Tag Archives: father

Caravan Park Cat

At the Karridene Caravan Park there are one or two cats. One in particular, is a good-looking cat with a glossy coat and an amiable disposition.

At Drakensville and, if I remember correctly, also at Scottburgh Caravan Parks, there are notices in the ablutions and in public areas asking campers to please refrain from feeding the cats. They live on the property to keep down the vermin. We are also asked not to touch them or invite them into the units.

There are no such notices at Karridene. However, I think the same applies. If the cats get used to people feeding them, they will not be practising their hunting skills and might lose their edge.

As a cat-lover, it is very hard for me to resist the entreaties of a cute cat to give him or her the desire of their heart. I can see the future. Not that I claim to have any prescient sense, but I know what will happen when we leave, when all the campers leave.

In the same way, God doesn’t always give us what we perceive as the desires of our hearts at any specific time.

I have a friend who asked God to help him lose weight. He said he could almost hear the Lord asking him, “Are you serious about this?” and he decided that no, he wasn’t serious.

The Bible says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

Our Father knows the real desires of our hearts even better than we do. As we delight in Him our wills and desires are purified and focused by His presence.

My Prayer

Father, I don’t always know what I want. Something grabs my attention or my imagination and I think that is the desire of my heart. Please refine my desires and teach me to delight in You more and more. Amen.

Like a Little Child

Jesus said,” Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,…” (Matthew 18:3-5 ESV)

Image by Steven Batty from Pixabay

After church this morning, we met the missionaries our church supports from the Ukraine, Arkadiy and Anneke Naydenov. Since the calamitous events that have been happening in the Ukraine recently, their life has been turned upside down. They managed to escape to Hungary and recently arrived safely in South Africa. They have a five month old baby, a contented, peaceful, happy child. Anneke was telling us that during air raid sirens, crossing borders, living in different countries and four different houses, he would just look at her in complete trust and coo happily. “That,” she said, “is how we should trust God.”

I’ve been meditating on that picture all afternoon. My trust in God is so far from that ideal and yet, all of us, at one time, had that same unquestioning trust in our parents. We could do nothing for ourselves, we were totally dependent on our parents, particularly our mothers. Imagine how stress-free our lives would be if we could recapture that trust and place it in God, Who loves us more than our parents ever could, Who has promised to care for us and provide for us, Who is the perfect Parent.

My Prayer

Father God, I know that You love me. I believe You know how to care for those who belong to You. Why do I find it so difficult to trust You with all my heart? Please help me. Amen.

The Choice

Yesterday my middle granddaughter had her ears pierced. She jumped about joyfully as she went with her Mom to Cresta to the jewelers. She knew it was going to be painful but it was her choice for her eighth birthday present. For the joy of being able to wear pretty earrings like her sister does, she endured the procedure.

First the ears were marked to get the placing correct.

Jesus also made a choice.

Next week we remember Good Friday and Christ’s crucifixion. Probably the best known verse in the Bible is John3: 16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (ESV)

We are mistaken when we think that Jesus was a victim. Jesus has the same love for us as the Father. “The Puritans would often speak about the Father and Son agreeing in eternity past, both of them together, to redeem a sinful people. Theologians call this the pactum salutus, the ‘covenant of redemption,’ referring to what the triune God agreed upon before the creation of the world” (From Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortland.)

Christ had a choice. Nobody could kill Him against His will. He said, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.” (John 10:17-18 ESV)

Why would Jesus choose to do this? The Bible explains it thus: “…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame,… (Hebrews 12:2 ESV)

The joy that Jesus kept in mind was the joy of having a relationship with us, of doing life with us, the joy of being able to welcome us to where He is and to spend eternity with us.

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank You that You love me that much; that You chose me. Amen.

Threescore and Ten

Image by Pixabay

I will be seventy this year. According to the Bible, that’s about my lifespan. “We spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; And if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, Yet is their strength labour and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Psalm 90 vs 9b -10 KJV)

At the moment I’m reasonably healthy:- My osteoporosis and osteoarthritis and hypothyroidism are all under control as is my hypertension. However, I am beginning to understand that I am going to become less comfortable in my body as the years go by.

A certain amount of suffering in life can’t be avoided. Paul says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV)

It’s not what happens to us that is the issue. It’s how we react to what happens to us that is important. I know that my Father will not put anything on me that I can’t manage with His help. I trust Him with my life, my future and my eternal life.

My Prayer

Father God, I commit my life and my future into Your hands. I trust You. Amen.

Fortune Cookies

This post is part of Streams of Consciousness Saturday

A fortune cookie is a sweet pastry containing a message, usually something wise or encouraging. They are often served as a desert after a Chinese meal. The pleasure is not only the physical one of enjoying the sweet cookie, but also a spiritual or emotional one of contemplating the message.

For the Christian, there are fortune cookies all around us with hidden messages, if we only have eyes to see them. For instance a beautiful rose can say “God loves you. He made this for your enjoyment” or perhaps a scripture verse, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord,”( Psalm 150:6) comes to mind when we hear a bird song. Let us go on a treasure hunt today for fortune cookies and try to read the messages from Our Father that tell us of His love for us, His creativity, His wisdom and, even, some times, His sense of humour.

My Prayer

My Father, thank You for all the little demonstrations of Your love that You have put all around me. Open my eyes to the message they tell me about You. Amen.

Please feel free to share what “Fortune Cookie” you may have found today and what the message was.

The Correct Protocol

JusJoJan 13 January 2022

I’ve recently watched the movie, “Seven Years in Tibet.” It is the true story of Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian climber who spends much of the war in Tibet in the holy city of Lhasa. There he meets the 14th Dalai Lama who is still a young boy at the time. At one stage the mother of the Dalai Lama explains to him the protocol of being in the presence of such a holy and revered personage. His attitude has to be one of bowed head and folded hands. He can speak if spoken to but not initiate conversation. If he is seated, his head must always to be lower than that of the Dalai Lama. He cannot touch him under any circumstances.

There is usually some kind of protocol for visiting monarchs or heads of state.

Imagine the protocol required to visit the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! The Old Testament gives us a hint of this. Only the High Priest was ever allowed to go into the Holy of Holies and then only once a year and only after making a blood sacrifice for his own as well as the people’s sins.

And yet…

“… when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. (Matthew 27:50-51a NIV).

The separation between God and man has been done away with from God’s side through the blood sacrifice of Jesus.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16NIV)

Not only can we come confidently into God’s presence, we can approach Him as our Father. We can know His love and love Him in return.

Image by Pixabay

The protocol has changed, but only for God’s children. In Revelation we see how a great multitude, that no one can count, and all the the angels, fall on their faces before God’s throne and worship him. (Revelation 7:9-12). The heavenly protocol still exists.

My Prayer

Father God, because I know You love me and I can call you Father, I sometimes forget how powerful and majestic You are. May I never take my relationship with You lightly or fail to give You the glory due to Your name. Amen.

A Brush with Instability

During the winter I often write outside under the gazebo. Our house, like most South African houses, is designed more for summer and it is cold in winter.

dav

Recently I noticed the table was no longer stable. The gardener had done his best by inserting a rubber wedge under one foot but that hadn’t helped. Yesterday I found one of the leveling screws on the floor and suddenly it all made sense. The screw had come out of one of the table’s legs leaving it much shorter than the other three.

dav

Today I managed to screw it into the offending leg and now my table is once again stable.

My life is in need of leveling at the moment. When we were at the Beach House I read a lot. I rediscovered my love for historical romances and downloaded a new one from the library as fast as I finished reading the last. This habit has continued since we got back and, much as I love reading, my life has become unbalanced.

I know that a balanced life must include rest and relaxation but too much relaxation is just as unbalanced as too little.

This image is from https://lifejottings.wordpress.com/tag/daily-activities/

Balance seems to be the brush that paints my surroundings at the moment. I have finished working through “The Workbook of Living Prayer “by Maxie Dunham. He talks about the balance between prayer and action.

“There is a certain class of demons that can only be chased away by prayer – the demons of deafness to God, dumbness in thanksgiving, self-sufficiency, worry, despair, and solitude. But there is another class that can only be chased away by action – the demons of illusion, sentimentality, infantilism, narcissism, and laziness. So if we cultivate prayer exclusively, we harbor the second lot, and if we cultivate action exclusively, we harbor the first….

“The goal of prayer is a life of friendship and fellowship with God, co-operation with God’s Spirit, living God’s life in the world.”

My Prayer

Father God, may I see You more clearly every day as I spend time with You and Your Word, may I love You more dearly as I open my eyes to Your actions in nature and in the world, and may I follow You more nearly as I try to be Christ to or receive Christ from every person that I meet. Amen

This post is part of Streams of Consciousness Saturday.

Washing dishes

My daughter’s dishwasher has broken. The technician said replacement parts are no longer available and she’s lucky she got more than ten years’ years use out of it. That dishwasher worked constantly – sometimes three times a day.

The children have all been assigned chores. The youngest, a six-year-old girl, had the task of emptying the dishwasher when needed – usually before online school. Yesterday, when I went over to help with their online lessons, I found her washing mounds of dishes, happily singing to herself. Many adults, me included, would not be singing when faced with a mountain of unexpected dishes. However, this little girl was very happy, singing as she worked (somewhat inexpertly.) As I listened, I realised she was singing her own made-up song and the repeated words were something along the lines of “I don’t know what to do when I go to school.”

The grandchildren are due to go back to school in just over a week. I thought my granddaughter was feeling anxious about going back to school and how things would be different after lockdown. I explained to her that she needn’t worry, her teacher would explain everything to her and help her adapt to the new way of doing things.

However, it turned out I was wrong. What was concerning her was how she would be able to wash the dishes and get ready for school in time. How would her Mom do without her? I did my best to reassure her that her Mom would make a plan and sort it out. However it set me to thinking.

I often wonder why God needs us to fulfill His mission of saving the world. He is so powerful, He could do a much better job than us bumbling human beings.

Yet the Bible tells us,

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 KJV)

I think our loving heavenly Father chose to operate the way He has for our benefit and not for His necessity.

My granddaughter was so happy to be washing dishes because it made her feel an important part of the family. As the youngest of three children, she always tries to be able to do the things her older siblings do. She was helping the family in their time of crisis.

I think God chooses us to help in furthering His kingdom so that we may feel secure in His family and happy that we have been counted worthy of being given a task to do, no matter how insignificant or small.

Today I gave a Gideon’s pocket testament to a car guard. It won’t cause the long awaited revival; It won’t be something that will be shared with a thousand people; It won’t be anything I will remember in five years’ time. Nevertheless, it contributed in a tiny way to the family mission.

My Prayer:

Father God, Thank You that I am part of Your family. Please open my eyes to any ways I can further the family mission. Thank you. Amen.

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!

Worry, worry, worry, worry

“Why worry, worry, worry, worry, when you can pray,” ended the old Sunday school song.

Paul put it more maturely, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7 NIV.)

Notice what Paul does not say. He does not say all your requests will be granted. Rather, he says you will have peace. Is peace the opposite of anxiety?

Jesus also had something to say about anxiety and worry. In Matthew 6:31-33 he says, “So do not worry, saying, ‘what shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ for the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Seeking God’s kingdom is no light thing. It means putting yourself under God’s kingship, letting Him reign in your life. As I have discovered from my attempts to be a servant, it is not easy and it does not come naturally.  Jesus emphasizes that God is our Father and he knows what we need.

When I was a little girl, sometimes on a journey home at night in our little car, one of my parents would say, “I think we are lost.” Being lost is a terrifying thing for a child, yet my brother and I didn’t worry. We knew Mom and Dad would find the way. We just went to sleep in the car. I think that is how our Father would like us to trust Him. Sure, bumps come along in life and sometimes we seem lost. But our Father has enough power, wisdom and love to get us home safely. So let’s not worry, worry, worry, worry when we can pray.

sleeping girl