Chapter 16  Written / Published 17.7/23.7.18    (Pics by author, unless indicated)

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

To some the Greatest Show on earth caused football overload during June/July 2018. Here the FIFA World Cup provided magic in this chapter, right in the first sentence.

 

Again, I make no apologies, more than one church video screen came to live with a message, a foolish one maybe? So be it.

 

A significant event in Thailand fascinated the media globally. Questions came that needed to be asked. Perhaps all is scripted? Perhaps by the author of salvation, Almighty God, Himself?

 

At times it feels selfish to be writing in the first person singular all the time. Autobiographies tend to be written that way. My family does not want to be mentioned. One birthday, however, had to be included. God showed up!

 

16.  Foolish, weak and good.

It should not come as a surprise that right here at the beginning of Chapter 16 (in Book 16) the number 3 should be the first one to feature. The number three fits perfectly into the story you are about to read. It's the story of the Saviour, (in German Retter!) the One who died and rose.

It all started on a football field in Moscow during the FIFA 2018 World Cup. England's dream of once again reaching the final and winning soccer's greatest trophy came to an end after losing the semifinal 2:1 against Croatia. I couldn't help myself noticing the names of England's players No.3 and that of No.4 - Rose and Dier. 

The Croatian striker, who shattered England's hopes in extra time, wore jersey No.17. His name ends in ic, as do the names of many of his team mates. His name starts with Man

If this were all there was to point to our Saviour's story, the essence of which is indeed a man, who died and rose again, it would suffice. But with God there's always more!

 

FIFA World Cup 2018 - The England coach (right) consoling players after their loss to Croatia. On left, defender Rose No.3 Final score 1:2.    (Most football pictures in this chapter via SBS TV) 

 

Four days later, two days before starting this chapter, the word rose crossed my path again, literally inside a cross. (Read on, it will make sense). On Sunday 15th July 18 my wife and her mother Agnes Rose, were not in church. I sat on my own in the usual spot toward the back. What I saw next sounds very repetitive. But... so be it. Amen!

Without trying to pick it up, during one song my eyes fell onto the word rose. The microphone cable ran through it. Next, there came a message which ran along the cable. Strange it is - but so true:

 

He (my God) H e  rose - Jesus! 

After pasting above image onto this page, pondering how peculiar God works, the globally recognized symbol of the Christian cross came to mind: 

The cross of Jesus, his death and resurrection, turned the world upside down.

 

There was still more. If any readers still believe in coincident, let them. The words of the cross will always be foolishness in their narrow minds. But what came next, only 24 hours before writing this paragraph, two days after above church service, is not foolishness. It's fact. 

In the evening I started a crossword puzzle, one of those German ones, written about in previous chapters. Sure enough, here it came again:

 edle Blume = noble flower. 

(Rose is the same word in German and English)

Another surprise* came: Bottom right - aus einer Gefahr befreien (Retten) Translated - Rescue from danger (Saving [someone]). 

*The theme of the (rose) church service on 15/7/18 was: Surprise the World! The Christian walk may not be a bed of roses, but the journey is full of surprises!

The world is in urgent need of being rescued. All are on the road to damnation, except those who accept God's gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Everyone must choose. Would you not rather be rescued?

- - - - - - -

(Back to Russia's big football show). As I watched a few games on SBS television I took a few photos; just for the record and perhaps, something to blog about here? Sport does provide a certain amount of entertainment and pleasure, especially when doing it, rather than watching while reclining on the couch. It's just like our faith - don't just sit and believe - get up and do something. (More of that in a moment).

Here are a couple of pictures I captured off the TV screen. In preparation for this chapter one surprise came after another, even during writing; names, numbers, links:

<<< June 18.18.

Sweden players (10 & 8) celebrate 1:0 victory over South Korea.

I isen? Of course, One is en (and risen!)

 

Below: Who would ever have thought that a referee needs to bring shave cream to work? (But then, when 3000 million people are looking on, you want to look your best. A quick shave at half time? Why not?)

England's No.19 waiting to take a free kick >>>

 

I cropped this picture to show VAN. As I did, it hit me - the time of play (11636). Those same numbers happen to be those in the very first sentence in this chapter.

What a surprise! Precise to the very second!

 

It was time to dig a little deeper. I discovered the name (Christian name) of this player - Marcus, like the cyclone in the previous chapter!

There was one more surprise in above picture - the letters ET. These indicate that play had progressed to extra time, since no winner had been established on the full time whistle.

When I tuned into the match on television, it was already extra time (before 5 am in Australia). Another player in the English team playing above, was No.4 DIER, who already received a mention at the beginning of this chapter. The letters ET suddenly fitted right in; into DIER - DIETER

 Take a look at two other names, world football stars in Moscow.

Left: No.7 (His Majesty) SON. G.Jesus played for Brazil in No.9 (right). (One could make a song and free kick out of it).

Brazil, a favourite to win, in the end disappointed its fans. Their dream came to an end in the quarterfinals, losing 2:1 against Belgium. Even No. 9 Jesus could not work a miracle. The real Jesus never fails. HE has already won!

There were other names I picked up watching the TV screen: Tolisso, who was part of the French winning squad. Uruguay's Diego Godin must have the most holy name of any player. Then there is Sweden's THELIN. He only came on at the 90 minute mark in the match against Germany on June 24th. Perhaps the coach had promised him that he'll play that day. It happened to be his birthday.

Isn't it strange, how the letters N and L have followed us for so many years, since the early books. The street where we live runs into Nelson Road. Out of curiosity I measured the distance earlier. From here to there is approximately 240 steps.

Shattered faces  >>>

Croatia's No.6 Lovren and No.10 Modric, who won the Player of the Tournament trophy, can be proud of their achievement. The 4:2 loss against France in the grand final represents in no way the game play:

Croatia had 61% of play they kicked 3 times as many corners and committed fewer fouls.

Right: At the conclusion of the FIFA 2018 World Cup, during the presentation, the heavens opened up. Perhaps not only two world leaders, but the Number ONE world leader showed up? HE loves football.

Note NOS 20 22, the year they will do it all over again, GOD willing!

(Love the name Mac (Son) [r] on); but then ...t in ... not bad either).

 

How amazing that God would choose an event, watched by hundreds of millions, to make his presence felt and to drive home once again the simple gospel message of John 3, 16.

The last Book in the Bible, Revelations speaks of an event, when... "every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him"; and all peoples on earth "will mourn because of Him." So shall it be! Amen. (Revelations 1, 7).

Only in the past few decades has there been technology available, where this prophesy could become a reality - live television. When this scripture was written everybody thought the earth was flat. Anyone looking skyward would see the same thing. A round earth made this impossible. Only live television can broadcast an event globally. Every eye can see it simultaneously. Later we shall return to that little word 'eye', having a little fun with it.

But first back to the memorable Sunday morning (rose) church service on July 15, 18. The preacher delivered a really challenging sermon. He aimed it at those Christians, who find it hard to engage with non believers, who don't know how to best talk about their faith and the hope they have in Jesus Christ; a message for everyone.

The practical lesson that morning was based on a teaching series by Australian author Michael Frost, who leads an organization called Crossover. The speaker gave five main points to remember, which have proven successful in reaching out (crossing over) to unbelievers.

One way was to invite people into your home for a meal. At the end the preacher asked listeners to raise their hand, those who wanted to commit to it. He was very specific that the invitation should be for a minimum of three people, one of which must be a non-church going person.

My hand went up without hesitation. There was a good reason for it. Already during the sermon I had contemplated inviting three particular people for a meal, either for the following Monday or Tuesday evening. (They were overseas visitors, leaving town on Wednesday). 

Next, moments after the final song, I had a missed call on my mobile phone. My wife had tried to reach me a few minutes earlier. When I returned the call she said: "Could you please phone S... and invite him and A.. and their son for lunch today?"

I was astounded. Neither had my wife been in church, nor did she know anything about the sermon. Of course, I did as I was told. One and a half hours later we shared a meal with three lovely people. They had been to our place for a meal about two years earlier. 

 

<<< Our guests...

... A and her son are believers. They blessed us as they sang grace before the meal in their native language.

The third visitor, bless him, has not yet become a churchgoer. God knows his heart. 

Friends, on the Christian journey there are no co-incidences; only surprises, where God's Holy Spirit is evident, working things together for good, our good and that of others. 

- - - - - - -

Sorry to readers who are not enthusiastic for the real football, but one more Sunday morning incident, surrounding the World Cup, provided a number of surprises. As strange as it may seem, it started also with a picture I took after a world cup football match:

Below: Dejected Swedish players, after losing to Germany

The score had been 1:1 until Germany's forward Kroos scored the winner in the final minutes of the game. Germany's hopes were raised, flags still flying high. Sweden later progressed anyway, while the German giants, the World Cup holders, were eliminated in the group matches. 

(From memory) I captured the SBS television picture because I liked IT (se - read backwards translated into German). The numbers 2 and 4 came to light a few hours later in church:

As I sat in church for the (June 24th) church service to start, sitting quietly in my seat, the 2 4 picture of Sweden's losing team was long behind me. Suddenly, as happens every Sunday, on the front on the video screens certain graphics came up. Various upcoming events are announced that way.

One graphic made me take note, getting my phone ready to take a picture. Two numbers, 2 and 4, were central of this graphic. At this point the football photo, Sweden's 2 and 4, from the TV screen a short time earlier, came to mind. Everything suddenly fell into place, like pieces that fitted into a big puzzle:

CELEBRATE THE 4th ON THE 2nd!

Church Screens: 24 June:

Advertising the program for the Over 50s Club to celebrate the American Independence Day on July 2nd not the 4th. (The Club only meets Mondays).

A closer look revealed more suprises:

Note the cable on left covered the letter E; on the right the letter A.

Since my Book 4, Ch. 10 

the letters EA have popped up regularly. They originated during a trip to the USA. This explains why seeing the USA flag on the screen, made a perfect link. Halfway through church the date suddenly struck me - it was the 24th that Sunday.

- - - - - - -

On the same day a news item flashed across the television screen. A man who had been missing for two weeks was found dead in scrubland. As it is in our media driven society, so much drama dominates the news, other people's tragedy becomes our entertainment. In ancient Rome it was the same, except the killings were staged in an arena to entertain the crowds. Nobody dare suggest that today's events could be staged! 

The name of the dead man, Roger Jacobs, struck a cord in my brain. In the chapter I had just published, the previous Chapter 15, both names Roger and Jacob had played a big part. What should I make of it? The printed press gave the name of the deceased man's dog - Bandit. Code ao could create this - Good id t.

Further in the report (The Advertiser online, June 24th, 2018) appears a name - Sheree. My brain can't help seeing the little words 'he and er' as well as numbers (ie. Mr. Jacobs weighed 110 kg = 1 1 15?)

According to this new story: "Police appealed for shop owners and residents with security cameras to check their footage as they tried to piece together his movements." Why would this be necessary? Why would it be of significance to trace where the man walked his dog, when the same police is saying: There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the man's death? 

A far more prominent news story, one that captured global interest, came out of Thailand. A youth soccer team, twelve boys, and their coach went missing after training one day. Outside a cave searchers found their bicycles and rucksacks; no sign of the boys, aged 11-15 and their 25 year-old coach. They were called the 'Wild Boars'.

The more this event unfolded, the more questions arose in my mind. When I read somewhere that the Thai Prime Minister's name starts with Pray... my curiosity only increased. The first news item on our screens, from memory, was on June 23rd 2018, then ... nothing; not on the 6 PM news, nor online even, no more updates for a day or two. Had the media forgotten these boys?

In contrast, after the stranded team had been found and rescued, there was news overload. Every detail, over and over, was shown. The media went to the other extreme. After their release from hospital one reporter said: "The media is in a feeding frenzy. Some boys had to be moved to a secret location and were not allowed to speak..." or words to that effect. (Source: Liam Cochrane, Twitter)

Nowhere did I see or hear (unless I missed it) our media showing or telling about this misleading warning sign:

Pic. Bangkokpost.com

<<< DANGER !

 

From July-November the cave is flooded. No Entry.

Does this mean it was safe to enter in June? The cave flooded big time.

 

Did this sign cause all the fuss? 13 young lives were at risk. 

The boys located  >>>

 

In my youth I went to soccer training. We were tired afterwards. Cave exploration had not been a skill necessary to be a good player! A British diver was the first to make contact.

Note - Boar No.20.

Was he the one giving the V sign later?               (Pic. Fox News)

The number 20 has always been a sacred number, ever since writing the chapter called 'The two tens of Jesus'. Jesus had been a coach*. HE had a team of 12 to look after.

(*On writing I decoded coach - cc H ao - or 'God sees it).

One television personality, when referring to the safe rescue of the boys, spoke about their 'salvation'. The story had a happy ending. But one must not forget the ONE, who lost his life so all could be free. 

On the TV screen, I recall it vividly, the deceased diver was on one occasion referred to as THAI NAVY SEA; no L. To me it made sense.

The rescue divers had to get through a 38 cm gap; the distance was described as the length of 3 Mars bars! It made me think, what did the 25 year old coach of the Wild Boars think? First we have hard training, then a bike ride before all 13 will scramble for eight kilometers in and out of that cave? Even without rain, what madness!

During the peak period time of this worldwide media coverage, on July 5th 18, I was listening briefly to the BBC News. It was sometime during the night. The male news reader broadcast the latest. He first mentioned the V sign one of the boys had given. Next I heard: "The cave children had been given presidents / presents, which had kept them nourished during their ordeal..."

 The reader had very quickly corrected his error. I wondered how, at that level of professionalism, such an error could be made? Now not merely the letter V, but id stood out. (Read on). 

The suggestion was broadcast that the trapped group may have to wait until the monsoon rains stopped four months later. Imagine, four months in a dark, wet prison!. It was a ludicrous idea, just to do nothing and wait for the rains to stop. How did the parents react to this possibility? They already had weeks of agony to cope with.

After the first (or second) group of boys had been brought out I heard TV Channel Seven reporter Chris Reason say this: "The divers now need 20 hours rest ..."  (Our No.20 again!) This also sounded strange. When over 1000 people allegedly were involved in the rescue, wouldn't others be on standby to immediately continue?

One morning as the Thai rescue again dominated the TV screen, a brief, unusual segment about children and sunglasses followed. Why this subject, why now in the middle of our winter, an item regarding eye damage to children exposed to bright sunlight?

Pic.eyedoctorguide.com 

From there my creativity took over. I saw the word eye as a palindrome, a word which spells the same when read backward. (God must love palindromes. The German word for Saviour - Retter - is one!)

Earlier in above TV segment the word DIVER took my fancy as I read it backward; a V in the center. 

(Hey, I just noticed - Retter - Re HE with two tt in the center. WOW!)

I remembered the V sign one trapped boy had given to a television camera. It called for an email to the station to have some fun, but also ask some questions. (Note: In the first sentence there are seven palindromes:)

Subject: Re v id  

Hi all,

Did I hear Dr. Mansberg say, if Mum and Pop take little Anna and Otto to Glenelg beach at noon, they could get cancer in the eye?

PS Why did we not hear anything for two days after the initial children in Thai cave story? Two weeks later  - news overload. Why did they report 1000 intern'l rescuers were involved, but now each diver needs 20 hours rest? Viewer who think want all to make sense.

 

The word palindrome, according to Wikipedia, comes from the Greek 'palin' meaning 'back' and 'drome' direction. It not only applies to words, but also to whole sentences. 

A very clever brain (not mine) with an equally sharp eye, came up with this brilliant example: A MAN A PLAN A CANAL PANAMA.

- - - - - - -

As readers know by now I do see things, sometimes ordinary things, which then turn into weird stuff. On 1.7 after publishing the previous chapter, on 17th June, my wife Isobel, her mother Agnes Rose and myself visited the Heights Church Modbury. No microphone cables are hanging from their ceiling. But there was a message at the front, which came in a huge graphic on the wall behind the platform:

<<< Welcome Home

It was not a cable that provided a coded message. It was a the lectern on the platform. It covered the two letters ME.

I certainly felt welcome. My eye saw also: WE C it L. 

Three weeks later, on the day of writing, we again attended this place of worship. We sang a good song: "God you're so good ... to ME."
God has indeed been good. HE is all good.

So good in fact, that Sunday morning, after being seated Moses arrived. HEsat right next to me. >>>

The little boy's name was on his back, ready for Sunday Church. (Photo with permission.) 

That Sunday, July 22nd 2018 was a special Sunday for the Heights Church. It was the very first Church service after two large congregations in the North Eastern Bible belt of Adelaide had combined. (We live not far down the road, in the lower parts, the Old Testament). 

The speaker for the well advertised event was veteran Pastor AE, a well known personality in church circles and the political scene in Australia. His text could not have been more appropriate. His message spoke right into my heart. It was so germane, pointing in my direction, when the scripture was projected onto the screen I took a picture:

1. Corinthians 1, 27: (The date 22.7)

"But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong."

Is there anything more foolish than to link a verse in the bible with the date that day? Or the speakers name, his initials, with an earlier photo taken of another church screen? How many times have I felt like a fool, writing all the complex links, the numbers, the letters, the names and wove them into a story, HIS story? 

If there was a fool in that congregation that morning, it was ME. God is good to all. To those who take pictures in church, HE is especially good. Love it.

AE stands for Andrew Evans, a spiritual giant who over decades has influenced many lives all over the world. 

The draft of this chapter was ready for editing on the morning of publishing. But there was more, events very early that day, which needed to be added. Two letters in the alphabet, the letters DT, triggered another story. Timing is again central to it all:

During the singing at the Heights Church service an error appeared in the lyrics on the big screen. A song included the phrase - A BRAN NEW... [Day or Life?] Even my wife had noticed the missing D. - that deserves special mention! The word Brand in German means FIRE.

Stop Press! On editing, I just recalled this right here!

Channel Seven TV reported a fire, only a day or less, before above church service!

A storage container at the Heights Church had been broken into and set alight! How spooky!?

 

My mind wandered back to football, during church worship - how carnal !? In the first match Germany had played against Mexico. Very late in the game a young, blond player came onto the field. His name was BRANDT. His age is 22. His jersey No.20. (The earlier football picture 22 20 was far from my mind then).

When I first woke (on the morning of publishing) the time showed 4.09 AM. Looking at it three hours later it was a good example of the scripture:  "HE waketh me morning by morning ...He waketh my ear to listen" (Isaiah 50, 4).

Many revelations had come at that time of the morning. It was no different then. The name BRANDT and No.20 occupied my thinking. I had written earlier in this chapter about No.20, even considered mentioning the young German football star. Now I must:

 

Pic. Google Images

<<< BRANDT 20

Suddenly this came: T is the 20th letter of the alphabet. D is the 4th. AMAZING, the time on the clock showed 4.20 AM.

 

I had to rise and document it all, thinking that I may fall asleep again and not remember. I rose and booted up the DT, sorry PC. 

- - - - - - -

Good things seem to happen early in the morning, especially on Sundays. On July 8th 18 my wife asked me to write a brief something onto the birthday card of one of our sons. (The handsome, blond young man would hate to be named or shown here). We were in a bit of a rush, as many church goers are every Sunday. So I scribbled the first thing that dropped into my mind: "Trust in the Lord, with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3, 5). 

Within the hour we were sitting in church. Before the service had actually started the choir got onto the stage and sang a song. I had never heard them sing it before. The lyrics were straight from Proverbs. You guessed it, Proverbs 3, 5: Trust in the Lord with all your heart ..."

But there was more, more good came the next day, as I pondered what had happened, how God had showed up the previous day. Next this came: It was our son's 35th birthday. (Surely goodness and numbers shall follow me ...) 

Psalm 73 starts with these words: "God is good to Israel ..."

Earlier in this chapter the letters AE provided magic. During this writing, perhaps because of these letters, I saw the name ISRAEL, slightly changed, in a special way - IS REAL.

The God of Israel, the only true God, is indeed for real. Open your eye to see HIM. HE certainly sees you and ALL. 

The eyes of the LORD are in every place, watching the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15, 3)

 

During the recent big football event in Moscow, for the first time, video action replay, has been used to assist the referee making the right decisions. Players who do the wrong thing no longer get away with it. The replay in slow motions reveals every detail.

So will it be on the day of judgment. Nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light. (Luke 8, 17).

In the book of Romans the bible warns those who think God does not see the evil they do, those who don't take God seriously:

"But you are so stubborn! You refuse to change. So you are making your own punishment greater and greater. You will be punished on the day when God will show his anger. On that day everyone will see how right God is to judge people. He will reward or punish everyone for what they have done." (Romans 2, 5-6 ERV).

How different the future will be for those who do good for God's glory:

“Some people live for God’s glory, for honour, and for life that cannot be destroyed. They live for those things by always continuing to do good. God will give eternal life to them." (Rom 2, 8 ERV).

Isn't it time to decide how you want to live?

Chapter 17

Index