Tag Archives: Covid

Times of Refreshing

Repent then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…” (Acts 3:19 NIV)

Today we flew to Gqeberha. We got up at 6 although we had both been awake since soon after 5am. We packed the last things that were still in use until this morning, went across to say goodbye to the grandchildren before school and then our daughter took us to the Gautrain bus at 7.45. The plan was to arrive at the airport, drop off our luggage, go through security and have time enough for breakfast at Wimpy before boarding. Our timing worked perfectly – except I hadn’t calculated that boarding time was at least half an hour before take off. There was no time for breakfast – not even to buy a cup of cappuccino at the coffee stall near where a line had already formed outside our boarding gate.

The last time we flew Covid was still very much of a danger and, even when flights were allowed, certainly there was no eating and drinking on planes. Imagine our delight therefore when we were told that light snacks would be served and we could choose between a chicken and beef sandwich.

Now I understand a bit about what the Bible means by “times of refreshing.” Eating a meal with juice and coffee when one is hungry is such a time.

When our spiritual life is dry and faded and perhaps we have slipped into lethargy or subtle sin, repentance and turning again to God can bring just such a burst of energy to our spirit as a meal can do to our hungry and thirsty body.

My Prayer

Father God, please show me the symptoms of spiritual hunger that I may come to You for times of refreshing when I am under-nourished and languishing. Amen.


4 January 2022

In the first week of December, we went to Dube Private Game Reserve, near Brits, with our daughter and the three grandchildren. (Our son-in-law had to work, unfortunately, and one thing the bush doesn’t have is good internet options for zoom meeting.)

They offer a very good mid-week special from Sunday afternoon to Friday morning out of school holidays for R650 for two. It is one of our favourite places to camp. Besides the game reserve in which one can walk, drive or cycle, there are lovely pools with water slides as well as an indoor pool, a café/fast food outlet and excellent ablutions.

This giraffe thinks nothing of wandering into the caravan park, having an early morning snack, and wandering out again.

The week we went was the last week before the public school holidays. Our grandchildren attend a school where the school terms are slightly different so they were already on holiday.

On the Tuesday, members of staff came around to every site handing out leaflets inviting us all to tea at the Shalom Hall on the Wednesday. When we got there, it turned out to be not so much a tea, but a glorious Christmas party with appropriate musical numbers by some very talented people, scrumptious and plentiful food and festive décor.

All the guests at the Christmas party.

The owners told us they wanted to honour God for helping them get through the rough times of Covid and for all His goodness to them. They also wanted to thank us for our support. First they called for all the children and gave them each an envelope which turned out to contain a hundred-Rand note. Then they called up each person who had booked a site and gave them an envelope containing five hundred-Rand notes. We could hardly believe it. Such generosity is beyond the normal run of life.

I believe that generous people display more of the image of God than some of the rest of us. God’s generosity is not based on any merit of ours but on Who God is. “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

It is not enough to admire generous people. We are all called to be generous. Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely give,”(Matthew 10:8b NIV) and “ Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”(Luke 6:38 NIV)

My Prayer

Father God, everything I have is a gift from You. Please help me to be generous to others as You have been to me. Amen.

Goodbye 2021

This morning I contemplated the year that is almost past. I wrote down some things that I remember from 2021:-

Hurriedly going on holiday a week earlier than planned and only just missing the Gauteng lockdown,

The unrest in June/July which was closer to us in KwaZulu Natal when we spent two months in a motorhome,

Ever-changing Covid regulations and getting vaccinated,

A last minute decision to visit my mother for her birthday in September.

Omicron being identified in South Africa.

As the year comes to an end, I can put a full stop and close the handwritten book.

Before me is a clean page, a new book with nothing yet written in it. I wonder what will be written on 2022’s pages. As I prepare to pick up my pen to at least write a heading, I stop. Am I going to write the new year, or is God? Experience tells me God always writes history. I am like a character in a novel. God is the author. He endowed me with gifts, a personality, a character, hopes, fears, dreams. I react in certain ways to pressure.

Like all good novels, 2022 will have conflict. How I react and cope is up to me. That will make the difference between a good story and a bad one. What story would I like to tell when 2022 is history?

I don’t know what 2022 holds. But I know the God who holds 2022 in His hands. I trust Him because I know He loves me.

My Prayer

Father God, Author of all things, as I stand before a new year, I ask You once again to reign in my life. May my decisions be based on Your guidance and my knowledge of Your will. I commit my future to You. Amen.

…And a Time to Forget

Why should we forget?

First of all, it’s in our nature, in our humanity. As I approach seventy, I find I am forgetting more and more. However, this is not the kind of forgetting I am talking about. I am talking about a deliberate choice to forget something and think about it no more; to fling it from our fingertips and turn our back on it.

God forgets. On purpose. Isaiah 43:25 reads, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” (NIV) This theme is repeated in Hebrews 8:12, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”(NIV)

So we forget, because God forgets. We are commanded to forgive others as we have been forgiven:- remember no more.

I find it interesting that in Isaiah God forgets for His own sake. Likewise we forgive for our own sakes. It makes very little difference to the person who wronged us, but it makes a difference to us, to our peace, to our happiness and even our health.

So what are we called on to forget? We are called on to forget the sins other people have committed against us. Now I know this is impossible. Because I’ve tried. However, what is impossible with man is possible with God. (Luke 18:27) It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can practice this kind of forgetting. And it might need constant practice and we might never perfect it.

We also need to forgive ourselves for our sins and failures. After all, if we’ve confessed our sins, God has forgotten them. Who are we to keep thinking about them and calling them to mind? They are removed from us as far as the east is from the west.

John also talks about forgetting. “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come, but when her baby is born, she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.” (John 16;21 NIV) I think this is not so much forgetting as not concentrating on, not filling our minds with the pain and constantly reliving it.

I have met a number of people who, when asked what was their highlight of 2020, have answered, “Surviving Covid.” They choose not to dwell on the pain, isolation and hopelessness but rather to be grateful that it is over. What I focus on is my choice.

Paul says, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”(Philipians 3:13-14 NIV) I do not think Paul was suggesting we forget the past but rather to not let the past drag us back from embracing the present and the future. The past has many treasures that we need to hold onto.

I find I am in need of God’s wisdom and guidance to know what to remember and what to forget. What shall I write in the sand and let God’s gentle waves wash away for ever? What shall I take into the New Year to equip me to face it with hope and courage?

My Prayer

My Father, Please teach me to know when to forget and when to remember. I commit my memory to You, conscious and unconscious. Amen.

This post is part of JusJoJan.