Tag Archives: #SoCS

The Rope

This post is part of Streams of Consciousness Saturday The word for today is “Rope”

It’s not easy to climb the rock and hold the noose in one hand. Twice my feet slip and I have to start from the beginning. The rope is rough and prickly. It smells like goat. I never thought it would come to this. I thought I could fix it.

I finally make it to the top of the rock. My breath comes in short pants. Sweat runs into my eyes but I don’t want to let go of the rope to wipe it away. As I wriggle the scratchy rope around my head I can still hear those heartless words – those snide guffaws. “You’ve betrayed innocent blood. That’s your affair. What is that to us?”

I thought I could wipe my guilt away by giving the money back. That accursed money. Enough to buy a piece of land and build my own house – away from the nagging of my parents. What got into me?

I’ll never forget the Rabbi’s eyes. He looked at me with love, with acceptance and yet his gaze cut me like a sharpened sword. I stumbled into the darkness, not even knowing where I was going. I didn’t sleep all night. I couldn’t wait for sunrise when the temple opened and I could return the money to the chief priests. But it was all useless. There is no hope for me now. I am in Hell.

I take a deep breath. My senses are acutely aware. The light hurts my eyes. The sun is blazing but I feel cold. So cold. I jump.

***

This post is inspired by Matthew 26 and 27. Judas’ sin was no greater than ours. We all think we know the best thing to do based on our being the centre of our own lives. We all think we can fix our own lives and we don’t need help from anybody – let alone God. We all choose our own way and ignore the God who made us and His claim on our lives and love.

But there is hope for us that there wasn’t for Judas. Ephesians 1:7 says,

In [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.”

There is no sin that we can commit that is greater than God’s forgiveness and no sinner beyond the reach of God’s love.

My Prayer

My Father in Heaven, Forgive me my sins and may I forgive those who sin against me. Please keep me from temptation and save me from the evil one. 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.

Experiment in Prayer

JusJoJan 22 January

This post is also part of Streams of Consciousness Saturday

This morning I determined, once again to try to keep in conversation with God all day. When I got back inside from the gazebo and saw that my husband was still praying in his study, I decided to do the exercises I’m supposed to do once a week but hadn’t done for about five weeks.

Suddenly I thought about chocolate. I have a stash in the drawer next to my bed. As I approached it, I remembered I was keeping in conversation with the Lord and I hesitated. The verse came into my mind, “He gave us all things richly to enjoy.” So I broke off a piece and started my chocolate conversation. It went something like this.

“Thank you, Lord for chocolate. Like the advert says, It’s like heaven in my mouth. I can feel it melting. It’s so amazing that You made things in three phases, liquid, solid and gas. I can taste the change from solid to liquid right here in my mouth. Isn’t that amazing! My tongue is so sensitive, it can feel the edge of a nut on the broken side, and it can feel the grooves that divides the chocolate squares. I wonder if it can make out the printed name on top. … No, seems not. It is a very sensitive instrument though – when my fingers can’t feel the end in a roll of sellotape, my tongue often can. Now the chocolate has all melted and dissolved away and only the nuts and raisins are left. They are the icing on the cake:- pockets of sweet fruitiness and nibbles of brittle goodness. Thank you Lord, I enjoyed that.

Over breakfast we could see and appreciate the birds on the bird feeder and the beautiful blue sky. I tried to carry on a similar conversation about my oats with mushy apple, raisins and cinnamon topped with yoghurt and a drizzle of honey. So many flavours. I tried to distinguish each one and then praised God for the variety of tastes and smells He created.

After breakfast the thought came to me to try to fix my sewing machine one last time. We had planned to take it to the sewing shop for repairs after my husband’s dentist appointment. I did the things I had done yesterday when my granddaughter and I had realised that although the bobbin would wind, the needle would not go up and down. the wheel was frozen. I unclipped the retaining ring, removed the bobbin casing and turned the wheel. It rotated. I phoned the sewing shop to find out whether they had a technician on site. Then I could show him what I had done. the problem had to be in the housing (my book calls it the hook race.)

Image by Pixabay

No technician on site. They would send the machine away. I put back the pieces, checking after each step if the wheel turned. I got the retaining ring in place but not secured. It turned. I clipped the left side. It worked. I clipped the right side. It didn’t work. However when I secured the right side first, it worked. Left side… still worked. When I prayed yesterday, I thought the Lord would enable me to fix it first time. I must remember that answers to prayer are not always immediate. I thanked the Lord. I had been in discussion with Him during my dismantling and reassembling, mainly along the lines that if I could not fix the machine, it was due for a service anyway but if I was able to fix it, it was a sign that it didn’t need a service and would continue running for some time. I’m not sure if this is a correct Christian method of handling things but it seemed to work for me.

So my highlights of the day, my icing on the cake, so to speak, were my chocolate prayer and an answer to a prayer I prayed yesterday. Again I became less mindful and my conversation waned as the day progressed. Still, I’ll try again tomorrow.

My Prayer

Thank You Lord for being with me again today. May I become more mindful of You every day. Amen.

The Rainbow Promise

JusJoJan 15 January 2022

This post is also part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. The prompt for today is “a rainy day.”

Photo taken in Auckland last time we were there.

A rainy day means different things to different people. To a farmer in a drought, it means relief and answered prayer. To the picnic organiser, it means a disruption of plans and a lot of admin work to communicate and reschedule. To a small child, it means a wonderful opportunity to put on a raincoat and rainboots and play in puddles. To me it means, yay, my garden is going to be happy and OH NO, now we can’t hang up the washing.

To Noah, rain meant nothing at all. Up ’till the flood, God had watered the earth from below. Now Noah was told, by God, to build an ark because there was going to be so much rain, all the people except Noah’s family and the animals would die. Noah didn’t understand at all. And yet, he obeyed. Down to the smallest detail. It took him 120 years to build the ark and he kept going. Just on God’s word which maybe only came to him at the beginning.

God delighted in Noah because Noah loved Him, he trusted Him, He obeyed HIm exactly, and he used the skills and resources God had given him.

Quite often we don’t understand. God asks us to do something that goes against our understanding and logic. We might start in a burst of faith but as the promise lingers and lingers we get despondent and give up.

May I be more like Noah, trusting God no matter what happens around me, no matter how others may sneer and try to discourage me.

My prayer

Lord Jesus, I would like to trust in You with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding because Your ways are so much higher than my ways and Your thoughts than my thoughts. Amen.

The Alpha and the Omega

JusJoJan 8 january 2022

In the interests of variety, I am not going to start this post, “In the beginning.” I was tempted though, because both the Old Testament and the Gospel of John start with the words, “in the beginning.”

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 NIV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1-5 NIV)

In other words, Jesus is the centre of it all. He is the originator, the reason, the very light of life. Any world view that makes Man the centre of it all, is not Christianity. Yet we, born in sin, are wont to see everything with ourselves at the centre of the universe. When I was a little girl, I sometimes wondered if I was the only real person in the world and everybody else was a figment of my imagination only there to serve my interests.

When I became a Christian, I had to take my focus off myself as the centre of my life and put Jesus there, on the throne. They make it sound easy, those evangelists. It is not. My daily struggle is to remember who is king of my life. My sinful self has a habit of sneaking into the throne room and climbing back onto the throne.

Jesus said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22:13 NIV)

Life, like the Bible, begins with God and ends with God.

from Pixabay

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, the Alpha and the Omega, as I journey each day with You, may my life become less of me and more of You. Amen

New Year’s Resolutions

This January I am taking part in a blogging challenge, Just Jot it January. I resolve to write a post every day during January. Of course, this might be nothing more than making new year’s resolutions. We all know how that turns out.

Why do people even make new year’s resolutions? I think we are all looking for hope. Hope that we can be better people. Certainly we can exercise more, eat less and persevere with all our other good intentions, but does that really make us better people?

I think it is the same hope that drives people to celebrate the coming of the new year every year. There are fireworks , parties, lots of alcohol and eating. It doesn’t seem logical. What drives my husband and I to stay up all the way to midnight, just to drink a toast and turn over the calendar?

We are all desperately looking for hope. Hope that the new year will be better than the old one. We can no more change the trajectory of the new year by the extent of our celebrations than we can change ourselves by our resolutions. All we can control are our reactions to the unfolding year.

But there is Hope. Jesus said in Revelation 21:5, “Behold, I make all things new.”

One day there will be a new heaven and a new earth. But that’s in the future. Meanwhile, there is immediate hope for us.

God promised, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a new heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27 NIV)

God can do, and has promised to do, that which all our new year’s resolutions cannot do. He can make us new. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.“1 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

My Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, the One who makes all things new, I have asked You to be Lord of my life, but I keep trying to take back the controls. Please fill me with Your Spirit to move me to follow Your decrees and to be careful to keep Your laws. Amen.

Taking the Plunge

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. The word for today is OPPOSITES.

Recently my son, who is a computer whiz, sent me an email. He pointed out that sometimes the updates he gets of my blog contain ads that give the OPPOSITE message to what I am trying to convey. He sent me a couple of examples.

I do know that a friend of mine stopped following my blog because she was getting “off colour” ads with my posts. I know ads appear from time to time because I was on the free plan. Because of South Africa’s weak currency, the cheapest upgrade, paid annually would come to about 23% of my monthly pension and I didn’t see that I could consider it. However, the ads did bother me.

Today I prayed about it and asked the Lord what His will was for my blog. The verse that came into my mind was “I desire truth in the inward parts.” I had to google to find the verse. “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part, You will make me to know wisdom.” (Psalm 51:6 NKJV)

At least one of the ads my son pointed out was, as he said, misleading. It claimed to be a McAfee renewal notice but my son said it was very unlikely to come from McAfee. That’s not truth. If anything, it is the OPPOSITE.

So today I took the plunge. I upgraded my site to remove ads. It took me a while because I am somewhat technologically challenged. However, with the help of a live chat from WordPress, I finally got it done. I must admit I am a little nervous. I will just need to trust the Lord that He will provide the wherewithal, especially since the subscription renews annually.

Photo taken at Dube Private Game Lodge Dec 2021

My Prayer

Lord, I know that Your thoughts are so much higher than my thoughts. Please give me discernment that I might know the Truth so the Truth can set me free. Amen.

Black Friday

This post is part of Streams of Consciousness Saturday. The prompt for today is “golly gee.”

We were having problems of our own and gave no thought to Black Friday. Our plans had been disrupted on several levels. We had been without electricity for more than a day. Our initial plan to go to the Gideon National Service Centre in Pretoria had been cancelled when we heard the Service Centre had been closed because two employees had tested positive for Covid. The plan had been to look at the journals with a view to getting my Christmas present from my husband, as well as fetching New Testaments.

Instead, we decided to go to Cresta, our closest mall, and have a look at the selection of journals at Cum Books. We first remembered Black Friday when we saw the fullness of the parking lot.

Golly gee, was Black Friday indeed black! The power outage, which had affected us, had also affected the mall and, according to the saleslady, after working non-stop for more than a day, the generator had decided to give up.

Light came into the front of the shop from the huge glass dome which was close by. However, we had to peruse the shelves by the light of our cell phones. The selection of journals was good and I am very happy with the one I finally chose (and there was a 20% discount because of Black Friday.) We couldn’t do much else though. My data had been used up because our internet had been down. I couldn’t get more from the Autobank because of the power outage. The cell phone shop was closed so I couldn’t get data there either!

The only illumination came from the glass dome on the top right hand side of the photo.

This was an aptly named Black Friday!

But wait!

There was another aptly named Black Friday about two thousand years ago. It was the day of the greatest miscarriage of justice this world had ever seen; the day the innocent Son of God was crucified by proclamation of a weak Roman court intimidated by political threats from leaders who wanted to remain in power at all costs.

The sun itself was darkened for three hours on that black Friday. There was an earthquake which tore the dividing curtain in the temple from top to bottom.

Amazingly, that day is not remembered as Black Friday, but rather as Good Friday because it commemorates what John 3:16 says,

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (NKJV)

My Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Thank you so much that, for love of me and for the joy set before you, you endured the cross. When things look black all around me, please take my hand and lead me in the path that leads to the resurrection life where I can be with You. Forever. Amen.

Black and White

This post is part of Streams of Consciousness Saturday The prompt for today is “black,” “white,” or “grey.”

An old song goes, “White is black and black is white for no good reason that I know, Only that my baby says it’s so. Night is day and day is night The moon at noon is all aglow Just because my baby says it’s so.” (From the film “The singing Marine” 1937 sung by Dick Powel)

Adapted from Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

This is not the only occasion when our perception of truth is confused by people we admire. Picture the teenager who has been taught by his parents and teachers to avoid drugs because they can harm him. His friends in the popular crowd tell him something quite different. “They will expand your mind,” they say, “surely you don’t subscribe to such an old-fashioned set of values?. Everybody who is anybody is doing it.”

Later in life it is “the smart thing to do,” to lie to the insurance or to cheat on your tax return.

The question is, whom do we want to impress? Does the teenager want to appear cool to his friends or obedient to his parents? Does the opinion of our colleagues matter more to us than the opinion of God?

God says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20 NIV)

Opinion is swayed so much by social media, by movies and music, by the general perception of “Everybody is doing it so it must be right.” There are fashions and cycles to what society believes. I’ve been reading Jane Austen at the moment and it’s fascinating to read how society of the day viewed things. How can we know the Truth?

Jesus prayed for us.

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one… Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:15 and 17 NIV)

To those who had believed him Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32 NIV)

My Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life, You promised that if we hold to Your teaching, we will know the truth. So I ask in confidence, open my eyes to the truth that will set me free. Amen.

When the CAMera Phone is just a CAMera

I bought the phone for the camera. Leica lenses and all. It was wonderful – until I dropped it. Since the fall, nothing’s been the same. I had to have the screen replaced so outwardly it now looks the same as it was. But inwardly…

I’ve taken it for repair three times. The first place said it can’t be fixed – it needs a new motherboard. The second place put in a new motherboard. This didn’t fix the problem so they decided the motherboard was defective and put in another one. The problem is no better.

The issue is a matter of connectivity. The phone can connect to the internet via WIFI – for a short time. Then it drops the signal… sometimes in the middle of playing music on You Tube. Most times I can reconnect if I go back to settings, scan the WIFI networks and click “connect.”

Trying to navigate on Google maps is a nightmare. The phone keeps losing the GPS signal for long periods of time, usually as soon as I start my journey. On one occasion when visiting my hairdresser who had just moved to working at home after Covid, she had to fetch me because I was so lost. The Bluetooth connectivity is just as bad. That makes my Covid app useless.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely phone. The camera takes stunning photos. I can play games like Mastermind, the torch is fine and a lot of apps half work if I make sure the internet is connected.

This is a parable of the human condition. God made Humankind perfect. He looked and pronounced His creation very good. After the Fall, our connectivity was broken:- not only with God but with our fellow humans and even the earth. We can still function. In our own power we can accomplish much. The talents God gifted us with can make a difference. But deep down, we know we are broken. We know there is something missing. We know we are functioning below our potential. We try to connect to God, our source of All, but it takes effort and the connection doesn’t last long. We can’t keep it up.

Our only hope is Christ. “The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory.” (Col 1:27 MSG)

Through His Holy Spirit Christ comes into our lives. The Spirt is connected to the fullness of God and He can reset our natural inclinations or settings to automatically connect to Our Father.

This post is part of Streams of Consciousness Saturday. The prompt for this week is cam or any word containing it.