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THE FALLEN BALLERINA

 

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This flower reminds me of a ballerina. The flower has grown old and fallen.  Age may take its toll of our bodies but our spirit should cause us to rise and live above aged bodies until we leave this earth.

The dancer pirouetted across the stage, she leaped, spun and posed with arms above her head. Her grace was as fluid as a bird on the wing. Her beauty is as undeniable as Dresden china.

As she danced a pain shot up her leg, she gasped and strove to complete the pas de deur. Instead, she crumpled into a heap on the floor in agony.  The crowd gasped, their star was down. Would she rise again?

OVERCOMING ABUSE

God loves you and I the fallen Ballerinas, with a white hot love that is beyond our wildest imagination.  We have no way to measure God’s love for us. All we have is Jesus as the yardstick of His love.

We, who have been abused physically, verbally and sexually,  we who feel ashamed as if it was our fault. We, who feel unclean and no amount of striving to assuage that feeling of unworthiness even by taking our abuser to court and winning, will appease that guilt and uncleanness. We, the fallen Ballerinas, are the chosen of God, he has sent Jesus to take the effects of that abuse from us and cleanse us, purge as deeply as our conscience from the consequences of violence through his death on the cross.  “How much more, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit…  cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.’  Heb. 9: 4. Let’s commit ourselves to the love of God and claim that deep cleansing from the effects of the abuse. We can rise to dance again on life’s stage, whole.

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The Chorus line of fuchia flowers. The Bible says we believers are surrounded by a greatt cloud of witnesses. God has stressed time and again he will not leave us or forsake us.  That is a proven fact.

NOT ALONE

Ballerina, you are not alone, you have a dance partner, Jesus. He is more than just a dance partner; he has made you the joint heir of his dance company. Jesus has given you everything the Father has given him.  As the Father’s child, his DNA is coursing through your being.  “And since we are his children, we will share his treasures – for all God gives to his Son Jesus is now ours too.’ Romans 8: 17.

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The ant is addicted to the aphids on the fuchia.  Ants milk the aphids, the aphids milk the fuchia.  The flower provides a rich source for the aphids.  The Bible says God provides beyond our wildest imagination.

STOP

Stop what we are doing, striving through drugs, alcohol or whatever we’re hoping will take our pain away, look God in the eye, he loves us without reserve.  He has invited us to ‘sit at his table in the wilderness, in the face of our enemies, wander in green pastures, and though we have been through the valley of death, we will fear no evil.’  Psalm 23.

TO DANCE AGAIN

God has committed himself to a relationship with us. ‘God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the Heavenly realms…’ Eph. 2: 6. We have risen like the Pheonix from the ashes, we who believe. Jesus, the embodiment of God’s love invites you, me, to rise as the Pheonix and dance whole and free on life’s stage.

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Get into the frame of God’s salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.
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IT’S FINISHED.

 

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It is finished! What’s finished? Sin is finished. You mean we can indulge in all kinds of base and anti-social behaviour and know we won’t go to hell?  On the other hand, we can strip off anything that slows us down…especially those sins that wrap themselves tightly around our feet and trip us up…’ (Hebrews 12: 1-2) and believe and accept that Jesus killed off sin on the cross, giving the believers a new start.

THE CLOTH

I am currently hand embroidering a linen table cloth. The pattern comprises twelve peacocks forming a ring in a stylized design.  The embroidery is call Richelieu because much of the pattern is worked in bars and later the linen is cut away just leaving the bars.

I have stitched at it every evening and have completed eight birds.  I began the project in February 2018 when I traced the pattern and ironed it on to the linen and sewed the first stitches.  I estimate it will be June 2019 when I say, ‘It is finished!’

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Embroidery is an art form.  It should not be consigned to Grandmas’only.  Being a Christian should not be judged on church doctrine but on what Jesus himself taught.

NO STRUGGLE

I have kept working on the cloth constantly – two hours every evening. When I first became a Christian I started working on being good. Remaking myself to please God, so I believed. After failing very badly I gave up trying to be good, admitted it couldn’t be done. God, then, stepped in and revealed he had done it all for me. When I had become a Christian, Jesus filled me with himself. When I accept him he lives through me. That is why it is not up to me to struggle to live the Christian life.  My part today is to believe Jesus as Saviour and receive from him God’s abundant favour and the gift of goodness.

Jesus famous last words while hanging on the cross were, ‘It is finished!’ He meant he had taken our place, replacing our self-effort with his life indwelling us. Jesus has made us as perfect as he is perfect in spirit. We no longer have to struggle with sin.

Sin is not the issue any longer. Rejecting the finished work of Jesus is the issue. Do we accept Jesus, trust him with our life? or do we trust ourselves and our ability to be good and please God.

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Embroidery is a great way to relax after a hard day. The lifestyle of a Jesus follower is subject to ridicule, but the unearned favour of God more than makes up for being the butt of jokes and cruel comments.

 

 

THE PLAN

The plan is to work at the cloth until it is finished.  It is my greatest piece of embroidery, my ultimate work of art, my ‘piéce de résistance’. For Jesus, hanging on the cross was his greatest moment. He saved the world all we have to do is believe and accept him as Saviour and receive from him God’s abundant favour. However, I cannot make me in the same way as the cloth.  Only Jesus can renew me. I have accepted Jesus, ‘I am a new person,’ ‘It is no longer I that lives but Christ Jesus in me.’(Galatians 2:20. What appears to have been lost in one sense is more than gained in another.  Jesus has given me ‘more than we ever dared to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes.’ (Ephesians 3: 20)

 

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JUST AN OLD STOVE. Raylene Pearce, guest writer

 

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Once I thought I was an old stove.

You know the kind you see on the back veranda of old houses.  There they stand, gathering cobwebs, rust and the neighbour’s displeasure.

I remember just such a stove at a house on the main road into Coromandel Valley.  As I drove past, I would quickly look to the left, and there it was for all to see – an old stove, plunked beside an old sofa with the stuffing falling out.

I used to think, ‘Yes, there you are, just like me. I bet there’s a new model where you once were. A shiny, clean, sparkling stove, probably fan-forced and…self-cleaning!’

This happened twenty-six years ago, at the time I was traded in for a new model wife.  I truly thought I was like that old stove.

But I want to bear testimony to the One who is my Redeemer – Jesus.  He rescues and reconditions old stoves.  Not only that, but he restores them so completely that the inside is as sparkling clean as a brand-new model straight from the warehouse.

All he wants from us is a repentant heart and a willingness to be changed into something new, something the Father can use for his glory. God never wastes anything.  Nothing from the past is beyond restoration.

God cannot change the past, but he can change the way we respond to the past – now!  We are not victims!  We are Overcomers! How are we Overcomers?  How do we overcome those things that torment us, that rise up and make us remember the dark things?

Three thousand years ago a young man called David sang a song and it’s recorded in Samuel 2 and I want to look at the opening verses.  ‘The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer.’ I’d like to replace the four-letter word ‘rock’ with another four-letter word – ‘love’. ‘The Lord is my love, my place of safety and restoration.’  Because God is love, he brings us into his embrace and restores all the old stoves and all the young stoves whose shiny surfaces can be so easily scratched.

And who is this God of love, this loving ‘Rock’?

THE GOD WHO IS LOVE. GOD DOES NOT HAVE LOVE, OR MAKE LOVE, OR DO LOVE LIKE A HOBBY – HE IS LOVE AND ACTS OUT HIS LOVE WITHIN HIS VERY BEING – BEING GOD.

I want to paint you a picture of perfect love. There never was a time when the Father was not the Father and there never was a time that the Son was not the Son. There was never a time when the Father did not love the Son and there was never a time when the Son did not love the Father. The third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is equally placed in that love relationship of the three in One: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all in the community of love. There is a continual dance of love between them. The whole reason for their being is to love.

What is absolutely wonderful about all this is that the Triune God – that is, the Holy Trinity – has chosen to include us all in this wonderful overflowing love relationship. So as we believe in Him we are taken up into this embrace.

That’s what being a Christian means, being in relationship with God the Father, with Christ the Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Perfect love.

Raylene Pearce is a woman with a thousand stories.  This story is just one of those many stories that she loves to share.

Before the world came to be, the God of love had already set up the plan, the great rescue plan that would include every person.

Two thousand years ago on a rock outside the city of Jerusalem, in the rubbish dump, no less, a young man of thirty-three years hung on a cross and took into himself all that separates us from God and separates us from living a totally fulfilling life in Jesus – now!

What happened on the cross, releases us from being tied to the dreadfulness of past things.

Jesus has taken into himself all the sin and suffering; all the abuse and loneliness, all the grief and sorrow.  All that has hurt each one of us, all that has broken us and our families, all that continues to hurt us and keeps us from living the abundant life. All this Jesus has taken away.

Like a sponge he soaked up all the sin for all time, for all people, and declared it defeated, ‘It is finished,’ the young man cried out in triumph.  He had completed the work he had been sent to do: to defeat the works of the evil one, who tries to have control of our lives. His completed work releases us all from the tyranny of the past, the present and the future.

Something else he does, once we have committed to his loving hand, He remodels us.

It means that all old stoves can be restored and remodelled and that all young stoves can find the only safe place to grow in.

PRAYER

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Let me close with the prayer of St Paul to the Ephesians: 3:20 … ‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to the power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.’

Raylene Pearce, Coromandel Valley, S.A.

 

 

 

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AN ALCOHOLIC DAZE By Dave Oakley. Guest Writer

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SO MUCH FUN

It is fun to experiment when we are young. We feel adult, in control of our life. We feel we can take on the world, life seems so exciting.

The taste of alcohol and the euphoria it brings is very fun and pleasurable and so we indulge and an addiction is born. The addiction grows until we are its servant, trapped, our life is down the gurgler.

The same goes for addiction to drugs.  First the experiment, then enjoyment, then continuing the enjoyment, then the trap is sprung and addiction has us in its grip.

How to break the power of addiction?

David Oakley found the way.  The way is Jesus, Jesus is the addiction defeater.

ADDICTION

‘You’re a drunk, mate, an alcoholic, ‘Kevin said, one of two guys in Perth, with whom I shared a room. He was right, of course. My life was out of control with drinking, I was living to drink and drinking to live.  Alcohol told me where to go, what to do and who to mix with. Initially promising heaven drink had instead led me to the gates of a living hell.

Kevin’s voice and words held no weight nor had the power to break through the alcoholic daze I found myself in.  God’s voice and words could and did.

OLD HABITS DIE HARD
It was a year later. I’d just spent three weeks in a Mental Health Facility in Melbourne after hallucinating on a Pioneer Coach coming south from Brisbane. I now felt good.  Three weeks dry, full of good food and counsel.  I felt like things were looking up for the first time in years.

I decided to carry on to Adelaide and control the drinking.  Maybe even look up my first wife who had left me three years earlier after just nine months of marriage.  I found a room in Kent Town and a job in a foundry and started afresh. Old habits die hard.

P1140511-001.JPG I was soon drinking more and more, before work, during work, straight to the pub after work, Saturdays and Sundays.  The inevitable happened. A Saturday, Sunday session flowed through to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  I came to myself looking into the mirror behind the front bar of the Botanic Hotel, here in Adelaide. I think it was a Thursday.

I was a mess, my hair was dirty and uncombed, my eyes were wild, staring and bloodshot, my skin was a pasty colour with large red blotches where my blood pressure level was through the roof.  My clothes were stained and smelling. I was shaking uncontrollably internally and externally. Unable to hold the drink in front of me, I had to lap it like a dog.  I felt totally lost and alone, no hope and nowhere to turn.

THE VOICE
It was quiet in the bar, no barmen and no customers, then I heard a voice, I believed then and now it was the voice of God.

‘Dave, if you don’t stop drinking you will be dead within the year and in hell.’

That freaked me out, I left the drink, left the bar and went back to my room.  Locked the door and lay on the bed, fearful and exhausted.  One hour, two hours, I don’t know, but I began to see monstrous bats flying through the door, the walls, the windows, coming for me.  I was terrified to my core and screamed out, ‘God help me.’ I found the strength and courage to get off the bed and out of the room and ran terrified through the streets of Kent Town.

I ended up in St Anthony’s Hospital in St Peters suburb. Three weeks later into the program I was given a day pass, I was sober, felt good and confident to control the drinking.

I had dismissed the voice I heard as another figment of my drunken imagination and set out to prove it. I went back to the Botanic, sat at the bar and ordered a drink.  I thought as I took the first sip, this is good, another drink won’t hurt, no one at the Hospital will know. Maybe a third, I’m in control.  Alcohol was refastening it grip upon me once again.

Once more, it was quiet in the bar and I was on my own, when I heard ‘that voice’. The voice spoke with authority and certainly, ‘Dave, you have been warned, if you don’t stop drinking you will be dead within the year and then in hell.’
This time, I put the drink down and walked out of the bar.  By the grace of God I have not had another drink.

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NEW THINGS HAVE COME
About this time, I met my now wife.  Doreen took me to Bethesda, a church on Marion Road. The message was based on 2 Corinthians 5: 17, ‘Therefore if any man is in Christ he is a new creature. The old things passed away behold new things have come.’

That was what I wanted, what I needed I responded to the altar call the preacher made.  Led by the Spirit of God, I walked away from the sin, the guilt, the shame my drinking had led me to and  away from the gates of hell and through the gate that leads to heaven and Eternal Life – the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you are reading this and find yourself bound, shackled and held  captive by addiction my prayer for you is that you would be set free by the power of God and the Name of Jesus.

 

 

 

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FIVE MEMORIES

 

P1260442.JPGOh, look! Here is a wedding invitation from Michael and Peggy.  I remember when Michael was a teenager and came to work on the fruit block during the summer holidays. To fund his goal to be a doctor he had to work during holidays and any spare time. There was only Michael, his brother and mother. I wonder if he reached his dream.

Michael and his mate, Lou, would have pitched buckets of rotten fruit at my husband Bruce, in after work fruit fights. Our children became very upset at Dad being picked on by these two boys. In fact, Bruce would have teased the boys, and they were only retaliating.

We have never heard of Mick again.  Lou married and became a father and Pastor. I sigh, so long ago, like ships passing in the night. Their lives crossed ours just for a moment in time.
POTENTIAL
Wow! My old diary.  Wonder what I wrote back then. Fancy that! It says we went to a combined Schools’ Concert in Whyalla and granddaughter Jessica was in the choir – 250 strong. Also, she was flautist in an ensemble of 12.  Jessica had so much potential, like a plant about to bloom.  Jessica is wife and mum to a daughter and son.

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GOLDEN WEDDING
Ah, here’s our golden wedding cards.  Who sent us these beautiful cards? Wayne and Mandy, my grandson and his wife.  His story is a miracle. He was only nineteen when he was diagnosed with leukemia.  Stem cell technology gave him a chance of living.  He is a father of twins now.  So many of his fellow sufferers have died.  He is a lone survivor.  His mother is too. She waged a successful war against breast cancer.

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MORE PRECIOUS THAN DIAMONDS
Oh and look! A card from the great grandchildren.  There are bits of paper stuck all over it and a note from their mother, ‘Happy Birthday, Nana.’ The card is not pretty or expensive, but it is prized above diamonds or pearls. The card was made by their little hands with much excited talk and glue everywhere to do something special for Nana.

In my memory box, there are stored hundreds of memories, good ones, bad ones. I’ve remembered only a few of what is stored in the box.

P1330784.JPGGOD’S MEMORY BOX

The great thing about God is that his memory box is empty. We are reminded in the book of Psalms that God cast our sin as far from him as the east is from the west and remembers them no more.’  God only records that Christ made us a new person when we invited him into our inner being person. New desires, actions, lifestyles were born in us then; this is the record that God keeps.

We keep our mental memory box full with the hurts and grudges against those who did us wrong. Years later, we are still carrying them.  God’s memory box is empty of our misdeeds because his only son Jesus took our place of condemnation.  When we believe and accept Jesus as our scapegoat, we are cleansed.  Our past is rubbed out. God forgives and forgets.

My memory box is full of cards, newspaper cuttings, photos and junk, I’m going to keep my memory box because I like to remember those who have drifted in and out of our life and what my children have achieved. However, I’m working on emptying my mental memory box. If God can forgive me totally, then I need to empty my memory and be the new person, he made me at the cross.

God sees me and you through Christ and what Christ has made us. God has chosen me and you above all else to be his beloved children, free from the clutter of sin. Let’s embrace that new life, unreservedly and live our full potential.

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THE FOUR DODGERS

 

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This man is dodging work under the guise of taking a spell anf having a coffee.  He will probably accomplish more after  relaxing for a time.

The story, Oliver Twist, had a character called the Artful Dodger He was well versed in the art of evading capture and hunger by stealth and cunning. There is a baseball team called the Dodgers.  They lived up to their name by dodging their opponents and winning the matches.

It is the way of human nature to dodge the issues of life and find ways and means of avoiding responsibility or facing the consequences of our actions.

 

MEET THE DODGE FAMILY

The Parent-dodgers sneak out after the parents have gone to sleep or have gone out. Sooner or later Parent dodgers get found out.  Their activities curtailed.  At the very worst,  parent dodging ends up in the hands of the police and a detention sentence is imposed. In adult life, parent dodging leads to boss dodging.  Faking our work ethic. It’s a form of cheating on the boss.  It spills over into marriages and spouses cheat on each other, fidelity in marriage may not smart anymore it shows integrity and morality.

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The cake and the bouquets are beautiful trimmings to  wedding. Adjustments and changes will be needed by the  Dodgers  for trusting intimacy to grow and the marriage become a solid union.Marriage doesn’t begin and end on the Wedding Day, it is a life-long committment.  There is no room for Dodgers or cheater.

 

There are Work-dodgers, people who do as little work as possible for the highest amount of pay. If they are clever, they can climb the ladder and reach the office of CEO. Conversely, they can reach the office of the homeless, living in the park under a cardboard carton and fed by a soup kitchen.

There are Dish-dodgers. Dishes are piled in the sink until there isn’t a clean article in the house.  Not very hygienic.  Eventually, dish-dodging includes clothing, and the toilet. In

fact, every aspect of hygiene is avoided and we see videos of houses from hell.  The whole house and contents should be bulldozed and carted off to the tip.  Often though, someone cleans up the house and it is rented out again.

There are even God-Dodgers. These people or some of them, like to appear as though they are Christian. They go to church and attend church activities. They mix with Christian people and in appearance they are Christian. Within themselves they are evading God. They are withholding themselves from an intimate relationship with God

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One image has been supe-imposed on the other.  Two worlds have been joined together.  Remember God deals with the heart. He is a heart-changer.

THE BETTER OF TWO WORLDS

The Artful Dodger escaped detection and was well fed, whereas the other boys starved.  God Dodgers are trying to live in the better of two worlds but it can’t be done when dealing with God. God does not give himself, his gifts of his enlightenment to people wanting to sit on the fence.

What the God-dodgers fail to realize is – they may fool the pastor/priest, even themselves but never God.  God looks at the intent of the heart.

Our parents, spouses, bosses will probably get very angry with our avoidance of work and responsibility on the other hand, God’s love is so vast and unfathomable that he isn’t mad at us.  God has brought in an era of grace or unearned favor toward us.  So, God is not mad at us. He and Jesus agreed that Jesus would be the scapegoat and bear the anger that should have been vented on us was poured out on Jesus.

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The cross is the symbol that God is not angry with us. THe cross is the sign of a radical love poured out on each of us, to make us more tthan we could be.

GOD IS NOT MAD

Jesus appeased God’s anger toward us when he was crucified.  Jesus carried my sin and yours on the cross. We now no longer face God’s anger.  He is no longer angry at us.

If we decide not to be a God-dodger, then we need to accept Jesus into our innermost being. This acceptance of Jesus will open the door to a new intimacy with God as Father. There maybe four kinds of dodgers or more in the world, yet there is only one path to God, through Jesus and that was is by believing

God doesn’t see any evaders.  When a person invites Christ to dwell in their heart, God doesn’t see them as dodgers anymore.  They are his beloved children who he is pleased with.  The miracle is: once we know God we don’t want to draw away from him, we only want to get closer. The more we know him the more we marvel at his love and are drawn to his love by his love.

God promised, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’

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MOSAIC MAGIC

 

 

 

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‘What can we do to make that old wash-trough look decent?’ Clare’s Mum asked one day. The wash-trough had been bricked in to make a fish tank with the left-over tiles from when the bathroom had been renovated. The trough now sat as a centre piece in the back garden and was considered an eyesore.

‘We could cover it with a mosaic,’ Clare suggested.

‘What could we use as pieces for the design?’ Mum wondered.

‘There are broken tiles behind the shed. Some pebbles are left over from the footpath,’ Clare did an inventory of the materials available.

The wash-trough became the base for a montage. It was Clare’s first attempt at turning broken pieces into a picture. The creative juices were set in motion even though a few years would lapse before there was another attempt.

 

P1330503.JPGTHE FIRST CREATORS OF MOSAICS

Mosaic art was first created by assembling small pieces of coloured glass, stones or other materials into a pattern. The earliest known mosaic pieces were found at a temple in Ubaid, Mesopotamia. It is thought to date to the second half of the third millennium BCE. The Greeks were the first creators, to use pebbles of the one size to create a floor mural.

Mosaic art became the ‘in thing’ when Christians began to use it to decorate the walls of churches instead of floors.

The two earliest examples of mosaic art are in Rome. The Santa Costanza, built about AD 350 as the tomb of a daughter of Constantine.  This shrine has lively mosaics using pagan themes decorating its vault. More significant is the mosaic in the apse of the Santa Puduziana, dating back to 390 AD.ADs. It depicts Jesus on a throne, his apostles supporting him either side.

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THE FACINATION OF DESIGN

When Clare returned to mosaics, design fascinated her, and she studied examples and techniques from books.  The bases were still recycled items; trays, boards that could be used for table tops, door numbers.

‘Beautiful pieces of china that were dropped found their way into my shed. The first pieces I produced were door numbers using the fine crockery pieces. The bases were plaques or notices on doors.

Used terra-cotta pots were grist to the mill of mosaicking, ‘Can you do something with these?’ Clare was asked by people wanting to dispose of unwanted pots. Always she rose to the challenge and produced stunning pots. Exterior walls and fences have undergone make overs with Clare’s mosaics.

What was the underlying challenge in mosaics for Clare? ‘I love doing jigsaw puzzles. Using mosaics is fitting the broken pieces together like a jigsaw, into something useful, decorative, striking.’ she says, adding, ‘The challenge for me is taking something that is rejected and turning it into a lovely, ornamental piece, giving it a second chance.’

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CARE FOR THE ILL

Training as a nurse and midwife put her in touch with many people who felt rejected by society and by God. Clare spent fifteen years as a missionary in Ghana working among the sick, and down trodden. In later life as a sister in a Doctor’s surgery, she rubbed shoulders with the less fortunate and ill. Her career path, led Clare to help put lives together as in a jigsaw. What was Clare’s secret? The Lord Jesus Christ, who is the master jigsaw solver. She could point the broken individuals to Jesus.

P1330592.JPG LOVE IS THE GROUT.

God is the master Creator of mosaic art. He sent Jesus to put together the lives of people who felt spurned and without hope and enable them to become useful and wonderful citizens. Clare was his heart of love to minister to them.

Clare uses grout to stick her pieces together. God uses love as his grout. A deep unconditional love to put people back together.  He does not reject anybody regardless of who and what they are. God has no favourites. When we experience the unconditional love of God, we are healed in spirit, mind and body.

We can experience that depthless love by opening our heart to God, by responding to him and accepting Jesus.  We have to get it out of our head and heart that God is judging us, that he censures us if we get it wrong. Embracing his love, accepting his love heals even our deepest guilt and fear.

THE MIRACLE OF AN INDWELLING CHRIST

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‘And he has put his own Holy Spirit into our hearts as a proof to us that we are living with him and he with us… we have seen with our own eyes and now tell all the world that God sent his Son to be their Saviour. Anyone who believes and says that Jesus is the Son of God has God living in him, and he is living with God.’(1John 4: 13 LB)