No matter the mess, God works for good!

“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. He appointed them to be saved in keeping with his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV

When it seems like the world’s gone mad, don’t forget “God existed before anything else… and He holds all creation together.” (Colossians 1:17 NLT). When worry whispers, “God doesn’t know what you need!”, remember God promised to “meet all your needs”. (Philippians 4:19 NIV)

[from a friend]

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Known by name!

“I know you by name and you have found favour with Me.” Exodus 33:12 NIV

Don’t be jealous or intimidated by anybody else no matter how talented they are. In God’s eyes there are no other contenders; you’re it! You’re the only one who can fulfil your role on planet earth because He created it with you in mind.
[from a friend]

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Goodbye 2011, Welcome 2012!

Saturday, December 31, 2011
Last day of 2011 — and the sun shines — lovely blue sky — lovely, lovely, lovely!!
This is just a day like another. And tomorrow will be another. Yet today and tomorrow have symbolic significance for us human beings — end of the old > beginning of the new. We aspire to do better than we have before. We aspire to do good things — to live more honourably, more honestly, more truthfully. We aspire to put away the bad and put on what’s good.
YET…
any change is cosmetic. To reach our aspirations we need an interior change — a transformation of the heart. Who can do that? We may try mightily and seem to succeed for a time but we still end up reverting to our default mode. A mode that has decades of imprinting by our upbringing, our choices in life, our experiences, our sufferings, failures, successes, and so on.
Who or what can change our default mode? How do we get out of this rut of reverting? Can we never make a real difference in our own lives? Or, in our family’s? Or, our community’s? Or, our nation’s? Or, our world’s? Will all things revert to that default which we deem unacceptable, untruthful, unloving?
Seems pretty bleak.
We can’t change ourselves let alone anyone else.
But, Jesus Christ can change us. He changes our hearts. He alone makes it possible to reach our aspirations. He alone is the transformer — not a new year resolution or wish, not a promise on our part. We are weak; he is strong.
Sadly, we have legislated anything to do with Jesus out of our schools, our communities, our nation… and, thus too out of our lives, and out of the lives of our children. Sad really. The one person who can sort it all out is relegated to the dustbin.
YET…
Psalm 113: 4,5 “For the LORD [Jesus] is high above the nations; his glory is far greater than the heavens. Who can be compared with the LORD our God, who is enthroned on high?”
For those who seek Jesus… God bless you!
If you don’t, may you be surprised to discover how great is his love for you in 2012!

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Welcome to Spring!

Dew Drop - photo art by bhojman
Dew Drop – photo art, a photo by bhojman on Flickr.

A lovely Dew Drop, welcoming Spring. I took the photo this morning.
I modified it using Topaz Adjust (Crisp preset).

PS: My date/time settings have been wrong! I took this photo September 1 and posted this the same day… not on August 31. Hopefully all corrected now. 😉

Posted in Australia, General, Photo Art, Photos

Old Building, Hume Highway, NSW – photo art #4

I’ve just downloaded the latest Topaz Labs filter. It’s called B&W effects. This particular effect is called High Contrast 1 (detailed).
I like b&w photos and have printed many such photos in years gone by. The ease of digital photography has taken away the magic of working in the darkroom to get just the right effect. I’ve tried a lot of filters in my miscellaneous computer programs to manipulate my digital photos… I’ve been looking for something to produce good b&w’s… here’s hoping Topaz has come up with a winner
This building is one I pass every time I go to Sydney. I don’t know anything about it except that it’s been there a long time. If it was a kid’s cubby house then it would have been fantastic fun for the kids!

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Being a postage stamp

Some days I may feel utterly useless, and especially so as now I’m retired. However, I’m not really useless despite the feeling. Each day is a new adventure with entrusting myself and my day to God for him to bring blessing to others through who I am and whatever I may do.

“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NASB

Be like a postage stamp – stick to one thing till you get there! – Josh Billings.

From: http://dailyreadings.net/

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Some heartwarming news from India

I lived and worked in the Bastar region of India for a number or years in the 1960’s and 70’s. And, this part of the world holds a very special place in my heart.  It is heartwarming to  read something positive from the area… instead of the heartbreaking and awful news of all the unrest that’s been there for so many years because of the Maoist insurgents.

Ramchandra Baghel was the son of a poor farmer from a small village in the infamous Bastar area. Given to the vice of alcohol addiction, the father had leased his farmlands. The habit resulted in the family losing their own lands and Baghel’s father was forced to work as a daily wager on his own land. Today, Ramchandra has been able to buy back his forefathers’ land. He also supplements his earnings by working as a driver, ferrying school children in his run-down jeep.

The youngster who could have been held in the shackles of poverty rose to attain a respectable position in society instead. This would not have been possible without the support of his beloved Dadaji and Dadiji. This old couple, not his biological grandparents, happens to play a similar role in the lives of around 4000 children in the tribal areas of Chhattisgarh.

Jayant and Jayshree Kothe, more famously Dadaji and Dadiji, belong to Nagpur, but decided to help those who really needed it after attaining the age of retirement. This took them to the notorious Abujhmar plateau in 1998. “The place has such a difficult terrain that it was impossible to work there,” says Jayashree. This led to a detailed study of the needs of the various people around the region. And, finally they decided to make Dantewada and Bastar areas of Chhattisgarh their base. Later, they formed Bhartiya Kushta Nivarak Sangh, an NGO that has its presence in over 80 villages.

“An abandoned police station in Halbaras village in the Naxal-infested area was turned into our home. Today, the building also houses an ashram, a school and a laboratory equipped to screen people for sickle cell disease, a condition very common among the tribals of the area,” informed Jayant. The ashram also provides shelter to more than 25 needy children, whom the elderly couple has accepted as a part of their family.

The goodness of the couple also benefits the other children in the villages. More than 200 kids are fed with nourishing khichdi, consisting of pulses like tur, moong, masoor, groundnuts and grams. The improved nutritional profile of the children has meant that malnourishment has been practically eradicated in the village. Those who did not attend school were told to come to the ashram for a couple of hours to study.

The decade long efforts of the Kothe’s have finally borne fruit with the villagers as well as the government supporting their activities. The fallow land near the ashram would soon be turned into a park with financial aid from the villagers. Identifying the need for it, the government has assigned the couple with the task of screening more than 25,000 tribal children for sickle cell disease.

They have started spreading their aid to the villages in Maharashtra as well. Already started operations in Melghat, they would also be providing support to villages like Deori, Istari and Yedmagondi in their home state.

All sorts of recognition and achievements fall short for the couple as the highest reward for them is having thousands of children to call their own. The couple is in the city with some of the children from the ashram for an exhibition of handicrafts made by tribal people from Bastar ranging from bell metal, wrought iron, wood work to the famous Chapa Kosa sarees and dress materials. The money earned through sale of these items would go the BKNS’s Halbaras ashram.

From: Giving ’em a new lease of life – The Times of India.

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Longevity is due to genes not lifestyle, study finds

An interesting piece of research. It’s something I’ve suspected. In my family from my mother’s side, the women of the family seem to live well into their 90’s, even when they have had heart attacks, diabetes, blood pressure, and other general health problems during their long lives. I’ve always found it to  be rather intriguing.

Israeli researchers trying to unlock the secret of longevity studied a population of Ashkenazi Jews who have lived to at least 95 and found their eating and lifestyle habits are no better than those of the general population.

In fact, men in the long-lived group drank slightly more and exercised less than their average counterparts.

The findings are published in the online edition of Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. …

read the rest at: Longevity is due to genes not lifestyle, study finds.

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Small ‘weapon’ makes big difference in war on famine

The news coming out of Africa is always gut wrenching. Famines and wars, wars and famines. There is such a humanitarian crisis in Somalia at present that it’s hard to comprehend the level of suffering. Here is a bit of hopeful news:

SOMETIMES survival can be a simple equation. The difference between life and death for a frail child in Somalia can come down to being fed a peanut-based paste that costs less than 40 cents a serve.

Plumpy’nut – each sachet of the nutritional supplement weighs only 92 grams – is Red Cross aid worker Hilary Floate’s not-so-secret weapon in the war on famine. And amid a litany of bad news from the East African drought and conflict zone, it is good news everyone can relish. …

read more:  Small ‘weapon’ makes big difference in war on famine.

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Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo

Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo by bhojman
Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, a photo by bhojman on Flickr.

I was up in Sydney this past weekend and was very delighted to see a small flock of black cockatoos in my friends’ trees. These cockatoos are not often seen around Sydney. I see them more down my way in the Southern Tablelands. This flock allowed me to creep quite close and take lots of photos… a good experience!

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