Category Archives: Devotionals

Lessons From His Yoke

 

LESSONS FROM HIS YOKE

In the early years of my childhood in Rhodesia, it was a common sight to see a span of oxen joined together by a yoke, pulling a wagon, or ploughing a field to prepare it for planting. Those were the days before farm machinery became the norm in Africa. The pioneers that traversed many mountains, rivers and thick bush used oxen, mules and if they were fortunate enough horses, to bring civilization to the interior of Africa.
On the Mission Station where I was born oxen were used for a variety of tasks including pulling the Mission truck across the Tuli river bed once flood waters had receded and hauling water in 50 gallon drums four miles from the river each day, as that was our only water source.

The task of training a span of oxen to walk together in the yoke required a fair amount of skill.
A well trained strong ox would head the team and then an untrained ox would share the yoke with the trained leader. At first the untrained ox would resist the yolk but the lead ox was strong and quickly subdued his errant partner and before long the two walked in harmony.
For me it was a common sight to see a farmer walking behind a plough cutting deep furrows in the virgin soil, being pulled by several oxen walking in unison in their yokes.

Working with a span of oxen was not without its dangers though.
One morning at Rufaro Mission we heard a voice calling in Shona: “Mfundisi please help me, please help me.”
Glyn and I stepped out onto the porch and could hardly believe what our eyes were seeing. Stumbling towards the house was one of the African men who we had nicknamed, “Shumba”. He was holding up his right arm at the elbow and a dirty rag soaked in blood was haphazardly wrapped around his hand. I ran for the kitchen to grab some clean kitchen towels while Glyn sat Shumba down and began to listen to what had happened.
He told Glyn that he was ploughing his field to get ready to plant maize, (white kernel corn), he had his strong lead ox in the yoke, along with a totally untrained ox. The untrained ox was being particularly contrary and the chains from the plough disc to the oxen’s yoke became tangled. Shumba stopped the oxen and reached down to untangle the chains, when the untrained ox bolted, instantly the chain whipped around the four fingers on Shumba’s right hand, dragging it across the sharp blade of the plough disc. In a matter of seconds Shumba’s four fingers were sliced clear through to the bone, just leaving bare stubs. As fast as we could, we removed the dirty rag, cleaned the wound as best as possible and then tightly wrapped his damaged hand with clean towels.
Glyn then raced the suffering man to the nearest clinic which was over 40 miles away, to receive emergency care.

Anyone who has worked using a span of oxen will tell you that it is exhausting work and needed someone with nerves of steel plus be constantly aware of the oxen’s mood; as even the best trained oxen can be unpredictable. Just one moment of Shumba letting down his guard down, cost him the four fingers on his right hand.

There is a spiritual lesson that we can learn from the yolk used in years gone by.
While teaching a crowd of people Jesus uses the yoke to drive home a truth by a common illustration of something everyone listening, would completely understand.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV) “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Jesus spent a good portion of his life as a ‘working man’. Brought up as the son of a carpenter, He spent many years laboring in his earthly father’s carpenter shop, before starting the ministry for which He had come to fulfill. He probably fashioned yokes as a part of His trade. Over those years, his hands would have no doubt been cut and calloused and his back would have ached. Like anyone involved with physical labor, he would most certainly have known what it was like to be weary at the end of the day.

But, Jesus recognized that there is another weariness that is far more destructive, whatever our task in life is. It is the weariness of soul and spirit; a weariness we feel when life’s pressures and problems relentlessly crowd in and there seems to be no relief from the onslaught that life heaps upon us.
These verses in Matthew that Jesus spoke were referring to this type of weariness.
It would seem that Jesus made an amazingly kind, yet astonishingly simple promise when He said to the listening crowd: “come to me and I’ll lift from your back this load that you have been carrying all by yourself.”
Can you imagine the joy that was flooding the hearts of these life weary listeners! This teacher was going to give them a cure from the cares of life!

Then Jesus says something strange and probably confusing: for not only does He promise to lift their burden from their backs, but He then invites them to pick up His burden instead!
I can just imagine the incredulous response in the hearts of the people!
Seriously Jesus? You just told us to shed our burden and your promise of rest is to pick up your yoke?

I am so thankful that Jesus did not stop there…………… look what He goes on to say: ‘Take my yoke upon you and LEARN from me.’
Jesus was PAINTING A PICTURE of how animals were trained in those days. One new to the job would be harnessed alongside one that had been doing it for years and ‘knew the ropes’. In this way, the new arrival would learn how to do things so much more quickly and easily.

Jesus is encouraging his listeners that this is what He wanted to do for them and the exciting news is that this also includes you and me.
Hear Him saying to us today: “Come alongside me, walk with me, and let me show you how to do things; for as you do, the burden will seem so much lighter.”
YES, He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak

Isaiah 40:29 (NKJV) He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.

My friends I encourage you to tap into His promise of His indomitable strength today!

Oxen hauling our days water from the Tuli River in 1944

 

 

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God Is With Us

Russel & Tuffy in Durban, South Africa

GOD IS WITH US!
In the journey of your life, do you sometimes have, moments, hours, days and maybe even weeks when you feel that God has turned His back on you? I am certain the question rings true for many reading this Nugget!
There have been times in my own walk with God that I wondered if my usefulness to God and His Kingdom was no longer needed!

I remember a period in our son’s growth that he must have been going through what child psychologists call, “Separation Anxiety”.
We had endured the horrific carnage of the terrorist war in Rhodesia and we were now living in Durban, South Africa, running our Missions Bible College.
Sadly right around the time of our arrival in South Africa, the political climate took a turn for the worse. We endured bombings of supermarkets, tribal rioting including burning hundreds of homes of opposing tribal groups. As missionaries we were caught in the cross-fire because many of the places we ministered in were hot-beds waiting to erupt. This fact was not lost on our son, who remembered only too well the events that we as a family had lived through in Rhodesia.

When we first arrived in Durban, South Africa we lived in the home of a missionary family who had returned to the States for a furlough. It was a double story home with the Master bedroom on the main floor and two bedrooms and a study upstairs. Glyn and I slept downstairs and Russel and Donna-Mae upstairs.
It took us several weeks before it became evident that night after night, our son would slip out of bed, grab a blanket and sit at the bottom of the stairs, close to our bedroom. In the morning I would find him curled up, sound asleep on the bottom stair. It broke this mother’s heart that our son had been so emotionally traumatized just because he was a “missionary’s kid”!
No matter how much we assured him that we ALWAYS would be there during those dark frightening nights, he just couldn’t FEEL THAT ASSURANCE.
You see his memories of nights of terror in Rhodesia were engraved so deeply in his sub-conscious that he needed more than promised platitudes! He desperately needed the PHYSICAL security of knowing that his Dad and Mom, who were his trusted protectors were close by, thus explaining why he would sleep on the hard floor outside our bedroom door!
We tried everything thing we could think of to allay his genuine fear but nothing seemed to help. While praying over this troubling situation I believe God supplied the answer, in the most unexpected way.

Not only were we caring for our missionary friends’ home but we also were keeping their Pug dog, called Tuffy. Both our children adored the dog, who fast would “dog” their every footstep and they became inseparable pals. Tuffy had been trained to sleep in his basket in the kitchen at night, so we continued this practice.
One evening as I was tucking the children into bed, “Tuffy” had followed me up the stairs, while we were saying our evening prayers, Tuffy took the opportunity to squirm his way under Russel’s blankets with just his flat nose sticking out!
The reality of God’s visual answer to our prayers flashed like a shooting star in my heart!
From that night on, Tuffy would snuggle as close to Russel in his bed as was physically possible and it was the last night that a frightened missionary’s son’s deeply entrenched fears, were conquered!

Donna-Mae & Russel with Tuffy in Durban, South Africa

In the journey of life too often, we as children of God, have the same experience as we had with our son. We wonder if God is “with us” in our difficult situations! The good news is that GOD IS WITH US – He promised “never to leave us or forsake us.”
Look with me at Joseph’s experience:

“The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.” Genesis 39:2 (NKJV)

 

We often pray for God to be with us and others, but what do we mean?
God is everywhere, isn’t He?
So this begs the questions…………. How could He NOT be with us?
The Bible says God was with Joseph. This is especially significant, considering Joseph’s situation……think about it for a moment.

His father assumed he was dead.
His brothers had sold him into slavery.
His mother was dead.
He had no friends.
He was in prison on a false charge.

WOW! Could his circumstances get any worse?
Joseph must have felt awfully alone………. Where could he turn?
The answer to that question is found in the fact that through the “eye of faith”, Joseph discovered that even when everyone else abandoned him, GOD REMAINED BY HIS SIDE.
God made his presence with Joseph obvious through what he did in Joseph’s life.
Now not by any stretch of the imagination did Joseph have an easy life, but God blessed him nonetheless. Think about it…..

When Joseph was a slave, God made him chief slave.
When Joseph was a prisoner, he became the assistant to the jailer.
When there seemed little reason to have confidence, God gave Joseph courage.
When he had the opportunity to wreck revenge on his brothers who had betrayed him, God gave him deep compassion and forgiveness.

God’s presence doesn’t mean that you and I won’t experience hard times.
It DOES mean that no matter what we are going through, WE will know that He is with us, just as Joseph knew he wasn’t alone.
God’s presence will give us peace when everything is going wrong. His love will be obvious to us even when it seems no one else cares. God’s wisdom will guide us to make the right choices in the confusion of life.
The Bible says Joseph prospered because God was with him. In other words, God’s presence made a VISIBLE difference in Joseph’s life.
Let me assure you my friends………..God’s presence will make an obvious difference in your life as well. No matter how tough your circumstances, you can have confidence, because you’re not alone.
GOD IS WITH YOU!

 

A Child is Born

(Seasons Greetings from our home to yours)

A CHILD IS BORN
Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The dusty road from Nazareth to Bethlehem was filled with weary travelers slowly making their way to their home town in response to the decree that had gone forth.

Luke 2:1-5 (NKJV) “And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered…..Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.”

Joseph must have tried his best to ease the discomfort that Mary was enduring, trying to protecting her from the rocky path and jostling crowds, for her time for the child that she was carrying, to be born, was imminent! The closer they drew to Bethlehem; Joseph’s thoughts were focused on quickly finding an Inn where Mary could finally rest and prepare for the birth of this special baby.

Then the unthinkable happen……… by the time they arrived, dusty, aching and totally exhausted from the long tedious journey there was not a room to be found in any Inns. Anxiety rose in Joseph’s heart as his mind raced…… someone had to open their hearts to them this night! Frantically he searched from Inn to Inn until finally an Innkeeper offered the only place where he had space……….they could make their beds from the straw in the stable and rest for the night with the animals that were being sheltered there!

What must have been going through young Mary’s mind and heart? How could she do this……how can she deliver her first born child in the inhospitable muck of a rough stable? Alone, forgotten with only her carpenter husband and a smoky lantern in attendance! She drew her cloak closer around her as she sunk into the makeshift bed of straw that Joseph had hastily piled up for her, shivering in fear as the pains of childbirth soon bore down upon her………..then she remembered…………the words of that angelic visitor…………

Luke 1:30-35 (NKJV) Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Realization that the angel’s words were a fulfillment of the prophet Isaiah’s words, flooded Mary’s heart as her body contracted in pain in preparation for the birth of this “special child”.
She was not alone……….God was with her!
Soon her time to deliver was upon her and with a cry of joy; she wrapped her newborn son in bands of cloth and gently laid him in a feeding trough, filled with fresh straw.
Mary studied the face of her son; immediately her heart soared with indescribable rapture, for she was looking at the face of God in human flesh.
This tiny little one, so helpless and dependent on Mary’s loving care was the Lord of Lords; King of Kings come to earth in the form of man………!
Majesty in the midst of mundane…..
Holiness born in the filth of a crude stable ……….and yet……..a holy light fills this darkened place!
Mary reaches down and gently caresses the face of the infant-God, while her heart sings with rapturous exultation at the miracle of the Divine entrance into the lost and dying world!
Truly this was a HOLY NIGHT!

Glyn and I wish each of our family and friends scattered across the globe a truly blessed Christmas!

Lessons from a Silkworm

(Life cycle of a silkworm)

LESSONS FROM A SILKWORM

I wonder how many of my readers kept silkworms as a hobby, when they were young.
As a child and early teenager, living in Rhodesia, I was among a host of avid silkworm keepers! Mom learned to her cost never to check the contents of random boxes I might have in my bedroom; as there was no telling what “creepy crawly” she would find.
I had an insatiable appetite to investigate, to study, to observe and to collect everything that nature had to offer me. The African veld was my classroom and there was no shortage of specimens just waiting to captivate my ever curious mind!

As soon as the Mulberry trees produced their lush spring leaves, I would prepare a shoe box with some holes for air then add some fresh leaves and several dozen silkworm eggs, which were ready to hatch. The moment the eggs started hatching my work began. Daily I would replenish the mulberry leaves as the tiny worms were voracious eaters. They grew at an amazing rate; the bigger they got the more leaves they required. Once they developed to a larger size you could actually hear them munching on the leaves. I kept the shoe box in my bedroom, so I could keep an eye on their need for fresh foliage.
Once full grown the worms would start spinning a cocoon of delicate silk around their own bodies until they were totally encased. At this stage the worms turns into a pupae which is the next stage in their development.

It takes about 2 – 3 weeks for the pupa to metamorphose into an adult moth. The fully developed moth eats a small hole in the cocoon and slowly with MUCH effort squeezes its way out of the confining shell to freedom. The process of literally forcing its body through the small opening has a purpose. The pressure of forcing its way out facilitates the needed inner pressure to cause the wings to open. Without this stage of development the moth will have deformed wings.

I have painted this picture for you as it is an example of our walk with God in life’s journey.
There are many stages we all go through in life.
There will be times of plenty when provision and needs are easily met without too much effort on our part. We feast on the goodness of God and draw nourishment from His Word.

Then something happens, circumstances beyond our control causes us to feel isolated, so we spin a web of protection around ourselves and stay in our “cocoon” to prevent enemies from hurting us.
During the time spent in our “cocoon” is when we actually need to be drawing strength from the “food of God’s Word” that we feasted on during our time of plenty.
We are in a season of waiting and change!

The time will come to emerge from our “cocoon” and get back into the battle of life. This is where many become discouraged and lose heart, thinking that they might as well give up trusting God and just quit!
Before we quit and give up in discouragement though, we need to consider the long and difficult process by which the silkworm emerged from its cocoon.
If we try to rush God’s purpose and process in our life, we will only produce something deformed – something that can’t get off the ground and fly spiritually.

Perhaps this Nugget has struck a chord in your heart. Maybe you are thinking, “I can’t wait for this to be over.” That’s understandable and very normal, so don’t beat yourself up!
Job had the same thoughts during his time of deep suffering but he drew from the well of his faith in God. He said, “All the days of my hard service I will WAIT, till my CHANGE comes.” (Job 14:14)
By God’s grace Job’s faith was rewarded and he ended up with twice as much as he had lost.

So my friends…………. hold on………….the time of your change is coming! God won’t give up on you, so don’t give up on Him!
Take the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who told the heathen king, “We will not bow down to you” (Da 3:18).
Learn from their example!
Don’t bow to temptation, or to manipulation, or to ungodly persuasion.
Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses, or surrender to selfish ambition and self-promotion.
Don’t bow to the spirit of anxiety and impatience.
Don’t give up but WAIT PATIENTLY!

Let me encourage each reader of this Nugget………Continue to walk by faith and not by sight, knowing that “[God] is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we are able to ask or think” (Eph 3:20).
They say, “Good things come to those who wait.” God has a purpose for us during the time of waiting and change.
God will make the pieces of the puzzle of our life, fit together. His plans for you and I will not disappoint us, so we have nothing to fear!

God Who Specializes in the Impossible

Blizzard in New York City

Blizzard in New York City

Mark 10:27 (NKJV) “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

In mid-1961 my parents returned to the States from Rhodesia, for a furlough. It coincided with my entering Holmes Bible Theological Seminary, in Greenville South Carolina. Trying to adjust to the cultural shock that I experienced is hard to even put into words. The last time we had visited the States as a family I was only eleven years old and was sent to live with my grandparents in a rough cabin with no running water or electricity, in the tiny village of Hatfield Point in New Brunswick, Canada. Now I was a young woman taking my first steps in preparing myself to follow the call of God on my life. The only culture I truly was comfortable in was life in Rhodesia, Africa and it was a far cry from the American culture I was thrust into!

Shortly after arriving in the States my Dad was asked to become the short term, Interim President of Long Island Bible Institute for several months, while a permanent President was selected.
The day arrived for the long journey from Long Island, New York to Greenville, South Carolina, for me to enroll as a freshman. Just as soon as my parents helped me get my room assignment, unload my luggage, they quickly said their good-byes, with promises of sending me a bus ticket for our Christmas break and then they were gone; before I had hardly caught my breath. I was on my own and it was “make or break” as far as I was concerned.

It did not take long to get into the rhythm of College life and before I knew it, I received a letter from my parents with a Greyhound Bus ticket to travel to Long Island for Christmas.
My room-mates were very protective of their “African missionary kid” so they filled my head full of “things to avoid when travelling alone” on the Greyhound Bus.
This would be my first experience taking a long trip on my own and they felt it their “Christian duty” to educate me in the ways of the world! The night before classes closed my two room-mates went over their “check list” with me and then dropped a bombshell. They asked me if I knew about “white slavery” in New York City! I had no idea what they were talking about and reminded them I had grown up under an “African rock”!
Before the night was over they had given me a blow by blow description of what happens when young women are taken into white slavery. By the time I boarded the bus, I was thoroughly convinced I was far safer living on a primitive Mission in the wilds of Africa than I was here in “civilized” America!

It was going to be a long overnight journey; I boarded at 5:00 PM and would not arrive at the Bus depot in New York City until noon the next day, where Dad would be waiting for me. I got myself settled in my seat just behind the driver and watched with interest the hive of activity outside the bus. A movement beside me caught my attention and I found a young, tired looking soldier starting to occupy the seat beside me.
Now what!!! My mind was whirling with questions. I thought that if I was too friendly I might give him the wrong signals but if I didn’t talk at all I would seem uncaring and rude! My room-mates had not told me that I might have a strange man sitting beside me!
Looking back now, I chuckle at my total innocence; and how easily, well-meaning room-mates, had actually unwittingly added to my anxiety level.
Thankfully the soldier greeted me politely, made some small talk and then explained he had just come off of a rigorous training stint and was starved for sleep. Once I heard that I relaxed a bit figuring he would be harmless as long as he stayed asleep!
The Greyhound Bus soon was on the highway and the hum of the wheels had a lulling effect on most of the passengers. Darkness fell, passengers pulled out blankets and pillows and settled down to try and get some sleep before the next stop. The soldier was sound asleep and his head kept falling onto my shoulder, so I took my pillow and wedged it between my shoulder and his head – at least he would sleep comfortably!
Eventually the bus driver roused us over the intercom, announcing we were coming to our first stop and recommended we all get off, stretch our legs and get something to eat. He also told us that we were going to be driving into a serious winter snow storm which would probably delay our arrival in New York by a few hours. I was not about to move from my seat; it had become my security place, but the young soldier insisted I get off and stretch my legs. He must have sensed I was scared to death and totally out of my element, so he assured me that he would stay with me inside the bus depot. Once inside he insisted on buying me a sandwich and warm bowl of soup.

Back on the bus we all trooped, like a bunch of sheep and settled down for the next leg of the journey. Rapidly the road conditions began to deteriorate and it was not long before we were driving into the teeth of a major blizzard. The bus was crawling, cars were sliding off the road; I seriously wondered if we were going to end up stuck in a snow bank.
The further we went the worse the driving conditions became, the bus driver’s disposition grew grumpier by the minute and passengers started grumbling in impatience. At this rate we were not going to be just a couple hours late but we would be fortunate if we made it at all!
The long night turned into a torturous battle with the elements and the anxiety level among the passengers rose with each spin of the wheels. The tension in the bus was tangible, frustration turned to genuine fear for our safety.

This was before the “cell phone” era, so I had no way of notifying my Dad that we were going to be VERY late arriving in New York City. As the morning light tried to make a dent through the driving snow we resigned ourselves to many more hours of slipping and sliding at a snail’s pace. Finally the lights of New York City became a welcoming glow on the now, dark horizon of nightfall. We were already 10 hours over-due!
The city was grid locked by the storm; actually it was impossible to see the high rise buildings just a block away because of the ferocity of the storm. The Greyhound Bus was scheduled to stop first at the main Port Authority and then as soon as passengers for this depot had disembarked it was to go to a second Bus depot which was the one where my Dad was meeting me.
There were no parking bays for the bus to unload its passengers; the place was in an uproar. With a curse that would make a sailor blush, the driver slid to a stop and shouted over the intercom that EVERYONE had to get off at this depot. Chaos erupted as people were grabbing for their bags, complaining bitterly to the driver and generally taking out their frustrations on anyone within earshot.

I was at a loss what to do. The driver was pulling passengers’ bags out and dumping them in the deep snow; I went over and began to plead with him to help me. I explained that I did not know where the second Bus Depot was and had no idea how to get there as I was a stranger to the city.
He turned and cursed at me, informing me I was on my own and that was that! He said I could try a subway train but I wasn’t getting help from him. I took exception to his use of foul language, so sharply responded that I did not even know what a subway was, as I had grown up in Africa and we did not have such things in my homeland!
By now my exchange with the driver was overheard by some of the passengers. A lady passenger stepped up, got in the driver’s face and in a strong New Yorker accent asked him what kind of man he was, to be treating a young lady seeking help, in such a course manner. A hot verbal exchange ensued until the driver stormed off and disappeared into the jostling mob, trying to crowd into the depot.

I was shaking with cold and terror. I was lost in a concrete jungle and had no way of contacting my parents. I could hear the words of my room-mates, like a screeching siren in my head, warning about “white slavery” and figured I was a prime target!!
The lady turned, grabbed my hand and said, “Come with me, I am going to help you!” Hanging tightly onto my trembling hand we slipped and slid through deep snow drifts into what was a dark alley. Now I was thoroughly convinced I was being captured into “white slavery”!
My rescuer told me not to be afraid; I felt as though she was reading my very thoughts! She explained to me that she lived in the city and she knew a shortcut between the skyscrapers where she could find a Taxi Cab. True to her word, we stepped out from the alley to a street lined with Yellow Cabs. She opened the door of the closest cab pushed me in first then got in beside me; instructing the Cab driver to take us to the 20th Street Bus Depot. It was slow going as the streets were clogged with snow drifts and abandoned cars but finally we arrived on the street where the 20th Street Bus Depot was. It was mobbed just like the Port Authority; the crowd was pushing, shoving and yelling as they tried to squeeze into the building. The Cab driver turned and informed us that this was as far as he was going. Instantly my rescuer told the driver he needed to be ashamed of himself; treating the daughter of a missionary couple with no regard for my safety. She told him to take me into the bus depot and stay with me until he found my Dad. The driver protested that no New York cabby leaves his Cab unprotected as he would be asking to get robbed.
The lady assured him that he could trust her and she would be waiting in his cab when he returned. Amazingly he responded, jumped out the cab, told me to hang onto his hand and not let go, otherwise I would get swallowed up by the angry mob. Somehow he pushed his way through the crowd until we were inside the building. The line at the ticket counter was endless; the crowd was packed in so tightly that a lady fainted in front of us and couldn’t even crumple to the floor. The cab driver ignored the jabs and curses of the people as he forced his way to the front of the line. To this day I don’t know what he told the clerk behind the counter but immediately the loudspeaker in the building began to page “Reverend Wilson to come immediately to the ticket counter”.
I scanned the faces of the crowd to no avail, just as I was about to give up hope, I saw the top of a balding head that I knew only too well. In a matter of minutes the nightmare was over; I was engulfed in my father’s strong arms. Dad asked the Cab driver if he could pay him but he shook his head, smiled and said that he had an “angel in disguise” waiting in his cab and with that he melted into the crowd.

Dad had waited over 12 hours, checking each bus that arrived, to no avail; finally he realized that it would take a miracle of God putting the right people in the right places, to help him find me. He asked God for that miracle and God came through in the form of a compassionate lady and a trusting New York Cab driver.

Never be afraid to ask God for the “impossible” even when your situation looks completely beyond help, as God is true to His Word.
He has promised never to leave His children or forsake them.
Our God is a God who specializes in the impossible!

 

Heaven Grows Sweeter by the Day.

African dawn at saltpans in Botswana

Baobab tree

HEAVEN GROWS SWEETER BY THE DAY

The following Nugget is a personal testimony of an experience I had and I feel prompted to share it today. For many of our peers it seems we are seeing dear friends and loved ones take the final step into the portals of Heaven. As strange as this might sound to my readers, for me personally, heaven grows sweeter by the day! Come sit with me as I share this experience.

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 “mini strokes” 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 my 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 my eternal home, was really going to be like. I drifted into a pain filled half sleep and the following account was a “dream” I experienced:

I suddenly 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, as His comforting Presence totally enveloped me. I looked around and found I was standing in a beautiful valley surrounded by majestic mountains.
The valley was lush beyond human description! My eyes were 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 their 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 which 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 36 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.

Suddenly I became aware that 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”.

At that instant I became aware 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 continually 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!”
Yes, “heaven grows sweeter by the day”!

Philippians 1:21-24 (NKJV) “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.”

 

The Rewards of Trusting God

Balancing Rocks, Rhodesia(Iconic Balancing Rocks in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe taken by my hubby)

Romans 8:28 (NKJV) “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

This is probably one of the most quoted passage of scripture; I am sure at one time or another we have quoted it in our walk with God.
My question today is; “How does this verse of scripture uphold us, when troubles roll in like a raging river, ripping apart everything we hold dear?”

Consider this:
As believers in Jesus, we aren’t promised a bed of roses. But, we do have the assurance that God is working out all things for our good (Romans 8:28), even when the ride isn’t completely smooth. Sometimes, though, we hit a rocky stretch that just won’t let up.
What do we do then?

It’s easy to hold on to God’s promises initially. But even the best of us have days when our faith wavers just a wee bit, when that little speck of doubt flies in, when discouragement seems to weigh us down. Even the big hero of faith, Abraham, had his moments of shaky faith.
It’s in moments like these that we have two options: to think we’ve failed and condemn ourselves, or to hold on to God’s Word, get back up and be strong, while the dirt road appears never ending.

If there’s anything I’ve learnt from the hard times, it’s to not beat myself up over those days when I’m unsure of how things will turn out.
How can I say this? The answer is simple.
God doesn’t count those days of my wavering faith.
Instead God looks and remembers the times I trusted, endured, and came out victorious!

If God were to publish the story of our lives for all to read; it would read something like this…….
In His version of our story, we are mighty men and woman of faith!
He will count us with the heroes of faith like Abraham!
God doesn’t condemn us or count the number of times we wavered.
He doesn’t measure our faith against our moments of doubt.
He credits our faith as righteousness as He did with Abraham.

Genesis 15:6 (NKJV) (And he (Abraham) believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like seriously exciting news to me.
Think of all the times you’ve trusted God and believed Him to come through for you. That’s righteousness!
This gives me total assurance that during the unexplainable trials that overwhelm my life’s journey I can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God IS AND WILL work for my good!