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One small step…

About 2½  years ago, a friend send me the following mail which I printed out and placed right in front of me on my desk where I see it every morning during my quiet time.

SLOW ME DOWN, LORD. Ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of my mind. Steady my hurried pace. Give me amidst the day’s confusion, the calmness of the everlasting hills. Break the tensions of my nerves and muscles with the soothing music of singing streams that live in my memory. Help me to know the magical, restoring power of sleep. Teach me the art of taking “minute vacations” …slowing down to look at a flower, to chat with a friend, to read a few lines from a good book…

 

I knew I had to slow down, but how? And God decided to step in.

 

We were at our holiday home in Hermanus in December last year. I was excited about the year ahead. On January 7th I was about to leave for the USA where I had a number of speaking invitations. After the US visit I planned a family ‘snow safari’ in Norway and Finland. Privileged and exciting times!

We planned to fly back from Cape Town to Johannesburg late morning on Thursday January 3. I woke up early to have my quiet time before having to pack our bags and drive to the airport. Before having my quiet time, I quickly walked down the stairs to the front door to open the security shutters and in the dark I missed the last small step and fell on my right knee. My quadricep muscle tore off with the sound of a gunshot and my knee was operated on the same afternoon. Months of rehab lay ahead of me.   

 

One small step, and all my plans…gone in a second.  

 

A week after my accident I woke up during the night and realised that when unexpected traumatic things happen to us we can become so absorbed by them that we could miss God’s purpose and plan completely. Months can go by while I am recuperating watching TV, answering my mails, chatting to friends and reading and in the process completely missing what God wants me to learn.  

I begged God that night not to pass me by…over and over I prayed “God, please don’t pass me by during this time.” And God was faithful. As I delved into the Word in the months that followed I started to realise the reason for God ‘slowing me down’.

I started understanding the real meaning of Psalm 107:23-32 and move out of our comfort zones. And only then will we see ‘the works of the Lord’.

 

I started to see the link between Isaiah 29:13 and Jeremiah 29:13.  

 

“These (afflicted) people come near to me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me…” (Isaiah 29:13)

How easy to pray and ask for help when things are tough, but in good times God is forgotten or little time is spent seeking His face with my heart far from Him.

And then Jeremiah 29:11-13. How often I have quoted verse 11 (the first verse God gave me before the Vision of Eduplex)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future..”

…not seeing that the secret, the key to this verse actually lies in verse 13

“…you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

I realised Isaiah 29:13 is the accusation, and Jeremiah 29:13 the solution and when read in reverse from verse 13 to 11, verse 11 is the promise.

 

Accusation è Solution è Promise  

 

“Lord, please forgive me for seeking you only when I am under pressure, forgetting you in the good times just like the people of Israel in Isaiah 29:13.

Help me to be a Jeremiah 29:13 Christian by seeking You with all my heart, for then when I call on you will I find You when I seek You with all my heart.

For You O’Lord know the plans you have for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a hope and a future – Amen.”   

Personal note – thank you to everyone who prayed for me during my time of recuperation. Thank you for your visits, encouragement and friendship. Thank you for your support and the massive gift of an all-expenses-paid 2 weeks rehab in Bad Ragaz Switzerland – truly a gift from God. Thank you Jesus for your patience with me – I am a slow learner.

Soli Deo Gloria.   

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Digging ditches

Make this valley full of ditchesyou will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink. This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord.” (2 Kings 3:16-18)

Over the years I have literally taken hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors through the Eduplex. Sharing with them the miracles God has performed not only in the establishment of the facilities, but also in the lives of our deaf children. I show them videos of our deaf children’s first visit with little or no spoken language and when they leave school years later, how confident they are and eloquently they speak (without sign language). People are truly amazed.

Every tour feels like a ditch that I am digging in a dry valley for our children – we have numerous deaf children dependent on financial support and not everybody has the means to help. Most visitors only see the buildings, some see the children and few see the mighty works of God.

And yet, at times God expect from us to show and extraordinary act of faith – by digging ditches in a dry valley, especially when there is no wind or rain in sight. All we need to do is stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will bring (Ex 14:13) because nothing is too difficult for Him! He will bless extraordinary and simple acts of faith (digging ditches) with extraordinary blessings – “the next morning there it was!…the land was filled with water.” (Streams in the Desert 7 December)

Just like the widow’s oil in 2 Kings 4 “Go borrow vessels at large for yourself from all the neighbours, even empty vessels, do not get a few…” a simple act of faith, against all odds, resulting in a mighty blessing.

And as I look back I see God has filled ditches dug in faith with ‘water’ – one ditch at a time. The past few weeks many ditches have been filled as God send generous people into our valley – against all odds. It was difficult for me, but it was an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord.

Come my friend, let us dig ditches in faith and against all odds, with no wind or rain in sight, and allow God to fill them with His blessing. Ordinary acts of faith are blessed by an extraordinary God – to whom nothing is impossible. Let us then stand firm in prayer and see the deliverance God will bring.

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The year behind..

It was an interesting year. A roller-coaster year. A year in which our family have experienced God’s grace and love in a very special way…with many lessons learnt.

The trouble the Holy Spirit went to while meeting me alone on the farm. Encouraging me from the book of Ezra to persevere and not give up. Guiding me to appoint an astute person in the New Year to help us in our company and lighten the load senior management is carrying.

Reminding me 3 days later that I should persevere even if the journey feels too hard or too slow by sending 3 tortoises across my path – one small, one medium size and one large – and then reading in my quiet time the day after that “…the voice of the turtle will be heard in our land” (Song of Solomon 2:12b). And then, after searching for 12 years, I finally saw the neighbours 2 rhino’s. Years of perseverance finally payed off – the only think I had to do was NOT give up.

The number of friends around me that are seriously ill feels like they are increasing more and more. Never have I spent so much time praying for the sick and begging Him for their healing. And Jesus answered “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9)

And I begin to understand that great character is made not through luxurious living but through suffering (Streams in the Desert Des 2)…and walking uprightly in the process and to persevere in integrity, no matter what! We may be thought fools by fools if we are firm in our integrity; but in the place where judgement is infallible we shall be approved. (Spurgeon)

Come my friend, let us persevere and walk uprightly into the New Year, not giving up, but looking up with our eyes fixed on our Saviour, Jesus Christ our King, who’s ear is not too deaf to hear, nor his arm too short to help, while making the impossible, possible.

Thank you for journeying with me the past year. Thank you for your encouragement and comments on my blog and by mail – it is much appreciated.

May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you over this Christmas period and throughout 2019 – while we remember that His grace is sufficient for you and me.

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Why Lord?

I came before the Lord this morning on my knees. I had so many questions.

Why Lord…is Anita struggling now for many years with her health?

Why Lord… don’t you just heal her? We have seen You touch her miraculously in many ways but why is she not completely healed Lord?

Why Lord…do I have so many friends and their families battling with ill health, cancer, strange diseases, depression, finances, businesses that just don’t want to get off the ground, cash flow, bankruptcy and a host of other problems?

Why Lord…have you allowed so many of my friends to die?

Why Lord? Why?…….

After my time in prayer and all my questions the first devotional I read was Streams in the Desert – 25 Sept (parts in brackets I added)

After The Frost

(Why have you forgotten me?)
Why go I mourning?
Ps 42:9

Canst thou answer this, believer? Canst thou find any reason why thou art so often mourning instead of rejoicing? Why yield to gloomy anticipations? Who told thee that the night would never end in day? Who told thee that the winter of thy discontent would proceed from frost to frost, from snow and ice, and hail, to deeper snow, and yet more heavy tempest of despair? Knowest thou not that day follows night, that flood comes after ebb, that spring and summer succeed winter? Hope thou then! Hope thou ever! for God fails thee not. —C. H. Spurgeon

My second devotional reading was from God Calling – 25 Sept

Come and Stay

Come to Me,
all who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

Come for rest, but stay for rest too. Stop all feverish haste and be calm and untroubled. Rest knows no fear. (1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love) Rest, and all you need to gain this rest is to come to Me (Jesus). So come.

I came to the Lord this morning burdened with many questions, and in turn He answered me and at the same time encouraged and uplifted me, giving me rest. All I had to do was come to Him.

So come.

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Consider carefully how you listen

4 November 1999 was a perfect summers evening in Cape Town. An important evening, the opening of our 3rd Ear Institute in Belville Cape Town. We had a marque tent in the parking area, a large number of guests attending, some from Switzerland, and wonderful local food and wines from the Swartland (the Malmesbury area where my grandfather and my mother’s brothers farmed nearly a hundred years ago).

That evening the dedication and opening of the Ear Institute was done by Rev Frank Retief (who later became Bishop). His reading was from Luke 8:18 where Jesus said “Therefore consider carefully how you listen.” What apt words to use during the dedication of an Ear Institute…I thought – ‘ear and listen’. Over the years the words lingered on-and-off in my mind and little did I know it would only get it’s full meaning nearly 20 years later.

Currently there is a lot of noise going on in our country. Words like ‘state capture’, ‘nationalisation’ and ‘expropriation without compensation’ create fear among many people of all races and some are emigrating for greener pastures. And yet, more and more I start hearing the words of Jesus “…consider carefully how you listen.

Do I listen with a ‘worldly ear’ to the politics of the day and endless negativity of the people around me or do I listen with my ‘spiritual ear’ embracing God’s promises for our country and all its people where He says “…forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I’m going to do! For I’m going to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Don’t you see it? I will make a road through the wilderness … and create rivers (for them) in the desert!
(Isaiah 43:18+19 Living Bible)
The question I constantly have to ask myself is…with which ear am I listening? And then I realise that all I can hold onto are God’s promises given to me over the years during my quiet time. His promises are steadfast and forever, so different from human promises that are broken or simply forgotten.

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. And in those days when you pray, I will listen. You will find me when you seek Me, if you look for Me in earnest.
(Jeremiah 29:11-13 Living Bible)

Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
(Isaiah 54:4+5 NIV)

This is the truth! All I have to do is consider carefully with which ear I listen.

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