December 2011 – Done and Dusted!

As the sun rises and then sets in a continual cycle of days, so the years move round in an unstoppable progression of time. This succession, humanity is powerless to alter, as it is as God set it in motion.

So it is that 2011 has passed us by.  However the juxtaposition of continual change in the day to day happenings in our lives has made what 2011 has  been to each of us personally.

The dark and grey experiences together with the bright and happy moments make for a colourful tapestry. I have found that I have been able to use the dark experiences to be a comfort to others, and the happy moments have shown the way to hope and trust.

This time last year we were with Lorraine’s family in a farewell vigil that saw her move to her reward on the 9th February 2011. Betty particularly has missed her long weekly phone calls and I have missed my love for teasing. Lorraine was a good candidate and she could give it back in abundance!

My brother Andrew is doing well, surrounded by family and friends, plus opportunity to serve the Lord in ministry, which is his life’s alexia.

We find it interesting to note that in our 70s conversations are often filled with memories. This has been fuelled by a recent visit from Dr Denise Austin who is writing a history of Commonwealth Bible College now Alphacrusis. Both Betty and I are graduates.

My memories centre around 79 Moray St, New Farm Brisbane, where I was housed in a dormitory of 16 men, cold showers , multiple house duties, ministry assignments, college treks, prickly personalities, and great moments  as people like Pastor James Wallace presented Bible truths about God and made Him so real that I still feel that reality today.

Betty’s time in college took in the transition from New farm to Graceville. She was doing double study Midwifery, Child Welfare and Theology so it is all a bit of a blur to her.

Her girlfriend Desley Barba visited from Townsville this month to share her college experiences and they had a good time pouring over old photo albums.

The passing of time is also noted by the nothingness, the hole in the ground, that now exists on the site that was once the famous and historic Glad Tidings Tabernacle.

GTT was integral to many of the past memories of so many of us. It was here that I heard some of the great preachers to visit this country – J Nelson Parr, Bob Jones Jr. & Felix Lloyd Smith. It was here that our Bible College Graduation took place, on the 1st Sunday of December 1960 and I sang for the last time in the CBC choir, the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah!  It was also here that Betty and I were married on the 9 May 1964.

In the midst of the retrospection I ask myself the question about the future. As I look forward into a new year, what aspirations do I hold dear, and what challenges do I set out for myself? My answers are very basic really.

Firstly I will pray. I will pray for a spiritual awakening from  God on the movement that I have been part of all my life. I will ask God to inspire us again in faith and zeal and trust. I will pray that the holy presence of the Spirit of God will quicken our spirits in fresh love for Him and each other. I will pray against competitiveness and ask for a great wave of brotherly love to abound among us.

Secondly I will recognise that this is another opportunity to put into practice all the things I have preached over the last 50 years. I pray for faith that endures and does not grow weary. I pray to be faithful, loving, encouraging, generous. I pray not to be led into the temptation of bitterness, unforgiveness or cynicism. 

Thirdly I will love and pray for my family, and be there for them when they seek me out. I will seek to lead my grandchildren to know God and give them guidance for their journey through life. Betty and I will continue to pray each morning for the many people on our prayer list.

I will also not forget to enjoy myself. I will take every opportunity to celebrate life or death. Sadly, I have attended so many funerals this year but positively, celebrated the life of so many of my friends.

I will have as much fun as possible and laugh a lot.

There has been plenty of tears in our family of latter years, but the promise is that the joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

To my friends remember – Life is only froth and bubble or as the Bible says: Psalm 39:4-5

Two things stand like stone:

  • Kindness in another’s troubles
  • Courage in your own.

We will truly live when we are together with Christ, so let us prepare for a great home coming be that sooner or later.

Happy New Year!

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