Monthly Archives: November 2013

Get Ready to Move

GET READY TO MOVE

Elephants crossing the river.

Elephants crossing the river.

  “Get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give.” Jos 1:2 NIV

God said to Joshua: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then…get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give you…

Imagine what emotions were racing through Joshua’s heart when he heard this command from God! The seemingly “unreachable land” is now within the Children of Israel’s grasp. It was a crossroad of mammoth proportions! Just one wrong step could bring total disaster to this nation. So much weighed on Joshua’s shoulders! Actually the fate of the nation rested on his shoulders!

Could God……….would God really entrust such a life changing event into the hands of one man?

The answer is a simple but resounding YES!

Let me bring this account in scripture closer to home.

As you read this Nugget are you too standing today at the crossroads of change?

Maybe, facing a new season or assignment in your life?

Do feelings of anxiety about this new crossroad rob you of clear thinking and the ability to see God’s leadings?

If so, consider two things in Joshua’s experience:

When his time came to lead, Joshua was READY.

How did Joshua prepare himself for this momentous assignment?

He demonstrated a willingness to have a SERVANT’S HEART. Think about it; he faithfully served Moses and found fulfillment in the number-two slot. He didn’t push himself into the limelight to usurp Moses’s leadership.

He didn’t play politics; he just prepared himself. The result was that when he was READY to lead the nation, God promoted him.

Joshua went further than his mentor did. Moses’ leadership ENDED where the Promised Land BEGAN.

Under Joshua’s leadership, Israel would move into the Promised Land and become a great nation.

We need to remember that every day Joshua had spent in the wilderness serving as “second fiddle” he was being equipped by God for this moment.  Can you imagine the disastrous consequences if Joshua had a rebellious heart instead of a teachable servant’s heart?  EXPERIENCE UNDER MOSES’S LEADERSHIP WAS JOSHUA’S SCHOOLMASTER!

Be encouraged today my friends! God never WASTES our experiences we are going through in life! He uses them to prepare us for something bigger!

Everything you’ve been through, INCLUDING the things you didn’t understand, WERE AND ARE preparation for what God has in store for you!

So shake off those feelings of anxiety and uncertainty and GET READY TO MOVE!

 

Rhodesian Summer Rains

Elephant with double rainbow

Elephant with double rainbow

RHODESIAN SUMMER RAINS    

There was a heavy brooding atmosphere hanging on the air, which made the searing Rhodesian sun sap what little moisture was left in the parched fields. We needed rain in the worst way; our small reservoir on the Mission station was fast drying up. We needed that reservoir as it was our main source of drinking water for the dairy herd. We also needed the rain so the newly planted maize seed could germinate and give us a good crop to help feed the school children and our staff at Rufaro Mission.

Dad walked into the house, perspiration gleaming on his face and sat wearily on a chair at the table while Mom made some tea to quench his thirst. I came dragging in behind him also needing something to drink to cool me down. I had been with Dad who was checking on several new calves in our cow kraal (corral). I had fun rubbing their velvety ears while Dad and Tubeho made sure the hay in their pen was clean. Even though it was a short walk back to the Mission house the overbearing heat drained us of energy. We could see clouds building on the horizon and Tubeho commented that “his bones” were telling him that a big storm was coming. To my six year-old mind I found Tubeho’s prediction amusing as “my bones” were not “talking to me”! Dad chuckled and responded that he hoped Tubeho’s bones were telling the truth as we sorely needed rain.

While Dad was sipping his tea a rattling began on the galvanized iron roof. A wind had suddenly picked up, jumping off my chair I ran out onto the veranda; trees were starting to be buffeted, dust was flying and dry leaves were soaring like paper airplanes.  There was something different about this wind though it had a unique fingerprint. This was not just a dry hot summer wind but a wind that was the promise of rain; it carried a distinctive scent; the smell of approaching life giving rain! Excitedly I ran back in the house and announced with all the drama I could muster that Tubeho’s bones were right, as I could smell the rain in the wind!

Thunder began to rumble in the distance and huge black ominous clouds were racing closer to the Mission.  A storm was about to burst on us…………yes the long a-waited rains had arrived! Everyone was galvanized into frantic activity making sure rain barrels were ready to catch water, windows closed, securing anything that could be become a flying projectile as the wind grew stronger.

Our resident troop of monkeys that lived in the tall stand of Gum trees (Eucalyptus trees) were shrieking to one another as they sought safe shelter, the chickens in the chicken run followed suit and scurried into the hen house and the family gathered in the living room to wait for the storm.

Our Mission house was built at the base of a granite rock Kopjie (hill). It was a paradise for snakes, scorpions, lizards and even small wild animals. It also acted like a magnet to lightning, which could be very dangerous if one unwisely took shelter under one of the big granite boulders during a storm.

Finally the storm was upon us. Thunder began booming with earsplitting peals, jagged forked lightning sounded like machine gun shots as it danced from boulder to boulder on the Kopjie while torrential rain on the iron roof of the Mission house was deafening. It was just a matter of minutes and rivulets of water began rushing down the Kopjie and carving ruts in our dirt driveway as they rushed down through the garden and orchard to our reservoir.

A persistent dripping on the concrete floor was a well-known signal that the old roof was leaking again. The old Mission house had seen better days! Mom put a bucket under the leak and Dad made a mental note of which sheet of galvanized iron would need replacing.

Finally the storm passed by; we stepped out onto the veranda; puddles and little rivulets were everywhere but the oppressive brooding atmosphere was gone and in its place was the beautiful smell of sweet watered ground breathing new life. A breathtaking rainbow arched the sky touched by the Master painter’s brush; Dad broke the silence with an exclamation of praise to the Lord for His blessing of the much needed rain.

With the rains came a new set of problems though. Little dry streams turned into angry raging torrents that frequently cut us off from reaching nearby towns. In these early days in Rhodesia most of the bridges over rivers were low level bridges; so they too would become impassable until the water receded. Our mission road from the house to the school, dormitories and our church building had been washed out in several places. This would need immediate attention.  Some of the buildings had leaks which also would need repairing.  But this would all be taken in stride as to any Rhodesian living during this early era of time; these were merely everyday hurdles that would be overcome. Missionary families, farmers and homeowners alike were accustomed to living a rugged lifestyle and wouldn’t trade it for a life of luxury because they had chosen to invest their lives in the sands of this remarkable country.

Six decades have passed since this experience took place, yet it lives on in my heart and memory as bright and vivid as though it took place yesterday. God burned a deep love in my heart for Rhodesia, the land of my birth and eventually it would be the land of our joint ministry for my husband Glyn and me. What a rich heritage we have had……..yes…… we walked through some deep painful valleys but the joys of reaching  precious African people with the truth of the Word of God far outweighs the hard times we experienced!

During this season of Thanksgiving my heart is full of thanks for God’s faithfulness to us through the years!

 

Fish or Fight – Which is it to be?

Matthew 4:19

Matthew 4:19

FISH OR FIGHT – WHICH IS IT TO BE?

Last night Glyn and I were among the countless thousands who watched Billy Graham’s message to America on the celebration of his 95th. Birthday. It was very moving and a tribute to a giant in the Kingdom of God.  The simplicity of the Gospel he preaches is profound it its simplicity! Today’s modern church is so hung up on its programs, intellectual theories, political correctness and seeker friendly models that it has strayed from the pure simple truth of the true essence of the Gospel message. Billy Graham demonstrated this pure gospel message last night. God has called us to reach men and woman with the message of the Cross and I fear the modern church is losing its way amid the frantic desire to morph into a more acceptable approach in the modern society.

In Matthew 4: 18 & 19 we read “Jesus…saw…Simon…and Andrew…casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men!”

To follow Christ you must first LEARN how to fish for men and women, and THEN DO IT!

Max Lucado a prolific and gifted writer grew up fishing. The following is an account of a family fishing trip.

He said: “We set out…dreaming of…sun. But…next morning the sky was gray, the lake a mountain of white-topped waves…there was no way we could fish…Next day…it was ice! We tried to be cheerful…but I began to notice…Mark had a few personality flaws…Dad was touchy…Nothing like being cooped up with someone to see his real nature! When we awoke the next morning to sleet…we were flat-out grumpy…Mark became even more of a jerk…Dad couldn’t do anything right, and when he announced we were going home, nobody objected!  When the energy intended for outside is wasted inside we quickly forgot the true meaning behind the fishing trip.”

It is the same for the church of today; instead of casting nets as Christ commissioned us to do, we cast stones.

Instead of helping hands we point accusing fingers.

Instead of being fishers of the lost, we become critics of the saved.

Rather than helping the hurting, we hurt the helpers.

The results are…….?

Split churches; poor testimonies; broken hearts and legalistic wars!

When those who are called to fish, fish for the souls of mankind – they flourish.

Nothing unites soldiers like a common task. Leave them inside and they’ll invent things to complain about. The bunks will be too hard, food too cold, leadership too tough. Place those same soldiers in the trench and let them duck a few bullets and they quickly pull together as a united force to be reckoned with!

The lesson of this Nugget is simple……..When those who are called to fish don’t fish, they fight and souls are lost as a result!”

Anxiety – Unnecessary Baggage

1 Peter 5:7 Cast our anxieties on Him

1 Peter 5:7 Cast our anxieties on Him

ANXIETY – UNNECESSARY BAGGAGE

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

 

Yesterday I did not watch our precious grandson. So I busied myself doing some “catch-up” housework all the while mulling over in my mind how we were going to “keep afloat” financially; now that the Unemployment benefit has stopped. I went through every scenario in my mind from looking for a job myself, figuring it would be easier for me to get an entry level job than Glyn, but then I reminded myself that I was playing a vital role in caring for our 6 month old grandson. I considered trying to sell our home but when I did an on-line search of rents in our area, I discovered that even a lousy apartment’s monthly rent was higher than our Mortgage!  I began talking to the Lord asking him for guidance and promising Him I would try not to become anxious………….SURE!

Unfortunately anxiety can lurk in the deep recesses of our sub-conscious and rear its ugly head when we least expect it! Ever since I was on therapy for cancer I have been left with a rare but debilitating medical malady. Without any warning signs my brainstem will go into a spasm and constrict all blood flow to the brain. This brings on totally incapacitating vertigo and eventually will lead to either a TIA or mini stroke. So these episodes are particularly dangerous, NEED IMMEDIATE medical intervention and are not to be taken lightly. Over time we have discovered they are caused by a variety of “triggers”. A couple of examples are; visual stimulation such as one experiences in an Imax theatre or strobes lights, riding on a roller coaster or any type of swinging ride.  We have also gradually discovered that a major trigger is anxiety!

At about 3:00 PM yesterday I stood up to go make a cup of tea and instantly felt the brainstem constrict and I fell back into my recliner. Fortunately Glyn was home and able to get me to bed and administer the medication the Neurologist has me use to release the constriction before I have a full blown stroke. Thankfully after two doses of medication the spasm eased and I came out of it without having a frantic ambulance ride to the hospital!

Anxiety………..we are all only to familiar with it. Some to more sever effects than others but its nasty fingers will squeeze the very life out of our thought patterns until there seems no hope; just as a Boa Constrictor snake squeezes its prey.

Anxiety develops when we worry about things beyond our control. Let me cite a few examples.

Sometimes other people make decisions that affect our lives; for instance waiting the results of a job interview, can be agonizing, because our future is in someone else’s hands.

Fear of the unknown can cause anxiety; days can seem like weeks when we are anticipating a doctor’s diagnosis or whether we are going to have the money for the next mortgage payment etc.

Fear of what is going to happen globally with all the wars and rumors of wars swirling around us. Plus the economic crashes and jobless rates soaring can quickly turn into a paralyzing anxiety that totally consumes us.

Anxiety is unhealthy. It takes a toll on us mentally, emotionally, and physically. Uncontrolled anxiety will cause all kinds of physical side effects.

Anxiety can also become a spiritual problem. As long as we are clinging to our worries, we are not trusting God to take care of us. God wants us to relinquish our anxiety to Him.

Things may be out of our control, but NOTHING is beyond God’s control.

The imagery Peter paints in our meditation verse is that of throwing, or hurling, our cares on God. It’s not a halfhearted undertaking; it’s deliberate, and it’s dramatic.

Picture me standing beside a lake; I have a fishing rod in my hand, and whatever has been gnawing away and suffocating me with anxiety is attached to the hook. Now imagine me drawing my arm back as far as it can go, then casting my line with its destructive “pay load” as far as I can. The fishing line flies across the water and my problem of anxiety lands way out in the deepest water of the lake.

What should I do next? Haul the line back in? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I must drop the rod on the lake shore and walk away!

That’s the way God wants you and me to treat our anxiety.

Too often we pray about our problems asking God to carry them and intervene, and then promptly pick them back up carrying them again; all the while wondering why it seems that God doesn’t hear or even care about us!

My friends too often we are our own worst enemy when it comes to dealing with anxiety.

Leave your anxiety, fears and problems with God; I assure you He can handle them.

Nothing is impossible for Him to show His glory and step into our life situations!