompleteness - why it is and how we can break free to live a life that is complete and satisfying; far beyond the emptiness of the life into which we were born.
Breaking Free will bring God into your situation and you will discover what it is to Abide in Him (John 15). He alone is The Way to freedom. (Read More)
$175 per person twin share. Includes all meals from dinner on Friday to lunch on Sunday, all sessions with notes, plus accommodation in twin ensuited rooms (all linen etc provided).
Check-in from 2.00pm Friday
All Bookings and Inquiries:
Telephone 07 5463 0999 or
We extend a huge thankyou to those who have made recent donations to the ongoing upkeep and ministry of Mount Alford Lodge. These were very much appreciated as they allowed us to achieve outcomes that otherwise may have been difficult to accomplish.
Believe, Remain, And The Difference It Makes
The tone of our home is set in making the choice to believe and remain, or to go hard in my own efforts. Most days are filled with the same tasks and responsibilities. Some days feel mundane and I scrape to the evening, exhausted. Other days hold a sparkle that can't quite be explained, and there seems room to fit more in, both relationally and task wise. And the difference? Only believing and remaining.
When I take the time to dwell on the truth of God's love, I am overwhelmed by His love, and it spills around to my family. When I meditate on the picture of the vine and the branches, it strengthens my heart, and mobilises me to let Him bear fruit that is sweet. Whether that be trading anxiety for peace, or busyness for rest, or my wants for the needs of my husband and children. Jesus can do that in me, as I relax into Him as the vine.
Believing! It's the only "work" that pleases God, and it's the only way to bring sense and fulfilment to the rest of my work! Believing, remaining, in Him - in His love. (John 15, 16, 17)
The use of the phrase "Living Water" when referring to Christ being essential to life becomes even better understood during times of wide spread drought, for water is indeed essential to life.
While we would be reluctant to draw any comparisons between our situation at Mount Alford and that of the drought ravaged west, we have experienced one of the driest periods for some years. There has not been rain that will effectively contribute to our tank supply since a few storms around Christmas. While we still have some reserves, we are regularly pumping from them and the grounds and gardens are looking very brown and dry. Our thoughts go out to all primary producers. Local farmers have been selling off their cattle and hand feeding their remaining stock.
It is good in these times to be assured by God's infinite love for His people and His promise that He will provide all our needs.
Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. PSALM 126:5
Whatever Jesus said or did had eternal significance. Often I like to go through the gospels and only read the red-lettered words of Jesus; I love to hear His teaching. I thought recently that I should ponder the very first thing that He ever uttered while living as a Man on earth. Actually, it was not a word, but a sound, a cry. The first thing that came out of the mouth of Jesus was a cry. What is the message in God himself crying, what does the cry of a baby solicit from us, and what have our own tears taught us?
The cry of a baby demands examination of the situation by the parents and their provision of what is needed. A cry is a proclamation of helplessness, dependence, trust, and need, the recognition that "I cannot." If Jesus would acknowledge His existence in such a way, then should we not also? When we cry, we are heard by the same Father in heaven who heard Him.
There is simply too much stress that comes from not crying. Several years ago a chemical was discovered in the brain of anxiety-ridden people. For years chemists have attempted to neutralize the chemical in hopes of bringing relief to the suffering. To date no medication has proven effective. However, if the tears of the afflicted are analyzed, one will find the anxiety-causing chemical being released. Tears acknowledge the true condition within that we cannot always see or express. We were not created to be God but to need God. Trying to fulfill a job description for which we are not created causes anxiety. Tears are the proof that we have begun to give up on playing God. It is pride that keeps us from crying out and therefore keeps us in misery.
If we humans run to the sound of a cry and act on behalf of a distressed person, how much more will the Lord respond to the cries of His children? Just as parents do not pander to a child's every cry, the Lord does not always intervene immediately to relieve our sources of misery; but as we acknowledge, "Apart from You I can do nothing," look for the Great "I CAN" to eventually move in. Both our waiting and His moving build faith.
Taken from "My Weakness for His Strength" by Dr Michael Wells