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5 January 2020

Surviving an Australian Hell

This was the view of the firestorm from
inside the truck. The Markham's had to
battle this red hell with minimal
protective clothing.
A man trapped inside firestorm describes harrowing battle

"The flames were 40 metres tall, it sucked all the oxygen out of the air… at one point we lost my dad and brother around the other side of the house and I thought for sure they were dead. It was terrifying."

Sam Markham, a landscape photographer, has described in detail the harrowing day his family nearly lost everything. With minimal protective gear, and fire hoses left over from his uncle's firefighting days, the family fought to save their lives and NSW home from inside a firestorm on the south coast on New Year's Eve.

The fire was the same blaze a Fire and Rescue NSW crew were filmed battling their way through in Parma, near Nowra, four days ago. The crew had knocked on the family's door before getting stuck in the inferno at the family's front gate.

"I've lived on the south coast all my life and I've never seen or felt anything like it," Mr Markham told 9news.com.au.

The 22-year-old said he had been monitoring the fire front online all day. His mother, father, sister, brother, and three friends were at their house waiting for word on what to do next.

It was at 2pm a surreal humming started. What unfolded over the next hour was something out of a nightmare.

"It sounded like nothing you could imagine, this humming noise… like jet engines, that was the fire," he said.

"At 2.30pm we had the fire crew knock on the door saying, 'it's going to come straight for you, if the southerly hits, there's not much we can do for you.' "Two of the trucks went down the road, one of them was the truck that got stuck.

"In the next thirty minutes it slowly got darker and darker, my dad used to be in fuel haulage, so we put on fire-retardant shirts, we looked like a little fire crew.

"Then over the next five minutes it just went pitch black, like someone had turned the lights out. This was around 3pm. You could not see anything. We're all standing there, and then the embers started to drop.

"We were putting them out, but it was doing nothing – they started to drop, and drop, and drop. It went quiet, the easterly stopped, you could hear a pin drop, then 10 seconds later, didn't have time to think, it was like someone had opened the oven door and turned the fan on. That was the southerly," Mr Markham said.

The fierce southerly sent 40-metre-high flames roaring up the gully towards the property. The winds and heat were so intense that it sucked every bit of oxygen out of the air.

"I felt the back of my hands start to melt to the back of the hose… I dropped everything and ran to the left-hand side of the house and pinned myself up against the roller door and the fire sucked all the oxygen out of the air. You'd try to breathe and you'd realise, 'wait I didn't get anything', and you'd try again, and you still weren't getting anything," he said. 

Mr Markham located his mother, an asthma sufferer, on the other side of the house and quickly took her inside, a safe refuge, which had formed an air pocket.

At that point everyone but Mr Markham's brother and father were inside the house, so he once again ventured into the inferno in search of them.

"I found my father up against a shipping container. He had turned the hose on himself, he couldn't breathe… he was trying to put some protection between him and the fire. It was probably just panic," he said. 

"The worst of it, the lack of oxygen, lasted while we were in the house for those two or so minutes."

By some miracle the family and their home came out unscathed. But there was a moment Mr Markham thought they wouldn't make it.
"To be honest when I ran around the side of my house, the heat of this thing…I thought 'nup.' There was a moment there I thought we were all dead. If I didn't run, it probably would have cooked us alive." he said.

Mr Markham and his family are just a few of the Australians caught up in a bushfire crisis which is devastating the south coast of NSW. 

Thousands of people have today continued their exodus from the south coast, after an evacuation order was sent to the fire-hit holiday hotspot ahead of catastrophic conditions developing over the weekend.

The NSW government has declared a third state of emergency of the bushfire season ahead of the re-elevated fire risk over the weekend, but Mr Markham said his family won't leave.

"Everything is burnt to a crisp within 10 kms of us – it could come back, but I figure we're pretty safe now."

Mr Markham took this photo approximately 20 minutes after the main fire front had passed. He said the ground was glowing. (Instagram / sam_markham_)

2 January 2020

True Story of Trust NSW


Do not live your life in worry and strife. Learn to Trust. Here is a true story of Courage and Faith from rural Australia.

Farm husbands in those days worked away wherever they could find employment. Gone for a week or more; up to a month working away from home. Mothers were left on the farm with their many children. 

This day grandmother took the horse and sulky to the next town 45 miles away for supplies, the older children left at home minding the younger children. There were nine of them. 

Dark came early that day with lots of rain and bad weather. Torrents of water everywhere. Grandmother made it home to the edge of the creek, she could not see ahead, she could not see how much water was flooding across the road; she could hear the water but could not see it, she could not guess how deep it was, whether it was safe to cross. Grandmother did not want to be washed downstream in the rapidly rising flash floodwaters. 

What to do? It was dark, she had been gone all day, she needed to get home. 

Waiting with the horse and sulky at the edge of the creek listening to the floodwaters gushing past Grandmother didn't know what decision to make. She decided she had to trust, she had to put her faith in something beyond herself. 

She asked our Father in Heaven for help to get home. She didn't know what to ask for precisely.  She just trusted. 


Suddenly the lightning flashed. The horse entered the floodwater. Great flashes of light sparkled across the sky and lit the countryside. The horse pushed deeper into the creek. Grandmother didn't have a choice. It was too late to turn back. 

And that was the miracle. That was the answer to her prayer. The lightning did not stop flashing until she was safely on the opposite side of the creek. The whole event floodlit by magnificent nature. 

What made the horse enter the water at exactly the same moment as the sky lit up? It was The Hand and it's perfect timing. A miracle in action. 

Once across the floodwater Grandmother told us the "dear little horse" trotted on home in the dark, without fear of the violent lightning strikes crashing all about, and she was delivered safely to her waiting children. 

The moral of this true story is to just Trust and let go. Magic is always at work when you give your life to the Heavenly Father.
- Suzanne Nagel NSW

22 December 2019

Christmas Cat Miracle

Hannah & Spunky before he was lost
This is the happy tale of two childhood friends, a teen and her cat, who were reunited through fate three years after the cat went missing from his home in Roseburg, Oregon.

It began when 15-year-old Hannah Rountree began her job as a volunteer at Saving Grace Pet Adoption center. On her second day of volunteering Hannah spotted a cat at the shelter who looked very much like her missing cat.

Spunky had ran away from home three years ago while the family was on a trip, leaving Hannah devastated. Hannah said during an interview with 16KMTR News
I was like, is that my cat? It literally looks so much like Spunky. He was my first cat and the first thing I bonded with as a child, so it was really hard; I cried a lot.
The family spent months searching for Spunky. Hannah finally lost hope and accepted the probability that Spunky had either died or been taken out of the area. She has no idea where he’s been or if he had someone caring for him during his time without her.

Wendy Kang, Saving Grace director, says Spunky was turned over the the shelter as a stray after being found off the side of the highway in Winchester. The shelter changed his name to Bear and he was adopted out to a couple who wanted Spunky as a ‘mouser’ then returned him a few weeks later when he failed to perform.

Hanna says Spunky is adjusting well back at home and believes fate brought them back together. She also had him microchipped, as that’s the best chance a cat has should it become lost.

There are just too many ‘signs’ for this to be a chance reunion. For Spunky to have been brought in as a stray, then adopted out, then returned only for Hannah to recognize him on her second day as a volunteer shows this is truly a Christmas miracle.
https://pictures-of-cats.org/a-teen-and-her-cat-were-reunited-through-fate-three-years-after-the-cat-went-missing.html

7 December 2019

Forgive your enemy

I had a visual of a very old man sitting in an old wooden chair in the middle of an apple orchid. I watched as he separated ripe beautiful apples from rotten ones. There was a massive barrel in the background, that all the apples came from. Then the old man took the rotten apples and added them back to the large barrel. Then he sat and waited for the bad apples to turn ripe again. Some apples would ripen while others became more sour.

For the flawed, the cruel, the greedy, corrupt, and the narrow minded, our father stands ready to give you another opportunity to change your ways, and when you fail, the creator will give you another and another. You will either slide towards him or become more rotten to the core. Life is a lesson and failure is expected. Its through our most epic failures we learn what not to do. Our creator will give every possible opportunity to bring you back to the fold, one lifetime after another, after another. Each life giving you opportunities to change.

Love, compassion, forgiveness is our fathers way. Our creators very blood is love and its through love that our father will bring us closer to his perfection.

So many ask why our creator cursed us with this darkness, why are we surrounded with so much evil. But what if we observed it from an opposite view. What if our place in the universe, in part, is to be the very blessing for that evil. To be that flawed stepping stool back to our creator. To sit by that rotten apple and turn it ripe again, through love, through forgiveness, through compassion.

For those who may doubt, think of the actions of Corrie Ten Boom who forgave her Nazi captors, or the unifying actions of Martin Luther King, or Nelson Mandela’s forgiveness of South Africa’s oppressors. All of them flawed humans like ourselves. All of them sharing their godly love, compassion, and forgiveness, in epic abundance, changing the rotten apples ever so slightly back to ripeness, serving their creator in the most magnificent way.

So I say to everyone be the light in the darkness, forgive your enemy, love all, provide compassion to all life, knowing that you are changing the rotten apples back to ripeness, and remember that in that moment your creator smiles down on you as he waits for change.

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23 November 2019

Praying against spiritual attack

The devil does not want you to be free. He wants to keep you captive in any way he can, and most importantly, he wants to hide every avenue he has into your life. 

When we are hiding in Jesus, and willing to walk closely with him, we can see the areas of our lives where we have agreed with the enemy attack. Agreeing with the enemy does not mean we are bad or evil. We can be diligent to stay humbly in the presence of the Lord so we can recognize when we have strayed from Him. 


It is important that some prayers be a daily prayer to help combat some of the advances of the enemy. 

Daily Prayers 
  • Put your armor on daily. The armor of God is an important part of how we protect ourselves. 
  • Take your thoughts captive to avoid letting untruths rule your thoughts 
  • Ask Jesus to cleanse you with His blood 
  • Ask Jesus to send angels to surround and protect you 
  • Ask Jesus to send angels to surround your home and protect it 
  • Pray for Jesus to put on spouse and children’s armor, and pray protection for them 

Pray Against Attack 
  • Hide in God when you feel an attack 
  • Ask God to remove human spirits from your home and property. Human spirits are a very common form of spiritual attack 
  • Ask God for a pillar of fire to burn all demonic spirits and weapons 
  • Hide under the shadow of His wings to hide from the demonic in others 
  • Ask Jesus blood to be the barrier between yourself and the kingdom of darkness 
  • Ask Jesus to disarm the enemy’s attacks against you 
  • Use the sword of the spirit to disconnect from cosmic beings and entities serving the kingdom of darkness 

Pray For Those Who Harm You 
  • If you feel attacked by another person, remember we are not at war against flesh and blood, but against the devil and his kingdom 
  • Forgive those who we feel are attacking us 
  • Bless those who are doing wrong to us 

Repent and Renounce 
  • We must recognize our sin and not be ignorant of it. Sin is a doorway to the devil and believing we are exempt from it is a form of pride 
  • Repentance cleanses our soul and brings us closer to the Lord 
  • Humility and repentance bring healing, not only to us, but to our families and home 
  • Our Heavenly Father leads us to correction out of love because sin is an open doorway to the devil and when allowed to continue can cause great harm to us 
  • Be can bring no greater joy to our Heavenly Father than by our humility and repentance. We cannot please Him with good works or being a good person, but instead with repentance 

Getting Closer To Jesus 
Sometimes we have barriers in the way of our relationship with Jesus. These barriers can cause us to be distracted during our time with Jesus, or have interference when we are trying to get into His presence. 
  • Ask Jesus to cleanse soul ties with the Sword of the Spirit. Soul ties are spiritual bonds that are created through every bond we make with another person. These bonds tie souls together indefinitely and if made through a sinful act or in an unhealthy relationship can be emotionally and spiritually damaging. They can also keep us from going into a deeper relationship with Jesus 
  • Draw near to Jesus with confidence 
  • Ask Jesus to stand between you and the kingdom of darkness 
  • Ask Jesus to demolish every stronghold coming between you 
  • Ask Him to pour out His spirit and truth 
  • Ask to be brought into His presence to find rest 
  • Ask Jesus to help you bring all of your thoughts captive 
  • Ask Jesus to send angels to fight on your behalf 
  • Repent for any sin 

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17 November 2019

Headless bird just appeared


I didn't sleep last night. At 1.00am I was up and, against my better judgement, let the cat outside. I said a quick prayer for the safe return of my cat and went about filling in the hours. The cat returned at 5.00am and I went back to bed.

With the cat sleeping away the day (he thought he was going to..) I  did an errand down town at 8.00am before tidying the house. Between 9.00am and 10.00am I made a couple of visits to the outside recycle bin, situated a few steps from my front door. 

A visitor arrived at 11.00am and pointed to a headless bird laying on the ground.  I was annoyed that my cat had killed the bird. The ants had not yet attacked it. This was not a bird that I had seen in my garden before, this bird was not local to my area in rural NSW.

Later that day I got to thinking that something didn't feel right about my cat killing the bird. How could he catch it when he was inside asleep... and had been asleep since his breakfast at 7.30am. 

I assumed that my cat had killed the bird during the night. But the bird had not been there when I was coming and going earlier that morning, I would have had to step over the body. I absolutely know that I did not step over the body because there are spiky balls on the ground from the liquid-amber tree and I watch where I am walking to avoid them. There are no other animals to kill the bird and I doubt an animal would have left the body at my front step. And the distance is too far for a neighbor to have tossed the headless body.

I googled the bird: -
The only bird endemic to NSW, the rockwarbler makes its home on the sandstone formations and rocky outcrops around Sydney. The rockwarbler is a small bird with a dark grey-brown back and wings, a pale grey throat and a rufous underside. It flicks its tail as it hops over rocks searching for insects to eat. Occasionally, rockwarblers will nest inside buildings. Size: 14cm. Call: Raspy ‘chee-cheet’ squeaking. Where to spot them: Rocky areas e.g. coastal cliffs, steep rocky gullies, outcrops within 240km of Sydney.
The NSW Rock Warbler 
How did a headless bird appear at my front step? 400km west of its natural habitat. 

As if it fell from the sky.

The chills ran up and down my spine.











9 November 2019

When Tragedy Strikes


Recently I experienced a terrible set back when my beloved pet suddenly had to undergo major surgery. It felt like such an attack from the enemy because it came so unexpectedly and for no apparent reason. I felt sure that, because Jesus loved me He was going to miraculously heal her. I know the power God wields, greater than all the works of the devil. Surely the God who can part the Red Sea will heal this poor, innocent creature.


Yet it wasn’t to be so. We had to make a very quick decision to relieve her suffering by allowing the vet to perform surgery. We had only one day to make the decision, and I prayed and implored God to heal her because I know He loves all creation deeply, yet I knew it was not to be so.


I blamed myself for what happened to her because the news about her condition came directly after a huge breakthrough in my inner healing. I was sure that the occult was using this as a way to punish me for breaking free from more strongholds they had over me. Even though it was never my fault I had to connect in the first place, I felt so guilty and so torn apart to see more suffering of innocent beings because of evil.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, no pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4
Once I realized that Jesus was not going to heal my precious little animal, I became despondent. How could He do this to me? How could He let evil win? What kind of loving God would let an innocent creature take on the punishment that belonged to me? Or even allow her to suffer at all? Why does good have to constantly be demoralized by evil, being ruthlessly trampled on?

It was as if all the pain and suffering I had been dealing with in my inner healing were now right at the forefront of my life. I felt so much resentment and anger towards Jesus at that moment and I could not believe He was the kind and loving God that cares for me. I felt He was a cruel and powerless God who allows evil to prevail in this world.
The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. Proverbs 16:4
I believe we all have these moments, where we feel so overcome and helpless because of the role evil has played in our lives. It might be because of our own tragedy, or those we love, but we begin to be disheartened by how evil seems to have its way. Sometimes this world feels like it is just evil, and there is no good. Sometimes we feel like we are the evil ones, playing a part in the downfall of our lives.

The truth is, Jesus loves my little animal, and no animal is ever forgotten by God. And as much as God loves all creation, He loves people even more. We are His children, created in His image, and given an inheritance of eternal life in His Kingdom. Satan may be having a good time right now, but in the scope of eternity, this is just a short season, that lasts just the blink of an eye.
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-8
When I agreed that Jesus is cruel and powerless, I agreed with evil and began to be my own God. Was I consciously making a decision to say “I am my own God. I want to be God.”? No. Yet by agreeing with these truths it was the same as agreeing to be a god, just like with Adam and Eve. That is what allowed evil into my heart that day, just the same as it was in the Garden of Eden.

Does that mean that I am evil? No. Agreeing with evil, or evil participating in evil does not make one evil. It takes much more than that. Lucifer not only decided to turn his back on God and be his own god, but he also did it with an unrepentant heart that had no desire to repent. Repentance is the key to God’s Kingdom, and Lucifer willingly gave it up. I did not.

As a matter of fact, I spent several days going back and forth as I wrestled with my feelings of being angry and resentful, and repenting for trying to be my own god. Truly, it is not the first time I have had to repent of that, and it probably won’t be the last. I am human, and with all the trauma I have been through, it is going to take time to fully trust in Jesus without doubting. Jesus understands this, and more importantly, He knows my heart. He knows that I will always come back around to humility and repentance because His love is my only home.

I have spent a lot of life being angry and resentful because of the tragedy that overcame me daily. I believed it was because of God that I had to suffer. What I didn’t understand is that there truly is more than one god, and the one that wanted me to suffer was not the True and Living God, but the god of this world. Once I began to understand the difference between a loving God and a god that appears to love you but only tortures you instead, I began to be able to recognize the difference.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
So for today, I will continue to give myself over the Lord, learning to trust in Him, and believe He is a God of mercy, kindness, love, compassion, and truth, who is trustworthy. I will submit myself to Him, even when I don’t understand, and when I cannot do that, I will wrestle with Him into He breaks every stronghold keeping me from Him. I will honor Him in times of trouble and worship Him in times of need because I am no longer the master of my own universe. I will humbly bow down to the Master who created the Universe instead.
Love lives forever so give thanks for the day when you will be reunited with all that you love.

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