Monthly Archives: February 2017

TENACIOUS TENACITY

normasnuggets

TENACIOUS TENACITY 

Termite Hill Termite Hill

For these of us who have had the privilege of living in Africa, we can share amazing accounts of the tenacity of termite colonies. Tiny though the termite might be; the powerful destruction they can create is beyond belief. They will eat their way through the strongest of beams, eventually reducing it to a pile of crumbling sawdust; plus they build intricate “ant hills” from the earth that are as hard as concrete and can rise above ground in prehistoric looking shapes that reach amazing heights. I learnt to my cost what lengths termites will go, to reach their intended goal.  Our house in Hartley, Rhodesia was very old with many large cracks in the walls. These cracks became a haven for geckoes, spiders and termites. We were planning a trip into a remote area to hold a series of meetings and to become acquainted with…

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The Power of a Ray of Light

cardinal-by-peggys-picsTHE POWER OF A SINGLE RAY OF LIGHT!

I am still unable to use my right hand without pain, since my surgery on Monday, but I have a “gem of a Nugget” that I simply feel I need to share.

Yesterday morning I looked out at our leafless Maple Tree, in our backyard and a flash of crimson red caught my attention. There, high in the branches was a crimson Red Cardinal and the early morning rays of the sun was making his striking plumage radiate like a beacon of light in a barren landscape. Then another flash of crimson caught my attention. I stood for about 10 minutes drinking in the scene unfolding before me. These two male Cardinals were flitting from branch to branch, catching the sunlight just right. They filled the early morning dawn with their joyful calls; seemingly announcing to the drab, brooding, winter darkness that the light of dawn had arrived. What a change these two birds made to what was a cold, dark winter’s morning!

A few minutes later I turned my laptop on to read my morning devotions. Before I could scroll through to my Bible program a banner with “Breaking News” crawled across my screen. It seemed that the news was filled with anger and hatred that was surging across our nation as a Tsunami engulfs the low lying inland after an earthquake.

My heart is troubled by the level of rage that we see daily.  This led me to research the scriptures what my attitude, as a child of God should be, in this very toxic world that we live in.

How should we react when differences of opinion and ideology create deep divisions among us?

Max Lucado, who’s writing frequently inspires me writes:

“It begins as a drop of water…Someone gets your parking place, pulls in front of you on the freeway, a waitress is slow and you’re in a hurry, the toast burns……

Get enough of these seemingly innocent “drops of anger” and you’ve got a “bucket full of rage”.

The result of allowing rage to burn within us is we trust no one…bare our teeth at anyone who gets near…become walking time bombs that, given the right amount of tension and fear, could explode!”

Friends we can’t deny that high levels of anger are imploding in today’s world.

My question to you is how do we harness it?

What example did Jesus give us when He came face to face with those venting their anger on Him?

Jesus said about the mob that killed him, ‘Father, forgive them…they do not know what they are doing’. (Lk 23:34)

He saw this bloodthirsty, death-hungry crowd not as murderers, but as victims…

He saw in their faces not hatred, but confusion…

He regarded them not as a militant mob but ‘like sheep without a shepherd’ (Mk 6:34 NIV).

Think about it; they hadn’t the faintest idea what was at the source of their anger. They were a stir-crazy mob, mad at something they couldn’t see, so they took it out on, of all people, the living Son of God!

They didn’t know what they were doing, and for the most part neither do we when anger strikes at the very core of our faith.

We can’t answer our own questions about love and hurt…….

We can’t solve the riddle of loyalty…….

We don’t know how to heal our own out of control emotions or get along with those who we rub shoulders with each day!

My point is this:

Uncontrolled anger won’t better our world; instead it turns into an insidious force that destroys everything it touches.

On the other hand, if we fill our hearts with compassion, our presence will be a catalyst for the light of God’s love that will drive the angry darkness away.

Jesus us taught us this in:

Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV) “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

The light from a single candle in a darkened room, will eradicate the shadows of gloom instantly!

Once we begin to operate from a posture of compassion…we realize the lights are out…a lot of people are stumbling in the darkness…

So, my friends, let us light candles of compassion instead of being consumed by anger!

 

Let God Take Charge

Cape Disappointment lighthouse - Ilwaco, WA by Chuck Flewelling Photography

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, WA by Chuck Flewelling Photography

LET GOD TAKE CHARGE

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” John 1:1-3

Earlier this week I wrote a Nugget that describe how great God is. While reading some of Ann Graham Lotz writings I came across some of her thoughts that continues my thoughts on God greatness. This set my mind considering God’s power and how it relates to you and me.

It is mind boggling to contemplate the vastness of the universe, from the greatest star to the smallest particle. The universe is so vast that astronomers are now saying that it stretches beyond what we are capable of penetrating, even with sophisticated telescopes like the Hubble.

Every atom of creation was brought into existence by the Living Word of God, Who, even as He hung the stars in space, He counted them and called them each by name!

Doesn’t this thought simply cause your soul to soar and sing His praises?

Consider for a moment these questions:

Who keeps all this in perfect order?

Who keeps Earth from getting sucked into some gigantic black hole, or planets from spinning out of control, or stars from falling from the sky?

Who keeps people upright on earth while it turns on its axis?

Who established the laws of nature?

Who gives us the very breath they breathe?

The answer is none other than the Living Logos of Almighty God Who was in the beginning with God, and Who was God, and Who is the same today.

He is bigger than we think and greater than we think.

Nothing is beyond His ability.

If He can keep the universe in order, surely, He can keep your life and mine in order, too.

He knows what’s wrong in our life and how to fix it.

All we must do is give God the authority to put things right in our lives.

My dear friends are you willing to allow God to take charge of your life today?

Bask in the promises from His Word and take comfort in the knowledge that He will do what is best for you!

Psalms 27:1 NKJV “The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?”

Saturating Salt

Eles another world by Michael North

Elephants by Michael North Imagery (used with permission)

SATURATING SALT

When early man discovered salt and its vast potential it revolutionized so many facets of life. Both the animal kingdom and humans need salt for survival.

Wild animals will search for soils that are rich in salt which they will lick; farmers put salt licks out for their domestic animals to lick.

Ancient mariners would preserve their stores of meat for the long voyages in kegs of briny liquid.

In Rhodesia, (now called Zimbabwe) we made a form of “beef jerky” that we called “biltong”.  We would cut strips of meat (venison was the best), marinate it with select spices vinegar, salt and course pepper then hang the strips to air dry. They were not smoked like beef jerky is; but simply dried by air. Strips of biltong were a great source of protein for long journeys in the bush where there were no convenience markets, as we have in this modern world.  A bag of biltong was a vital addition to the food packed for anyone taking a journey in Rhodesia. It did not need refrigeration due to its salty preservative component, so was ideal for long trips. You see, “SALT” is a substance that acts upon its environment to change it; SALT is not INERT, which by contrast, is a sluggish substance devoid of active properties. In other words, an “inert” object just sits there and has no effect or influence on its environment.

The Bible speaks in several references to the power of salt; Jesus also spoke of its potential:

Matthew 5:13 (NKJV) “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”

If we are “THE SALT OF THE EARTH”, as Jesus said; how are we to be characterized?

First salt is small and easily overlooked.

During a dining experience, food is the focus of the meal, rather than the salt. While salt enhances the food’s flavor, it goes quite unnoticed.

Similarly, the child of God receives little recognition in a world whose values lie in the opposite direction.  Does this mean we who are the “salt of the earth” change our Godly values to become like the world to curry its favor?

Absolutely not………. compromise should not even be an option!

Secondly salt can have a powerful influence on changing its environment.

Salt, when rightly applied to food can transform it from unappealing blandness into a delectable gourmet experience.

So too my dear friends, Christians, by their presence, CAN and SHOULD permanently change their world.

Thirdly salt is associated with purity.

A product of the sun and sea, salt’s glistening whiteness suggests the quality of purity.

Thus, children of God, if they are to be the “salt of the earth,” must exemplify a standard of absolute purity in thought, conduct, speech and moral choices.

Fourthly salt is a preservative.

Man, has used salt in many food products to act as a preservative to enable them to last longer and still be pure for consumption.

So too, in today’s morale decline, the process of putrefaction in society can be inhibited by the presence of Christ’s followers and in some cases, can be reversed. The presence of Godly men and woman in society staves off the downward slippery slope on which this present world is hurtling.

Finally, salt has the potential of losing its flavor or usefulness.

When Christians dilute or compromise their faith in God, like salt, they become INERT; their influence will be of little consequence, except “… to be thrown out and trampled by men.”

THE PRESENCE OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN STAUNCHING THE EVIL IN THIS WORLD!

We are the Church triumphant! Let us never lose sight of this truth!

How Great is God?

HOW GREAT IS GOD?

Chimanimani Mt. Soaring up to 8000 feet. #1jpg

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

When our grandchildren were small, including our present little buddy, I would play a game with them. I would challenge them to see which one could out do me in saying how much we loved each other. The game would go something like this:

Me: “Ouma loves you bigger than the sun”.

Owen: “Ouma me wuvs you bigger than the sky”.

Me: “Ouma loves you bigger that the ocean”

Owen: “Ouma me wuvs you bigger than the sky, the clouds and the sun.”

Now that I have you smiling let me pose this question to you; “How great is our God?”

Isaiah chapter 40 gives great insight into God’s greatness.

God is so great that the oceans cannot fill the hollow of His hand.

The heavens are measured by the mere span between His fingers.

He is so great that the quantity of the dust of the earth; the weight of the mountains; the depths of the seas; the volume of the atmosphere; the intricacies of micro-biology; all are held in a perfect accounting without any effort on His part.

“How Big is God?” asks the old gospel song. The answer, in a word, is “Bigger.”

He is greater than any measure applied.

When we have praised Him until all our strength is gone and intellectual capacity exhausted, we have not even begun to satisfy His worthiness of praise.

When we extend grace that goes beyond all cause or reason, giving ourselves up to extend love to another, we have only offered the barest reflection of the grace He offers to all, whether saint or sinner.

When we have loved to complete consummation, we are shadowed by His transcendent love demonstrated on a Roman cross.

When we boast in our knowledge, parade our successes, gloat over our technologies, or take pride in our wisdom, I am sure that all of creation must stifle its laughter for compared to God’s greatness, we are but dust.

How great is God? If you have a measured answer, then sadly you don’t know God!

The evidence of God’s greatness is beyond human comprehension; YET He knows my name, counts the hairs on my head, stores my tears and loves me with an everlasting, unwavering, all forgiving love.

This means that God Whose greatness is beyond description has got my back in the daily trials and tribulations buffeting my life!

Let me ask the question again dear friends; “How great is God?”?

You can find the answer in these verses

Isaiah 40:22-26 (NKJV) “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless. Scarcely shall they be planted, scarcely shall they be sown, scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, when He will also blow on them, and they will wither, and the whirlwind will take them away like stubble. “To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing!”

The Fabric of our Lives

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One of my quilts made by Dee Simons

THE FABRIC OF OUR LIVES

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

I know some of my friends who follow my Nuggets closely, might have noticed that I have been strangely silent over the past few weeks. I am going to be very transparent and tell you why. I have come under very hurtful and publicly humiliating jabs from some Christian friends and relatives, who have chastised me for my faith in God and conservative values. I make no bones about it, I have been crushed by the bruising comments that were heaped on me. My first instinct was to totally shut my Face Book down and stop writing my Nuggets even though they bring me so much joy in sharing them.

This morning I felt a prompting to share just a glimpse of “who Norma really is” in hopes that those who feel it their right to rebuke me might understand “why I am, who I am”!

To accomplish this I am going to paint a word picture for you to read.

I developed a love for quilts early in my life. As a missionary’s child I was accustomed to seeing those boxes arriving from the States that supporting Women’s groups shipped to us. Sometimes we would receive a handmade quilt lovingly put together by dedicated ladies wanting to bless their missionary family. I was fascinated by these quilts, most of them where what are commonly referred to as “Crazy Quilts”; they had no specific pattern to them with different types of material pieces stitched together at random.

I now have several hand-sewn quilts made for Glyn and me, which I treasure with all my heart. This set me thinking about how God the “Master Quilter” takes the pieces of our lives and out of the jumbled pile of fabric, He creates something beautiful.

Come with me and catch a glimpse of the Master Quilter as He pieced together the fabric of my own life, through the eye of imagination. See Him gather the many pieces, different shapes and sizes. Lay them on one corner of the cutting table, where He would cut & shape each piece to fit into a living picture of my life.

He reaches out and takes a piece that was part of an infant’s dress; He remembers the day that I came into the world, born to missionary parents, who were giving their lives to spreading the Gospel to primitive African tribes while living under extremely primitive conditions …………and He smiles.

Another piece of cloth is gently laid on the cutting table – it represented the day that this very inquisitive red-head, playing in her bare feet out on the Mission compound came across a snake’s tunnel and was attempting to get the snake to come out, not knowing that she was poking a stick at a deadly spitting cobra. As He stitches that piece into place, He shakes His head and muses to Himself that He had placed a strong determined will in my character, as He knew I would need it for the paths that lay ahead……………..and He smiles.

There is the piece of beautiful lace, representing our wedding day and all the joy that accompanied it – this would be my first step with His handpicked beloved and we would take our first steps together into the ministry in Africa that He had called us to……………………….and He smiles.

Piece after piece of the fabric of my life are placed on the cutting board, trimmed and stitched into place by the Master Quilter. Each piece bringing its own story…………………..and He smiles.

The pieces no longer look like a jumbled pile of discarded fabric – for they are now telling a story of a life touched by the Master’s Hand.

He lingers over one piece of fabric, it is stained with tears, holding it tenderly in His Hands, fingering the tattered edges; He recalls that dark night when the cold fingers of death snatched our infant son from my arms and He held me while my hot tears flowed, bringing comfort to both Glyn and my broken heart. He knew we would smile again, sing for joy again but He understood our tears, gently He stitched this piece in its place ……..and He smiles.

Now He reaches for a larger piece of fabric, wild colors streaking through-out its weave, seemingly announcing its arrival in terrifying tones – Ah yes, He knows this piece well. It represented the time when I was diagnosed with cancer and it seemed the devil had finally found a way to silence the voice of His child. He recalls the many days of suffering, struggling to fight when there was no strength left to fight……… yet He was with me pouring in His grace, His strength and His comfort. It was a long, tough journey and there were many times He carried me; but the piece of fabric now shouted the testimony of His Divine protection as He stitched it into the master “life quilt” He was making………….and He smiles.

So, the Master quilter continued His work, cutting, trimming but lovingly stitching each piece, until the finished “quilt” of my life no longer looked like a pile of jumbled, discarded pieces of fabric, but each found its place by the touch of Master’s Hand. There were so many more pieces that He lingered over with loving Hands as He pieced them together but time and space will not permit me to write them – these will be kept for another day.

Do you wonder if the Master Quilter could ever make something beautiful from the “fabric” of your life? My answer is a resounding YES! No matter where your path has led you, no matter how badly you might have failed, He is more than able to make “something beautiful out of the brokenness of your life!

As you willingly place your life in His Hands and trust His Divine design for you, He will cut and trim the tattered pieces.

The results will be a beautiful life radiating the character of the Master Quilter!

I can say without reservation that I am willing and ready for the Master Quilter to continue His perfect plan and design for my life!

So, my friends, maybe this will help you understand “who I am”. I am a product of the Master Quilter and His design for my life!

Let God Lead

 

victoria-falls-spray-in-moonlight-by-tami-walker

Zambezi River by Tami Walker

LET GOD LEAD

Our daily walk with God can be compared to a river.

At times, the water is calm, the sun is shining, and the only thing to do is soak in the sweet air and scenery.

At other times, the pace accelerates, obstacles come in quick succession, and intense focus is required. My personality being what it is, I like to know what lies ahead but life doesn’t work that way! How often do we yearn to have the entire river mapped out so we will know what is beyond each bend? But in life’s journey, we will never traverse the same stretch twice, we need to keep focusing on the river before us.

We can only know—very intimately—what is behind.

I remember when we first moved to Missouri to be near our daughter and our son-in-law. It was a very tenuous time in our lives. We had no promised jobs, no home and very little money. Our only recourse was to trust God and listen for His voice where our next step would take us. One day I was sitting under a shade tree and having a frank talk to God. I asked Him why He did not reveal His plan for what lay before us. Immediately I sensed God’s response, reminding me that when you navigate a river you only can see the span of water in front of you; but you have no knowledge what challenges waited around the bend.He gently reminded me that even though I could not see around the bend in this journey, HE COULD!

My part, was to simply trust Him and listen for His voice.

What lies ahead for each one of us, can only be navigated successfully when we become utterly dependent on the voice of our Heavenly Guide. He is the one who knows how every drop of water converges and has the wisdom to get us safely through. As we experience His expertise and learn to trust His voice, we gain confidence in His commands. In following His commands, we learn His techniques, which yield a peace and certainty far beyond any map we could possess.

When we let, Him lead, it becomes second nature to navigate difficult stretches without fear.

When we see the water swirling, we know where to place our oar, our focus, and our confidence.

We also can humbly share our knowledge with others who are overwhelmed with doubt as they approach turbulent peaks.

What a beautiful journey it becomes as we learn to listen and follow the Voice of the One who knows us, who knows how to get us where we need to go, and Who delights in sharing the adventure!

Hold onto this verse today:

Isaiah 30:21 (NKJV) 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.”