4 November 2020
I knew exactly where I was and where I wanted to go!
I went out one night to buy a television, but I had trouble with the Portuguese road system. I couldn’t get myself onto the road I wanted to go to; the roads wouldn’t let me get there. I could see the shopping centre from my front window but seeing it was not going to get me there. It was a ten-minute walk from my home.
For 39 years I had driven on the left-hand side of the road, and now I was confronted with driving on the right-hand side.
I have to admit that early on in my life in Portugal, there was one time when I turned into a freeway on the left-hand side of the road. My secretary was sitting in the passenger seat and he not only screamed, but I thought he was going to have a heart attack. Fortunately, this was not near a built-up area and there were no other cars about, so I just did a U turn and got back on track. I soon got used to driving on the right-hand side of the road.
The book of Proverbs has signposts to help us beware of wrong turns on the road of life.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Do not turn to the right nor to the left; turn your foot from evil.
11 November 2020
I was in a bit of a pickle. I couldn’t go to the doctor without proof of my citizenship.
To get my visa I needed to get a doctor’s certificate to say I did not have an infectious disease. I didn’t have any infectious diseases, but I needed my visa to get a driver’s licence. I also needed a certificate from the local council to say that the house I was living in was suitable. It sounded like some sort of mystery tour. My secretary tried everything to get this done.
I had to go to Seville in Spain to get my visa, and I made three visits over several months. The day arrived to pick up my visa, but that day in Seville my passport was stolen.
All’s well that ends well, and when I arrived back in Portugal, I went to the Australian Embassy and told them the sorry story. They contacted the office in Seville, and the next day I got a phone call to say the passport had been found.
Was I pleased? You bet.
Back to Seville for the fourth and, fortunately, last time in the visa saga to pick it up.
Thank goodness it does not need all this effort to be a citizen of heaven.
John 3:16 says:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
2 December 2020
Portugal is a fascinating place to visit. There are many fantastic historic buildings from the days before modern machinery was available to create these huge cathedrals and palaces.
A visit to Mafra, 40.3 km from Lisbon, will blow you away with the vision of the summer palace of the King and the enormous Basilica there. The palace is amazing and particularly the library. It holds 36,000 leather-bound books attesting to the extent of western knowledge from the 14th to the 19th centuries. The room itself is huge but is built in such a way that the temperature is controlled all year round. The walls are so thick that it is warm in winter and cool in summer because it takes so long for the room to reach the outside temperature. The wooden bookshelves in the Rococo style are situated on the side walls in two rows, separated by a balcony with a wooden railing. These beautiful, finished volumes were bound in the local workshop of the library (Livraria) in the rocaille style. The library is known for homing bats which protect the books from insect damage.
The Bible has been called a library or a book of books because it comprises 66 books that were written about the history, law, prophets, biographies, poetry, life and work of God’s people and His Son, Jesus, as well as the establishment of the Christian church throughout the ancient world.
All that and more is found in the Bible. It’s well worth a read.
2 Timothy 3:16–17
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
25 November 2020
Since Shakespeare first posed the question, we continue to ask: ‘What’s in a name?’
Our name identifies us to others. Some parents give names to their children that indicate the character they would like their child to have, others choose family names and yet others make up a name which, quite frankly, may end up being a burden to the child as they grow up.
Here in Australia, in the founding of our national capital city, a competition was organised to choose a name for this city and people were invited to suggest names. In Parliament House there is a room with a display of many of the suggested names. I am glad they chose Canberra; it is derived from a word from the Ngunnawal nation meaning a ‘meeting place’.
Names in the Bible that have strong meanings are Timothy: ‘One who honours God’; Jonathon: ‘Given of God’; and for girls, Joanna: ‘God is gracious’; and Hannah means ‘Merciful’. There are many others that reflect character, destiny, grace and so on.