FREEDOM DAY

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SOUTH AFRICA!

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Today is Freedom Day in South Africa.  It is a public holiday to remind us that twenty one years ago the cloak of Oppression was lifted when all South Africans freely went to the political polls to vote for a new government to rule the country and its peoples. Twenty one years is a short period of time when one thinks in terms of nations.  Liken that to a person, and one can understand that the new South Africa has a long way to go in becoming a full mature, functional and prosperous nation.  At twenty one who isn’t still wet behind the ears, coming through the troubling teenage years with all its rebelliousness, rejections, broken promises and looking to find true identity and purpose. It is not easy, even for the best of us !  The distressing recent xenophobia displays, and rapid peace interventions are perhaps a sign on a maturing process taking place….a getting to know thyself of sorts.  Happy birthday South Africa, may the next 21 years find you firmly engaged in building and planting prosperity and peace on the African continent.

And don’t forget to plant your Care Gardens for the Care Africa Movement project.
Plant some seeds in your yard, for food, and Plant a garden in your heart by reading the Bible every day to feed your soul. Send me a photo with your name or project’s name and help me build a photo blog with your Care Garden on it.

Freedom is not cheap, and Oppression comes in huge forms. Vividly seen from the TV news are evident results of oppressive leaders and governments who are hell bent on holding onto power, position and wealth, in spite of great cost to their own people.  War, mass protest marches, mass migration from nation to nation seems to be a sign that Oppression rules almost everywhere in our Global Village.

But Oppression also comes in subtle forms, often nestles in the soul, and in the family where it is not so easy to detect, yet the outward reaction tells the tale.  And when you think about it, is the soul not the place where the darkness can grow until it reaches  monsterous proportions.?  Eventually it vents itself into further Oppression causing  the cycle of death, demise destruction – creating dark and dingy prisons of sadness, shame, sorrow and mourning –  resulting in the captive soul – and a loss of liberty.  Oppression causes this to happen on the soul, family, national and global level, as history has shown us.   And peace is far off !

The Bible speaks of setting the captives free.  Luke 4 and Isaiah 61 are Bible pieces that depict the human condition.  It brings with it hope to those who are oppressed, depressed and suppressed.  Those who  battle depressions, afflictions and addictions – seekers for peace, but also for those who are the peace-bringers .

       … To preach good tidings to the poor,
            He has sent Me to heal the broken hearted,
            To proclaim liberty  to the captives,
            And recovery of sight to the blind,
           To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
           To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

This is a song for freedom, true freedom, that transcends any tyrant or political system or person, or addiction that can hold us captive.  Its the song of salvation that Jesus Christ sings over us… for He came to set the captives free.  The real day of freedom is the day of salvation, the day of second chances and new beginnings, a freedom that is well worth celebrating.            

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Looking for … Joy

Looking for Joy.
I know I have it … but where ?  I must have put it somewhere to keep in case I needed it.  I’m like that.  I don’t like to throw things out.  I’ll store them for a long season if I have to, but to discard what I think is precious, is not likely to happen !  Now where did I put it ? If I let this thought simmer on the back burner it may come to me.

And so it did.  In the oversized tubs I store all my collectibles ? Yes, but which one? So the hunt began.  I scurried down to the garage and began to unpack the lavender tub.
No, it wasn’t there, but what I found was colour.  Colour in the form of off-cuts of material I had kept.  There were stunning reds, bright yellows, deep blues and purple, checker greens, even a little silver and mottled gold.  What a delight ! Then I looked up and looked around, and began to see colour everywhere. What a Joy colour brings to our lives.  Just imagine life without colour – and its a free.
Light from the sun is white light, if looked through a prism the light fractures and becomes a spectrum of colours, the rainbow of red, blue, green,yellow, orange, purple and indigo.  Colours have different lengths (frequencies – like music notes) shorter is higher and longer is deeper.  These notes / frequencies of colour bring colours to plants – everything is grey drab, until lit by sunlight.  Next time you’re feeling glum, look up and look around for the free gift of colour –  and be glad !

But that was not what I was looking for.  The next tub I opened was my Word tub.  It was full of words.  Letters, writings of other people, poems, special cards, scraps of paper with Bible verses and notes on courses and seminars I had attended.  It surely must be in this tub.  So I spent the next few days scrutinizing all the treasures in my Word tub.  What a joy, re-reading the hearts and minds of others and feeling their love all over again.  The Joy of friends, and relationships.  We can’t do without them. Well, maybe some of them, but no not all.

Then I found it !  At last, I knew I had it.  Tucked in the pages of a manuscript were the words of Dr James G Friesen of The Life Model Course I had attended some 20 years ago.  I remembered the “Joy bucket” and “Joy Camp”, and getting back on top of “Joy Mountain” which he so clearly wrote about and the fundamental importance of  regulating our feelings back to Joy.  Dr James Ph.D  is a Clinical Psychologist, and an expert in trauma recovery and Dissociative Identity Disorders.  Here are some concepts from the powerful words of The Life Model : “Joy is a powerful force in life which shapes our lives from the baby stage of our development.” (brain development) He explains this very clearly in the manuscript and states  ” Joy becomes the foundation for all other emotions.”  Dr James Wilder, a co-writer and researcher  writes on  www.lifemodel.org   “Joy was the engine that drove thriving and recovery and even produced the strength needed for prevention of trauma and addiction.”  Wow, those are strong words. Please check out The Life Model’s website and find out more on this life-giving course.  And visit Dr Friesen on http://www.jamesgfriesen.com.  Also visit  www.joystartshere.com for more information.

Life from a psychological view can bring an understanding to our inner world. Life from a spiritual view can bring healing and recovery from mental and emotional breakdown.
Undeniably suffering and sorrow are strewn along Life’s path. It is then that we find that Joy has companions  :
Joy and Sorrow  –  Weeping may endure for a night, but Joy comes in the morning.    Psalm 30:5
Joy and Mourning –  To give them beauty for ashes and the oil of Joy for mourning. Isaiah 61: 3
Joy and Strength – Do not sorrow for the Joy of the Lord is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10
Joy and PeaceNow may the God of hope fill you with Joy and Peace.
Romans 15:13
Joy and Gladness –  He will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the Lord, Joy and gladness will be found in it.  Isaiah 51:3
        Joy and Fruit –  But the fruit of the Spirit is  Love  Joy  Peace  Long-suffering          Kindness Goodness  Faithfulness  Gentleness  and  Self Control.  Against these there is   no law.   Galatians 5:22

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Finding Joy is well worth the pursuit, and for me, it came one evening when I heard the Preacher from the big church on the corner say  : Joy is a decision you make,  to get your power back.
Joy is the essence of good mental health, so …  CHOOSE  JOY !

You Will Always be My Child

This poem touched a cord. It’s message captures the heart of God for His children, so that we can know that He knows, He sees, and He cares.

GentleKindness

I brought you into the world

For my own reasons

I wanted a friend

A playmate

A confidant

I taught you the things that I thought

Would inspire you

to learn

to create 

to love

I never thought of the pain

The world inflicts

On everyone

Even you

my creation

my child

I never meant to see you feel

The pain that I have had

From the others

So callous

So Cruel

I hope you can forgive me

For not being able to protect

Your heart

Your body

Your mind

I brought you into this world

To love you

Protect you

I tried

I tried

My heart breaks every time

I see your heart break

From those

Unworthy

Of you

You will always be the child

I  wanted by my side

To care for

to protect

to love

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The Bronze Serpent and the Cosmic Cross

The Bronze Serpent and the Cosmic Cross.

We do ourselves a great disservice if we think that the Easter season is only about time off, chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs.   There is a far deeper meaning to this season of the year.  It signifies the cataclysmic cosmic event that evil has been conquered by good.

The Bible, is a wonderful book of stories. How else can we learn if we do not have story telling time ? These stories will only be grasped if faith is applied – the willingness to believe – this is the key to understanding the mysteries of God.
The Bronze Serpent,  is a story within a story of God’s people and is found in Numbers 21.  In short, the story goes that the Israelites who were coming out of bondage to the Egyptians and were about to enter the land of Edom. They were wary of soul, very discouraged, murmuring and complaining and spoke against God and against Moses.
So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people and many of the people of Israel died.  Sorrowfully they came to Moses to ask for prayer.  So Moses prayed for the people.  Then the Lord said to Moses “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole, and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” 

Alan Webster in his QT 27-3-15 writings highlights the story and brings it a little closer to home:  ‘ God had told Moses to fashion a snake out of bronze to raise up on a pole.  How long did that take?  Imagine the cries of the suffering, the anguish of the families as they tried to avoid the poisonous serpents and dealt with family members as they helplessly watched them die.   But why had this plague of snakes come into the camp?  It is into a camp of complaint where poisonous accusations against God are created, that poisonous snakes come.  If we expect God to rejoice with singing over us, our faith-filled hearts should overflow with praise.  But even in their distress, when they finally turn to God, He shows mercy and grace to the undeserving.   The snake pole brings healing for those who are willing to believe.  There were many who when bitten, didn’t look, but died in their unbelief.’

The serpent is entangled in the story found in Genesis 3…Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast in the field which the Lord God had made.… the beginning of mankind’s problems – evil let loose, sin embedded and the curse applied.  When you stop and take a look at humanity today how devastating the curse shows up in strife, power struggles, in wars, the killings, beheadings, human trafficking, child soldiers, abandoned babies, diseases, rampant viruses, huge deceptions, illusions, lies, and corruption rife in every day and in every nation, the evidence is at hand – evil rules … for now !

cosmic cross                                                        Freedom

But there is hope … And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. So the cross of Jesus Christ has a parallel to the bronze serpent that Moses lifted up in the wilderness.  It is the antidote for the serpent’s bite.

When we consider the Cosmic Cross it points us to the depth of God’s love for us, and the length He will go to win back that which is lost.  It is a story to be both in awe of, and to weep over.  It is about the Son of God – Jesus Christ, who hung on the cross for us.  And who is this Jesus ?  There will be many different answers to this question. One of the most compelling revelations of Jesus Christ is found in
Colossians 1:15-17
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.   For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.  All things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things and in Him all things consist.

It does not get higher than that, except to say that He is God incarnate in this world we call earth, which forms part of the cosmos – that is the visible and invisible, thrones, dominions, principalities and powers, not only in our time, but down the corridors of every generation – quite a spectrum of power!
Further more, He came to conquer the serpent, sin, the curse applied to all humanity  –
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8.  He came to make atonement for mankind, for those who will receive Him as their Saviour and their God, not only today but down the labyrinth of every generation too – quite a spectrum of mercy !
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Cosmic Cross, is the cosmic event that changed the course of humanity, and its effects are still very relevant in our today world.  It changes our destinies and ushers us into the New Creation… and herein lies another story! Have a close look at the inserted picture (with acknowledgement to the late Annie Vallotton, the Illustrator of the Good News Bible.)

Easter time is not about chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs, and is not to be taken lightly.  It is a time of death and resurrection, the centre piece of “His Story” in His Book, that includes the story of  my life … and your life too, if you were to invite Him into your heart this Easter season.