MEANWHILE ON THE STREETS OF NEW YORK AND CAPE TOWN…

Last week on the streets of New York I took this photo of a man whose money box was almost full – people were paying him not to vote for Donald Trump!!

20160917_183501

This morning on the streets of Cape Town I met this young man from Somalia whose hero, when he was growing up, was Hilary Clinton. He named his cigarette stand after Hilary Clinton and is hoping she will win!!

20160928_103908 20160928_103843

Posted in Cape Town, New York | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

9/11

20160917_144223

On a recent trip to New York we visited Ground Zero – we also drove past the Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9 fire station.

20160916_203800

On the morning of 9/11 the entire shift of firemen on duty that day, fifteen men in all, lost their lives rescuing those trapped and injured in the Twin Towers horror.  These men were among the first to arrive at the World Trade Center – none of them made it back.

The first certified fatality on that day was a Franciscan friar and Catholic Priest, Mychal Judge. He also served as a chaplain to the New York City Fire department.

Along with the firemen from Ladder 4,  he was one of the first people on the scene that morning and after giving the last rites to a dying fireman on the street, he turned and went back into the lobby of the North Tower. He walked willingly into chaos, destruction and mayhem in order to help his fellow human beings.  He was killed by falling debris.

At his service Father Michael Duffy said the following:

“…he loved people and that showed and that makes all the difference. You can serve people but unless you love them, it’s not really ministry.”

{We, who are Believers, would do well to remember that – ‘you can serve people but unless you love them, it’s not really ministry’}

 “He loved to bring Christ to people. He was the bridge between people and God and he loved to do that.”

He was waiting for his Firemen when they arrived in heaven. As Father Duffy said in the Eulogy “he was waiting for his Firemen in order to greet them with that big Irish smile.  He’s going to take them by the arm and the hand and say, “Welcome, I want to take to you to my Father”. And so he can continue doing in death what he couldn’t do in life.”

Father Mychal Judge’s constant prayer was:

Lord, take me where you want me to go.
Let me meet who you want me to meet.
Tell me what you want me to say,
And keep me out of your way.

“The favors of the Lord are not exhausted. His mercies are not spent. Every morning, they are renewed. Great is his faithfulness. I will always trust in him.”  (Lamentations 3:22 & 23)

20160917_144005 20160917_144231 20160917_144119

Posted in New York | Tagged | Leave a comment

ON THE STREETS OF NEW YORK

20160917_183501

20160917_182522

20160918_125552-2

Posted in New York | Tagged , | Leave a comment

THE SUPPER TABLE

20160704_185508

Recently I asked my fourteen-year-old daughter what her idea of marriage is.  Her reply amazed me.  She said that her idea of marriage is like ‘the supper table’!

Below are some of the reasons she gave.  I have taken her thoughts and expounded on them:

  • The supper table is where we gather together
  • It is an opportunity to relax
  • A place to talk to each other
  • A space to really listen to each other
  • The supper table should be a place of safety
  • It is a place where we can enjoy tasty and nourishing food
  • A place where we find out how the other person is doing
  • A place of anticipation

A happy and growing marriage should have all the above components.

A marriage should be a ‘place’ of togetherness, of enjoying each other’s company of being ‘fed’ emotionally.

MARRIAGE SHOULD BE A PLACE OF SAFETY.

Just as the supper table should also be a place of safety and love, so should marriage.

The world famous chef, Jamie Oliver, once said:

If you can eat with mates or friends or family, I mean, it’s such a brilliant thing isn’t it? If you feel really rubbish and you have a nice bit of food it makes you feel good, you know?

I was once asked what feeling the word ‘home’ invoked in me. My first thought was of Steven, my husband!  The word home represents a place of safety, acceptance, warmth, love and security.  I find all these things with him and in him.

MARRIAGE, LIKE THE DINNER TABLE, SHOULD ‘MAKE ONE FEEL GOOD’!

As I continued to reflect on our youngest daughter’s idea that marriage is like ‘the supper table’ I was reminded of a game we used to play when our girls were growing up.

We would all swop places at the supper table and then take on the persona of the person whose chair we were now sitting on.

So if someone was sitting in my chair they had to ‘become’ me.  They had to serve the food and take on the role as mother.

There was one memorable night when our middle daughter was me and I was her.

Throughout supper she kept asking me to pass the salt and for the rest of the time she basically ignored me every time I spoke to her.

There was always much hilarity during these suppers and more so when we discussed our various roles after supper.

On this particular night I asked Amy why she had ignored me most of the time other than to ask me to pass the salt.

She said that was the way I behaved towards her at the supper table.

Other than asking her to pass the salt I generally ignored her.

It came as quite a shock when I realized there was definitely an element of truth in what she was saying.

My heart ached that this was the way she perceived our relationship at the supper table but it also gave me an opportunity to start making amends and to start being more aware of listening to her when she spoke to me during supper.

Maybe it would be a good idea for husbands and wives to do this exercise on a regular basis.

To sit in each other’s places and to really think about how the other person is feeling.

For the wife and mother, it could have been a long day of work, of looking after and lifting children to and fro, of doing shopping and rushing to prepare supper with the knowledge that housework still had to be done and children prepared for bed.

For the husband it may have been a stressful day at work.  He may have lost a major contract or had a fight with a client, his boss or a colleague.  He may be worried about providing for his family and feeling like a failure.

Maybe by physically swopping places at the table and taking on the persona of our spouse, by putting their ‘shoes’ on and trying to imagine what their day was like and how they are feeling we may have far more patience, empathy and understanding towards each other.

Marriage often personifies the following verse

And why worry about a speck in your friend’s (spouse’s) eye when you have a log in your own? (Matthew 7:3)

We so often accuse our spouses of being selfish and uncaring and yet, maybe if we sat in their chair at the supper table every now and again we would view each other with more patience, love and understanding.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Posted in Christmas, Marriage, Reality | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Own up to knowing Him…

20140820_203535

I am married to a wonderful man – a conservative man, but a truly lovely guy!
This is why the following story has had such an impact on my life because I know just how conservative he is!

I asked Steven if I could share his story and he graciously agreed. It occurred in September 2004 when he ‘owned up’ to knowing God.  At that time I asked him to write down what had transpired and this is what he wrote:

Whilst driving down Voortrekker Road in Maitland I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me as I passed the Teko Chemical Buildings.  This was originally the site for the Cape Organ builders.

I had often driven past these premises and thought what a good work site this would be for our company!

I felt God telling me to phone the number on the outside of the building.  I did not – I drove to Atlantis and carried on working.  On my return down Voortrekker Road and as I was nearing the Teko building I felt God once again saying to me, phone the number that is on the wall.  I picked up my cell phone and dialed the number and asked to speak to the manager.  I had no idea what I was going to say to him!

I was put through to a guy called Charles so I said to him, “I’m just phoning to inquire if the building is up for sale or maybe will be in the future”.  He told me that he believed the building had just been sold but would check to see whether the sale had gone through.

He took my name and number and said he would get back to me.

I drove back to our hired premises and told my office manageress that we had just missed the sale of excellent premises.  I had hardly finished telling her about it when my cell phone rang.  It was the other manager, Renier, phoning from Teko and he asked whether I would go in and see them the following day.

I arrived at the premises at nine the following morning.  I was introduced to the two partners.  I was in jeans and my steel toe cap boots and they were dressed in suits and ties!  They sat me across the table from them and Charles asked me how I had known that the building was for sale as nothing had been advertised.  I hesitated not knowing how I was going to tell them that I had heard a voice in my head the day before telling me to phone and inquire.  I heard the same voice again prompting me to tell them the truth, so I took a deep breath and told them that as I was driving past the building a voice in my head told me to phone the company number.  I proceeded to tell them that I was a believing Christian and I believed it had been God speaking to me.

They both looked at each other and started to laugh, and I thought “that’s it!  They think I am crazy. They are going to throw me out of here!” They then proceeded to tell me that they were also believing Christians and when I had phoned the day before they had been praying to God about their situation as the person who had agreed to buy the building, via a private sale, had just pulled out of the deal because he had not been able to obtain the finances.

I advised them that I had no money either and would have to contact the bank but that I really wanted the building!  The bank granted me a building loan and when I phoned to tell them they said that the man who had pulled out of the deal had walked into their offices half an hour after  I had left them, cash in hand, to buy the building.  He had managed to raise the finances after all.  They informed him that the building had already been sold.

If Steve had not said yes to God by phoning that number and by acknowledging, before strangers, that he had heard a voice in his head that he believed was God’s telling him to phone, even at the risk of sounding like he had just escaped from a mental asylum, he would not be in those premises today.

Steve could have just told them that he had phoned on the off chance it was for sale but would also have had to add that he had no money and no security to offer for a loan.

So when the gentleman walked into their offices, cash in hand, they would have sold it to him and Steve would have missed out on an incredible blessing from God.

Over the years he has told this story to encourage others to listen to and acknowledge God’s voice and it has been an incredible encouragement and witness to us of God’s care and interest in our lives.

If he had not said “yes” to God he would have no story to share and would also have missed out on the amazing business premises he now has.

In Isaiah God says to each one of us who believe in Him “I have chosen you and have not rejected you.  So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be discouraged for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you,  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:9 & 10)

And then He goes on to say “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness, I will take hold of your hand.  I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open the eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”

All we as believers have to do is to ‘own up’ to knowing Him.

Posted in God, miracles | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTEMPT?

13307366_589686377872976_6510319435120546539_n

During a morning Bible Study a group of women were discussing how to have loving relationships with their husbands.  The group leader asked them ‘how many of you love your husbands?’. All the hands shot up. She then asked ‘when last did you tell your husband that you loved him?’ Some answered yesterday, some today and some couldn’t remember when last they had told their husbands that they loved them!

The Bible study leader than asked every women present to send their husbands a text message telling them that they loved them. After a few minutes the husbands started to reply and she asked the ladies to read the replies out loud.

The following was some of the replies:

  • Are you sick?
  • Have you damaged the car?
  • I don’t understand what you mean. What have you done?
  • Am I dreaming?
  • Who was this message meant for?
  • Your mother is coming to visit again, isn’t she?
  • You promised me you wouldn’t drink during the day!

{From Ouboet Johan Bronkhorst, Grap Blad vir Almal.}

The above may seem quite humorous but it is actually a sad indictment of what a lot of marriages are like nowadays. We don’t invest enough time and thought into the marriage and eventually we even forget to tell our spouses that we love them. And then, when we do tell them we love them, they immediately become suspicious and think we have an ulterior motive.

A good verse to memorize for your marriage is Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” There is no better way to build your spouse up then by telling them you love them on a daily basis and for them to hear the actual words said aloud.

Why is it that some marriages embody the saying ‘familiarity breeds contempt’? The longer some couples stay together, the more irritated and impatient they become with one another. Mel Schwartz has the following to say about this:

When we honor one another we’re not likely to experience contempt. The disdain comes from not getting our needs met. It originates from a turning away from your partner and a relationship philosophy that more likely resembles a “me first” attitude. Contempt is the emotional reaction to not feeling cared for and perhaps disrespected. When we feel valued by our partners, our relationships are inclined to thrive. At the least, this feeling of being valued tends to limit hostility and scorn. When we devalue our partners, contempt becomes very prevalent.

Marriages develop problems when the husband and wife grow apart from each other instead of closer together and the beginning of this growing apart is when we stop telling our spouse that we love them and instead carry on with our own lives within the marriage.

This is not how God envisioned marriage! He stated at the beginning of time “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24)

God never stops telling us that He loves us. Every new sunrise, every rainbow, every cloud in the sky is God’s daily expression of His love for us. The Bible, His word to us, is full of His love for us. We need to show the same love to our spouses on a daily basis.

If you haven’t done so yet I would suggest that you read the book of Ruth in the Bible. This book has so much to teach us about faithfulness, love, obedience and commitment. Our attitude and commitment to our marriage should be the same as Ruth’s commitment to Naomi.

The following words spoken by Ruth should be the same words we speak to our spouses:

Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.  Your people will be my people and your God my God.  Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.  May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.  (Ruth 1:16 & 17)

Posted in Divorce, Love, Marriage, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

GOD CAN DO NO MORE

SAM_0869

“It is absolutely impossible for God to do any more than what He already has done”.

After hearing this statement my first thought was “that is quite blasphemous!”

The speaker, however, went on to point out this very poignant fact.  When God sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die for us on the cross He did everything He could ever do for us. There is nothing more He can do.  It is already done, it is finished.

Jesus last words on the cross were “It is finished” (John 19:30)
Pain, sickness, shame, guilt – it is finished.
Satan’s perceived power over us – it is finished.
Fear of the future, fear of death – it is finished.

Because of His death we have redemption in Jesus Christ. We live in His power and might, we live knowing that we have the Holy Spirit living in us ‘so that we may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault” as children of God “we shine like stars in the universe” (Philippians 2:15)

So why is it, that when God has done all He can do, when He has commanded and equipped us to “shine like stars in the universe” quite a few of us are dull, gloomy, apathetic and living in obscurity?

Is it because…

We don’t fully believe and trust God?
We question why there is so much pain, suffering and hurt in the world?
We pray for healing, pray for miracles, pray for relationships to heal – and nothing happens?
We don’t feel we are good enough?

If you are a Bible believing child of God none of the above questions matter.  We serve a Sovereign God but live in a fallen world.  God gave us freedom of choice because He wanted a relationship with us.

“That was in the world’s bright morning when the morning stars sang together and all creation leaped in joy, but the wild, wild desolation of sin, disobedience, pride, and selfish sinfulness entered and drove a great gulf between God’s children and Himself” (Oswald Chambers)

We live in a suffering world but God has given us His glorious promise that “after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore you, secure you, strengthen you and establish you” (1 Peter 10).

Don’t those words just make you want to shout out WOW!

We have this mighty God on our side and the most powerful weapon in our arsenal – PRAYER

“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.
The meaning of prayer is that we get hold of God, not of the answer.
Wherever the providence of God may dump us down, in a slum, in a shop, in the desert, we have to labour along the line of His direction. Never allow this thought—“I am of no use where I am,” because you certainly can be of no use where you are not! Wherever He has engineered your circumstances, pray.
Prayer is not a question of altering things externally, but of working wonders in a man’s disposition.”  (Oswald Chambers)

Posted in Forgiveness, God, Life | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments