Monthly Archives: April 2020

Lockdown Day 35 Work

Tomorrow is Worker’s Day, a public holiday in South Africa and in another 65 countries around the world.

It seems ironic that it is also the first day of the lockdown easing to level four from level five. This means that over a million workers will be free to go to work in certain sectors. Will they? On a public holiday? I doubt it.

During this time of lockdown, we realise what a privilege it is to work, to have a job, not only to earn a salary but to feel you have made a contribution.

In the beginning, after God worked to create the world and all in it, He saw it was good and He rested from His Work. Then He entrusted the care of the world to us, to people. That required work. All we do to build society, to teach our children, to build homes, cities, roads, infrastructure, banking systems, to serve each other and so on, all require work.

The Bible gives us some pointers about work.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” (Colossians 3:23)

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God” (Exodus 20:8)

If we regard our work as part of our lives and as a gift from God, we will treat it as any other part of our lives. We commit it to God. As the fruit of the Spirit grows in us, our working life should also demonstrate the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control of Ephesisans 5:22.

For those of us who are retired, our work does not cease. We are in a position to help others, especially our families. We have more time to wait on the Lord and follow His leading. Whatever we do, whether employed or laid aside, let us do it all for the glory of God.

Lockdown Day 33 Through the Window.

I love looking through my study window and seeing my grandchildren play. Even when it’s raining they can have such fun. They are being what they are:- Children.

In the same way, God loves looking at us being who we are. He didn’t create uniformity. He loves our individuality and smiles when He sees us becoming the people He created us to be.

A.B. Simpson said,

“Let us but feel that he has his heart set upon us, that he is watching us from those heavens with tender interest…that he has set his love upon us, and in spite of ourselves is working out for us his higher will and blessing, as far as we will let him – and then nothing can discourage us.”

Lockdown Day 32 Freedom

Today is Freedom Day in South Africa. It commemorates our first democratic elections in 1994. At last all South Africans could vote. One would have thought that after twenty six years we would now have a free society but that is not so. We are not free from crime, we are not free from corruption, we are not free from greed, selfishness, xenophobia, inequality or evil.

What is freedom? The Oxford dictionary gives us two choices.

  1. The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants.
  2. The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.

According to these definitions, are any of us really free? Ask Israel Folau.

What about drug addicts, alcoholics or those addicted to porn. Are they free?

According to the Bible, God has given us one main freedom and He will never revoke that. That is the freedom of choice. Right at the beginning, humanity could choose whether to obey God or not. Later Joshua spelled it out for the Israelites.

And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served …….or the gods of the Amorites, but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Josh 24:15 NKJV)

Because of the choice early humanity made, we are all under the dominion of sin. Hardly free! Even Paul, that great apostle, said,
“For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:18 and 19.)

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can certainly relate. How many times have I told myself not to treat my adult children as if they were still children instead of the independent adults they now are? I try but how many times have I failed? We are all slaves, therefore not free at all.

For this very purpose Jesus came to die. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourself be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galations 5:1 NIV)

In our virtual sermon yesterday, we remembered that …we are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Rom 8:37 NIV) and that nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (verse 38)

May we all appropriate the freedom Christ has won for us. Happy Freedom Day!

Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay

Lockdown Day 31 Trees

My son-in-law decided to take down a branch of the acacia tree that was dying and could be a danger if it fell. There was a lot of sawing and even drilling but the final phase was the breaking by pulling the branch using a rope.

We all realised that trees are bigger and stronger and heavier than we give them credit for. Having got the branch down, the next problem was to move it out of the way to the perimeter wall. That took almost an hour with the whole family working together.

Psalm 92:12-14 NIV

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.

God has declared us righteous.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor 5:21)

Let no one underestimate a cedar planted in the house of the LORD. Let no one underestimate us.

Lockdown Day 30 Valour

This post is part of Saturday Stream of Consciousness. The prompt for today is to use val in a word. I have chosen to look at valour – a good old fashioned word. According to the dictionary, it means great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle.

I thought this is what we all need in these trying times. Let’s face it, we are in a battle – humans against the virus. A good dose of valour is what we all need. Courage is not the lack of fear. It is doing the right thing in spite of fear. At the moment, doing the right thing means obeying the authorities, doing what God commands, like loving our neighbours, and putting the good of others, the general population, above our own preferences, likes and welfare.

Health workers are at the front-line of the battle, going into danger every day. We salute their acts of valour. The police and the army are also in the trenches, facing not only the power of the enemy, but also friendly fire from disobedient citizens. If a soldier in war time does not obey orders, he is court marshaled or often just shot out of hand.

Joshua 1:6 exhorts us, “Be strong and courageous…” Those words are repeated three times in the rest of the chapter. I like verse 9 best.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Lockdown Day 29 This is the Year

Last night President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a stepped lifting of the hard lockdown from 1 May according to the infection rate and the readiness of health services. South Africa has 3 953 confirmed cases of Covid 19 and the death toll is at 75.

2020 will be remembered as:

  1. The year of the mask.
  2. The year we washed our hands, again and again and again………..
  3. The year we got to attend church in our own comfy lounge.
  4. The year the older generation had to learn new things like Zoom and Facebook prayer meetings.
  5. The year we evaluated what’s really important in life. What are essentials?
  6. The year the government stopped infighting and all faced the same direction. The year of unexpected leadership.
  7. The year when communities reached out to each other and more compassion was shown.
  8. The year when the background noise was more birdsong and less traffic.
  9. The year many people remembered how to pray and seek God.
  10. The year that humans realised we were not in control and, actually had never been.
  11. The year of courage and inspiration, of new inventions and new ways of doing life.
  12. The year the inequality divide shifted and some people were so overworked they barely had time to eat and some so bored and unpaid that they spent their time waiting in queues for food parcels, neatly spaced 1 to 2 metres apart.

Yes the world is upside down. But God is not. His promises do not change according to circumstances.

But we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Rom 8:28 NIV)

All things means all things, even a pandemic. God, who knows and understands so much more than our puny little brains can even think or contemplate, can see the good that will result from our present distress and trial. Let’s just trust Him and enjoy the every day gifts that we so often overlook, like sunshine, oxygen, colour, sight and the ability to walk.

Lockdown Day 28 Protection

Today we had to go shopping. We took our masks and our hand-sanitiser although the two shops we visited both had sanitiser for trolleys and hands. We kept our distance from other people. In general, customers are patient, waiting for one person to look for the vegetables they choose before another moves to the same area. All these precautions are for our protection. The government, like governments around the world, have put regulations in place for the protection of the citizens.

As we left the parking area, my husband’s car had to remind me to buckle up my seat belt. This is also for my protection (but I hate an inanimate machine bossing me around.)

Sportsmen wear protective equipment to protect various parts of their body. Even my eight-year-old grandson, who plays wicket keeper for his cricket team, wears a helmet, huge gloves, pads and, of course the requisite box.

Not surprisingly, God has also provided protective gear to keep His children safe. We are meditating on the armour of God in our daily devotions that the church is putting out.

Ephesians 6:10-17

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Lockdown Day 26 One Liner Wednesday

This post is part of One-Liner Wednesday organised by Linda Hill.

Romans 4:20-21 says of Abraham,

Yet he did not waiver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. (NIV)

Lockdown Day 27 Remember Me

This morning my normal YouTube daily devotion was nowhere to be found. Instead I read a chapter of Rebecca Barlow-Jones’ book, “Dayvotions for Grandmothers.” She reminisced about her grandmother and other grandmothers and what the children remembered of them after their death.

Memory is a wonderful thing when the memories are happy. There are two places in the Bible that spring to mind when somebody asked somebody else to remember them.

Joseph said to Pharaoh’s cupbearer as he was about to be reinstated in Pharaoh’s household, “But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison.” (Genesis 40:14 NIV)

The cupbearer forgot Joseph for more than two years. I don’t blame him. Who wants to remember the worst time of your life?

The other occasion is when the criminal crucified next to Jesus said, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”(Luke 23:42 NKJV)

Jesus’ gracious reply reverberates down history. “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43 NIV)

All of this got me to thinking. What will my grandchildren remember about me when I am gone?

I doubt that they will remember that I wrote a blog every day during lockdown or that I sewed thirty masks for the poor, or that I wrote a story every month for the writer’s circle. They probably won’t remember whether the house was clean or tidy as much as my reaction when they messed or untidied the house.

I hope they’ll remember doing science experiments with Granny, or making decoupage coasters for their Mom’s birthday during lockdown, when they couldn’t just go shopping with their father to choose something for her. I hope they’ll remember baking and getting to lick all the bowls and utensils before washing them (inexpertly) in the sink. I hope they’ll remember I loved Jesus and that He was the most important person in my life.

Children, remember me. I love you all very much.