Monthly Archives: August 2013

Take The Plunge

Deuteronomy 33:27

Deuteronomy 33:27

TAKE THE PLUNGE 

I woke very early this morning. The sun was just starting to replace the cloak of night with gentle rays of crimson light. I stepped out on our deck allowing the energy of God’s Divine love to permeate my being. There were so many questions on my mind that had disturbed my sleep but now it was time to hush my thoughts; “be still” and listen to the gentle whisperings of the voice of the lover of my soul! Oh how I love these early morning hours alone with my Lord! The anxieties of what our future holds; the unanswered questions of how and when God will provide for us; the heart-ache for so many of our friends who are walking deep valleys of suffering all fade into oblivion as I focus solely on the face of the Lord and listen closely to His counsel FOR THIS DAY.

You see I don’t need grace for tomorrow, next week or next year; I just need grace for TODAY!

So many times we, as children of God, miss out on God’s “best” because we allow fear of the unknown to over-ride our faith and trust in God’s leadings. Let me paint a picture for you:

A father and his two small children are enjoying a summer’s afternoon together. He’s in the pool, and he calls to the two little girls standing on the edge to run and jump into his arms. One daughter does, the other doesn’t. The one, who doesn’t, watches gleefully, applauds, and jumps up and down. But when her dad invites her to do the same she shakes her head and backs away.

This is what so many of us do!  We are living on the edge of the “life’s pool”, never taking the plunge, happy to experience life vicariously through others!

Preferring to take no risk, rather than any risk!

For fear of the worst, we never enjoy the best, because we say, “I’m not sure what I’m jumping into!”

This morning the Lord reminded me of this promise from His Word:

Deuteronomy 33:27 (NKJV) “The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, And will say, ‘Destroy!’

You see, there is a vast difference between foolishness and faith.

FOOLISHNESS is closing your eyes and jumping before you know there’s even water in the pool, or that your Heavenly Father has said, “Come, I’ll catch you.”

FAITH is having the knowledge and trust that the only way to conquer your fear of the “water of the unknown” is to take the leap; because the One who is calling you has been there for you from the moment you became His child.

Nothing is more important to Him than your safety, the development of your faith, and your total success in life. So in other words; TRUST HIM AND TAKE THE PLUNGE!

Remember what God told Joshua, “Arise, go over this Jordan…to the land which I am giving [you] …Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go” (Jos 1:2, 7 NKJV).

I came away this morning with the words, “Arise, go, be strong” ringing in my soul.

I AM READY TO FACE THIS NEW DAY WITH ITS CHALLENGES – HOW ABOUT YOU?

Monkeys & A Witchdoctor With A Common Agenda

Monkey -part of Mission troop.

Monkey -part of Mission troop.

MONKEYS & A WITCHDOCTOR WITH A COMMON AGENDA   

In a previous Nugget I recounted how poisonous snakes were a constant problem at Rufaro Mission in Rhodesia. The Mission house was built at the base of a rocky granite kopjie (hill) which was a haven for scorpions and snakes; added to that there was a large orchard plus the house was flanked on one side by tall Gum Trees (Eucalyptus) and a row of Evergreen trees on the other side. Not only did this natural landscape provide shelter for a large assortment of “creepy crawlies”, some harmless, some deadly and some ugly; it also provided a safe environment for a resident troop of monkeys. As a child, though thoroughly fascinated by scorpions and snakes, my parents taught me to respect them, keep my distance and let an adult dispatch them with a heavy stick or dose of lead from a trusty shot gun! The monkeys on the other hand were a source of great entertainment for me but a trial of patience for my Dad. I loved to watch their precision agility as they leaped from the lofty top of one Gum tree to another. They made their presence known with their noisy chatter which actually worked to their disadvantage. One of their prime motives for their daily foray to the Mission was to steal the drying maize (corn) cobs, spread out in the blazing sun on the flat part of the Mission’s galvanized iron roof. The troop would perch in the upper branches waiting for the right opportunity, when it seemed no one was around; then with lightning speed they would leap onto the roof grab a maize cob and race back to the safety of the upper branches of the Gum trees, with their ill-gotten trophy. As much fun as this was for me to watch I knew I needed to alert Dad the monkeys were stealing cobs from the roof. A couple of well-placed shots would send the troop scampering from the trees and up onto their favorite boulders on the Kopjie while they screeched insults back at us. As long as we were drying the cobs, so they could be ground in “mealie meal”, the monkeys made a daily stop at the Mission to engage in their troublesome agenda.

We had another regular visitor to the Mission but this one came under the cover of darkness. On the other side of the Kopjie was a village in which resided a female witchdoctor who had a strangle hold on the villagers. The presence of our family and the Mission church and school that we were running was slowly causing her control to weaken. So, like the troop of monkeys she had a malicious agenda when she would silently slip into the Mission compound during the dark hours of the night. Week after week the sinister evidence of her visits, such as a chickens claws, snake skins or worse still, the severed head of a snake, would be found in the morning outside the door of her victim. Her intent was to cause fear in the hearts of the African staff, hoping they would abandon their posts and disrupt the running of the Mission.

Some of the staff wanted Dad to go the village and confront the witchdoctor as her presence was very disturbing plus she seemed to be getting braver in her acts of sabotage and they feared that one of these nightly forays would result in someone being poisoned. Dad called the staff together and explained to them that “fighting” with the witchdoctor would only cause her to become more aggressive. Then Dad told the staff that it was time to put into action the teaching that Jesus gave concerning how to deal with our enemies. He read the following scripture to the staff:

Matthew 5:43-45 (NKJV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Dad explained that acts of love would win more people from the village than words of anger. After this meeting, once a week a group of staff along with mother and of course this little red-headed tag-along; would make the four mile walk to village bearing gifts of blankets and clothing. They would gather the children teaching them Bible lessons and songs. It wasn’t long before adults began to drift from their huts listening to the teachings of a God of love. The witchdoctor never made an appearance but we knew she could hear every word spoken and sung from the dark regions of her foreboding hut.  

Several months passed, more and more villagers were openly attending our Sunday services. Then one never to be forgotten Sunday; the Witchdoctor strode into the gathered congregation as Dad was finishing his sermon.

The congregation cringed in terror!

Had she come to curse the missionary publicly?

Did she intend to make an example of the villagers who had disobeyed her command to stay away from the Mission?

Silenced reigned; all eyes were fixed on this sinister ambassador of terror.

She raised her hand, pointing at Dad and then she broke the palpable silence. She said that she had, for several months, seen the kindness and gentleness that the missionaries and the African staff had shown to the villagers and now she too wanted to know more about “this God of love”!  Added to that she held up a large bag filled with all her paraphernalia that WERE THE TOOLS OF HER TRADE, announcing that she wanted Dad to make a big fire and burn them and then she wanted to be baptized in water before the congregation as a demonstration of her sincerity. The congregation sang and danced for joy as item after item of the tools of her witchcraft were thrown into the fire.

Then we walked to our small dam where Dad and one of the deacons would baptize her in water. Before entering the water she requested that Dad cut off the copper amulets and symbols of her witchcraft that filled both arms to the elbow joints. Dad sent Tubeho to get wire-cutters from the tool shed and snip by snip these trappings of her trade fell to the ground.

I shall never forget that day. I had witnessed the love of God winning a battle against forces of evil!

It was a great day of rejoicing at Rufaro Mission.

Who Is On The Winning Side?

2 Kings 6:16

2 Kings 6:16

WHO IS ON THE WINNING SIDE?

In 2 Kings Chapter 6 we read a fascinating account of God’s deliverance for Elisha, one of God’s fearless Prophets. Horses, chariots and a great host of the enemy had surrounded the prophet Elisha in Dothan under the cover of darkness, while the inhabitants of Dothan slept. Elisha’s young servant discovered this formidable force in the early morning and was totally terrified.

He knew they were hunting for his master!

How could they escape from such a body of armed men?  Terror raced through his frame and he ran to where Elisha was resting with the ominous news.

I can see him in my mind’s eye now; running as hard as his trembling legs could carry him, cloak flying behind him, his breath coming out in choking gasps to the point he struggled to speak when he burst into the presence of Elisha! He must have presented quite a spectacle to say the least!

Yet, Elisha did not seem at all alarmed about the dire news his servant had just delivered; actually he radiated an irrational calmness that confused the young man even more! You see Elisha had knowledge that his terrified servant did not know and he could see what this young man couldn’t see!

Elisha could see a greater army with far superior weapons guarding him from all harm.  So to put the young man out of his misery the scripture tells us that Elisha prayed and asked God to show him the heavenly host surrounding them.

2 Kings 6:17 (NKJV) “And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

Horses of fire are mightier than horses of flesh; chariots of fire are far preferable to chariots of iron! Now the young man comprehended why Elisha had such calmness of Spirit in the face of such a formidable foe – he and his servant were on the side of the winning army!

I draw great comfort from this account in scripture. The God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament and He is the same God for TODAY AND ALL OUR TOMORROWS!

The adversaries of truth in this day and age are countless. They come in a variety of forms; some influential, some learned, some crafty and some just plain malicious; truth suffers at their hands.

So do we become like the young man in the account in Kings, wringing our hands in fear or do we take the example of Elisha knowing we have no cause for trepidation?

I assure you; activities both seen and unseen, of the most powerful kind, are on the side of the righteous. God has armies in ambush who will reveal themselves in our hour of need. The forces which are on the side of the righteous and the truth far outweigh all powers of evil!

What does this mean for you and me?  We can keep our spirits up in these dark days, walking with the bearing of men and women who hold a reassuring secret, which has lifted them, above all fear.

We are on the winning side!

The battle may be fierce, but we know how it will end.

Faith, having God with her, is in a clear majority as the Word reminds us:

2 Kings 6:16 (NKJV) “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  

Superlative Survivors

My Wave Petunias -winter survivors.

My Wave Petunias -winter survivors.

SUPERLATIVE SURVIVORS 

I have so many precious friends right now who are fighting a battle royal against cancer. Having tangled with cancer myself I can fully understand the path each one of you are walking. It is not an easy journey; it takes sheer grit many days to put a smile on your face, get out of bed and fight another day. The comforting knowledge on these tough days is that God “walks the dark hills” with His suffering children; holding each one close to His side, providing shelter and strength for the rugged path ahead.  I carry each one of these friends very close to my heart, daily calling their names in prayer. My Nugget today is dedicated to my special friends but also to any of my readers who are travelling a valley of heart-ache and trial.

This spring as the gentle rains and warming sun began to infuse new life to plants that had been dormant during the harsh winter days, I discovered an amazing sight.  I had several large planters that had held my trailing Wave Petunias during the summer months. After the first hard frost at the start of winter the Petunias fade and die as they are “Annual flowers” which need replanting each spring. On the other hand my rose bushes are “Perennials” which become dormant in the winter but shoot out leaves and buds at the first kiss of the spring sunshine. As was my custom, I discarded all the dead trailing Wave Petunias, roots and all, after the frost had killed them. Usually I also empty the soil out and pack my planters in the shed for the winter months. Last October for some reason, I decided not to throw the soil out and left the planters in their places, planning on cleaning them out in the spring and replenishing them with fresh soil. In the spring this year once I knew there was no chance of any frosts I decided it was time to get the planters ready for new seedlings. This is when I discovered the amazing sight waiting for me. All the planters had small seedlings pushing up through the soil! How could this be? Wave Petunias are Annuals and do not regenerate themselves, plus I had pulled the plants out roots and all the previous fall! Then it occurred to me that before the frosts hit my flowers, tiny fragile seeds had falling into the soil,  cocooned enough against the harsh winter elements that they did not die and now in the warm spring rains they were celebrating life!

I gently scooped up each of the seedlings and re-potted them in a large planter wondering if they would even produce flowers. My care did not go unrewarded, all summer long I have had a gorgeous planter filled with trailing Wave Petunias of mixed colors that are actually more beautiful than they were in their original glory!

These flowers are symbolic to me of my own journey with Breast Cancer. The long days and nights of my recovery; when exhaustion, weakness and uncertainty seemed to be my constant companions; were my “winter days”!  All I could do was wait and rest in the strong arms of the Lord for the harsh winds of the cancer treatment to be over. Yes, there were times that all seemed hopeless but through-out this “winter season” NEW LIFE was being nurtured and strengthened by the Master of my soul.  Then at His appointed time new life “sprung forth” with all the vigor and beauty of my spring Petunias!

God gave me a scripture verse the day I was diagnosed with cancer which I held onto my entire journey:

Psalm 118:17-18 (NKJV) I shall not die, but live, And declare the works of the LORD. The LORD has chastened me severely; But He has not given me over to death.

We all experience “winter seasons” in our earthly walk but remember, God has not forgotten us nor abandoned us. These are the seasons when we draw deeply from His sustenance, strengthen our faith and prepare for the celebration of vibrant life when our winter turns to spring.

So my dear friends, those who are enduring the rigors of Chemotherapy, radiation, radical surgery or deep heart-ache, remember the lesson of the my resilient Petunias, whose seeds survived the bitter winter winds and sprung to new life even more beautiful than before. You WILL come back from this valley you are walking, stronger than before!

Today, I salute my friends, my superlative survivors; leaving you with this promise from God’s Word.

Philippians 1:6 (NKJV) Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Hot Springs And Helicopters

Rhodesians Air Force Helicopters - Hot Springs September 1976

Rhodesians Air Force Helicopters – Hot Springs September 1976

HOT SPRINGS AND HELICOPTERS 

Hot Springs Resort……… I am sure for most Rhodesians this is a place of many sweet memories! Camping under the stars, or in tents, or in caravans (campers) or if you had the money to spend, staying in the Hotel Chalets. No matter what your accommodations were, one thing you could count on; the mosquitoes were as big as horseflies and as hungry as vampire bats, the searing low veld heat was relentless, evening meals cooked over the open fire tasted better than anything you could buy at a 5 star restaurant. But the most delightful memory was soaking in the hot sulfur water in the pool until your legs turned to rubber, then wobbling you way back to camp and sleeping like a baby. So much laughter, new friends made, sunburned limbs and noses, all created in a rural rustic get-away hidden in the middle of the Rhodesian low veld! As a child, my family visited Hot Springs, as a holiday place of choice. Glyn and I spend an idyllic honeymoon staying in the Hotel accommodations and then we returned on several occasions with our children.

In September 1976 we headed for Hot Springs after an exhausting annual Conference that was held at Rufaro Mission. Shortly before this we had bought a second-hand Gypsy caravan. It was very basic – just a table, sleeping bunks and a few storage cupboards, but it kept us off the ground and it was dry in the heavy downpours. We had a canopy that we attached where I set up my “kitchen” with a table and a two burner Coleman gas stove, plus we would “braai” our meat over an open fire. On this particular visit our son was five years old and our daughter was just five months old. While shopping at O.K. Bazaars I had found an adorable yellow polka dot two piece swimming suit that was perfect for the baby. She still had “peach fuzz” for hair, so I concluded that putting her in a little two piece swimming suit would show she was a baby girl. One morning before it became too hot to be out in the baking sun, I was standing in the shallow end of the pool with the baby in my arms, just bouncing her little legs in the warm steamy water. A lady made her way across the pool to me and commented on what a “beautiful baby BOY” I had! REALLY lady, are you serious?

I chuckled and told her that actually the baby was a girl; thus the reason for the “itsy bitsy yellow polka dot bikini”!  Unfortunately my attempt at not so subtle humor was lost on the lady!

Rhodesian Air Force Alouette Helicopters -Hot Springs. Sept. 1976

Rhodesian Air Force Alouette Helicopters -Hot Springs. Sept. 1976

Each day melted into the next as we enjoyed making memories with our children. One afternoon while we were seeking a good spot in the shade to escape the rays of the burning sun, a different sound intruded on the siesta hour of the campground. It was the distinct sound of the propellers of helicopters that became louder and louder until we realized that three Rhodesian Air Force Alouette helicopters were landing in an open space right in the campground. This caused quite a stir amongst the campers; after all it is not every day that three helicopters with loaded gun turrets, land in your back yard! Naturally in a matter of minutes our brave soldiers in their bush camouflage were greeted by curious campers. Our son was in his glory as he was able to get up close to the machines of his dreams, while the soldiers showed friendly appreciation to their gawking admirers’. The leader of the group explained that they had received a tip that a group of terrorists were hiding somewhere in the bush near Hot Springs so they felt their presence would be a deterrent for an ambush on the campers and guests in the Hotel. I assure you we ALL were very grateful for our “protecting angels” who dropped out of the sky, especially as darkness began to creep in. The terrorist war was ramping up and Hot Springs would be such an easy soft target because of its fairly remote location in the bush. The next day the helicopters took off and we later heard on the news that contact had been made and they had successfully routed the group of terrorists from their hiding place and captured them. We were so thankful to these brave young men who fought long and hard to protect the citizens of Rhodesia, both black and white! Many of them made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives while loyally serving their country.

So many times during our years in Rhodesia we experienced God’s protection. Sometimes it was through human intervention, as was the case at Hot Springs, other times we could only believe that God miraculously intervened.

I wonder how many times you and I have avoided a catastrophic event without ever knowing it because God stepped in behind the scenes? I believe firmly that God has been and will continue to be involved in the events of our lives even when we don’t recognize His Presence. This should give us a calm re-assurance in these turbulent times. If fear of what the future holds is stalking your every hour then take heart, God has promised His Presence and protection.

Draw strength my friends from the promises in Psalm 121 – allow the words of this Psalm to permeate your very being and throw your trust upon the One who is able to deliver each one of us.

Psalm 121:1-8 (NKJV)

1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills– From whence comes my help?

2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.

3 He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.

4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade at your right hand.

6 The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.

8 The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.

 

 

 

 

A Roaring Lion

Lion in Kruger National Park, South Africa

Lion in Kruger National Park, South Africa

A ROARING LION

Glyn and I were taking a much needed rest from our ministry as missionaries in Rhodesia, (Zimbabwe) and were visiting Kruger National Park, in South Africa. The best time to see wild game is in the early morning or late afternoon, as most game will seek shelter in the deep bush to escape the burning heat of the African midday sun. We were driving slowly on a dusty, dirt track, with our eyes scanning the dense bush which was brandishing its hot, dry season look. The tall grasses were brown and dry, the trees and scrub bushes were still, in the early morning sunlight, there was no breeze to cool the air; it seemed as though the whole of nature was waiting for the life giving rains to arrive. This was the best time for us to spot any wild game, especially the “big five”; elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and cheetah. As we turned a corner, we spied two beautiful tawny lionesses resting in the tall dry grass. Their coats bended so well into the golden grass that the only thing that gave their regal presence away was one of them flicked her tail. We stopped our car and silently watched these two magnificent “killing machines”! They turned their heads and made eye contact with me as my side of the car was closest to them. Their eyes were unflinching, looking at me with a fearless, penetrating stare. They were positioned about 30 feet from my open car window. Now, I know when you are so close to wild animals, such as  lionesses, it isn’t the best idea to have your car windows open, but Glyn was busy snapping pictures and did not want the pictures distorted by the glass!

The click of the shutter was a sound that was foreign to the normal sounds of the African bush and the lionesses keen ears quickly picked it up. The sound disturbed them enough that they got up and with one long last riveting look at me they “melted” into the deeper bush. Glyn and I let out our breath and were congratulating ourselves on our sighting when suddenly, a mere couple of yards from my window, rose a massive male lion, who obviously was in his prime and ready to defend his harem! We had been totally unaware of his presence in the grass so close to the car! He had a full black mane, his eyes flashed with aggression and there was no question in our minds as to what his intentions were! He was letting us know that he was irritated at our intrusion. We froze and once again I was making eye contact with the fiercest of beasts that stood a good four feet tall at his shoulders. His paws seemed big as bowling balls and the power behind them was unstoppable. For a few seconds we watched this amazingly beautiful “kings of the beasts” in all his glory, in total fascination and admiration, then sanity prevailed and I realized I should close my window! As the window began to go up the lion suddenly moved with deliberate steps and an intent look in his eyes. He had seen the glint of the sun in our side mirror and he was headed straight for my open window. I was fully aware of the precarious position I was in – his head literally filled the opening of the car window. Thankfully I got the window closed just as the lion reached up and sniffed the mirror and then as though he became bored with this new object that had invaded his space, he turned and silently walked in the direction his two lionesses had retreated. We let out a huge breath of relief and drove off still quivering with the adrenalin rush we had experienced.

God’s Word teaches us:

1 Peter 5:8-9 (NKJV) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

Proverbs 28:1 (NKJV) ….But the righteous are bold as a lion.

The scripture verse reminds us that Satan can be compared to a roaring lion. Our encounter could have turn into a tragic event if we had been foolish enough to step out of the safety of our vehicle. As children of God we are “hidden in Christ and sheltered under His wings”. He is our protector against the wiles of the evil one but we must be vigilant and stay within the shelter He has provided for us. If we foolishly step out from God’s provided protection we become easy targets for the wiles of the enemy. On the other hand the scripture also likens a righteous person to be as “bold as a lion”. That lion we were watching had absolutely no fear of us or our vehicle – he boldly strode up to the car door to investigate what intruder had invaded his space and was a threat to his pride of lionesses. So too, we have the Spirit of the Lord to fill us with boldness to come against the enemy of our souls and stand firm in the face of adversity. We need not fear even when the storm rages around us and the winds of adversity batter our steps. Our God is greater and He has overcome the devil and all his evil plans, so let us stand boldly and rejoice in our God knowing that He will not allow our feet to be moved!

 

 

Adversity: An Enemy or Friend?

ADVERSITY: AN ENEMY OR FRIEND?

Isaiah 30:20

Isaiah 30:20

Over The past ten days a good portion of Missouri where we presently live, has been inundated with torrential rains. Several towns have suffered devastating flooding with the loss of homes, personal belongings and vehicles. For those of us who are fortunate enough to live on high ground it has been hard to see the images of neighboring communities being ravaged by the relentless flood waters.  Living here in the Ozarks in what is commonly called “Tornado Alley”; we are no strangers to natural disasters.   Yet no matter how many disasters we live through it never gets easier to see the scenes, feel the pain of the victims and try to reach out to the hurting in some small way.

Adversity comes into our lives unexpected, uninvited, unsolicited and unwanted; yet we all have to deal with it! Sometimes it pounces on us as a lion does its prey, other times it surges in with the velocity of an erupting volcano ripping at our very foundations. We can prepare for adversity, as we do here in “Tornado Ally”, by having a plan for a “safe shelter” should a tornado strike but one thing is sure; adversity WILL strike without warning!

How do we handle adversity?

What lessons can be learnt in the school of adversity?

I have discovered that rising to a challenge reveals hidden abilities within me that otherwise would have remained dormant. Take a tube of toothpaste for example; you find out what’s inside a tube when it gets squeezed! So too, adversity reveals what we are made of!

Sometimes when we see others walking through adversity we say; “I could never go through what that person is going through. I am not as strong as they are, I know I would fail.”

Then adversity comes knocking on our door and we go through it, and guess what?

Our heart keeps beating. Our world goes on.

You see, we don’t know what we are capable of until we HAVE TO COPE. Wise people have always understood the connection between suffering and growth.

Think about this:

God could have let Abraham stay in the comfort of Ur, and Moses in the splendor of Pharaoh’s courts. He could have kept Daniel out of the lions’ den; Nehemiah out of captivity; Jonah out of the whale; Esther from being threatened and Jeremiah from being rejected.

God could have stepped in and stopped John the Baptist from being be-headed; Stephen being stoned to death and Paul from being shipwrecked.

BUT HE DIDN’T!

In fact, God used each of these trials AND TIMES OF ADVERSITY to bring these Patriarchs of old, closer to Him. God allowed those trying circumstances to produce perseverance, character and hope in each one.

It has been said; “The school of hard knocks produces the greatest scholars.”

Well guess who the teacher is in this ‘school of hard knocks’?

ADVERSITY IS THE TEACHER!

You either face it with God, or without Him.

When we face adversity with God walking beside us, our faith in Him will sustain us and He in turn will bring us through victorious!

Don’t fear the winds of adversity my friends but view them as the eagles do and use them as thermals to soar high above the storm!

Take courage today from the promises in the Word:

Isaiah 30:20-21 (NKJV) And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, But your eyes shall see your teachers.  Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.”