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Choosing to Build

I wrote part of this post a couple of weeks ago, but did not get around to putting it up. It seems even more relevant now as I work out what is important with my busier schedule.

These are the texts my thoughts stem from:

Proverbs 25:28 “He who has no rule over his own spirit, is like a city broken down without walls.”

Proberbs 14:1 "The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands."

Our pervasive media can be a temptation. Some aspects do not tempt me at all. I do not want to watch TV, and rarely sit down and watch it. Rarely = about half an hour every two weeks at most! Similarly with movies. I went to Narnia a couple of weeks ago, and loved it, but usually I have no desire to go to movies or hire them.

The Internet is my temptation. There is so much that is good on here, and you have choice and interaction. The information I have been exposed to has helped me a lot. I love reading blogs and researching. I also have heaps of weblog posts running around in my head that I would love to write. I don’t think it would be “wrong” to spend more time online.

The reason I limit myself is simple: I want to be a wise woman, and build my house. Aunty Val, a great-great-grandmother of two, is waiting to be picked up for lunch. My Teacher’s Aide study needs to be done. My niece needs to be spoken with, cuddled, and taken for a walk. A mentally ill church member who struggles with housework needs her washing done. I need to take care of my back problem with exercise and rest. Friends are coming for dinner. Outside cyberspace the sun is shining, and my garden is growing.

As R.C. Sproul Jr. wrote in Every Thought Captive, May/June 2005, "It's true enough that the Bible doesn't say you can't listen to talk radio. It doesn't say you can't read or write blogs. It doesn't say, as far as I know, you can't read magazines from fly-over territory. And as such, I'm not saying it either. But just as we encourage folks to have lots of children not ultimately because we think contraception is a sin, but because we think children are a blessing, so here the issue isn't whether you're allowed to drink in this or that from the broader culture. The question is, aren't there better things to do with your time? And by that I don't merely mean more work-y kind of things. I mean more joyful kind of things."

If I shirk small duties and joys in the "real" world, in order to purue online interests, I am like the foolish woman pictured in Proverbs 14:1 who pulls down her own house. There are few more graphic pictures of opposing your own wellbeing, and that of the people God has placed in your life.


Frugality, Riches and Contentment

In the town where John Adams grew up, his parents lived no differently from their ancestors. Their furnishings were 6 wooden chairs, a table, several beds, a looking glass, a Bible, and three silver spoons that were prized possessions.

“A hat would descend from father to son, and for fifty years make its regular appearance at meetings” (page 33, John Adams, excerpt from a letter).

Hard work and frugality were considered necessary virtues.

This seemed a personal challenge when I read it. In a culture where "new is better"and "more is better", people have ten times more resources than what their ancestors raised ten children with. Yet they belive they cannot afford children. They call themselves poor because they cannot afford the latest technology or a better car.

A while ago I decided on my own definition of riches: a roof over my head (owned, rented, or given), food, clothes, and some money to give away. To that I'd better add a good mattress and a good chair, without which I'd find it even more difficult to manage my back pain. With this definition, I'll probably be rich for life in Australia! In a commentary on Proverbs, David Hubbard argues that having enough to eat, clothes, and something to give, is God's definition of riches in Proverbs.

Whenever I'm tempted to say "I can't afford ___" or "I'm poor", I remind myself of my definition!

I also believe the Bible defines a godly partner and children as riches and gifts of God. So if I ever receive a godly husband and children, I'll be super rich!

The story of John Adams' family also reminds me to be content. It must have required great contentment in simplicity to continue with the same hat for 50 years. No need for excitement and change in the externals.

God also calls us to be content with our situation in life. So if God never gives me a husband or kids, or my own home, or a pain free back, or a trip around the world, I pray I'll accept and embrace what he does give. Each day, each hour, each moment, giving up my ideas of what life should be in exchange for the reality that he gives. As I've gone on in my Christian life, he has increasingly shown me how to do this. I used to be insecure and unhappy about being single, but now I rarely care. I used to grieve that my back kept me from so many things I longed to do, but now I am mainly content with what is possible. God has taught me to take more delight in what he has given, and in himself.

For perhaps the central quality of true riches is contentment. A simple stillness of soul, trusting God that whatever he brings is right. On that theme, an eighteenth-century w0man who called herself "A Poor Methodist Woman" wrote a poem that says it all:

I do not know
when I have had happier times
in my soul
than when I have been sitting at work,
with nothing before me
but a candle and a white cloth
and hearing no sound
but that of my own breath;
with God in my soul
and heaven in my eye.
I rejoice in being exactly what I am
- a creature capable of loving God,
and who, as long as God lives,
must be happy.
I get up
and look a while out the window.
I gaze at the moon and stars,
the work of an Almighty Hand.
I think of the grandueur of the universe
and then sit down
and think myself
one of the happiest
beings in it.


Home Sweet Home

It is a joy to be back home - for two nights, anyway! As soon as I arrived, I rushed out to my garden to see its progress. The lettuce leaves are big enough to eat now, and new flowers are blooming. It always amazes me to see how much things grow in two weeks.

I had a good day at the staff meeting today in Launceston. It was held the school where I will be working. Today I also visited the lady who has offered me board in Launceston. It seems like a good situation. The room I will be in overlooks her garden and the hills.

I left NSW RTL on Tuesday afternoon, so I could be in Burnie for training on Wednesday and Thursday. It was hard to leave so soon, after having a good time there. I had a few difficulties on my travel to Burnie via Melbourne, but as I wrote in my diary: "I doubt the trouble will stick in my mind. Rather I'll remember the descending sun casting a golden haze around the hills and mountain peaks of my island home. The sun also shimmered lemon and gold over the water of the straight, for a long while all the eye could see and then rippling outwards from the hazy hills. The wide green swarths of grass along the coast were a welcome sight as we flew closer, even with the foreign seeming red soil gashing through. Home!"


More adventures in Sydney

God has continued to bless me up here in this big city!

I have been learning a lot at work, and seem to have been of some use as well!

On Saturday it was a beautiful sunny day. This was lovely since it was overcast for five days after I arrived, and I did not see the sun once! On Saturday I visited the Art Gallery, and enjoyed seeing several amazing old buildings on the way. At the Art Gallery I enjoyed looking at Australian 19th and early 20th century paintings, and European 15th and 16th century paintings. As usual, I avoided the modern section! After that I went to the zoo. I love animals, and always love to visit zoos. Taronga zoo is especially great since it has amazing views of the harbour.

On Sunday I went to Roseville Presbyterian Church. I appreciated the sermon on reaching the lost, the hymns, the prayers, and even the organ music! It was great to have a good experience of going to a church I did not know. I have had several bad experiences in the past, while on holiday. I also visited the Roseville Anglican Church for the end of their service. It also seems like a good evangelical church. I would have gone back in the evening, but it is 20 mins walk from my aunts and my feet were very sore after walking heaps on Saturday.

Overall, I am praising God for a great visit to Sydney.


Big city, small Sherrin

This is the largest city I have ever travelled in alone. It sure is an experience! Even catching the train at peak hour from my aunt's house on the North Shore seems a little daunting. So many people!

I look at the sky scrapers and think do people really live in those things! Where is all the grass! I saw one high window of an apartment building with scraggly bushes growing from the top that said "One Way: Jesus". At least there are some familiar ideas here, even if the landscape is entirely different :). I also saw someone in a train reading the Bible.

I have been temporarily lost while trying to get from A to B in the city, but having a map helps :). It is exciting to so many new things.

The staff here at New South Wales Right to Life are good to me, and help me a lot. My aunt and uncle are also generous and helpful people. They are away for a few days until Sunday, but I'll continue staying at their house.

On Saturday I hope to spend the day exploring some of Sydney's sights.

On Sunday I want to go to church, but it is always a bit hard to choose a church when you are in a new place. On the Sunday I arrived (15th) my aunt took me to her church - Hillsong. It was interesting to make my first visit to this famous church.

Please pray for me as I take in all the new things God has for me here.


New Year, New Opportunities

I am in Sydney working for New South Wales Right to Life ( They phoned me in the middle of last week to ask if I could come up, since a staff member will need to be away from work unexpectedly for some weeks. I can only be here until the 24th, due to my committments as a teacher's aid in Launceston. However, they still wanted to fly me up. So I am grateful to be here, learning a lot about pro-life work first hand! Praise God for unexpected opportunities.

On the pro-life theme, has been updated. There is a link to Christina's great article on RU486. I also have a new article on there. I have explained why the argument that "if something has always been around we should tolerate it" is deeply flawed.

Submissions on RU486 to the Senate inquiry are due today - there is still time to quickly write one tonight!! I sent mine in this morning, after having to a new one because the first was left on my computer at home! Complete and carefully written, sitting there unsent. That is what happens when you fly off at a few days notice!


Wedding anniversaries

Today is the wedding anniversary of both my parents (34 years), and my sister and brother in law (9 years). It was also my brother and sister in law's wedding anniversary last week (7 years). These occasions seem a good excuse to quote excerpts from John and Abigail Adams’ letters to each other. John and Abigail's love story is one of the greatest of American history. Their letters are a tribute to a deep love which weathered many separations, heartbreak, and hard providences.

Abigail to John:

When John Adams was the first Vice President of the United States:

“Years subdue the ardor of passion but in lieu thereof friendship and affection deep-rooted subsists which defies the ravages of time.”

Four years later:

“The cold has been more severe than I can ever before recollect. It has frozen the ink in my pen, and chilled the blood in my veins, but not the warmth of my affection for him whom my heart beats with unabated ardor through all the changes and vicissitudes of life.”

John to Abigail:

When they were courting:

“My soul and body have both been thrown into disorder by your absence”

As a representative of Massachusetts in Europe:

“I want to hear you think, or to see your thoughts . . . You bid me burn your letters [due to the danger of enemies finding them and using them against him], but I must forget you first.”

He wrote in another letter that in all his disappointments and perplexities “nothing has contributed so much to support my mind as the choice blessing of a wife.”

As Vice President:

“I must go to you or you must come to me. I cannot live without you.


God's Providence - Beauty

This post is a collection of images that show some of the beauty God brought into my life in 2005.

Eagle Hawk Neck, Tasmania.

Queensland's parliament house, in Brisbane, with many beautiful rooms.

The scenery near the campsite the Answers in Genesis conference was held at.

The delight of the shore near where I live, where the water changes colour and continually reveals new beauty.

Flowers in a Brisbane park.

Tulips my friend Hunnah gave me as a graduation present.


God's Providence - His People

My Local Church
I am blessed to attend a fellowship were the Bible and the gospel are valued,
Crossroads Presbyterian Church. I appreciate hearing the Bible preached weekly. I am also grateful that at the end of 2005 we began having more singing. We sing mainly hymns, which I love. We also became a bigger church in 2005, through receiving back two church plants to form the "new Crossroads". At this church I have many friends, and I greatly appreciate God's gift of these relationships. We are a church of mostly twenty-somethings, and we meet in this very, uh, unusual building, with an unusual colour scheme.

It used to be a cinema. There is also another large room with booths, that used to be a bingo hall! This is good for chatting after the service.

God's People Far Away
I am also grateful for relationships with God's people overseas, through letters, email, and phone calls.

Another aspect of God's Providence is people I don't know personally, who
bless me so much through their writing and speaking. In 2005 I benifitted from reading many people's contributions on the Internet, which challenged me in new ways. I also benefitted from reading many books, including several commentaries on the Bible. It is wonderful that God's people can be such a blessing even from a long distance. One book I read in mid-2005, Joshua Harris' Stop Dating the Chruch!: Fall in love with the family of God, challenged me to more deeply grasp God's plan for working through his church. I don't think I've ever been a real "church hopper". However, I did not see how important the church is to God and how important he wants it to be to us.

Answers in Genesis Conference
This year I also had the privilege of attending an Answers in Genesis conference, which I loved. I was able to go despite my back problem, because they had inner spring mattresses. I had a wonderful time of fellowship on the Gold Coast. There were very few people my age, but I enjoyed talking to many older people and having the privilege of hearing their stories.

Here I am with some of the ladies I enjoyed meeting:

During 2005 the Answers in Genesis ministry helped me to understand that there are two types of science:

Observational science can be measured and observed through repeatable experiments, and enables us to create things like computers.

2. H
istorical science concerns the past and cannot be observed and tested in the present. The views people come to on historical science depend upon their interpretations and beliefs. Evolutionists and Creationists have the same facts.
Evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould said "Facts do not 'speak for themselves', they are read in the light of theory." Evolutionist educater P. MacInnis said: "The Genesis account of creation may even be the correct one, but there is no way science can prove or disprove that, and the creationists know it."

Many sincere, godly Christians are confused because they believe evolution is "proven", when it is not. They try to fit death and suffering into a "very good" world before the fall of man, which undermines the gospel message. I am deeply grateful for the ministry of God's people at Answers in Genesis, who have helped so many to trust in the truth of God's word and the work of Christ on the cross.


Small Steps

I enjoyed Amy’s post on Small Steps. There are so many areas of life where small steps add up to achievement. I like the saying “How did the mouse eat the elephant? One bite at a time.” I don’t know its source, but it has stuck in my mind. I kept thinking of this when I was working toward my degree. Whether the task is sewing a quilt, completing a course of study, learning to cook well, or understanding the whole of God’s Word well, if I look at the whole it can be overwhelming. There is a temptation to give up before starting. Yet if I just “do the next thing”, as Elizabeth Elliot says, that seems attainable. Gradually, all those small steps add up to a whole that means the achievement of the original goal. Small steps are especially important for me because of my back problem, which means I often have to break a task into chunks to be able to complete it. To cook a recipe, for example, I usually have to make part of it and then sit down before completing more. If you have a goal, it is better to do a small thing toward it than to do nothing.

Here is nephew 2 taking his own small steps:


Am I a Closet Catholic??

A person who called herself "Yabby" on an Online Opinion message board, recently accused me of being a Catholic solely on the basis that I am pro-life. Even after I told her I was not, she persisted in saying I must be "connected". Yabby looked up my blog and then wrote that I had a whole heap of anti-abortion people listed, most of whom have links to the Catholic church. Hmm. Perhaps she doesn't know the difference between Catholics and protestants. As a protestant, I am nearly as likely to be criticisized for being actively pro-life as encouraged. Two people have told me to make sure I note that what I'm doing isn't really useful, as if I do "save any babies" they'll probably grow up and go to hell. Many people are encouraging too, but there is certainly a lot of feeling that I'd be better off spending the time I take on pr0-life work "preaching the gospel". I don't mind these friendly reminders. They help me keep anything I do about abortion in perspective. The gospel is indeed far more important.

My exchange with Yabby reminded me of emails I received last year as the President of Students Organised to Uphold Life at the University of Tasmania. When I received the following emails, I sent them on to a few Catholic SOUL members, and they found them extremely funny. Here is my correspondance with our critic:

The original email, titled “Message for SOUL”, on 5 March.

get your rosaries of our ovaries


Hi Danielle,

Thank you for your message. I can assure you that we at SOUL have absolutely no interest in your ovaries. Nor do the majority of us have any interest in rosaries. Some of our members are Catholic, but they do not make up the majority.

Your cute rhyme represents a common stereotype, but it really has absolutely nothing to do with what we are trying to do.

Pro-life people are commonly assumed to be solely religious, but that is just not true. See these two sites if you are interested.

From Sherrin Ward.


Ha Ha Ha,

You Catholics should just tell the truth about SOUL
and that is just a recruiting ground for picking up
unsuspecting young catholic girls who will be driven
to a life of submisiveness or young boys who priests
would be interested in.

You should be all sterilized the lot of you

People who assume all pro-life people are Catholic do two things, neither of which are helpful to their cause.

1. They attack the person (inaccurately in my case), rather than the arguments persented.
2. They underestimate their opposition, which is never a smart thing to do.




Remind me

"Remind me of this with every decision, generations will reap what I sow. I can pass on a curse or a blessing to those I will never know. To my great-great-great granddaughter, live in peace."

Songwriter Sara Groves


True Holiness is Shown in Small Things

I have begun reading J. C. Ryle’s book Holiness again. I read to chapter four early last year, and I am starting at the beginning again now. Even the preface, written in 1879, contains a lot to think upon. J. C. Ryle wrote that “holiness” meetings that excite religious feelings are only of value if they make people “better husbands and wives and fathers and mothers and sons and daughters and brothers and sisters”.

He questioned the value of these meetings.

“Do those who attend these meetings become more holy, meek, unselfish, kind, good-tempered, self-denying and Christ-like at home? Do they become more content with their position in life, and more free from restless craving after something different from that which God has given them?”

“Above all, do they grow in charity, and especially in charity toward those who do not agree with them in every jot and tittle of their religion?”

J.C. Ryle felt that the meetings did “not promote private home religion, private Bible reading, private prayer, private usefulness and private walking with God.” After all, “it is far easier to be a Christian among singing, praying, sympathising Christians in a public room, than to be a consistent Christian in a quiet, retired, out-of-the-way, uncongenial home.”

These reflections seem all the more pertinent in 2006. Over and over again, the Bible tells us that devotion to Christ is to be evidenced in love for others. It is to be exhibited moment by moment, day after day, year after year. Our religion should show itself in how we speak to a child, our response when a family member asks us to do something, and our tolerance toward Christians who differ with us on non-essential matters. Such moment-to-moment devotion is usually less than exciting, but it results in good fruit. It can only come from always seeking our Holy Sanctifier with a humble heart.


God's Providence in 2005

I am planning a series of posts on God's providence to me in 2005. I recognise and celebrate many things God sovereignly brought into my life during that time. I enjoyed my best year since 1999, when I was injured in a car accident.

I appreciated a Vision Forum email newsletter that encouraged readers to think on and document God’s providence to us this year. Anyone who has read much about Doug Phillips, Vision Forum’s President, will know he believes this is important. He named his seventh child Providence. The newsletter he wrote is also on his blog, and can be read here.

I'd firstly like to mention God's providence to me in his gift of a family. My nephews, brother, and sister-in-law are visiting for two weeks. It has been fun to watch Esther becoming acquainted with her cousins. Here are Esther and nephew No. 1 watching a catipillar.

During 2005, God's providence to me with regard to family included:
* My second nephew's birth.
* Learning that a new niece or nephew is due in June. I rejoice in welcoming new personalities to love!
* Seeing my brother and sister pray with their children.
* Visiting my nephews for two weeks.
* Two loving parents who always try to help me, and have done more for me than anyone else!
* Esther living close to us. Babysitting Esther and rejoicing as I watch her develop new skills.
* Having my sister (Esther's Mum) nearby and doing scrapbooking with her.
* Visiting different parts of Australia where I met up with aunts, uncles and cousins I had not seen for many years. I do not remember meeting my cousin Nigel Flowers before, and it was fun to visit his house for dinner.
* Seeing various family members learn more about God and apply His word.

God has placed each one of us in our particular family, with all its strengths and weaknesses, to accomplish his purposes in us. We should not disregard this. Instead, we should praise God and plead with Him on their behalf. We can have an impact, for good or evil, for eternity. One of most important keys to producing what is good is to pray for a humble heart that is ready to change, and submit to others. I know I need that!


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