Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hanging, hanging, REBOOT!

For some unexplained reason I've had more challenges than joy with everything electronic and technical at my new job. If it's not the accounting software, then it is the printer that doesn't work. If it's not the printer, it is the scanner. If not the scanner, then there's a power failure, or my computer's connection to the server that gives an error. If it's not the server connection, then it's the accounting software - then the printer - then the server - then the scanner... You get the idea, I'm sure. (And I'm not exaggerating, believe you me.) Sometimes one of the problems have persisted for days, and in the meantime several of the others have also occurred, rendering me unable to perform my duties and creating huge backlog and stress.

After three months of this I am sure you can imagine that my tolerance level has gone from hero to zero and lately I've been feeling like I'm permanently "driving with the reserve light on". Who knows what I'm talking about?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Give that back; It's mine!

A few families live on the small holding, one of which had "friends" over a week ago, although I wouldn't call what they did friendship. While over here they expressed a keen interest in Chili, one of three pups that belong to my neighbour. As can be naturally expected, my neighbour was not so keen. 

Left to right: Peanut, Chili, Kleintjie (Little one)
From the start Sarah (*not her real name) picked both Chili and Peanut so they could have each other as play mates. Little One (literally so, and so it became his name) was born on the small holding. Initially Sarah was going to find him a home, but he ended up staying with her and the three little pups got on like a house on fire. What a joy it's been watching them run, roll and play. Looked like a pretty fun dog's life to me, until the "friend" stopped by, that is.

Shortly after their departure Chili seemed to have gone AWOL. Sarah searched everywhere, not leaving one stone unturned, but to no avail. Putting two and two together, the conclusion was reached that there was a great possibility that Chili had been stolen. Sarah's heart was broken, and even Peanut did not eat for days since her best pal got abducted.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A fresh perspective

Some people try to explain creation with simple science and call it "The Big Bang". Personally I believe that God created beauty and glory - the universe and everything in it - spoken into being by Him according to Genesis. Yes, many things have evolved over time, but people never came from apes. God distinctly created animals and then He created man. 

What is totally mind blowing to me is the level of detail that He thought of when He made each organism, plant, microscopic particle, and even the bits that mankind has not yet discovered. It reminds me how God is infinite. He created things many, many, many, many years ago and it was sufficient to do all that it needed to do from thereon out for centuries that followed. 

Living organisms were created to multiply, to grow, to defend itself for survival, to feed off each other in the food chain of nature, and everything exists in perfect harmony. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rockefeller vs. the God of the universe

John D. Rockefeller (1885)
Someone sent me this story in e-mail. It might not be true - I'm not sure - but it got me thinking, and those thoughts are what I want to share with you here. First quickly read the story:

A business executive was deep in debt and could see no way out. Creditors were closing in on him. Suppliers were demanding payment. He sat on the park bench, head in hands, wondering if anything could save his company from bankruptcy.

Suddenly an old man appeared before him. "I can see that something is troubling you," he said. After listening to the executive's woes, the old man said, "I believe I can help you." He asked the man his name, wrote out a cheque, and pushed it into his hand saying, "Take this money. Meet me here exactly one year from today, and you can pay me back at that time." Then he turned and disappeared as quickly as he had come.

The business executive saw in his hand a cheque for $500,000, signed by John D Rockefeller, then one of the richest men in the world!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Who is God to you?

Last night I lay in bed listening to the pouring rain and howling wind outside. I ticked my mental checklist for having closed windows and locked doors before crawling under the covers, and felt a sense of relief for not having to be exposed to the elements. I was sheltered; I felt safe.

When storms of life rage in and around you, where do you run for shelter? Where do you feel safe? Do you have any such place at all?

Proverbs 18:10 says the Lord is a strong fortress. The godly run to Him and are safe. 

David says of God in Psalm 18:2, The Lord is my fort where I can enter and be safe; no one can follow me in and slay me. He is a rugged mountain where I hide; He is my Savior, a rock where none can reach me, and a tower of safety. He is my shield. He is like the strong horn of a mighty fighting bull.

and in Psalm 34:8 he says, O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him.

I want you to think about your idea of God. Who is He to you?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fashion statements on the boardwalk of life

As the morning service was drawing to a close I was contemplating attending the evening service too, and the thought crossed my mind what I would wear. After all, everyone has seen my morning outfit. Certainly I can't just wear the same clothes for the second time on the same day? Then I decided, why not?

When I was growing up church was an occasion (place) to dress up for. It is still that way for many today, and there is nothing wrong with it, but as I grew older I also caught on that sometimes that is all church is about: an opportunity to look good on the outside, and if you should happen to look better than the next person, well, all the better! How sad.

How sad is it when it is more important to look good on the outside while the heart is in disarray. For some fashion labels is the criteria for acceptance or rejection - a status symbol. If you wear the right brands and hang with the right crowds then you're special somehow, and if you don't dress the part... oh well, too bad.

I run to you

On my way to church yesterday morning this song played in the car. I turned up the volume and listened to the lyrics. I instinctively replaced the "babies" and "girls" and once again found myself singing to the Lord instead. (For a bit more of my thoughts on that, refer my post titled You fill up my senses; my first, my last, my everything)

It reminded me of Jeremiah 17:5-7 ~ The Lord says, "Cursed is the man who puts his trust in mortal man and turns his heart away from God. He is like a stunted shrub in the desert, with no hope for the future; he lives in the salt-encrusted plains in the barren wilderness; good times pass him by forever. BUT blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord his hope and confidence. He is like a tree planted

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I feel a song coming on

A song can speak a thousand words. Is there something weighing heavily on your mind today? Take a time out and sing along. I think you'll be glad you did :)

Have a very blessed Saturday!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

He's big enough to do it!

After all that God has done for them - protecting them from the ten plagues, finally freeing them from slavery and oppression, loading them with the treasures of the Egyptians, splitting the Red Sea and drowning the pursuing Egyptian army, manna raining from heaven... (I can go on and on) - the Israelites are once again complaining. They have quickly forgotten the rotten slave drivers' whip and are longing for the comforts that they had as slaves - never mind at what cost.

Oh, for a few bites of meat! Oh, that we had some of the delicious fish we enjoyed so much in Egypt, and the wonderful cucumbers and melons, leeks, onions, and garlic! But now our strength is gone, and day after day we have to face this manna! (They say it like it's a bad thing...)

When God heard their complaining His anger grew hot and Moses was also very displeased. Goodness, I can't imagine what it must have been like to be Moses. He certainly had his fair share of challenges. So Moses responds to God, "Why pick on me, to give me the burden of a people like this? Are they my children? Am I their father? Is that why you have given me the job of nursing them along like babies until we get to the land you promised their ancestors? Where am I supposed to get meat for all these people? I can't carry this nation by myself?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Someone sent me this story in e-mail yesterday:

A king, who did not believe in the goodness of God, had a slave who, in all circumstances, said: My king, do not be discouraged because everything God does is perfect, no mistakes!

One day they went hunting and along the way a wild animal attacked the king. His slave managed to kill the animal but could not prevent his majesty losing a finger. Furious and without showing any gratitude for being saved, the nobleman said, "Is God good? If He was good I would not have been attacked and lost my finger." The slave replied: "My king, despite all these things, I can only tell you that God is good and He knows "why" of all these things. What God does is perfect; He is never wrong!" Outraged by the response, the king ordered the arrest of his slave.

Later he left for another hunt and was captured by savages who made human sacrifices. On the altar, ready to sacrifice the nobleman, the savages found that the victim had not one of his fingers, so he was released. According to them it was not so complete to be offered to the gods.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Do you remember when...?

Tim Storey has said something that has made a very big impact on my life since: 
Once you've touched the fire you can't live in the smoke.
In Joshua 24 Joshua takes the Israelites on a trip down memory lane. He starts off with God's promise to Abraham - leading him to Canaan and giving him many descendants; descendants who had wandered off, worshiping idols, and had eventually ended up in slavery in Egypt. Then, once they had turned from their wicked ways, God rescued them and blessed them, sending the ten plagues upon Egypt and delivering them out of the hand of Pharaoh and of slavery, followed by the pursuit of the Egyptians, the split of the Red Sea and the drowning of the Egyptians. The nations that God had promised and the nations that He had delivered into the hands of His people based on those promises - again and again. Crossing the Jordan River, bringing down the walls of Jericho, delivering more nations into their hands. He reminds them that those victories did not come because of their own bows and swords but that it was God who blessed and prospered them. And because Joshua had seen God's faithfulness throughout his live - having touched and lived in the fire - he challenges the people with this declaration: "But if you are unwilling to obey the Lord, then decide today whom you will obey. But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Letting go - new beginnings

Cycling is not just good exercise for me, it is therapy. I have struggled with depression on and off in my life and I learnt early on that exercise was something small (but crucial) that I could do to help heal myself and so I bought my first bike. I struggled with it a lot and thought that it was just me who was unfit. That was until I discovered that the fact that the bike was too small for me was more significant that I had realized. So I sold my bike and bought another one. It was as if I had exchanged a Mini for a Rolls Royce! I couldn't believe the difference!

I had a special bond with my Rolls Royce :)

My Royals Royce
About three years later I left to go to the States I decided to give my Rolls Royce to my sister. She and I have competed in some races together and she didn't have her own bike; I thought that it would be something special for her. A few months later, though, she relocated and her new home was burgled shortly after. Yes, they stole the Rolls Royce. I felt very sad. It was so much more than just a bike to me. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

He sees you and you matter!

I have an appointment tomorrow and I have some paperwork that I need to take with me. With things a little bit more upside down that I'm used to, I would have had to drive somewhere and pay to have the forms printed. Why is this seemingly small fact significant? Let me give you an idea of a scenario that I encountered recently:

Print per page (in black and white) - R1 - R2 per page (depending on where you go)
Faxing per page (especially with the new modern 'fax to e-mail' facilities) - R6 - R8 per page. (For the fax that I needed to send it would have cost me around R80 - for printing and a fax!!!!)

To put it into even more perspective for you: you can buy a loaf of bread for the cost of faxing one page! It is truly a rip off and all I can say is: buy your own printer / scanner / copier!!! After six faxes you would have paid for it in full.

So, to get back to my story...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Faith wears pink slippers

I am just 21 and my life is over. How can it be? I have not even lived yet. What now, Lord?

It was the summer of 2000 but it was winter in my heart. How do you get married and divorced in just one year? Hopeless and brokenhearted I curled up in a fetal position and wept. I imagined lying on my Father's lap, my head on his chest and desperately listening for His heartbeat. What else was going to go wrong before something would start going right? Did good things only happen to other people? Why not me? When did it all start going so horribly wrong?

I had a microwave, a bed and a car to my name and was living in a crummy, cheap apartment - above a liquor store and across from an adult porn store - but it was all I could afford. My car had been flooded inside during a rain storm with no apparent explanation and, watching the floating Garfield cassette case and map book, I added to the brimming water with my tears. Shortly after my car was broken into, the radio and speakers stolen. I almost got mugged on my way from the car to the apartment, I was up to my eyeballs in debt, barely sleeping and not on speaking terms with my family. I was having oatmeal for breakfast and oatmeal for dinner, all awhile fantasizing about Cheddar cheese. Cheese was not an option, not without a fridge. Emotionally and spiritually I was hanging on by a threat with thoughts of suicide plaguing my mind day and night. The devil was laughing at me.

My soul was crying out to the Lord for help. What now?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A21 Campaign: the slavery footprints of human trafficking

According to my slavery footprint I have 32 slaves working for me - yes! 32... from across the world.

Slavery footprint? What is that? I hear you say. That is exactly what I was wondering this morning when I came across a mail from the A21 campaign. OK, so now you're wondering what the A21 campaign is, right? Let me explain.