Sunday, September 14, 2014

Known By God - Psalm 139



The Lord has searched us and knows every minute detail of our lives. He knows us inside and out – His understanding of us is remarkable and so very humbling. We are not measured against others, but according to the plans he has laid out for each one of us. Here are 7 things he knows about us from psalm 139:

• V2 God knows when we sit or stand – He is aware of everything we are doing at all times of the day

• V2 God knows every thought we think – He is interested in the intent of our hearts. He knows us as well on the inside as on the outside

• V3 God knows everything we do – He knows our habits and the things that motivate us - We are always on His mind

• V4 God  knows every word we ever speak – He knows it before it even comes out of our mouths

• V5 God knows every step we take, because He goes in front of us and behind us – His hand is on our head

• V16 God knows us from before we were born – He intricately planned every detail of our character, mind, body and spirit


• V17 God knows every day I am to live - He planned out all our days and wrote them out in His book



Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hotel Concierge

Hotel concierges handle the most outlandish guest requests. John O'Ceallaigh shares some (barking) stories.
Many travellers are hesitant about troubling a concierge with a complicated request - if he's busy with something more important, wouldn't it be rude to disturb him?
But concierges are there to make a guest's stay as comfortable as possible, and are willing and able to do far more than simply secure a table in a popular restaurant.
With the recent release of The Grand Budapest Hotel, featuring Ralph Fiennes as the concierge at its centre, this under-appreciated vocation finally is getting widespread attention.
The five examples below illustrate just how far concierges will go to satisfy guests' more unusual - and some would say unreasonable - requests.

1. Two dogs say "I do"
 Abbas Golestani, the head concierge at the Beverly Hills Hotel, is used to dealing with all manner of inquiries, but a request from a Russian guest surprised him.
"She bred dogs and decided that two of her collies should be married at the hotel," he explains.
Luckily, Golestani knew a judge who officiated at wedding ceremonies and was willing to step in. The hotel's catering team prepared a dog-friendly cake and treats for the special day, and customised outfits were procured: the groom wore a tuxedo and bow tie; the bride dressed in traditional white.
The event was organised in three days and cost about $17,900 - and it has earned Golestani a reputation as the go-to concierge for canine-related inquiries.
"One guest asked me and my team to speak to his dog in its own language, so we had to bark at it," he recalls.
"Another guest asked me about having plastic surgery performed on his dog, but I didn't refer them to a surgeon on that occasion."

2. Star-struck
For Luis Vasquez, the concierge at Langham Place Fifth Avenue, one request stands out.
"A couple was due to visit us and the man wanted us to arrange some kind of red-carpet experience so his partner could see what it was like to be a celebrity."
The team took the commission seriously, and, in addition to placing a red carpet at the hotel entrance, hired 100 actors from an extras agency to play adoring fans and paparazzi. Security was put in place, cameras and placards emblazoned with pictures of the woman were provided as props and, when she arrived, the assembly went wild. So wild that passersby were convinced a real celebrity had arrived and the crowd swelled rapidly.
Although Vasquez is unsure of the total bill, hiring the extras would have cost about $95 a person.
It seems the woman relished the experience, mostly: "She was thrilled, and a bit scared."

3. A rose a day
A regular guest at the Bulgari Hotel in London, a New York businessman, told the concierge, Ian Steiger, that he wanted to do something romantic for his Chelsea-based girlfriend.
The decision: have a fresh rose delivered to her house every day for one year. The problem: he didn't trust a florist to do it each day without fail. The solution: get the concierge to do it.
So Steiger bought a fresh rose every morning and delivered it to her door; when he was away, his colleagues took responsibility.
On December 31, the woman's father travelled to her door by vintage Rolls-Royce to deliver the final rose and drove her to Berkeley Square, where her partner proposed (she said yes).
The hotel invoiced the guest $10 a day for delivery of the rose. That's unexpectedly good value considering the round trip took 50 minutes of Steiger's day and a decaf espresso at the hotel bar costs the same amount - if you don't pay the service charge.

4. Animal magic
The manager of Badrutt's Palace Hotel in St Moritz, Angelo Martinelli, has dealt with unusual requests in his 50 years at the hotel.
"One guest wanted to give his wife a birthday present. We suggested she would be more impressed if he gave her something unpredictable," he says.
So they arranged to send her an elephant. A circus was touring Switzerland at the time, so the concierge team enlisted its trainer to bring the animal to the hotel.
The "incredibly surprised" wife had an hour-long audience with the elephant before it rejoined the circus.
More recently, Martinelli responded to a request from an Arab guest who was inspired by White Turf, a horseracing event on the frozen lake at St Moritz each winter.
After a call to the mayor and four days of planning by Martinelli, the guest and his party witnessed an incongruous spectacle: a herd of camels racing on a frozen lake in the Swiss Alps.

5. Blood sports
At Cottar's Safari Camp, in Kenya, the camp's guides serve as concierges and often need to appease guests more used to city breaks.
One American couple visited during the wildebeest migration, but stipulated that they didn't want to see blood spilled.
For the camp's co-owner, Louise Cottar, this presented clear logistical difficulties.
"We obviously don't control what happens during feeding seasons," she says.
"What happens in nature is natural."
But the guides dealt with the request.
"A spotter sat in an elevated position at the back of the car and surveyed the surroundings with binoculars. He was able to warn the driver in Swahili about any nearby kills, and they could then discreetly drive in another direction."
Another guest was much less squeamish, says Cottar. In one ceremony, the Masai tap a cow's jugular with an arrow and drink the blood as it spurts from the wound.
"One American was so captivated by it that he asked to drink the fresh blood too. The tribespeople considered his positive approach an honour."

Friday, September 12, 2014

From the Hand of the Lord


7 Things in the hand of the Lord from the Psalms



Ps. 48:10 - He has righteousness in His hand
receive His forgiveness and be clothed in righteousness

Ps. 145:16 - He satisfies you from His hand
He knows exactly what you need

Ps. 104:28 - He provides for you with His hand
every need is made complete in Him

Ps. 21:8 - He ministers justice with His hand
rest in His justice and watch Him move on your behalf

Ps. 37:24 - He upholds you with His hand
He is able to lift you up and set you in your perfect place

Ps. 73:23 - He holds you with His hand
there is no greater place of peace than being hidden in His hand

Ps. 139:10 - He leads you with His hand
your future is secure as you follow His hand



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Psalm 23 - 30 Perfect Things



The Lord—He is our perfect God
My shepherd— He is our perfect Keeper
Not want— He is our perfect satisfaction
Makes me— He is our perfect Director
Lie down— He is our perfect rest
Green pastures— He is our perfect supply
Leads me— He is our perfect guidance
Still waters— He is our perfect peace
Restores my soul— He is our perfect restoration
Paths— He is our perfect course
Righteousness— He is our perfect holiness
Name’s sake— He is our perfect object
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death—He is our perfect trust
Fear no evil— He is our perfect protection
With me— He is our perfect companionship
Thy rod— He is our perfect defense
Thy staff— He is our perfect help
Comfort me— He is our perfect solace
Prepare— He is our perfect provision
Table— He is our perfect food
Before me— He is our perfect presence
In the presence of my enemies— He is our perfect safety
Anoint my head with oil— He is our perfect anointing
Cup runs over— He is our perfect joy
Surely— He is our perfect assurance
Goodness— He is our perfect benevolence
Mercy— He is our perfect compassion
Follow me all my days— He is our perfect life
Dwell— He is our perfect home
In the house of the Lord forever— He is our perfect destiny