Care Mozambique

 

The dream of the Care Africa project, has had a little resurrection moment, and its enthralling to see it happen.

The recent floods in Mozambique drew a post from me, and the response of one of my friends Gene Jordaan, ushered in a flow of sequenced events that have enabled me to have my wish come true.

Gene was moved by the dire effects of the floods on the people, that she sprung into action and contacted some relief organisations, to assist with the logistics of getting a collection of goods to the victims of the floods.

I was able to make up a range of stationery for the school kids, vegetable seeds and Bibles.  Mission Aviation Fellowship liaze with Mercy Air who fly out to Mozambique, and deliver goods.

But amazing was the flow of events that have enabled this to happen.
Out of the blue Maxine Holm of MAF called to thank me for the donation for Moz, and it was then that I asked her how I could get a care bag to them for their ongoing relief campaign for the flood victims – where there is still a great huge need.    It just   ‘so happened’  that one of their representatives was in Durban at the time, I could let her have the care bag.    I met Natalie and gave her the bag, which she duly took up with her to Johannesburg.

Moz bag
Out of nowhere came the answer to my prayer to get a care bag to Mozambique – an almost impossible logistic for one person.   It was such a small donation, Gene’s small instigation of love,  such a small care bag, such small co-incidences, that made up the answer to my prayer.  Little miracles all in a row indeed, that almost blew the seams of my heart, to see God working  in the circumstances of life.

Furthermore, I’m told that there are Churches in Johannesburg that want to come together to plan a trip to Moz, to take goods and help the people there to start rebuilding their homes and their lives  –  the Church still working !   It’s so heart-warming to know that it is God’s love and the care of His people that makes the world a better place.
Never  underestimate the far-reaching love of God, and the effects of small acts of love and answered prayers.

Easter Sunday is about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.   It is sweet, it is pure joy and it speaks of victory over death.
May you know, first hand, many little resurrection moments in the days and months ahead, through the circumstances of your own life, and be sure of the goodness of God.

 

 

Bookends and Benefits

black-dog-bookend

It is always refreshing to read the good thoughts of other writers.
It brings another ‘voice’ , and other insights that can be pondered.

Alan’s writing sparked off in me a line of thought that is interesting.
If I were to sum up the bookends of my life it would be difficult, and I would need to ask that of others who know me, and don’t judge me to harshly.  One end could be contentment and the other, I hope, could be joy – well most days !
That is just a five-minute self-analysis, and I could be wrong – depends who you ask !
What are the bookends of your life – it’s a lovely line of thought and can be quite revealing. 

images.jpg open Bible

 But our lives are like books, and so could it be possible to sum up a book in two words ?  Its fun to try.

The writing further goes on to advocate Joy, and skilfully undergirds the benefits of being a believer and a follower of Jesus Christ.  These benefits, which are all  in Christ  are the bedrock of a beautiful book that can be invisibly read by those who would choose to ‘read’ a believers’ life.   Jesus truly makes all the difference in our lives.  By choosing Him as our God we have access to all these benefits and much, much more.

I hope that you too will be encouraged by Alan’s writing.
I have permission and am privileged to share with you the thoughts of Alan Webster’s Quiet Time 6-3-19 as he writes on :

Philippians 3:1   Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.

Surrounded by Joy

If love is the message of the Gospel, then the bookends are joy.
Having joy is a strength that can keep someone going despite the adversity they face.
It might not exhibit as happiness, for that is a fleeting emotion, but joy undergirds a heart during the hardest trials.   Joy in the midst of suffering exhibits as quiet peacefulness, a contentment of knowing that the present is not the end of the story.   It is trusting through the suffering, hoping beyond the pain, claiming the future glory in the present darkness.

How is joy possible ?  It is as Paul calls it – it is joy in the Lord.   If our joy were in anything else, it would finally disappoint.   But we have joy in a conquering Saviour, who even though He died, vanquished every foe and confounded every attempt to annihilate goodness.    We have a caring Intercessor who constantly consoles our circumstances and prays for us.   If nobody else knows, and nobody notices what we are enduring He has intimate knowledge and we are able to pour our emotions  at His feet. It is there that He speaks to us and fills us up with hope.   It is there that we are empowered to take another step, go another season.

We have a constant Companion who never leaves us.   The Good Shepherd never abandons us even in our dreariest days.   Even when we have failed miserably and everyone else departs, He continues to be faithful.   We can lean on Him and He will hold us up.   When we can’t He will carry us.    We have a Covenant-keeping Messiah who holds Himself to the conditions of promise.   He lavishes grace on us and ensure that we will make it to the end.  He seeks out the lost sheep, rescues the wanderers and stands beside the oppressed.
We are never alone.

With all the benefits we have, even on our worst days, we are comforted.   In the Lord, we can take hold of the rich promises which are all yes and amen in Him.   He pours His life into us and swells the living water from deep within our souls.   We can taste and see that the Lord is good. 

If our walk as believers are to be marked in any way, let it be Joy. 

          Laughing Lamb  

 

 

 

A Beautiful Centrepiece

 

 

It Is Christmas Time.

Christmas-Tablescapes-106

No matter your culture or creed, or what name you may want to give it,  it is that time of the year when the wheels of the world come briefly to a halt and allow us to be recreational, recuperative and even merry.

At its centre is family and festivities, a time to share and a time to remember, a time to love and to be loved, and a time to remember those who aren’t loved and those who are lonely.

It is a special time of the year, and a good time to reflect on the grand story of God and His love for mankind, through His Son Jesus, who was born in a humble stable.
Old, but ever-fresh Christmas carols, impart to us the grand story in simple song.  One of my favourites is O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Phillips Brookes, an Episcopal priest wrote the original poem.  Lewis Redner, his organist wrote it into music for the children of their Church to sing on Christmas day in 1868.
ref:Wikipedia.

I have extracted a few lines from this carol to create a centrepiece for my reflection this Christmas season. 

Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light 
The hope and fears of all the years, 
Are met in thee tonight.

These few lines place the everlasting Light, which is Jesus Christ, as a beautiful centrepiece  between Hope and Fear.   If you think about it these are pivotal points in  the human condition – a make or break in life.  If you don’t have hope you are in despair, if you have fear you are depressed, even oppressed.
Jesus raises hope and He erases fear.
This Jesus, the everlasting Light,  is the centre of God’s grand story.  In the beginning there was Light, in the end we will live in His light, and in the middle is the beautiful centrepiece of His life, death and resurrection.

The hope and fears of all the years, right down the many generations, are met in Jesus .    He is the centre between the old and the new, in between our yesterdays and our tomorrows.  More pertinently today,  He is the beautiful centrepiece in the personal hopes and fears of the ordinary Believer.

Let this old-fashion carol unveil the grand story for you far better than I can.
Take a few minutes to listen,  it may ring some distant bells for you.    For an extra jolt of joy, sing along with the words on the screen.  The tune is simple and repetitive but the words are truly profound.  Make it a Christmas centrepiece moment.

I hope this will leave you with a warm glow of the true meaning of Christmas, and the sureness of knowing, that in spite of it all, you are loved by God – for you are the beautiful centrepiece of His affection.

WISHING  JOY  TO  YOU  AND  YOUR LOVED ONES,  THIS  CHRISTMAS  TIME.

Christmas-Bells

GIVE, its good mental health.

blue-river

Let your life be a river not a swamp

Like the pages of a book in a gentle breezy wind the months just seem to flip over.
I had intended to write on good mental health for the month of October, but it slipped my mind !! – and October came and went almost unnoticed.

So I am playing catch up, and want to share a few simple thoughts on good mental health.

Let your life be a river not a swamp,
Give, its good mental health.

stars

When stars stop emitting light, gravity sucks them in, and they become a black hole !!
So keep on shining, keep on giving… its good mental health.

Give of yourself…. little deeds of kindness, makes the world a better place.
Give of your finances ….  it breeds generosity in you, and in others.
Give of your personality …. and share your sense of humour, share your opinion, your smile – and best of all share your presence.

Let your life be a river,  not a swamp that is stale and stagnant, a place where crocodiles lurk !

Give, its good mental health.

brown-swamp

Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom.

For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.   Luke 6:38

Give, and it will let your cup run over with  JOY, ….  and thats good mental health !!

cup-running-over

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 !