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Open Your Mouth Wide

Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” (Psalm 81:10b ESV)

I thought of baby birds when I read that.

Image by Jan van Oosthuizen from Pixabay

However, the Psalm goes on: “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways.” (Psalm 81:11-13 ESV)

Imagine if some enemy persuaded a baby bird that its mother was mean to only give it worms to eat when there was fudge available.

“But Mom said only to eat what she gives me. other stuff is bad for me.”

“It is not bad for you. Look, I’ll eat some. See. I’m fine. In fact I have so much energy, I think I can fly,” says the enemy.

So the hatchling eats the fudge and it is true, she has more energy. When her mother comes, she doesn’t open her mouth. She is full. She thinks she is big now. She can make her own decisions. Gradually she becomes deaf to her mother’s voice and doesn’t react. Her mother thinks she is dead and throws her out of the nest. Fortunately the baby bird lands in a soft clump of gorse and doesn’t die but injures her wing. She thinks she is happy, however, because she lands near the packet of fudge. She will be all right, she reasons. So she gets fat and heavy and doesn’t even know that she was created to fly. She also doesn’t know the danger she is in as a grounded bird in a place where predators abound.

Does this story ring any bells? It is the story of the fall. How Man chose to be his own god, rather than submit to the Only True God. Our human nature is deaf to the voice of God and everyone does what is right in his own eyes. Yet God longs for us to return to Him, so that He can save us from the danger we are in.

My Prayer

Father God, please teach me to recognise Your voice and to obey as you train me in Your ways. Forgive me for my stubborn heart which convinces me that my way is the right way. Amen.

Living Water

For my birthday, my three children clubbed together to buy me a birdbath. t

Two concrete birds perch around the edge.

It will take a while before birds visit the bath. They are suspicious of new things suddenly appearing. So, for the moment at least, there is a generous supply of cooling water and no birds slaking their thirst or cooling their feathers.

Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:37-38 NIV) “By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.” (38b)

The offer is for anyone and everyone. Just like the bird bath is for all birds. But not many will come, whether from suspicion, disbelief or pride in their own ability to cope.

I like to think of “rivers of living water” as fountains – an endless supply of water with energy and power. I picture a solar fountain spurting like a whale in the middle of my bird bath.

My Prayer

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your gift of the Holy Spirit. Please continue to fill me that I may be a source of refreshing and life to others. Amen.

Flat batteries, robberies and denuded trees.

I thought I’d share this old post again. So many negative things are happening to people I care for. It’s hard to see how God can work all things together for good…

Coffee in the Rain

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

A couple of weeks ago I talked about how the shade had been removed from the courtyard where I write. Now I can’t drink my coffee in the courtyard because of the hot African sun.

However, God is very inventive and He is using even denuded trees for my good. I don’t like drinking coffee at my computer – a break is meant to be a break! I’ve had to get creative. In the corner, a new pharmacy has opened up and they have a little coffee nook tucked away in the back. Last week I decided to explore while drinking my coffee and walking. I noticed they sold healthy-looking rusks in packs of four so I bought a pack…

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Ordinary People

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)

Yesterday we walked along the beach. This is what we saw.

Litter polluting the Scottburgh Beach.

This morning I saw an encouraging sight. Three ladies, dressed in municipal overalls and carrying black plastic bags, were walking abreast along the beach  and picking up the litter.

A feeling of gratitude welled up in me for all the ordinary people in South Africa who pitch up every day and do their job.

We hear enough about the problem people; the scammers, the thieves, the corrupt politicians, the violent mischief-makers and the murderers. We don’t appreciate the majority of ordinary people who do their job making life better for us all. Some of them don’t earn much money and get little or no recognition.

Work is a noble human activity. In Genesis God worked to create the world. When we work, we resemble Him.

So to the ordinary workers of South Africa, those who fix cars, care for the sick, manage money, fill petrol, wash cars, keep our streets safe, man counters and telephones, teach our children, wash our clothes, advise, repair or enrich us with music or art, to those whose jobs I’ve never even heard of or thought about, I salute you.

My Prayer

Thank You Lord for all the skills and talents with which You have gifted Mankind. May everything I do be done as unto you. Amen.

Frozen

God answers prayears in unique ways. Not at all like we had in mind when we prayed them.

Since we moved from Karridene to Scottburgh, our fridge has not been working properly. The week’s worth of braai meat that we had bought in transit did not freeze after three days in our freezer compartment. I prayed.

I wrote my prayer in the back of my journal where I list specific prayers.

“18 August:That our meat might be OK and our freezer work.”

We reunited with friends we made last year camping. They offered to keep our meat for us except the chicken which we braaied that night and was fine. They suggested we get the number of a repairman from the office. I chatted to him and established he would do a call-out. The least we could expect to pay was for a regas, and that would be R800.

Today the repairman came. He can’t fix that (old) kind of fridge. He gave us suggestions for what we could do when we got home and for R300 we have hired a fridge for three weeks.

God answered my prayer. Our meat didn’t spoil (because Jeff and Hester looked after it) and we have a working fridge and freezer. We are in an even better situation. The hired fridge is about three times the size of the motor home fridge and it stands in the gazebo, so drinks, milk or lunch ingredients are much more accessible than they would be inside.

It’s not what I had in mind when I prayed. It is so much better! And I haven’t used up all my spending money on fridge repairs.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. ( Ephesians 5:20-21NIV)

My Prayer

Lord, thank you for answering my prayer Your way, not mine. May I never underestimate Your power nor Your goodness to me. Amen.

Look up

I lift my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. “ (Psalm 121:1-2)

I bought myself a camping bird feeder which uses recycled plastic bottles as its main component. It didn’t take long for the birds in Drakensville to get used to a new source of food.

Although only two or maximum three birds could feed on the platform at once, seeds constantly dropped from their activity and groups of birds gathered underneath to share in the feast. They knew if they looked up, they could locate the next seed before other birds.

Looking up to the source of blessing.

We, too, should be constantly looking up in a figurative sense, turning our thoughts to God and relying on His undeserved goodness to us.

My Prayer

Thank You, Jehova Jira, my Provider for all your gifts and blessings. Without You I can do nothing. May my thoughts constantly turn to You. Amen.

Broken Chair

The Bible says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” (Psalm 20 verse)

What we put our faith in determines our actions.

I have heard faith defined as “putting one’s whole weight on”. It is like sitting on a chair, trusting it to take the strain.

A couple of days ago, while my husband was happily enjoying dinner, his camp chair gave way. One joint after the other broke and he ended up sitting on the floor.

Chair in the recycling area.

We spoke to the office and they very kindly lent us a plastic chair for the duration of our stay.

We must be careful where we place our faith. Nowadays it is unlikely to be in chariots or horses but more likely in our savings or insurance policy. Even these can collapse and leave us sitting on the ground. Only Christ is worthy of our faith and I am trying to lean my full weight on Him.

My Prayer

Lord, I trust You with my eternal destiny. Please teach me to trust my whole life to you, to lean my whole weight upon Your promises. Amen.

Worship

This post is part of One-Liner-Wednesday

“Worship is a submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of the conscience by his holiness; the nourishment of mind with his truth, the purifying of imagination by his beauty; the opening of the heart to his love; the surrender of will to his purpose – and all this gathered up in adoration.” (William Temple)

Drakensburg Weather

We are staying in a holiday park called Drakensville. surrounded by mountains It is not far from Bergville. Geographically it can be considered in the Drakensberg.

We woke up on Saturday, our first morning, to a pale blue sky with puffy white clouds. It was time to refill my tablet container with a week’s supply so I made myself some coffee and sat down in my camp chair to sort out my tablets before having my quiet time while my husband went to the ablutions to shower and shave.

I had cut my first lot of tablets in half and I glanced towards the western mountains to see if there was a smattering of snow. No such luck. The sky looked gunmetal grey. About ten minutes later, there was a rain squall, driven by a strong wind. Our dustbin blew over and all the rubbish blew away, my husbands chair and our small side tables blew over and a light rain was blowing through our gazebo. I decided to put up the side wall on the western side.

By the time my husband got back, it was sunny and calm. I hadn’t even finished sorting my tablets yet.

The whole day was like that. We went swimming in the indoor warm pool and watched rain pouring down the windows. When we left, it was sunny again although the blue sky above was sandwiched between grey sky on both sides.

The last time I was prepared. We went to the cafe at 5pm to connect to the internet.

I’ll have to get used to this weather. It is so unlike the beautiful winter weather we have in Randburg where, although the nights can get pretty cold, the days are sunny and mild, day after day after day.

Jesus said, “So stay awake, alert. You have no idea what day your Master will show up. But you do know this: You know that if the homeowner had known what time of night the burglar would arrive, he would have been there with his dogs to prevent the break-in. Be vigilant just like that. (Matthew 24:42-44 MSG)

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, I know You will come again. Please help me to be ready. In everyday life I don’t know what will happen. May I be prepared with Your help to cope with anything. Amen.