4 January 2023
There are many groups meeting together weekly, monthly and quarterly for a variety of reasons or causes. The variety of reasons seems to be limitless. As human beings, we flourish with contact with our own species. I have a friend who makes quilts, and she belongs to a quilters’ group. She also likes walking and is part of a walking group. I guess many of you reading this belong to at least one group, if not many more.
In the adjacent photo, the ladies around the table are doing craft. They make everything from handy bags, aprons, pot holders, clothes for premature babies, hats for cancer patients, and anything else you can think of. It is quality work.
We meet with our congregations of worshippers on one day in the week to praise God and worship Him, and often we meet the same people in Bible Study groups, planning meetings, choir practices etc. It is a wonderful experience and comfort to know and share with a Church family.
Romans 12:5 (ESV)
So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
11 January 2023
On a trip to Turkey, in 2013, our group was taken to the Archaeological Ancient Museum in Antalya Province. This Museum is one of Turkey's largest museums and located in the District of Konyaaltı. It includes 13 exhibition halls, an open-air gallery and 5,000 amazing works of art.
I took this photo while wandering around the various rooms absorbed with the exhibits, which went back over thousands of years. Unfortunately, I did not write down the details of the object in the photo and my efforts to contact the museum by email have not been successful.
If I recall correctly, it is a small finger or foot bone and from a person who was famous at the time. The fact that such a small item is on such a large table speaks to me of its importance.
God commonly uses small things to accomplish His big plans according to His sovereign nature. In the Bible Joseph, Gideon, David and Esther were some of the lowest and least in their families, but they achieved great things.
Galatians 5:22–23a (ESV) reminds us that the little things in life make a big difference:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
18 January 2023
I love to hear the birds, particularly first thing in the morning as I awake. I am most fortunate to have a family of magpies who sit on the fence outside my bedroom window. I talk to them through the window and they stop carolling. After I have finished telling them I can hear them, they commence again.
When I lived in a country area in New South Wales, I was entertained often by the kookaburras. How I love them. I would ring up my friend in Sydney and hold the phone towards a kookaburra who was warbling.
The trees in the front garden would also be filled with rainbow lorikeets. These birds enjoyed the bird table. What a blessing they were.
Birds have a special place in the Bible. A raven was sent out from the Ark to test the level of the water, and the Holy Spirit was in the form of a dove. Chickens, eagles, hawks, quails, peacocks, sparrows and more, all have their story in the Bible.
Exodus 19:4 (ESV)
You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.
25 January 2023
The Portuguese love their food. They eat all the time during the day and then sit down to a big meal at the end of the day (and many of them are as thin as a whip). Their foods are mainly fish, and the No. 1 fish is sardines. You can cook sardines at home, but why would you when there are sardine tables and barbecue fires on every street corner during the sardine season.
Being Australian, my only experience of eating sardines was out of a tin and smothered in oil. I did love that and would enjoy it on toast, but the sardines in Portugal would scoff at that. I made the most of the sardine season in Lisbon.
The Bible story of the feeding of the five thousand with fish and bread is thought by some scholars to mean sardines were the offered fish. There is also a red sardine stone spoken of in the Bible. It is often listed with, and likened to, the Israeli jasper.
Leviticus 11:9 (NLT)
Of all the marine animals, these are ones you may use for food. You may eat anything from the water if it has both fins and scales, whether taken from salt water or from streams.
1 February 2023
In January each year the Governor of Victoria usually has an ‘Open House’ event, and my friend and I usually go along. It is a very festive occasion with all kinds of activities in the grounds and a look through the beautiful Government House in Melbourne.
Government House is the official residence of the Governor of Victoria, currently the Honourable Linda Dessau AC CVO, and is located in Kings Domain, Melbourne, next to the Royal Botanic Gardens. Government House was opened in 1876 on land that had originally been set aside in 1841. Its architectural style is Italianate architecture.
The adjacent photo is of the beautifully set dining table ready for an official function. It is magnificent. I think if ever I was invited to such a function, I would be very nervous about which eating utensil to pick up. I understand that the key is to start from the outside and work inwards.
Romans 13:1 (ESV)
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
8 February 2023
In the regional city of Ballarat, Victoria, there is a historical village called Sovereign Hill. This was the scene of the Eureka Stockade rebellion by gold miners in the 1850s.
The Sovereign Hill village depicts Ballarat's first ten years after the discovery of gold there in 1851. It was officially opened on 29 November 1970.
As the main source of transport at the time involved horses, the farrier was in great demand. He had to forge horseshoes and fit them on the horses’ hooves. As Sovereign Hill is a replica village, the adjacent photo shows the farrier at work on his forging table.
Proverbs 16:16 (ESV)
How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
15 February 2023
You may have heard the sayings: ‘Pay on the nail’ or ‘Cash on the nail’. They are extensions of the earlier phrase ‘on the nail’, meaning immediate payment without delay. This expression was first recorded in English in Thomas Nashe's Haue with you to Saffron-Walden, 1596: ‘Tell me, haue you a minde to anie thing in the Doctors Booke! speake the word, and I will help you to it vpon the naile.’
This photo was taken at Bath and the ‘table’ below the sign represents the head of a nail. Although these tables are still around in some form, in old English villages and cities, they are ornamental only.
The sign sitting on the table says that the ‘nail’ has stood on this spot since the previous market existed there in the 1760s. The slate slab on the original stone pillar provides a table that gives plenty of space for concluding transactions.
Romans 13:7 (ESV)
Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honour to whom honour is owed.
22 February 2023
The University of the Third Age, more commonly known as U3A, ‘is an international movement whose aims are the education and stimulation of mainly retired members of the community—those in their third "age" of life. There is no universally accepted model for the U3A.’
It was founded in France in 1973 by Professor Pierre Vellas.
‘A British U3A website reports this about “The Third Age” membership eligibility: “U3A membership is not related to a specific age but to a period in one’s life (the third age) after the second age of full-time employment and parental responsibility. Anybody in their third age can join U3A and this includes people who are working part-time. There is no lower age for membership.”’ (Quotes from Wikipedia.)
The ladies in the photograph are having a ‘well-earned’ drink together at a pub in Norfolk, UK, following one of their meetings, and I took their photo.
Colossians 3:16 (NIV) says:
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
1 March 2023
I was visiting Philadelphia in the USA with a cousin of mine. She has had a long friendship with our hosts, and we were taken on several short visits to places of interest. It so happened that we called in to a large shed which was stocked with local produce. As you can see in the photo, it was plentiful and the tables seemed loaded. We only bought a small quantity of needed vegetables but were very impressed by the wonderful array.
I have tried to have a vegetable garden at the many houses in which I have lived. The first time I tried to make a garden was in 1967 during a time of drought. I went off to the local garden centre and bought some tomato plants. I didn’t give a thought to what was an appropriate number of plants so I bought four punnets. In the planting, of course, I discovered that I had 40 tomato plants. I thoughtfully hand watered them every night and killed any weed that grew up between them.
I eventually had buckets and buckets of tomatoes. I made tomato sauce, tomato chutney, green tomato pickle, and tomato relish. I gave everyone within cooee bags of tomatoes. The prominent fruit at the Church Harvest Festival was tomato. Since then, and learning from my experience, I have always had only a tomato plant or two just for my own consumption.
Malachi 3:10 (ESV)
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
8 March 2023
On a visit to Cambodia with my travelling friend, we were interested to look at the workers as they went about their business. There were many little workplaces where men and women were making goods for sale. Jewellers and potters were two of the artisans we saw.
In the photo we can see ceramic artisans at their work tables. Mugs and tumblers, or vases and such like, were being made in this ‘factory’, which had a bamboo roof and open tent so that people could see the products and order their requirements.
King Hiram received a letter from King Solomon asking for assistance in a building matter. King Hiram replied, saying that he would send a skilful master craftsman named Hiram-abi (or Huram).
The following verse shows what a specialist Hiram-abi was:
2 Chronicles 2:14 (ISV)
He is the son of a mother from the tribe of Dan, and his father is from Tyre. He's skilled in working with gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone, and timber, as well as in purple, blue, linen, and crimson materials. He is skilled in engravings, and can craft any design to which he may be assigned. He will work with your skilled artisans and with all of your craftsmen who have been assigned by my lord David, your father.
15 March 2023
Chile was an interesting place to make a quick visit. My friend and I only had a short time to visit, but we had a mutual friend to stay with, and she was able to secure a worker to drive us around and see some of the sights. Sights that we may not have been able to see if we had gone with a scheduled tour company.
The seals we see in the photo are on what is not strictly a table, but what I see as a resting table, and they are basking contentedly in the sun. Their scientific name is Pinnipedia or Pinnipeds. There are all kinds of seals such as sea lions, earless seals, eared seals, walruses etc. These seals were quite content to slumber with market goers wandering around their table bed.
Right from the beginning, in Genesis 1:22 (ESV), God blessed them saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”
And two more verses from the Psalms:
Praise the Lord from the earth,
Sea monsters and all deeps; Psalm 148:7 (GNT)
Let heaven and earth praise Him,
The seas and everything that moves in them. Psalm 69:34 (NKJV)
22 March 2023
The special furniture found in churches has distinctive meanings: pulpit, sanctuary chair, confessional, altar, baptismal font, prie dieu, and sacristy and sanctuary furniture. One of the distinctive pieces of furniture in most Salvation Army churches is the ‘Holiness Table’.
In many cases, it is a solid wooden table, unadorned, fairly plain and in some cases has the inscription: ‘Holiness Unto the Lord’. At other places, it may have a maroon cloth with a gold fringe around it. When a person wants to commit their life to God as a Christian consecrated to God’s service, they are invited to come and kneel at the Holiness Table as an outward sign of an inward decision.
Whatever the table or furniture with special meaning at your church, it all has a sacred meaning and should be treated with reverence and respect.
Romans 6:19 (GNB)
At one time you surrendered yourselves entirely as slaves to impurity and wickedness for wicked purposes. In the same way you must now surrender yourselves entirely as slaves of righteousness for holy purposes.
29 March 2023
The use of gold to paint fine lines for decoration in furniture or some special article requires steadiness of hand and eye coordination, as the gold is very expensive and cannot be wasted.
The man in the photo has been on the factory floor, in China, all day painting the decoration on the three-corner side tables lined up for his steady hand and eye. I stood and watched him for some time and asked if I could take his picture. He was a bit shy, but we can see his workmanship.
Australia has, and has had, many places where gold has been found. I was born in Ballarat and then we moved to Kalgoorlie, and later on I lived and worked in Bendigo – all important places in gold discovery in Australia.
In the Old Testament, as now, gold was a precious element and was often used on sacred occasions.
Exodus 28:36–38 (GNB)
“Make an ornament of pure gold and engrave on it ‘Dedicated to the Lord’. Tie it to the front of the turban with a blue cord. Aaron is to wear it on his forehead, so that I, the Lord, will accept all the offerings that the Israelites dedicate to me, even if the people commit some error in offering them.”
5 April 2023
A small group of women, who had been attending a larger conference in Bangkok, were scheduled to attend Sunday worship at a Thai church in the suburbs of Bangkok. It was a communion service, and we were so happy to join in worship with the local congregation.
Following the service, the women’s group from the church entertained us to lunch and a chin wag together. It was lovely to share together our ideas and faith journeys. A very big thank you to the members of that church for the spiritual and fraternal experience on that Sunday.
Later in the afternoon, my friend and I went to the city and found some vanilla charcoal ice cream to eat, before returning to our hotel. It was a lovely day of worship, fellowship and black ice cream.
Matthew 8:20 (NIV)
‘For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.’
P.S. The secret behind the black colour is to add a little bit of activated edible charcoal made from charred coconuts!
12 April 2023
The ‘Vindaloo against Violence’ campaign in 2010 was the inspiration of Melburnian woman Mia Northrop, who encouraged people to show support against the verbal and physical racist abuse of the Indian and migrant communities in Australia.
The event took place on 24 February 2010, and thousands of Australians took part with people eating out at their local Indian restaurants to show their support. It was reported as far away as the BBC in London, and people around the world said they would show their support by dining on Indian food in their cities.
Isaiah 53 looks ahead to the future verbal and physical abuse of Jesus:
We despised him and rejected him; he endured suffering and pain. No one would even look at him – we ignored him as if he were nothing. Verse 3 (GNB)
Verse 7 says, ‘He was treated harshly, but endured it humbly, he never said a word’.
Read the whole of Chapter 53 for the full story.
19 April 2023
Whilst I was living in Taree, NSW, there was a top-heavy age group in our church – lots of older folks and not many young people. The answer to this was the ‘80+ Club’.
It was an exclusive club for those members at the age of 80 and over. There was a badge and a commitment to pray for the young folk in the town and the church. The congregation embraced the concept, and the elders became respected and looked up to.
As part of the arrangement, we decided to get details from each member and collect the data in book form so that we knew their favourite portion or verse of scripture, their favourite hymn, what they once did for their employment and other such details. Each person had an A4-page bio with these details included.
On a day when it had all been printed and collated, we had a Sunday party launch together around the table and each one received a book. What a wonderful group of praying people, and the congregation was so proud of their elders.
Leviticus 19:32 (ESV)
You shall stand up before the grey head and honour the face of an old man [woman], and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.
26 April 2023
This trestle table is groaning with knitted goods of all descriptions. It is the product of church goers from the Wayland area in Norfolk, United Kingdom. They have this display every year or so, and it is fascinating.
How many times have you been in a church hall with a trestle table groaning with party food or hot main dishes? Because we live in a land which has so much agriculture with wheat fields, sugar plantations, pineapple plantations, fruit trees of all kinds, and dairy and vegetables in abundance, we tend to take it for granted that everyone has these supplies to draw on.
We sometimes hear how lands which have endured drought and floods, and do not have a good soil mixture, cannot meet the needs of their population. It makes us stop to think how much food we waste, how much food we can grow, how much food we can buy in our own country.
We cannot eat the produce on these Wayland tables, but we can enjoy the creativity of reminding us to be careful with what is available to us.
John 6:35 (NIV)
Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’
3 May 2023
You may wonder what this lady is doing on her computer. No, she is not catching up on her emails; she is at the Los Angeles airport ordering her meal.
I found it difficult there to find a menu or café to purchase something to eat until after I had walked around for quite some time looking. I found out that you sit at this long table and order online, and the café/restaurant delivers the food to you at the table.
I guess that sounds simple if you know from the start that this is the scheme of things, but I found it unsatisfactory.
Having been through many airports and tasted food from the very good to the very ordinary, I am reminded of the cute airport buildings at Maasai Mara. Although we were not eating there, the ‘Duty Free’ wooden shed brought a smile.
Matthew 6:25–26 (ESV)
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
10 May 2023
The seated man in our picture is making sandals from old car tyres in Cambodia. He is putting to use his skills to make a new thing from an old thing, a useless thing.
You may ask me: “Where is the table?”
Well, if you look carefully, he has a low worktable, and he is using a wooden box on legs as his table for his morning and afternoon tea arrangements. The vacuum flask beside cups and saucers that are neatly stacked on a tray, on top of the box.
Apart from sandals, there are a few things that you can do to put old tyres to good use.
Another example is to cut old tyres in half to form edging to a garden plot – for good measure you can even paint the tyres!
1 Peter 4:10 (GNT)
Each one, as a good manager of God’s different gifts, must use for the good of others the special gift he has received from God.
17 May 2023
There are hundreds of eating places in New York City. There are high-end establishments with fancy food, there are the worldwide fast-food outlets, and there are all kinds of food carts and footpath dining tables.
One thing Australians have taken upon themselves in recent years is to eat similar food, a little too often. The size of the helping in some places is something to blow the mind, both here in Australia and in the US. This has led to added inches/centimetres around our waistlines.
It was lunch time as I was wandering around New York, and so I thought I would have a corned beef sandwich at a kerbside table and, in the photo, you can see what was brought to me. There was no way I was going to eat all of that. I took this photo to remind myself of indulgence and waste.
John 6:27 (NIV)
Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.
24 May 2023
All over the world you will find a board table of some sort or another. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the meaning is: ‘Table where council is held’.
Sometimes it is just a wooden box turned over, other times it is a huge mahogany table in corporate life. Why is it called a ‘Boardroom’ or ‘Board of Directors’? Why ‘Board’?
In the 16th century, the ‘board’ (as in a piece of wood) was the name of the table at which a council met, and it also came to signify the meeting of such a council around this table.
My boss and his wife came from England to Lisbon to meet our leaders and where better to do this than around the Board Table, in the Board Room. Fortunately, the result of this Board Room table encounter was positive, and we were complimented on our work.
1 Corinthians 15:10 (ESV):
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
31 May 2023
Sometimes, ACW members are invited to meetings or functions where our organisation is not well known. As a result, we arm ourselves with banners and material that promotes our projects, and we also distribute information leaflets.
In the photo below, the current President of the Victorian Unit of ACW, Major Elaine Johnson, is standing at our promotion table. One of our banners is explaining who we are and what we stand for. The other is our lovely unit banner, which was made for us by one of our past members. She used her talents to make this item, and it has been in use now for many years.
Psalm 20:5 (ESV)
May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!
7 June 2023
When my friend and I moved to Kenya to live and work, our home came with a gardener. It was great as we did not have the time to keep a large garden going. There was a bit of a catch, though. The gardener planted what he wanted and not what we wanted.
Eventually, we came to a satisfactory agreement. The photo shows a proud Petro with vegetable seedlings in our nursery. The delicate seedlings were protected by a ‘table’ of leaves above them.
2 Corinthians 9:10 (GNT)
And God, who supplies seed for the sower and bread to eat, will also supply you with all the seed you need and will make it grow and produce a rich harvest from your generosity.
You can also read about the parable of the sower in Mark 4:1–9.
14 June 2023
A birthday is a special occasion, whether it be a special ‘0’ birthday or just an annual event with not much celebration.
When another friend and I were in England, a few years ago, it was her birthday. I had promised her that if it was possible, I would take her to Harrods for afternoon tea to celebrate her special day. This photo proves I kept my word.
In my diary I wrote: “We had a Georgian High Tea which was absolutely delightful. The staff brought in a serving plate with Happy Birthday written in chocolate, and a chocolate slice and lit candle. The pianist played Happy Birthday, so it was a lovely afternoon.”
Here are a couple of wise sayings about ageing:
Is not wisdom found among the aged?
Does not long life bring understanding? Job 12:12
“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” [Attributed to Abraham Lincoln, but source is unknown.]
21 June 2023
The Victorian Unit of ACW has a President’s Bible. It is presented to the incoming President at her dedication and induction. At this particular dedication in the photo, we were welcoming two new co-Presidents who would share the leadership of our Vic Unit for their term of office. When their term ended, we had another two women, also from different denominations, to share the leadership.
Unfortunately, during the Covid restrictions and lockdowns, we were not able to install the new co-Presidents, and we were not able to have any in-person meetings for months.
The photo shows two of our past co-Presidents signing the President’s Bible at an altar table. Rev’d Anne Kennedy is at the altar table, and co-President Loyola O’Donohue is waiting to sign her name.
It is very interesting to read the names of the past Presidents listed in this Bible. Some of them are still active in our Unit, and we benefit from their experience. Some are now, because of health or public transport issues, unable to get to meetings, and others are with our Lord.
Colossians 3:16 (ESV)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
28 June 2023
The Victorian Unit of Australian Church Women has a shared mid-year luncheon at the conclusion of each annual general meeting. I have photos that were taken some years ago, and in them I see some of the ladies around the table who have had to relinquish their physical attendance with us. We still love them and try in this Covid-19 era to keep in touch with all members – past and present – through online facilities.
My mind has been turned to how would we ever have kept up our connections, as well as we have been able to, without the progress of time and inventions. In the 1950s, we would have had to ring up those who had a phone (not everyone did) by running to the corner to use a phone box. We also wrote letters to our friends, but could we have visited the place where we bought our stamps if it was more than 5 kms from our house? (This was as far as you could travel during the stricter restrictions in Melbourne.)
With this Covid virus hitting us in the 21st century, we are fortunate to have more than just a telephone hanging in the passageway of our home or down on the next corner of the street. We now have mobile phones, we have computers, we have ATMs, we have brilliant minds who think up things like Zoom, Skype, Go ToMeeting, Join.Me, etc., and although lockdown was very inconvenient we managed.
Proverbs 24:14 (ESV)
Know that wisdom is such to your soul;
if you find it, there will be a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.
5 July 2023
A religious college had to move out of its premises. It had been there for quite a few years, but it was time to move. The tall building had to be completely emptied, and it was one of my tasks in retirement to make sure everything went to plan.
It got to the day and time when just about everything had been removed, but one important article still had to be removed. It was heavy and needed care, especially the cloth surface.
The students would not have been too pleased if we left this behind.
It was the pool table.
James 3:1 (ESV)
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
12 July 2023
One of the joys or disappointments of travel can be the food. I have sometimes heard travellers complaining about the food and asking for something simple that would be available in their native country. Quite frankly, you have to get used to what is offered or you may as well stay at home. There is always something that you would enjoy if only you would give it a go.
My friend and I were in Chile. As far as I know, I have never tasted Chilean food before that visit and I got to like what I was eating. The photo shows a perro caliente, which is a Colombian variety of the hot dog, characterized by its large size and unusual toppings.
The whole thing is placed in a bread roll which is then wrapped in paper or served in a styrofoam boat. There are a number of regional variations of this popular fast food, so some cooks like to add a bit of lettuce or a quail's egg on top or in our picture a smashed avocado.
Perro caliente can be found in many places in Colombia, and it is also very popular in the United States of America, particularly New York City.
Revelation 3:20 (ESV)
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
19 July 2023
The town of Bowral is in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales and is noted for its boutiques, antique stores, gourmet restaurants and cafes. The big attractions, however, are the Bradman Oval, Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame. They are dedicated to the achievements of the famous cricketer Sir Donald Bradman and the game of cricket.
Bowral also has a spectacular Tulip Festival in September each year. It’s worth the visit from anywhere!
Flowers are also mentioned in the Bible many times.
Matthew 6:28–29 (NIV)
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these.”
The above verses are taken from Jesus’ well-known sermon on the mount. Which flower was Jesus referring to when he told us not to worry? Click this link ‘Plant of the Month’ and see which flower it may have been.
26 July 2023
St Martin in the Fields is a Church of England parish church at the northeast corner of Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, London. It is dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours. There has been a church on this site since at least the medieval period.
This photo is of the basement, which I love. I have lunch there every time I visit London and often more than once! There is lovely food at an economical price and, when you have finished eating, there is usually a fantastic concert or musical entertainment of some kind in the church upstairs. Downstairs, there is also a gift shop where you can purchase souvenirs and gifts to take home at reasonable prices, and often the gifts are different from the usual gift shops.
Church attendance is of high importance. It is a place where we can all come together to worship, be encouraged, and learn from God's word for spiritual growth.
Hebrews 10:24–25 (NIV)
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and even more as you see the Day approaching.
2 August 2023
On a visit to Vietnam, my friend and I were members of a group of tourists enjoying a boat ride, and this included refreshments and coconut milk drinks as you can see in the photo. We had finished eating, around the table, and then it was time for drinking
Coconut milk has benefits of heart health, antioxidants for protection from disease, antimicrobial activity that fights infection, and possibly weight loss. It is not only a nutritious substitute for regular milk, but it is also very flavoursome. However, overdoing it may lead to certain possible side effects.
Coconuts are also useful for providing oil which can be used on the skin and in cooking.
1 Peter 2:2–3 (NIV)
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
9 August 2023
The photo below shows passengers from several tour buses having a meal before continuing their journeys through Greece. I took this photo in 2010 in Vergina, a town in northern Greece.
According to Wikipedia, Vergina is ‘part of the Veria municipality in Imathia, Central Macedonia. Vergina was established in 1922 in the aftermath of the population exchanges after the Treaty of Lausanne and was a separate municipality until 2011, when it was merged with Veroia under the Kallikratis Plan.’
The operators of the eating place in the photo should have been congratulated on getting so many meals ready on time for the several coach loads of tourists. It might remind you of the feeding of the 5,000 story in St Luke’s Gospel, chapter 9, verses 10 to 17.
16 August 2023
How important are books and libraries?
A very expensive renovation of the State Library of Victoria was completed in December 2019. It took nearly five years, and the result is stunning. And there is plenty of table space for research for even more people at the same time.
One of the most important books in the world for Christians, the Bible, is also a library of books. The books of the Bible cover many subjects. The various authors were inspired by God to record what they had heard and seen from creation to the teaching given by the early followers of Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
Some casual readers of the Bible may find it difficult to navigate, but there is a valuable tool for study of the Bible – it is the concordance. It can help with looking up a verse and explaining the intended meaning of the verse in context.
Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)
For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Free Printable List of Books of The Bible from https://printableshub.com/free-printable-list-of-books-of-the-bible-chart-pdf/#google_vignette
23 August 2023
The photo was taken in the Hutong area of Beijing, where all the houses were connected by little alleyways. Large, extended families were housed in the small homes that were handed down from generation to generation.
The home that I visited had been renovated and updated, so the family did not have to use the public bathroom or toilet like many of the people living in the Hutong.
What appealed about the lovely family in this home was that they invited us in to show us how proud they were of their lovely home. They welcomed us into their home with love and joy and invited us to sit around their table.
2 Corinthians 9:11–13 (NIV)
You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.
30 August 2023
My friend and I were having a holiday in Cambodia. Neither of us had been there before, so we were most anxious to see and hear everything we could during our short stay. It was staggering the number of ancient trees there, which were gnarled or growing over buildings. And they were centuries old.
Our tour guide and driver for the week invited us to his home where he had a small class of young folk learning English. We had to sing ditties to them in English and ask them to talk to us in English, and we would reply. They enjoyed us singing ‘Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree’. It was a lovely time to be able to see and hear the children speaking to us in English and to see their written work.
2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV) tells us that we should study and show God that we understand truth:
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
6 September 2023
Natural, or cultured, pearls are usually smooth and spherical because of how they are formed. A pearl is the result of the mollusc living inside the pearl shell dealing with any irritant that gets into the tissue between the mollusc and its shell. The pearls that are created become prized possessions of many.
The farming of pearls is very effective. The pearls themselves are the number one reason for their farming, but their shells and the ‘meat’ of the mollusc are all used and provide further income for the pearl farmers.
Many women were employed at the pearl farm we visited and much of its processing involved manual labour. There was the introduction of the irritants to the shell, the care of the shells and the molluscs inside of them while the pearls formed, then the opening of the shells, the washing, the cleaning of the meat, the sizing of the pearls, and so on. The young woman in the photo was working in a pearl farm factory.
There is a story in the Bible of a merchant finding a pearl of great price, which illustrates how much God values those who give up all and commit their lives to following Him.
Matthew 13:45–46 (NIV)
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”
13 September 2023
Weaving from grass, willow, straw, bamboo, rattan etc. has been in circulation in China for many years, and most often from locally available materials.
The women in the photo were weaving mats on their weaving table, from a local source, and the mats seemed to me that they were finished and ready to use.
I do not know if these mats were to be used at meal times, spread beneath serving pots and dishes, or if they were used as sleeping mats, but the women were proud to show off their handiwork for my camera.
Exodus 35:35 (NET)
He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, as designers, as embroiderers in blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and in fine linen, and as weavers. They are craftsmen in all the work and artistic designers.
20 September 2023
The tables in the photo are worth an extreme amount of money for most people. They were made of marble and displayed in a factory showroom in India.
There were many different plates and other gorgeous marble articles; some were also inlaid with precious stones. The pressure to buy was rather strong, and as I had a collection of elephants, I ended up with one more. It was of white marble, with a baby elephant inside, and all carved in one piece.
In Australia, we have several quarries that produce granite and marble. Some varieties of granite and marble are Statuario Australe, Calacatta Australe, Australian Black Marble, and Pilbara Red.
In Victoria, bluestone has been widely used. It was extracted from quarries throughout the inner northern suburbs such as Clifton Hill, Brunswick and Coburg. The quarry that was used to source the stone for the old Pentridge Prison is now a picturesque lake and park.
In addition to the list of stones, we have several Australian states where other precious materials were found, such as gold.
Esther 1:6 (KJV)
Where were white, green, and blue, hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble: the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black, marble.
27 September 2023
A well-known Australian was Dame Nellie Melba GBE. On 19 May 1861, she was born as Helen (Nellie) Porter Mitchell. Her fame was due to her singing ability, which led to her being recognised across the world for her talent as an operatic soprano.
Wikipedia tells us that she:
‘studied singing in Melbourne and made a modest success in performances there. After a brief and unsuccessful marriage, she moved to Europe in search of a singing career. Failing to find engagements in London in 1886, she studied in Paris and soon made a great success there and in Brussels. Returning to London she quickly established herself as the leading lyric soprano at Covent Garden from 1888. She soon achieved further success in Paris and elsewhere in Europe, and later at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, debuting there in 1893.’
Dame Nellie Melba never forgot her beginnings as evidenced in her stage name Melba, which was a shortened form of Melbourne. She also purchased a dairy farm on the outskirts of Melbourne and extended an existing cottage that she named ‘Coombe’, after a home that she rented in London. The Australian property is open for viewing, and there is also a coffee shop/restaurant worthy of stopping by.
Ephesians 5:19 (ESV)
'addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,'
The dining room at ‘Coombe’, Dame Nellie Melba’s home in Victoria.
4 October 2023
The Japanese word bonsai can be translated literally as planted in a pot or shallow vessel. It is an ancient art form that grows and nurtures trees so that they develop and mature as miniatures of those same trees.
The containers that hold these trees must conform to certain shapes, sizes and colours. Every aspect of the presentation of these trees must meet the design parameters for bonsai art. The trees must be transformed to conform to the high standards that are expected for this tradition.
The aim in a Christian’s life and development is to ‘be like Jesus’ in all we do and think and say. In other words, we are to live and act in the image of God.
Romans 12:2 (ESV)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Ellgy, the author of 'Pause for Thought', began writing at an early age. Here she is at age three scrutinising her composition on the typewriter, as she writes a letter to her grandparents. She was living in Kalgoorlie, and they were in Melbourne.
We are very grateful to Ellgy for writing nearly three years of short, weekly devotional thoughts that she began during the long periods of lockdown experienced in Melbourne during the Covid-19 pandemic.