Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness 1

In recent months we have seen Jonathan walking around with with sermons plugged into his brain in every spare moment he can get...being our computer /technology expert, he has figured out how to down load what he wants and has proceeded to listen to all of John Pipers sermons from last year, many of John MacArthur's, and some from Al Martin and some from Timothy Keller, NY. At one stage he was averaging 3 a day. Above he uses ear muffs to block out our noisy family sounds, as he listens to a sermon but he still manages to share chocolate biscuits with his littlest brother!

Jonathan has chosen without any direct influence from us, to profess his faith through baptism on Sunday, 14th February. He has written out the story of his faith on his own as well, and it has totally blown me away. He is thinking of starting his own blog, so maybe he will share it with the world one day. He has chosen the following to be his song of rejoicing on Sunday, it tells a lot of how he feels about life!

Success for me is measured by one's desire to I rejoice to see this young man's heart full of love for God and others! And I pray my son would know God's peace and joy throughout his life!

My Heart Is Filled with thankfulness:By Stuart Townend and Keith Getty
(Here it is sung on utube for you! )

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who bore my pain
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace
And gave me life again
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness
And clothed me with His light
And wrote His law of righteousness
With pow'r upon my heart

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who walks beside
Who floods my weaknesses with strength
And causes fears to fly
Whose every promise is enough
For every step I take
Sustaining me with arms of love
And crowning me with grace

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who reigns above
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace
Whose every thought is love
For every day I have on earth
Is given by the King
So I will give my life my all
To love and follow Him

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Douglas took me to see Invictus, a South African movie tonight. I realised half way through that the sides of my face were wet, I had my head tilted back and had been aching to death for my people, crying for the country I have not seen in nearly 16 years, my home. (I have loved New Zealand and now Australia and love these people too, but I think Kaapstad will always be home to me. ) As I left South Africa I prayed, " Lord let me never forget the mothers and children who hurt in this land." I have never forgotten them. And to see the heartaches again is enough to make me weep.

It is a brilliant movie in terms of giving you a feel for the country and what it has been through, a feel for who Mr Mandela is and what he did for the country. ( yes, he was a terrorist, and if you debate it, even America had him on their terrorist list until fairly recently, but he learnt to be gracious and kind and taught our land to forgive in a gentle sort of way. He certainly has dignity and poise and despite his suffering and hardship came through doing his best for all his countrymen. The movie may not be the best in terms of acting but I thoroughly enjoyed it. (Be warned ahead of time, they do unexpectedly use the f word once and the s word a few times, which was unnecessary and very disappointing, but no violence. Mandela also flirts with someone which seems to me, uncharacteristic.)

The movie is based on a poem that President Mandela (Tata, or father) supposedly loved, by William Ernest Henley, "Invictus", meaning unconquerable. What do you make of it? How is it different or the same as Elizabeth Elliot's quote I posted recently? (It isn't the problems which determine our destiny. It's how we respond.) I think it is trying to say the same sort of thing but from a humanistic point of view. I like the poem, as it gives understanding as to how others live. A question Mr Mandela asked Pienaar, the captain of the 'boks' rugby team is, 'what motivates you?' And the theme plays on through the movie. How good to know the one true living God, and to be motivated by my love for God! I pray He will use me to touch the lives of many people in many ways yet!

Here is the poem:


by William Ernest Henley; 1849-1903

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate;

I am the captain of my soul.

This image is from the following web site, which makes interesting reading:

Something that really struck me tonight was that Mandela was put into jail before I was born and released in the year my oldest daughter was born.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Suffering, can we make a difference?

When we talk of our personal sufferings it is most times nothing compared to this famous picture that I have seen many times. The story behind the picture is found here . Ii is a very sad story, both for the child in the photograph and the photographer behind the photograph.

Can we make a difference to this type of suffering? Can we help when others suffer? What is the point of trying when the problem is so big? Should we as Christians be doing more? If so, Who? What? How? When? Where?

I am not writing my opinions yet? Give me yours first....leave a comment

In the meanwhile take a look at this blog, Kisses from Katy, that I stumbled across today, it is very moving.

Erica and Emma's comments: 8th February 2010
( They are 7 and 10 years old) They saw the photograph accidentally, I don't think I would have chosen for them to see it, but it has been a good talking point with lots of questions as we went through the story. They were teary. "Did she die? Where was she going? Is she a baby? How far away was the food centre?" (I think she must have been about about Tim's age, maybe 6? Maybe a bit younger.) This little one shows amazing resilience to get as far as she has in her condition?

Most of my girls questions were about the photographer though. They asked the questions the whole world asked, " Why didn't he just pick her up and take her to help? Why didn't he help her? Why? Why didn't he help her?" Emma was insistent on this question, " Why didn't all the people who saw the photograph help? Why was it too late?"

I explained that the photographer had seen hundreds of traumatic sufferings. That he could not possibly have helped all the people he had seen suffering on his own. (He was wrong not to help but we are just as guilty of not helping. At least he was trying to tell the world a story, to get us to help....) Emma asked if she could go to Africa one day to help? "Yes," I said, but I also explained to her that even if she did do that for every one person she helped there would be another hundred and more dying that she could not help on her own. (And that is the reality of is a bottomless pit of need! Or is it? If every Christian was doing their part properly, could we fight poverty? Are we wiling to change our luxurious lifestyles to do that? Ouch it hurts to think like that!)

In the end I explained that the photographer took his own life because he felt so guilty for not helping enough. As Christians we are free of guilt when we ask for forgiveness - even though we make mistakes, big mistakes like letting a little one starve. (And we do this every day. We turn our backs on memories of photographs like this) I recon if we can look at a photograph like that and not be moved into some practical action, we have more of a problem than that photographer did! We are guilty. As Christians, never to the point of suicide, for our guilt brings us to repentance and total forgiveness in Christ. But let us be motivated to do something now to help. Let us let this one photograph change the direction of our lives!

Books to read on Suffering

Suffering comes to everyone one way or another. Some have it harder than others. Sometimes our circumstances are blamed unfairly. But at the end of the day God has allowed us to be, like Job, in a difficult situation. Unless we suffer, many of us as humans seem unable to draw really close to God. It is in suffering that we find our total dependence on our Creator.

There are three books I can highly recommend you read on the subject of suffering. A Path of Suffering, by Elizabeth Elliot. Trusting God even when Life Hurts, by Jerry Bridges, and Tragedy to Triumph, A Christian Response to Trials and Suffering by Frank Retief. Elizabeth Elliot as we know lost her husband in the missionary context. Jerry Bridges lost his mother as a boy, Frank Retief was pastoring a church that faced a mass massacre in South Africa near the end of apartheid (my sister was there on the night it happened.) These authors all know what suffering is about as they write and yet they all love and trust our Lord dearly.

These books are well worth the effort of tracking them down and spending money on, they will change your life and encourage you! Koorong for you Ozzies has the first two and Amazon UK and USA has the latter second hand and very cheap, it is out of print.

Zadza/Pap recipes

Actually here is my recipe for porridge for a big family. Pour a boiled kettle of water into your pot/saucepan. Add about a cup of maize meal/mealie meal into a bowl of milk and then add to water and stir so you do not get lumps. You can ad more milk and mealie meal if you find it too thin. Leave it to simmer.