Chapter 12 Written / Published 3.9/9.9.19   (Pics by author, unless indicated)

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

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:

Our Daily Bread - September 5: <<< The Last Word, 5.9.19

The last word in the previous chapter, published 5/9, was rose!

Later in the day, after having already published the chapter, that day's reading could not have been more appropriate!

The short devotion starts with the writer's receiving the sad news that a former schoolyard friend, one he'd had a crush on, had died. He ends with good news: 

"We will one day see those again who have "fallen asleep" in Christ - grandparents and parents, friends and neighbours, or perhaps even old schoolyard crushes. Death doesn't get the last word. Resurrection does!"

What better word to link to the subject of resurrection than rose, the last word I was inspired to write that same day into Chapter 11 !!

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.

As I marvel over H and it, and over rose, I wonder have we finally discovered what it is all about? Have we nailed it? (Actually, un-nailed would be a better word here!)

Paul in 1. Corinthians 15, 14 writes:" And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is vain and your faith is also vain.

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!

- - - - - - -

Fast forward 4 days:

Google 9.9.19    >>>

On the morning of editing and publishing this chapter I clicked on the Google doodle. Here's what I learned:

9.9.19 marks 90 years since the birth of Dr. Ruth Pfau. The German born doctor devoted her entire life* to fighting leprosy in Pakistan. She was called the 'Mother Therese of Pakistan'. She went to heaven on 10.8.17. When I saw that she had written a book titled The Last Word, how could I not have made mention here?

*Wikipedia specifies the number of years she worked - more than 55. How well does this fit our code - LoVe! Truly an unsung heronine!

- - - - - - -

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.

 

<<< Fortuna, Ca. 9/6/19

There was a quirky aspect to finding a North Carolina licence plate near this clean, little town.

Originally I had planned to visit the famous Billy Graham Evangelical Centre in North Carolina, but changed my mind at the last minute. Then, quite unexpectedly, came this connection to North Carolina.

<<< Licence plate AB-78909, N.C. 

(In peculiar timing, as I write on 6/9/19, a massive storm, Dorian, which already did immense damage in the Bahamas, is causing huge flooding on the US East Coast. North Carolina is also affected! (The latest: Dorian made landfall in North Carolina!)

- - - - - - -

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:

Licence plate No. C169J  >>>

 

I happened to be within meters from the place where my bicycle had been stolen, exactly 7 days earlier.

As I walked past this vehicle, the above NC licence plate I had found on 9.6.19 in the US, and only hours earlier had written about, startled me!

Plus No. 169 on 6.9.19 ...?

 

 

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.

Awesome!

One scripture comes to mind - a perfect thought from the Psalms. I'm humbled and give God the glory for revealing such wonderful knowledge: 

"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. I cannot attain it." (Psalm 139, 6).

- - - - - - -

(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:

<<< Ferry Building

After exiting Embarcadero underground station, right in the middle of the busy metropolis, I walked along Market Street and snapped this picture for no real reason.

After pasting it here onto this page, looking at it more closely, it could not have come at a better time.

The time on the clock tower, 11.10 is perfect! Had we not just been riding Highways 1 & 101? Yes, but would not 11.01 be even more perfect, 9 minutes earlier? 

Maybe, but that lady, walking into the picture, wearing black and white stripes, would not have been in the picture!

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:

Market Street SF >>>

The Forever 21 store became Forever XXI. Would it not be interesting to find out, if the change to Roman numerals increased sales?

One thing did add up in my mind. 11 + 10 = 21! That's what it will be - forever. (Another reason 11.01 in the earlier photo would not have been more perfect!)

<<< Lombard Street,

Unlike 2012, when I only stayed two nights (one full day) in San Francisco, this time it was three nights.

There was more time to see the places previously missed. One was this famous zigzag street.

According to Wikipedia this major tourist attraction is visited by 17 million people each year, 250 vehicles traverse every hour. The hill in the distance is Coit Tower, from where I had walked. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views over the city and the entire Bay area. 

- - - - - - -

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. 

<<< Pier 39 sea lions

Besides souvenir shops, restaurants and all kinds of retail stores, a major attraction are the sea lions in K-Dock. In 1989, after an earthquake, a small number of these mammals made themselves at home at the dock. Their numbers grew over the years. Today they have become a must see for visitors to San Francisco.

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).

There was some fun to be had: A young man from Australia (flag on right) and his German born father, (centre flag) were visiting the USA (flag on left).

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).

According to the TV news, Australia post will reduce their parcel rates. On the screen an example came up, the old rate against the reduced new one. The current rate for 1 kg - $ 15.05 was a silly figure, I thought. Why not make it $15 flat? Perhaps it was this which drew my attention to the new rate of 9.20?

<<< New postal rate:

Co-incident? Perhaps. But $ 9.20 on the day of  i t, letters 9 and 20 were really showing off...? 

But how amazing did this Google image come out, unplanned? The number 1 (far right) completes the digits for 2019! 

 - - - - - - -

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:

 

<<< Choices email - Sep 5th

That evening I took my exercise on the bicycle. Because I needed to buy something at the hardware store, I took a different route home. I never go that way!

Right across from a post office I spotted a company name - Choices!

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.

"Whatever you do, don't forget life's most important choice that will determine where you spend eternity. If we fail to make this choice it means we choose by default, and therein reap the eternal consequences of our sin; because we are all sinners destined for an eternity apart from God, love, and all that is good—in the place the Bible calls hell. If we want to spend eternity in Heaven with God, we need to make this our choice and act upon it by accepting God's Son, Jesus Christ, as our Savior.”                                                        (R. Innes, Acts International) 

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."

- - - - - - -

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.

"For God so loved the world, HE gave HIS only begotten son that whoever believes in HIM should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3, 16)

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:

 

<<<  Number 1306 ...

... on 13.06. Does a NOS man have to explain it any further?

I'm glad I snapped this photo, because four days later this car registration plate, spotted during an early morning walk, also reminded me of John 3,16.

<<<  3 JOH 166

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! 

Clouds on the Big Sur' >>>

Roadtripsusa.com writes:

 Stretching 90 miles south of Carmel from Point Lobos all the way to Hearst Castle, Big Sur is one of the most memorable coastlines on the planet.

5,000-foot tall mountains rise up from the Pacific Ocean. Early Spanish missionaries dubbed it El País Grande del Sur (the Big Country of the South), and the rugged land has resisted development or even much population—the current total of around 1,000 is roughly the same as it was in 1900, and for the 3,000 years before that.

The numbers look interesting: We had 90 earlier in the chapter, 513 always rings a bell and 19? Well, number 9 is number one today!

<<< Green Valley Road

At the junction of Highway 1 and Route 46 we turned inland toward the wine region, staying overnight in Paso Robles. The scenery changed, but the countryside was just as pretty.

The manager at the Wine Country Motel gave us rooms 102 and 103. Jon thought, he still could hear my snoring from his adjacent room! (Looks like on future rides we will not just need separate rooms, separate cities, perhaps?)
Santa Barbara >>>

Jon (white T-shirt) is looking for food. It was well after lunch and he'd not eaten breakfast yet. We found a place and later a bike shop, where we packed our bikes into boxes. 

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

Text: My wife, Cari and I recently traveled to Santa Barbara ...

The writer tells of going back to the place, where he and his wife had first met and held fond memories of. They were looking for food, hoping to eat at their favourite restaurant. It had disappeared. 

The writer's message: Nothing stays the same, life changes. Only God - Jesus Christ is unchanging! (Hebrews 13, 8).

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:

"For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matt. 7, 13-14). 

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. 

Eternal Life.

"Whatever you do, don't forget life's most important choice that will determine where you spend eternity."

 

Chapter 13

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