Whales

A pod went through. We spotted them first by their spray, blowing into the grey sea air. The cry went up.

“Whales!”

And we grabbed binoculars. Rain had spattered on the windows, blurring the view, so we assembled on the verandah, twenty metres above sea level. Salt spray stung our cheeks and misted our glasses.

“There!”

“And there!”

Fascinated we searched the waves for signs. We thought there was just a single animal on her way west to a safe bay, perhaps to drop her calf. Hermanus is well known for being a haven where whales congregate in the early spring to give birth and nurse their calves in safe waters.

“Look at that!”

“Where?”

“Just beyond the breakers. About fifty metres out in a straight line from the red roof.”

We followed the directions with our eyes.

And were treated to a show like no other on earth.

Whales blowing; splashing dorsal fins and tails. Whales turning, seemingly spinning in the waves. Adult whales, faces down in a vertical line to the horizon, raising their enormous tails above the water level and bringing them down with such force the splash could have filled a small swimming pool. Little ones leaping and diving on the surface.

Whales breaching. Lifting their huge bodies completely out of the water, giving us a sight we will never forget.

They were too far out to take photos, too quick for any of us to focus. But the show is something that is burned on my memory.

It’s a grey picture. Grey sea, grey skies, dark grey whales. But the magnificence of these mighty creatures brought with it all the colours of the wonder of creation.  For there were twenty or more going past our viewpoint. Leaping and cavorting in the waves, they may have been feeding as they were there, in front of the house for a long time and throughout the day they delighted us with their antics.

What a treat for those of us who live inland and only dream of such sights.  What a gift of new experience and memories were granted to us on this day.

 

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You are Invited

Lord be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. Isaiah 33:2

Today you are invited to consider how much you long for God.  How much time do you spend seeking Him? How often do you consult Him during your day? How involved is He in the work you do, the games you play, the family you belong to? How often do you stop and praise Him during the day? Do you turn to Him when things are tough, or sad, or worrying? When do you cry out to Him? And how does He respond? Sometime today, stop and spend time with God, just being in His presence, and open yourself up to His grace.  He longs to show you how much He loves you, and is there for you at all times, whether you are aware of Him or not.

May God be gracious towards you today – and may you notice His grace!

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You are Invited

My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. Isaiah 32:18

Today you are invited to consider how peaceful your home is.  I’m not talking about the level of noise with hungry children and soccer fans; I’m talking about the ethos of peace. How do people feel when they walk into your home? What do they say about it (if anything)? What about the surrounding outside area, whether garden or balcony? Is there a sense of contentment or is the atmosphere disturbing?  Talk to God today about your home. Look again at His promises.  Which one do you feel could be strengthened in your home.  Ask Him what you need to do to change things.  And if you can say that all of these apply to your home already, then spend time praising Him for the peaceful home He has given you.

May God bless you with peace, rest and security in your home – always.

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You are Invited

 … Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

Today you are invited to consider where you need God’s direction. Which way will you turn? How attuned are you to God’s voice? How do you feel about the direction in which He is guiding you? How do you feel about not following Him but going your own way? What do you want to say to God about these things?  How does He reply?

May God bless you with clear direction in any decision you need to take in the coming days, and may you hear and follow Him.

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You are Invited

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him! Isaiah 30:18

Today you are invited to consider how God has shown this to be true for you recently. Where has He shown you His grace? How have you felt His compassion? Where have you seen His justice?  If you are unaware of such events, ask Him to show you where they have occurred in the past – and to give you an awareness of their occurrence in the future. How do you feel about waiting for His hand upon the situation you are in at this time? Ask Him to grow your trust as you wait on Him to take action in whatever way He deems fit.

May God bless you with evidence of His hand in your life, however, He may place it there, and may your heart be filled with praise for Him because He loves you.

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You are Invited

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honour Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. Their worship of Me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. …” Isaiah 29:13

Today you are invited to consider those who worship God with their voices only.  How do you want to pray for them?  What does this verse say to you about the way you worship God? How can you worship Him with your heart and not just your words? Ask Him how He feels about your worship?  How will you respond to His reply to your question? How does it change your prayer for others – if it does at all? How does it encourage you to pray for yourself?

May God bless you with a time of heart-felt worship today.

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Beach Walk

It was early and for the first time in three days, we saw the sunrise.  It had been wet, the light rain drifting across the coast in clouds of mist. But the wind blew, and continued to blow, cool on our skin as we strode up the beach to the Black Rock.  It was a tradition here that walkers from the house needed to touch the Rock to make it a real walk.

This morning the sun shone, the sea sparkled blue and there were birds flying everywhere. The trumpeter hornbill called, mournful in the early morning, and a flock of them glided down from the top of the hill to their favourite tree where they perched on the top branches to soak in the sun. Starlings hopped on the wet grass, and a fiscal shrike perched on a branch, eyes sharp, seeking a wayward beetle or fly for breakfast.

We stopped to watch a pattern of snails, gliding across the surface of the sand. Their gelatinous bodies made double rail tracks in the dampness, weaving and winding across each other’s path to make designs in the sand.  We wondered where they were going.  Or perhaps where they thought they were going.  For their tracks showed they turned in circles, small bumps of sand revealing their starting place, and similar bumps disclosing the spot where they burrowed under the surface, often in fear of some real or imagined threat.  Fascinated we watched them for a while, the smallest just as agile as those that were full size, but their tracks minute, stretching out behind them.

We marched on.  A cormorant flew low over the waves, beating against the wind. Some terns dipped and dived mewling to one another. The loose sand swept across the surface of the beach, stinging our bare legs.  It would not be a day to sit and sunbathe, in spite of the sunshine.  Stinging sand is not a pleasant experience.

We touched the Black Rock and turned back, the wind now behind us.  A small plover ran along the wave line, its little legs churning, its head and body level to enable it to spot its next meal.  We stopped to watch, charmed by its quaintness.

For me, the highlight of this early morning walk was the sight of three oystercatchers on the rocks. Well, two of them were on the rocks; the third was standing in a rock pool.  The two were chattering away and the single bird stood motionless.  We laughed as we imagined their conversation:

‘Come along, Shelly, try.  Just put your beak in that water and see if you can prize off a mussel or catch that crab.  You have to do it yourself.  We can’t feed you forever. Come on Shelly, come on …’

Shelly, (or whatever her name is) just stood, looking miserable, waiting to be fed.  Such is life, I thought as I left them to their chatter. And we set our sights towards the cottage and headed back for coffee and breakfast out of the wind.

 

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