Tag Archives: scripture

The Drip

Last week my husband went into hospital to have a basal cell carcinoma removed and to have a skin graft on his forehead at the site of the removal. When he came back from the recovery room, he was attached to a drip. Now the thing about drips is that they are slow. The active ingredients, in this case an antibiotic, drips into the blood stream, one drop at a time. I watched a drop form and then drop down into the reservoir in the cylinder.

Jesus said, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5 NIV)

The branches have no choice but to remain in the vine unless an outside party removes them or an accident or insect infestation blocks their connection. However, the fact that Jesus commands us to remain in Him implies that we have a choice in the matter.

If we have an infection in our blood and the doctors put up an antibiotic drip into our arm, it will have no effect if we pull the needle out of our vein. Nobody in their right mind, who wants to get better, would do that. We have to be patient and allow the medication to have its way in our body. It might not take effect immediately, but in time there will be a difference.

In the same way, we need to actively remain connected to Christ. We must be careful not to do anything that might break the connection. Once His Spirit starts to have an influence on our spirits, then fruit can start to grow. It might not be obvious at first, in fact we might never be able to see it, but it will be obvious to others and will bring glory to God.

My Prayer

Lord, a lot f Your processes take time. Please help me to remain in You and allow You to remain in me. Lord, have Your way in me. Amen.

Light and Heat

Now that winter is upon us, we enjoy sitting outside in the sun and soaking up its warmth. It occurs to me that the sun does not only provide the earth with light, but also with the warmth necessary for life. Moreover, its energy enables photosynthesis which is the basis of all food. Not all its properties are friendly, however. The sun also emits ultra violet A and B radiation which causes sunburn and skin cancer.

John’s vision in Revelation includes the image of the New Jerusalem. “And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. The nations will walk in its light,” (Rev 21:23-25 NLT) I imagine that the glory of God contains both light and heat and possibly other kinds of energy that scientists have not even begun to think about.

Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) I think what He was talking about includes warmth also. If all Christians radiated warmth and love, how attractive that would be to a cold lonely world.

At the pensioners’ tea at our local Spar today, they had lit a gas heater. How the old people were attracted to its warmth! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the coffee area so crowded.

May we live out our Christianity in such a way that people will be drawn to us and will want to spend time in our company.

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, You were always warm and welcoming, never condemning. Please make me like You. Amen.

What I didn’t know

Recently somebody told me I was stubborn. It is not an adjective that I have associated with myself before. I thought I was meek and peaceable and actually a bit of a pushover. I checked with two of my children. My daughter said, “Definitely,” and my son just laughed, which I took as an affirmative.

My eleven-year-old grandson asked if it was a bad thing to be stubborn. I had always regarded it as such, but on sober thought, like all other character traits, stubbornness can have positive and negative aspects.

I looked up some Bible verses.

The people living in Lower and Upper Egypt said to Jeremiah, “We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord.” (Jer 44 :16 NIV)

I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts.” (Jeremiah 7:23-24 NIV)

In both these cases, stubbornness consisted in refusing to obey God’s express commands. The people stubbornly went their own way. When I act this way, stubbornness is a sin, never mind a negative attribute!

However, we also read the following:

Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.” (Isaiah 50:7 NIV)

And in Luke 9:51, “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,” (KJV) I am sure the disciples considered Him stubborn, because they kept trying to persuade Him not to go to Jerusalem because it was so dangerous.

So when I am convinced the Lord wants me to do something and I determine to do it, that determination, which could be construed as stubbornness, is a positive attribute and could be called perserverance.

Image by Patrick Saliceti from Pixabay

My Prayer

Lord, when I am confused and uncertain, I come to you. You made me and You know the strengths and weaknesses of my character, even when I don’t. “No one can see his own errors; deliver me, LORD, from hidden faults! Keep me safe, also, from hidden sins; don’t let them rule over me.” (Psalm 19:12-14 GNBUK) Amen.


Yesterday was Mother’s Day. To celebrate, our church offered a photo booth where people could have their photos taken in groups or singly. When I saw how long the line was for the photo booth, I decided to queue for cappuccino instead.

Queuing for the Photo-booth

People swopped stories about other queues they had been in:- at airports, supermarkets just before lockdown, applications for license renewals, and who can forget the queues snaking around blocks in 1994 in South Africa’s first democratic election?

Modern life seems to be full of standing, or sometimes sitting, waiting. My son even waited in a digital queue for tickets to the Beyoncé concert.

Yet modern Man seems to have become more and more impatient. I don’t know if road-rage is a uniquely South African problem but it is noticeable whenever there is a long line of cars stationary or moving very slowly. I have even heard one driver yelling at another, “I am going to kill you!”

We are not good at waiting. We are not good at showing grace to people whom we deem to be slow, or inefficient, or indifferent to our “important” schedules. We are not good at enduring patiently when God seems to be taking His time and we often try to take matters into our own hands, like Abraham did when it seemed like God was not going to fulfill His promise.

It is during these times that we need to exercise the spiritual fruit of patience.  

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no lawAnd those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 2:22-25 ESV)

If we are controlled by God’s Spirit, the fruit of patience should be growing in us. This fruit is like a muscle. The more we exercise it, the more it will grow and strengthen. If we pray for patience, God will continually place us in situations where we have opportunities to exercise it.

My Prayer

Lord, I am too scared to pray for patience because I know how You will answer. May I ask rather that, when opportunities come across my path to exercise patience, I may make the most of them and not waste the waiting or the frustration. Amen.

The Things Unseen

Yesterday was a soggy day. It rained off and on throughout the daylight hours. This morning the welcome sun was out!

When I went outside to feed the birds some apple, I saw water evaporating from the wooden supports of my bird feeder. Although evaporation is a process that takes place all the time, we seldom see it. Occasionally one can see the steam above a tarred road after rain but the light has to be in the right place.

Light is key. Our earthly eyes are limited in what we can see. There is a lot going on all the time that we can’t see. Sometimes if I drop something small under the dining-room table, I fetch a torch to try to find it. Invariably I see all the dust that was totally invisible before I switched on the torch.

Photographers have to learn lighting techniques to be able to take a photo of a steaming cup of coffee or somebody exhaling a puff of smoke.

Image by haykatomts from Pixabay

I recently watched a video by David Pawson where he explains what happens when cross-polarised light, or pure light, is beamed onto thin slices of precious stones. The stones react in one of two ways. If they are isotropic, they just turn black. Diamonds fall into this category. Others, called anisotropic, emit all the colours of the rainbow. What is interesting is that all the gems mention in Revelation 21 from v 19 are anisotropic.

“The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.[f] 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.” (Rev 21:19-21)

Two verses later we read, “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” (NIV)

It seems to me that the light of God, or the glory of God, is a light of a totally different quality to the sunlight that we see on earth with our earthly eyes.

We tend to forget how limited we are and that we cannot rely on our human senses to understand the world.

We should take 2 Corinthians 4:18 seriously. “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. . ” (NIV)

My Prayer

Father God, this world is all I know. Please help me to keep an open mind to the things that are unseen and trust Your Word rather than my human senses and understanding. You are so awesome, my mind cannot comprehend it. I praise You. Amen.


On Friday evening I attended a paint night at Mandy’s Art Studio, together with five other ladies.

Step by step we were shown how to create a lovely water-colour painting of a cosmos flower and some buds. The beginning was easy. We got to trace an outline in permanent fine-liner. We were shown how to shade it to add depth, still using our fine-liner.

Then the fun began. The technique is to first flood a small area, eg a petal, with water. Then we added paint from our paint box. We could move the colour around in the pool of water with a clean paintbrush.

It reminded me in a way of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5c NIV)

Without the water, the paint can do nothing. Although the paint colours are individual and unique, they all need the same water to fulfill the purpose for which they were created. The painter has the final authority and places each colour exactly where she wishes or mixes them with whatever other colour she chooses.

The most challenging part for me was the encouragement to paint outside the lines and to leave white spaces within the lines. Every instinct rebelled. That was what the lines were for, wasn’t it – to contain the colours. Apparently not.

In church today we looked at Jesus’ statement from Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets: I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.” (NIV)

Jesus was setting Himself up as an authority greater than that of Moses. He was saying, in effect, that the whole of the Old Testament pointed to Him and thus He was the fulfillment. It is almost as though what the Scribes and Pharisees had was the outline, in black and white. Jesus came to fill in the outline and to go beyond it.

Mine might not have been the best but we were all happy with our creations and had a lot of fun.

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, Your ways are so much higher than my ways and Your thoughts than mine. I like things predictable, neat and orderly. The idea of abandoning my way of thinking to Yours is scary. Nevertheless I commit myself to You, to Your Spirit, knowing I can trust You to know what You are doing. Amen.

Workers’ Day

Today is Workers’ Day.

In the beginning, after God worked to create the world and all in it, He saw it was good and He rested from His Work. Then He entrusted the care of the world to us, to people. All we do to build society, to teach our children, to build homes, cities, roads, infrastructure, banking systems, to serve each other and so on, all require work.

The Bible gives us some pointers about work.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God” (Exodus 20:8)

If we regard our work as part of our lives and as a gift from God, we will treat it as any other part of our lives. We commit it to God. As the fruit of the Spirit grows in us, our working life should also demonstrate the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control of Galatians 5:22. (ESV)

For those of us who are retired, our work does not cease. We are in a position to help others, especially our families. We have more time to wait on the Lord and follow His leading. We have housework to do, repairs and maintenance.

The ability to work is a gift. There will come a time when I might not be able to do my own housework anymore.

Psalm 90:17 reads, “May the favour[a] of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands.” I read this as a prayer for our work to be productive – for it to accomplish what we set out to achieve.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23 NIV)

Whatever we do, whether employed or laid aside, let us do it all for the glory of God.

My Prayer

Lord, thank You for the gift of my health which enables me to do things that need to be done. Thank You for the opportunities You have given me, the talents, the abilities I had to earn money. May everything I do glorify You. Amen.


When we moved into our house almost twelve years ago, we bought a gazebo to go on the slab where a Wendy house had been.

It is my favourite place in the garden. I’ve made it a ceiling out of sheeting material and we replaced the canvas when it started developing holes.

Recently I happened to look at the leg nearest me when I was sitting at the table having some quiet time with God. At the base, the leg is rusted through on three sides!

I checked the other legs. Three of the four were rusted in the same way, only the right rear leg showing more integrity.

We need help. If something is not done, our gazebo will collapse one day. We have had enough plumbing failures to know that metal erodes away eventually and no fitting will last forever. So now we have a lovely top structure balanced precariously on an unreliable base. All we need is a strong wind or a bit of a push and it will all come tumbling down.

This reminds me of the story of the wise and foolish builders. When Jesus had finished calling His disciples, He sat them down and explained how things work in the Kingdom. This was the Sermon on the Mount which up-ended traditional wisdom and the way the world works. Starting with the Beatitudes, Matthew details three chapters of Jesus’ teaching. It is hard to hear and hard to obey, but Jesus says,

“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 to 27 NIV)

As a church, we are going through Matthew and on Sunday we just started the Beatitudes. I know I am going to be challenged in the next couple of weeks. It seems the prudent thing to do is to listen carefully, be prepared to have a paradigm shift and reflect on the importance of having a strong foundation for my life.

My Prayer

Lord, Your teachings are hard. Your way of life does not come naturally to me. Please help me to listen carefully and integrate your teachings into my life so that I don’t have a major crash at some time in the future when the winds of trouble or hardship challenge my foundations. Amen.

The Mustard Seed

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32 NIV)

Although at its simplest the parable talks about the growth of the Kingdom, starting from a handful of disciples to a worldwide movement, I was struck for the first time tonight about how the branches bring shelter and rest to the birds.

Image by Kev from Pixabay

Isn’t that exactly what Christians should do? Shouldn’t our faith be strong enough to provide a resting place for friends, family and colleagues as we pray for them and care for them? This insight came to me tonight as I listened to my fellow speaker-in-training, Heidie, as she spoke about the mustard seed.

As we eat breakfast every morning, my husband and I watch the birds outside our window. We have a huge acacia paperbark that provides perches for the birds as they decide whether or not to visit the bird feeder which hangs from the tree. Imagine if we cut down that tree. Where would the birds go? Probably to someone else’s garden.

My Prayer

Lord, You have planted me where You want me. Please may I be a blessing to those around me and may my faith grow until it is big enough to provide shelter and a resting place for others. May I be a support for those around me. Amen.

What is That to You

The first time Peter had a chance to be alone with Jesus after he had denied his Lord three times, was after a miraculous catch of fish and a braai on the beach.

Image by Kurt Bouda from Pixabay

Jesus patiently and lovingly restored Peter by asking him, “Do you love me?” He asked three times, changing the meaning of the words slightly. Peter was upset. Jesus gave him a commission. “Feed my sheep.”

It was an intensely emotional time for Peter. He had failed, broken his word and lied in a tight situation, denying that he knew Jesus. Yet Jesus entrusted him with an important job and accepted him freely into renewed intimacy.

Then Peter saw John following them.

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”  (John 21:20-22 NIV)

Isn’t that just like us? We spoil intimate moments with Jesus by looking around and comparing ourselves with others. Sometimes we envy their ministry or blessing or answered prayers and feel inferior and sometimes we compare ourselves favourably with them and smugly look down on them.

Jesus nips that attitude in the bud. “What is that to you?” He asks. Somebody else’s relationship with Jesus is none of our business. Let us rather focus on what we have been called to do. “You follow me,” Jesus tells us.

My Prayer

Lord, please forgive me when I take my eyes off You and compare myself to other Christians. If I look around at all, may it be to look for opportunities to bless others, or help them in some way. May I not think less of myself, but think of myself less. Amen.