Tag Archives: inspiration

Casting All Your Cares on Him

Image by pucho from Pixabay

Jesus says, “Come unto me, all who are burdened and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Peter reinforces this idea when he exhorts us, “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

Nevertheless, we find it very difficult to give our burdens to Jesus without taking them up again and worrying about them ourselves. It is as if we want to be God, sorting out our problems ourselves.

It reminds me of my youngest grandchild. She loves to help wherever she can. Sometimes she insists on carrying heavy six-packs of milk. “Let me help you with that,” we’ll say as it is obvious she is struggling.

“I can manage,” she’ll say, struggling up the garden path with two heavy six-packs in her arms. She wants to be independent. She wants to be thought of as a big girl.

Don’t we do exactly the same with Jesus?

“Give Me your burden,” He’ll say. “It’s weighing you down. It’s slowing you down. It’s robbing you of abundant life.”

“No thanks,” we say, “I can manage,” and we continue to worry, trying to show that we are like God, we can fix things.

My Prayer

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that You are willing and able to shoulder my burdens. Please give me the grace and the humility to surrender them to You. Amen.

What a Difference an “S” Makes

My times are in Your hands:” (Psalm 31:15 NKJV)

Image by LittleAngell from Pixabay

I understand this to mean God determines when I am born and when I die. I believe He chose my parents, the era I live in, my country and my birth order.

One of my favourite Psalms is 139.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my informed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Verses 13-16 NIV)

The Lord has chosen my station in life, where I live and what happens to me. I can say with the Psalmist, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”(Psalm 16:6)

So to say, “My times are in Your hands,” is to state a fact.

However, if I say to God, “My time is in Your hands,” it’s a totally different thing. It means, “I commit the time You have given me to Your control and management.” It is a prayer of commitment, of surrender. What a difference an “s” makes!

Jesus didn’t have control over His own time. On the day He heard about the beheading of John the Baptist, He longed to get away to a quiet place by Himself to mourn and process the events. Instead, He was inundated, first by excited disciples who had returned from a mission, and when He took them with Him to a quiet place, the crowds were waiting for Him. He loved them. He gave them His time and then fed them, more than 5000 of them.

Sure I can make plans. I need to go shopping, sort out admin, enjoy coffee with a friend. I need to earn my keep, take care of the home and family God has given me. But I need to remember Whose time it really is.

My prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, You are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. You know my beginning and end. Thank You for where you have placed me, my country, my city, my home. Thank You for the family You have given me. I commit to You now, my time. ‘Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise.'”

The last line of my prayer is from a hymn, “Take My Life and Let It Be,” by Frances R Havergal, 1874.

Chris Tomlin has revamped it in this You Tube version.

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.

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 26 Free

This morning I opened a forwarded message informing me that Joy Magazine was making their January issue free online. Last week my son in Russia sent me a link to a free YouTube premier of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera.” We watched it on Friday evening – but not before we forwarded the link to many people on our WhatsApp groups. My husband has forwarded the message about the Joy Magazine to three of his groups and several of his friends and acquaintances.

Don’t we all love something free? And don’t we all love sharing the good news about the freebie to our friends?

It is strange, therefore, that many Christians, me included, find it so difficult to tell other people about God’s free gift of Salvation. When I was at University, the Christian group I had joined was very strong on witnessing. I tried. I am an introvert and a bit socially challenged so I found it a great strain. I visited girls in my Res and tried to get the conversation around to church or Christianity with absolutely no success. I was so stressed that I decided if that was Christianity, I wanted no part in it. For many years I lived my life knowing that God existed, that Christ had died but that I’d told Him to stay out of my life. I clung to a thin thread of hope that if I died, God would give me at least a minute to repent and come back to Him.

I think I got the whole concept wrong. I think we should be so excited about the Good News and the free gift of God that we would naturally share it without all the strain and stress that I experienced.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 New Living Translation)

My prayer for today is that I might get so excited about what God has done for me that it would bubble out like shaken champagne, affecting my life in such a way that others might know about it without my having to stress about sharing the Good News.

Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay

Lockdown Day 23 Light as Air

It was Saturday. Despite having been retired for almost three years and the fact that during lockdown days merge into each other, weekends still feel like holidays to me. I felt inspired to make scones for breakfast.

Scones are tricky. Sometimes they turn out as light as air but sometimes they are heavy. My scones use baking powder as a leavening agent. If the baking powder is old, it doesn’t work as well. There are other ways to get air into baking or cooking. My chocolate cake relies on bicarbonate of soda. Hot cross buns need yeast to make the ebullient bubbles. Sometimes we need to beat air into substances. Whipping cream or egg whites are examples of this.

Life around us seems gloomy at the moment. Reading the news brings heaviness to our hearts. However, for Christians, God has provided a leavening agent. It is called Joy and it is a fruit of the Spirit as well as a gift.

Act 13:52 reads:

“And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”

In this time of doom and gloom, let us be known for our lightness of heart as we live out the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Lockdown Day 22 Something Big

The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra have collaborated to bring music to uplift our spirits and as a tribute to our amazing health workers. Each artist recorded his part at home and the techies stitched it together to make this piece.

Sometimes we think we need to do something big for God. That is not true. We do what we can with the talents God has given us, even if it’s only something small.

I have been trying to sew masks for Alex, in between grandparenting, other sewing and blogging. I am one of sixty seven ladies sewing masks to distribute with food parcels to poor people in Alex. Some ladies make batches of a hundred at a time. I’ve only just limped to twenty over two weeks. Nevertheless, I am part of something bigger than myself and my efforts. Just like the techies stitched together individual artist contributions to the music above, God is able to stitch together every little act of kindness, every little word of encouragement, every small act in his name to make an amazing symphony that can make a difference to the world.

We used to sing a lovely little song in Sunday School.

Jesus bids us shine with a pure, clear light, Like a little candle burning in the night. In this world of darkness, so let us shine, You in your small corner and I in mine.

Image by 41330 from Pixabay

Hebrews 13:16 reads:

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Let us all shine in our little corner even if we can’t light the whole room.

Lockdown Day Seven, Attitude of Gratitude

Yesterday I made cards with the grandchildren during “Granny Time.” They were meant to be Easter cards, but mine turned out to be a Thank You card, mainly because I had Thank You stickers in my craft box.


It got me to thinking about 1 Thes 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

At the end of 2017 my best friend gave me a journal with pictures to colour for each entry. I already had a quiet time journal so I decided to use this one as a Thanks Diary. Every day I would try to list new things for which I was grateful. I got to 206 before my other journal finished and I had to use my Thanks Diary as my journal.

I think it is a good habit to try to get back into in this topsy turvy time so here are today’s ten items on my thanks list.

  1. That I can walk without pain. Some years ago I suffered from Sciatica and could barely walk ten steps without taking a break.
  2. That I can breathe freely. Normally I am only thankful for this for a short while after I have got over a cold.
  3. For a garden.
  4. For birds that visit my feeding stations.
  5. For eyes to see and contact lenses and reading glasses so I can see in focus.
  6. For a sewing machine so I can help my granddaughter make a dress for her sister’s birthday.
  7. For food in the house and enough energy to be creative in using tinned food so we don’t have to go shopping too often.
  8. For the growth of the seeds I planted two weeks ago. I only have to do the planting. God causes the growing.
  9. That all my children are well and confined in pleasant places.
  10. For our church who have organised weekly prayer meetings and daily devotions.

I’m sure you can all add your ten items to a Thank You list. Please feel free to share. We are not called on to give thanks for all circumstances, but rather in all circumstances.

Thank you, Lord, for all your gifts to us. Amen.

Lockdown Day 6b Learning New Things

One positive consequence of this Lockdown is we are able to learn new things. Those of the older generation, like me, are a little technically challenged. Last night I attempted my first Zoom conference which was attended by members of our fellowship group. I had a few technical difficulties. To start off, we couldn’t hear, then when I disconnected the laptop from the TV we could hear fine, but nobody could hear us. I’m sure by the end of the Lockdown I will be able to access this technology like a pro. (Maybe.)

This morning I found a lovely app on my cell phone which I had downloaded a while ago but hadn’t been able to use. It’s called Bible Lens from You Version. It puts bible verses to cell phone photos in my gallery. I’ve been having fun scrolling through photos to see what verses it’s appended to each. Here are my favourites.

Please let me know in the comments (How do you Like your Coffee?) what new things you are learning.