Monthly Archives: July 2014

God Has It All Under Control

Elephants at Sunset

Elephants at Sunset

GOD HAS IT ALL UNDER CONTROL 

Ephesians 6:17 (NKJV) “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” 

What does the “helmet of salvation mean to you?

For me it symbolizes the protection the children of God have while God works out His eternal purposes.

The child of God has a hope for the future. We have an understanding that God is working out His purposes in history, so we need not be disturbed when human leadership and world governments fail. FOR WE ARE PROTECTED BY THE HELMENT OF OUR SALVATION!

We constantly hear about “new deals” and “fair deals” and “better deals,” yet they end up in disappointment for all concerned. There is only “one deal” that is truly safe and that is putting our trust and faith on the solid Rock, Christ Jesus!

It should come as no surprise that the world gets worse and worse by day; for this is what the Bible tells us will happen.

We know false teachings are abounding.

We understand that the world’s systems will fail; for anything that is not built on Christ has no guarantee of success.

The child of God knows that wars and international tensions will escalate, even though every man made effort is formulated to avoid them.

The world is in such a state and such a condition that the more attention we give it, the wearier our minds become.

What are God’s children to do in such a world as ours?

How are we to react when the Devil takes advantage of our sensitivities to world conditions and focuses our thoughts upon them?

Shall we give up?

Shall we withdraw from life?  NO, A THOUSAND TIMES NO!

We must put on the helmet of salvation and remind ourselves that in the face of everything that appears contrary, God is working out His eternal plan and purpose.

History remains His story!

Our God is at work in the VERY events that appear to be filled with darkness and confusion.

Psalm 82:8 is still in the Book!

“Rise up, God, judge the earth, for all the nations belong to You.” Psalm 82:8

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Climb that Mountain!

Chimamimani Mountain dividing Zimbabwe from Mozambique. Elevation 8,000 feet

Chimamimani Mountain dividing Zimbabwe from Mozambique. Elevation 8,000 feet

CLIMB THAT MOUNTAIN!

The Eastern Highlands that separate Rhodesia, (Zimbabwe), from Mozambique are befittingly named. The two countries are separated by range after range of majestic mountains. The highest being the great Chimanimani Mountains soaring to the lofty height of 8000 feet above sea level. These “giants” of God’s carvings in the earth, afford the most spectacular views to those who choose to ascend their resplendent heights.

Nestled in one of the valleys of the Eastern Highlands is the border town of Umtali, (Mutare). Umtali was founded in 1897 as a fort, about 5 miles from the border with Mozambique, and is just 180 miles from the Mozambican port of Beira, earning Umtali the title of “Zimbabwe’s Gateway to the Sea”. It is sometimes also called “Gateway to the Eastern Highlands”. Many of the locals refer to it as ‘Kumakomoyo’ (place of many mountains). The town lies north of the Bvumba Mountains and south of the Imbeza Valley. “Christmas Pass” is a mountain pass that leads into the city from the west. The pass was named by some of the colonial pioneers who camped at the foot of the pass on Christmas Day 1890.   Umtali is where my husband grew up.

I was familiar with this area but came to know its magical beauty more intimately once Glyn and I started courting.

We would travel the road from Salisbury to Umtali, to visit his family, always stopping to take in the breath taking view from Christmas Pass, which looked down on the town and surrounding foothills; before attempting the hair-raising steep descent which eventually led us to Glyn’s parent’s home.

There something about climbing a mountain that is soul stirring and totally invigorating. The higher you climb the harder the challenge becomes but the rewards of those higher altitudes far exceeds the physical pain the climber endures.

For the adventurous climber who endeavored to climb the Chimanimani Mountains, a variety of surreal landscapes a-waited them.

Imagine with me what you or I would experience if we were one of these climbers.

When we are at the base we see little except the immediate vegetation: the mountain itself appears to be but one-half as high as it really is. Our limited vision is unable to comprehend its soaring height.

Confined in the valley, we discover scarcely anything except perhaps the rippling brooks as they descend into the stream at the foot of the mountain.

Climb the first rising knoll, and the valley lengthens and widens beneath our feet. Go higher, and we see the country for four or five miles around, filling us with delight with the ever widening scene. As we keep climbing higher the landscape enlarges with such pristine beauty that we are tempted to stop. We must push on though until at last we reach the summit, where the ultimate visual reward awaits us.

From the summit we have a clear view of majestic beauty laying to the east, the west, the north, and the south, unfolding before us.

We can see the bush spreading its scrub thorn trees in Mozambique from one direction; a waterfall tumbling over craggy rocks into a valley filled with blooming Masasa trees in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) from another direction and the smoke drifting on the wind from the village huts along the river’s edge from yet another direction. From the vantage point of the summit of the Chimanimani Mountains we can literally see two different countries – Mozambique and Zimbabwe! Added to that we are so high that we can reach out and touch the puffy clouds floating by!

YES! The scene from the summit is far greater than we could have ever imagined!

There are lessons from a mountain climber’s perspective that can be applied to our Christian walk.

We find mountains mentioned in many passages of scripture. An example is found in the words of Isaiah:

“Get thee up into the high mountain.” Isaiah 40:9

Our knowledge of Christ is somewhat like climbing the Chimanimani Mountains.

When we first believe in Christ we have a very little understanding of His nature. Then we climb higher through prayer and reading the Word and we discover more of His Divine nature and of His beauties which causes our love for Him to grow. But we must push on in our daily walk until we reach the summit.

Once we reach the summit high above the mists of the plains and the vapors drifting up from the valleys, we begin to see both earthly and heavenly things in truer light and our perspective is changed for eternity.

Here we discover the heights and depths of the love of Christ which passes all knowledge!

Yes, from the summit we can “touch the face of God”! 

The Apostle Paul, grown old, sitting grey-haired, shivering in a Roman dungeon, could say with greater emphasis than he ever had; “I know whom I have believed……” (2 Timothy 1:12), for each experience had been like the climbing of a hill. Each trial had been like ascending another height on the mountain of his life. His impending death seemed like gaining the summit of the mountain, from which he could see the whole of the faithfulness and the love of Him to whom he had committed his soul.

Today my friends let us be like Isaiah and Paul……………….

Get up; let us go into the high mountain!

Are You Greatly Loved?

Protected by love. Photo by Michael North Imagery  (Used with permission)

Protected by love. Photo by Michael North Imagery (Used with permission)

ARE YOU GREATLY LOVED? 

Deep within the heart of every man, woman and child is a yearning to be loved. Even the hardened criminal has the capacity to be loved once the crusty layers of hate and anger have been peeled away. Children who are loved and nurtured from birth blossom and thrive as they negotiate the rocky path into adulthood. Also it is a known fact that wild animals respond far quicker to acts of human kindness and love than they do to abusive treatment to control them.

Being loved is a priceless gift but being loved by God is a treasure that is beyond any earthly comparison.

While reading in the book of Daniel I came across a riveting verse. Daniel had a vision and in Chapter 9 he was pouring his heart out to God for the sin of the nation. I noted that he included himself in this prayer – he was not praying a self-righteous prayer while pointing fingers at others. He recognized his own weaknesses along with the backslidden nation. During this time of intercession for his nation he had a heavenly visitor named Gabriel. He had been sent by God to explain the vision to Daniel but first he had something to tell him……. 

Daniel 9:23 (NKJV) “At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are GREATLY BELOVED; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision.”

Put yourself in Daniels shoes for a minute. Can you imagine hearing these words coming directly from heaven?  “At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are GREATLY BELOVED…..”

What would your reaction be to have a heavenly messenger sent to tell you that you are greatly loved by God?

After all Daniel had been through, the angel’s comforting words must have been extremely welcome! Daniel had a unique relationship with God that we could well learn from.

This was not the first time God heard Daniel pray.

Daniel was a man of prayer, in all seasons and situations of his life, both good and bad! Daniel prayed when things were going well for him, NOT just when he was having problems.

He prayed because he ENJOYED talking with God.

He did not pray because it was “duty driven” but “love driven”.

Daniel’s faithfulness and his love for God earned him high regard in heaven. God quickly sent an angel to minister to Daniel AS SOON as he began to pray.

Sometimes we neglect to pray for long periods of time. When everything is going our way, we forget to thank God and become self-sufficient thinking we can make it on our own.

We get busy and don’t really see the need to spend time talking with Him. Then a problem pops up and we need help—now! We pray fervently and want God’s answer immediately. We become frustrated if our prayer isn’t answered promptly! Then like a little child who can’t get their way we become angry with God and blame Him; all this because we have neglected our relationship with Him, thus fracturing our trust in God’s ability to take care of the situations of our lives.

We need to follow Daniel’s example.

Notice, God responded to Daniel’s need even BEFORE Daniel finished his prayer. Why? Because their relationship was that close.

The best part for Daniel wasn’t even the speediness of God’s answer but the security Daniel had in knowing he was highly loved by God and he could trust completely in God’s answers to his prayers.

May I be so bold as to ask how you would characterize your relationship with God?

Do you pray because you enjoy talking with God, or do you just pray when you need something?

My heart’s desire is to have such a close relationship with God that no man or situation can come between me and God.

What about you my friend?

Let us strive to be like Daniel, basking in the joy of spending time with God in prayer no matter what situations are swirling around us!