Monthly Archives: November 2022

From Hamilton to Mt Maunganui

Our first night test camp was not amazing. We went to Hamilton Holiday Park because it is close to our son’s house which is our New Zealand base. The idea was to test the equipment and make sure we had everything we needed. We didn’t. We left behind our pillows, my tablets and my husband’s hearing aid tool kit. I also found it was much colder than we anticipated and our sleeping bags were not adequate. As for my summer pyjama top…

Having procured what we needed, we started the journey to our first real stop, Mt Maunganui in Tauranga. It included a portion on a toll road which was problematic. In theory it’s easy. Cameras record your number plate automatically, you log onto the website and pay using a debit or credit card. It’s only a couple of dollars. Problem:- our New Zealand bank card was not yet activated. So we decided to avoid the toll road. Although I thought there was a setting on my google maps to avoid toll roads, I couldn’t find a menu to do so. So we arrived on the toll road and didn’t know what to do.

We went all the way around the roundabout to retrace our steps but didn’t know where to go or what to do. When we saw a gravel road leading to a another gravel road, we took it, stopped the car and prayed. I sat in the car trying to google the route avoiding the toll road while my husband walked up the gravel incline.

When I next looked at him, he was talking to a cyclist who had “happened” to cycle by. He was able to advise and direct us to the right road.

We had a good friend in our Bible Study group who used to say, “God always provides the right people for the right situation.” We prayed and God provided. What an awesome God we serve!

So now we are at Mt Maunganui in intermittent rain with the beach in front of us and the mountain behind us. I have a winter pyjama top that I bought from a charity shop, we have a big fluffy blanket and comfortable snuggly pillows. Let the adventure begin!

We are in the small blue tent to the left of the orange cyclist.

My Prayer

Thank You Lord for always providing for us. Thank You that we can turn to You no matter what our situation. Thank You for Your beautiful creation. Amen.

Time Warp

We are in Hamilton, New Zealand, at the start of our camping trip.

To get here, we needed to go through a time warp. We are now eleven hours in the future.

God is in a different time state to us. He is outside of time. That is why The Psalmist is able to say, “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has gone by, or like a watch in the night.” (Psalm 90:4 NIV)

If we order a fridge and pay for it, we foresee a time when it will be in the kitchen. We might clean the kitchen floor in the area where it will be going. Although we do not have the fridge yet, we can see through the time warp to when we will have it. Jesus tells us, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24 NIV). It is just a time warp away.

My Prayer

Lord, please help me to embrace time warp faith in my prayers. Amen.

Young

The Young family has a family crest, a copy of which is on our fridge as a fridge magnet.

I thought I had read that our motto was “Forever Young” but when I googled it, I found the following: “Young Clan Motto: Robore Prudentia Praestat (Prudence excels strength).”

We often joke that we will always be Young. However, we can’t escape the fact that both my husband and I are in our seventies.

It was therefore with great delight that I read the following from Psalms this morning.

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
    they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the Lord,
    they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age,
    they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
    he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
(Psalm 92:12-15 NIV)

Of course, there is a proviso to still bearing fruit in old age. We need to be righteous. Fortunately for us, by God’s amazing gift, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,” (Romans 3:22 NIV)

I like the idea of staying fresh and green. It is almost like being forever young.

My Prayer

Thank You, Father, that there is no age limit to being able to bear fruit for Your Kingdom. Nobody is too old and nobody is too young. Holy Spirit of Jesus, please work in me so that I may bear fruit to God’s glory. I want to abide in Christ and be fresh and green. Amen.

Getting Ready

We are leaving for New Zealand on Friday. We have been preparing for a long time. The tickets were bought in April and since then we have been getting ready. Now it’s almost time. I’ve started packing my suitcase. We know exactly what time our plane leaves so we can prepare accordingly.

A number of people have asked whether I shall be continuing with Coffee in the Rain and the answer is, “I’ll try.” I might include more photos (internet access permitting) but I’d like to be able to include an inspirational message as well. It is in the Lord’s hands.

I do have a travel blog but I doubt I could keep two blogs going at the same time.

Our trip is in the future and we have been able to prepare for it. I think we’ll be ready by Friday to move to another country for two and a half months.

Jesus has told us He is coming again and we are able to prepare but, because nobody knows the day or the time, we cannot prepare as precisely. He said, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Matthew 24:42-44 NIV)

This preparation is more like a couple expecting a baby. They know more or less when it is due and they’ve found out all about the signs of labour, but they don’t know exactly when the baby will come. I had my bags packed and ready for the hospital a month before my due date.

In the waiting before the baby’s birth, (which sometimes seems interminable) there are preparations to make. A room or area has to be made ready for the baby, equipment has to be bought or borrowed, clothes and nappies have to be procured. It’s too late to do all that when the mother goes into labour. Meanwhile, the mother-to-be’s body has been readying itself for giving birth and then producing milk without her having any active role.

Jesus has told us we must be ready. Like the foolish virgins in the parable, if we have not been preparing in good time, we will be caught short.

Many of us, if not all of us, will die before Christ comes again. Then we will have no time or opportunity to get ready to meet God. We need to use our time wisely now. I see our preparation in two parts. There is God’s part and our part. God has done the major part by enabling fallen sinners to come into His holy domain through the death of Jesus and by sending the Holy Spirit to begin changing us into Christ’s likeness. Our part is to stay in a close relationship with Jesus, to get to know Him more and to do whatever He tells us to do. Different people are called to different ministries and we need to be faithful to our specific calling.

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, I want to stay close to You. If You come again tomorrow, I want to know that You will know my name. Please keep me from allowing my agenda to take precedence over Yours. May I be found doing Your work when You come or You call me home. Amen.

Rotten Base

I love my kitchen cupboards. They were made by a Christian brother who was in that line of work.

While we were away at the South Coast in early September, our house was flooded. The floors lifted and the bottoms of several cupboards suffered water damage. The insurance have been great but it took time to submit the claim, get quotes and have the claim processed. Because we are going away for three months on Friday, it was decided to lift the floors last Monday so the concrete underneath can dry while we are away. On Thursday the carpenter came to remove the damaged kick-plates of the cupboards.

What he found was distressing. More than the kick-plates was damaged. The moist atmosphere under the cupboards had started to rot the wood of the units themselves – a much bigger repair job than had been anticipated.

I am reminded of two illustrations in the Bible.

Jesus said, Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Matthew 23:27-28 NIV)

We can have a life that looks beautiful and ordered on the outside, but underneath is supported by nothing but rottenness. The Pharisees seemed to have it all together. They did their religious duties. In today’s society they would attend church, perhaps lead a Bible-study, fast, pray, serve the poor and seem like shining examples. However their thought lives, their attitudes and their self-righteousness were rotten in Jesus’ eyes. They judged others, they had no love, they did what seemed right in their own eyes but their hearts were far from God.

Jesus also told the parable of the foolish and wise builders. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27 NIV)

We are all sinners and we all have attitudes that are not glorifying to God. We need to prevent the rot that can ruin our lives by crumbling our foundations. Jesus teaches that if we listen to His words and obey them, our foundation will be sound and strong.

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, I feel for the Pharisees. They thought they were righteous. Please open my eyes to areas of rot in my life:- attitudes of jealousy, judging others, lack of love. I do not want to be like the man with a plank in his eye trying to get rid of a splinter in his brother’s eye. Help! Amen.

Facing Failure

We are leaving for New Zealand in a week. Part of my preparation has been to think about which clothes to take and whether anything needs replacing. I bought a green jacket at the beginning of winter which was very convenient when we went camping as it has pockets and a hood and is shower-proof. It has never looked smart, however. It just didn’t hang right. I decided to look at it carefully and see why. It seemed that the lining had shrunk or was never the right size for the outer shell. Surely if I separated the lining from the shell and just neatened it off, it would improve the hang? Maybe I used the wrong material to edge off the lining but, suffice it to say, I gave away the jacket and bought another one.

On Tuesday afternoon my daughter came to show me how my granddaughter’s ballet character skirt had become too loose for her. She needed it fixed for her ballet exam. Safety pins in the waistband would not cut it. She asked if I could fix it by Thursday, which was the last practice. It seemed a simple job – unpick the elasticised waist band and put in new elastic. Easy! I even found a suitable piece of elastic in my sewing box.

Image adapted from Image by Fiona from Pixabay

After twenty five minutes of trying to unpick black thread from black fabric and making only 1cm progress on one of three rows of stitching on the elasticised band, I came up with another plan – cut off the waist band and make another one. It was after 9.30pm before I could get hold of my daughter to OK the plan (especially as the fabric I had was not a perfect match colourwise.)

The Bible says, “The heart of man plans his way; but the Lord establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16: 9)

My plan started well but by Wednesday night, once I had finished sewing the three rows to keep the elastic from twisting, the stretch no longer seemed enough. Maybe it was old elastic I had found.

Suddenly, on my worktable, was not only the new band I had made, but also another one which was much stretchier. I couldn’t understand it. The one I had cut off the skirt was in the dustbin, and yet here was just exactly what I needed. And the material was a perfect match. I had prayed about this project that the Lord would help me make a success of it. Surely this was His provision! We were looking after the grandchildren on Wednesday night so it was easy to get my granddaughter to try on the new waistband. It was quite a bit too tight but if I attached a piece from the one in the dustbin it could work.

It was in attaching the skirt to the waistband that the wheels really came off. You know it’s time for bed when you have sewed the entire waistband and a big chunk of fabric hangs down, un-incorporated.

By Thursday morning I was a soggy mess of stress. I had managed to unpick a lot of the stitching but not all. I couldn’t stop crying. My husband tried to cheer me up by saying that we could buy a new skirt if necessary. That didn’t help because it would be another failure. I had undertaken to do something and I had failed.

I knew the Lord had brought this upon me for a purpose. The extra waistband had apparently been from when my older granddaughter had had a similar issue with her character skirt just before an exam, only hers had been too tight and I had cut it off and made another one. Only I had forgotten. And exactly how it had landed on my work table I still don’t know. God’s handiwork was obvious. Surely He isn’t trying to tell me that there is a time to give up!

After a lot of thought, I think He wants me to learn to cope with failure. Looking back on my life, I have not failed often. Perhaps I have become too proud and independent. I have prided myself on being able to deliver on my promises, on being capable.

I had so wanted to be Super Granny!

My Prayer

Lord, I am not quite sure what You are doing with me at the moment and I don’t like it. Forgive me for relying on my own gifts and talents rather than on You. If You are teaching me something, may I learn quickly so I may be at peace. Amen.

A Prayer to Jesus

“…break through the chains that bind me to the lie that a shadowed life on my terms is better than an unveiled one on yours.”

Joan Campbell from Soul Search

Image by Colleen from Pixabay

This post is part of One-Liner-Wednesday

Gold Star

On our way home from walking the grandchildren to school on Monday, I came across a small gold star hiding among the natural detritus on the pavement.

It was so well camouflaged that I’ve had to desaturate the rest of the photo to show it clearly.

When I was in primary school, a gold star symbolised excellence. Having a workbook full of gold stars was something to be proud of and a bragging right for your parents. Yet here was this lone star lying unnoticed on the ground.

Paul writes to the Philippians, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.” (Philippians 2:14-16 NIV)

It is true that in this self-seeking world of social media, doing everything without grumbling or arguing will not cause us to stand out in a crowd. We might well be overlooked and ignored like the little gold star on the ground. Yet God sees. He sees us shining like stars amidst the ordinariness of life. We need only to hold on to the Word of Life, who is Christ. He will enable us, through His Holy Spirit, to lead a life pleasing to God – and that includes doing everything without grumbling and complaining.

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, Word of Life, sometimes my hold on You grows slack. Yet Your hold on me never falters. Forgive me when I grumble and complain. Please lead me and empower me to live a life pleasing to You that I might be blameless and pure and hear You say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” That will be to me, a gold star. Amen.