Hi Dear friends,
I’ve been sharing some blessings that I’ve been finding/remembering. Some of these are recent events, others are things I’ve been contemplating for a while.
My little blessing for number six is heritage. And today’s post isn’t as whimsical as the last. This post is a bit longer as well. I’ve been blessed to grow up in a godly christian home, and have godly grandparents and great grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. I don’t have many pictures to use to illustrate that so I won’t try this time to show family pictures here, but I think this is a blessing/treasure that I come from a family that loves and serves a wonderful God. Now my family is far from perfect and we make so many mistakes and have made many mistakes. We sin. But we serve a gracious Lord who forgives and uses us anyway.
Then I’ve been blessed to marry into a godly family. Yes, my in-laws have problems, but they welcome me into their family with my problems. So I’m blessed with my husband’s heritage as well as my own. His grandparents were involved with many ministries, his parents have done camps and catering for ministries. This is our heritage.
I’ve been reading in Genesis for my personal reading and have been reminded again and again how God used so many people who kept sinning, and he used them to be his people. Grace is so evident in that book of the Bible. I think it’s amazing how God wants to use us. It’s not about us either. The focus is taken off of us and turned to the Lord.
This picture is of a building, painted by a man named Mike Coghlan. The life he lived is part of our Christian Heritage. He had a rough start to life, he didn’t care for his family and his children were ignored because of his tendency to drink. Then one day the Lord worked in his life and saved him. That completely changed his life. I don’t know all the ins and outs, but he started preaching and evangelising. He devoted his life to others from then on. He went to his children and apologised for how he treated them. He became focused on serving God. He was an artist, and did a lot of ink drawings on wood. He painted this on the side of a building. A pastor’s wife in Sydney used to own a shop in this building.
Mike had a huge influence in my husband’s life with travelling and doing missions trips together. Mike was very colourful and wasn’t a glamorous man. He was a “country” man. He knew the bush, he knew how to get around the bush. He probably knew a lot of survival skills. He was very frank, and made some blunt statements that some people didn’t like. But he did what he thought the Lord wanted him to do.
When we were still dating, my sweetheart wanted me to meet Mike. So when Steven was in Sydney and Mike was in Sydney when I was still teaching there, Steven took me to meet Mike. He had been diagnosed with a terminal cancer, and he had lost most of his hearing, but he still loved to talk and meet with friends. I think I had a gauntlet to pass through when I met Mike. He had some concerns about Americans who tried to control things in Australia (missions is tricky, we can’t create American churches in other cultures. Build Biblical churches in all cultures! okay side note is done). Mike tried to see if I was going to be offended by his dislike towards controlling Americans. Because I’d seen it happen, I could agree with him. I can’t remember quite everything Mike said, but I could see his love for his people and for his Lord. He told me something no one else had told me about Steven. He told me that Steven was a man of calibre. I knew that, but it meant a lot to me to have Mike say that. Mike also kind of gave his approval of me. So that was special.
That was the first and only time I got to meet him. Mike went to be with the Lord in July 2014. Last September the church near this shop in Sydney held a memorial service for Mike. We went. I think it was one of the most special services I’ve ever been to. We were reminded that we need to fill the gaps that Mike left, to be willing to make sacrifices for the Lord.
I’d like to say, please remember the heritage you’ve been left by not only the Word of God (especially that) but also your family and the pastors and leaders who have had influences in your life. Remember them and be grateful. Remember them and seek ways to be like them as they are/were like Christ.
My second blessing is also about heritage but national heritage.
Recently we went to the Goulburn War Memorial Tower. it was built in the early 1920s to serve as a memorial to those men who served in the “great war”. This year, 2015 is a big year in Australia because it starts the centenary from the start of that war. This tower is part of the Australian heritage of men who fought and died for the freedoms of our country here, but also other like countries. The ANZACS were men who fought and died, not only for Australia, and New Zealand, but for all the Commonwealth. On Anzac Day this year, Steven and I went to see the Canberra Anzac Parade. Our first “date” was on Anzac Day in 2013. It holds a special meaning for us as a couple as well as the historical meaning.
I think it’s necessary to remember our country’s heritage, maybe in a different way from our family and biblical heritage, but it is still important. In our day of godlessness, I fear our countries our turning away from God and that is the reason for so much trouble, fear and discord. I don’t think we can make it “better to bring in the kingdom”, but I do think we can make a difference in witnessing so more people know about the Lord and His truth. As we wait for the Lord’s return in the rapture to take us away from all the trouble. We can speak out so that history doesn’t repeat itself with war and horror (it will, and the horror will only get worse… but that’s not what I’m trying to say here).
Places like this War Memorial are reminders of how and why we are free. Others gave their lives. We shouldn’t take that for granted. Canada will soon have Canada Day on July 1st. The USA will have the 4th of July. We in Australia already had our Australia Day on the 26th of January and our Anzac Day on the 24th of April. I’m going to be wearing my Canada shirt, then USA shirt in the next few weeks, and will continue to wear them. (My sweatshirt I’m wearing now says Canada on it.) I’m thankful for my three countries who have tremendous histories of sacrifice. There is much to be ashamed of: slavery, horrible treatment of workers in cotton mills, child labour, coal mining issues, race issues, voting for women, Aborigine and American Natives and First Nation atrocities and so much more that it would be hard to list here. But there is also much to be grateful for. Our heritage is again a reminder of the good, the bad and the ugly, but it’s what we do with it that matters. Learn from the mistakes, be grateful that God used those things, and used people to build up our nations. Then it’s our turn to make a difference in today.
What’s the heritage you will leave behind? What kind of difference can you make today in the lives of the people around you? I don’t think it’s too late to start. It’s when we get stuck in the past full of regrets rather than looking forward and pushing ahead to what we can do. No, we can’t control tomorrow, but we can look to the Lord and seek guidance for decisions and choose to do right and choose to do the next thing. As we do one thing at a time we can hopefully leave a heritage of love for God and others with the people around us.
Let’s keep remembering and considering our heritage, what are we leaving for others? 🙂