When we think about burdens we don’t think with a smile.
More of a gloomy face, I would think.
We let our necks drop into our shoulders
We surrender to the feeling of exhaustion and perhaps sadness
We long for a time when our burdens will be taken from us.
There’s a cartoon going around Facebook at the moment that shows a very heavily laden baggage carrier being pulled by a Vicar, while the owner of the cartons and bags and everything else is walking nicely alongside.

And so, here’s the thing:
JESUS is willing to carry your bag (gage).
He will.
And He’s up to the task
He says so in today’s reading from Matthew 11.
He invites us to come to Him and leave all our bag (gage) with Him.

But, it will cost you.
And I can hear the groans from here of folk saying, “I knew it!” “There’s nothing free anymore
We’ve got to pay for everything!
OK, what will it cost me?”

JESUS tells us that He will carry our bag (gage) if we just follow Him, and put on the yoke He gives us.

Now, in case you did not grow up in the country a yoke is not the yellow of an egg but a device which is attached to your shoulders and neck to help you go in the direction of the one who put the yoke on you.

That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?

But JESUS gives us some extra information.
He tells us His yoke is easy and His burdens are light. Much better than the yoke you put on yourself.

It’s one of my favourite passages in the Bible.
God has your back and your front and if you trust Him with your life, your adventures will be full of hope and energy and purpose.

May you have the courage to wear Jesus’ yoke?

God bless you


Image is one of the Station of the Cross from the Franciscan Monastery, Washington DC.
Creative Commons Licence via https://www.flickr.com/photos/paullew/41696744810

A Cup Of Cold Water To The Least Of These

glass of cold water

It’s such a lovely thought and simple too.
But yet, to those who have nothing, it is more than they could ever imagine.
So JESUS lets us know that if we offer that cup of cold water to the least of one of His followers we will receive a reward.

Now, there are a few thoughts about that.
The first and the least important of these is the reward.
Most of us have grown up in Australia looking forward to Christmas and birthdays, because they were the time we received presents.
But I don’t think JESUS is thinking about presents here.

I sense that what He is on about is what He gives best …a blessing.
The Oxford dictionary says blessings are God’s favour and protection
In other words, for you to go out of your way to make sure that someone receives that cup of cold water to replenish their body and soul, is a special event as far as God is concerned.
And you will not be forgotten for that.

But perhaps, more important here than reward, is the question of just who is the one who is the least of His followers.
Is that someone who is poor, down and out or destitute.
Or is that someone who is just barely getting it altogether, in their quest to follow JESUS.
In the world’s scheme of things people who are on the bottom are not important.
Those, who are at the top, and make a difference in the world, why, they are the important ones.
The world pays lots for those who are the leaders in business and indeed, while the Uniting Church is not a lead from the top church, we recognise the importance of a Moderator in the Synod and a President in the Assembly.

We look upon to them for leadership and guidance.
We listen to them.

But what of the nobody?

Do they have anything to offer or contribute?
Look around your church and ask yourself, is there someone here who is easily forgotten that I could bless and honour today by offering them a cup of cold water or an encouragement?
Do that and a reward is guaranteed by God.

And in part, at least, the reward is the satisfaction you feel at having done what JESUS has asked of you

God bless you today

Do I or Do I Not?

That is the question.

You’ve fallen over the ledge and you’re hanging on for your life

But someone’s calling you from the ground below saying, “Let Go! I will catch you!”

Do you hang on, hoping that someone might send a helicopter or something to rescue you, or do you let go, trusting in the person below to catch you?

It’s a dilemma, and one we face more often than we think.
Not many of us have fallen off the cliff, but all of us come face to face with challenges which require us to make split decisions about whether God is with us or note

The writer of Psalm 13, David, cries out to God in his distress.
He suggests that God has forgotten him, that God is looking the other way (v2)
We’ve all been in that kind of situation when the pain has been so severe.
We just want God to come and fix it.
But He doesn’t and we wonder whether God is really there for us.
And sometimes, even in hindsight, it is hard to see where God was while we
were suffering, because we cannot see any benefit in our suffering.
That’s when our faith in God needs to kick in and David, in this Psalm says, “I trust in your unfailing love, I will rejoice because you have rescued me”. (v6)
And that is indeed the hard part ~ believing you have been rescued when you cannot feel it.

I shared last Monday the words of a song which have come to mean so much to me. I trust they will again speak to you too (they’re written below)

God bless you,

Hold it all together

Everybody needs you strong

But life hits you out of nowhere

And barely leaves you holding on

And when you’re tired of fighting

Chained by your control

There’s freedom in surrender

Lay it down and let it go


So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away

You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held

Your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place

I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held

Just be held, just be held

If your eyes are on the storm

You’ll wonder if I love you still

But if your eyes are on the cross

You’ll know I always have and I always will

And not a tear is wasted

In time, you’ll understand

I’m painting beauty with the ashes

Your life is in My hands


So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away

You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held

Your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place

I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held

Just be held, just be held

Lift your hands, lift your eyes

In the storm is where you’ll find Me

And where you are, I’ll hold your heart

I’ll hold your heart

Come to Me, find your rest

In the arms of the God who wont let go


So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away

You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held

Your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place

I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held

Just be held, just be held

Bernie Herms, Mark Hall, Matthew West
© 2013 Be Essential Songs (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC)
Highly Combustible Music (Admin. by One77 Songs c/o Kobalt Songs Music Publishing (ASCAP))
House of Story Music Publishing (Admin. by One77 Songs c/o Kobalt Songs Music Publishing (ASCAP))
One77 Songs (Admin. by One77 Songs c/o Kobalt Songs Music Publishing (ASCAP))
My Refuge Music (Admin. by SHOUT! Music Publishing Australia)

Who’d have thought

Who’d have thought that God is so democratic?
I mean He lets us make decisions.
I don’t know about you but I reckon that is a bit of a foolish idea, especially considering the silly decisions I have made in my life.
I mean, as your hair thins and colours to what they call ‘white’, you look back on your life, often with regret, or dismay, at the many decisions you have made, which went all wrong, or which hurt others or which could have have been a blessing if you weren’t so sure you were right.
Yep, God is to blame for causing all this.
I mean He could have just told us what to do, and forced us to do it.

But no!
He had just to let us make the final decision.

As parents we look out at our grown up children, and we think about some of the choices they make, and, in a second you think, if you offer some piece of advice, it could just steer them in the right direction.

But then you stop yourself, reminding yourself that they have to make those decisions now.

It seems that perhaps we may have learnt a lesson or two from God on this.

Love is about letting go
Love is about teaching hope or better still, illustrating or demonstrating hope in the way you live, and trusting they will catch on.

I mean it’s not hard to do what God asks of us, even if there are dangers ahead.
I mean, we know its the right way
God has shown us in JESUS many times just how, on the ball He was, in the decisions He made.
But it’s just that we want to do it OUR way.

There are so many things out there offering us so much if we just get on board with them.
But why do we give in to them when we know JESUS way is the right way?
I suppose it’s because we can
And that we know that JESUS will forgive us, and allow us back into His fold when we are ready.
And perhaps, that’s what being a parent is all about ~ loving without ceasing

God bless you

“perhaps, that’s what being a parent is all about ~ loving without ceasing”
Mother and child Kolkata. Photo: Kenny Hiser, courtesy Servants to Asia’s Urban Poor.

We are on a mission and the race is on

So what are you?
When you walk do you go faster up hill or downhill?
The climb is always the hardest but there are folk who are determined to get there with all their strength, and then, when they are over the top, they like to cruise.
On the other hand there are folk who let the pedal out when they are on the downhill run.
They zoom, but the up hill is a battle.
They struggle to reach the top.

Life is a lot like up hill and down dale. How do you manage the race.

One thing is for sure.
It sure is an amazing race … but unlike the tv series, it never ends.
When one section is finished the next one is ready to go.
It can be tiring.
It can be frustrating
It can be lonely
But this morning let me remind you that you do not run this race alone. God is with you.
God is in you.
He is there for you
Sometimes, in our tiredest moments we wonder where He is
We look around us and all we see is difficulty.
The writer of psalm 8 helps us here by suggesting instead of looking at ourselves and our condition, we look outward at all that God has made for us.
Yes, its not perfect … but then, He did make it perfect
It was us that changed it.

But the point still remains. He made it perfect for us Enjoy your day!
Enjoy the ride!

It will be worth it when you and God do it together.

God bless you Ron