Saturday, 15 April 2017


Many people go through life dragging a ball and chain around their ankles, some also around their wrists, their waists and their necks.

It immobilizes them. They shuffle along at a painful snail's pace", pulling against the weight of their load, getting nowhere fast.

I met two such people during the last month. Both men. Both mentally, emotionally, financially and spiritually harmed and damaged. The one also physically disabled - without legs.

Both sharing rooms in an old age home; both financially solely dependent on government grants.

We will call the first man Peter.

Peter is 75 years old. Single. Never been married. Never, since he was orphaned, in a loving, personal relationship with another human being.

Peter was born in Europe and orphaned during World War 11. Placed in an orphanage where together with other boys around his own age (he was 11 at the time) he was sodomized by a man who was supposed to be his guardian and caretaker. Some of the older boys, about 18 years old, caught on to what was happening and threatened to kill the perverted guardian. They also reported the matter to other members of the staff. Thankfully, this pervert was expelled from the institution and received his due reward.

However, the mental, emotional, and physical damage had been done. Peter would never be the person he was born to be.

Put yourself in his position for a minute. Orphaned. Living through the horrors of a war - experiencing the anxiety of hearing the warning sirens going off; waiting for the devastation of bombs falling from the sky; being moved to an orphanage - amongst total strangers, in a strange place and then having to endure this new horror, this torment and shame - all before the age of twelve years!

From that time to the age of 75, Peter experienced nothing but mental suffering, attacks of acute angst and extreme depression. He feared life. He was sent from one institution to the other, one psychologist to the other, one medicinal drug to the other, received 28 electrical shocks; never divulging the origin of this angst and shame to the medical corps attending him, eventually ending up in this old age home where he has now been for a number of years.

We will call man number 2 John. John has lost both his legs. He does not recall when. He told a very vague tale of having gone somewhere with some friends, against his own better judgment, and being run over by a vehicle only to wake up in hospital without legs.

John does not know how old he is or how he came to be in the old age home. He is now mentally deficient. He can still get about in his wheelchair. For him and others like him, the old age home is a safe, if not their ideal, haven amongst others like themselves.

The one thing he does remember vividly, and which haunted  him, is that somewhere in the past, he raped someone. Was he perhaps running from the scene of a gang rape when he lost his legs?

Peter and John. Both lives basically destroyed. Physically, mentally, emotionally, financially. The one needing to forgive and the other standing in need of  forgiveness.

Forgiveness : easier to accept that to give ...

                       "Our Father, Who is in heaven... Give us this day... And forgive us our
                       debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts,
                       and have given up resentment against) our debtors. Matt. 6:9-12
                       Amplified Bible

Not easy.
For the victim, but  also for the culprit.

                        "But I say to you who are listening now to me; (in order to heed make it
                        a practice to) love your enemies, treat well (do good to, act nobly toward)
                        those who detest you and pursue you with hatred, invoke blessings upon
                        and pray for the happiness of those who curse you, implore God's blessing
                        (favour) upon those who abuse you (who revile, reproach, disparage, and
                        high-handedly misuse you). Luke 6:27-28 Amplified Bible

If we do not forgive we drag the culprit with us all the remaining days of our lives. Like a ball and chain he/she/they will handicap us for the rest of our lives. We will not be free to grow, be who we are supposed to be - to achieve our purpose in this life - if we do not forgive. The thought of the culprit and his crimes will rule supreme in our hearts and minds.

We have choices. Yes, the culprit also had choices. He or she made the wrong choice. Are we going to do the same?

Would Peter and John's lives have been the same had they been taught the valuable lesson of leaving the culprit behind however painful and difficult it might have been at the beginning?

Please remember to forgive is not to condone! To forgive is not to agree with what has been done! To forgive is to say : You made a terrible choice. You harmed me, humiliated me, hurt me, changed me, shamed me - that was your choice! But  I will make the choice to not  let what you have done to me determine the rest of my life. By forgiving you I will take back control of my life with the help of God. I will live a full life.

Ironically, the culprit, if he/she has a conscience at all, also suffers for the rest of his/her life for what they have done. They also walk around with, and their lives are greatly influenced by, the weight of their guilt. Their victims are also dragged along like a ball and chain throughout their lives, unless they receive forgiveness.

When I first met Peter and John, I asked a very basic question: "Is there perhaps someone you still need to forgive or ask forgiveness from"?

This simple question opened the floodgates. Peter said: "No one ever asked me that question. Not one of the psychologists or psychiatrists or doctors who treated me - no one! Why not?"

When I saw Peter again a week ago, he told me that his life had changed. He was smiling, walking about chatting to others in the old age home. He no longer bore a grudge, hatred, anger, against the culprit, but admitted that it had not been easy for him to get to that point. He said that he could never forget the torment he underwent but that he realised that he could not ever expect to receive forgiveness if he was not willing to give it. He has forgiven. Does not feel hatred or fury anymore. He was still experiencing moments of anxiety getting into bed at night from time to time (being the time of his past torture) but was learning to immediately quote God's word to himself at such times and these moments were becoming fewer and further apart. With God's help, he will be victorious.

John, with tears in his eyes, asked God to forgive him and accepted that he has been forgiven. As a result of his diminished mental, physical and financial abilities, it will not be possible for him to try and establish the whereabouts of his victim to personally ask for forgiveness.

Thank You, Lord, that Your Word is a help and a guidance in all circumstances. Thank You, Lord, that as long as 2000 years ago, You knew the power of forgiveness for you cried on the cross: "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do."

Sunday, 6 November 2016


In recent years, we the citizens of South Africa, had on numerous occasions been plunged in total darkness - first, the darkness fell unexpectedly, and we were left in total confusion, with meals half-cooked, visiting with friends or family and suddenly finding ourselves in total blackness, unable to see each other or proceed with whatever task or activity we were engaged in.

We came to name this darkness "load shedding". Later, the darkness became a normal part of everyday life to the extent that official schedules were published to "enlighten" us as to when we could expect this temporary darkness, normally for two hours at a time!

This inconvenient disrupting of  our lives were as a result of the inefficiency and inadequacy of our electricity supplier. In other words, it was not the fault of every citizen in the country, but practically every citizen in the country, except those is distant rural areas, who had to make do without electricity anyway, were impacted by load shedding.

At present our country is experiencing a different kind of "load shedding"; a different kind of darkness. The difference being that this seems to be of a more permanent and damaging nature.

It does not matter what your religious beliefs are, or what your political leanings may be, or your cultural background, we are all suffering from this temporary darkness which engulfs our nation: the turmoil, corruption, dysfunction and dissention within our Government and the absolute anarchy of students who claim the privilege of tertiary education as their right and who not only demand the right thereto but also demand to be given it free of charge! What rebellion! What arrogance!

This does not bode well for our country's future. Corruption and crime are so rife as to have become the norm of the day!

What a pity!
What a shame!
What a disgrace to our country and to every upright citizen of our beautiful land!

What a shocking reality that the person who is supposed to lead our diverse nation, is causing our country to be the laughing stock of the world and is reducing our economy to rubbish status by the ridiculous decisions and attacks on those who are trying to uphold the morality and ethics in our land. What an absolute unacceptable reality that he refuses to see the error of his ways, acts like a aging demented monarch, and refuses to make way for someone more capable to take his place! What a shame that a faction of the ruling party still cover for him and uphold his position within the party and government with seemingly no regard to the damage to our country's economy.

What a sin that murders are committed in our country everyday. That we are killing one another whether in passion or premeditated. And the murders are not necessarily committed by strangers, but by those who are supposed to be our nearest and dearest!

Who can forget the wonderful, glorious time when this nation unanimously voted for a democratic land and government? And I think if records be disclosed, that day also depicted a marked reduction in crime of whatsoever kind. We were too busy being one; being a nation!

Who will ever forget the day when in 1995 Madiba donned the Springbok Rugby jersey and walked onto the field to congratulate our national rugby team who had just been the victors in the Rugby World Cup competition and this nation stood tall and revelled in the glory of our national heroes and our unity?

We spread light and glory to all the rest of the world.

But there came a time when our not so famous current President took it upon himself to proclaim and declare that the ruling party would reign until the day that Jesus, the Christ, returned!

What presumption!

How could any appointed leader of the elected ruling party make such a grievous mistake in his representation of our nation as to challenge the Almighty God?

However, as we have since found out: God is not challenged. This was clearly shown by the outcome of the recent municipal elections when the ones who would 'reign until the return of Christ' lost all the big metropolitan cities and became a rural party! What a shame! What a turnabout!

We are called to be light in this world. We are called to be the salt of the earth. Salt is used in changing from negative to positive, to cleanse, act as an disinfectant for wounds, to stay colours in the process of dyeing, to keep a rational balance in the brain, to give taste to food, to bring out the taste of the other ingredients, in other words, to be a positive element and influence all around.

When salt, however, is used to build roads and loses its saltiness, it becomes something to be trampled on - and useless for all other purposes.

Even if it would seem that we cannot expect such behaviour and influence from some of our rulers, we can, each one of us individually and as a nation, live lives that will show the rest of the world that there are also positive aspects to our beloved country; that we do have heroes - think of Wayde van  Niekerk's glorious feats in the recent Olympics; think of all the medals brought home by our paralympic and Down Syndrome athletes! Wow! Wasn't that something? Think of the upright standing and righteous ways of  our Thuli Madonsela! What a woman! Voted one of the most influencial people in the world: not because of her riches and possessions but because of her righteousness! Our Paralympic athletes may be physically handicapped, but their spirits are whole and buoyant! Remember what amazing goals they were able to achieve notwithstanding their physical handicaps! Consider what extra effort it took for them to do so!

Remember every deed of kindness towards yourself just during the past month! Remember the ones who served you with a smile during the week! Remember every helping hand along your way. Remember that we are one of the countries to enjoy the most sunfilled days. Remember our unique flora! Remember our big five! Remember our glorious beaches! Remember that we are a nation worshipping God Almighty! Remember that God blesses those who honour and worship Him! Remember Madiba's dream for our country!

Come on South Africans! Let us not be useless; let us not lose our saltiness and lie down and let our country be trampled on. Let us rally, shine and overcome the spiritual load shedding that seems to have pervaded our government and country in part. Let us not lack a sense of responsibility, let us not allow our minds and spirits to be corrupted. Let us be  light in this darkness! Darkness cannot prevail against light!

Each ons of us can achieve this, and many already are! Think about the organizations that go about speading good cheer in our communities; providing warmth and food and medical care. Our national rugby team may not be the number one in the world right now, but I know that some of them give of their time and efforts to share their skills with the unskilled and underprivileged and to act as role models in character for those who have no other role models to emulate in their lives. I was proud watching them each leading a  handicapped child onto the field  when they played against the Barbarians at Wembley over the weekend!

Matt: 5: 13-14 :

                       "You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its saltiness, how can
                       it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be
                       thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city
                       on a hill cannot be hidden, neither do people light a lamp and put it under
                       a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the
                       house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see
                       your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (NIV)

Mr President, I am sure you understand that your life, actions and decisions are viewed by all in the world. Are you being light or are your actions declaring that you have lost your "saltiness"?

Let's go South Africa! Let's once again show the spirit of 1995! Let's show the Spirit of the Word and show the world that we can and will overcome our present difficulties and once again spread light and be a role model in the world.

Thank You, Lord, that Your Word declares that we are to be salt and light to this world that we occupy. Please help us to be the salt and light that You intended us to be.

Monday, 24 October 2016


For the last two weeks, I have been feeling rather grotty if I may be allowed the use of that word.

It is Spring, and hayfever is caused by pollen and such in the air, which in turn sometimes leads to sinusitis, which in turn can cause more serious infections because of the nasal drip that accompany these conditions.

Last night, I developed a headache, backache, and a temperature. I got into bed early drinking a hot toddy consisting of boiling water, lemon, honey and ginger. I downed a pain and fever reliever with it and settled down to do some serious reading.

The phone buzzed informing me that my youngest who lives in the USA was in ER undergoing scans because of severe abdominal pain.

Not what I wanted to hear at that moment. I shot up a prayer to the Lord for help, healing and assistance for her, phoned and asked them to keep me updated and carried on reading.

Af'ter some hours, the phone rang. It was my daughter saying that doctors cannot find a thing wrong and that the pain  has subsided. Thank You, You are indeed ever faithful.

Back to sleep.

We are planning to go to Johannesburg for a week, leaving tomorrow, to attend a wedding on the 29th. What with feeling under the weather, and my husband generally not being well, I got up this morning wondering whether we should try and cancel our flights and stay at home instead.

I sat down in my prayer corner and saw my diary open on the kist in front of me. The text at the bottom of the page is Proverbs 3:26:

                    "For the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from
                    being caught."

I opened Joshua Cooley's  book of devotions 'The one year devotions with Jesus' at today's date. The Scripture for the day is 2 Cor. 12:9:

                    "Each time (the Lord) said, "My grace is all you need. My power works
                     best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so
                     that the power of Christ can work through me."

I then read Psalm 138. Verses 7 - 8 says:

                     "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will REVIVE me (Capitals "
                     inserted); You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my
                     enemies, and Your right hand will save me. The Lord will perfect that
                     which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; do not
                     forsake the works of Your hands."

Thank You, Lord, that you are ever faithful to all creatures great and small! Thank You that we may boast that Your strength works best in our weaknesses.

Friday, 21 October 2016


What is the saying: Good things come to those who wait?

Some six months ago, I may even be more, maybe nine months is more correct, I was chatting to a friend of mine in Durban. She is a devout believer and ever busy labouring in God's Kingdom.

She sounded a bit out-of-sorts, if I may use another expression and I asked what the worry was. No worry, she said, just frustrated and impatient. She felt very seriously that the Lord wanted her to do something new, but as much as she asked and waited, she felt no prompting in her spirit about any one ministry or direction in which to move at the time.

I said "hang in there girl, it will come" having no idea what or when or how.

When we spoke again a few months later, she was even more impatient, more frustrated, still waiting, still asking....

In the meantime, down here in Cape Town, a young man from our congregation was appointed as National Coordinator of the Surfers Mission organization - it could even be that his appointment was more or less at the same time as my first mentioned conversation with my friend. Surfers Mission  teach and assist surfers along the coastline of our country and tell them about the goodness of God and the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus, the Christ.

Friday morning, while we were in a missions meeting, discussing our own way forward here in Durbanville, Francois, who now resides in Jeffreys Bay, telephoned me. I promised to phone him back and promptly forgot! So, being the faithful man that he is, he phoned me back yesterday afternoon.

We caught up with news about their mission and ours and when I asked what their prayer needs were, he mentioned that they urgently needed a national prayer coordinator for their mission organization.

A light blazed in my mind! I knew exactly the right person for that job! My friend in Durban! She is a prayer warrior (have you seen the movie "War room"?). She is also intelligent, computer literate with uncapped internet access and best of all waiting to hear from the Lord regarding a new mission!

I mentioned all of this to Francois who was interested and became excited when he heard that she has been waiting on the Lord for a new mission! I promised to contact her and to send them each other's contact details.

Well, when I phoned her last night, she was immediately sure that this was exactly what she had been waiting for and she was very excited.

Now, we will just wait and see what the Lord is going to do in this instance!

Luke 11: 9-10:

                      "So I say to you, ask,  and it will be given to you; seek, and you will
                      find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks
                      receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be

Sometimes we have to be very patient and wait because that which we ask for is not quite ready, or the need does not yet exist, but will in the future - the exact time known only to God. Take heart, be patient, wait upon the Lord. He is faithful and will not disappoint if you ask according to His Will.

Thank You, Lord, that You know more exactly what it is we need than we do ourselves. Thank You that You will rather let us wait than give us something inferior.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016


Have you ever needed comfort? I have...

Paul, the apostle, also had a need to be comforted.

2 Cor. 1:3-5 :

                     "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of
                      mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation,
                      that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the
                      comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

How did God comfort me?

By whattsapps from friends and family; the love of my children; the Word, the daily infusion of strength by the Holy Spirit of God, the expressions of love and sympathy from those around me; prayers of people from across the country; visits of friends; hugs, embraces.

Paul, also speaks of receiving comfort:

2 Cor.7:13:

                   "Therefore we have been comforted in your comfort. And we rejoiced
                     exceedingly more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been
                     refreshed by you all."

The Word says that the Holy Spirit has come to be our Comforter. He comforts not as above with hugs, and kind words and embraces. From experience I have found that He comforts by empowering us to endure and overcome that which causes us to need comfort, whilst at the same time, allowing and directing other people around us to comfort us in the manner in which they, in their turn, have experienced comfort from others.

By being a comfort to another soul in distress, we ourselves will be comforted. The Word says when Job prayed for his friends, God changed his circumstances.

Be comforted, be uplifted, be blessed this day as you comfort someone on your way.

Thank You, Lord, that your Spirit and Word is given us to comfort and strengthen us from day to day.

Thursday, 13 October 2016


I have just read Psalm 136 again.

The Contemporary English version says:

verse 1:

                         "Praise the Lord! He is good. God's love never fails."

The 1933 King James says:

                          "Give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth

The New King James version says:

                           "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy
                           endures forever."

The Amplified Bible says:

                            "O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-
                            kindness endure forever."

It does not matter how we translate it - the meaning, and the character of God, remain unchanged! Stop and think about that!

Thank You, Lord, for your love and mercy, Your grace towards mankind and your loving-kindness from day to day. Amid all the chaos that surrounds us, what would our planet be without You?

Sunday, 9 October 2016


This afternoon after lunch I was standing in the doorway of our little home, intending to close the stable doors against the cool breeze, when I noticed the figure of a little lady slowly walking in the street passing our home.

As is usual in our little village, I called out a greeting when she got to within hearing distance. She diverted her steps and came towards the door, calling as she came close: "I must thank you for your beautiful garden. I live in a first floor apartment and whenever I go for my walkabout I so enjoy seeing all the lovely gardens around me".

I stepped out and met her outside... petite, rather fragile looking, with wisps of silver grey hair, huge almond shaped hazel eyes, and lovely accented Afrikaans. We introduced ourselves and during the course of our conversation I found out that she was in fact already in her eighties. We chatted for a few minutes, and soon found ourselves on which was obviously very well-loved mutual ground : our need to worship the Creator God for all the beauty surrounding us in nature, including gardens and their inhabitants of all possible kinds.

We took a short stroll in my garden and I picked a couple of branches of the bottle brush tree's beautiful red plumes, as well as a few twigs of a "fynbos" shrub bearing minute, yet perfect white flowers. Around the corner we added five of six golden blooms from the pincushion shrub of the protea family and we completed the posy by adding a few  sprigs of lavender.

My, was my new friend chaffed! She could not thank me enough whilst carefully holding the flowers against her body with both hands. Her last remark as she started off towards her apartment was that she felt like a bride with her exquisite bouquet!

Looking at her retreating back, I realised that I had just experienced a moment of intense beauty and joy - as if I had been touched by something beautiful; as if a butterfly had settled on my hand for a few precious minutes!

I was also privileged today to have a bouquet of flowers delivered to my youngest daughter in the U.S.A to celebrate her birthday with her. What a joy!

How little it takes to change an ordinary day into an experience to remember - a thing of beauty!

The words of a childhood song echoed in my head:

             "All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small,
              all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all...."
               (Cecil F Alexander)

Thank You, Lord, for the bountiful beauty and blessings that you continue to provide that give us unlimited pleasure and  joy; that we may also share it with those around us.