Tag Archives: the Lord

The Deflation of Disappointment

On Saturday morning I got up at 3.30am. I had been invited to take my daughter’s place on a hot air balloon adventure. The flight, which had been a service award to my son-in-law, had been scheduled for some time ago but had been called off when the party was already in the basket, due to wind issues.

I had been conflicted by the invitation and had taken almost an hour to accept it. I have a mild fear of heights but I have managed to force myself to look out of an aeroplane window once or twice. I have always had an issue with standing for long periods. In church I usually stand for the first worship song then sit for the rest. It’s easier now that I’m almost seventy. People expect old ladies to have some difficulty. My third issue was the easiest to overcome. I am not a morning person. For a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I was prepared to overcome my issues with the Lord’s help. In the back of my mind all this time was the knowledge that again the flight could be postponed. (The weather forecast had predicted a 40% chance of thunderstorms.)

We assembled on the launch site and photographed semi-inflated balloons.

The balloons are much bigger than I thought.

We stood around waiting for our crafts to be ready. I lay down my jacket on a grassy edge and sat on it. No use standing unnecessarily I would need all the stamina I could get.

I knew at once when the decision was made. There was a sudden silence as all the fans were switched off. There is nothing as sad-looking as a deflating hot air balloon.

Turns out the visibility was the issue this time; and the fact that there were electrical storms in the vicinity.

My disappointment was tinged with relief. Now there would be no need for a burst of courage and by the time the rescheduled flight takes place, my daughter will have recovered from Covid.

Consolation prize was spotting a baby giraffe.

James says, “Come now, you who say ,’Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15 ESV)

That is not to say we should not plan. I had to plan to get up early, to wear comfortable clothes, to take a camera. It means we should not cling too tightly to our own plans but allow the Lord to change our schedule without consulting us. I could cope with the disappointment of losing my once-in-a-lifetime experience because I had known from the start that cancellation was a high possibility. May I approach all my plans in that light and trust the Lord with the outcome.

My Prayer

Father God, thank you that you have given us opportunities for excitement, be it meeting up with family after a long break, a holiday, a leisure trip or a new opportunity to serve You. Please help me to make plans but hold them loosely, giving You the freedom to change them according to Your will. 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.

Boasting

This post is part of JusJoJan. The word of the day is “trigger.” It reminds me of the song from “Annie get your Gun.”

“I’m quick on the trigger, with targets not much bigger than a pinpoint
I’m number one, but my score with a feller
Is lower than a celler, oh you can’t get a man with a gun
When I’m with a pistol, I sparkle like a crystal
Yes, I shine like the morning sun.”

Don’t we all like to boast about our achievements and our abilities? Sometimes boasting is a way of hiding our insecurities and boosting our fragile self-confidence.

St Paul said,

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” (Phillipians 3:4-7a NIV)

By the world’s standards of his time, he had every reason to boast. He came from one of the best families. He studied under the great Gamaliel and could write in Greek and Hebrew; so his education was from the top bracket. He studied the law and kept it. Yet he regarded these recommendations as garbage compared to finding Christ and the righteousness that comes from God through Him.

I am very quick to insert myself into a conversation with words like, “I think,” or “I prayed,” as if my thoughts or prayers are in some way noteworthy or superior to other people’s thoughts or prayers. It’s easy to tell other people what we have done for God (in the guise of asking for prayer, of course) rather than telling them what God has done for us.

Let us all follow Paul’s example. “Therefore, as it is written, ‘Let the the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'” (1 Cor 1:31 NIV)

My Prayer

Lord, forgive me when I try to impress other people rather than trying to please you. Please put a guard on my tongues so that boastful words don’t pop out. Amen.

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 8 Foil Boats

It had been raining all morning and we decided to make foil boats and sail them on puddles for our Granny Science activity.

The plan was to investigate different sizes and placement of sails but we never really got that far. Our big puddle had dried up by the afternoon so the kids had tremendous fun filling it up again with buckets while wearing their roller blades. Eventually they got it big enough to sail boats on.


Naturally, the wind didn’t co-operate and the boats sailed wherever they pleased. It reminded me of the verse that says, “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat – for he grants sleep to those he loves.”(Psalm 127 : 1-2 (NIV)

We think we are in control. But we’re not. The farmer can plant seeds, but unless God sends rain, nothing will grow. Boat-builders can build beautiful sailing vessels, but unless God sends wind, they are useless. Without the physical laws God put in place at the foundation of the universe, nothing would work.

At this time of lockdown, one of our many anxieties is the fact that we feel helpless. Things are out of control, we have no idea what the future holds. The fact is, we have always been helpless. The control we thought we had over events and plans is only grace that God has given us, to work together with Him.

It is comforting to know that even though we don’t know what the future holds, we can know the God who holds the future. Because He Lives.

Lockdown Day 4 Tents on the Patio

I’m running one day behind at present, so this was for yesterday.

When my husband cleared out the store room, we found four tents. Two tiny ones were from the days when our younger son was still at home and used to go camping with us. We had a caravan and later a motor-home and he had a tent. Then he out grew too that tent and got another, a longer one. As a Guider, when I took the Guides camping, I liked to take my own tent into which I could fit a chair. Then there is a very old tent my parents used with the motor-home before they gave it to me. On Sunday the grandchildren, with the help of their father, pitched all four so we could establish what kind of condition they were in.

Of course, the kids thought this was a wonderful adventure and decided each to spend the night in a small tent . The very old tent turned out no longer to be waterproof, but made a great play room.

When I think of a tent, I think of a place of refuge, of shelter from the wind, rain or sun. There are many psalms about God being our shelter or refuge. I like Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. (1-2.) Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; (6.) He says, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.(10-11.)

At this time of uncertainty and turmoil, in the words of Psalm 91:2 NKJ.

I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.

A Change in Focus

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Prov 3:5 NIV)

My biggest challenge in photography is to get my focus right. In the following picture, the focus is not sharp on the bird’s eyes but at least the bird is more in-focus than the background trees! A change in focus can totally change a photo.

Sometimes in life, we also need to change our focus. We can either focus on the Lord, or our own understanding. Our own understanding comes naturally. It is common sense.

This is an area where I am struggling at the moment. Our family in New Zealand offered to pay for us to visit them at the end of the year, subject to our being able to procure the two-for-one fare we were able to get two years ago. It is offered once a year for 12 hours only and last year it was available on the 24th January. We prayed about it and decided that getting the two-for-one fare would be our sign of the Lord’s green light. Up until this moment, there is no sign of the special, although there is a sale until the end of January where we can save about R 3 500 per ticket, but the price is still R7 000 above the cost of a two-for- one special.

My own understanding, conventional wisdom, screams out, “Buy the tickets now, do it now, quickly before they all run out! After all, a bird in the hand … and all that.”

However, after a lot of discussion and agonizing, we have decided not to settle for second best, but rather trust the Lord to provide the best, and from our side, to do everything in our power to keep an eye on the internet and not miss the offer. Please pray for me. I’m fine now, but it’s still January and we can always change our minds, but how will I cope on the first of February? Do I trust the Lord with all my heart?

This post is part of JusJoJan

Blending

Adult colouring books are not really my thing. I thought I’d give it a try (since everybody else was so enthusiastic about it) and bought myself a book. Well, I have half coloured one page. I saw a journal in a Christian book shop with bible verses and small pictures to colour on every alternate page and plenty of space to write so I considered I might manage that.

My daughter is an artist and taught me to blend with Aquelle crayons. “Use different colours,” she said, “and blend them together with your wet paintbrush”. It worked quite well for a non-artist.

dav

It occurs to me  that is what God does in a marriage or in a family. He uses different colours (people), puts them together artistically, and blends them making a more vibrant and dynamic picture.  My husband and I are very different but God has managed to blend us together so the “Us” contains elements of each of us but also of a combination of both of us, making the whole more than the sum of the parts. In the hands of the Master, each marriage and family is an unrepeatable masterpiece.