Monthly Archives: January 2020

Fruit Salad

I have two bird feeders in my garden, placed where we can watch birds while we are eating breakfast. One is a nifty cage that holds exactly one slice of bread and the other, a wooden pole with spikes and a platform for fruit.

Every morning I take out a slice of bread and check whether I need to replace the apple. Yesterday I saw there was no bread and no fruit for the birds. I had only one apple left so I gave the birds half and I ate the rest.

This morning, much to my surprise, this is what I saw. My apple is the green one on the left.

There was another whole apple, bits of apple, a halved plum, a grenadilla and two lychees. It was a bird fruit salad. It will be a long time before the birds are finished with all that bounty.

I could almost hear the Lord say, “I will provide.” Now that my husband and I are on pension, I do sometimes worry about money. Will we be able to maintain our 20-year-old motorhome? Will be still be able to go on holiday?

The bird fruit salad was a good reminder to me that God has infinite resources. When I entrusted my life to Christ, I trusted Him to provide for me. His provision is not miserly, but overflowing, generous, prodigal. There is no reason to think that, just because we are no longer working, God has ceased to be our Provider.

I suspect my granddaughters were involved in spreading a feast for the birds. Of course, the birds don’t know that, any more than we know how God will provide. But He will.

Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matt.6:25-26.)

This post is part of JusJoJan. Thanks to Linda Hill for running this challenge.

A Change in Focus

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Prov 3:5 NIV)

My biggest challenge in photography is to get my focus right. In the following picture, the focus is not sharp on the bird’s eyes but at least the bird is more in-focus than the background trees! A change in focus can totally change a photo.

Sometimes in life, we also need to change our focus. We can either focus on the Lord, or our own understanding. Our own understanding comes naturally. It is common sense.

This is an area where I am struggling at the moment. Our family in New Zealand offered to pay for us to visit them at the end of the year, subject to our being able to procure the two-for-one fare we were able to get two years ago. It is offered once a year for 12 hours only and last year it was available on the 24th January. We prayed about it and decided that getting the two-for-one fare would be our sign of the Lord’s green light. Up until this moment, there is no sign of the special, although there is a sale until the end of January where we can save about R 3 500 per ticket, but the price is still R7 000 above the cost of a two-for- one special.

My own understanding, conventional wisdom, screams out, “Buy the tickets now, do it now, quickly before they all run out! After all, a bird in the hand … and all that.”

However, after a lot of discussion and agonizing, we have decided not to settle for second best, but rather trust the Lord to provide the best, and from our side, to do everything in our power to keep an eye on the internet and not miss the offer. Please pray for me. I’m fine now, but it’s still January and we can always change our minds, but how will I cope on the first of February? Do I trust the Lord with all my heart?

This post is part of JusJoJan

The Scraggly Bishop

“Day by day, dear Lord, of thee three things I pray: to see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, follow thee more nearly, day by day.”

These words are attributed to Richard, Bishop of Chichester, 1253.

Richard was an impoverished orphan who became a small-town parson. Preaching and counselling were particular gifts of his and his fame soon spread. Against the wishes of King Henry III, Richard was consecrated as Bishop of Chichester. The king wouldn’t allow him to enter the cathedral or the bishop’s palace so for two years, he wandered around his diocese with bare feet and scraggly hair. He lived very simply on the charity of his flock.

Even when the quarrel with the king was patched up and Richard moved into the bishop’s palace, he continued to live almost as a beggar, fasting often and sleeping on the floor.

His words have echoed down the centuries, inspiring Christians like me. They became popular in 1971 in the musical, Godspell.

Today, I would like to make them the basis of my prayer.

Lord Jesus, I would like to know you better, to understand your heart. I would like to love you more and more each passing day and follow you more closely every day of my life. Amen.

This post is part of JusJoJan

Fun and the compost bin.

the compost bin was on the grass yesterday before it came into use today.

Some people think that Christians have no sense of humour. They imagine ladies in black mid-calf dresses with their hair in a bun and any wrinkles they might have are frown lines rather than smile lines. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I find it such fun having a relationship with Jesus. Today my schedule was running about half an hour late because I spent a lot of time discussing the garden with my daughter and the gardener. As a result, I was later at gym than usual, and as I walked into the change room, I met the cleaning lady. I remembered I had put a small Gideon testament in my handbag with her in mind and I happily gave it to her. She was delighted. She told me the little bible her son had given her was very tattered and had pages missing.

“God sent you,” she said.

“This is such fun,” I said to the Lord in my mind.

I thought back to yesterday when my grandchildren had 6-year triplets to play. My daughter had just bought a plastic compost bin with a door at the bottom to access the compost. The children were sitting on it, crawling inside and coming up with all sorts of inventive ways to play with it. They were having uninhibited fun. I think that is how God wants us to enjoy life. If we look around, we can find fun and joy in the most unlikely places.

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it in abundance. (John 10:10)

My Prayer

Lord, may I revel in the abundant life you have promised and find fun and joy in unlikely places. Amen.

This post is part of JustJoJan

Corridor of Light

Burglars broke into both houses behind us over the Christmas holiday and our neighbours are now upgrading their security. They intend putting up electric fencing along our shared border. Yesterday, tree-fellers invaded the property behind us with their noisy electric saws, trimming trees and branches that would interfere with the electric fence. Part of our avocado tree had to be trimmed.

I noticed the difference this morning when I went to the gazebo in the garden for my quiet time. The corridor of light between our house and wall was bigger and brighter. A rose was back-lit and glowed like a ruby. The smooth leaves looked like polished jade.

Image by Bob Mason from Pixabay

As every photographer knows, light makes all the difference. Even normally ugly things, given enough light, grow beautiful.

But light is not only for beauty, it is also for power. Without light, plants could not photosynthesize and make food or produce oxygen. As more and more power cuts hit our country, many South Africans are investing in solar panels to create electricity. Light has energy. Light is power.

Jesus, the Light of the World, is also the power of the world. In Him all things were created. (Col1:16)

We are called to walk in the light. (1 John 1:7, Psalm 56:13, Is 2:5 and others.)

My prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Light of the World, please shine your light of beauty and power on me today and always. Amen.”

This post is part of JustJoJan.

Shadows

Things are not always what they seem from their shadows. This morning I started running my bath water and noticed a long legged spider trying to get out of the way of the rising water. As he slipped and slithered on the white enamel surface, it looked to me like two spiders were ascending and descending. Eventually he made it and scurried away and into the corner under my console.

In the photo above, the bird’s shadow looks much larger than the bird itself.

Sometimes our lives are marred by shadows of the past. We all experience bad things and we all make mistakes and hurt others. However, when we allow the shadow to grow into something larger than it really is, it can steal our happiness and peace.

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” We all know what happens to shadows when we shine a light on them. Let us allow Jesus to shine His light on the dark shadows in our soul.

This post is part of the JustJoJan challenge.

A Loving Father

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

My husband and I went out for breakfast last Saturday morning to a nearby supermarket that offers a breakfast special.

At the table next to us was a family of four. They had finished their breakfast and were just spending time together. The mother had her back to us. Opposite her, a little girl of about seven sat on her father’s lap with her arms around his neck. A little boy, perhaps two years older, sat on our left opposite the chair that his sister had vacated.

We watched their interactions while tucking into our bacon and egg. The children were well behaved and respected by their parents. When they spoke, they were listened to. At one stage the boy rested his head on his father’s free arm which was resting on the table. The father gently admonished his daughter for using her hand instead of a serviette and leaned over to get one for her.

It came to me that this is the kind of relationship our heavenly Father longs to have with us and treasures. He’d love us to sit on his lap and enjoy him. He’s interested in listening to our prayers and is never in a rush to get on with business.

I’d love to have such an intimate relationship with God. Perhaps I should rename my quiet time, “Lap Time” and picture myself sitting on my Daddy’s lap, talking to Him in an easy and relaxed way, luxuriating in His love and attention.

Jesus taught us to regard God as our Father. The love we have for our children and grandchildren is just a pale two dimensional image of the powerful paternal love God has for us. Our Heavenly Father wants to lavish His love upon us!

Water Hyacinth

...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Heb 12:1)

Recently we attended a motor-home rally at Hartebeespoort Dam. There is a big ecological problem with water hyacinth which is threatening to overgrow the dam. The plants float about on the water clumped in little islands and depending on the wind we could see either clear water and free passage to boats or a mass of green carpet.

We watched as the islands clumped together

It reminded me of the sin that so easily entangles. The wind was not noticeable but gradually the area in front of us got covered. It seemed to take no effort.

Actually, the vista was quite attractive. It looked like a lush green meadow. There were even occasionally sprinklings of water hyacinth flowers.

Sin is like that too. It doesn’t necessarily look evil. Sometimes it can look rather nice. It just seems to accumulate naturally.

However, the water hyacinth is preventing the dam from serving its purpose as a dam. In the same way, entangled sin prevents us from becoming who God intended us to be.

Paul says we must throw off the sin that so easily entangles. Easier said than done.

We need the help of God. If we ask Him, He will show us what is hindering and entangling us and enable us to throw it off and run the race laid out for us. It might take some time but it is a process.

My Prayer: Father God, please show me what is clogging up my life and preventing me from fulfilling your true purpose for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Business Upgrade

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. (Eph 2:8)

My husband and I are reading through a little book by Randy Alcorn called “Grace.” First thing every morning he reads the day’s passage to me while I drink coffee in bed. So I am reading a lot about grace. Grace is God’s unmerited favour given to the undeserving.

Yesterday I was given a graphic illustration. Our youngest son was returning to Russia after a holiday in Australia and was given a business upgrade together with his two companions. They didn’t apply for it, they didn’t ask for it and since they hadn’t paid for it, they didn’t deserve it.

May I never take for granted God’s grace to me. It is free to me but cost Christ everything. It is not cheap and I certainly don’t deserve it. It gives me the right to call God, My Father, and for me to be His child. I have all the privileges of the children of a loving, rich and powerful king. How blessed I am!

Prayer

Father, may I never take your grace for granted but live in an attitude of gratitude, extending grace to others. Amen.