This verse has often sustained me when everything seems to go wrong
Photo by http://clairefuller.co.uk/
I am trying our a new challenge. In response to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Friday Fictioneers challenge for this week, I would like to submit the following story. It is based on a true story that I first found out about when I was doing the Alpha Course.
I am the only one left. Ten men were chosen. I was not one of them. Three prisoners had escaped Auschwitz so ten had to die by starvation in the underground bunker. Two weeks without food, without water. My last companion succumbed this morning. I am a priest. I held his hand. I gave him the last rights.
Why am I the last? Is it because I alone had a choice? When he was selected, Franciszek Gajowniczek cried out, “My wife! My children!”
I chose. I asked to die in his place as my Saviour did for me.
Recently we went to the South Coast on a family holiday. One morning we visited Hibberdene beach. It is a cosy beach with an area of grass leading up to it. During the holidays a number of beach vendors set up stalls, pancakes, beach wear, hats, fishing nets for children and the like. The most popular was the tattoo cubicle.
I grew up in the era where only sailors and ducktails had tattoos. It was certainly not the sort of thing that respectable people even considered. However, buoyed up by the holiday spirit, I decided to get a henna tattoo on my ankle. My son, daughter and grandchildren got one too – the girls on the ankle, the boys on their upper arm. I felt so daring. It was fun choosing our pictures. I went for a seahorse. The results were very encouraging. They looked just like real tattoos. I felt like a rebellious teenager. For a short time I had joined a culture that was outside my normal life. For all that, nothing would persuade me to get a real tattoo. I am not that committed. It is not me.
It got me to thinking. It is possible to be a henna tattoo Christian. You can’t tell by looking. You can hang out with the Christian crowd, learn the right phrases, even sing in the worship team but if the commitment is not there it will fade off after time.
We have been following the life of Joseph at our church. Yesterday we learned what characterised his life. He learned about God and his dealings with his father and grandfather at an early age. Then at 17 he was transported into another country where there was not one other believer. He was on his own. Yet his faith in the God of his fathers was enough to enable him to resist temptation when it was offered to him on a platter. Later when his brothers reappeared, he was able to forgive them from the heart. On his deathbed he asked that his bones be carried away because he believed God’s promise that He would deliver His people from Egypt. He was the real thing.
I am not sure how I would respond to the same challenges. Would I still be a Christian if I was the only one in a strange country, where there were no churches? Is my faith strong enough to enable me to resist strong temptations and to be able to forgive those who have wronged me?
Or am I just a henna tattoo Christian?
As part of Blogging 101, I am going to add a feature which will appear weekly. On considering my blog, its purpose and flavor, I have decided to add a scripture verse of the week every Monday. This will set the tone for the rest of the week. I am not going to make it complicated and time-consuming with added images or other embellishments because I would also like people to be able to reply with their verse of the week. A plain verse is fine but what it means to you is also fine. So here goes:
Verse for this week, particularly for bloggers who feel called to spread inspiration, encouragement and support. What you are sharing are seeds of life.
“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.”
In response to
True friend, heart tie, prayer mate
Faith dared, love shared, soul bared
Grief halved, load lightened
Recently I joined the South African Writer’s Circle. I entered my first competition at the end of July. The challenge was to write a travel article suitable for the Getaway Magazine.
I didn’t have a hope of winning or even being placed, of course, but the benefit is that you get constructive feedback by one of the judges. Mine pointed out that I tended to use cliches a lot and particularly highlighted the word “stunning”. Since then I have noticed how often I use that word and it robs it of its true meaning. Think of a stun gun. Being stunned is very powerful. To be stunned three times in one post is a bit of overkill. So my challenge for the week is to try to stay away from such cliche’s. If any of my blogging friends notice cliches in a post, particularly “stunning” Please point it out to me. (Do you think “overkill” is a cliche?)
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I Pledge Allegiance.”
I grew up in the era of hymns and I am still moved and inspired by the old words. One of my favourites and possibly the most challenging is “I Vow to You, my Saviour.”
It was written by Richard T Bewes after “I vow to Thee my Country” by Celcil Spring-Rice to the music from Thaxted (1921) from Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity from The Planets (Op32) (1914-1916) by Gustav Holt
I am not often in a position where I can pray it honestly and sincerely. My dedication to my Lord fluctuates as I keep trying to take back control of my life which I have surrendered to Him. However, today’s prompt has reminded me where my allegiance must be.
I vow to you, my Saviour, all earthly things above,
Entire, and whole and perfect, the service of my love.
The love that asks no questions, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the alter the dearest and the best.
The love that never falters, the love that knows the price,
The love that stands indebted before your sacrifice………..
….So light the fire withing me, and let me fan the flame
and fill me with the Spirit, that I may bear your Name.
In season and in hardship, to run my given race.
O keep me ever-burning until I see your face.
I vow to you my Saviour, that where your feet have trod,
I’ll serve and always follow my Master and my God.
<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/i-pledge-allegiance/”>I Pledge Allegiance</a>
Photo from http://harben-pictures.deviantart.com/art/Supergirl-311730139
I don’t know if anybody else out there has been intimidated by the Proverbs 31 woman but I try to avoid reading that chapter. I fall so far short. She is constantly busy, getting up before sunrise to cook- or maybe she just never goes to bed. because her lamp does not go out at night. She runs a fashion business, is rich enough to buy real estate from her profits but still has time to make home-made bed linen and clothes for her family. She also has time to do gardening, planting a vineyard with her own hands and she is probably planning to start a wine business on the side. She does charity work and has time to give wise advice and teach others. She is a mother and presumably still has time for her husband too.
I started thinking about this impossible woman again today when I read Evelyn’s post Everlasting Love. As a single woman, instead of looking for the one, she strives to make herself the one. Of course she can no more be perfect than any one of us but I admire where her heart and her passion are. It is a noble goal.
I remembered the opening verse of Proverbs 31. “The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him.” My aha! moment. His mother taught him all this.I am a mother of an unattached son in his twenties. If I were to make a list of characteristics of his future wife she would also not be real.
She would have to be a Christian, of course, preferably involved in some ministry that they can do together. I would like her to have a career of her own but be prepared to put it aside or do it from home when the children come. She would need to be intelligent with a good general knowledge to fit in with my son. She would have to think my son is wonderful and do everything to please him but still keep her own individuality and have some interests of her own. I would like her to be scientifically minded, like me, but also good at crafts and homemaking. Moreover she would have to be thrifty at running a home, good with people, able to do her own housework if necessary, be a wonderful mother. If she happened to be or have been a Girl Guide or Girl Scout, so much the better. Being a good cook is quite important but so is a being a good washer of dishes. She would need to be interested in sport as my son is a Sport Scientist, as well as interested in competitive Ball Room and Latin dancing so she could partner my son. If in addition to all these things she was beautiful and free from any potential life threatening illnesses, bonus! I agree with King Lemuel’s mother. “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not harm, all the days of her life.” In other words she is totally trustworthy and faithful and brings out the best in my son.
I am pretty sure that when my son does come home with the woman he wants to marry, she won’t fulfill all the criteria. The woman I had in mind is nothing more than a mother’s day dream. I believe my son has sense enough to choose a Christian girl who fears the Lord but for the rest, if she makes him happy and does him good, I am sure we will love her and thank God for her every day.
So I no longer feel I have to live up to the Proverbs 31 Impossible Woman. God will continue to work in my life growing me closer to His image.
May you, too, be free of this standard of perfection.
For today’s assignment I searched tags of Christian inspiration. What a brainwave! I was indeed inspired. I met a black lady whose mission was to inspire. Meet her here. I met somebody who had had a very preemie baby and was thankful for the roadblocks meet her here and somebody who had had to leave her home with four children because of water damage meet her here and somebody who inspired me with a devotional that included a “fill in the blanks” prayer. devotional here.
Thank you to all of you, You have all brought me closer to my God today. I love finding people in other countries who believe the same as I do, who are strong in their faith and are brave enough to share it in the blogging community.