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On our learning this lesson depends our comforting walk heavenward

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On our learning this lesson depends our comforting walk heavenward

(Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)

When the Holy Spirit takes of the things of Christ and preaches them to the heart–oh, what a sweet peace follows! For the believer then finds himself saved from all the miseries of sin, and entitled to all the blessings of eternal glory.

Being thus persuaded of his safety by believing in the sin-atoning blood of our Great High Priest, the Holy Spirit then teaches him how to live upon Christ, and how to make use of Christ’s fullness. 

On our learning this lesson depends our comforting walk heavenward. For Christ does not give us a stock of grace and expect us to improve it by being faithful to grace given. No, no, that is not His way. Our souls must depend upon Him, just as our bodies do upon the elements of this world. Every moment we must live by faith upon His fullness, and be every moment receiving out of it grace upon grace. 

And this is our happiness–to have all in Christ!

A beggar in myself, but rich with unsearchable eternal riches in Him. 

Ignorant still in myself, but led and taught by His unerring wisdom. 

A sinner still, but saved by His blood and righteousness. 

Weak and helpless still, but kept by His Almighty love.

Nothing but sorrow in myself, nothing but joy in Him. 

Oh, this is a blessed life!
 

No tongue can tell what a Heaven it is, thus to live by faith upon the Son of God. Thanks be to Him, that I do know a little of it. Surely I could not have thought, some years ago, that there was such a Heaven upon earth as I now find. May you find it more and more! Sweet Jesus keep you, my dear friend! 

Yours, 
William Romaine

☀️ #52 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Grenada” 🇬🇩 (2018)

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 Good morning friends and welcome to Grenada! 😀  

 Sarah’s really looking forwards to Grenada and visiting the nutmeg factory, she loves nutmeg! It reminds her of lovely memories of her even lovelier nan, and the beautiful smell of her legendary rice pudding.

After yesterdays post (short story) i thought we’d have a lovely gentle coach ride…What can go wrong, lol! 🤣   

Where are we going today… 

All cinnamon, cloves and allspice, it’s little wonder Grenada’s known as the Caribbean’s Spice Island. But they’re not the only treats that grow here. There’s plenty of citrus, bananas and cocoa beans too. In fact, the menu of plants that call this place home reads like the ingredients for a Nigella recipe, so it’s easy to see how this place came to be one of the world’s leading spice suppliers.

You’ll wind through the rainforest to the Grand Etang Lake viewing point. A giant volcano crater filled to the brim with cobalt water, it’s certainly easy on the eye. And its volcano-top location makes it all the more breathtaking. From here, you’ll travel to Annandale Falls, a fairytale paradise of cascading water, hanging ferns and dainty orchids that’s like a secret Caribbean garden. Then it’s of to the nutmeg factory!

 On the dock…

Wow you can smell the lovely warm spices even from the dock! Oh and what a beautiful place! 😀 

Me on the dock with the sea behind me and the cliffs slowly drifting into the sea behind me

Island of Grenada from the sea

 We boarded our air conditioned coach and met our guide who was very knowledgable about the history of this incredible island. The first thing we noticed is just how green it was. Massive fruit and all kinds of food just grew along the roadside, it was just lush with life! It wasn’t long before we were getting off the coach for our first stop of the day.   

 Annandale Falls…

Sarah expertly guided me down steep paths and large steps to get down to the waterfall…And it was totally worth it. 😀  

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 Wow i really hoped you could feel how fresh and cool it was when stepping nearer this waterfall, i could’ve stayed there all day but it’s back to the coach. 

the bus rear whell is so close to a sheer drop off the cliff

Wait a minute…That’s a sheer drop! I kept asking if they wanted me to drive?? 🤣   

Grand Etang Lake viewing point and national park…

Every time we stepped off the coach we were greeted with the amazing smell of the spices, and walking through the national park there were a few stalls where we could finally buy some! 😀  

It was so beautiful up here. 

Beautiful green landscape of trees and rolling hills

Beautiful green landscape of trees and rolling hills

me in my blue chequed shirt in front of the green landscape and rolling hills

 Back on the coach… 

We were driving past many nutmeg trees when the coach slowed and came to a stop and the guide jumped out, picked something and jumped back on the coach. 

He held up the freshly picked spice and told us all about the nutmeg and it’s various uses, he was showing us their yellow apricot-sized fruits, that were often split open, showing the red mace covering the hard-shelled nut with the seed inside. He also told us that Grenada is one of the biggest producers of this spice in the world, after Indonesia from whose Banda islands this nut originates. 

The coach then pulled away and we had a beautiful scenic drive until we reached the nutmeg factory. 😀  

View of the bay of Grenada

The nutmeg factory…

 Wow…What a delight for the senses! The wonderful aroma ensconced us as we walked into the factory and it never let us go until we were back on the coach.

We were shown and told all about the process from farming to distribution around the world. The ladies were smiling (some even singing) which gave a lovely feel to the place. My favourite part was the snapping and popping of the used shells under our feet, it was so loud. The guide told us that not even the shells are wasted as locals put them on their paths and around their gardens so they know if someone (or something) is coming!

Inside Nutmeg factory

Inside nutmeg factory 2

Inside nutmeg factory 3

Inside nutmeg factory 4

This nutmeg factory industry is an essential part of the island economy and it’s gratifying to contribute in some small way to its continuance.

The shop… 

At the end we went to a souvenir shop, where nutmeg products are sold in all kinds of forms, from powder and jams to syrups. Most of our group were already on the coach and we only had a few minutes. It smelt amazing and we wanted to take everything. Sarah bought an incredible smelling cream then we rushed back on to the coach.

We later found out the Sarah had bought an insect repellent “No way i thought it was a moisturising cream…But it smells so amazing!” We used it lots but made sure to save some as it really does smell incredible! 😀 

Me in a bright yellow t-shirt waving my arms in the air in front of the cruise ship

Back on the ship…

I was happy for the refresh as the plaster on my leg (from yesterday) wouldn’t stick as i was so hot my legs felt they had custard drooling down them. 😀  

Well we’ve sadly made it (mostly intact)  to the end of another cruise (Seven Isles Cruise) but the adventure doesn’t stop here! This is the first week of our 2 week cruise and stay, so tomorrow we head for Barbados. We are staying for a week at ‘Southern Palms Beach Club’ and hope to meet with you there! 😀  

To be continued…  

⬅ Previous Day 🌴 Next Day ➡

☀️ Start From #1 🏝 Or join the adventure at:

God’s jewels are often found buried in the worst filth!

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God’s jewels are often found buried in the worst filth!

(James Smith, “Exhortation and Encouragement” 1859)

“One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” Acts 18:9-10 

What kind of a city was it?
Corinth was one of the most worldly and immoral cities of the east. Here was the temple of Venus, with its degrading and disgraceful services.

What kind of people were they?
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers norswindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were! But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God!” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. 
This is the apostle’s own reply to the question.

Observe: 

  1. The Lord’s people are often found in the most unlikely places! Who would have expected to find God’s chosen people–a multitude of them–in a place so foul, so polluted, so degraded, as Corinth? 
God’s jewels
 are often found buried in the worst filth!

   2. The Lord chooses the most unlikely people! Who would ever have thought that the Lord would have chosen the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers–to be saved? But He did! 
God’s people
 are picked off the foulest dunghills!


O the wonders of sovereign grace!

From such folly deliver us, O Lord!

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From such folly deliver us, O Lord!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways.” Psalm 119:15 

There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We would be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering spiritual strength for labor in His service through meditation on His Word. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment for our souls out of them.

Truth is something like the cluster of the vine: if we would have wine from it, we must bruise it–we must press and squeeze it many times. The bruiser’s feet must come down repeatedly upon the grapes, or else the juice will not flow and much of the precious liquid will be wasted. 

So we must, by meditation, tread the clusters of truth, if we would get the wine of consolation therefrom.

Our bodies are not supported by merely taking food into the mouth, but the process which really supplies the muscles, and the nerves, and the sinews, and the bones–is the process of digestion. It is by digestion that the food becomes assimilated with the inner life. 

In the same way, our souls are not nourished merely by listening awhile to this, and then to that, and then to the other part of divine truth. Hearing, reading, marking, and learning, all require inward digesting to complete their usefulness–and the inward digesting of the truth lies for the most part in meditating upon it.

Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? 
Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. 

They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; 
they would have the grain, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; 
the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; 
the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. 
From such folly deliver us, O Lord!

May this be our daily resolve, “I will meditate in your precepts.”

“But his delight is in the law of the LORDand on His law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:2 

“Oh, how I love Your law! I meditate on it all day long.” Psalm 119:97

“I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on Your statutes.” Psalm 119:99

“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.” Joshua 1:8

A rare creature!

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A rare creature! 

(Charles Spurgeon

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me faithful, appointing me to His service.” 1 Timothy 1:12 

faithful preacher is rare creature; and, like a diamond, as precious as he is rare!

If you always enjoy his sermons, that minister is not a faithful steward. He who gives out nothing but sweets is not acting wisely.

It is the duty of the Christian pastor, if he would make full proof of his ministry to warn men of the results of sin to tell them that there is a judgment that for every idle word they speak they will have to account. 

Some preachers do not preach of eternal wrath and its terrors. This is cruel, for they ruin souls by hiding from them their ruin! 

The object of all true preaching is the heart. Godly ministers aim at divorcing the heart from sin, and wedding it to Christ. 

“If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.” 1 Timothy 4:6 

He can extract pleasure out of pain!

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He can extract pleasure out of pain!

(Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)

Dear friend,
He loves you more than you can possibly love yourself; and He will send you nothing but what is for your real and best interest, and He will let you find it so. His love is almighty, and it is unchangeable. What can He not do, what will He not do, when His heart is set upon blessing His people!

He does all things well! Yes, He intends to do better for you, far better than you can even imagine! 

It is a common thing with Him to bring spiritual good out of temporal evil. He can extract pleasure out of pain! Yes, He can enrich by impoverishing; and turn losses into gain. To you it is now given, as a matter of His choice favor, not only to believe on Him, but also to be conformed to Him by bearing His cross. This He is aiming at. 

📜 Psalm 91

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Assurance of God’s Protection
You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
   who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, 
will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress;
   my God, in whom I trust.’ 
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
   and from the deadly pestilence; 
he will cover you with his pinions,
   and under his wings you will find refuge;
   his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. 
You will not fear the terror of the night,
   or the arrow that flies by day, 
or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
   or the destruction that wastes at noonday. 

A thousand may fall at your side,
   ten thousand at your right hand,
   but it will not come near you. 
You will only look with your eyes
   and see the punishment of the wicked. 

Because you have made the Lord your refuge,
   the Most High your dwelling-place, 
no evil shall befall you,
   no scourge come near your tent. 

For he will command his angels concerning you
   to guard you in all your ways. 
On their hands they will bear you up,
   so that you will not dash your foot against a stone. 
You will tread on the lion and the adder,
   the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot. 

Those who love me, I will deliver;
   I will protect those who know my name. 
When they call to me, I will answer them;
   I will be with them in trouble,
   I will rescue them and honour them. 
With long life I will satisfy them,
   and show them my salvation.

His Providence is wisely designed and sovereignly sent for our good!

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His Providence is wisely designed and sovereignly sent for our good!

(Don Fortner)

As a wise, skilled pharmacist mixes medicine–so our heavenly Father wisely mixes exactly the right measure of bitter things and sweet, to do us good. 

Too much joy would intoxicate us. 
Too much misery would drive us to despair. 

Too much sorrow would crush us. 
Too much suffering would break our spirits. 

Too much pleasure would ruin us. 
Too much defeat would discourage us. 

Too much success would puff us up.
Too much failure would keep us from doing anything. 

Too much criticism would harden us. 
Too much praise would exalt us. 

Our great God knows exactly what we need. 

His Providence is wisely designed and sovereignly sent for our good!

Let God send and do whatever He wills–by His grace, if we are His, we will face it, bow to it, accept it, and give thanks for it. God’s Providence is always executed in the ‘wisest manner’ possible. We are often unable to see and understand the reasons and causes for specific events in our lives, in the lives of others, or in the history of the world. But our lack of understanding does not prevent us from believing God.

“We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 

O, give thanks to the Lord!

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O, give thanks to the Lord! 

(James Smith, “Sunny Subjects for All Seasons” 1858)

“O, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His mercy endures forever!” 1 Chronicles 16:34 

O, give thanks to the Lord, Christian, for He has not dealt with you after your sins, nor rewarded you according to your iniquities! He has . . .
  pardoned your sins,
  justified your soul,
  renewed your nature, and
  given you a title to everlasting life!

He has thus . . .
  prevented your eternal ruin,
  borne with your faults and follies,
  supplied all your needs,
  guided your steps, and
  promised to conduct you to glory!
His mercy has been ever great toward you!

“O, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever!” Psalm 107:1

📜 Psalm 16

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Psalm 16

Song of Trust and Security in God

A Miktam of David. 
Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 
I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord;
   I have no good apart from you.’

As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble,
   in whom is all my delight. 

Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;
   their drink-offerings of blood I will not pour out
   or take their names upon my lips. 

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
   you hold my lot. 
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
   I have a goodly heritage. 

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
   in the night also my heart instructs me. 
I keep the Lord always before me;
   because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 

Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
   my body also rests secure. 
For you do not give me up to Sheol,
   or let your faithful one see the Pit. 

You show me the path of life.
   In your presence there is fullness of joy;
   in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

Thus He will make the soul enamored with Jesus!

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Thus He will make the soul enamored with Jesus!

(Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)

“When the Comforter comes . . . He will testify about Me.” John 15:26 

He shall testify to My person as self-existent Jehovah.

He shall bear witness to My work as the perfect sin-atoner. 

He shall testify of My grace, how free it is, how full it is. 

He shall enable the sinner, any poor wretch, however vile in his own eyes–to trust his soul into the hands of Jesus. And having enabled the sinner to do this, then He will testify of Jesus, that He has received him, that he is safe in the arms and may be happy in the enjoyment of Jesus’ love. 

Thus He will make the soul enamored with Jesus! There will appear such consummate beauty, such infinite loveliness in His precious person, as will eclipse the glory of all other lovers. There will appear such true happiness in fellowship with Him, as will quite dethrone all former idols.

And when the foolish heart would depart, the Comforter will not let it. Then will He testify of Jesus, “To whom would you go? Who has eternal life to give, but Him? Turn, turn again to your rest, oh my soul.” 

If the soul is mourning; He will testify of the joy that is in Jesus. 

If the soul is burdened; “Cast the burden,” He says, “on your Lord Jesus.” 

If the soul has lost any creature comfort; “Let it go,” He says, “Jesus is still your salvation and your great reward.” 

If the soul is grieved with indwelling sin; “It is pardoned,” He says, “you are free from the curse of sin.” 

Whatever the needs of the believer are, the Spirit’s office is to testify of Jesus: “Jesus is what you need–and you have Him freely.” 

The Comforter will keep you by His almighty power, until He brings you to the Heaven of heavens–the sight and enjoyment of dear Jesus, eternally dear and lovely Jesus! 

📜 Psalm 100

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All Lands Summoned to Praise God

A Psalm of thanksgiving.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. 
   Worship the Lord with gladness;
   come into his presence with singing. 

Know that the Lord is God.
   It is he that made us, and we are his;
   we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
   and his courts with praise.
   Give thanks to him, bless his name. 

For the Lord is good;
   his steadfast love endures for ever,
   and his faithfulness to all generations.

He puts a finger upon the scar!

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He puts a finger upon the scar!

(Thomas Watson)

“Our Father in Heaven.” Matthew 6:9

Since God is our Father–He will take notice of the least good He sees in His children. 

If there is but a sigh for sin–He hears it. 
“My groaning is not hidden from You.” Psalm 38:9 

If there is but a penitential tear which comes out of the eye–He sees it. 
“I have seen your tears.” Isaiah 38:5 

If there is but a good intention–He takes notice of it. 
“Since it was your desire to build a temple for My name, you have done well to have this desire.” 1 Kings 8:18

God takes notice of the least spark of grace in His children. “Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.” 1 Peter 3:6. The Holy Spirit does not mention Sara’s unbelief, or laughing at the promise. He puts a finger upon the scar–and only takes notice of the good that was in her.

More, that good which the saints scarcely take notice of in themselves, God in a special manner observes. “I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink. Then the righteous will answer Him–Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink?” They as it were, overlooked and disclaimed their own works of charity! But Christ takes notice of them, “I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat.” Matthew 25

What comfort is this! God spies the least good in His children! 
He can see a grain of corn, hidden under much chaff. 
He can see a little grace, hidden under much corruption!

Those duties which we ourselves censure–He will crown. When a child of God looks over his best duties, he sees so much sin cleaving to them that he is confounded. “Lord,” he says, “there is more sulphur than incense, in my prayers.” 

But for your comfort, if God is your Father, He will crown those duties which you yourselves censure. He sees there is sincerity in the hearts of His children. Though there may be many defects in the services of His children, He will not cast away their offering.

An earthly father kindly receives a letter from his young child–though there are blots and bad spelling in it. What blottings are there in our holy things! Yet our Father in Heaven accepts them. “It is my child!” God says, “I will look upon him, through Christ–with a merciful eye!”

📜 Psalm 66

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Psalm 66

Praise for God’s Goodness to Israel

To the leader. A Song. A Psalm.
Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth; 
   sing the glory of his name;
   give to him glorious praise. 
Say to God, ‘How awesome are your deeds!
   Because of your great power, your enemies cringe before you. 
All the earth worships you;
   they sing praises to you,
   sing praises to your name.’
          Selah 

Come and see what God has done:
   he is awesome in his deeds among mortals. 
He turned the sea into dry land;
   they passed through the river on foot.
There we rejoiced in him, 
   who rules by his might for ever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
   let the rebellious not exalt themselves.
          Selah 

Bless our God, O peoples,
   let the sound of his praise be heard, 
who has kept us among the living,
   and has not let our feet slip. 
For you, O God, have tested us;
   you have tried us as silver is tried. 
You brought us into the net;
   you laid burdens on our backs; 
you let people ride over our heads;
   we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a spacious place. 

I will come into your house with burnt-offerings;
   I will pay you my vows, 
those that my lips uttered
   and my mouth promised when I was in trouble. 
I will offer to you burnt-offerings of fatlings,
   with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats.
          Selah 

Come and hear, all you who fear God,
   and I will tell what he has done for me. 
I cried aloud to him,
   and he was extolled with my tongue. 
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
   the Lord would not have listened. 
But truly God has listened;
   he has given heed to the words of my prayer. 

Blessed be God,
   because he has not rejected my prayer
   or removed his steadfast love from me.

This is mercy!

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This is mercy!

(Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)

“But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to Heaven, but was beating his chest, saying: God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” Luke 18:13

“He redeems your life from destruction; He crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies!” Psalm 103:4 
My dear friend,What thanks ought we to give to our gracious Lord for all of His mercies to us! 
I can look back upon every part of my life, and upon it all I can write, “This is mercy!” 
Oh, it is all, from first to last, to those who are chosen and called and believe and live by faith in the Son of God, MERCY–from everlasting to everlasting! Mercy before time, mercy in time, mercy beyond time!
Where is the fountainhead, the spring of this mercy? What gives rise to it? Nothing but the sovereign grace and free love of the purpose and heart of God Himself. 
But on whom do the streams of this fountain flow with their quickening, comforting, sanctifying, glorifying streams? 
On the miserable sinner, and none else; for none else are the objects of mercy. On such as you and me! Mercy has made a rich provision . . .  to supply all our needs,  to pardon all our sins,  to save us from all punishment,  to entitle us to all glory!
“I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever!” Psalm 89:1 
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.” Romans 12:1 

📜 Psalm 111

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Psalm 111

Praise for God’s Wonderful Works

Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
   in the company of the upright, in the congregation. 
Great are the works of the Lord,
   studied by all who delight in them. 
Full of honour and majesty is his work,
   and his righteousness endures for ever. 
He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
   the Lord is gracious and merciful. 
He provides food for those who fear him;
   he is ever mindful of his covenant. 
He has shown his people the power of his works,
   in giving them the heritage of the nations. 
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
   all his precepts are trustworthy. 
They are established for ever and ever,
   to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. 
He sent redemption to his people;
   he has commanded his covenant for ever.
   Holy and awesome is his name. 
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
   all those who practise it have a good understanding.
   His praise endures for ever.

There are more lies told at funerals!

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There are more lies told at funerals!

(Curtis Knapp, 2012)

Have you ever noticed that no matter how wicked a person was in his life, he becomes a saint at his funeral?

In reality, he was a bad father, but at his funeral he becomes a great father in the eulogy given by his estranged children. In reality, he was a bad husband, but suddenly, he is a great husband. In reality he was a very bad person, but suddenly everyone talks about what a good person he was.

He was never in church, but suddenly he is a great Christian man. The minister strains awkwardly to speak glowingly about the man he didn’t know and hardly ever saw. In life, he was primarily noted for his wicked works, but suddenly upon his death he is known as a man of many good works.

In short, they lie! There are more lies told at funerals than perhaps at any other occasion, and that’s the way people want it. If the minister did anything other than lie, the family and friends would be outraged!

God is the only one worthy of a eulogy at a funeral, but no one offers a eulogy to God. Instead, they offer lying eulogies for the sinner who is most likely in Hell at that moment. Think about that. The sinner has already arrived at his permanent dwelling place in Hell. He is weeping and gnashing his teeth and writhing in agony in the flames. He is begging for just one drop of cool water for his tongue, but receives no mercy.

God is not impressed with this wicked man. God sees no good in him.

The inhabitants of Hell are not impressed with him. They don’t care about the time he helped an old lady across the street, and the time he gave money to a charitable organization. They don’t think he is or ever was a good person. They don’t like him and want nothing to do with him.

And yet at this very moment, on earth, in a church or funeral home somewhere–the man’s family and the minister are talking about what a wonderful person he was and how he has gone to a better place!

Have you ever noticed how no one goes to Hell–at least no one you know? When have you been at a funeral at which the minister and family did not conspire together to convince themselves and everyone else that the departed sinner was in Heaven?

Jesus taught us that the road to Heaven was narrow, and said that few find it. Conversely, He taught that the road to destruction was broad, and that many were on it. Yet, according to our funerals, Jesus was wrong. No one is in Hell–everyone is in Heaven! Have you ever noticed that all you have to do to get to Heaven is to die? Instead of believing in justification by faith alone, most people believe in justification by death alone. Death is all that is necessary to be transformed miraculously from a depraved wretch into a shining angel.

Why do we do this? Why do we lie? Ministers often do it because they are afraid not to. Many lie because they are false prophets who deceive people, and a funeral is the perfect opportunity to say “Peace, peace!” when there is no peace.

Some family members lie because they are grasping for some piece of comfort in their loss. But consider: Is grasping at a lie truly comforting?

I suspect that most people play this game of falsehood for selfish reasons. If they eulogize the deceased, then they will also feel better about the state of their own souls. If the departed sinner went to Heaven–then they will surely go to Heaven when they die as well. If everyone is a good person and going to Heaven–then we don’t have to worry about our own spiritual condition.

We hate death. We hate to be reminded of our weakness and our fleeting time here. We don’t like to think about what happens after death. We don’t want to consider that there might be a Hell, and we certainly don’t want to hear that most people go there. We don’t want to ponder those realities, but funerals force us to do so. So we fight back against death and reality by laboring hard to convince ourselves that everyone who dies goes to Heaven.

What does it accomplish? Nothing!
Is God deceived? No!
Will our lies change God’s mind? No!
Will our lies get us to Heaven? No!

I am not saying that I think ministers should stand up at funerals and declare with certainty that the departed person is in Hell. But, when the person’s life gives us little confidence that he or she is in Heaven, it would be far better to remain silent about the eternal destiny of the lost one than to boldly declare that the person is in Heaven. Oh for some honesty in our days!

“Enter through the narrow gate. 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.” Matthew 7:13-14

📜 Psalm 34

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Psalm 34

Praise that God answers prayer
Of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.

I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him, and be radiant;
so your faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
and was saved from every trouble.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good;
happy are those who take refuge in him.
O fear the Lord, you his holy ones,
for those who fear him have no want.
The young lions suffer want and hunger,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Which of you desires life,
and covets many days to enjoy good?
Keep your tongue from evil,
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Depart from evil, and do good;
seek peace, and pursue it.

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their cry.
The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears,
and rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the broken-hearted,
and saves the crushed in spirit.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord rescues them from them all.
He keeps all their bones;
not one of them will be broken.
Evil brings death to the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

Tis but a taste!

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Tis but a taste!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“A pledge of our inheritance.” Ephesians 1:14

Oh! what enlightenment, what joys, what consolation, what delight of heart–is experienced by that man who has learned to feed on Jesus, and on Jesus alone. 

Yet the realization which we have of Christ’s preciousness is, in this life, imperfect at the best. As an old writer says, “Tis but a taste!” We have but tasted “that the Lord is gracious,” but we do not yet know how good and gracious He is. We know somewhat of His sweetness, and this makes us long for more. We have enjoyed the first fruits–and they have set us hungering and thirsting for the fullness of the heavenly vintage. Here on earth, we are like Israel in the wilderness, who had but one cluster from Eshcol–there we shall be in the vineyard!

We are but beginners now in spiritual education; for although we have learned the first letters of the alphabet, we cannot read words yet, much less can we put sentences together. As one says, “He who has been in heaven but five minutes–knows more than all the theologians on earth combined!”

We have many ungratified spiritual desires at present–but soon every wish shall be satisfied; and all our powers shall find the sweetest employment in that eternal world of joy.

O Christian, within a very little time you shall be rid of all your trials and your troubles. 
Your eyes which are now suffused with tears, shall weep no longer.
You shall gaze in ineffable rapture upon the splendor of Him who sits on His glorious throne. 
Nay, more–you shall sit with Him upon His throne! 

The triumph of His glory shall be shared by you! His crown, His joy, His paradise–these shall be yours! 
You shall be co-heir with Him who is the heir of all things! 

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–reserved in Heaven for you!” 1 Peter 1:3-4 

📜 Psalm 84

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Psalm 84

God’s living presence is our greatest joy
To the leader: according to The Gittith. Of the Korahites. A Psalm.

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.
Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise.
Selah

Happy are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
the God of gods will be seen in Zion.

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob!
Selah
Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed.

For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than live in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favour and honour.
No good thing does the Lord withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
happy is everyone who trusts in you.

I need to be daily kept!

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I need to be daily kept!

(James Smith’s autobiography, “Marvelous Mercy!” 1862)

The following in an excerpt from the diary of James Smith:

April 16, 1854. 
During the past week I have had one of the most severe asthmatic attacks I ever experienced. How painful to labor and gasp for breath, as I then did. How different the things of time appear under such circumstances! How soon one feels willing to spread the wings and fly away. May I daily live under the impression I then felt. 

How I long . . .
  for closer communion with God, 
  to feel more of the sweet power of piety in my own heart, 
  to walk with God in confidence, 
  to lean upon Him, 
  to cast every care upon Him, 
  to leave everything with Him, 
  to aim always, and in everything to glorify Him, 
  to walk through the world as if one was walking straight home to God–to dwell with and to enjoy Him forever!

Yet I feel that I need to be daily kept–to have the Lord’s eye constantly upon me, and His everlasting arms always beneath me! 

“Hold me up–and I shall be safe!” Psalm 119:117

📜 Psalm 27

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Psalm 27

God as our antidote to fear and loneliness

Of David.
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
   whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
   of whom shall I be afraid? 

When evildoers assail me
   to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes—
   they shall stumble and fall. 

Though an army encamp against me,
   my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
   yet I will be confident. 

One thing I asked of the Lord,
   that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord
   all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
   and to inquire in his temple. 

For he will hide me in his shelter
   in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
   he will set me high on a rock. 

Now my head is lifted up
   above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
   sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord. 

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
   be gracious to me and answer me! 
‘Come,’ my heart says, ‘seek his face!’
   Your face, Lord, do I seek. 
   Do not hide your face from me. 

Do not turn your servant away in anger,
   you who have been my help.
Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,
   O God of my salvation! 
If my father and mother forsake me,
   the Lord will take me up. 

Teach me your way, O Lord,
   and lead me on a level path
   because of my enemies. 
Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries,
   for false witnesses have risen against me,
   and they are breathing out violence. 

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
   in the land of the living. 
Wait for the Lord;
   be strong, and let your heart take courage;
   wait for the Lord!

📜 Psalm 96

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Psalm 96

Praise God and proclaim his glory

O sing to the Lord a new song;
   sing to the Lord, all the earth. 
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
   tell of his salvation from day to day. 
Declare his glory among the nations,
   his marvellous works among all the peoples. 
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
   he is to be revered above all gods. 
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
   but the Lord made the heavens. 
Honour and majesty are before him;
   strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. 

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
   ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
   bring an offering, and come into his courts. 
Worship the Lord in holy splendour;
   tremble before him, all the earth. 

Say among the nations, ‘The Lord is king!
   The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved.
   He will judge the peoples with equity.’ 
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
   let the sea roar, and all that fills it; 
   let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy 
   before the Lord; for he is coming,
   for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
   and the peoples with his truth.

The worst part of you!

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The worst part of you!

(Daniel de Superville, 1657–1728)

People often say, “I have my faults, but at the bottom I have a good heart.”

A good heart! Alas! it is this that deceives you, for your heart is the worst part of you!

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked!
 Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9 

The politicians, the philosophers, the sages of the world, are all shams!
What have they done toward the cure of the human heart?

Blessed be God! We recover more by the second Adam, than we lost by the first!

“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean;
 I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.
 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;
 I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
 I will put My Spirit in you and cause you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws.” 
    Ezekiel 36:25-27 

Let this comfort you:

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Let this comfort you:

(Letters of John Newton)

“My times are in Your hands!” Psalm 31:15 

What a mercy it is that all our concerns are in sure hands! Not a hair of our heads can fall to the ground, but by the appointment of Him who orders and marshals the stars and calls them all by their names!

Diseases and sicknesses are His messengers, and, when they have answered His end–then He will recall them. But on many accounts there is a need be that we should sometimes be in heaviness for a season. O may we learn to take up the cross, and to kiss the rod of affliction. We need to look through all second causes–to Him who appoints and over-rules, and without whose permission, not a hair of our heads shall fall to the ground. 

The Lord has promised to direct, moderate, sanctify, and relieve every trial of every kind. I long to have a more entire submission to His will, and a more steadfast confidence in His Word–to trust Him and wait on Him–to see His hand, and praise His name, in every circumstance of life, great and small.

Is sickness your present cross? It can come no sooner, nor fall heavier, than He bids it. And when His end is answered, and His hour comes to give relief–then sickness departs at His word. The cure becomes easy then, even where it seemed desperate before. 

Our comforts are never safer than when we can fully trust the Lord to do with them, and with us–as He sees fit. He will not willingly or unnecessarily grieve His redeemed children. When His arm seems lifted up to strike them–how often does He put it into their hearts to run toward Him and humble themselves before Him, and thus prevent the blow!

We shall have cause to be thankful for all our afflictions–if the Lord is pleased to employ them as means to make us more humble and broken-hearted, and to wean our hearts from this vain world.

Sickness often gives us a sensible proof of the vanity of everything earthly. May the Lord sanctify our sicknesses and pains, to quicken our desires for that better world, when pain shall be no more!

Let this comfort you: that Jesus is the Great Physician! 

“Great crowds came to Him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at His feet; and He healed them!” Matthew 15:30 

The throne of grace

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The throne of grace

(Henry Law, “Family Prayers”)

Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, Heaven and earth are full of Your glory! Blessing and honor and glory and power be to You, O Father of mercies, O God of all grace and love.

We thank You, that, as vile and sin-soiled as we are–we may come into Your immediate presence, and hold this converse with You, and commune with You concerning all our concerns, all our sins, and fears, and hopes and desires

We are astonished that we, poor sinners on earth, may speak directly to You–our great and glorious God, on Your throne in the Heaven of heavens! How wondrous the thought that our poor breathings may fly on the wings of faith, and have instant access to the ears of Your grace! 

We thank You that, in the multitude of Your tender mercies and the riches of Your pitiful compassion, You have been pleased to erect this throne of grace before which we now most humbly bow. We bless You that here, free grace reigns. We bless You that, at all times and in all places, we have open access to You through the blood of Your dear Son. 

We bless You that the veil is open, and that in His great name we may ever approach and find You . . .
  ready to hear,  
  waiting to be gracious, 
  arrayed in smiles of love,  
  bidding us to touch the scepter of Your sovereign mercy,  
  inviting us to pour out every need and desire of our hearts,  
  and promising to give more than we can ask or think.

Grant, oh grant, that we may be wholly consecrated to You. May we, in spirit, soar far above earth. May our hearts be fast barred against admission of worldly thoughts or cares. Send Your peace, passing all understanding, as a flood into our anxious minds.  May our meditations of You be sweet. May we drink deeply of the refreshing streams proceeding out of Your throne. May we feast on the heaven-sent manna of Your precious Word, and thus gather strength for the upward race.

Hear us, answer us, bless us we pray. All we ask is in Jesus’ name, and for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

“Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16  

The supplies of His grace and mercy are unexhausted and exhaustless!

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The supplies of His grace and mercy are unexhausted and exhaustless!

(Thomas Guthrie, 1803-1873)

“Fear the LORD, you His saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing.” Psalm 34:9

Myriads of leaves clothe the forest, 
myriads of flowers bespangle the meadow, 
myriads of insects dance in the sunbeams, 
myriads of birds sing in the woodlands, 
myriads of fish swim in stream and ocean, 
myriads of stars glitter in the nightly sky–
and every leaf is as perfect in form, 
every flower is as beautiful in colors, 
every living creature is fashioned with such skill, and 
every burning star is guided through space with as much care–
as if it engrossed the entire attention of God, and there was not another but itself within the bounds of His universe!

The number of objects our hearts can hold, or our arms embrace, or our eyes watch–is limited; confined within a narrow range–they are small at the largest, and few at the most. 

It is not so with Him who is mighty to save, abundant in goodness and truth. The supplies of His grace and mercy are unexhausted and exhaustless! Their type shines in that SUN which for six thousand years has shed its light . . .
  on seas and continents,
  on crowded cities and lonely solitudes,
  on burning deserts and fields of ice,
  on palaces and cottages,
  on ragged beggars and sceptered kings,
  on all countries and classes of men.
And with fires fed we know not how, the sun shines today as bright as ever–his eye not dim, nor his natural strength abated!

And as this is but an image, and a faint image, of God–then well may his servant assure us, that there shall be no lack to those who fear Him. None–neither for the body nor the soul; neither for time nor eternity!

“My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus!” Philippians 4:19 

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 1:7-8 

“In the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus!” Ephesians 2:7 

Look up today, O parched plant!

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Look up today, O parched plant!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.” Ezekiel 34:26

Here is sovereign grace, “I will send down showers.” Is this not sovereign, divine mercy–for who can say, “I will send down showers,” except God? There is only one voice which can speak to the clouds, and bid them beget the rain. “Who sends down the rain upon the earth? Who scatters the showers upon the green herb? Do not I, the Lord?” 
Grace is the gift of God–and is not to be created by man. 

It is also needed grace. What would the ground do without showers? You may break the clods, you may sow your seeds–but what can you do without the rain? As absolutely needful is the divine blessing. In vain you labor, until God bestows the plenteous shower, and sends salvation down. 

Then, it is plenteous grace. “I will send down showers.” It does not say, “I will send them drops,” but “showers.” So it is with grace. If God gives a blessing, He usually gives it in such a measure that there is not room enough to receive it. Plenteous grace! Ah! we need plenteous grace . . .
  to keep us humble,
  to make us prayerful,
  to make us holy, 
  to make us zealous,
  to preserve us through this life,
  and at last to land us in Heaven! 
We cannot do without saturating showers of grace. 

Again, it is seasonable grace. “I will send down showers in season.” 
What is your season this morning? 
Is it the season of drought? Then that is the season for showers. 
Is it a season of great heaviness and black clouds? Then that is the season for showers. 
“As your days–so shall your strength be.” 

And here is a varied grace. “I will give you showers of blessing.” The word is in the plural. All kinds of blessings God will send. All God’s blessings go together, like links in a golden chain. If He gives converting grace–He will also give comforting grace. He will send “showers of blessing.” 

Look up today, O parched plant, and open your leaves and flowers for a heavenly watering! 

☀️ #33 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Xel-Ha, Cozumel, Mexico”🇲🇽(2016)

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Yay…It’s Sarah’s Birthday!!! I wonder if it’ll be memorable?! 🤣  

Good morning WordPress family! Are you up for some ‘River Tubing’ today? We‘ve never tried this before and after our kayaking yesterday we thought it would be a relaxing way to gently float downstream ensconced in the lush landscapes and soothing sun ☀️  Well here goes…

Our initial thoughts were this excursion really wasn’t for us as it sounds like a big park where you have to find all of the events yourselves (that’s not our strong point as we both have sight problems). We are much better with a tour guide who we can follow than to be left alone and get lost…But we really wanted to try ‘River Tubing’ so let’s do this! 😀 

It was an 8 hour excursion and when it took 2 hours to get to Xel-Ha (a seriously bumpy boat and a mostly smooth coach) we thought “If it’s 2 hours here and 2 hours back, surely not even we can get too far lost in 4 hours?! Lol famous last words” 🤣  

Welcome to Xel-Ha… 

An exciting adventure awaits you at the sacred Mayan paradise, Xel-Ha. In this natural lagoon, which was sacred to the Mayans, you can experience some fabulous snorkeling in a natural tropical aquarium, viewing an amazing variety of multi-colored fish and tropical marine life in beautiful clear waters. Upon arrival, your guide will escort you through the park for an orientation, then you are on your own to enjoy time to swim, walk the jungle paths, stroll the beach, relax in a lounge chair,or snorkel at this beautiful lagoon.

Xel-Ha offers a collection of coves, caves, inlets and lagoons. Both the Caribbean Sea and the network of underground rivers and springs feed this area, filling the lagoon with both salt water and fresh water. This sometimes gives an almost 3-D viewing of the alluring coral formation and the myriad of tropical colored fish.

an amazing panorama of the whole lagoon at the mexican

Leaving the coach and making our way to the lockers and changing rooms Sarah managed to take this stupendous panorama. It’s a beautiful place 

Sarah said “There is no way i’m swimming in there!! I don’t mind the crystal clear sea but no way will you get me in there” “That’s ok my love you don’t have to swim when your river tubing anyway, so we can just relax and enjoy. We just need to remember where the changing rooms are when the guide leads us so we have a reference point”. 

Shortly after, the guide stopped and said to meet him in 4 hours back at the main entrance so we can get the coach back. I said “Oh, the entrance is miles away as we’ve been walking for a while and i have no idea where it is, lol But here are the changing rooms so i’ll wait right here for you”. I like to be the pack donkey on all of our tours and i carry the towels, sun cream and other stuff and if Sarah goes swimming, i carry her insulin pump etc. This works really well for me as i don’t really like swimming…I don’t think i’ve been swimming at all since going blind 16 years ago! 

Yay, Sarah’s here so let’s try and figure out where things are…😕

a panorama taken on one side of the river and looking over to the other side. The river running left to right

 Oooo another panorama from Sarah! Well at least we’d found the river again, so if we follow it up hill we should find where the river tubing starts?! This sounded like a good plan until the multi direction trails didn’t follow the river. After walking for quite a while in the scorching sun, we somehow managed to find the bag check-in for the river tubing, yay thanks Sarah! 😀 

Sarah had to now unplug her insulin pump and put it in my backpack, and after a quick blood test (ouch, her blood sugar was good) i hesitantly handed in my backpack. As we havn’t got a GoPro or anything (really wish we had one after all of these trips) we had to hand in our iPhones too, so i knew we wouldn’t get many photos of the day, sorry! 😢 

Right, let’s go ‘River Tubing’…

We entered another locker room and most of the people in front of us were putting on flippers and snorkelling gear, i said “Oh, i’m not dressed for any of this, i didn’t think you had to put all of the gear on. I thought it was just the river tubing up here?” “Don’t panic we are only here for the river tubing but you can also (if you want) do snorkelling etc” “Excellent, thanks”. Sarah is fantastic at sorting things out . “I’ll sit in the rear hole and you sit in the front hole as i will weigh the back down and it will look like a speedboat”. 🤣  

After we laughed loads as we had many attempts of climbing aboard, we were ready! 

The Mangroves…

“Wow those branches are low” i said while ducking even more although i was practically lying down. It was my first experience of mangroves and as we had no outboard engine we were using the branches and the sides to propel ourselves forward. As it looked exactly like the old Tarzan films i’d watched as a kid, i was picturing (in my mind) a crocodile (or 10) sliding in from the side and tactically stalking us ready for the barrel roll! Nevermind the flesh eating lizards sat on the branches waiting for dinner to float by, lol.

As my mind was racing but our river tube wasn’t going anywhere fast, i focused on all of the laughter going on around us. There were lots of us slowly getting to grips with how to manage this new speedboat. Sarah said “Wow there is a tiny baby strapped to the front of that woman in one of the other boats so it can’t be that hard, lol!”. After about 10 minutes we cleared the mangroves and the beautiful landscape unfolded before our eyes! 😀

a panorama taken on one side of the river and looking over to the other side. The river running left to right

There wasn’t much current and the river didn’t slope much, so our progress was slow…But wow, the feeling of floating downstream through this film set landscape with my arms around my lovely wife Sarah was beautiful ❤️ 

After a while the river tubers were thinning out and there were only a few of us left, this made it even more blissful and quiet.

Then…

Time was passing by easily, and we quickly realised there wasn’t anyone around and the river had got quite wide (with our eyesight anyway) and we were alone! The river tube wasn’t moving, even our hand paddling had little effect. I suddenly felt a burst of speed as Sarah had sat up and put her legs in the water and was kicking her feet (like the flintstones). Suddenly she whipped her feet back up and said “i think a fish (or octopus) has just tried to grab my leg?!” “Oh no that’s not good” i said as the ‘Master of obvious”. Then she said “No wait there, my trainer laces had come undone whilst under the water and started stroking my leg, lol!” “Ok” i said “We need a action plan” 

 Our predicament…

We were floating alone, the river banks were getting wider and wider and we knew it joined up with the Caribbean sea at some point. We couldn’t hear anyone and we were thinking we’d maybe already passed the exit of the river tubing and we were floating out into the sea. The midday sun was scorching and we knew it was time to act.

We’d passed a huge board (see below) whilst walking up to get the river tubes that displayed all of the fish/sharks that live in the water, and as it’s fresh water going to sea water the fish grow much bigger. I’m glad i couldn’t see what was on the board!

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Knowing all of this, and knowing i havn’t swam since going blind…I knew now was the time to “Man Up” and lay down my life for my wife and save her! 💪🏼  

The plan…

I said to Sarah “I’m going to jump in the river and grab hold of the back of the river tube and then stretch out and kick my legs like a snorkeler and pretend to be an outboard motor, and you can sit up front and be the navigator and try and get us back (or anywhere we can get off)”. “Right sounds like a plan…Let’s do this”.

I jumped in and instantly regretted it. I thought i could still swim in my head but my body didn’t have the same idea. After coughing up loads of water and nearly drowning through lack of swimming ability…I slowly adapted and grabbed hold of the river tube. 

At least we were now gaining speed  and heading in what we thought was the right direction. After what seemed like 10 weeks (it was more like 10 minutes) Sarah said (I still can’t see anywhere to get off the bank and it all still looks the same…But there are a few rocks sticking out of the water where we can hopefully stop and rest whilst regrouping and updating our plan. 

The rocks…

Yay, we made it to the rocks…Oh wait a minute, wow these rocks are super slippy (i was like Scooby Doo slipping on a banana skin) ! Sarah was already on top of one of the rocks and looking to see where we could go next and if there was a way out of this crocodile and Piranha infested water. Just as i’d steadied myself and caught my breath (i was exhausted) Sarah slipped backwards…😨 

All i heard was a loud thud and a “Aagghhh” noise from Sarah “Sarah, are you alright?” I knew we were surrounded by so many pointy rocks and if she’d slipped and hit her head on one of those rocks…It was curtains. We had no phones or anything out here and no way of calling out as we can’t hear anyone or see anyone. So when i heard “It’s ok i just slipped” from my warrior wife…I felt so relieved. I said “What was the loud thud sound? Are you ok?” “Yeah i missed the more pointed rocks and just hit my back on the other rock. I’m ok though”. I let out a huge sigh (just like our Boxer dog Bruce used to make).

Just then i spotted a slight movement out of the corner of my blurry eyes “What’s that Sarah?” i said while pointing downwards near her feet. “Wow, it’s a snorkeler” “That means we can’t be too far away now…Or it means there are some massive fish, sharks, octopus or crocodiles around here”. Just after saying this the snorkeler had gone and it was time for us to carry on and hopefully find base camp. 

Sarah was sat firmly on the front of the river tube and i was hanging on for dear life while trying to get a nice solid and consistent thrust from the back. Sarah was expertly navigating from the front and when she said “right a little” i twisted and kicked until the river tube turned to the right,, we are getting the hang of this, lol. 

My thoughts quickly returned to “Any minute now i could get savaged by any of the mutated creatures in here, and they would start on Sarah next! But then Sarah said “I think i can see a way out of here?! It looks like there are long steps on the right bank and we could climb out onto land. “Wow, let’s go” I said whilst trying not to drown as i was getting really tired now. 😰

“Yes, just a little further. It looks like we can pull up here alongside these steps”. We finally hit the steps and Sarah climbed out. The steps were really long but only went a couple of steps into the water, so when i grabbed hold of the first step my legs flew underneath and tried to drag me under. Thankfully i had jus enough energy to hang on and throw my leg over and onto the steps (i’m sure Sarah didn’t have this struggle, lol). Pulling the river tube up onto land, we sat back on the steps and thought for a moment about what just happened?! We also knew that Sarah hadn’t done a blood test for quite a while and hasn’t got her insulin pump attached, so her blood sugar could be anything.

As we sat on the steps totally thankful we’d made it out of the water, i looked down directly into the water right next to the steps…”What are they?” I was pointing at what looked to me like a fleet of black stealth submarines taking cover next to the steps. I know my eyes are really poor but if i can make something out…It must be massive, lol! Sarah said “They are fish (i think) and they are massive! “I was just right there a minute ago” i said not quite believing how close they were…But we’ve made it out of the infested waters. Now we might have the same challenge (but on land) as we try and figure out where we are??

The next stage…

We were just pulling the river tube further inland, when…”Is that music i can hear?” i said as i was trying to clear my ears of water “Yes it is” Sarah said “It’s coming from over there”. Sarah took my arm and we started walking towards the sound. Almost instantly the trail opened out and we were standing at the bag check-in desk! “No way” we both said at the same time, i said  “It’s not possible that we’re here, we’d gone miles into nowhere! Is the Bermuda Triangle near here?” 😁

After i got my backpack and Sarah had her insulin pump connected, she quickly did a test and her blood sugar was perfect! 😀 We found the changing rooms and when we were all changed we headed for the inclusive lunch.

As we only had to follow our noses (it wasn’t far at all) Sarah found a table in the sun and we sat down. “Woah” i said “How did that quickly turn into a ‘Blind Sightseers’ dramatic adventure?” “I know, but how amazing how we ended up right back here! Anyway, let’s get you a burger…You’ve earned it” 🍔  

After a lovely burger and an ice cold bottle of water, we started walking around to see if we could find anything else. Don’t worry, we stayed on the larger trails and we kept other people in earshot.  

Sarah stood in front of the a panorama taken on one side of the river and looking over to the other side. The river running left to right

Sarah’s Sunglasses…

As Sarah also has sight problems…She has a pair of Oakley sunglasses with a particular polarised lens (normal lenses don’t help her eyesight) but like the photo above shows…They are gone!! 😢 We have no idea when (or where) they had gone missing, we only know they are gone. I handed Sarah my own but they only had normal lenses and were not any good for navigation etc…But they did help stop the glare from the hot sun. ☀️ 

Sarah stood in front of the amazing landscape of the river going into the sea with rolling hills all a round

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You’ll never guess what we found next??? Yay, a zip line…

Sarah said “Wow a zip line, i’ve never had a go on one of these. It looks amazing and i can’t believe we’ve found it”. What…Can i really say no?! 🤣 

Sarah sat on a zip line seat going left to right with a big smile on her face

Wow, the action never stops, lol! Sarah must have had spinach for lunch as she seems to have more energy than Popeye and the Duracell bunny combined…I just wanted to sleep, lol! But how can you stop when that smile burns hotter than the sun! 😀 ☀️  

And finally…Yay , she’s not a machine! 

Sarah lying in a hammock which is tied to some trees

It’s time to start heading back…

After one more ice cold drink we asked the server which way the main entrance was, she pointed in the general direction and we thanked her. We started walking and talking about the day we’d had and how amazing the place was even though it’s not quite over yet. “We’ll defo remember this place” i said (we talk about this day all of the time). Arriving at the main entrance area Sarah said “There is a photo kiosk over there, let’s ask and see if they have any photos of us?” I said a little confused “I didn’t know they were taking photos but it would be great if they have any of us river tubing etc”.  

The photos…

Sarah was not happy after speaking to the man as he had just dismissed her saying “If you didn’t scan your armband before each event then we can’t find you on the system” Sarah had told him that we were both registered blind and we weren’t told about scanning for photos and we certainly can’t see it. Sarah continued “We will buy any of the photos you have of us as we really want to remember the day”. The man was having none of it and walked away. Sarah started walking back to me when she saw another man stand behind the kiosk. She returned and said the same to him…He was really helpful and understood our problem, he continued to search the whole day, looking through thousands of images to see if he could find any shots of us…

Then he saw Sarah on the zip line. “Yes we’ll have it” Sarah said, she waited a while longer for him to search some more. The coach was arriving any minute too and we were running out of time fast. He frantically started searching but he couldn’t find anymore photos. “Ok” Sarah said “Can i buy it here?” He said no and that she had to go over the courtyard to have it put in a sleeve and then she can buy it. Sarah came and grabbed me as she knew i’d be worried as it’s been taking longer than expected. “Where are your sunglasses (my sunglasses)” i said “Oh man, don’t say i’ve put them down somewhere and i’ve lost them too?” 

After buying the photo (see the fantastic zip line shot of Sarah above) Sarah was adamant (she wasn’t losing 2 pairs of sunglasses today) and blitz between all of the counters she’d been at…Nothing. Then she asked the man and he started searching all around…Nothing. Then just as everyone had given up, the man had found them in lost property where one of the staff had put them. Phew! 😀  

We also managed to get back to the coach in the nick of time and now we can relax for a couple of hours as we return to the ship.

In the coffee port…

As it was Sarah’s birthday she ordered an amazing chocolate, waffle, ice cream coffee dream cake…Sarah had a tiny taste with a tea spoon (as she’s diabetic) so it was left for me to step up to the plate, man up (again) and try to enjoy this delicious coffee cake thingy! It’s tough sometimes being the husband of a T1D (Type 1 Diabetic) I’ll give it my best shot! 🤣  

plate fo fresh fruit on a table top in front of a view outside across the ocean

 We had a lovely evening meal and as always Sarah had the lovely cheese board to finish. I think that’s what the photo below is showing?!  

Fance cheese and biscuits for Sarahs birthday

Finally we finished off this amazing, challenging, exhausting, conquering and blessed day with (yes you’ve guessed it) Sarah’s special sugar free Mojito and i had a BBC. 

Me on the left with arms around sarah and both smiling at the camera with braided hair and a cocktal in hand

 Thank you so much for celebrating Sarah’s birthday with us, it’s a day we’ll never forget (and haven’t). 😀 

The ‘Blind Sightseers’ are not finished yet…💪🏼  

 ⬅ Previous Day 🌴 Next Day  ➡

☀️ Start From #1 🏝 Or join the adventure at:

What trash does it appear!

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What trash does it appear! 

(Mary Winslow

“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever!” 1 John 2:17 

What a brittle thing is all the glory, wealth, and honor of this vain world! How empty, and what trash does it appear! And yet men sell their souls to grasp it, and at last pass away from it and find it all a phantom. How unceasing is Satan in forever bringing it before our eyes, in some form or other! What is all the pomp and wealth and rank of this poor fleeting world, in contrast with the glory that shall soon be revealed in all those who love His appearing?

“The spirit of the world is eating out the very heart and life of true godliness!” George Everard

Refined worldliness is the present snare of the Church of God!” Horatius Bonar

“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?
 Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God!” James 4:4 

Discontent!

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Discontent!

(Arthur Pink, “Comfort for Christians”)

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Philippians 4:11 

Contentment is the being satisfied with the sovereign dispensations of God’s providence. It is the opposite of murmuring, which is the spirit of rebellion–the clay saying to the Potter, “Why have You made me thus?” Instead of complaining at his lot–a contented man is thankful that his condition and circumstances are no worse than they are. 

Discontent! Was there ever a time when there was so much discontent and restlessness in the world, as there is today? We very much doubt it. Despite our boasted progress, the vast increase of wealth, the time and money expended daily in pleasure–discontent is everywhere! No class is exempt. Everything is in a state of flux, and almost everybody is dissatisfied. Many even among God’s own people are affected with the evil spirit of this age.

Contentment! Is such a thing realizable, or is it nothing more than a beautiful ideal, a mere dream of the poet? Is it attainable on earth, or is it restricted to the inhabitants of Heaven? If feasible here and now–may it be retained, or are a few brief moments or hours of contentment the most that we may expect in this life?

The force of Paul’s statement will be better appreciated, if his condition and circumstances at the time he made it, are kept in mind. When the apostle wrote the words, he was not luxuriating in a special suite in the Emperor’s palace–but was in prison “in chains”. The contentment which Paul enjoyed, was not the result of congenial and comfortable surroundings. Most people suppose that contentment is impossible, unless one can have the desires of the carnal heart gratified. A prison is the last place to which they would go, if they were seeking a contented man. This much, then, is clear–contentment comes from within and not without; it must be sought from God, not in creature comforts.

Now, there is a vast difference between precept and practice, between the ideal and the realization. But in the case of Paul, contentment was an actual experience! It was something he had learned in the school of Christian experience.

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said–Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

God is too kind to punish the ungodly!

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God is too kind to punish the ungodly!

(A.W. Tozer)

God’s justice stands forever against the unrepentant sinner in utter severity!

The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions! It hushes their fears and allows them to practice all kinds of iniquity–while damnation draws every day nearer, and the command to repent goes unregarded. As responsible moral beings, we dare not so trifle with our eternal future!

“On the wicked He will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot!” Psalm 11:6 

“Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them!” Isaiah 3:11 

“They always heap up their sins to the limit. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost!” 1 Thessalonians 2:16 

“They called to the mountains and the rocks: Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” Revelation 6:16-17 

“He, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of His wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb!” Revelation 14:10 

A subtle leaven which the heart is always ready to receive!

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subtle leaven which the heart is always ready to receive!

(J.C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Luke” 1858)

“Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees–which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be made known.” Luke 12:1-2

The first thing that demands our attention in these verses, is Christ’s warning against hypocrisy

This is a warning of which the importance can never be overrated. It was delivered by our Lord more than once, during His earthly ministry. It was intended to be a standing caution to His whole church in every age, and in every part of the world. 

It was meant to remind us that the principles of the Pharisees are deeply ingrained in human nature–and that Christians should be always on their guard against them. Hypocrisy is a subtle leaven which the heart is always ready to receive! It is a leaven which once received into the heart, infects the whole character of a man’s Christianity. Of this leaven, says our Lord, in words that should often ring in our ears–of this leaven, beware!

Let us ever nail this caution in our memories, and bind it on our hearts. The plague is around us on every side! The danger is at all times. What is the essence of Romanism, and formalism, and ceremonialism? What is it all, but the leaven of the Pharisees under one shape or another? The Pharisees are not extinct! Pharisaism lives still.

If we would not become Pharisees–then let us cultivate a ‘heart religion’. Let us realize daily that the God with whom we have to do, looks far below the outward surface of our profession, and that He measures us by the state of our hearts. Let us be real and true in our Christianity. Let us abhor all part-acting, and affectation, and semblance of devotion–put on for public occasions, but not really felt within. 

Our hypocrisy may deceive man, and get us the reputation of being very religious–but it cannot deceive God. “For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be made known.” 

Whatever we are in religion–let us never wear a cloak or a mask of religion.

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account!” Hebrews 4:13 

I desire that this may be the text at my funeral

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“The Aged Christian’s Final Farewell to the World and its Vanities” John Whitson, 1558-1629)

I desire that this may be the text at my funeral: Psalm 42:2, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”

Oh! when shall I ascend to the eternal throne of blessedness, where no comforts are lacking?

When shall I be covered with the glorious robe of immortality, and shine in the brightness of my Redeemer’s innocence?

When shall I behold the lovely face of my Lord and dwell in the courts of His holy temple, where . . .
all tears shall be wiped away from my eyes,
all sorrows removed from my heart,
and all sins and spots are done away?

Where I shall exchange the dross of this world, for true and durable riches!

Where, instead of these earthly riches which moth and rust corrupt–I shall enjoy the heavenly riches of perfect peace and good conscience, never to be lost!

Instead of these false and flattering honors, I shall enjoy everlasting glory, and be admitted into the fellowship of my Redeemer to reign with Him in His glorious kingdom!

Instead of vain and momentary pleasures, I shall be filled with fullness of joy and be ravished with those delights which neither eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive!

Instead of this dark and cloudy knowledge, I shall have my heart enlightened with the beams of the true light!

Instead of this feeble strength, I shall be endowed with the might of angels!

Instead of this transitory health, I shall enjoy a powerful and immortal vigor!

Instead of this fading beauty, I shall be adorned with the loveliness of Christ’s spouse!

Instead of long life, I shall be crowned with life eternal!

We shall sing, Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God almighty! Heaven and Earth are full of your glory. Glory be to You, O Lord, most High.

And now, as the deer pants for the water-brooks, so longs my soul after You, O God!
O that I had wings like a dove, that I might fly away and be at rest!
For whom have I in Heaven but You–and who is there upon earth that I desire but You?
My heart and my strength fail me, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever!

The sweetest and the loudest note in our songs of praise should be . . .

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The sweetest and the loudest note in our songs of praise should be . . .

(Charles Spurgeon

“O that we would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to men.” Psalm 107:8

If we complained less and praised more–we would be happier, and God would be more glorified. 

Let us daily praise God for common mercies. They are common as we frequently call them, and yet so priceless, that when deprived of them–we imagine that we are ready to perish! Let us bless God . . .
  for the eyes with which we behold the sun;
  for the health and strength to walk abroad;
  for the bread we eat;
  for the clothing we wear;
  for public and religious liberty;
  for friends and family associations; and
  for countless other comforts and blessings. 

Let us praise Him, in fact, for everything which we receive from His bounteous hand; for we deserve little, and yet are most plenteously endowed. 

But beloved, the sweetest and the loudest note in our songs of praise should be of redeeming love! God’s redeeming acts towards His chosen people, are forever the favorite themes of their praise. If we know what redemption means, let us not withhold our sonnets of thanksgiving.

We have been redeemed from the power of our corruptions, and uplifted from the depth of sin in which we were naturally plunged. 

We have been led to the cross of Christ, and our shackles of guilt have been broken off.

We are no longer slaves of sin–but children of the living God.

We shall shortly be presented before the eternal throne without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. 

Shall we not unceasingly give thanks to the Lord our Redeemer? 

Child of God, can you be silent? 

Awake, awake, O inheritors of eternal glory, and cry out with David, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me–bless His holy name!”

You are absolutely beautiful, My beloved!

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You are absolutely beautiful, My beloved!

(Charles Spurgeon

You are absolutely beautiful, My beloved! There is no spot in you!” Song of Solomon 4:7 

The Lord’s admiration of His Church is very astonishing, and His description of her beauty is very glowing. She is not merely beautiful–but “absolutely beautiful.” He views her in Himself, washed in His sin-atoning blood, and clothed in His meritorious righteousness–thus He considers her to be full of loveliness and beauty. No wonder that such is the case–since it is but His own perfect excellency that He admires; for the holiness, glory, and perfection of His Church–are His own glorious garments on the back of His own well-beloved spouse!

Nor is the Church barely lovely, she is superlatively so. Her Lord styles her the “most beautiful of women.” Song of Solomon 1:8 

She has a real worth and excellence which cannot be rivaled by all the nobility and royalty of the world. If Jesus could exchange His elect bride for all the angels in Heaven–He would not, for He puts her first and foremost, “most beautiful of women.” She far outshines the stars!

Nor is this an opinion which He is ashamed of, for He invites all men to hear it. He sets a “behold” before it, a special note of exclamation, inviting and arresting attention. “Behold! How beautiful you are, My beloved, how beautiful!” (Song of Solomon 4:1). His opinion He publishes abroad even now, and one day from the throne of His glory He will avow the truth of it before the assembled universe. “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with Me!” will be His solemn affirmation of the loveliness of His elect!

“Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her  to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless!”Ephesians 5:25-27 

“The king is enthralled by your beauty!” Psalm 45:11 

Extremely derogatory to human pride!

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Extremely derogatory to human pride! 

(Stephen Tyng, “Christ is All”) 

“In his pride, the wicked does not seek God; in all his thoughts, there is no room for God!” Psalm 10:4 

Sin has entirely perverted the nature of man. 

The carnal mind is opposed to God in its . . . 
  judgments, 
  tastes, 
  desires,
  pursuits. 

God demands that guilty man . . . 
   sacrifice his own imaginary independence
   renounce his own fancied excellence, and 
   acknowledge his personal unworthiness
before he can be received into the family of God. 

Such demands seem extremely derogatory to human pride. For this reason, multitudes reject all the offers of the Gospel, and treat with contempt those who yield to the invitations which they themselves despise, and submit to the motives which they renounce, as deluded and degraded people.

“The day is coming when your pride will be brought low and the Lord alone will be exalted.” Isaiah 2:11

“The Lord Almighty has done it to destroy your pride and show His contempt for all human greatness.” Isaiah 23:9

The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.” Proverbs 16:5

This makes us prize the gospel, embrace the Savior, and fly to His cross!

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This makes us prize the gospel, embrace the Savior, and fly to His cross!

(Letters of John Berridge, 1716-1793)

Dear Sir, 
In November I gathered strength enough to preach, and through mercy have continued preaching ever since. For the last month I have shared with my neighbors in a bad cold, which has kept me wheezing and coughing, and pulled me down, but not laid me up. 

Oh, how needful is the furnace, both to reveal our dross, and to purge it away! How little do we know of ourselves, of the pride, sensuality, and idolatry of our hearts–until the Lord lays us on a bed of suffering, and searches all our inward parts with His candles. My heart, I knew, was bad enough, but I scarcely thought there was half the baseness in it which I find, and yet I know not half its plague! 

How sweet is the mercy of God, and how rich is the grace of Jesus–when we have had an awful peep into our hearts! This makes us prize the gospel, embrace the Savior, and fly to His cross! At times I am so overwhelmed with the filth and mire of my nature, that I can scarcely look through it unto Jesus. And when he has put on a little of his eye-salve, and scoured the scales off my eyes–I stand amazed to think that He can touch such a leper! And yet where the sun shines clear for a season, and my dung-hill is covered with snow, I forget my leprosy, or become a leper only in notion. I think it perhaps, but do not feel it, nor am I humbled by it. What a heap of absurd contradiction is man! 

After an affliction, I think I can say with David: It is good for me to have been afflicted. I can see and feel some profit attending it. Indeed, I never grow really wiser or better, unless when I am baptized both with the Holy Spirit and with fire. If the Dove comes without a furnace, my heart is soon lifted up; pride steals in, and Heaven’s blessed beams turn everything sour within me! We learn nothing truly of ourselves, or of grace, but in a furnace.

The heaviest afflictions on this side of Hell are less, far less than my iniquities have deserved! Oh, boundless grace! The chastening rod of a reconciled Father, might have been the flaming sword of an avenging Judge! I might now have been weeping and wailing with devils and damned spirits in Hell! I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against Him. It is of His mercy alone, that I am not consumed!

All that we see within is foul, ugly and grim!

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All that we see within is foul, ugly, and grim!

(Frank Hall)

“You are complete in Him!” Colossians 2:10 

Oh desponding Christian, is not your grief caused by looking within yourself? Is not that miserable feeling of failure and disappointment, caused by your strange fixation upon your hollow heart of iniquity? You look within, hoping to find something good, something pure, something precious, something clean–but what do you see? Nothing but sin! To stare into one’s self–is to stare into a bottomless pit of despair and hopelessness! “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked!” Jeremiah 17:9

Will we ever learn this? There is nothing within us to give us hope, rest, or peace. Have we ever found anything within us that gave us joy? Of course not! Then why do we continue to stare into the darkness? All that we see within is foul, ugly, and grim! One glance within ought to sicken us. We would sooner find diamonds in a dunghill or roses growing in a sewer–than find goodness dwelling within!

In ourselves we are sinful, guilty, and vile! But bless God forever! 
Our standing before God is not in ourselves; it’s in Christ! He is . . .
  our Salvation,
  our Righteousness, 
  our Hope,
  our Holiness, and
  our Acceptance with God! 

Change the direction of your gaze–and look up! Stop staring into the empty void of your heart–and fix your eyes upon Jesus your Lord, in whom all fullness dwells. Our hope is not within, but without, seated at the right hand of the Father! Lift up your head that is bowed down with guilt and shame! Behold Christ your Savior! Behold your glorious Redeemer! Bid sorrow goodbye and fear depart! Rejoice, for “You are complete in Him!” 

Believers are perfect in Christ. To be complete in Christ is to be perfect in Christ. Perfect is not something that we will be, or strive to be–but something that we are right now, by virtue of our eternal union with God’s darling Son. 

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are, by the free grace of God, complete in Christ our Savior! 
We lack nothing! 
All that He is–we are in Him! 
All that He has–we have in Him!
All that He has done–we’ve done in Him! 
We possess the infinite fullness of eternal life and everlasting salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord!

We are completely righteous in Him!
We are completely holy in Him!
We are completely forgiven in Him!
We are completely accepted in Him! 
We are completely, everlastingly, perfectly sinless in Him!

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus!” Hebrews 12:2 

“For every look at SELF–take ten looks at CHRIST! – Robert Murray M’Cheyne

☀️ #21 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Relaxing, Reflecting & Coughing!!”🌊

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Sarah & i were feeling really run down, tired and a little concerned about what the rest of our dream holiday had in store for us. But now we had a few days at sea, so we decided to get out there and enjoy the time we had left. 🙂 

Sarah looking out to sea

⇧ Sarah relaxing and reflecting ⇧ 

During our time at sea, Sarah & i loved standing and looking out over the vast ocean. It seemed to put perspective on how majestic and awesome our God is. Also how small we were in comparison and yet he loves each one of us…amazing! 🙂 

Shopping… 

Handbags on ship

There’s nothing like being surrounded by handbags to put a smile on Sarah’s face! 🙂 

Of all the places…i never thought i’d be in a handbag store, on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. But we have just spent the night in a hospital in the middle of the Atlantic ocean! 😀  Sarah seems to find these shops wherever we go… and if it helps her relax, i’ll be right there with her! 

Another fave spot…

Sarah on deck

Each day we’d find our way up to this spot and just look out over the pool deck and take in the full panoramic view of blue. There was always a live band playing, giving a great atmosphere and a hot-plate thingy where i could get a fresh burger…Mmmm burgers! 🍔🍔 

Hair salon…

Hair salon

After Sarahs last trip to the hair salon she was really pleased with the way the stylist had cut and styled her hair around her eye…. but the hospital adventure had kind of ruined it. So i thought she might like to relax and get it done again. Whilst waiting in the waiting room i took this shot through the window ….That’s the best view i’ve ever seen from a hair salon! 😀 

The evening restaurants…

So far i havn’t said much about our evening meals. For the first few days we really struggled with the buffet restaurants, as the food was placed in big trays under a glass cover with really long fork/tongs to pick up the food. Sarah had no idea what she was picking up as it was just too far away for her to focus and the waiters didn’t understand we couldn’t see properly, which caused a few problems!

At home we try to stay away from self service/buffet style places …not because we are too snooty, lol …but because we simply can’t find anything e.g plates, food, cutlery, where to pay, which causes too much stress and makes us wish we hadn’t gone out at all! 

After a few days we decided to try the “Orion Restaurant” which was waiter service. On entrance the waiter asked if we’d like to share a table or sit by yourselves. Sarah said “Sharing is fine with us” (I thought is it really… 😦 The waiter then escorted us to an empty 8 seater table. After he passed us our menus (which we had no chance of reading) our table soon filled up with people. After friendly hello’s Sarah said to the lady next to her “I don’t want to be a nuisance…but we are both registered blind and so can’t read the menus. Would you be able to read it to us?” After the confused look on all of their faces (my imagination from the body language) the lady said “Of course, but i’d never have guessed that either of you had sight problems”. (My thought was “You need to be on this side of my eyes to understand the problem :(“) After we’d heard the menu, Sarah whispered “This works perfectly for us…we get the menu read out, and we get to meet lots of different lovely people” 🙂 

Shortly after…we heard the people sitting opposite us say “Did you hear the “Code Alpha” last night?” The others replied “Yes we did, it woke us up…it was after 1am!!” “Yeah i know and there was no need to call it around the whole ship”.

I said “Sorry…that was us.”   “It was you two! what happened?” Sarah showed her bruised and bandaged wrists (from where the drips had been attached) and explained everything that happened. We heard this same complaint for the next few evenings…. and even some different, elaborate explanations of what had happened (even one story where Sarah was said to have died and been taken off the boat by helicopter in a silver bullet coffin????.)  

We also heard that quite a few people had complained to reception about the 1am code alpha (because they thought it was a call to abandon ship) and how they felt they shouldn’t have been disturbed in the middle of the night!!

The Cough…

If you can remember…on Day 8 there were a couple of people in the hospital waiting room with deep growly coughs. Well today…Sarah’s got it too !! 😦 This deep booming growly cough (reminds me of the Rockford Fosgate subs in the boot of my old custom Nova) is giving Sarah lots of  chest pain, a sore throat and a pounding head. We’ve noticed the unique sound of this cough around the ship as we’ve been exploring! ….As if Sarah didn’t have enough on her plate with no sleep, uncontrollable blood sugar, one eye closed and exhaustion…she now has this nasty cough 😦

Keep smiling… 😀 

I have no idea how she does it. But no matter what’s going on…Sarah has  a lovely beaming/contagious smile on her face that blesses all who see her 😀 

Sarah reflection

 The Azores…

After about 4 (or is it 5?) sleepless nights (i’ve lost count) we were looking forwards to arriving at the Azores. Sarah was especially looking forwards to getting off the ship and onto solid ground and having the freedom to explore another fantastic island! You just can’t keep this warrior princess down! 😀   

Yippee land ahoy!!!

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☀️ #19 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Goodbye Caribbean…hello massive ocean…”🌊

Sea logo

Goodbye Caribbean…hello massive ocean…

After another amazing day in the Caribbean(which was now about an hour away), we thought we’d try and relax with a spot of sunbathing. This meant trying the almost impossible task of finding not 1…but 2, empty sun loungers.

A view of the ocean from the rear of the ship, overlooking the sunbathing area at the bottom of the shot

Fantastic! We found 2 together, no way. But…pretty much after placing our towels onto the sun loungers, Sarah’s “Paradigm” insulin pump started alarming!!

“That’s not the usual alarm” I said as Sarah was trying to read the tiny screen in the super bright sun. “I can’t quite make out what it’s saying, but it’s not something i’ve seen before, i need to go back to the cabin and use the magnifier”. The pump continued it’s piercing alarm all the way to the cabin!

Back in the cabin..

Once back, and using our video magnifier, the error message on the screen said “A button has been continually pressed for more than three minutes. to clear press ESC, then ACT”.

Sarah said “That’s weird, my pump’s been nowhere near anything that would press the buttons, but it sounds easy enough, i can finally stop this annoying alarm”. After hearing a few clicks, then a few more, the pump was still alarming. “It’s not working” “What do you mean, are the buttons not responding?”. “No, it won’t clear the error message, can you have a go”. I tried, and still nothing except the error message and the alarm!

We both knew we didn’t have long as the pump has now stopped delivering insulin, as Sarah needs a continual small dose, as not only does Sarah have type 1, but a brittle form, and she is also slightly allergic to insulin! 

After taking the battery out, waiting 10 minutes before replacing…the alarm and message were still there! After trying it again, I said “Should we take it to the doctors in the hospital on Deck 3?” “They won’t know anything about insulin pumps, it’s specialised equipment, which is why it’s carefully monitored, and finely tuned by the diabetic clinic”. After a few more desperate tries to cancel the alarm, and running out of options, we had no choice, and headed down to deck 3.

The Hospital…

Reaching the bottom of the stairs to Deck 3, we were greeted with a couple of corridors and lots of doors. We could hear voices coming from an open door on the right, so we headed there. We found the doctor who was sounding very concerned whilst talking to a couple of very poorly sounding people, who had deep growly coughs. I said “Let’s wait out here”. A man dressed in a white suit approached us and asked if we were ok? After explaining what had happened, he looked at the pump, took it, and asked us to wait in the waiting room.

He returned with the doctor(a female with quite an aggressive manner), she explained that the pump was broken, and we needed to get a new one. But for now she needed to work out how much insulin Sarah’s body ran on. We said the pump gives a small amount of Humalog every 1-2 hours continuously, but all of the information is programmed in the pump that has now locked itself. This didn’t impress her! Between us, we had to try and calculate how much insulin Sarah took each day, by adding up the dosage at meal times, and adding a little more to compensate for the pumps continuous injections in the background. 

After a couple more hours of stressful calculations, the doctor gave Sarah some old school syringes and told us to keep a record of insulin taken, time of insulin taken and food eaten etc. We returned to our cabin worried about how we were going to cope for the rest of the holiday, and did we have enough Humalog insulin in the fridge, as the hospital on-board didn’t use it, or stock it.

The Phone Call…

We went up to reception on Deck 8(lots of stairs, lol)  to see if we could phone Medtronic(the makers of the insulin pump) as they are an American company, and would still be open. We couldn’t phone the UK diabetic clinic as they were 5 hours in front, and it would be about midnight! 

After a long drawn out discussion with the receptionist, asking if there was a way to call out from a ship, as we have a medical disaster, as Sarah knows her body reacts badly to injections etc, and really does need the continued small amounts 24 hours a day.  So we really needed to call Medtronic to see if there is any way of saving the pump! Eventually we managed to phone Medtronic, and after a £52 phone call…he told us “the pump was broken!!”. Sarah has been on an insulin pump for about 15 years, and they have never broken. But 1 hour from Antigua, sailing at sea for 5 days…it breaks! 😦 

Trying to relax…

As the realisation was setting in of trying to manage with injections, and Sarah’s blood sugar was still on the rise after the first injection. We were getting a little worried on how this was all going to play out. We decided to stay in the room and just figure out a game plan for the rest of the holiday. We then managed to figure out how to turn on the TV, i thought a film might help Sarah try and relax after the trauma of the day. 

After a while when Sarah spoke again, i instantly knew we were in trouble! The slightly slurring sound of Sarah’s voice told me her blood sugar had suddenly shot down and it was very low! “Oh no,” i said as i jumped into survival mode. Sarah was still conscious so i knew i had a little time. I went straight to the fridge and got the bottle of orange lucozade that usually works if Sarah is still able to drink. 

After about 10 minutes Sarah was slipping away, so i ran to my bag and got the Gluco Gel and squirted it into Sarahs mouth. Gluco gel is fantastic and absorbs into gums etc, and after a while(a nervous while) Sarah was back with us. “Phew” i said as relief was pulling me out of survival mode. Sarah said “I’ve had a hypo havn’t i?! These injections really aren’t going to work, my body just goes erratic and messes up”. 

After a sleepless night of trying to stabilise a yo-yoing blood sugar, we were not really enjoying our first day at sea. But we decided to go and have a nice strong coffee at our fave place, as we’ve probably got another sleepless night tonight too. I said “It’s hard to imagine that not even a day ago we were riding on horseback across that beautiful beach”. 🙂 

Sarah has to check her blood sugar every 2 hours, day and night, for the rest of the holiday, as without the pumps continuous feed, we are left with just fast acting insulin, and lots of prayers.

This is becoming quite an adventure!!! 

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Christ’s sympathy!

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Christ’s sympathy!

(Octavius Winslow, “The Tears of Christ”) 

“Jesus wept!” John 11:35 

The Creator of all worlds, the Author of all beings, the Upholder of the universe–raining tears of human woe and sympathy upon a grave! 

Oh, there lives not a being in the universe who can enter into our bereavements with the sympathy, the support, and the soothing of Christ! 

They were tears of sympathy. His heart was touched, deeply touched, with sympathy for the sorrow of others. He wept because the mourning sisters wept. He mingled His tears with theirs. 

This is true sympathy, “weeping with those who weep,” making their sorrow our own. How really our Lord does this with His people. So completely is He our Surety–that He takes our sins and infirmities, our trials and sorrows upon Himself, as if they were all and entirely His own. Our sins were so completely laid upon Him–that not one remains charged to the account of those who believe in Jesus. 

Our present griefs are so entirely absorbed in Him, that, 
  softened by His love,
  soothed by His sympathy,
  supported by His grace– 
the trial is welcome, 
the affliction is sweet, and 
the rod of a Father’s chastening, buds and blossoms into delectable fruit. 

Bereaved mourner, the sympathy of Christ is yours! The same Savior who wept at the grave of Bethany, now shares your grief. Do not imagine that your sorrow is isolated, or that your tears are forbidden or unseen. You have a merciful and faithful High Priest who is touched with your present calamity. 

There exists no sympathy . . .  
  so real, 
  so perceptive, 
  so deep, 
  so tender, 
  so sanctifying– 
as Christ’s sympathy

If your heavenly Father has seen it wise and good to remove from you the spring of human pity–it is but that He may draw you closer beneath the wing of Jesus’ compassion, presence and love. 

O child of sorrow, will not this suffice, that you possess Christ’s sympathy–as immeasurable and exhaustless as the ocean–as exquisite and changeless as His being! Yield your heart to His rich compassion! 

Will Jesus be regardless of what I feel, and the sorrows under which I groan? Oh no! The sigh that bursts in secret from my heart is not secret to Him; the tear that is my food day and night and drops unperceived and unknown–is known and remembered by Him! 

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses!” Hebrews 4:14-15 

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” Psalm 56:8

☀️ #18 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “St Johns, Antigua”🇦🇬

Click logo to return to Day 1

After another early start(and you’ve guessed it) a bacon roll, we headed off the ship. The shore excursion lady was at the bottom of the gangway steps, and she showed us where to join the queue. Well i say queue, there were only about 8 of us in total. I thought “I think we may have over reached on this one. Maybe it’s going to be too difficult, and really not suited for the blind”. 

We were then led towards the minibus. We were told they’d saved us the 2 seats in the front next to the driver, i said “Sweet”, and climbed aboard. I really didn’t expect what happened next…the driver turned on his CD player which started playing Ed Sheeran “Thinking out loud” and he started singing as i tapped away on my legs to the beat. His voice was incredible, it was like we were having our own concert in the front of the minibus, whilst driving around paradise.  Quite a surreal moment. After more fantastic singing to Tarrus Riley’s  “She’s Royal”, he pulled up at Fort James Beach where we were to start our horse ride.

Welcome to Paradise…

We left the minibus and were instantly greeted with a stunning view of porcelain palm fringed sands, and stilted turquoise waters of Fort James beach, also we received a further warm welcome by the “Horseman(sorry, i forgot his name)”. 🙂 

St John beach with a palm tree on the left and a life guard seat on the right

St John beach 2

Photo of the horse instructor walking across the beautiful beach

 ⇧ The horseman strolling along the beautiful beach ⇧  

A couple of horses on the left walking across the amazing beach

⇧ Horses being led to the sea to cool off ⇧  

The Horse Ride…

Once everyone was fitted with a protective hat, it was time to line up and meet the horses. He asked for experienced riders first, then one at a time they mounted the horses. It was about this time i started to get a little nervous. I was saying to Sarah “How do we get up there? Are there steps? Which foot do i put forward first? Are the horses big enough to carry me?”

The horseman was out of earshot, but i think he could see my face, he said “Don’t worry, i have a couple of special horses for you two”. This put my mind a little more at ease. Sarah mounted first on the horse named “Sunshine”, what a perfect horse for her! 🙂 Then i mounted easily with the excellent help from horseman onto the horse named “Little Man”, 

After a short tutorial on how to hold(and use) the reins, it was time to move on out! We had only walked along next to a road for about a minute, and i’d just got used to the weird motion of rocking side to side whilst not being able to see the ground or the horse in front. When…a huge commotion…Lots of shouting from horseman, and the horses. I thought(at first) it sounded like a car had hit one of the horses. I pulled back on the reins as i saw Sarah(who was in front of me) appear at my side, Yay my horse stopped! 🙂 We found out at the end, that a car got too close and spooked a few of the horses, so no one(or horses) were hurt.

My plan was to take my Samsung WB550 compact camera with me to take photos & video whilst on the horse, but that was soon foiled when i got onto the horse, and my shorts were pulled tight around my pocket, so it had seal it shut. I didn’t want to try and move, as i thought the horse might mistaken my movements and start galloping off!. I did eventually get an opportunity when my foot suddenly got smacked out of the stirrup by an aloe vera plant(it got a few of us), and as my leg was free i quickly grabbed my camera! 🙂 Note to self, next time take my other camera with a neck strap! 🙂 

The horseman who was overseeing us said “Welcome to Sandhaven Beach”…

A photo of the back of my horses head with a beautiful seacape all around

⇧ “Little Man” taking me on a beautiful journey 🙂 ⇧ 

Photo of Sarah on her horse riding across stunning beach landscape with my orange shirt at the bottom as i took the photo over my shoulder

⇧ Sarah on “Sunshine” & in sunshine, along Sandhaven beach ⇧ 

Sarah on her horse looking inland as she rides across the stunning beach

Sarah looking out to sea as she rides along the stunning Sandhaven beach

⇧ Sarah ensconced in Sunshine! 🙂 ⇧ 

Words completely fail me when i try and describe the feeling of riding in paradise. The sound of the waves, the feel of the hot sun with the cool breeze, the movement(and sound) of the horse, topped off with the amazing panorama. We really didn’t want to leave our new fave place on earth!! 🙂 

We left Sandhaven beach and headed back to Fort James beach. We’d been riding for around 1½ hours, and just before we finished, the man asked for my cameras so he could take a photo of us on our horses.

My horse “little Man” was busy eating grass, i think he had my appetite! 🙂 

Photo of me9left and Sarah(right) sat on top of our horses. My horse is eating grass

 ⇧ “Little Man & “Sunshine” ⇧ 

Once off the horses, we were given a bottle of water each as they prepared for stage 2. Stage 2 gave the chance for the experienced riders to ride faster(or gallop as i’m told), and the chance to ride bareback into the water. Sarah and another lady paired up together to do this. 

Sarah bareback riding

Sarah said “I was sat trying to balance without a saddle, when suddenly i was thrown back as one of my legs was pulled up. I looked down to see that the horse had taken a liking to one of my bright yellow laces, and was pulling on it as though it was spaghetti! 🙂 

Once stage 2 was over, we had about 45 minutes before the singing taxi arrived. “No way, does this mean you get to swim in paradise again?!” i said as Sarah was already half way down the beach!! 🙂 

The Swim…

Sarah running towards the empty sea

⇧ Sarah excited to be the only one in the beautiful sea ⇧  

Sarah submerged in the turquoise sea. The whole sea is empty apart from Sarah

⇧ What a way to relax! 🙂 ⇧  

Sarah walking towards me from out of the sea after her swim

Sarah portrait St John

 ⇧ I think Sarah enjoyed her swim! 🙂 ⇧ 

The taxi ride was just as fun. The drivers stunning voice carried us all the way back to the ship.

 Back on the ship…

We now had to say goodbye to the Caribbean. 😦 We took our usual sofa’s in the coffee port, and with coffee’s in hand, we watched the island slowly disappear. We both agreed that this was our fave place of the trip, and the horse ride was our best experience so far!!

Our new friend…

On returning to our cabin, the steward had created a folded towel turtle, and used my hat as the shell, fantastic!!  🙂 

Folded turtle from towels with my hat as the shell

Our Route 4 2day…

This afternoon Thomson Dream sails to Horta, Portugal, we’ll arrive on Sunday late morning, after 5 leisurely days at sea. having travelled 2,173 nautical miles, at an average speed of 16 knots.

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🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 25 – “Rest Again”

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Welcome back to your daily lockdown drill brought to you by Bruce…your fave Boxercise instructor! 

 

Wow yet another week in lockdown has passed already…Time flies when your boxercised!

 

It’s time to rest yet again, and we can spend this time pampering, sleeping, eating, playing and most of all posing for a good portrait…Very important and it keeps the treats rolling in from the humans who now have some nice photos of their stupendous furry angel! 😀 

Also let’s think once again about rest and sleep. It’s vitally important to take a day of rest to give your body a chance to heal, it helps to de-stress, and also helps our minds focus…On FOOD, lol! 🍔 

 

Fun Quote…“A well trained dog will make no attempt to share your lunch. He will just make you feel so guilty that you cannot enjoy it.”

 

🎶 Remember our happy singalong…”Every snack you make, every meal you bake, every bite you take, chocolate or cake, I’ll be watching you.” 

 

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 🐾 Begin Boxercise class from Day 1  🐾

☀️ #17 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Basseterre, St Kitts”🇰🇳

St Kitts logo

 

Our excursion today “St Kitts Scenic Railway” didn’t start until 11am, so we had a more relaxed breakfast at Lido’s on Deck 9. Then another lovely coffee at the Coffee Port on Deck 8. Now we had sustenance, it was down to Deck 4 and off the ship to enjoy what today had in store for us?! 🙂    

Welcome to St Kitts… 

Once an illustrious sugar colony, it now focusses its efforts on being a tropical paradise. A seductive blend of blonde sandss, and duck egg blue seas. 

Once we slowly navigated down the gangway steps, we looked up to see a view of the beautiful bay. 

The Caribbean never failed to surprise us, even when we thought we had seen the most beautiful places, the next place would leave us awe-struck with it’s breathtaking landscapes! 

A panorama taken from the dock pier overlooking the amazing span of volcano hills with the vivid blu sea in front

⇧ Sarah’s Panorama of St Kitts ⇧ 

 

As i was taking a photo of Sarah, a nice lady came over and asked if we would like her to take one of us both together? “Oh yes please, that would be so kind of you”. The photo she took is probably my fave photo of the trip! 🙂 

Me on the left in my bright orange shirt hugging Sarah on the right with the beautiful panorama of volcanic hills and blue sea behind us

⇧ Sarah & i at St Kitts ⇧

Showing my excitement, and love for the Caribbean. Sarah chose(and bought) me an amazingly bright and colourful Caribbean shirt, 🙂

Excursion Details – St Kitts Scenic Railway…

First up, board a tour bus for a drive along the south coast. Important landmarks lie around every corner here.

Second, hop on a train at the “Needs-Must” station, and St Kitts light railway takes you on a 3 hour tour of the islands best bits. You’ll chug over ravines over 300 feet deep, circle mount Liamuga volcano, take a sneak peak at the islands black sand beaches, and soak up the jaw dropping views over lush sugar cain fields,

The Bus…

Another soothing air conditioned bus ride. Our tour guide was fantastic, and told us all about the Economy, history(some grusome battles), and the monkeys! She said “Around 100,000 monkeys live in the tree covered hills, and they steal our fruit etc. So if you want to take one with you, it will help us greatly!”.

View from the bus at St Kitts

⇧ A view from the bus window ⇧ 

The Train…

We got off the bus at the “Needs-Must” station. The hot sun felt lovely as we waited for the train. We had no idea what to expect, and looking at the small narrow train tracks, we expected a little open top fun train, or something like. 

Then…this large double decker monster pulled up. “Wow, i didn’t expect that! It’s really tall, and doesn’t look wide enough to take the height”. I said as we climbed the stairs to the upper deck of the 1st carriage. “Yes! We get to sit at the front too! Unbelievable”.

As the train pulled away, the tour guide told us that the train will sway(strongly) side to side, so it’s best to stay seated, but if you want to stand then keep hold of the rail above the seats. She wasn’t joking!! It was the craziest train i’d ever been on, and i thought there is no way i can take photos whilst being violently thrown around! 

But…as usual, i didn’t let that stop me! My Nikkor lens has VR(Vibration Reduction) on it, so i’ll test it out. I really didn’t expect to have any photos from this amazing, unforgettable train ride, but was surprised when a few turned out not too blurry!  

We started off travelling through vivid green fields flanked by volcanos.

St Kitts 1

St Kitts 2

Then just as a lady asked us if we wanted a “Pina Colada”, we saw the first of many beautiful curved bays, with the sea crashing into the shore.

St Kitts 3

Sarah & i just kept saying “Wow, this is Amazing! How did we get here, it’s like a dream”. The beautiful hot sun shining down, a lovely cool breeze flowing through the train, and a Pina Colada in hand. Some of my fave things are Coconut, Banana and Pineapple, and this drink had them all! Mmmmm. 🙂  

St Kitts Train

Then as the train curled its way through the lush landscape, a 3 part harmony choir started singing. The ladies would come up to our deck and sing some beautiful songs as part of the trip. The voices were fantastic, and brought even more sunshine to this incredible journey. 🙂 

As the singers finished, we heard a horn next to us, so we all started waving at the people on the fun bus! 🙂 

St Kitts Bus

We were then treated to another stunning bay!

St Kitts 7

St Kitts 6

St Kitts 5

St Kitts 4

After passing through more sugarcane fields, the lady brought us a piece of sugarcane with spices. Wow, it was the nicest sweet thing i’d ever tasted! I always talk about this sugarcane everywhere i go.

Sarah St Kitts Train

⇧ Sarah sat at the front of the train! ⇧  

St Kitts Volcano

The tour guide then said “On your left you will make out the bridge we will be travelling over shortly”. I heard Sarah say “No way, the train isn’t going to make it over that, it looks too small and rickety. Steve, if you could see it, you’d be saying the same!!”. 

Train Bridge 1

Train bridge 2

Yes i would! After seeing this photo, i could tell exactly why Sarah was getting worried! 🙂

After the bridge, we travelled back towards the end of the journey. But not before we were blessed, by what is now my favourite church building.

St Kitts Church

This fantastic train ride came to an end back at “Needs-Must” station, where the bus was ready to take us back to the ship. But before we boarded, we still had a short time to look around the shops at the dock.

I bought another Caribbean shirt(blue one) so i could keep up with the vibrant colours surrounding us from all angles! Sarah even plaited my hair too! 🙂     

My Platt  Blue Caribbean Shirt

⇧ My quiet blue shirt ⇧ 

 Tomorrow will be our last Caribbean island, before we are at sea for 5 days crossing the atlantic for the Azores. 

We’ve booked a horse ride across the beach etc, so i’m a little nervous. But at least the horse isn’t blind(i hope) and will lead the way! Either way, i’m sure it’ll be another unforgettable experience! This holiday has been full of them! 🙂 

 Our Route 4 2day…

This evening Thomson Dream travels to St Johns, Antigua. We’ll arrive tomorrow morning having travelled 61 nautical miles, at an average speed of 4 knots.

Wow, Did you enjoy this trip as much as we did? Did you have a fave part?  

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Growing in grace

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Growing in grace

(Thomas Moor, “Counsels and Thoughts for the Spiritual Life of Believers” 1882)

Remember that among your chief thoughts of the Lord Jesus, one must ever have a prominent place: that He is ever looking down upon you and watching you with tenderest love, and ordering all things for your good. 

Sometimes it is spiritual medicine, at other times it is spiritual nourishment–but at all times it is spiritual good, and just what is best for you. He sees and knows just what is best for each day and hour. So, always when you think of Him, think of Him as thus looking down upon you and ever caring for you.

The Holy Spirit is ever leading us to think of Christ and to live for Christ and continually to look to Christ.

The natural mind makes self the center, and self the end. 
The spiritual mind makes Christ the center, and Christ the end. 
The more we seek Christ, and the less we seek self–the more we please Him.

Christ is the source and end both of grace on earth and glory in Heaven. 
Grace in the heart, is glory in its beginnings. 
Glory in Heaven, is grace in its full consummation. 

Growing in grace is living more upon Christ, and living more for Christ, and growing more like Christ.

To learn of Christ and live upon Christ, is the highest experience of the soul here or hereafter!

📜 Precious Proverbs: Vomit

Proverbs Logo

Proverbs 26:11 (ESV)

Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.

My Thoughts 💭 

Wow, what an amazing word picture! Some of these proverbs just stick in your mind and heart (especially if you’ve had a dog.) It’s just so accurate and so full of His Wisdom that you can’t help but fall on your knees and ask once again for forgiveness.

 🙏 Prayer 4 2day! 

Loving Saviour, i don’t deserve the smallest of your mercies, and yet you continue to love, sustain and bless me in immeasurable ways!

Your love is blind to all of my faults, and ugly sides. I pray that You would work through me to love others compassionately and patiently. Amen.

☀️ #16 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Philipsburg, St Maarten”🇸🇽

Philipsburg St Maarten Logo

After a quick bacon roll from Lido’s on Deck 9, Sarah & i found our way off the ship, and to the shore excursion point. 

St Maarten Island Tour…(excursion details)

Flying under two flags, St Maarten has got something of a split personality. But despite being one half Dutch and the other French, its whole is as Caribbean as it gets. And on this trip you’ll get to see both sides of this two-faced island, with your guide giving you snippets of history as you go

You’ll travel from Philipsburg(Dutch capital) to Marigot(French capital) passing through dinky villages hardly touched by time. Once you reach Marigot, you have some free time to explore this four street-wide city. All patisseries, pavement cafés and designer boutiques, it’s easy to see why it’s known as the French Riviera of the Caribbean.

The Dutch Side…

Our tour started with a drive around the beautiful Dutch side of the island, the air conditioned bus was perfect on this hot day. The guide pretty much told us that this was the place for the profligates. Casinos, night clubs, fast food outlets etc.  I instantly thought of  Mathew 23 “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean”. Not quite in context, but you get the idea! 🙂

I know i keep going on about the vivid colours, i still can’t put into words how stunning they are, i couldn’t get my camera to do them justice! The Colours will be the main thing i remember about the caribbean! 🙂  

Lookout Point, Simpson Bay Lagoon…

The driver/tour guide said he’d stop the bus for about 5 minutes so we could take some photos of the bay. “Excellent”, i thought as Sarah & i followed a man with a DSLR who was leaving in a hurry off the bus. I thought “if he is so keen to get off, then it must be a beautiful bay”. But as soon as he had moved to the edge of the cliff, he started saying “Why did he stop here? This is horrible, and a building site! There were much nicer places where he should’ve stopped”.

I ignored his complaining and started taking photos of the scenery i couldn’t see anyway, as i wanted to see what he was talking about when i zoomed in at home after the holiday. I still can’t make out the detail, but what i can see looks beautiful!, and well worth stopping for! 🙂

Photo taken of Lookout Point, Simpson Bay Lagoon.jpeg

Lookout Point, Simpson Bay Lagoon.jpeg

St Maarten Bay 4

St Maarten Bay

⇧ Lookout Point – Simpson Bay Lagoon ⇧

The French Side…

Moving seamlessly from the Dutch side of the island to the French side, Sarah started to feel a little more at home as the guide said “You won’t find any Burger King, KFC, casino’s etc. You’ll find cafe’s, restaurants, small independent market stores etc”.

After more fascinating history of the island, we pulled into Marigot(French capital), and now had 45 minutes to have a look around! 

Marigot…

 After leaving the bus, we headed straight for the open space where we found another lovely bay 

St Maarten Bay 5

⇧ Marigot bay ⇧ 

After standing a moment to absorb the beauty, it was over to the market to see what we could find.

The smell of the locals cooking on the market was amazing, but Sarah had found a sweet little craft stall. The lady created items from the coral found off the shores St Maarten. “Oooooh, i could have a necklace made from St Maarten”. I knew that to mean “i’m getting one, i just don’t know which one yet?!” 🙂 

close up photo of Sarah's neckolace she bought fromm a market stall in Marigot, St Maarten

⇧ Sarah’s St Maartens Coral Necklace ⇧  

Sarah really was starting to feel at home here,  but we had to get back to the bus! We enjoyed our stop in Marigot, and we said we’d love to spend a week here to investigate more! 🙂

Back On The Ship…

After finishing the island tour, we went back to the ship to get some lunch. We had a few hours before the ship sails away, so we decided to see if we could find a beach!

Sarah always says “The holiday hasn’t properly started until our feet are standing on the sand!!” 🙂 

After a frustrating hour walking from one end of the dock to the other, trying to find transport to take us to a beach. We started heading back to the ship defeated. When.. suddenly a “Water Taxi” sign appeared! Fantastic, lets go! Eventually we got on-board a very busy(yet cool) boat that took us a short distance across the bay. 

After just stepping out of the boat, i heard “Hi Steve and Sarah”. It was Martin, a kind man i sat next too on the plane over to Jamaica. We’d got chatting on the plane about sight loss and coping etc, and he has a Nephew who is suffering at the moment, so i was giving him some resources that may help etc. We Sadi “Hi Martin, are we anywhere near a beach?” He chuckled a little and said “Yeah it’s right here, just walk down this short pier and you won’t miss it” “Fantastic!” “Don’t be long though, you don’t want to miss the ship” Martin said, as he boarded the water taxi. 

Great Bay Beach…

Photo of the beach, with a palm tree on the left, and 2 cruise ships on the right

⇧ View of the cruise ships from Great Bay Beach ⇧ 

The afternoon sun was getting hot now, which must have been why most of the people were inside the bars. But we had been in air conditioning all morning so didn’t mind a bit of sun. 

It also meant that, not only did we get to walk on the powder white sands, but Sarah got to swim in the turquoise waters with hardly anyone around! An amazing experience! 🙂  

Sarah couldn’t believe she was swimming in paradise, and couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day! 🙂 

A full photo of just sea, with Sarah head poking out in the bottom right corner

⇧ Sarah relaxing in paradise ⇧   

close up of Sarah walking out of the see,with the water up to her hips. Sarah is wearing her fave spotted puple swimsuit

landscape shot of Sarah walking out of the turquoise sea, onto yellow sands, with sailing ships in the far distance

⇧ Beautiful! ⇧ 

It really was getting hot now, so we nipped into a small bar for a cold soothing drink. I thought i’d try a Rum & Coke(though i didn’t taste much coke), and Sarah had her fave Mojito. 

We had a last walk up and down the beach before boarding the water taxi back to the ship. What an amazing day! This whole holiday has been simply breathtaking for us, and Sarah still can’t believe she got to swim in the beautiful, warm Caribbean sea! 🙂

Towel Folding & Beyond…

You’ve already seen the fantastic towel folded Elephant on Day 1, and each night the cabin steward folded our bed in amazingly straight lines, but he went one step further. We found Sarah’s nightie folded in this fantastic pattern.

a close up shot of the fantastic pattern folded by the cabin steward on Sarah nightie

a photo of the folded bed covers and Sarahs Folded Nightie 2

⇧ Folded nightie and bed, with chocolate mints on pillows ⇧   

Our Route 4 2day…

This evening Thomson Dream sails to Basseterre, St Kitts. We’ll arrive tomorrow morning having travelled 59 nautical miles at an average of 4 knots.

Wow, Did you enjoy this trip as much as we did? Did you have a fave part?  

⬅ Previous Day 🌴 Next Day ➡

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