Chapter 19 Written / Published 16.11/.19.11.18 (Pics by author, unless indicated)
On 15.11. I received an appointment card for 11.15 am for ... A numbers fan could go around the bend over it. To digest such incidences I write them down and leave the rest to God. Not surprising, there are many numbers in this final chapter of Book 16.
In the lighter parts we shall travel to the Apple Isle of Tasmania, walking down memory lane and visiting old friends. (Yes, I do have friends!).
But we can't ignore the seriousness of the culture war that is raging in society. A year ago, late in 2017, some influential people brainwashed us, saying: "Same sex marriage won't change anything, vote for it." They were wrong! Read how a young couple lost their business they had built up over 12 years, because they would not compromise their faith.
I can't remain silent about the mass murder that goes on in our society. It must make God raging mad - the killing of innocent, voiceless, unborn little babies. Who will stand up for them? If people only humbled themselves and turned to God, it would be heaven on earth. Without God's mercy Paradise is lost.
19. N Can
"What is the opposite of fragile?" Robbie Schuller, the young evangelist was speaking during his regular Sunday morning broadcast on our TV Channel Ten. The date that November morning in 2018 was special; it was the 11th of the 11th. In Australia it was Remembrance Day, the time we remember and honour those fallen on the battlefield.
For the first time in a while I rose early to tune into the television program, the Hour of Power. Robbie's grandfather, the late Robert Schuller, started it many decades ago. According to their website it's the longest running one-hour TV program in Australia.
Robbie talked about a writer, whose name sounded like Caleb. This name had often come up in my extensive volumes of writing. Later I found that I had misheard. The correct name was Taleb. Almost automatically, my playful mind thought of the letters C T.
Professor Taleb developed a theory he called antifragility, which is (in answer to above question) the opposite of fragility. (More in a moment).
Fast forward about 12 hours. I was riding through the Adelaide suburb of Pooraka. Normally I would follow a different route, but had decided that evening to take Henderson instead. For no explicable reason the Caleb/Taleb from early that morning popped into my head. I remembered the 'see [the] cross' code. About three seconds later, perhaps five, to my right I spotted this:
An explanation of the meaning of antifragility sounds like a foreign language, which needs translating:
Another website describes antifragility this way:
Robbie gave the example of Hydra, the Greek mythological creature that has numerous heads. When one is cut off, two grow back in its place. As I understood antifragility it is a power that uses chaos or calamity to improve the status quo.
Whatever it is, the idea that something unimaginably good can come out of utter chaos, is not new. In the bible are numerous stories of men, who started out chaotically, but God in the end gave them great success. Personally, late last century after losing my employment, my health and on the surface my sanity, my life appeared to be one big mess.
Just think of Job, who lost his wealth, his health and his family. Yet, he trusted God, who restored it all twice over!
Think of Josef, who at the lowest point in his life had been thrown into a pit to die. God came to the rescue and he ended up as the second most powerful man in Egypt. Then there's King David, the giant-killer who committed adultery. He ended up writing the finest poetry ever composed, which is still read daily by hundreds of millions around the world.
And who else but Jesus has experienced the worst fate of all, death itself and rose to become the Saviour of mankind? I can't help thinking of the letters C T and read again a chapter I wrote in 2004, almost 15 years ago, titled: "What the cross is all about."
How comforting to think that God can use my weird stories about, numbers, names and pictures I snapped in passing and turn the disorder into something beautiful for HIS glory.
Our Salvation Army Captain in church that Sunday morning introduced Remembrance Day with a picture on the screens. It showed a group of soldiers at the time of the Second World War. It included his grandfather.
Whatever my wife thought, I don't know? She is yet to show even a mild form of excitement when I point out numbers. On arrival in church the odometer only reached 122221. No problem! A short drive around the block after church, without any passengers, did it. Lucky I had my camera with me.
At the time I felt a little silly, really, wasting fuel to be taking a picture of an odometer reading. But I'm glad I did it anyway, because two days later (Note 2 !) that same number crossed my path with a dollar symbol attached:
Anyone reading this would be wondering - what is the moral behind all this? I am too. Now there's two of us.
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Hobart, Constitution Dock, looking up Mount Wellington.
What better way to clear our mind of numbers than to go on an interstate trip - to Hobart, Tasmania, capital of the Apple Island state. We had lived there for almost 9 years from 1974-1983. It was my wife's first trip back in all those years. She had given birth in '75 and '77 to our two eldest children at Queen Alexandra Hospital in historic Battery Point.
This city on the Derwent, no doubt, is the most picturesque of all Australian capitals. Here I first became a driving instructor. I know the place well. After leaving 35 years ago we still know some people well. One particular couple H and Y, his wife, who I taught to drive, had visited us in South Australia. (Some loyal customers, every driving instructor knows it, often become friends).
The trip from Adelaide to Hobart took under two hours, since direct flights had again been introduced. My wife would have paid little attention to the pilot's surname - King. Flying skills are, after all, more important than surnames.
For two nights we stayed with our friends H&Y in the southern suburb of Blackmans Bay. They lived only a short distance from the beach in small house at number 2/28.
It is not surprising that the district is full of newcomers, who have escaped the hustle and bustle of the crowded cities of the mainland. One of those was an artist couple I briefly spoke to in the small township of Woodbridge, population 271. They had moved there from Sydney and were running a small antique shop in the main street. Not only did they love the place, two of their three children also made the sea change to Hobart.
They would have been surprised when I, a total stranger, approached them and said: "Hello, you must be Jan and Greg!" How did I know their name? Easy! Earlier I had seen them walking out of the craft shop on the main street. Next I picked up a tourist leaflet at the information desk, which had their story in it, including their names. Later I recognized them enjoying a drink on the terrace of the nearby hotel. What enviable lifestyle, I thought ... until winter arrives!
Relaxing during our second evening in our spacious, modern apartment I took the crossword block out of my luggage and started my brain exercise. At the time I had not thought of Penguin Book Publishers. Next came this:
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Having chosen Penguin, not any other holiday spot on the coast, as our main tourist destination turned out to be penculiar, if you pardon the extra n. Originally, looking for a holiday apartment I had researched Stanley, at the very end of the northwest coast. H. said the distance was too great from Hobart. So I changed our destination to Penguin. At the time I had no idea of a connection to our friends H & Y.
One of the tourist brochures listed the landmarks of Penguin. In first spot on this particular publication was the historic cemetery. It's located above the town overlooking the town and the beach. One morning we all took a walk. I snapped this picture:
When booking the apartment, located right in the center of Penguin, opposite the beach, I had had no idea that my friend H. had relatives living in this town. Nor did I know that one of his brothers is buried in the above cemetery. Nor did I know that one of H's relatives lived right across the road from the cemetery. She's the Anne we met shortly after taking above picture.
Two days later the letters a n again crossed my peculiar mind. It was a Sunday morning. We all went to church. The news sheet included the names of parishioners on roster for certain duties. Every name, except one, started with A n. Take a look:
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As with many short holidays, the problem is they are too short. Had circumstances permitted we would have stayed on and enjoyed more of the pretty, lush green countryside of Tasmania. On the return south we paid a short visit to Sheffield, the mural capital of Australia. Our travel companion Y had worked there many years ago. That night we stayed in Launceston, which gave us ample time to stroll through Cataract Gorge, which was undergoing a major facelift.
En route back to Hobart through the Tasmanian midlands we stopped in Evandale, in Ross and in one of the top tourist town around Hobart, the village of Richmond. There we strolled over the oldest bridge in Australia for a brief visit to St. John's Church. (In previous books, i.e. Bk.7/22, Bk.13/6 and Bk 10/10 I wrote about Tasmania, hence fewer details here).
Fast forward five hours. My wife and I were waiting for a friend to pick us up in central Hobart for a brief visit to their suburban home. We had not arranged for an exact location. We were to phone and he would be there at short notice. So it was. Soon after I had shown my wife the plaque at Scots Church, the one that was erected in memory of my deceased friend Doug, whose funeral I attended in 2009, (Bk. 7, 22) I looked around for a good pick up point.
Nearby was a McDonalds Restaurant. Everybody would know it. I phoned my friend to pick us up just across the road in Argyle Street, That's when number 1250 showed up, totally unexpected, painted on the kerbside:
The two Anna's referred to earlier in this chapter actually showed up on our TV screens before our Tasmanian holiday. (Readers familiar with my style would understand why things often turn upside down and back to front.) Let's pick up from the previous chapter, my friend in hospital on her deathbed.
The day before Hedie died in the Royal Adelaide Hospital I had again visited her. This time I stood beside the correct bed and talked to the right woman. It was plain to see she had only a short time to live. Everyone who ever witnessed a loved one or a friend deteriorate, from a healthy being to a person struggling for life, would realize how fragile and fleeting life is. The writer of a psalm expressed it this way:
But Book 16 is not about death, it's about God's goodness, about life. Psalm 103 goes on:
The sixths commandment God gave to Moses is: "Thou shall not kill". Before anybody feels guiltless of breaking this commandment, think again! Australians and many other nations commit murder on a daily basis on a grand scale. The truth of this barbaric mass murder is too sad to contemplate. The audacity of those responsible is nothing short of a slap in the face of God Almighty.
Why is this tragedy, the killing of thousands of unborn babies each year, virtually ignored by society in general? A little googling and I found that some states don't bother keeping statistics. Maybe, the figures are too distressing? Few politicians are courageous enough to confront those feminists, who claim the right to kill a life their body has created.
In October 2018 a powerful female politician announced on national television that she is proud that women now can kill the unborn legally. What a no-brainer!
Isn't this issue a good example where the human brain developed skills, in this case to 'safely' kill, whilst morals and conscience are suppressed?
A verse in the Psalms comes to mind that points the finger at evildoers, who use the law to work their deeds of iniquity! (Psalm 94, 20).
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Thinking some more made me ask this question: "Did the abortion laws really need to be changed? Was there an urgency for this 'historic vote' or was all just another push by a female in power to assert women's rights?"
To find this out I searched online, if anybody has ever been prosecuted for an illegal abortion in recent years? The keywords 'prosecuted for abortion' brought up few results, at least in Australia. It took a while finding a case. The Sydney Morning Herald reported on 14. August 2014 that a young lady, after being pressured by her boyfriend, bought a prohibited drug online in order to terminate her pregnancy. The woman was convicted of the offense and given a three-year good behaviour bond.
Does this not show that the Queensland state parliament just wanted to assert women's rights? What about the most basic of human rights - to be born! What hypocrisy in this age, where child protection and children's rights have almost become a religion, yet at the same time politicians make laws that allows the killing of these helpless, voiceless humans!
Who is protecting them, who will speak up against the evildoers!
It's wonderful that Australia, and other civilized countries, care for sick children from third-world countries. But why allow the barbaric act of crushing the sculls of thousands of a healthy humans, whose heart is beating, whose blood is circulating, whose feet are kicking, who feel pain? If only their feeble cries could be heard! They would plead for life, for protection from evil and to simply be allowed to live!
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During the week of this writing a certain sector of our community celebrated a milestone in Australia's history. It was the first anniversary of the law, passed in late 2017, which changed the definition of marriage in Australia. Anybody can now marry anybody. God's creation of male and female is not relevant any longer. The law says so! And woe to anybody who thinks otherwise!
Many who opposed the change feared that the gay lobby won't be satisfied with gaining the right to marriage. This is exactly what has happened. They now want anyone who speaks against their lifestyle, who refuses service on the ground of their religious belief, to be gagged and prosecuted - by law!
But a far more sinister method is being used to pressure opponents to gay marriage into submission. On the very day as I type these paragraphs, the Weekend Australian newspaper features on the front page this headline:
Many high profile, influential people in late 2017 brainwashed the community via the media that ordinary folk would have nothing to worry about, if they voted yes and gay marriage was made legal. Good people voted yes, blindly naive, led astray by our leaders.
The persecution of Christians is nothing new. Thousands die every year for their faith. But who would have thought it would happen in civilized countries like Australia, UK or the USA?
Perhaps the three letter word in the top left corner of above picture is symbolic? God will bring to an END all wickedness and evil. Christians around the world await the day of HIS return. Evil men will be destroyed. The righteous will worship HIM, dressed in robes of WHITE!
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Let's backtrack again to September 18. On my way home from seeing my German friend Hedie for the final time I noticed a parked vehicle in a suburban back street. Its personalized registration plate somehow registered in the back of my mind. Later I found out that part of the title of Chapter 2 in this, Book 16, is almost identical - 750 L1.
From there, one thing led to another - from the daily Bible reading 'Word for Today' to the name Anna, who used to be the Premier of Queensland. Here's the story:
In Australia one industry is being cleaned out at the time of this writing in 2018. A Royal Commission has been hearing evidence into the banking sector. What has emerged is nothing short of scandalous - theft by big business on a grand scale!
On the day of commencing this chapter (16.11.18) it was announced that another 51.5 Million Dollars will be spent on continuing this major cleaning process. On the day of publishing the Banking Royal Commission begins its seventh and final round of hearings, after almost a year of exposing dubious business practices by our big 4 banks. There may be criminal prosecutions to follow.
What came next, on the same evening, can only be explained in this way: The Holy Spirit inspired the writer of the Word for Today to question the trustworthiness of banks and the publishers to print it on that specific day: Take a look:
Amazing, how the last line in Word For Today ends with: "Here's an important...?" Important what? Bank? No, important Bible truth!
I see the letters AN not only with a Dollars sign attached, but rather separated into a n, to read: Here's a N important!
The N in my books is symbolic. It points to the man who died on a cross. The ultimate antifragility (this new word we learned also starts with an) was demonstrated when Jesus suffered and sacrificed HIS life, so that mankind should not die, but forever LIVE.
The biggest paradox in the Christian life is this: In order to really live we must die. Not literally, but to our own selfish ways. The Apostle Paul put it this way:
End of Book 16.
Any further writing, and the form it will take, is in God's hand.