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Integrity Challenged

AFRICAN hut

A typical hut in an African Village

Our house in Hartley, Rhodesia was a hive of activity as Glyn prepared to take a trip to the very remote village of Sahai in the Gokwe Tribal Trust land. It was late September 1970, the dry season still had its grip on the parched land; but it was the best time to travel to this remote area, as roads to it were nonexistent. I would not be accompanying him on this trip as it was going to be a rough journey nd I was expecting our first son.

Earlier in the month at our Quarterly conference an elder who ministered in the Gokwe area came to Glyn saying that the villagers in Sahai had expressed to him that a missionary had never visited their village. They asked if the “Mfundisi” (missionary) would come, visit and teach them about his God. During the meeting Glyn shared with the African ministers present, his plans to visit this unreached village. Immediately three ministers indicated they wanted to accompany him. Pastor Chigabadzira, Pastor Mpokatera and Pastor Chakanuka would travel with Glyn along with Richard Llongwe who lived with us and helped us where ever he could.

The Daihatsu truck was loaded to the max with everything the men would need for the journey as there would not be any convenience stores or petrol (gas) stations once they left the small town of Gokwe Center. The road deteriorated fast and eventually was nothing but a dusty, bone rattling, bush track. At one point they came to a dry river bed that was very sandy and it would be easy for the truck to become stuck. So they lightened the load by all the men getting out except for Glyn; then he gingerly drove across the river bed picking his way between deep sand and river washed rocks.

After they crossed the river they encountered groups of people walking; women with babies on their backs and loads on their heads and men carrying bundles of blankets. They stopped and asked where the people were going and discovered that the word had spread that the white Mfundisi was going to visit Sahai and teach about his God!

Finally after a very long exhausting day the village came into view. Mud huts with thatched roofs were dotted in a haphazard fashion across the landscape. The trees consisted of scrub bush, what little grass was left was dry and brown. Scrawny dogs started barking setting up the alarm that visitors had arrived. Glyn subsequently discovered that this village had only ever been visited by a white man forty years before; when a District Commissioner had visited. So anyone younger than 40 to 45 years old did not even know what a white man looked like! The children that had been playing in the dirt outside the huts ran in terror when Glyn got out of the truck. He must have seemed like a ghost to them.

It wasn’t very long and Chief Nenynka along with his counsel of elders arrived to welcome the “Mfundisi” and the three African Pastors. Once the customary greetings were completed the Chief explained that two huts had been prepared for the guests. One hut would accommodate the three African Pastors and the other was for Glyn to sleep in. Richard would make his bed on the back of the truck to protect their supplies.
The smell of the evening fires filled the air as the villagers prepared their evening meal. Great anticipation filled the air, as the Chief had declared that the whole village would gather that evening and listen to the Mfundisi tell them about his God.

As dusk began to fall a large bonfire was started in an open area; a few chairs were put out for the Chief, his councilmen and the visitors. The rest of the villagers brought grass mats and sat on the ground. Richard lit a hurricane lantern and brought it to Glyn so he would have a semblance of light to read the scriptures. All eyes were riveted on him as he began to unfold the simple truth of the Gospel message.

At one point while Glyn was preaching a scorpion ran out of the shadows, attracted by the flickering of the fire. Without hesitation it plunged straight into the fire. The villagers were so mesmerized by Glyn’s explanation about Jesus who loved them enough to die for them, that they did not stir when the scorpion rushed to its sudden death. These villagers were accustomed to bondage and fear of their heathen Gods; now to be told that they could worship a God who forgives and loves them unconditionally was hard to comprehend.
The night was growing late so Pastor Mpokatera announced that they should all go to their huts and think deeply what they heard; the discussion would continue in the morning.

Glyn was bone weary and was more than ready to crawl into his sleeping bag in the hut. Richard had kindly put the hurricane lantern on a bare table in the mud hut for Glyn. Before settling down for the night Glyn decided to make sure Richard was comfortable. As he stepped outside he noticed an African woman sitting on the ground beside the door of his hut. He greeted her and asked what she wanted but she simply dropped her head and remained quiet. Thinking she did not understand him, he asked Richard why she was there. Richard smiled and simple said, “Mfundisi it is this people’s custom to supply an important visitor with a woman for the night, to provide for his needs!” The reality of the situation dawned on Glyn; he was walking a fine line of offending the Chief by not accepting this “so-called honor” yet on the other hand he was not about to compromise his convictions and his relationship with the Lord; let alone his red-headed wife!

He walked over to the hut where the three African Pastors were sleeping; the four men discussed the best way to handle the situation. Pastor Mpokatera was the most fluent in the dialect, he would go tell the woman her services were not needed. Then he would go to the Chief’s hut and explain to him as diplomatically as possible that the Mfundisi appreciated Chief Nenynka honor; but this was not part of the Mfundisi’s custom and he needed to follow the ways of his own people and his God. Thankfully the Chief graciously understood and the matter was closed!

The next morning a great meeting was held, the truth of the Gospel was shared and many indicated they wanted to follow Jesus and his teachings, turning away from their heathen gods. The visit to this remote village had borne fruit and a new church in that village was birthed.

There is a lesson each one of us can take from this experience Glyn had. As children of God who love and serve Him, the one thing we need to guard and protect with all our strength is our integrity. If we lose our integrity by giving into temptation we will become like that scorpion, burned by the flame of selfish desires.

King David was known as the “a man after God’s own heart” but because of selfish choices he was denied the privilege of building the temple. He paid a high consequence for indulging himself in his own desires.
My challenge to my readers today is the time has come that those who love and serve God to stand tall and not be ashamed to be accounted as a righteous individual in a debased and immoral generation!

The Apostle Paul teaches this principle in Romans 1:16-17 (NKJV)
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

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Sunrise at Mana by Ross Sayers PhotographyWhile reading in the Book of Daniel I was struck by Daniel’s total commitment to God even though he knew it could well result in his death in a horrific manner. It got me thinking about the church of today and the climate of total moral decline in our own nation.

I asked myself the question; “Am I willing to stand up and be counted for righteousness sake in this day and age where wickedness abounds? Would I dare to be like Daniel even if it meant extreme persecution?”

This is truly a soul-searching question.

Jesus already demonstrated the answer to this question in that beloved verse in John 3:16.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

If my loving Lord could die for my sin then then surely the least I can do is be willing to resist the moral decay that is spreading through our land like an insidious cancer!

Let me share with you the thrilling testimony of an African Pastor, who “dared to be a Daniel”. His name was Joel Chuma. He was one of the early preachers who worked with my parents back in the 1940’s. We were living at Gobatema Mission at the time. One day Pastor Chuma came to the mission compound and shared with Dad that he really felt the leading of the Lord to travel to Mozambique, East Africa, to preach the gospel and plant some churches. Dad counseled him that the Gospel was not well received in this area and many Christians were being severely persecuted. Dad was not trying to dissuade Joel from going but he felt he needed to be aware that it could well cost him his life. Joel understood but felt strongly that this was God’s leading, so after a time of prayer he left with Dad’s blessing upon his venture.

Many months passed and no word was received from Joel. My parents began to despair that they would ever see this precious friend again. Then one day as the sun began to wane and the aroma of evening meals being prepared mingled with the smoke from the wood cooking fires, a strange but familiar figure slowly walked into the mission compound. He was emaciated but dressed in a beautifully fitted and obviously new suit. Dad studied his face for a moment and then recognized a familiar smile; it was Pastor Joel Chuma! Mom had our evening meal ready so Dad brought him in to the old mission house; an extra plate was set and while we ate together Joel told us his miraculous experience……………..

After a long arduous journey by train and then walking many days through inhospitable bush he finally arrived in a remote village. Initially the villagers welcomed him as a visitor in their midst and daily he began sharing about Jesus and His sacrifice for these people. After three weeks, the witchdoctor stirred up enough animosity toward Joel that the villagers turned against him and told him to leave. This scenario was repeated several times in different villages until one day some government “officials” arrived and arrested Joel. He was taken to a town and without the benefit of legal advice or even being seen by a judge; was summarily thrown into what he described as a dungeon. I appeared to be a large “hole” that had been dug out of the side of a hill; there were no windows, no light, no bed, no blankets; just a muddy dank floor and a pole. The pole had been staked to the floor with chains attached to it. These chains were tightly secured to Joel’s legs. There was a heavy wooden door, which was bolted and the only light he had was what little sunlight managed to filter through some of the warped boards. Once a day, a little hatch in the door was opened by his captors and a small bucket, with what he could only describe as food that would be thrown to the pigs and a small jug of water, would be pushed through for him. Joel said he had no idea how many days or weeks he lay in this black hole of torture. When he tried to sleep cockroaches and rats would scurry across his body and chew on his bare feet. The stench of the airless hole was suffocating and was only made worse when it rained and water seeped in on the dank dirt floor. The chains on his legs chaffed at his skin until they began to cut deep into his flesh. Excruciating pain from the now festering wounds in his chained legs became his daily companion and he began to prepare himself to die alone; with no way to let his family or his missionaries know what had happened to him. Joel said he would sing songs of praise, quote verse after verse of scripture and cry out to God for strength to ease the bleak solitude he was enduring.

Then one day there was the sound of the heavy door bolt being pulled, the door creaked opened and a man wearing “street clothes” entered. Wordlessly he bent down in the gloom and gently removed the shackles that had torn into Joel’s legs. A strong hand helped him to his feet and silently led him out into the brilliant sunshine. It took Joel’s eyes a few minutes to adjust to the bright sunlight and then he searched the eyes of the stranger trying to find a clue about what was going to happen next. The stranger bent down touched the festering flesh on his legs and Joel said that instantly the pain was gone and all that was left of the deep flesh wounds, were healed-over scars. Then the stranger turned, picked up a package, and finally spoke. He told Joel that the people of this place had rejected the preaching of the Gospel and Joel was to return to his missionaries in Southern Rhodesia as they needed help and there were many people who were willing to hear the Gospel. With that the stranger took Joel’s hand, placed some money, a train ticket and the package in it; that would carry him back to Gobatema Mission. Joel said that his tortured mind was having trouble comprehending the events that had just unfolded, he was staring in shocked silence at the money and the ticket in his hand when finally, he regained his composure and looked up to ask the man his name and thank him, BUT THE STRANGER WHO HAD FREED HIM WAS GONE!

Joel discovered that the package contained a set of clothing including the suit and shoes, all of which fit him perfectly. As quickly as he could he made his way to the nearest train station boarded the train that carried him back to the small town of Gwanda and then he walked the 40 miles through the bush to the Mission compound.

Tears of joy flowed that evening as my parents rejoiced with Joel in his deliverance. He showed my parents the deep holes in his legs that the chains had caused; he would carry those scars for the rest of his days. They became a visual testimony to all who saw them of God’s protective care to those who would “dare to be a Daniel” for the cause of the Gospel.

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Sunrise at Mana by Ross Sayers Photography (Used with permission)

Dust Off Your Feet

My brother & playmate with dirty feet. Gobatema Mission, Zimbabwe 1942

DUST OFF YOUR FEET

There are some preachers that erroneously teach that the child of God is exempt from burdens, stress, trials, heartaches and disappointments. THIS IS FALSE TEACHING!
When Jesus was sending his disciples out to minister, He told them not to be surprised when the ungodly treated them unjustly.

Matthew 10:22 (NKJV) “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

Satan will do his best discourage us from living a life that will be pleasing in the sight of God.
He will throw every form of heart-ache, pain, false accusations and every manner of evil mischief he can concoct, against the child of God.
The Lord never told us that we would not have problems.
He never told us that difficult days would not come or that we wouldn’t have burdens.
He did instruct us however, how to handle these seasons of testing:

Matthew 10:14 (NKJV) “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, SHAKE OFF THE DUST FROM YOUR FEET.”

One of the most difficult things we face as God’s children is that when these times of testing come, we initially are overwhelmed and shattered by the pain, rejection and heart-ache we are experiencing.
We ask the questions, “Why?” and “What do I do next?”

Thoughts flood our hearts and minds such as:
I am trying to go by the book.
I read my Bible every morning.
I talk to God at night before I go to bed.
I pay my tithes faithfully.
I attend church on a regular basis and even visit the sick and help people when I can.

The next phase of self-questioning usually goes like this:

Why is it that my burden is so heavy?
What am I doing wrong? Where am I going wrong? What mistakes am I making?
I believe God loves me, but when I call, He seems to take so long to answer me.
There seems to be a void between my pleas to God’s ears.
It seems I am bearing this heavy load all by myself.

Do these words sound familiar to you?
Friends I am sharing my heart today because I am speaking from first-hand knowledge of deep valleys of trial that Glyn and I have walked through. These are not merely words of “theory”, these are up to date, living words of experience, talking!
Let me offer you some encouragement.
You are not alone! There are others bearing loads that in some cases are heavier than even yours or ours!

Jesus clearly reminded His disciples to “shake off the dust from their feet”.
What He is telling the persecuted and hurting child of God is that we are to focus our eyes on Him and His eternal reward.
We need to stop the self- incriminations.
We must not allow the attack of the enemy or the effects of living in this corrupt generation, rob us of our victory.
By “shaking the dust off our feet” we are sending a CLEAR SIGNAL to the devil that his evil agenda will NOT succeed because God is fighting the battle for us.

After all; Jesus led us by His own example when He was falsely accused. The scripture tells us:
Isaiah 53:7 (NKJV) “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.”

Children of God WILL become victorious during seasons of deep testing and weeping; if we AVAIL OURSELVES of the promises in God’s Word and tap into the strength He has provided!
Drink deeply from His promises to you, today my friends!

“WEEPING MAY ENDURE FOR THE NIGHT, BUT JOY COMES IN THE MORNING!”

God Gives A Song

Elephant trumpeting by Animals of Africa

GOD GIVES A SONG

“Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night?” (Job 35:10.)

This past Easter week-end proved to be a major physical ordeal for me.
On Saturday evening while cleaning up our supper dishes I was hit with an aggressive AFIB episode that escalated at warp speed until I was at the point of passing out. Glyn insisted I take my blood pressure and pulse rate. The reading was 189/95 with a pulse of 130. I laid in my recliner praying the episode would pass; but with the passing of every moment it only got worse causing chest pain and an excruiating pain in my head.
So VERY RELUCTANTLY I called my Cardiologist’s on-call nurse knowing she would instruct me to head straight to the ER!
Those of you who know me well, can only imagine the conversation that ensued between me and the nurse, especially if you know I tend to be completely and “unfiltered” frank, when I feel strongly about something!
She instructed me to go immediately to the ER. My response must have blown the poor lady away!
I told her that; “I saw no point in going to the ER as I had been that route numerous times and all they do was stick me on a gurney in the hallway, with no privacy; while I lay “forgotten” for hours on end. Finally an over-worked doctor rolls up, runs a bunch of highly expensive tests and then informs me that I need to see my Cardiologist as I was bordering on a stroke!”
To the “on-call” nurse’s credit she kept her cool and made all the right “sympathetic” responses, but made me promise that if my symptoms escalated further then I was to have Glyn take me to the ER. I thanked her kindly for her concern and responded that I would go to bed, but would NOT consider going to the ER until AFTER I had attended our Easter Sunday Resurrection service in the morning!
I had more faith and trust in God than the very deteriorating Medical system that seems to be the order of the day.
True to my word, I contacted the Cardiologist’s office first thing on Monday morning and true to my observations, it has taken 3 days of begging, pleading and hounding before I was given the courtesy of a call-back! Finally I was “heard” and it was discovered that an adjustment to my AFIB medication was necessary.
I am so very thankful that God does not follow the same rules that today’s Medical Fraternity follows.
HE ANSWERS HIS CHILDREN THE MOMENT THEY CALL!
My experience reminded me of the scripture verse I quoted at the beginning of this Nugget. I love the comforting knowledge, that God is beside us during the darkest hours and even gives us “songs in the night”!

Allow me to encourage you today.
Do you have sleepless nights, tossing on the hot pillow and watching for the first glint of dawn?
Instead of allowing your circumstances to rob you of your peace, fix your thoughts on the Lord of the storm, and believe that He can fill those lonely, dreary hours with song.

Is yours the night of bereavement?
During these hard nights of grief, God draws near, and assures the broken-hearted that He needed your departed or soon to be departed loved one! He lovingly shows that He has called “the eager, earnest spirit of your loved one, to stand with the bright throng of His children who are, liberated, radiant, active, and free from pain and the tangles of this life! As this realization floods your heart and mind, there will enter your dark night, the sweet, comforting strains of the beginning of a song.

Is yours the night of discouragement and fancied or actual failure?
No one understands you, your friends reproach you; your whole world seems to be crumbling under you?
Allow the God who “walks the dark hills” to draw nigh and He will give you a song—a song of hope, the song which is harmonious with the strong, deep music of His providence. Listen to the gentle notes of the heavenly song that the Lord will fill your heart and give you comfort and strength, in the night hours!

I love this quote by William Taylor that flows with the thought of this nugget: “The strength of the vessel can be demonstrated only by the hurricane, and the power of the Gospel can be fully shown only when the Christian is subjected to some fiery trial. If God would make manifest the fact that ‘He gives songs in the night,’ He must first make it night.”

So dear friends – do not fear the dark path you might be walking today, as the Lord of all comfort will lift you on the wings of a song in the night.
Hold on to this acronym of the word TRUST that came to me in the “wee hours of the morning”, last night!

T RIALS
R ECEED
U NDER
S OVEREIGN
T RANQUILITY

The Silent Lamb

THE SILENT LAMB

Matthew 27:13-14 (NKJV) “Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.

Follow in the footsteps of Jesus as he walked the dusty roads touching and changing the lives of those who reached out to Him.
One thing will stand out; when it came to Jesus speaking to the listening crowds He was not limited for words to free them from their bondage.
Yet when He was being falsely accused, He would not say a single word in defense of Himself.

Do you remember what the officers said about Jesus when the Pharisees commanded them to seize Him and bring Him to them?
John 7:45-46 (NKJV) “Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?” The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” …………..may I add, never was there a man silent like Jesus was, when facing His accusers.

Was this singular silence the manifestation of His perfect self-sacrifice?
Did it show that He would not utter a word to stop the agony of hanging on a Cross because He had dedicated Himself as an offering for us?
He had so entirely surrendered Himself that He would not interfere on His own behalf, even to the minutest degree. He was bound, beaten and nailed to the Cross, an un-struggling, uncomplaining victim of man’s barbaric act of scorn.

Don’t you think that patient silence is many times the best reply to an opposing world?
Calm endurance answers some questions infinitely more conclusively than the loftiest eloquence.
The best apologists for Christianity in the early days were its martyrs.
The anvil breaks a host of hammers by quietly bearing their blows.
Did not the silent Lamb of God furnish us with an ultimate example of wisdom?

The great Bible teacher Charles Spurgeon when meditating on the events that unfolded on Good Friday made this statement:
“Where every word was occasion for new blasphemy, it was the line of duty to afford no fuel for the flame of sin. The ambiguous and the false, the unworthy and mean, will quickly overthrow and confute themselves, and therefore the true can afford to be quiet, and finds silence to be its wisdom.”

Jesus, by His silence, furnished a remarkable fulfillment of prophecy. A long defense of Himself would have been contrary to Isaiah’s prediction when he penned these words:

Isaiah 53:7 (NKJV) “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.”

By His silence Jesus conclusively proved Himself to be the true Lamb of God.
As I close this Nugget let us consider: WHO IS THIS SILENT LAMB.

WHO IS THIS LAMB?
He is the origin of God’s creation. He flung the stars into space and with the power of His Hand He carved the vast chasm of the Grand Canyon and rugged, craggy mountain peaks.
No a blade of grass grows without His touch and not a sparrow falls without His knowledge.
He hears His children’s weakest cry and bottles their tears.
He is the Fourth man that walked in the midst of the fiery furnace bringing deliverance to the three Hebrew children.
With the power of His voice, He rebuked the screeching winds and angry waves and peace reigned supreme in the storm.
Death lost its icy grip when He called Lazarus from the tomb.
He is the good Shepard of the sheep, who leads us beside still waters and speaks peace to our troubles souls.
See Him in Revelation with eyes like a flame, coming to execute judgement on this earth.

WHO IS THIS LAMB?
He is the all controlling, all consuming Christ.
He is our Lord of Lords and soon coming King!

Rejoice my friends, in the power of the Silent Lamb, FOR THE LIGHT OF RESURRECTION SUNDAY IS ON THE HORIZON.

Circle of Enduring Love

Our family on furlough from Africa in 1956

THE CIRCLE OF ENDURING LOVE

In my journey of the many paths I have walked in my life, the Book of Psalms has ministered to me over and over again, through every circumstance imaginable.
Looking back over the events of my life I find I can relate to the situations described by the writers of this book.
In my times of heartache, testing and triumphs I find myself constantly returning to the familiar pages of these poetic hymns and draw renewed strength from the written words.

Psalm 150 is the final Psalm in the Book.
Have you noticed that the last Psalm begins differently than the first Psalm?

The first Psalm opens with MAN being blessed BY God, but the last Psalm opens with man BLESSING God.
Psalm 1 says, “Blessed is the man.” The last Psalm says, “Praise ye the Lord.”
Between Psalm 1 and 150 a whole lot of things have happened………….
Come…….. Walk with me and hear the voice of the Psalmist drifting down through the faded corridors of time and dusty roads of life.

I hear echoes of pain in the fields from exploited individuals comforting themselves in the words of the Psalmist saying……. “Fret not thyself because of evildoers……”(Psalm 37:1).
They had run into some crooked folk, difficult dilemmas, and trying situations. Then as they assimilate the comforting words of Psalm 37, the sting of their mistreatment fades as the morning mist with the triumphal final verse which shouts; … “And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him.” Psalm 37:40

Then heart wrenching sounds of weeping rush over me; leading me to read, “Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
This tells me that the Psalmist had run into tough times and that his eyes had focused upon the calendar of time; he was counting the hours at night looking forward to the morning. The pain that was causing such sorrow would be replaced by the healing balm of God’s morning filled with the sunshine of His love.

I hear a voice calling from a distant mountain peak and read the words, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)
Obviously the writer had run into something he couldn’t get out of. He couldn’t think his way out, pay his way out, or trick his way out. He found the answer to his dilemma though, in the One who was the creator of the rugged mountain in his way. He proclaimed his trust in the God of all creation knowing his cries would not go unheeded!

I listened again and this time heard a lament where the Psalmist seemed to say that at one time he had been isolated from the house of God……. Because I heard him say, “I was glad when they said unto me let us go to the house of the Lord.” (Psalm122:1) He does not explain the reason for this separation -it could have been a result of his own poor choices; or a misunderstanding; or a cooling of his fervor for God but he keenly felt the loss of fellowship. The result was when the invitation came he joyfully went to the sanctuary to praise God.

And so from Psalm 1 to 150, the Psalmist had run into a whole gambit of situations. He had experienced intense sorrow, sadness, suffering, deception and even sin. He had been in TOUGH situations, but this Psalm (Psalm 150) says that in spite of what the weary pilgrim has gone through………
The circle of God’s ever sustaining love had brought him through every event, every situation, and every tragedy that he had journey through and with a voice of exaltation he exclaims His joyous praise to his Divine companion!

IT IS TIME TO PRAISE THE LORD! GOD WILL BRING US THROUGH!
PRAISE YE THE LORD!

God’s Daily Provision

Rented Home in Hartley Rhodesia, Africa 1971

GOD’S DAILY PROVISION

Psalm 37:25 (NKJV) Psalm 37:25 (NKJV) “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.”

This is a well-known verse of scripture and Glyn and I have seen it fulfilled in our lives over and over again. Through-out our years of following the call of God, there has been so many occasions where we had to look to God to meet our daily needs and each time we called on Him for help, He never let us down! Let me share an example with you of God’s unique provision when we were serving Him as missionaries in Africa. This event took place in May of 1971

Our annual conference at Rufaro Mission in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) had come to a close; the missionary families had left to return to their respective Districts and the last trainload/busloads of African believers had returned to their villages. Glyn and I were finally able to load up and make the journey back to our rented home in the small town of Hartley.
This particular conference had been quite a challenge for me, as it had been my turn to cook the meals for the missionary families that had gathered and I did not consider myself a Master Chef!
Added to that we also had a three month old baby – our first; so I was a brand new mother, learning what it was like caring for an infant under rather primitive living conditions!
I was cooking meals for around 20 people, on the old wood stove that my parents had brought to Rhodesia, when I was but a child. It was amazing that it was still going strong.
I might add that cooking in a rather primitive kitchen over a wood burning stove, in the African heat, gave a whole new meaning to the saying; “If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen”!

A few days after getting back to Hartley I had a very ill husband on my hands. He was running a high fever and was plastered with what appeared to be a bad dose of chicken-pox. I was concerned because of the high fever, so I put a call into Dr. Johan Bower, the only doctor in the small town of Hartley. As soon as he finished his office hours he drove over to our house; (yes, back in the 1970’s a doctor still did make house calls!!).
Concern showed on his face after he had checked Glyn. He took me aside and gravely told me that he was afraid that my husband had contracted Small-pox! He said he needed to call Dr. Mossup, the Government Medical Officer in Gatooma and have him come and give a second opinion.
The next morning both doctors were back at our home trying to come to an agreement on exactly what diagnosis to come up with. Did he have Small-pox or Chicken-pox? Finally they came to the conclusion that he had a bad case of old fashioned “cow-pox”, which he probably contracted from an infected individual at our annual conference we had just returned from.

To err on the side of safety though, Dr. Mossup wanted us to be in quarantine for at least two weeks! I could not even walk to the town for food supplies! It would mean using very creative ideas for meals and praying our canned goods did not run out. Fortunately our milk was delivered to our kitchen doorstep in the early hours each morning, in glass milk bottles, so I knew wouldn’t run out of milk.
Then usually on alternate days, an African delivery man would arrive on a bicycle with a huge grass-woven basket filled with freshly baked bread of various sizes and varieties. His name was “Sixpence”, he always had a big smile and something cheerful to say. In return, to show my appreciation for his faithful deliveries I would give him a large bundle of Chamolia leaves, (Kale), from our garden to take home to his wife to cook with their evening meal. They loved to make a vegetable relish with it, to eat along with their sadza (stodgy porridge made from maize), which was their staple diet. He was always thankful for my simple gesture of friendship. If nothing else I knew we would have fresh bread and milk for the duration of the quarantine time!

The morning following Dr. Mossup’s decision, I heard the happy whistling of Sixpence coming down the lane behind the kitchen. I was waiting for him with a cool cup of water to quench his thirst and then looked into the large basket to select what bread I needed. Looking back now, I have to chuckle. The bread was not wrapped or bagged – just freshly baked loaves sitting in a large grass-woven basket that had a woven lid. How many hands had already touched those loaves was an unknown question! I can just see the modern day Health Department Inspectors screaming foul! Amazingly enough this was the way of life during this era in Rhodesia and none of us died from plague!

Sixpence was chattering away asking how our baby was etc. so I told him how very ill Glyn was. Immediately his face clouded over with concern and he asked how I was going to buy fresh vegetables or meat if I could not leave the house. I assured him that God would take care of us and for him just to continue stopping by to see if I needed bread.
Two days later I heard the familiar whistle and knew Sixpence was on his bread delivery round. I opened the kitchen door to greet him, a beaming face awaited me and in his hands was a bag of assorted fresh vegetables and tied to the back of his bicycle was a rather vocal, cranky chicken!
Happily Sixpence explained that because I had been good to him when his children were hungry, it was now his turn to make sure we did not go hungry!
I was deeply touched and humbled by this unsolicited act of kindness – God had taken care of our need for fresh food by sending us Sixpence, who over time had built up a friendship of trust with us!

This event took place over 47 years ago and I am here to tell you that right up to the writing of this Nugget, God has continued to be faithful to us in supplying our needs as we trusted in His provision. On the many times that we have reached out to Him in faith; His provision has come right when we needed it the most!
It never ceases to amaze me the unique ways that God will use to care for the needs of His Children.
Let me encourage you today ………..
Never think a kindness you do will not be remember and it could well come back to bless you down the road when you least expect it!

Truly we can say with the Psalmist; “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.”

Being A Lefty In A Right-handed World

(Our little Buddy viewing an up-side-down world! )

BEING A LEFTY IN A RIGHT- HANDED WORLD

‘As thy days, so shall thy strength be.’ (Deuteronomy 33:25, KJV)

I met with my Orthopedic Surgeon’s PA today, to have my cast removed and check on the progress of the healing of my left elbow and arm. The news is good and I am doing a “cart-wheels of joy”!
The surgeon had to debride a lot of tissue around my Median nerve that was being compromised by the ligament band, loosen the band and remove the “goose-egg size” lump. He was amazed though, to discover there was absolutely no sign of the longitudinal split in the tendon, that was very evident on the MRI!!! To God be the glory great things He has done.

It should come as no surprise to those of my readers, who are left-handed, that I counted the hours; right down to the last minute, when this cast came off!
Life takes on a whole new meaning when suddenly something that you have totally depended on for as long as you remember, no longer can be used!
Confusion, frustration, inability to do routine simple tasks and worst of all, for this highly independent gal, was having to be dependent on the help of others. This emotional roller-coastal ride has been a part of my world for the past 8 days!
Talk about a mind blowing learning curve, trying to use my right hand and arm!
It can be compared to living in an up-side-down, back-to-front world!
Added to that I discovered some illuminating characteristics of my DNA!
As I promised, are you ready to see what it is like to be a “lefty” (not my political bias, by the way), in a right handed-world?

Try answering the phone using you right-hand, only to discover your arm is not long enough to reach your left ear, when you only use your left ear when you talk on the phone?
Added to that, talking on the phone while holding it up to your right ear, just jumbles your hearing pattern…..or so it has been in “Norma’s world”!

Next challenge…… eating exclusively with a very uncooperative right hand! More food fell off my fork than reached my mouth.
So I resorted to my “little Buddy’s example” of using a spoon with a fist grip, shoveling in my tasty fare as fast as possible; hoping enough would reach my mouth and stave off starvation!

Dressing myself, exclusively right-handed, would certainly win me top prize on “America’s Funniest Videos”!

I challenge my readers to attempt to get into bed using only one hand while your dominant arm had to be held up above heart level. Results…..? ‘Face plant big time’, over and over in “Norma’s world”.
In moments of my total stubborn rebellion, my “loving?????” husband threatened to ‘duct tape me’ to my recliner!
My theme song became…… “Please, release me let me go……..”
Yes, my antics of trying to learn to use my right-hand was the source of much laughter to Glyn and my sister-in-law, Debbie Wilson, who came to help us.

I learnt that my DNA not only possesses a highly independent streak, but also a stubborn will that does not take kindly to being challenged with restrictions. Plus a bull-dog determination to overcome the obstacles life had dealt me!
Thankfully the Lord used this time to teach me some eternal lessons.

We all have times when we are suddenly faced with an issue that we feared we might never be able to handle……..perhaps unemployment, or severe illness, or bereavement, or tragedy.
I am here to assure you that it is possible to find miraculous grace and strength from God for each day.
Thus enabling us not to be just ‘dragging ourselves through’, but experiencing a special sense of His promised presence and help.
Whenever we tap into God’s daily help, we are experiencing the truth of today’s text: that, as the NIV translation puts it……. ‘your strength will equal your days’.
What a wonderful promise of God this is!
He will provide strength for each day and for whatever is needed in that day.
This means we don’t have to sit and worry whether we will have enough strength for tomorrow or for next year or for ten years’ time.

God promises us sufficient resources—Himself!—for each day as it comes.
May I remind you about how God works: He doesn’t give us strength BEFORE we need it; but exactly WHEN we need it.

Most of us prefer to have a spiritual stockpile of resources ‘in case of need’; but it doesn’t work like that! If it did, it would rob us of having to walk by faith and having to trust God day by day.
Being a child of God does not guarantee us immunity from life’s pressures, trials and sufferings. Such things are simply part of living in a sin-ridden world.

I am here to encourage you that it is at such times, when something earth-shattering happens, when the bottom falls out of our world, that we need God’s strength and call out to Him for help; His promises will be there—enough strength for each day and to equal our days!

My friends, whatever you are facing, God’s grace and strength is also here for you today.

‘It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.’ (2 Samuel 22:33)

 

 

Shadows Tinged in Scarlet

Shadows tinged in Scarlet by Rick Orrell
(Used with permission)

SHADOWS TINGED IN SCARLET

There is a gentleman in the church we attend, who has a God-given gift when it comes to photography. He also happens to be our Pastor’s son, so I know he comes from “good stock”!
Recently Rick sent me one of his pictures with a little get well note attached. The picture was stunning! It was so striking in its contrast and beauty that the more I studied it the more I could see the pristine touch of the Master Artist’s Hand! Immediately the title of this Nugget came to mind; I was looking at shadows tinged in scarlet which was a perfect example of my own journey with God.

Shadows are a part of the natural landscape that we see each day. Some are caused by clouds drifting past and blocking the sun’s rays. Others are created by a leafy tree, or mountainside that the sun has not yet risen above. Yes, shadows are part of our daily lives but they are transient and as this picture so beautifully depicts; shadows can become tinged with the penetrating scarlet rays of sunlight.
There is such a spiritual lesson that can be gleaned from this beautiful picture.

We all have seasons in our lives when we are called upon to walk through deep shadows. These are the times when our hearts are crushed, wounded and suffering deep pain.
Examples of these times can be:
The loss of a loved one.
The diagnosis of a terminal illness.
The betrayal by a trusted friend.
Devastating personal bad choices that led us down a destructive path.
These few examples are merely the tip of the iceberg of the multitude of shadows we deal with in our life’s journey.

Yet when you study the picture you will see HOPE in the form of shafts of scarlet sunlight tinging even the darkest shadows!
In our walk with God we have felt the warmth and strength of His eternal love during our darkest hours giving us hope to endure.

I remember keenly the day in Africa, while we were missionaries; that Glyn brought me home from the hospital, after he totally alone, had laid to rest, our newborn son.
There are no words that can fully express the grief and pain Glyn and I were experiencing.
I was laying on the sofa in a weakened condition from complications during the delivery, feeling the intense void of my empty arms. Tears flowed freely from our broken hearts as we endeavored to “understand” this dark shadow we were having to walk through.
Glyn had placed a record of gospel music on our old battered record player, when the humble home of two devastated missionaries was filled with the words of the song: “…..then I heard footsteps walking in the shadows and a Hand reaching out to tell me He was there….”
As we allowed the truth of that song to seep into our broken beings, we began to feel the healing warmth of God’s care and understanding.
Our deep shadow of sorrow no longer was unbearable because it was tinged in scarlet hope and assurance from the Master’s Hand!

God’s loving care will breech and penetrate even the darkest shadows of our lives!
We can cling to these shafts of “scarlet hope” that God uses to intercept the devastating situations that come our way, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that He will bring us through victorious!
I simply can’t close this Nugget without quoting that well known and uplifting Psalm 23!

Psalm 23:1-6 (NKJV) “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.