Anticipating Abraham

 

I like to peer into, and glean from the lives of men who are the heroes of our faith, who have gone before us, and walked with God.   It is helpful in walking our own road of faith.
Abraham was a great believer, and to me was most notable for his obedience.  Obedience was the great facet of his life, yet there is more, Abraham was fully persuaded and lived in constant anticipation, so ever hopeful of following, and finding his promises from God.

When you are on a journey to a faraway place,  the road just seems to go on and on forever.
I  grew up in the heartland of South Africa, which is farmland, and so flat that on a good day you can see tomorrow.    The national road, that took us on our annual summer vacation to go and see, smell and taste the saltiness of the ocean,  was a very flat, straight, long, lazy strip of tar in vast farmland fields.    It went on forever, or so it seemed to me at the time, for when you have great anticipation, the getting there is almost unending.
Or, do you remember when you were a child, the almost unbearable anticipation for the time to open the Christmas gifts under the tree?   You could just not wait !

Anticipation is a healthy frame of mind. It is a desire that may, or may not be delayed, but nevertheless creates expectation, and that leads to hope.
The opposite of anticipation is anxiety, which is rooted in fear, the opposite of faith.
Anxiety creates worry, that can can lead to depression.
Hope is required for a future,  and a future needs a vision.
Perhaps one of the reasons mental illness is so prevalent in our times is that we have it all and there’s nothing to look forward to, no anticipation.
Proverbs 29:18 says  –  where there is no vision, the people perish. 

If there was one thing that Abraham had its was a vision of the future.
He is one of the great heroes of our faith.    In fact Abraham is the father of our faith.   It began with Abraham, when he heard the call of God to go on a journey to a faraway place that he did not know, or even how to get there.    That would require a response, and faith.   And what is faith  – believing the invisible, that which you cannot see, as if it were a reality.

Faith verse

And though some of you may not be familiar with who Abraham is in the Christian faith, his is a fascinating story of another dimension, set in the ordinary of the every day life   -yet woven in is this thing called Faith.   

Here briefly is the story of Abraham.

He was living in a heathen civilization, where idols were worshipped.  God told him to leave this land and his family and to go to another land.   A place where he would inherit the promises of God – the Promised Land.  (There is a parallel story here, between the physical and the spiritual)
Abraham, obeyed the call, and began to move on the long journey.
Abraham had a vision from God, and was promised that he would be the father of many nations, even though he was old, and did not have an heir.    Sarah his wife laughed when she was told that she would bear a son in her old age.     Isaac, which means laughter, was born to Abraham and Sarah – a miracle child.

Abraham became a wealthy man, a man of renown.
Apart from Isaac,  Abraham had other sons too.  Ishmael was born of Hagar, but they were sent off into the desert.

Isaac, the beloved son, married Rebecca and she had two children, the twins  Jacob and Esau.
Jacob, was sent to seek a wife from Isaac’s people.   He was deceived into marrying Leah.  He had 10 children.    Then he married his first love, Rachel, the sister of Leah, and they had two children,  Joseph and Benjamin.

In all Jacob had 12 sons, from which the 12 tribes of Israel would originate.
So the foundations of the nations were laid.

The forging and fostering of a people of faith began to emerge.
When  famine struck, they all went to Egypt for survival, which would become their place of slavery for four hundred years.   There they became known as the Hebrews.
Moses was born to deliver these people from their slavery and their oppression.

And so the story of a rescued people, destined for a better life in a promised land continues.   Their story unfolds through altar stones of worship, tabernacles and temples and then the City of Jerusalem.     Their story and wisdom congeals and is chronicled in their rich history in the  Old Testament.

Abraham had a vision of a city, of which God Himself  ‘is the builder and maker.’    And to this Abraham was called – to journey into the unknown, a journey of faith, for it was not, as yet, a real city.   A city forged in faith, through the making of a people of faith.   This was God’s vision,  a  v e r y  long term vision indeed – and Abraham received and
perceived it and so set out to find it.

 

City of God

 

I had been wanting to look a little deeper into faith, so when Dr Mark Chironna did a series on Hebrews 11,  I began to connect some dots, that overflowed, for me,  into the bigger picture of our faith.
So I tried to piece together the “faith genealogy” and where Abraham fitted into the whole of God’s story, and came to this brief summary, which may indicate that Abraham knew the story from the beginning to the end – he was given the whole story, apart from the details.

Adam,……… to Seth to Enoch and the genealogy line to Noah, the Flood.
Abraham,  the called faith people of God
Moses, the Law of God’s people
Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Kingdom of God, –  the miraculous ushered into the physical realm.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ, – the New Creation.
The City of God, the New Jerusalem.

Abraham was an ordinary man.   He made mistakes along the way.   He’s faith had not yet been perfected.
We can make mistakes too, our faith is not yet perfected.  ‘ Faith is good, becomes great and then perfected ‘ – says Dr Chironna.

History tells us that when the beloved city Jerusalem is finally destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD they are scattered, and Judaism is established to keep alive the Jewish traditions.
Jesus Christ is born in Bethlehem, and His followers become known as Christians, and the Christian religion is born on the back of the Jewish belief – in an invisible God, Creator of heaven and earth, with a Messiah and a redemption story for mankind, that would pave the way to a New Creation.

Redemption from the Great Oppressor of slavery, an evil liar who kills steals and destroys wherever and whenever he can do so, and still doing so to this very day !
And thereby may hang another story.

I suspect that Abraham may well have understood the Heavenly vision for
John 8:56  tells us that ‘Abraham saw Jesus’s day and rejoiced in it.‘   He knew that God raised Jesus from the dead, and this gave him the faith to know that God could raise up Isaac, when he was told to kill his own son as a sacrifice.
Abraham had great faith in God.

Abraham and sacrifice

 

 He knew that God was a miracle working God.    He was not only able to obey God, but trusted God, for he may well have known the story of Jesus and His resurrection from the dead, in fact the Gospel story.

Today, it is still faiths’s pattern to look ahead to a better future,  with anticipation and with hope.   A better place.      A place called heaven, the Promised Land,  that has a city where there are no tears or pain.   For now, an invisible place, that requires eyes that see and ears that hear and a heart that understands.
It requires faith to make it a reality.

Faith is important.   It is an essential substance that should be applied to our everyday lives too, for without faith we cannot please God. 
Hebrews 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
God is faithful.

Let’s be the people that will go to make up that City….. a people of Faith, and practice it in our ordinary everyday lives,  always looking ahead  ‘calling those things which do not exist as though they did.’    There are still miracles that can be called in through faith, there are still people that need to know that God is a miracle working God, that all is not lost, that there is a better tomorrow, because with faith hope and love anything is possible.    Its God’s way.
As Dr Chironna says :  faith collapses the impossible into a possible reality.
(Love that !)

Its the miracle Gospel story, that will open us up to the same faith journey that Abraham undertook.
May we, like Abraham, perceive a good future and moved into it with anticipation, expectation and hope, standing on the promises in God’s Word – that is Faith !

 

God’s-Promises-Are-Yes-And-Amen-Bible-Quote

 

 

 

 

Extra Ordinary

 

 

ordinary ele
Be Grey and White, Faithful and Strong.

My Elephant turned from grey and white to extra ordinary.
Not so much for any artistic skill,  still have a long way to go for that to happen.
I purposely penciled in different shades of colour, just because I wanted him not to be  ordinary.

I once had a flash of insight that brought me to a reality check.  It was this.   It is in the ordinary, the mundane and in the core of consistency that strength, even meaning and  purpose lie.    It is in the normal flow of everyday things –  “same old same old”  of chores, routines, duties, responsibilities, appointments, and the general ability of being available, that make up faithfulness and loyalty and friendship that are some of the strong foundations of life.
Ordinary is an anchor !

I had not always thought like that.   I wanted to fly.  I wanted to live a full life of adventure, meaning and accomplishment.  I wanted to change the world – sometimes I still do.  Maybe that is the way some of us have been wired.  And there is nothing wrong with that !
But God in His wisdom knows best, and what is best for us.  And though He allowed me to ‘fly’, when it was my season to fly, He also gave me the hindsight to know that it was for the benefit of others, and not just for my own ego trip – which in essence it was at that time !   So it has always been at the back of my mind, fly when you can fly, but land in a safe place, because Ordinary is safe !

That is all good and well.   For some people that is enough – to be in the groove of  routine and responsibility.  It is right, and it is safe, and will accomplish a good end, an expected result. There is power in consistency !
But there are some people who are daring and want to express their personalities, their creativity, their passion, and their faith.  The Ordinary shrinks these ones, and if stifled long enough will suck life out of their expressive souls, and the expected end can be described in two words –  pure frustration !

Now frustration can be a teacher too.   It is frustration that will pile up and cause disgruntleness – a displeasure at the status quo, and this could be the breeding ground of witty inventions and innovations – a seeking of new paths and expressions.   If harnessed well frustration could be the place of new beginnings.    It could be the pivotal point for a thrust forward.   And that can be a good thing – yes ? – depending what you are talking to of course.

To go from Ordinary to Extraordinary will take big courage, big determination and a lot persistence, but it can be done.   It just takes one step of faith today, then another and another, until you see a glimmer and then the result of what you want.
Hebrews 11:1  captures faith like this :

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  

There is the Extra and there is the Ordinary – if you put them together you get the
Extraordinary – another species altogether !   Those who know their own minds, their capabilities, their strengths and their weaknesses, who set out to accomplish it for themselves,  – and then go on and grow the colourfulness of others – the others being the Ordinary.

Both are equally important, the world indeed need both the Ordinary and the Extraordinary,
But the Extraordinary are just a little more colourful – like my Elephant !!

 

my elephant
Be Big Bold and Colourful

 

A Story of a Sparrow

 

Let my sparrow drawing bring you a tender story.

Mossie

Written in the annals of our nation’s very diverse history is a story of a sparrow.

The background is the Anglo Boer war of 1901.
With the discovery of gold and diamonds, the British Empire came to occupy the land.
The British desperately tried to bring the pioneer Boers to submission.   The Boers,  fiercely resisted, fighting their enemy with guerrilla warfare,  that cost the British much.  Eventually a ‘scorched earth policy’ was implemented, where their farmsteads were burnt down, their fields salted so that they could not grow crops to survive.  Their women and children were taken to concentration camps.   But there was, overcrowding, bad hygiene, severe malnutrition, and endemic contagious diseases.  Over 26,000 women and children were to perish in these concentration camps of the Anglo Boer war.  The women in particular knew immeasurable grief as they  helplessly watched their children suffer, and give them over to death.
One such woman was Anette Marais, and the story goes …

“Anette Marais sat on a log and shook the dust off her tatty clothes.  Around her sit a group of women with familiar but weary faces.  Just a few feet away is the high wire fence of the concentration camp.
She opens her Bible and begins to read.   She had wrestled with God in the dark hours of the night, and begged Him for a message of hope for these women,  for who knows how much longer……!

Anette reads the words of Matthew 10:29 .
 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin?   And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Do not fear therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows
.
While she is busy reading these words, a small insignificant sparrow comes and sits upon her shoulder.
The group of women stare in surprise at the incident unfolding before their eyes.
And so the sparrow becomes a sign of hope in the impossible situation of the concentration camp at Bethulie.

It is fantastic to see how in the following months the sparrow of Bethulie became a beacon of faith and hope for these women.    On May 1902 the Anglo Boer war ended.
Anette, on returning to her home, met a women of influence, and told her the sparrow story.    She,  in turn, retold the story.
In 1923 General Jan Smuts had two sparrows minted on the smallest coin of the then South African currency.”
-cent-south-africa-1963.jpg

So remember the story of the sparrow on days you may feel small, insignificant, forlorn or forgotten.   May faith and hope be a beacon in our lives too.

PS     In South Africa, the sparrow is known as a Mossie.   I translated the story from Afrikaans.  The author is unknown.  More Afrikaans sparrow stories can be found in my Menu bar, just click on Random Writings and scroll down to Mossie Dag.
Reference on the background of the Anglo Boer War is from Wikipedia, should you want to know more.

download

Let there be light

bright sunrise

“Darkness  comes before light”  intriguing words  spoken by Teddy an African photographer, taking amazing photos of the wildlife in Botswana”…. said the insert on the TV  programme I had watched.   Intriguing indeed for me, as I have recently been investigating the subject of light.

What is light ?   There are many interesting levels to the concept of  light;  my play on opposite words searches hard to find an understanding  e.g.  light or darkness,   day or night, morning or evening.   And of course on another level the opposites of   truth or lies, right or wrong,  good or evil, knowledge or ignorance put another spin on Light, -which also needs to be explored one day.
One thing is for sure, there is a clear distinction between Light  and Dark, yet these two opposite dimensions can run parallel to each other.

So what actually is light ?           images (4)
Wikipedia says :


“Light is electromagnetic radiation within a certain portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.  The word usually refers to visible light.

The electromagnetic spectrum :  infrared rays,   ultraviolet rays,  micro waves, radio waves and gamma rays.
Like all types of light, visible light is emitted and absorbed in tiny “packets” called photons and exhibit properties of both waves and particles.

Our whole universe is covered in darkness, yet were it not for the light we would never know it !  Light makes all the difference.   Without light our material world would not exist.  Therefore light is imperative to our existence.

Quantum Physics’ String Theory says  “every form of Matter or Energy is the result of the Strings vibration”   Ref : http://www.louis-delmonte.com
I’ve also read somewhere that “all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration.”

As far back as 2008, I became inquisitive about the universe and quantum physics – this just through an email I received from a friend, on the subject titled : Keys to your Quantum Leap.   It was an article written by David van Koevering.  Here are some snippets from the email.

“Years ago, as a young scientist and inventor, I worked with Dr. Bob Moog and together we gave the music world the first performance keyboards called Moog synthesizers.  I learned to work with electrons and photons – tiny elements that are so small they can’t be seen !  Yet these invisible elements cause all electronic devices to work.  This project caused me to ask the question, ‘Is there more to our universe than what I can perceive through my senses?’ ”

He  continues ….  “1 Corinthians 1:28 says, “… God (has) chosen…things which are not (the invisible) to bring to nought things which are (the visible)”     This Scripture makes sense only when you understand it at the atomic and subatomic level.   Everything is made up of atoms, which are frequencies of energy.   These frequencies of energy are the voice of Jesus causing all things to be !   Atoms are made up of subatomic particles, and subatomic particles are made up of superstings (which are toroidal vortices of energy).
Superstrings are tiny donut shaped packets of energy that spin at a frequency – or sing as in a pitch.” 

This rang true for me and lined up with one of my very special Scriptures.

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.      
Colossians 1: 15-17
Could this be a place where Quantum Physics lines up with Theology ?

the-more-i-study-science-the-more-i-believe-in-god-albert-einstein-religion-quote.jpg
I have been thinking hard and long on the subjects of Light and Darkness.   Now darkness is even more intriguing than light because seemingly even the brilliant minds of quantum physicists do not yet know the whys whats and wherefores of darkness.
You will find a little more on my inquiry into darkness – if you click on God Calling in this Blog’s menu bar.

I think the words of Teddy, the African photographer are more accurate than he realises “darkness comes before light”  Perhaps Teddy also reads the Bible for it opens with these verses :   In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep……

The electromagnetic fields of atoms photons electrons, waves, vibrations, frequencies, pitch, and all the brilliant quantum physics stuff,  to me,  all point to sound (light) – which is energy.
The genius and enquiring  Einstein puts a whole lot of ‘light on the matter of our universe’  (chuckle !)   –  with his famous formula
E = MC 2   Energy  is equal to Mass multiplied by the Speed of Light squared.

But how did light come to be ?  Where did it originate ?    According to the Bible light was created through spoken words, – (sounds vibrations pitches) by the Creator of all Matter.

Then God  said,    “Let there by light”  and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good, and God divided the light from the darkness…… ”    Genesis 1:3

The Big Bang occurred  and the platform for our physical material world was set up for the history, not only of the cosmos, but for our planet Earth, and for our world down through a l l the ages.  All put in place for a special reason and an intended purpose.   The scene  Space-Time – our Universe – was set in motion; and it began with sound vibrations – creating light, creating matter, creating life.

So God used quantum science to create our universe ?  I think yes, for how else would we mere mortals be able to come to know Him or understand His unfathomable wisdom?

Essential for understanding, a part from knowledge – which is a form of light,  is revelation – a deeper form of light.
Revelation means   “… the making known of something that was previously secret or unknown”   Ref http://www.en.oxforddictionaries.com

By putting a spotlight on the first verses of John 1:5  more revelation is given

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.   He was in the beginning with God.   All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.   In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.   And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Words are for communicating.   A communication system was put in place.  How else will we clearly communicate with each other.  Words are essential for any form of faith, development or advancement;  and especially so too,  communication with the Creator of the universe.  He is not so distant, and has a desire to communicate with His creation.  He has a desire to tell us His story of restoration.

The Light and the Word are found in the person of Jesus Christ,  all wrapped up in one mystery, a hidden secret in full view for those who want to see, want to hear, and want to believe the Word of God,  –  the story of our universe on display through the brilliant mind of God.   Oh wow,  how amazing is that ?

Yet, there is still so much we don’t know.    So much the quantum physicists could fill in for us as they come into new light of scientific knowledge.   Until then, it is Faith that will carry us on to the time of revelation ….  and resurrection.

 

cosmic cross

Resurrection ?   A new start, a restoration.   The cross of Christ is another beginning of another sequence in the here and the now and the hereafter, of the unfolding story of God.  A story He has written with tiny you and tiny me in mind.  A story He started when He spoke our universe into existence with these words
                                                              ” Let there be Light “ 

lit candle

 

Speak the Word, and light a candle in the dark.

Wishing all a reflective Easter season as we look to the Cross of Jesus Christ, the Light of the world,  Who died for us that we might be a light in the darkness.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOPE… catch it if you can.

peach flower

HOPE
I heard the Voice in my head say, ” why don’t you write an essay on Hope.”
What a topic !   Because hope can be so elusive, not easy to pin down, let alone examine.
What is hope ?  I scratched my head, and thought it a topic for another day.  So I put it on the back burner of procrastination.

But it wouldn’t go away. Hope came looking for attention on nearly everything I read, heard, even the people I met along the way that week seemed to shout out “I’m  Hope” look at me !   Well it seemed that Hope needed some serious attention.

I think, initially, it was while I was reading the verses in Romans that raised the whole question of hope.  Verses like:  if you can see hope its not longer hope –  but hope that is seen is not hope – Romans 8:24.
And hope, even if there is no hope –  who contrary to hope in hope believed. – Romans 4: 18
So I went on a hope hunt, and found :
We are prisoners of Hope… Zechariah 9:12
Hope is the anchor of our souls.…Hebrews 6:19
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when desire comes it is a tree of life.  Proverbs 13:12
All very comforting, rewarding and necessary to know.

Is Hope and Faith the same thing ?
We hope in something we cannot see, but is that not faith ?  Is Faith then something else ?  Now faith is the substance of things  hoped  for, the evidence of things not seen !!    A little more head scratching !!    Faith says that we call things into being as if they exist,  – but if we can’t see them, how can we call them?    What comes first, Hope or Faith – the egg or the chicken so to speak ! This is  where Desire comes in, those little seeds of wishes and wants and dreams. So is it Desire, Hope then Faith ?  Is Hope a carrier of Faith?  Well, if Hope comes from Desire, that is God-given and put into our hearts (the incubator), in the first place, then Faith must be to Believe, – the belief of the promise, the patience and the determination to see it through into existance, – into Reality.

That is for vision building, but of course, Hope can go the other way too. It can be the very crutch we lean upon when things go wrong.  On considering Hope, I came across a few Blogs that week on Hope, by accident of course!   I came a little closer to looking at, and being astonished at,  Hope.

https://unshakeablehope.wordpress.com
A man named Bill who has for the best part of eighteen years suffered with classic motor neuron disease, which is a disease that attacks the nerve cells responsible for contolling voluntary muscles.  His blog is called unshakable hope !!  Need I say more.  Visit the blog and let Bill tell you his story.

Another self-improvement blog on WordPress called Dopeylife wrote a thought provoking post on Desire vs Need,  which challenged me to think deeply on Desire equals Hope, and I made a long comment on that blog, trying to figure it all out.

That very same week I, co-incidently, met Tiffy at the grocery shop. She is a lady who lives in our complex.  She was preparing to go and see the cancer specialist, who had successfully treated her for her first bout with cancer. She looked and sounded very optimistic even cheerful, and said she just hoped and prayed that God would grant her
the peace, and the joy to carry her through the next bout of treatment for this new cancer.
Hope is an eternal carrier for Life.

We cannot live without it for  Hope gives us a Future  !!

While watching a movie on Stephen Hawkins, a professor in quantum physics, who has a muscular disabling disease and lives his life crumpled-up in a wheelchair, I caught this phrase he spoke to an audience :
“Where there is life, there is Hope.”  One can only stand to humble attention, when these words are spoken by a person so crippled, yet not broken,  and living with hope.

It slowly dawned on me that Hope is only truly appreciated if you have your back against a wall and there is no way of getting out of the situation.  No way, No help. The only way is looking up to God who can make a way out, (whether we acknowledge this or not !) or carry us over or through the troubling waters of trials and tibulations. And more – give us the grace to bear it all.  Further more to that, we may never see the desired results we hoped for in the first place!  – but some may come to see something even better and far more far-reaching.  We seldom, maybe even never, get to see the end from the beginning.

I had heard the Preacher say, that Hope is one of the cores of the Christian faith.  That is true !    I remembered one of my favourite Scripture verses is found in Proverb 13:12 …
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when Desire comes it is a tree of life... and a beautiful picture of a blossom tree in full bloom came to my mind.

So,  now I’ll talk  “pictures” to tell a little story of Hope .

why me tree

The Why Me tree, with outstretched arms to heaven, in a cold and barren land.

Pruned treesThe painful wounds of pruning, sealed up with a healing balm for protection and healing.

peach blossom branch
Beautiful  full budded blossoms, bursting into bloom, making a splendid show, announcing  the cold barren winter is over.

imagespeach blossom

                                                                            Proverbs  13:12
  Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when desire comes it is a tree of life.  

peach blossom

Ah,  there it is,  the new fruit, for a new season!  Is this the reason  for Hope ?

peach fruit.jpg

The Fruit.  Delicious, delightful, delectable and plump, ready-to-eat peaches,  basking in a sunshine day, just waiting  to be picked  for our pleasure.

blossom twig

Hang in there, little Twig.  You’re part of a beautiful tree, in a very big orchard, created by a loving, caring and wise Gardener, who knows your seasons well, and what’s best for the fruit bearing trees of His orchard.   You are not alone.   Bloom where you are planted.

Peach blossom orchard
We have been intrinsictly wired for Hope.
Hope comes through spoken words,  that blow on the gentle thermaIs of the Wind, or even through written words that can give birth to pictures, to concepts and plans, to life, and the eternal life hereafter.

Hope is elusive, catch it if you can… it will carry you through whatever season of hope or despair you are in, carry you on to faith, and a desired end.

God says :
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you  a future and a  hope.       Jeremiah 29:11

light peach blooms

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.

Introduction to CareSA

The CareSA Foundation

CareSA has grown from the concept Care South Africa : The Christian Resource Centre for Poverty Alleviation in 2001 to the CareSA Foundation in the coming 2015. The original vision was to encourage Christians to participate in community service through initiated campaigns, – and to seek out a national Christian strategy for poverty alleviation. This vision was housed and honed from CareSA Books, a Christian bookshop on the East Rand in Gauteng in South Africa.

Annual winter campaigns were initiated to appeal to the wider community for blankets and food for the poor, and to create an awareness of poverty in communities.

The Care Bag – a food parcel with vegetable seeds to plant food gardens, to encourage self-help projects.

In 2004 CareSA Foods saw the light of day with a focus on health, and creating income, that complimented the mindset to reach for wholeness in body soul and spirit, fuelled by a CareSA Newsletter to grow a network for health and wealth, as a means to combat poverty. Unfortunately it did not reach its potential., but the concept of a newsletter remained, probably the inception of this blog.

CareSA’s Let’s Talk was a community meeting, to discuss related social and emotional issues in the search for emotional healing, human development and wholeness.

CareSA Craft Project – generated micro incomes from the painting on shopping bags, developed into a sustainable sales project for more than two years.

New concepts began to form. And a CareSA fund for community service was initiated in 2006.

The need to network and find a wider reach saw a name change to CareSA Community Network, with a presence on the Internet., and with a newsletter called CareSA Chronicles to connect with community co-hearts.

1,000 Little Deeds of Kindness – a knitting project, with the knitting of squares to be sewn into blankets and distributed to the vulnerable and the frail in community, was a project that had a ripple effect in community, and endured far beyond expectation.

This campaign was a forerunner for
The Red Beanie Kindness Brigade – that focused on knitting beanies for children in needy areas, usually knitted by the Elderly folk in community.

This project spilled over into Care Lesotho and Care Botswana. Knitted beanies sent, with seeds for vegetable gardens, to contact caring persons in these two countries. So the seeds of a new vision were sown – Care Africa.

As hunger is the pivotal place for poverty alleviation it is necessary to encourage those in need to sustain themselves by planting their own food, and to begin to change the mindset from poverty to progress.

And so the seeds of the new vision began to grow : the Care Africa Movement project through Care Gardens, with the slogan : Plant a care garden in your yard, Plant a care garden in your heart.

CareSA Designs is a personal project, born out of the new trend in poverty alleviation and a developing new South Africa e.g. Entrepreneurship, creating a micro enterprise into a small business, using what is at hand, and what God-given talents are available.

As the new South Africa developed, and a sense of futility began to set in, new concepts with new writings began to form e.g. NEWSAS – the New South African Society, and SOCX, a vision for Social Caring, that are still incubating. blogging may bring constructive comment, and with faith hope and love these visions will grow and become a reality in South Africa, and indeed the African continent.

In 2011 CareSA relocated to Umhlanga in Kwa Zulu Natal, and the time had come to revamp the website, and a name change to that of the CareSA Foundation that incorporates past history and new concepts for a wider field of influence and exposure on the Internet – with a blog.

The website is being revamped, and may contain vision and other concept documents on social and human development in South Africa, when it is ready early in 2015.

The CareSA Foundation remains true to the original vision of community caring, and stands as a witness to the faithfulness of God that initiated this faith adventure from Ephesians 3:20,21   Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

CareSA
28 December 2014