Chapter 12 Written / Published 3.9/9.9.19 (Pics by author, unless indicated)
What a strange name I thought, as I cycled past a street sign Flame Street. I had not noticed it before. Maybe it registered, because I was on my way to a fire safety training session? The date was 9.9. The digits brought back memories of my very first 'flame' (heart throb), a girl called Magdalene. Her birthday was 9.9. Sadly, she died too young, in her mid 60s.
Today's chapter brings out some surprising 9s, as well as 69. Don't be confused by the travels to the US, which we conclude here, and jumping into the present. I'm trying to explain the madness intelligently.
While writing the scrip, crazy or otherwise, links turn up unexpectedly. I can choose to ignore them, or ponder and marvel, just as I did with 'The Last Word'.
Life is about choices, the good and the bad. Choices decide our future, everyone's eternal future!
12. The Last Word - choices
Jesus died and rose from the dead. Had HE not risen, it would have all been in vain. Because HE rose, God demonstrated HIS sovereign power over life and death.
Five days after the previous chapter, my mother in law, Agnes died. Rose is her middle name. (In the next the chapter we shall read about her passing). But first I must write about a SW (supernaturally worked) discovery, which came after, fifteen hours or so after, I had made public the previous chapter 11.
The last word on the page is rose. My creative mind meant it as a link to my mother in law, Agnes Rose. That all changed after reading three words in the devotional booklet Our Daily Bread:
But there was more, something ardent readers may already have spotted in above image: The drop letter H. How incredible, on the day I published the it chapter, the H letter shows up! They may also know what my curious mind was thinking next: How often does the letter H appear as drop letter in this 3 monthly booklet?
I checked out each page of the 91 daily readings. In all of September, October and November the drop letter H appeared only once, on September 5 as shown in above image.
That's why the Christian faith is unique! The Lord of the whole universe is alive. HE rose from the dead. You better believe it!
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Fast forward 4 days:
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Returning to our bicycle tour in the US, there was one incident I so far failed to mention, which had a sequel the day after publishing the previous chapter. It had happened riding the four lane highway between Eureka and Fortuna, California.
The weather was sunny and mild, a flat road, cycling at its best. I would not have wanted to be be anywhere that Sunday morning (9/6/19), except perhaps among fellow believers in a inspirational church service.
To our right, riding through Eureka, a sports arena was filled with spectators watching a baseball game. (It may have been football?). Not long after, I distinctly remember thinking - in three weeks of riding my bike in the US, I had not yet found a vehicle registration plate anywhere. During other long distance rides, I had picked up one in the UK, in Germany, in France, even the Czech Republic. Nothing so far in the US!
Within a few moments, perhaps 30 seconds, in the high grass beside the highway I spotted one. My 'fortune' came (pardon the pun) while approaching the town of Fortuna.
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Friends, what came next - after pasting above paragraph and picture here - on 6.9.19 - may sound like a tall story by someone, who makes up tall stories. All I know - it was as it was, I saw what I saw and took a picture in order to, perhaps, write about or make sense of it later:
Thinking about it, more came! Poker players know that 789 makes a run and 1-6 would make an even longer one! If we were to take [1-6] 789 from above NC number plate this would leave 09. (On writing it just occurred how MULTI YEAR fits...!?)
You see, in the year 09 a catastrophic, natural disaster took place in Australia. A few months before the 09 event I had also found a car registration plate on the side of the road. That number was 272. These three digits were also part of the date when the catastrophe had occurred - 7.2.2009.
(Back to California)
San Francisco's weather was unusually cold for June. The skies were overcast. Jon had decided to stay right in Downtown, while I had chosen an airbnb, across the Bay in Oakland. Separating gave him some space after riding together for nine days.
The metro from Oakland took me right into the heart of San Francisco in about 20 minutes. The station was Embarcadero, which exits right into Market Street, the main shopping precinct in downtown San Francisco:
In 2012 I had taken a photo in this street. A fervent follower of the bible had been standing outside a Forever 21 store, holding a placard: Jesus loves you. No, he wasn't still there, but I still wanted to take another picture:
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The commencement date of this chapter is 3.9. So let's take a look at famous Pier 39, the fun tourist park that no visitor to the city would want miss.
As mentioned, Jon had chosen to stay in the city itself, at the Youth Hostel in Post Street. Like many buildings in San Francisco the architecture was noteworthy; the bay windows and fire escape at the front, a unique feature. While waiting for Jon outside I spotted three flags beside their front entrance. (See arrow below).
Besides the flags, more fun came with the address of this hostel in downtown San Fran - 711 Post Street. (This is the 711 link I had alluded to at the end of the previous chapter). But not only the street number, but also the street name - Post - brought out some numbers.
Australia Post announced a reduction in their parcel post rates as from the end of September 2019. It made the nightly news. It came on the day that I wrote about it and it was the surprise. (Aha!!! Typing this I just noticed 2019 includes it).
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In the previous chapter I wrote that at a particular junction, during our coastal bike ride, I had to make a choice: Will it be Route 101 or 1? Later in the day, as I sat on the P/C checking my email, suddenly the word 'Choices' came up in the subject line. It was a regular email I received from California, the first email in my inbox since publishing the chapter hours earlier.
Next, as if I was again led by my inner holy radar during my evening bike ride, there it came again. Take a look:
Why do these things happen? They tease me. Why do I see all this, something which almost has become a pattern we gotten used to? There's only one answer I can think of: God is challenging readers, not only those who received the Choices email, but you the reader as well.
The same message, straight from the bible, is in Romans 6, Verse 23: "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
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Another very well known verse in the scriptures expresses the same life-saving message. It's the entire gospel message in one verse, quoted so often, it has almost become a cliché. Yet it's the simple message of God's love saving those who truly want HIM to do so.
Riding into San Francisco with our son Jon on June 13, 2019 I paused to take a photo. Jon and other people around probably wondered what on earth I was photographing. It was just an ordinary street in or near the suburb of Sausalito:
June 16th was the day we left San Francisco; in style! We had hired a Nissan Armada, which was far bigger than we expected; plenty of room for our two bicycles and luggage. The depot, where we picked up the rent-a-car, was just across the road from the hostel, where seven years earlier my bicycle was stolen (Book 11, 24.) Besides the initial lengthy wait that Sunday morning, the rental process was smooth; no issues with Alamo.
The scenery down the coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles was just as spectacular as it had been in the north. After Monterrey the coast road hugs the ocean with plenty of ups and downs. The seat in the cabin of of an air-conditioned limousine just doesn't compare with a saddle on two wheels. When passing other adventurous cyclists, who were struggling up those steep hills with their heavy luggage, I wasn't sure if I should feel sorry for them. A few times I stuck my hand out and gave them the thumbs up!
It so happened that once again our paths, writing and travelling, crossed over in good timing. In the earlier mentioned booklet (Our Daily Bread, Sep to Nov) in the first reading, in the very first sentence on 1.9.19 the name Santa Barbara came up. What's more, it has to do with food! Take a look:
Unchanging - Our Daily Bread - 1.9.19
The name Santa Barbara and Highway 101 stirred my brain: Had I not written about this section of highway in a chapter not long ago? I had. In January 2018 the news was dominated by devastating mudslides in that part of the world. Highway 101 had linked with number 101, which at the time was prominent in my writing. The chapter (10 in Book 16) is titled: 'Choose One, draw near.'
We are back to making choices, as the end of our USA 2019 holiday draws near.
Beachfront near Malibu, beside US Highway 1.
At one point during the bike ride with Jon I had to make a choice: Should I take highway 101 or 1? (Photo previous chapter). To follow 101 would have been much easier, less struggling up steep climbs, a shorter route, a wider road.
By taking this path through life, many just go with the flow, whatever the latest trend is, whatever society tells them they must do or what they should be thinking. This 'go with the flow' path seems so much easier, why bother standing up for morals etc.?
In the scriptures the gospel of Matthew talks about two paths. The writer is very clear about where the easy path leads to:
Just as I chose to follow Highway 1, I urge readers to choose to go with ONE. The road is steep and hard at times, it takes stamina and stick ability. But the reward could not be greater.