Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Beautiful New Zealand

Sorry I've been absent over the last week! I have just got my laptop back from the computer shop - it decided to die right in the middle of a big project I was half-way through editing :( Thankfully, the project is still okay, but I don't think I'll get it finished in time for what I was wanting if for now. But ah well...

Anyway, I was coming back from a course I've been going to each Saturday in our capital - Wellington - and I managed to get some beautiful shots of the scenery when we stopped for a break. I thought I would share them with you all, so that you can appreciate the beauty of rural New Zealand.

Such a wonderful country I have the privilege of living in <3

Hope you're all having wonderful weeks!!
Love from, 

Monday, 19 August 2013

The Secret

Written by Daisy, on the 13th of August 2013

"Once, there was a small town in the middle of some hills. And that town had beautiful, rich soil, beautiful rich soil in which nothing would grow. Year after year, the towns' folk would plan their seeds, but nothing worked. No matter how hard they toiled, they just couldn't make the crops last. Each year, they would wither and die.
   "This is beautiful, rich soil," the people lamented. "Why can we not get anything to grow? There must be some secret to it. If only we knew that secret, we would not starve, and our children would grow up big and strong. If only..." But they did not know the secret, and so their crops continued to wither and the people continued to suffer. For no matter how hard they worked, no matter where they looked, they could not find that secret, or make those seeds take root.

On the other side of the ridge, there was another village. This one was small, but thriving. The difference - the people there knew the secret, and their village was thriving. Soon, there was no land left. So, a young couple made the decision to move across the ridge. Everyone from their home village cautioned them:
   "They do not know the secret in that town. You will starve if you go there."
The young man and his wife laughed.
   "No we won't - we know the secret, we won't starve. And perhaps we can share the secret with them."
The village folk shook their heads sadly.
   "They will not accept you, they will not believe you there." They said.

   "Maybe not," the young woman replied. "But we can share our food with them, we can help them. All our lives we've grown up with an abundance of what truly matters, and they've had none. Even if they don't believe us at first, we can still help them, and maybe then they will believe."
And so, much to the dismay of the folk from their home village, the young couple moved over the hill into a small house on the edge of the town. At first, the townspeople left them alone. They were just some crazy strangers. After all, who would choose to move to this dying town?!

The young man and his wife got to work, planting their crops. The neighbors looked on curiously, as the plants took root, and as they began to grow.
   "How can that be? They must know the secret," they whispered.

By winter, the young couple had food in abundance. They shared it with anyone who needed it, and did all they could to help the people around them. And, when the time seemed right, they began to share the secret. Not everyone believed them. Many scoffed, scorned and rejected both them and their secret. But some listened, as the man and his wife told how watering the crops with the water of life, which flowed up in the hills, and they collected daily, made the crops grow - the muddy water, which sprung up from below, they explained, did nothing to help anything grow.
And slowly, by sharing what they had - their food, their lives and the secret - with the townspeople, the people began to believe. One by one, families would rush outside in the morning to see healthy plants, instead of withered stalks. And they would excitedly share the secret with all who would listen.

At last, the fertile soil was being used as it was intended. The town was slowly being transformed. Not all of it, mind you, some people still refused to listen. But the majority received the news, full of excitement. And with each new person who came to understand, the young man and his wife, who were not so very young anymore, grew even more glad that they had moved there. Yes, it had been hard. Yes, they'd been rejected, hated and scorned. But they'd also been loved, valued and honoured.
But more than that, they'd shared their Secret. And that was the best thing of all." 
"And Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up into eternal life." ~John 4:13-14~

"And He said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not will be condemned." ~Mark 16:15-16~

God bless, 

Friday, 16 August 2013

Planting and Watering

Here in New Zealand it is slowly turning into spring. All kinds of flowers are suddenly blooming around my hometown, including lots of my favourites (daffodils!). In a matter of weeks, I am sure, our town will be filled with bright, cheerful colours ~ praise the Lord for spring, it surely is the best time of the year! :D 

Coincidentally (or rather, providentally!) the Lord recently brought to my attention a verse that I had never noticed before and seems to suit with flowers blossoming everywhere around me! Funny how it is like that, isn't it? Oh how often we skim through the scriptures, glossing over so much of it and taking very little in. This verse was in a chapter that I had certianly read many times before, and yet I could not recall ever taking it in or comprehending the truth inside it. So, to take you out of your suspense, here it is...
"What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth." ~ 1 Corinthians 3:5-7
This verse sure got me thinking recently. Particularly as the Lord has been convicting me a lot lately over my lack of speaking to others about Him. It's not just that I have a fear of man which seems to paralize me, but I am so scared of getting things wrong and misleading someone on a doctrinal issue or something similar. After all, I am always learning from scripture myself and the Lord is constantly changing me and my sinful ways and attitudes to be more conformed to Him. So the pride within me makes me feel woefully inadequate to share the Lord with anyone. But it's like knowing of an impending earthquake and not warning people about it, or like having a best friend and not telling anyone about them: over time it eats away inside you. This I have been feeling keenly recently, especially as at the beginning of the year the Lord blessed me with a group of new friends who have a real heart for sharing the Lord with others, and whose example has really challenged me on my complacency in this area. Sure, I do talk about the Lord, but now I've been noticing that it's usually around my Christian friends. May the Lord help me and help you too, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, to share the good news of His salvation with others! 

This verse reminded me that when we talk to others about the Lord, our focus really ought not to be on our own efforts and abilities or to try to "win" people over or "convert" them. It is the Lord who draws His people to Himself, and Him alone: we are His vessels whom He can use to His glory ~ and His glory is and ought to be the ultimate goal. That said, nor should we become complacent but rather our desire to see the Lord glorified should overtake us to the point where we cannot help but talk about Him to others. The fact that we are saved based purely upon His grace in sending His Son to die in our place ought to really humble us, and yet it should give us confidence to boldly talk to others about Him, in the knowledge that He ordains all things, be it a "vessel of wrath" or a "vessel of mercy":
"What if God, desiring to show His wrath and to make known His power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of His glory for vessels of mercy, which He has prepared beforehand for glory - even us whom He has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?" ~ Romans 9:22-24
In other words, it is all His work and for His glory and so how much more grateful and bold we ought to be than we are! For all we know, though someone may seem highly opposed to the gospel, we may be "planting" a seed, letting them know about the Lord for the first time. Or the Lord may have brought into their life a series of people or events in order to draw them to Himself and so we are "watering", adding to what has already been sown. But what does Paul say? Who is important in the process? Not us, but God and His glory! Whether or not we see any person coming to Him when we share the gospel with them, it does not matter as His purposes WILL be fufilled, and we can't always see what the impact of talking to them now will have later down the track. And in the meantime, we can still be active - by praying for them!

Interestingly, I've been reading a book I borrowed from a friend's mother which addresses the issue of evangalism and reminds me of Romans 1:19-20. Written by Don Richardson, it examines the fact that cultures have a conciousness or awareness of God, prior to recieving the gospel. Apparently, it is a controversial book and I have not yet finished it so I cannot yet speak for it as a whole, and there are certianly aspects I don't necessarily wholly agree with, but nethertheless, I've been finding it a very challenging and convicting read regarding evangalism. Here is one quote I found particularly poignant:

"Do you not feel certian question rising now within you? It cannot be avoided - if the Almighty ordained God-and-Christ-foreshadowing metaphors and concepts to facilitate the redemptive process in one Gentile culture - that of Greeks - could He not have also manifested a similar providence within other Gentile cultures as well? Perhaps even in all of them?
In other words, has the God who prepared the gospel for the world also prepared the world for the gospel? If He has, than the current assumption, held by millions of believers and non-believers alike, that pagan people cannot understand and generally do not want to recieve the Christian gospel...must be a false assumption...God has indeed prepared the Gentile world to recieve the gospel. Significant numbers of non-Christians, therefore, have proved themselves 10 times more willing to recieve the gospel than Christians have been to share it!" ~ Don Richardson, Eternity in their Hearts
In other words, if God prepares men's hearts to recieve His word, how much more willing we should be to share it, regardless of how we feel they will react! Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, if you are anything like me you will feel like such a failure ~ even as I write this I think to my shame of how few people I have shared the gospel with, I'm sure I would be easily able to count the total on one hand. May we pray earnestly to God to give us the boldness to speak to others!

As an aside, several things happened just this week that kind of tie in with this whole topic (amazing how the Lord does that!) :)

Several earthquakes occured this afternoon, one that was slightly above magnitude 6 on the richter scale (eek!) and two aftershocks actually occured as I was in the process of writing this. A good reminder from the Lord that much as we'd like to think we're in control of everything, we're really not and that one day He will come again in judgement, so we need to be telling others about Him now! You never know when it could be your last day, especially in an earthquake-ridden country like New Zealand! :P 

Also, I was stopped by a young woman who was doing some evangalism at the local university campus and she started talking to me. We had a brief but good talk and I think it would be great if you could pray for her as she talks to young students about the Lord. Please pray that hearts would be softened and that the Lord would be gracious in saving students whom she talks to.

Anyway, this is a super long blog post to make up for my lack of blogging lately, so congratulations if you managed to reach the end of it!!! Please pray that I would talk to others about the Lord and likewise I'll be praying that He gives you boldness!
God bless you as you serve Him!

Your sister in Christ,
P.S. The Gothard Sisters have another lovely music video out, called The Landing, which you may want to watch! It can be viewed here

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Musings on a Starry Evening

I've spent the last few weeks stressing out. Quite a bit, if I'm perfectly honest.
A lot is changing in my life right now, and it has been scaring me.
Tonight, when I was supposed to be getting ready for a singing lesson, I went and lay down in the front yard, and just looked up at the stars. 

And as I was looking up at them, I was just suddenly overwhelmed once again by the size of the skies, and by the multitude of the stars. It was just so beautiful. So immense. So incredible.

I was worried about the changes in my life... My God has created this incredible universe, yet I was worried about change. Looking up at that star-filled sky, my fears seemed so silly, so pointless. My God is all-powerful, awe-inspiring and almighty. He has plans for my life (and for everyone else's lives too!) and if I listen to Him, and follow His lead, I have no reason to fear.

Those beautiful skies got me thinking about the words of my favourite hymn...

"O Lord my God, 
When I in awesome wonder, 
Consider all 
The worlds Thy Hand hath made.
I see the stars, 
I hear the rolling thunder, 
Thy pow'r throughtout
The universe displayed. 

Then sings my soul, 
My Saviour God to Thee,
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, 
My Saviour God to Thee, 
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!" 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

A Musical Weekend In The Life of Daisy

This last weekend was an incredibly musical weekend for me! Just the way I like it :D I spent the majority of Saturday down in Wellington at a vocal coaching session, which was really amazing!
Then in the evening, when we got back to our home town, we had one of my Mum's friends, who is the first violinist from the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, staying with us! She's absolutely lovely, so it was really a treat to have her with us! Plus we got to go to a concert she was giving with an organist on Saturday evening!
My Mama (right) and her friend :D 
Just had to share this - rather proud of my
sunset photography from the night of the
And that was such a treat! So much amazing music!! My favourite piece of the evening was definitely Kreisler's "Praeludium and Allegro". It is an incredible piece, and they performed it exquisitely. This video is also a beautiful version. I love the passion the performer puts in it.

The other piece I really liked from that evening was called "Ferdinand The Bull". It was performed with solo violin, and narrator, but this gives you a good idea what the piece is like! :)

Well, I have a whole lot more pieces from that concert that I could share with you, but I'll leave you with this quote. It is so, so true!
Ooh, one other really exciting thing to do with music that happened - the composer of the piece commented on the youtube video of my chamber music group's performance of "Aria Del Lottatore" - so cool!! One of the more exciting things about performing a modern work - you can actually converse with the composer haha :D
Well, that's more than enough music-y stuff from me for now! I do hope I haven't bored you all :) 
Love from, 

Monday, 12 August 2013

Light In the Asphalt Jungle

I heard this poem at our night church service yesterday, and it really got me thinking about how we are really called to live as Christians. It is definitely food for thought! (Sorry it is so long!)

Light In The Asphalt Jungle:
By Vincent Harding
I had a dream.
And I saw a city,
A city that rose up out of the crust of the earth.
And it’s streets were paved with asphalt,
And a river of dirty water ran down along it’s curbs.
It was a city
And its people knew no hope.
They were chased and herded from place to place by the churning jaws of bulldozers.
They were closed up in the anonymous cubicles of great brick prisons called housing projects.
They were forced out of work by the fearsome machines and computers,
And by the sparseness of their learning.
They were torn into many pieces by the hostile angers of racial fears and guilt and prejudice.
Their workers were exploited.
Their children and teen-agers had no parks to play in.
No pools to swim in,
No space in crowded rooms to learn in,
No hopes to dream in,
And the people knew no hope.
Their bosses underpaid them.
Their landlords overcharged them.
Their churches deserted them.
And all of life in the city seemed dark and wild, like a jungle,
A jungle lined with asphalt.
And the people sat in darkness
I had a dream,
And I saw a city,
A city clothed in neon-lighted darkness.
And I heard people talking.
And I looked at them.
Across their chests in large, golden letters-written by their own hands-
Across their chests were written the words:
“I am a Christian.”
And the Christians looked at the city and said;
“How terrible…How terrible…How terrible.”
And the Christians looked at the city and said:
“That is no place to live,
But some of our people have wandered there,
And we must go and rescue them.
And we must go and gather them, like huddled sheep into a fold;
And we will call it a City Church.”
So they built their church.
And the people came,
And they walked past all the weary, broken, exploited, dying men who lined the city’s streets.
Year after year they walked past,
Wearing their signs: “I am a Christian.”
Then one day the people in the church said:
“This neighborhood is too bad for good Christians.
Let us go to the suburbs where God dwells, and build a church there.
And one by one they walked away, past all the weary, broken, exploited, dying people.
They walked fast.
And did not hear a voice that said:
“…the least of these…the least of these…”
And they walked by, and they went out, and they built a church.
The church was high and lifted up, and it even had a cross.
But the church was hollow,
And the people were hollow,
And their hearts were hard as the asphalt streets of the jungle.
I had a dream.
And I saw a city,
A city clothed in bright and gaudy darkness.
And I saw more people with signs across their chest.
And they were Christians too.
And I heard them say:
“How terrible…how terrible…how terrible.
The city is filled with sinners:
To save sinners,
To save sinners.
But they are so unlike us,
So bad,
So dark,
So poor,
So strange,
But we are supposed to save them…
To save them,
To save them.”
And one person said:
“Can’t we save them without going where they are?”
And they worked to find a way to save and be safe at the same time.
Meanwhile, I saw them build a church,
And they called it a Mission,
A City Mission:
And all the children came by to see what this was.
And the city missionaries who had been sent to save them gathered them in.
So easy to work with children, they said,
And they are so safe, so safe.
And week after week they saved the children
(Saved them from getting in their parent’s way on Sunday morning).
And in the dream the City Missionaries looked like Pied Pipers, with their long row of children stretched out behind them,
And the parents wondered in Christianity was only for children.
And when the missionaries finally came to see them, and refused to sit in their broken chair, and kept looking at the plaster falling, and used a thousand words that had no meaning, and talked about rescuing them from hell while they were freezing in the apartment, and asked them if they were saved, and walked out into their shiny care, and drove off to their nice, safe neighborhood-
When that happened, the parents knew;
This version of Christianity had no light for their jungle.
Then, soon, the children saw too; it was all a children’s game;
And when they became old enough they got horns of their own,
And blew them high and loud,
And marched off sneering, swearing, into the darkness.
I had a dream,
And I saw the Christians in the dark city,
And I heard them say:
“We need a revival to save these kinds of people.”
And they rented the auditorium,
And they called in the expert revivalist,
And every night all the Christians came, and heard all the old, unintelligible, comfortable words, and sang all the old assuring songs, and went through all the old motions when the call was made.
Meanwhile, on the outside,
All the other people waited impatiently in the darkness for the Christians to come out, and let the basketball game begin.
I had a dream.
And I saw Christians with guilty consciences,
And I heard them say:
“What shall we do?
What shall we do?
What shall we do?
These people want to come to OUR church,
To OUR church.”
And someone said:
“Let’s build a church for THEM,
They like to be with each other anyway.”
And they started the church,
And the people walked in.
And for a while, as heads were bowed in prayer, they did not know.
But then, the prayers ended,
And they people looked up, and looked around,
And saw that every face was THEIR face,
THEIR face,
And every color was THEIR color,
THEIR color.
And they stood up, and shouted loudly within themselves:
“Let me out of this ghetto, this pious, guilt-built ghetto.”
And they walked out into the darkness,
And the darkness seemed darker than ever before,
And the good Christians looked, and said,
“These people just don’t appreciate what WE do for THEM.”
And just as the night seemed darkest, I had another dream.
I dreamed that I saw young people walking,
Walking into the heart of the city, into the depths of the darkness.
They had no signs, except their lives.
And they walked into the heart of the darkness and said:
“Let us live here, and work for light.”
They said, “Let us live here and help the rootless find a root for their lives.
Let us live here, and help the nameless find their names.”
They said, “Let us live here and walk with the jobless until they find work.
Let us live here, and sit in the landlord’s office until he gives more heat and charges less rent.”
They said, “Let us live here, and throw open the doors of this deserted church to all the people of every race and class;
Let us work with them to find the reconciliation God has brought.”
And they said, “Let us walk the asphalt streets with the young people, sharing their lives, learning their language, playing their sidewalk, backyard games, knowing the agonies of their isolation.”
And they said, “Let us live here, and minister to as many men as God gives us grace,
Let us live here,
And die here, with out brothers of the jungle,
Sharing their apartments and their plans.”
And the people saw them,
And someone asked who they were,
A few really knew-
They had no signs-
But someone said he thought they might be Christians,
And this was hard to believe, but the people smiled;
And a little light began to shine in the heart of the asphalt jungle.
Then in my dream I saw young people,
And I saw the young men and women
Those who worked in the city called Chicago,
Cleveland [Melbourne],
Washington [Bangkok],
Atlanta [Sydney],
And they were weary,
And the job was more than they could bear alone,
And I saw them turn, turn and look for help,
And I heard them call:
“Come and help us,
Come and share this joyful agony, joyful agony,
Come as brothers in the task,
Come and live and work with us,
Teachers for the crowded schools,
Doctors for the overflowing clinics,
Social workers for the fragmented families,
Nurses for the bulging wards,
Pastors for the yearning flocks,
Workers for the fighting gangs,
Christians who will come and live here,
Here in the heart of the darkness,
Who will live here and love here that a light might shine for all.
I heard them call,
And I saw the good Christians across the country,
And their answers tore out my heart.
Some said, “There isn’t enough money there.”
Some said, “It’s too bad there. I couldn’t raise children.”
Some said, “I’m going into foreign missions, where things don’t seem so dark.”
Some said, “The suburbs are so nice.”
Some said, “But I like it here on the farm.”
Some said,
Some said…
And one by one they turned their backs and began to walk away.
At this moment my dream was shattered by the sound of a great and mighty whisper, almost a pleading sound;
And a voice said:
“Come, help me, for I am hungry in the darkness.”
And a voice said:
“Come, help me, for I am thirsty in the darkness.”
And a voice said:
“Come, help me, for I am a stranger in this asphalt jungle.”
And a voice said, “Come, help me, for I have been stripped naked, naked of all legal rights and protection of the law, simply because I am black in the darkness.”
And a voice said:
“Come, help me, for my heart is sick with hopelessness and fear in the darkness.”
And a voice said:
“Come, live with me in the prison of my segregated community, and we will break down the walls together.”
And the voices were many,
And the voice was one,
And the Christians knew whose Voice it was.
And they turned,
And their faces were etched with the agonies of decisions.
And the dream ended.
But the voice remains,
And the choice remain,
And the city still yearns for light.
And the King who lives with the least of his brothers and sisters in the asphalt jungle…
Yearns for us.

Well, that sure got me thinking! It made me think more about how I can live as a set-apart Christian, yet be a light in the darkness, and live my life to show love to those who do not know it... I hope it got you thinking too :)

Hope you all have a most blessed week!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Violets and Daisies now on Facebook!

Hi all!

Just a quick post to let you all know that Violets and Daisies is now on Facebook! While some of the blog authors (well, just me really!) prefer not to use Facebook and don't have a proper personal account, we have come to the realisation that this is the preferred mode of communication for many people these days and that it is the easiest way for some of you to keep updated on our posts. If that sounds like you, feel free to check it out and Lord willing we will be updating it every time we write a post. We may even put up little quotes, Bible verses and so on from time to time as well. :) It is also a way you can contact us if need be, if you prefer that to commenting on the blog itself. Daisy will be the primary one maintaining that page, so a big thank you to her! :D 

Well, that's all for now. Apologies for the lack of posts coming from me at the moment. While it is mostly due to lots of commitments that I am trying to juggle, I am also trying to make my focus on this blog more God-focussed and less just posting for the sake of it, so if you could pray that I would be doing that, that would be great! :D

God bless you all!

PS The Gothard Sisters have just released a new music video!!! It is their version of the old tune The Water is Wide and can be viewed here. It is lovely! :D

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Do you know Him?

"The Bible says my King is a seven-way King. He's the king of the Jews, that's a racial king. He's the king of Israel; that's a national king. He's the king of righteousness. He's the king of ages. He's the king of heaven. He's the king of glory. He's the king of kings. Besides being a seven-way king, He's the lord of lords. That's my king. Well, I wonder, do you know Him?

...David said "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork". My king is a sovereign king. No means of measure can define His limitless love. No far-seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of His shoreless supply. No barrier can hinder Him from pouring out His blessing. 
He's enduringly strong. He's entirely sincere. He's eternally steadfast. He's immortally graceful. He's infinitely powerful. He's impartially merciful. Do you know Him?

He's the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world. He's God's Son. He's the sinner's Saviour. He's the centrepiece of civilisation. He stands in the solitude of Himself. He's honest and He's unique. He's unparalleled. He's unprecedented. 
He is the loftiest idea in literature. He's the highest personality in philosophy. He is the supreme problem in higher criticism. He's the fundamental doctrine of true theology. He's the core, the necessity for spiritual religion. He's the miracle of the ages. Yes, He is. He's the superlative to everything good that you choose to call Him. He's the only one qualified to be our all-sufficiency. I wonder if you know Him today.
He supplies strength for the weak. He's available for the tempted and tried. He sympathises and He saves. He strengthens and sustains. He guards and He guides. He heals the sick. He cleanses the leper. He forgives the sinner. He discharges the debtor. He delivers the captive. He defends the feeble. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent. And He beautifies the meek. I wonder if you know Him.
Well, that is my King. He's the key to knowledge. He's the wellspring of wisdom. He's the doorway of deliverance. He's the pathway to peace. He's the roadway of righteousness. He's the highway of holiness. He's the gateway of glory. Do you know Him? 
Well, His office is manifold. His promise is sure. He life is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I wish I could describe Him to you. 
He's indescribable. He's incomprehensible. He's invincible. He's irresistible. Well, you can't get Him out of your mind. You can't get Him off your hand. You can't outlive Him and you can't live without Him. The Pharisees couldn't stand Him, but they found they couldn't stop Him. Pilate couldn't find any fault in Him. Herod couldn't kill Him. Death couldn't handle Him, and the grave couldn't hold Him. That's my King!

And Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever and ever and ever! How long is that? And ever and ever! And when you get through with all the forevers, then amen! Good God Almighty! Amen!"

~Taken from the book "Glorious Appearing" from the Left Behind series by Tim La Haye and Jerry B. Jenkin. Whilst I don't agree with everything in these books, they are still a great read, and this sermon in particular really moved me~

May God bless you and keep you!