Monthly Archives: May 2013

Forgive and Forget

Ephesians 4:31-32

Ephesians 4:31-32


I have faced an angry elephant; I have faced a snarling lion; even been a few feet from a cunning leopard and lived to tell the story.  These wild animals were not intentionally meaning me harm but were simply reacting to my unfamiliar presence in their territory or protecting their young.  Generally a wild animal in the bush will not “deliberately” seek you out to harm you; they are more likely to slip away and melt into the bush to avoid a confrontation. Yet during my lifetime I have seen human individuals deliberately attack someone with viscous lies, rumors and false accusations; even though their victim is totally innocent. They become like venomous snakes whose bites can wreak havoc on their victim. Let me explain what I mean with an illustration:

A man who had been bitten by a rattlesnake was rushed to the hospital. When he asked the doctor, “Is it life-threatening?” the doctor said, “The bite isn’t, but the poison is.”! The man needed a powerful antidote of “anti-venom” to eradicate the effects of the poison in his body.

In life the “bites” we suffer at the hands of others are painful, harrowing and disturbing, but they are NOT lethal.  The injustices we have heaped on us do not destroy us, but how we react to these experiences, can become lethal. Allowing bitterness to take control is a lethal cocktail to the soul.   Like the rattlesnake’s venom; bitterness is toxic to our spiritual health. First it poisons our mind, then our relationships. It causes us to replay the hurt over and over again until it controls us, stealing our peace, our joy and the plans God has for us!

However there is an antidote for bitterness! The antidote is forgiveness!  When Peter asked Jesus, “Should I forgive my brother seven times?” Jesus said, “No, you must forgive him seventy times seven” (Mt 18:21-22). In other words, “Forgive, and keep on forgiving until it no longer bothers you.”

The question is what causes bitterness?

The answer to this question is; anger.

Anger that we allow to develop in our heart will seethe and bubble until it fills our thought-life and becomes a toxin to our spiritual walk and relationship with God.  Anger is a natural human emotion and if we channel it according to God’s purposes we will use it to tap into His power to remove the painful “bite” and bring healing to our shattered emotions.  Uncontrolled anger will become long-term bitterness causing us to fixate on “the individual who did this to us.” This results in causing us to become hostile, critical, blaming and punitive.

Forgiveness becomes the vehicle to control our reactions and behaviors, thus starving our bitterness to death.  In its place God will develop His attributes of love, peace and joy; daily enabling us to grow stronger in Him.

If you are struggling today from hurts and injustices that have been heaped on you, rest in the knowledge that God will fight the battle for you, trust the promises in His Word and soak in His healing love.



Under The African Sun

Rhodesia in our hearts!

Rhodesia in our hearts!


The early morning breeze drifted across my bedroom carrying the sounds of the new day, rousing me from my drowsy musings. The distinct sound of the clanking of the milking buckets signaled that Tubeho was wheeling the day’s fresh milk to be separated. I slipped out of bed, quickly dressing but not bothering to put shoes on and headed to the dairy. I loved to watch the milk being separated in our hand cranked milking machine. Tubeho would turn the crank with gusto usually whistling happily during the process. Out of one spout and into a large milk can flowed the skimmed milk and out of another spout into a smaller milk can flowed the rich yellow cream.  The dairy floor was bare concrete but this made it cool. Several milk cans stood lined up filled with skimmed milk which was left to curdle and turn sour. Once it was fully curdled it was ready to distribute to the school children and staff living on Rufaro Mission compound, along with our family. As I did every morning when the milk was being separated, I took a cup and dipped it into one of the milk cans that was filled with curdled sour milk and drank it to the last drop! It was SO DELICIOUS! Sour enough to curl my already curly red hair! Aah….life was good!

This was going to be an exciting day.  Dad was planning on taking some vegetables and bags of ground maize meal to a widow that lived on an isolated farm. He was in the habit of checking on her quite frequently and I loved to go with him. There really was no proper road to her farm, just some goats and cattle trails through the bush. Mother packed a light lunch basket as she knew we would return by late afternoon in time for a hearty evening meal.

Once the truck was loaded we headed out. There was wall to wall sunshine and I drank in its warmth as I bounced along in the back of the truck with Zillah and Tubeho. Dad had our African school teacher, Peter Mtemererwa riding in the cab with him.  Tubeho began to sing: “Changamire, Muponisi”, (Loosely translated – What a friend we have in Jesus), with Zillah and me chiming in while we hung onto the canopy railings to steady ourselves. Frequently dissolving into giggles as the bouncing truck caused our voices to waver. The joy of the day bubbled over like a mountain brook; yes it was good to be a “missionary’s child” in the heart of Africa! We did not have the luxuries of the civilized world but we had a deep contentment that came from being right where God wanted us to be.

Soon the dirt track deteriorated to nothing but a trail, Dad dropped the truck into a low gear as he began to negotiate the last leg of our journey that was really rough going.  We came to a small stream that usually was dry but a recent thunderstorm had water running over its rocky bed. Slowly Dad negotiated the best route across the wet rocks; a jarring thud brought the truck to a lurching stop. The back wheel had dropped into a hole jamming the chassis against a boulder. We were thoroughly stuck!

The men put their heads together and decided the only way to free the truck was to find a strong tree limb that they could use to act as a lever to pry the chassis off the boulder. Finding a sturdy tree limb in the scrub bush was easier said than done! Finally they found one that would work and then after a good hour of pushing, prying, praying and perspiring, they finally freed the truck. By now all our drinking water was finished; the blazing African sun had quickly depleted us of much needed moisture but we knew better than to quench our thirst from the innocent looking trickling stream. Drinking water that was not boiled was a recipe for a bad bout of gastro-enteritis!  So we headed off for the farm very hot, very dusty and very thirsty!  As we turned the final corner Mrs. Van Den Merver’s farm house was a welcoming sight. She had heard the approaching truck and was waiting for us with open arms. In short order we all were drinking large cups of cool water that was a liquid balm to our parched throats.

Thankfully our return journey to Rufaro Mission was uneventful…….. just another wonderful day under the African sun for this little red-headed gal!

Looking back over this experience I am reminded of the Lord’s words in:

Bible Verse john7-38John 7:37-38 (NKJV) On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

So many hearts are thirsty for this “living water” that Jesus speaks of. We, who have drunk long and deep from this fountain, can in turn reach out to these dry, thirsty hearts and share the “living water” of the Gospel. I challenge you today; let your life become a “river of living water” to those around you. Don’t settle to be a “dry stream” that occasionally has water flowing but dig deep into the Word and become a “river” for God that will touch many lives.

A Glimpse of Home

Beyond the Garden Gate

Beyond the Garden Gate


Yesterday our Nation celebrated Memorial Day, honoring our fallen military men and women, plus we remembered our loved ones who have stepped into eternity.  In my mind’s eye I walked the dusty paths of memory remembering our own family members who have gone from our sight but not from our hearts.

In this Nugget, I want to share an experience I had that might help those struggling with the loss of someone close and dear to their heart. I have shared this with a few of my friends privately but I feel a nudge to post this on my public posts.

On September 8, 2009 I underwent eye surgery that required an anesthetic.  While under the anesthetic my brain stem reacted to the drugs that were being administered and the subsequent results were that I suffered multiple “TIA’s” over a period of 7 days plus the brain stem kept malfunctioning and sending negative electrical charges to all the nerve endings in my brain causing the most excruciating and debilitating pain in the head.

I was re-admitted to the hospital for emergency intervention and on the night I was most critical I was lying awake trying to focus on scripture verses that would strengthen my faith. I began to muse what leaving this world of pain and trouble and taking wings to heaven was really going to be like. I drifted into a pain filled half sleep and the following account was a “dream” I experienced that was so vivid I could recall and feel it as though it actually was happening.

I became aware that I had left my bed and my pain wracked body was floating with absolute lightness. Wholeness and vitality rushed through my being with such force that I felt I could take wings and fly. I sensed a Divine Presence walking with me. I knew it was the Lord and His comforting Presence totally enveloped me. I looked around and found I was standing in a beautiful valley surrounded by majestic mountains.

I Corinthians 2:9

I Corinthians 2:9

The valley was lush and my eyes were almost experiencing a sensory overload from the beauty that lay before me. The valley floor was covered with flowers of every color and description. It appeared that the Master Gardener had sprinkled flowers with gay abandon throughout the valley, yet all the colors and flowers were in total harmony. The air was filled with the sounds of bird songs; once again the musical calls were in total harmony. I was struck with the over-riding sense of total peace and tranquility that completely invaded every corner of the valley and this tranquility began to permeate my very being.  There was nothing in that valley that spoke of strife, discord or the clamor that fills our earthly world.

The Lord took my hand and said, “Welcome home Norma, we have been waiting for you. Come walk with me as I have some people who are waiting for you.”  I became aware of a small group of individuals standing some distance from me and we began to walk towards them. Their bodies seemed to be translucent yet I began to clearly see their faces. Gone were the ravages of disease and age on their faces. Glowing health radiated from them. Joy whelmed up within me like a bubbling brook as I realized I was looking at my mother, my father, my husband’s mother and father.  I began to run towards them and then noticed that in my mother’s arms was an infant. I let out a cry of joy as I realized that my mother was holding our infant son, Gary Anthony, who never lived long enough to see his first sunrise. Our reunion was ecstatic and joyous. Mother placed Gary in my arms and I began to run my fingers through his curly hair, his face had lost the “waxy-like death pallor” that I remembered the moment he was drawing his last breath. His little cheeks were the picture of health; he too seemed to have a translucent body but I was very aware of feeling him in my arms. The empty void of my aching arms for the infant son we lost 34 years ago was gone instantly and the mother’s heart in me was whole again. The family kept asking me why I had taken so long to come and they told me that they had been waiting for me. My earthly attachments were fading fast. I had absolutely no desire to return to this world filled with its pain and toil. It seemed as though my focus and vision had moved to an eternal focus instead of an earthly focus. I had absolutely no desire to leave this valley of total peace and tranquility. I turned to the Lord and asked him if I had to go back and He said, “My child you have come home, but you must return as I have more work for you”.

Then slowly my focus changed and I became conscious of my earthly surroundings. I heard myself whispering in my half sleep, “I’ve come home! I’ve come home!”  Then reality set in as the wracking pain tore through my head and I realized I was still in this earthly body and obviously had been dreaming. Peace filled my soul though as I felt that God in His mercy had, for a few seconds, lifted the curtain and given me a glimpse of the glory that awaits the child of God.

The peace and tranquility of heaven transcends anything we can even begin to compare with here on earth. A child of God should never fear the dying process as, glory beyond our wildest imaginations; await us on the other shore. I carry in my heart now the comforting assurance that I can look forward to the day when I can “go rest high on that mountain, when my work on earth is done!”

Take comfort my friends remember the promise in God’s Word:

1 Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV) But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Isaiah 64:4 (NKJV) For since the beginning of the world Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear,

Moxie -True Grit

bible verse -serve GodMOXIE – TRUE GRIT! 

Sharing my thoughts and memories in these Nuggets has been a challenge for me in my own walk with the Lord. I can see that God’s Divine purposes and plans for my life were set in motion even before my birth; yet God’s plan gave me the freedom to choose His path and fulfill His will or go my own way. Each one reading this Nugget faces the same choices!

Little did my father and mother know that the feisty red-headed daughter that was their third child born on a remote mission station would allow God to channel her headstrong will for His purposes? They prayed that each of the five children the Lord had blessed them with would follow their example in serving Him but they knew the final decision lay in the heart of each of us siblings. Looking at baby pictures of my sister and me at Gobatema Mission, it was hard to comprehend that the little gal with the mischievous smile and ability to “push the envelope” would one day be a preacher of the Gospel BUT GOD KNEW!



On the other hand, I am sure there was many a time that my mother wondered if her hot-headed middle child would ever have a harnessed will that God could use, yet on reflection it was my very “stubborn grit and moxie” that God was able to use!

Looking back over the events of my life starting from by birth at Gobatema Mission in Rhodesia, (Zimbabwe), I can see God’s divine fingerprints in the molding of my character. Living on that remote mission developed in me a love for wild life and the bush veld. The sights, sounds and smells of the African bush were part of the warp and weave of the tapestry of my life. My feet walked the dusty paths with my parents to remote villages, many times being the first white child these villagers had ever seen. Watching my parents lovingly and patiently minister to these primitive people created a hunger in my young heart to follow in their footsteps; this was another thread the Hand of God stitched into the tapestry of my life. Then when I was a teenager I began holding children’s meetings every Saturday afternoon, walking three miles each way to where I gathered over a hundred children of varying ages and taught them basic Bible lessons. Out of those children’s meetings grew a Youth group which became the nucleus of a church and out of this church our Mission Bible School was birthed.

Another thread in the tapestry of my life was when God had a young man cross my path who became my husband.  God took two flowing “streams”, letting the waters mingle so they could not be divided and Glyn and I became a “river” bringing the refreshing water of the Gospel to thirsty African tribes in Rhodesia.

God called us to stand for righteousness in a darkened land steeped in superstition, witchcraft and ancestral worship. We pooled our God-given gifts and strengths and blazed a trail for Him even though there were many difficult and dangerous circumstances we had to walk through. It took a whole lot of grit, determination, many deep heart-aches and not compromising the teachings of the Word. There were times we did not know where our next meal might come from, but God always provided; there were times when wondered if we would be targeted by terrorist when we were preaching in remote areas or attack us on our mission station, but God protected us; there was no turning back……It would have been so easy to walk away from being missionaries and chose an easier path, but we kept our eyes focused on God’s call and His promises in His Word.  Yes, it took “moxie” but God had our backs!

You see my friends the important question to consider is not how successful we are in this life but how we have lived out our days in response to God’s plan for our lives. No matter how short or how long our journey here on earth might be, the conflict with sin and Satan must never cease, for God has called us to stand for righteousness and unadulterated truth. As faithful soldiers of the Cross, clad with the whole armor of God, we must never relax our vigilance, for the sake of political correctness, popularity or simply because we are battle weary. By staying close to our “Divine Captain” we shall remain true to our calling and the tapestry of our lives that God began the day we were born! When we do this and come to the end of our journey we will hear His comforting words:

Matthew 25:21 (NKJV) His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.’

When we hear these words we will know that it was worth all the suffering, isolation and pain because we choose to walk in the path the Lord had planned for us.

Promised Trio

God's faithfulness


Psalm 33:20-21 (NKJV)” Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name.”

Spring has arrived here in the States. The long cold winter months, that stripped the countryside of its brilliant autumn hues and replaced them with a cloak that was drab and lifeless; has passed. Even though above the ground everything looked dead, beneath the frozen soil, roots were using the harsh winter months to rejuvenate and strengthen. Those brutal blasts of icy winds made the vegetation stronger; provided their roots were planted deeply in the life-giving soil.

In the same manner; our journey here on earth as we walk with the Lord has seasons of spiritual dearth; when trouble rushes in, robbing us of our ability to know which way to turn to. These seasons in our lives are like the months of winter in nature. This is the time when we hold still, block out the contrary voices, focus our eyes on the Lord, Who is the source of our strength and wait for Him to turn our weeping to singing!  Our spiritual roots must be rooted deeply in His Word to overcome the winds of adversity.

You see the “ROOT” of our faith produces the FLOWER of JOY. We may not at first rejoice, but joy will come in due season. If we trust the Lord when we are being tried by harsh circumstances and events unfolding in our lives; then in “due season”, the Lord will answer in such a manner that our weeping will turn to rejoicing.

Doubt breeds distress, but trust means joy in the long run.

The assurance expressed by the Psalmist in this verse is really a promise held in the hands of a trusting confidence in the Lord, regardless of what our circumstances dictate. If we do not rejoice at this moment, we shall do so, as surely as the Psalmist David’s God is our God.

Consider with me why we should “trust in the Lord” when the world calls us fools.

Just considering the attributes in His Name is enough to strengthen our faith and trust in Him which will cause us to rejoice in the face of the seasons of “winter” in our lives.

The Lord’s character is holy, just, true, gracious, faithful and unchanging.

Surely He is a God who can be trusted?

He is all-wise, almighty, and everywhere present; surely we can cheerfully rely upon Him?

Think about it:

Jehovah-Jireh will provide, Jehovah-Shalom will send peace, Jehovah-Tsidkenu will justify, Jehovah-Shammah will be forever near, Jehovah Ropheka is our Healer and in Jehovah-Nissi we will conquer every foe.

When we focus on WHO GOD IS AND HIS ATTRBUTES, we will have faith, trust and rejoice in Him without reserve!


Disaster Preparedness

Inspirational Thoughts to Encourage

Inspirational Thoughts to Encourage


2 Samuel 22:19-20 (NKJV) They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the LORD was my support.  He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me. 

Looking back over the past few years it seems that the world has been rocked with one disaster after another. Disasters created by nature and disasters created by evil men. Then, looking back through my journal notes it struck me how many of my friends have and still are walking through very trying circumstances. How do we prepare ourselves for unexpected disasters that strike without warning?

Many cities and towns have drills for emergency workers to be prepared should a disaster occur; plus schools have drills to teach the children what to do in the event of a fire, tornadoes and sadly now a school shooting.

Anyone reading this Nugget can relate to the words of the scripture in Samuel; at some point in our journey here on this earth, we all have been confronted with the day of “calamity” (disaster).

That heart-breaking phone call in the wee hours of the night; a frightening medical diagnosis; a police cruiser at your door bearing bad news; your home destroyed by fire, hurricane, tornado or flood; these examples are merely ‘the tip of the iceberg’ of the type of disasters that many have experienced.

Can we really be prepared to make it through these storms of life?

My friends I can assure you; WE CAN! You ask me how this could be possible. How can we be prepared for something we cannot even anticipate?

The answer is found in the verse at the beginning of this Nugget!  The strength of our relationship with God will dictate our response when disaster strikes.

God’s “disaster-preparedness kit” is found in our knowledge and belief that God is fighting for us.   Psalm 31:24 encourages us to TAKE COURAGE or BE STRONG.

During the day of trouble you can be strong and have courage because you know your God; you know your convictions; and know how to tap into God’s unlimited power.

God’s Word tells us to have courage!  Believe Him!  Take heart!

Psalm 27

Psalm 27

Don’t let your pain shut you down. Take the broken pieces and offer them to God…CHOOSE to live under God’s loving protection. Hope in the Lord during the seasons of disaster. Put no stock in emotion, circumstances, or vain theories. Fix your hope on God!

No matter how long I’ve spent in God’s workshop, my progress is proven in the moments of peril and trauma in my life.

There isn’t a situation, a temptation, or a question where Ephesians 6:10 cannot be applied: “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” (NIV).

God isn’t telling you to be tough on your own…rely on His strength and let Him do for you what He knows is best.” God has the best “disaster preparedness kit”, so let me encourage you to avail yourselves of it today!

Provision from an Unexpected Source

Gwelo Municipal Building, Zimbabwe

Gwelo Municipal Building, Zimbabwe


Never underestimate the power of God to meet your needs from the most unexpected sources! There are times that God steps into a situation and unleashes His majestic power to provide a miracle; an example being when Jesus turned the water into wine at the marriage feast, or God providing fresh manna every morning on the desert floor to feed the children of Israel. Then there are numerous times that God steps in using ordinary everyday things or people; placing them in our path, to supply the need for which we are praying!

Glyn and I have seen this truth repeated time and time again in our journey as we have followed God’s call.

I remember well an incident that happened to us in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) in the town of Gwelo.  We had a church building there where the local congregation met but it was in need of some major repairs and extension. On a planned date, we loaded up our truck with supplies, camping gear, food supplies and then headed out to spend a week working on the building with the help of some of our African volunteers. Our son was barely a year old; if my memory serves me right it probably was our first attempt to camp with the baby. We had a tent that would comfortably sleep four adults, plus all the necessary camping equipment; kerosene lanterns, kerosene two burner stove, camp cots and sleeping bags etc. We planned to camp at the town’s campground,

Our camping tent

Our camping tent

arriving by midafternoon to give us plenty of time to set up camp before darkness fell. Soon our truck was unloaded and Glyn set about getting the tent erected. Everything came to a grinding halt when he discovered that somehow in the flurry of loading the truck the bag that held the stakes (tent pegs) had been over-looked and left behind. How was he to erect a tent and it be held secure without its tent cords tightly cinched to stakes that were pounded deep into the ground? By now the afternoon had swiftly passed; any hardware store in the town of Gwelo had already closed for the evening.  The sun was fast dropping below the horizon and we had not come up with a solution to our dilemma. Unless God sent us some concrete help we would have to load up and return to Hartley which was not a good option as it was not safe travelling after dark. Word of our plight quickly spread through the few campers in the campgrounds; just as we were about to admit defeat several young men dressed in Boy Scout uniforms walked over to our truck. They said they had heard that we had a problem and offered to help. We explained our problem and with big smiles on their faces they set to and made short work of coming up with enough metal stakes and had the tent raised and ready to occupy. When we thanked them we asked how they found out about us and they explained that they were having a scout outing and were using the campground as their overnight stop.

Thanks to the willingness of the Boy Scout troop and their skills our trip to work on the church building did not have to be delayed!  God had met our need from a source of which we were totally unaware but He was aware!

Peter discovered this truth when Jesus instructed him where to get the money to pay the temple tax:

Matthew 17:27 (NKJV) Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.”

Do you have a need; a situation that you don’t have an answer to?

Maybe you don’t know which way to turn. Maybe you feel that all is lost and you are ready to admit defeat.

Time to go fishing my friends!  

If Jesus could use a fish with a coin in its mouth so Peter could pay the Temple Tax or send Boy Scouts as the evening shadows were falling to help two young missionaries, then God is more than able to meet your needs. Trust Him today, don’t give up, His answer is already on the way!