|THE WINNER GAVE IT ALL|
"The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.
HE wakens me morning by morning, he wakens my ear to hear as the learned." (Isaiah 50, 4)
3. Red and black and Bruce Almighty
What thought comes into your mind in the morning when you first wake up? I don't mean the relief that the nightmare was not reality, or the disappointment that you won the lottery only in your dream.
Let me rephrase the question: Who are you directing your thoughts to when you wake up in the morning?
I often wonder, what thoughts occupy the mind of a person, who has committed a murder, or one who 'earns' a livelihood by fraud? What do they think deep down after they wake up in the morning? It must be hell, living a life of lies, deception or crime and having to convince yourself every morning that ... ??? What is there to be convinced about?
If you are one who closely walks with God, your first thought after waking is always directed to HIM. It's such a wonderful assurance to know - there is ONE, who cares, ONE who is interested in every thought that occupies your mind - true oneness with God is heaven on earth.
But more so, the liberty and freedom it brings to commit any thought of concern to HIM, who says - let me take care of it. Let's walk this path of life together. What indescribable joy!
But more than that: This amazing being (God Almighty) not only knows everything, HE is in charge of everything: Mountains bow down, the seas roar at the sound of HIS name. With one vapour of HIS breath the earth shakes; with one touch of HIS hand the blind receive their sight.
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On the morning of writing (7/7/11) I woke with this thought: "Thank you God that you are my Father and that you wake me every morning." Another thought immediately raced through my head. "Look at the clock, I woke you at a specific time today."
It had happened many times, as regular readers would know. I had woken at a certain hour on the clock radio, which my brain matched other data. For this reason I lifted my head and looked at the time: 441.
I immediately understood the significance of 441 in one word - earthquake (read on). I felt like jumping out of bed, starting the computer and writing about it. Rather, as I stayed tucked in bed on this cold winter's morning in Adelaide, I pondered and prayed for another while.
One of the things I pondered was a letter I was going to write this day (7.7.) I had seen a name on the TV screen during a TV News item the night before. The person mocked a man. I felt indignant, so I had searched out her name in the Adelaide White pages. I had found it on page 777. (Read it later in this chapter)
But there was more. IT happened again. The house number I will write this letter to later is listed as 15. Another thought flashed across my brain: It's not 5.01 right now, is it? But so it was. Exactly twenty minutes after 441. I rose to pray and write to put this into print.
So why the word earthquake?
If you check the dates in the banner above, you will notice that I had started writing this chapter not on 7.7, but on 6.7. I had commenced on that day with a report of an earthquake on 5.7:
At the time of writing a conference is taking place in Melbourne, Australia. The event has attracted nearly 4000 delegates from around 100 countries. Earth on the Edge is the 25th General Assembly of the International Union of Geophysics and Geodesy (IUGG).
As I understand the matter, all these people were experts on natural disasters. They have come together to share their knowledge on earthquakes, climate change, ash clouds and to discuss how to create a sustainable planet.
There were two things, which put a smile on my face. The name of the first Australian President to this conference is Mr. Beer. In Book 4, Chapter 15 I came across the word beer in Melbourne. I made a Mr. Beer joke out of it. This was only a few minutes down the road in Melbourne, not far from where above Conference was held.
But there's more irony. The delegates were presented with a 'show and tell' by mother nature, or whoever controls her! On July 5th, a week into the conference, Victoria experienced a large earthquake, which was felt as far away as Melbourne.
In another timely twist, one of our sons is about to qualify as a meteorologist. (He is the only person I know, who had witnessed with me the (50 - 7) cloud - shown in Book 5, Chapter 27 - you could say he has cloud !?) At the time of writing he is in Adelaide for a few day's visit, arriving on 6.7.
The day before he experienced this earthquake in his flat in a Melbourne suburb. This is what he told us:
The Canberra Times reported it online on 5.7.11 1.55 pm: (Extracts).
(End Extract) On editing I noticed and am asking: What's the difference between - the Basin and Basin? The fun-maker inside me answers: sin is sin ... ba ba black rock... [Forget it!]
The evening before writing a radio host on our ABC made a comment about the timing of the quake. Tongue-in- cheek he said, this was not co-incident, it was planned by someone... (or words to that effect).
Writing this I sense a degree of magic. Why so?
In November 2010 I had been to the town of the epicentre of the quake (Book 9, Chapter 9):
Did you notice it? A 4.4 earthquake in the town, located on the A 440, during my big O bike ride?
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(Writing continued 7/7/11)
To any reader, tired of reading about numbers, may I say: "It may be so, but are not numbers part of our everyday life? In my story they have been central. And isn't the abbreviation we use for number an interesting little word - NO, backwards and upside down it makes ON.
Very early in my autobiography (in Book 1, Chapter 4) I had written about this little word. It had played a crucial role in a dispute at the workplace I was working at.
On 5/7, two days before writing this, on the day of the earthquake, the little word on crossed the path of my mind in a most unexpected way. Oh yes - it may be all co-incidence! But then, it maybe not? See for yourself.
On our ABC TV on Tuesday night a regular program featured, called Foreign Correspondent. It was a report from Nepal about the legacy left by Sir Edmund Hillary, and carried on by the Australian Himalayan Foundation.
At one point in the program a teacher was showing her students a word on a flash card. The children were obviously learning English. The word shown happened to be the word 'on'. Why just that little word on I asked myself? How a little word can tease one's brain!
But there was more. Just prior to the word on I noticed some letters on a student's school uniform. They looked like LUKL - two L (upside down = 77). But where does the UK come in? Aha - L KLU?
View Video http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/content/2011/s3261803.htm LUKL comes on at the 18 min. mark. On comes at 18.24 min.
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What a clue in the mail !
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For the first time ever, as I recall, I had occasion to email the Oprah Show on June 28, or 6.28 (please note). While eating lunch I occasionally catch a few moments of the Oprah Show. She was interviewing a Hollywood TV producer, who had changed from a lavish lifestyle (a house with 13 rooms, as I recall) to must more modest accommodation.
There was something about this guy I really related to, as I listened to his story. At least once he mentioned Jesus. He had grasped the concept that influence and wealth don't satisfy our deepest, human needs.
To understand my surprise at to what happened, readers must understand that the incident happened during the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament in London, where a young man, 18 year-old Bernard Tomic (take note) emerged as a new hopeful for Australia. The film producer on the Oprah Show was called Tom. (Now you see, why i c).
A few minutes into the interview Oprah spoke those two words I see. The way emphasized them made me take note, but more so it was a name Tomic, which only a few seconds earlier had been displayed on the screen.
Here is what I typed into the Oprah Show feedback form:
I had thought about the incident during the afternoon (and tried unsuccessfully to find an email address for Mr. Shadyac). I only sent the above feedback in the evening. It so happened that I pressed the send button at 6.28 (that day's date, as they write dates in the US.)
The PS above refers to an amazing co-incident, if that's what it is (I don't think so). Mr. Shadyac is not only a film producer, but a co-producer with Ilona Herzberg of the film Bruce Almighty. The birthday of the Ilona Herzberg, whose mother and father I helped lay to rest not so long ago, is April 20th. The interview with Tom Shadyac, according to Oprah's website, was originally screened on April 20th.
A few months after the funeral of Irmgard I had been asked what I wanted to put on the plague marking the site of the ashes. Besides the names and dates I had chosen a scripture, which I promptly forgot.
Some months later, on March 18 (note 3.18) out of the blue I decided to cycle to Enfield Cemetery and for the first time take a look at the site. To find the location I was handed the details at the cemetery office (partly shown above)
At first I could not find the spot. But by sheer ... whatever, the first grave I came across was that of the wife of my friend Ken, who I knew from the Enfield Baptist Church. I had not been at her funeral. It was held in late May 2010, the day I was in hospital, suffering from stomach pains.
When I eventually found the plague of Irmgard and Horst and saw the inscription I had chosen, I knew WHO was behind it all: "Love never ends" (1.Cor.3, 18).
Later I noticed the cemetery's phone number starts with 318. (I must be crazy, getting exited about the phone number of a cemetery?)
Poster for Bruce Almighty. If you could be God for one week what would you do?
Names in a film about God: IM J, AN is on t, Free man ... Love it!
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(Back to earth)
The catalyst for the letter to the lady on page 777 in our White pages was a TV News item. A parent was speaking, rather passionately, against any kind of religious instruction in our state schools. She feared that somebody could try and evangelize our children. Her name was displayed on the screen.
The lady did not wear any regalia, which identified her as a follower of a certain religion. But the way she passionately expressed her opinion, almost fear, she might well have been of a faith that is anti-Christ.
As soon as I had seen her listing in the White Pages was 777 and became aware that the next day was 7.7. I took a closer look. It all made sense - the address No.15, the street name (not Rd. or St, but Common), even the postcode.
Can saw the words man / mocked in Common. Also, I did a 3/5 swap in the 4-digit postcode. It became the last four digits of her phone number.
It is not my intention to embarrass or identify this lady. Even though, anybody watching her name on the TV News could have found her in the phone book, as I had done. Neither do I like attacking people for what they believe, rather focus on the arguments at hand. Here is the letter I wrote and posted on the day of writing this part of this chapter.
But there was more. In the same news item I had heard a politician's comments. He called for a review into Christian programs in our State Schools. In my mind, calling for a review is not enough. It's political jargon, when one does not know how to respond, or one does not want to take a stand. (That's why politicians fight before elections every four years - to keep their seats!).
I emailed the gentleman concerning the Christian Education issue, only hours before this writing:
Adelaide has at least one nightclub, which formerly was a lovely stone-church. It still looks like a church, but why call it Heaven? It so happens that this establishment is located in Adelaide's Flinders Street (corner Pultney St.) Does the name Flinders Street ring a bell with readers? (Not a church bell, that comes in a moment).
It was the place, where on June 15th, 2005 I was a contributor to the KRRC (Kapunda Road Royal Commission), which I have written about extensively in Book 4, Chapter 19. It had been held on Floor 1, 26 Flinders Street. (It also cost millions of Dollars and as far as I can see, it resulted in nothing, but a few changes in police procedures, big joke).
Further east, on the same side of Flinders Street, a real church is found. It's the Lutheran Bethlehem Church. I visited their service for the first time on Good Friday 2011. I could not help myself, becoming aware of the proximity to 1/26 Flinders St. as the congregation sang their first hymnal that afternoon - No. 62, Verse 1-4. I can't remember the lyrics, only that I wondered, who is 4 126?
The service was in the German language. I sat with a friend, Lothar, whom I had known years ago. By adding an e to his name I had fun: 'Hear Lover of Truth'.
Easter is always a busy time for church services. Earlier on Good Friday I re-visited Enfield Baptist Church, the place of many memories. Much of my spiritual battles had taken place during our years at Enfield. As I parked my ageing, faithful Suzuki outside the church, right at 9 AM, a brief shower of rain came down.
Before entering the service out of the corner of my eye the odometer reading on the dashboard of my Suzuki struck me. History was repeating itself. If it were fiction what I write, it would become boring, I must admit. But what I see I see, it's all fact, just how it happened.
Right there at the sacred place, outside Enfield Baptist Church in Francis Avenue, my special number 15 came to life: The odometer read 304015, whilst the trip-meter showed 030.4.
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It shouldn't surprise me now, but it still does, when history repeats itself. I was getting dressed to attend church with my wife 50IBEL (fifty days after Easter) on Pentecost Sunday, June 12th. What had taken place on 7/2/10 again happened that Sunday - my mind was captivated by my socks. Not only that, but it was at the same church. I probably had sat in the same seat.
Readers may recall, how about a year ago I had seen a black spot on my sock, as the lyrics on the screen at church read: ..to rid my soul of one dark blot).
I distinctly remember taking note of the socks I was putting them on; a pair of black and red socks, which my wife had brought home one day from the shop she works at. Isobel works as a volunteer in a second-hand shop ... OK, I agree ... Second-hand socks, what next? But remember, some second-hand stores sell some wonderful new clothing too.
Not only were they the first ever second-hand socks I wore, they also were the first I had ever seen with the word Thursday written on them!
Dieter's second-hand Thursday socks
Whatever! Wearing these socks to church was no trouble at all. Lucky there was no 'washing of the feet', as some churches still do. (Pope Benedict XVI was reported washing the feet of 12 priests at Easter time). Luckily not where we worship. I would have had to remove my socks and everyone would have seen the hole near the big toe. Plus, how would you explain wearing Thursday socks on Pentecost Sunday?
But the socks matched Pentecost perfectly. Take a look:
Send the fire! (Poster on our church wall beside the platform)
It wasn't because I was bored in church that my mind wandered and noticed how my colours socks matched the Pentecost wall poster. Another observation led my mind up that path.
The Salvation Army is a church, where a large portion of the congregation still wears a black uniform jacket. That morning I had originally noticed how among all the dark uniforms, two ladies stood out. Both wore the same colour combination clothing - red blouses and black skirts. One sat two rows ahead of us, the other two rows ahead of her. What's more, the ladies were in seats, which were right in a straight line with where I was sitting. That's when my eyes opened to the colours on the wall poster.
After the service I couldn't help myself telling one of the red/black ladies, how her clothing was very appropriate, it matched the poster on the wall. I left it at that. Showing off my socks would have been going too far. What would people think? (Isn't the internet a great place for show-and-tell, right here on my own F.ace book?)
Five days later, on Friday June 17th, there was another encounter with the colour red. Again, it was totally unexpected. The only difference was this time another person looked on, and commented. (Read on).
I was on my way to watch the court appearance of a young man at the Adelaide Magistrate's Court. Having left home a little late and pedaling against the wind I feared I may miss the show altogether. I expressed a prayer along the way: "Lord, if the hearing is finished by the time I get there, I'd like to at least have a word with Caleb afterwards."
Caleb was young man, about the age of my son, who turned 28 on the day of writing this. (Indeed they did go to school together.) Caleb was facing the charge of resisting arrest. He'd been in a group of fervent, zealous Christians, who had gotten themselves into a scuffle at a pro gay- marriage rally. Years ago I knew Caleb's father rather well during our time at Paradise Assemblies of God Church.
Just as well I prayed to not miss him; I arrived approx. 15 Minutes after the 10 am start. I went through security and asked at the information desk, where to find Court Room 2. The clerk directed me to the door to my left. I had barely taken a few steps, when from a passage on my right a young man crossed my path. He and another young man, his brother, nearly ran into me. I recognized them straight away.
He seemed as startled as I was and, I must add, acted not very friendly at first. He initially assumed I was from the media. Caleb and a few other young men had previously been in trouble with authorities. The City Council had banned them from preaching in Rundle Mall. They took the matter to court and won the case. Their initial cold approach may have been the result of previous negative experiences with the media.
After I told them, who I was and that I had known them when they were children, they warmed somewhat. We got into a conversation during which they expressed an extreme degree of zeal for what they believe in. I admired them for standing up. I can't recall exactly how I said it, but wanted them to understand that God does not need the help of any human to win His victory.
We spoke briefly about the gay-marriage issue. In the Book of Romans in Chapter 1 the Apostle Paul writes twice, in Verses 24 and 26, God gave them over ... If God gave them over, should we fight and stop those who choose to live a godless life? This does not mean we should remain silent. We are still called to be the salt of the earth, to be speaking the truth in love!
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Salt Church, Gawler SA - Steve Grace Van
If by the grace of God, HE gives us the result we prayed for, after a letter-writing campaign, after praying, marching and flying banners, let's not gloat over and despise those, who are on the other side. They need our love, our understanding, our prayers. Almighty God still reigns, even when misguided atheists foolishly believe they have won. God loves and died for all - even for those calling themselves atheists. Friends, we know the outcome in the final chapter!
Prayer will change things. Are we not commanded to pray for those in authority over us? I find this hard to do too. But effective prayer is the key in changing society peacefully.
I regarded my timely meeting with Caleb as a direct answer to my prayer. Of course, the matter was not important. But God is equally interested in the minor details of our lives, as HE is in major decision. If we would only let HIM be part of it.
There was no other business to attend in town. I mounted my Standish mountain bike. (The GIANT was in the workshop for repairs.) Traffic along King William Street was very slow moving. Weaving between cars, Taxis and buses I came to the source of the hold-up: A group of school children, all dressed in red, waving bright red balloons, were marching down King William Street. Ahead of them marched a professional looking brass band, musicians of the South Australian Police Force.
I caught up with the group just as they were turning into Victoria Drive. The occasion was to promote Red Nose Day, which was to be held the following Friday 24/6. As I cycled beside the group, motorists and onlookers must have thought I was part of that group, and I felt like it. My colours matched perfectly. Take a look:
At the conclusion of their march, I asked for a balloon and tied it to my bike. Before leaving I took a swirl of my red water bottle, when I heard a teacher call out: "You must have meant to be here today."
I agreed with a wave, still holding the red bottle, mounted my red-forked pushbike and pedaled away, back onto Victoria Drive. I passed St. Paul's Cathedral on my left, the Children's Hospital on my right, and continued through North Adelaide toward Prospect Road.
Near the business called Attitude, where once before I had to take shelter, because of rain, I was thinking: The skies look ominous; wouldn't it be strange, if it started raining and I had to take shelter again, right there at that same spot?
I wasn't far off the mark. Less than a kilometer further north on Prospect Road the rain came down. It was heavy, so I decided to shelter. Suddenly I experienced deja vu - balloons! The place where I took shelter was at exactly the same place, where on 12.3.05 I had taken a photo of pink balloons. They were tied on the verandah, the same one I was taking shelter now. (Book 3, Chapter 27)
Waiting for rain to stop, looking at the balloon tied to the back of my bicycle, made me ponder. Suddenly it came - the word LOVE, or LOVE ID to be precise.
The annual Red Nose Day is the fundraising event for the organization, who aims to protect young children from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS >>> ID SS ...ID 55 ...ID LoVe.
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That same evening, still June 17th, my wife and I watched a program on SBS Television. It was a documentary about the attempts by the Nazi Regime to create a master race. Being German born, I felt sad watching these cruel experiments. It showed how children were bred like animals, and raised by the state. Others were brutally snatched right from their parents arms and dragged away. Some never saw their children again.
The program was the catalyst for an email to speak out against a modern-day practice, which I also regarded as child abuse: I emailed the SBS (Special Broadcasting Service):
Friends, our society is changing rapidly before our very eyes. Technology is surging ahead in leaps and bounds. Because lawmakers can't keep up with this fast pace, it's so easy to allow laws to slip through, which years ago would have been unthinkable. Many times impacting law-changes are kept very low-key. God forbid, an open public debate may stir the silent majority into action?
Only when the damage done by ill-conceived laws, do people start to think. Often it's too late!
The case of Rosie* (not her real name), a Queensland woman, is a classic example. Her story was featured on the front page in the Brisbane Courier Mail on May 11th 2011. Queensland MPs, who had legalized surrogacy for anyone - singles, couples, homosexual couples - would have read her sad story, the result of their irresponsible no-brainer legislation:
Rosie had agreed to bear a child for two homosexual men, using the sperm of one of them. She had no worries before the pregnancy, not realizing how deeply a mother bonds with the baby inside her womb. A year later she is still grieving about what she'd done:
(* Source: Newsletter, Family Voice, July 11 ).
There is nothing wrong with change. If it improves quality of life, if it advances mankind or alleviates poverty, then I'm all for it. But if change is forced upon us by politicians, who lost their moral compass, who bow to a trendy few to gain votes, then I stand against it, especially if it violates absolutes, which never ought to change.
Years ago many of my emails ended in this phrase: What we sow that we shall also reap. A world that is deliberately moving away from God Almighty, rebelling arrogantly against all HIS ways, must sooner or later expect consequences.
The world needs healing, the world needs the Good News of Jesus more than ever! It starts with a genuine awakening, an awareness of individual and corporate sin. It must follow with an expression of deep regret and repentance. A radical change in direction will follow naturally.
Inward change will transform individuals. Next it transforms neighbourhood and eventually changes the destination of whole nations. God is pleased and honours a change toward HIM. It goes both ways!
God honours who? One who honours God!