Chapter 6     Written / Published  22.8./28.8.16    Pics by author, unless indicated

       HOME       THE  WINNER  GAVE  IT  ALL      Given your all - Now what?

 

In Australia August is winner time, sorry winter time, when senior citizens tend to watch more television. This chapter (6) includes many observations from screens, on TV Channel 9 and in church. There are links to crossword puzzles and misspelled words on TV. 

Car registration plates make a comeback, one with a strong police connection, and bees, our symbol for truth. 

At the end, when I thought I had finished the chapter, an unexpected message came, in an unexpected way: HE is the Beginning and the End. HE is God and all good. (Return HIS call !)

 

6.  Called to Freedom

How it started nobody knows. But the way it has spread around the globe is nothing short of amazing, from Paris to Cologne, from London to Adelaide. The popularity of the practice, however, the way it has grown in recent years, created its own demise. What am I writing about?

Around the world lovers have taken to the practice of pledging love to ones partner by fastening an inscribed padlock onto a bridge and throwing the key into the water below. It's meant as a symbol of love, unbreakable, forever locked together. Many authorities find that the sheer weight of the hundreds or thousands of steel padlocks threaten the structure of their bridges. 

For this same reason the Adelaide City Council has decided to remove all padlocks on the University footbridge across the River Torrens. When it was reported on television, my sharp eyes spotted one special padlock among the many that flashed across the screen. Two letters, C & D, immediately reminded me of the Readers Digest Hidden Meaning Quiz from the previous chapter. (A B C C should have been A B C D).

As this news item splashed across our TV screen a second time during a later bulletin, I had my camera ready. The only reason I took the picture were the letters C & D. But, as has happened many times among my nearly 400 chapters, when later writing about it I saw much more:

C & D Locked in Love since 2002. (Pic. -  ABC TV)

It came to me that it was in 2002, that I first started publishing my autobiography. At the time the word blogger did not exist, at least I had not heard it, but unwittingly had become one.

Hey, another light bulb just lit up as I looked at the photo again: Two young men, (twins) were the developers of my very first website. Together we created amazing animations, illustrating car crashes to teach road safety. Their names - Chris and Doug:

In Book 1,Ch. 37 you read about those two internet experts. Our small team created a number of animated car crashes.

Here, a vehicle hit the rear of a van. A swarm of bees escaped. Next a banner replaced the buzzing bees. It read: God's truth prevails. Those bees have since become my symbol for truth.             

Escaping bees

 

In my diary on Friday, August 19th 2016, is an entry, a little magic surrounding bees: That day at the German Seniors group where I volunteer we played a word-search game. From letters on the whiteboard at the front one had to create words. When it was my turn I could have mentioned many words, but just gave one, which sprung to mind -  Biene (bee).

Next came the little magic: A staff member, who had not been in the room for the above word-game, conducted an educational activity. She had prepared a little talk. Her subject was bees. The bee is such an important insect, if ever they were to die out, human life would seize to exist within a few years.

Hail to the bee! Hail to the truth!

Pic shef.ac.uk

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In the morning of that same day, Friday 19.8.16, on Channel Nine TV their Today Show broadcast a segment with an unusual subject: The most unpopular baby names of 2016. (The most popular only came at the end). I found this odd. Would it not be better to focus on the most popular names, which would be far easier to compile?

How did they come up with a list of names no one called their baby? There would have to be a questionnaire with many hundred choices. And why would anyone want or need to know what's unpopular, anyway? What about foreign names, which in our multicultural society are proliferate? Was Dieter or Ali included in the list of choices?

I only gave this segment closer attention after I saw the list of names flashed onto the TV screen. They disappeared again very fast. I only managed to remember a few names, which I quickly scribbled into my diary I was updating at that time. A few things just did not look right. Judge for yourself:

 

Most unpopular boy's names, TV Channel 9, Sat 20.8.16, 8.55 am.

I found it peculiar that all but two names started with C and D. The list was alphabetically ordered and how well do Bertram and Ernest fit in here!

In the list of the most popular names I only recall No.7 - Aidan, which happens to be the name of our oldest grandson. In some states it is illegal to call your child by certain names; Jesus, for example. Does anybody know why? Certainly, in our culture a boy in kindergarten called Jesus would be teased no end. Does this happen in Spanish/Catholic speaking cultures, where the name Jesus is common?

The name Jesus, given by God for HIS humility, belongs to ONE:

Therefore God exalted HIM to the highest place and gave HIM the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2, 9-11).

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The date of starting this chapter (228) happens to be the registration number of my little 'green machine', the Suzuki Wagon R+. For this reason may I include a peculiar observation of car registration numbers. It happened the day after publishing the previous chapter, while driving home from my regular table tennis afternoon at Elizabeth, South Australia.

At the eastern end of Park Terrace, stopping at the traffic lights, the registration plate of the vehicle ahead of me carried the letters SDZA (not in that order) plus a three digit number. My playful mind turned these letters into SADZ or 'sad end'. The lights changed, the traffic moved and I thought that was the end of that; not so. 

Only about 4 kilometers later, just as I was turning into my street, a vehicle ahead of me changed lanes rather suddenly; not dangerously, but I still noticed it's registration plate. Did I see this correctly or was I still thinking of meeting the 'sad end' moments earlier? The station wagon, which turned into my lane, carried the same three-digit number and the same four letters as the other. The letters had a different sequence (ie. SZAD). I didn't know what to think of it in the end.

A similar experience puzzled my brain to the point of questioning my sanity. Driving along Adelaide's Portrush Road, en route to visiting one of our German Seniors group (103 year-old Hilde) a parked vehicle pulled into my lane without any safety margin. 

It wasn't critical, but again, I took note of the registration plate and that of a police vehicle in the lane beside me, which just happened to overtake. Maybe I shouldn't have added the three-digit numbers, because the result plagued my mind for some time:

956 + 424 = 1380. 

The digits 138 - only the 0 left over - long-term readers will recognize, had a distinct link to police (Crimestoppers Ph. 1800 333 000 and my whistle-blowing Ref. No. B 1083. The number 138 also held much meaning for me in 1. John 3, Verse 8: "The reason the son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work." (NIV).

 

After my visit to Hilde, while in the vicinity, I decided to hike up Mount Lofty (727 m), a popular destination for Adelaidians who want to keep fit. It was a beautiful, mild winter's day. Many locals and tourists were enjoying the experience.

At one point, puffing up a steep section of the track, my mind pondered the earlier incident. Was I mad to see and link from 1380 to 138, only the 0 difference? 

Only a second or two after this thought my eyes spotted a black headband on the path. What amazing timing - thinking about nothing (zero), next a O on the footpath! 

On the return down to the carpark I took a photo (above) before picking it up as memento. Two girl hikers right behind me must have wondered, why I bothered? (Poor old pensioner, probably hard up ...? Ha, ha).

- - - - - - -

A final, peculiar observation, while driving in my green Suzuki, came while waiting for the traffic lights to change. It was already evening in Mid August 2016, as I sat at one of the busiest intersections in Adelaide. The bright neon lights of advertising and business names seemed to be fighting for the attention of passers by. One sign succeeded with me, so much so that I quickly snapped a picture, before the lights changed. Take a look:

 

<<< Ja (Ford Dealer at Gepps Cross).

Only the first two letters of the six-letter business name were illuminated. 

Ja reminded me in an instant of Jason and Jacob in the chapter I had uploaded only days earlier. 

Composing this chapter two weeks later one of my codes emerged. Take the business name minus JA = RVIS. 

Minus R = VIS = 5 1 5

I took the picture on 12.8.16, when my latest chapter was 5, Book 15.

- - - - - - -

The previous chapter touched on the subject of happiness versus joy. It shows the picture of a smiling man, who proved that smiles add seven years to ones lifespan. A few hours after uploading this chapter, in the middle of the night, I was listening to the radio. 

As I listened sleepily, still churning over the chapter I had just finished, I was astounded what I was hearing. Was it really so? I had woken just in perfect time to tune into the radio station, which broadcast an interview with James O' Dea, an American peace activist. The subject was: Smiling - how good it is for our health!

 

Our grandson Jacob, pictured below, only four weeks old is already practicing a healthy lifestyle: healthy food (mother's milk), exercising (lungs), sleeping, pooing and ...smiling!

Even Jacob found a joke funny; one I heard on Greg Laurie's Vision Radio broadcast, a New Beginning, from Harvest Church, Riverside Ca.

A wealthy businessman's brother had died. The deceased had not lived a good life, but treated his wife badly, neglected his children and cheated his business partners. Still wanting a dignified funeral, his brother approached a Pastor and said: "We know my brother wasn't a good man, but if you say at his funeral that he was a saint, I donate two Million Dollars to your building fund.

The Pastor found himself in a moral dilemma. Would he insist on the truth and lose two million Dollars or tell a white lie for a big reward? After a moment of thinking, the pastor accepted the big cheque. At the funeral he spoke these words:

"Our deceased friend didn't really live a very good life. He treated his family very badly and cheated in his business. However, compared to his brother, he was a saint."

Truth in the end always wins; honesty pays. God help us, if truth were to disappear from the face of the earth, if bees ever were to become extinct!

Out of curiosity I checked the website of James O' Dea. I learned he's the author of the book Cultivating Peace and had written other essays, addressing the deeper problems mankind is facing. But nowhere did I find the name Christ as the salvation for mankind. HE is the embodiment of peace. How sad that intelligent, educated academics look for solutions to the world's problems anywhere and everywhere, except in God's instruction book, the bible.

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." (Colossians 3, 15). 

Friends, any man or woman who makes peace with God and allows Christ to be the boss of their lives will experience a sense of freedom like never before. It all sounds like a paradox - letting someone else rule your life in order to be free. But that's just what Christ's death of the cross achieved.

- - - - - - -

The day before starting this chapter, a Sunday, this truth was the subject of the sermon in our church. There was a little twist involved, which started a few hours before church, when my wife noticed a misspelled word on the TV screen - fastet, referring to Usain Bolt, the fastest runner ever! (More of the Olympic champion later). Clearly the letter s was omitted  until corrected a few seconds later.

But why am I writing about such a triviality? There are two reasons. Firstly, the day before I had emailed a comment to the same TV station about Usain Bolt. Secondly, in church, only two hours later, the letter s drew my attention by featuring in just the right place, at the front on the church on big screen. Take a look:

 

The theme on Sunday 21.8.16: Freedom in Christ. 

The microphone, hanging from the ceiling lined up exactly in the middle of the letter s. Because my wife and mother-in-law sat right beside me, I snapped the picture from just where I sat when everyone had their eyes closed during prayer. That's freedom!

 

Freedom!                >>>

Exactly a week later, hours before publishing the chapter, we attended my mother-in-law's church. The pastor launched his new book, a study of Galatians. How could I not insert the cover picture here?! Perfect timing.

How similar are the two pictures?!

 

(Back to Aug 21)

Moments later, at the start of the bible reading, another slide came onto the big screen. My outside the box, creative mind again saw things, made a connection and snapped another photo on my Samsung. (My 95 year-old mother-in-law probably never noticed. What my wife thought I don't know. My creativity is never a favourite subject in our communication.) 

Scripture reference: 1. Corinthians 9:19

Text: Though I am free and belong to no one ...

The writer, the Apostle Paul, might as well have written: "I am free and belong to No. ONE..."

Please note, the microphone cable goes right through the 9 and nd, important letters from Book 1. Looking at both of the above graphics makes me think: Did we not mentions Christ's DNS in the previous chapter? We did. It hasn't changed, never will. (Heb. 13,8).

Pity the cable did not touch both numbers nine. 99 would link to the street name of our church -  1 Maxwell Rd. (Smart, eh?) 

 

The message Paul conveys in the passage in Corinthians is this: The Good News of the Gospel is so important that he is free to identify with other cultures, other traditions, in order to win them over to Christ. He continues to compare the Christian journey with that of a sports person, a runner. (How timely to be writing here on this subject, two days after the Olympic Games in Rio have ended!)

1.Corinthians 9, Verse 24: 

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Verse 25: Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown (gold medal), that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever".

As I write the Australian Olympic team is returning from Rio. The medal winners are bathing in the accolades of the crowds who are welcoming them back and congratulating them. However, soon all will be back in their normal routine. Their achievements and often their names will be forgotten. 

The prize waiting for those who run the race of life will never be forgotten. It is by far the greatest one could ever win and last for eternity. Just ponder the word eternity for a few moments. The human mind can't comprehend it. Still, let's keep going to win the prize HE has prepared for us. It will be good, allgood. 

- - - - - - -

The same Sunday, when I took above pictures in church, Usain Bolt made world headline news. We watched it on Channel Nine TV. The Jamaican sprinter was going for the triple triple, meaning, if his team would win the 4 x 100 m relay run later that day, the flash from Jamaica called Bolt would have won three gold medals in three different Olympic Games. It turned out to be that way. 

Seeing the words triple triple triggered a thought process, which in the end made me sent an email to Channel Nine. The letters ripl, the middle of triple, teased me somewhat, when suddenly I noticed the small logo of Channel Nine at the bottom corner of the TV screen:

 

<<<  Nine golden discs, perfect time to point out to Channel 9 the similarity between their logo and Usain Bolt's 3 x 3 gold medals.

Just prior to composing the message to Channel Nine a composer's name flashed through my mind. He was also famous for Number 9, his 9th symphony.

Message to Channel Nine, Subject: Bolt and Beethoven, dated 20.8.16:

Hi all,

Question: What does Usain Bolt and LV Beethoven have in common?

Answer: If Usain wins the triple triple this Olympics, and it’s his last, they both will be remembered for their 9th!

Kind regards

Dieter, Adelaide

RIPL

PS  What does Channel Nine (logo) have in common with Usain? 9 golden discs.

 

Mr. Beethoven's first name is Ludwig van ... initials LV, love it.

Another athlete who will be remembered for his outstanding achievements is the great  Michael Phelps. Channel Nine TV broadcast a segment about the American champion  swimmer. It was hard to comprehend that a top performing sports person, whose life had brought success, money and fame, could feel so low. In his own words Phelps described his condition like this:

"I was a train wreck, I was like a time bomb, waiting to go off. I had no self-esteem, no self worth. There were times where I didn't want to be here. It was not good. I felt lost." (Source: Christianity Today). 

While watching the story of Phelps' deep problems and amazing turnaround, I was anticipating one important piece of information, a major factor in Phelps' recovery. Sadly, the television report, the interview with a (sports?) psychologist, did not touch on it at all. In a message to the TV program I filled in the missing details.

Subject: Phelps real help, dated 14.8.16:

Hi all,

Thank you for your inspiring segment on the amazing turnaround of Michael Phelps. After the London Olympics, as you reported, he was at rock bottom, without purpose in life. But then, his friend Ray Lewis introduced him to a book by evangelist *Ray Warren, 'The purpose driven life'. The positive message of living life with the purpose of trusting and serving God is what inspired Phelps to move on. The result of such a life are evident on the world stage as I write.

Pity you did not mention this major factor in Michael Phelps’ success this morning. Many viewers, who struggle with life, could have been positively influenced. Sadly, the remarkable changes that re.al, true Christianity brings, is seldom seen on mainstream television. Reports of abuse by the clergy never seem to end.

Kind regards.

Dieter, Adelaide

PS: Help – “My help comes from the Lord ...” (PS 121, 2)

*Should read Rick Warren.

- - - - - - -

 

Earlier in the month of August 2016 I was at home, relaxing one Friday evening with a German crossword puzzle. It is surprising how many words I can still remember, even decades after living in Germany. However, some specific questions - such as Norwegian poet (Henrik) - I had no clue, but had to look up the answer.

<<<  IBSEN

In the background, the television was (again) tuned to Channel Nine's quiz show with Eddie McGuire.

Less than ten minutes after I had come across MR IBSEN, for the first time ever in my life, the following question below came on to the TV screen: 

First performed in 1885, a play by Henrik Ibsen is 'The Wild' what?

The facial expression of the contestant shows, how much she liked the question about the Norwegian poet. 

The correct answer wasn't A: West B: Man or D: Night. It was C: D... (Reader know the three missing letters, of course!)

During the same quiz show, some weeks earlier, I had observed questions and answers, after which to think about my understanding of it all. Don't they say there is a fine line between insanity and genius? 

One question was about the correct name of the time zone on the west coast of the USA. Was it A: Western, B: Pacific, C: Desert or D: Californian Time? 

The very next question was regarding the name of an SUV. The correct answer B. Forrester (Ford).

- - - - - - -

At the time of this chapter public debate in Australia is again on same sex marriage. The winner of the recent election, the Liberal/National Party, promised to hold a plebiscite later in 2016. Recent media reports put the timeline forward to February 2017, because the Electoral Commission would take the extra time to prepare the poll.

In the days of composing this chapter other news reports indicated that some politicians and lobby groups are steering away from supporting a plebiscite. The Greens Leader Richard Di Natale made it party policy to not support a plebiscite, but wants the Parliament to decide. "A plebiscite will be very divisive", he argued on the ABC on 26.8.16. His comments came after the Labor Opposition also stepped back from supporting a law to hold the plebiscite.

In my opinion, what could be more divisive to the community than having same sex marriage forced onto the people, without proper public debate, where all arguments for and against are reported by an independent, unbiased media?

What could be more divisive than forcing Ministers of Religion of all kinds of faiths, to marry and bestow a blessing on something they do not believe in?

Senator Natale also argued against the plebiscite on another front. Here is part of the transcript from the ABC 7.30 Report:

"Well, we're hearing from psychologists that there's a risk that young people will take their lives when they are exposed to a debate like this. And that's a real risk. It is something that we can't ignore."

Do I understand the senator correctly? He thinks a public debate, hearing both sides of the argument on gay marriage, will drive young people to suicide! What psychologist has come up with this bulldust argument? It sounds a bit like saying, if I don't get my way I will kill myself, which is nothing but emotional blackmail.

A plebiscite is a waste of money, but only because we don't need it, because we don't need gay marriage! Same sex people already have all the rights of married couples, what more do they want?

The real reason the gay lobby, the Greens and Labor, do not want the Australian public to decide on the issue is the fear they might fail. There is a logical reason for this. In a letter to the Advertiser Newspaper, my first in many months, I explained why:

Letter to the Editor, Adelaide Advertiser, dated 22.8.16:

It will be interesting to find out how Australia votes in the same-sex marriage plebiscite. As a western nation, where voting is compulsory, the silenced majority will have their say. Is this why Labor and other lobby groups are now opposed to a vote for all? 

If the media reports both sides of the argument, in an unbiased way, there will be a truly democratic outcome. Those who argue that our Parliament ought to make the decision and put the case to rest once and for all, did this not happen in 2012, when it failed to become law."

(Name, Address and Phone No. supplied)

 

May I add, even if there were a plebiscite and Australian voters would back same sex marriage, a majority vote would be democratic. It still does not make it right. It is one thing for society to allow certain behaviour, it is another to make laws, which go against natural principles, against God's creation of male/female. Even a majority can be so very wrong! 

At the time of this chapter another social experiment was reported to have failed miserably. Some years ago a program was introduced to Australian high schools, which was to prevent unwanted pregnancies among teenage girls. They were given life-like baby dolls, which needed looking after, feeding, nappy changes etc, and who cried in the middle of the night. (I wonder if those dolls could smile?)

The thought was that girls, realizing the amount of work and inconvenience a baby brings would be turned off from falling pregnant. After years of this crazy experiment a study found it did not work. The ABC reported the following on August 26th: 

"A pregnancy prevention program in Australian high schools, involving life-like baby dolls, is failing to discourage teen pregnancies. A long-term study of nearly 3,000 students has found girls given the dolls were more likely to become pregnant".

Children are a blessing, not a nuisance. Motherhood is the most important job in the world. It would have been far better to teach girls right from wrong, teach teenagers clear boundaries, moral principles, based on the Ten Commandments, as well as the birds and the bees! 

Will gay marriage and gay adoptions also become a social experiment doomed to fail? Any law that crosses the line, contra to God ordained principles, is doomed to fail.

In the end God's truth will prevail. It will not be sad. Bee assured! 

- - - - - - -

At this point the chapter was meant to end. But God provided something more, something special as I was reading my Daily Bread scriptures. There were only four days left in the 3-monthly booklet. I happened to spot the headline for the following day, the day of publishing, 28th AUG. or 8.28. 

The scripture in Romans 8 Verse 28 once again proved to come true, all things worked out for good. Below are scans of the four days at the end of August 2016 in Our Daily Bread (ODB), published by the RBC Organization:

 

Sun Aug 28 - Naming God.

 

Jesus name above all names!

Mon Aug 29 - The Ultimate Road Trip. It so happened, planned at short notice, that I will start a 2000 km road trip on this day. (Details next chapter, God willing.) 

Note the drop letters - I M A O

The final reading for August (Free Indeed, 31.8) had me most intrigued. The writer is Bill Crowder, the only team member of ODB I had personally met some years ago. How did he know I was to write and publish a chapter about freedom on that day?

Likewise, when I wrote about 1380 earlier in the chapter I had no idea that on 31.8, the drop-letter O would feature on that day.

God works in mysterious ways. HE can use whatever HE pleases to speak to us, even drop-letters in a bible reading booklet. 

 

Chapter 7

Index