Category Archives: Devotionals

Dust Off Your Feet

My brother & playmate with dirty feet. Gobatema Mission, Zimbabwe 1942

DUST OFF YOUR FEET

There are some preachers that erroneously teach that the child of God is exempt from burdens, stress, trials, heartaches and disappointments. THIS IS FALSE TEACHING!
When Jesus was sending his disciples out to minister, He told them not to be surprised when the ungodly treated them unjustly.

Matthew 10:22 (NKJV) “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

Satan will do his best discourage us from living a life that will be pleasing in the sight of God.
He will throw every form of heart-ache, pain, false accusations and every manner of evil mischief he can concoct, against the child of God.
The Lord never told us that we would not have problems.
He never told us that difficult days would not come or that we wouldn’t have burdens.
He did instruct us however, how to handle these seasons of testing:

Matthew 10:14 (NKJV) “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, SHAKE OFF THE DUST FROM YOUR FEET.”

One of the most difficult things we face as God’s children is that when these times of testing come, we initially are overwhelmed and shattered by the pain, rejection and heart-ache we are experiencing.
We ask the questions, “Why?” and “What do I do next?”

Thoughts flood our hearts and minds such as:
I am trying to go by the book.
I read my Bible every morning.
I talk to God at night before I go to bed.
I pay my tithes faithfully.
I attend church on a regular basis and even visit the sick and help people when I can.

The next phase of self-questioning usually goes like this:

Why is it that my burden is so heavy?
What am I doing wrong? Where am I going wrong? What mistakes am I making?
I believe God loves me, but when I call, He seems to take so long to answer me.
There seems to be a void between my pleas to God’s ears.
It seems I am bearing this heavy load all by myself.

Do these words sound familiar to you?
Friends I am sharing my heart today because I am speaking from first-hand knowledge of deep valleys of trial that Glyn and I have walked through. These are not merely words of “theory”, these are up to date, living words of experience, talking!
Let me offer you some encouragement.
You are not alone! There are others bearing loads that in some cases are heavier than even yours or ours!

Jesus clearly reminded His disciples to “shake off the dust from their feet”.
What He is telling the persecuted and hurting child of God is that we are to focus our eyes on Him and His eternal reward.
We need to stop the self- incriminations.
We must not allow the attack of the enemy or the effects of living in this corrupt generation, rob us of our victory.
By “shaking the dust off our feet” we are sending a CLEAR SIGNAL to the devil that his evil agenda will NOT succeed because God is fighting the battle for us.

After all; Jesus led us by His own example when He was falsely accused. The scripture tells us:
Isaiah 53:7 (NKJV) “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.”

Children of God WILL become victorious during seasons of deep testing and weeping; if we AVAIL OURSELVES of the promises in God’s Word and tap into the strength He has provided!
Drink deeply from His promises to you, today my friends!

“WEEPING MAY ENDURE FOR THE NIGHT, BUT JOY COMES IN THE MORNING!”

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God Gives A Song

Elephant trumpeting by Animals of Africa

GOD GIVES A SONG

“Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night?” (Job 35:10.)

This past Easter week-end proved to be a major physical ordeal for me.
On Saturday evening while cleaning up our supper dishes I was hit with an aggressive AFIB episode that escalated at warp speed until I was at the point of passing out. Glyn insisted I take my blood pressure and pulse rate. The reading was 189/95 with a pulse of 130. I laid in my recliner praying the episode would pass; but with the passing of every moment it only got worse causing chest pain and an excruiating pain in my head.
So VERY RELUCTANTLY I called my Cardiologist’s on-call nurse knowing she would instruct me to head straight to the ER!
Those of you who know me well, can only imagine the conversation that ensued between me and the nurse, especially if you know I tend to be completely and “unfiltered” frank, when I feel strongly about something!
She instructed me to go immediately to the ER. My response must have blown the poor lady away!
I told her that; “I saw no point in going to the ER as I had been that route numerous times and all they do was stick me on a gurney in the hallway, with no privacy; while I lay “forgotten” for hours on end. Finally an over-worked doctor rolls up, runs a bunch of highly expensive tests and then informs me that I need to see my Cardiologist as I was bordering on a stroke!”
To the “on-call” nurse’s credit she kept her cool and made all the right “sympathetic” responses, but made me promise that if my symptoms escalated further then I was to have Glyn take me to the ER. I thanked her kindly for her concern and responded that I would go to bed, but would NOT consider going to the ER until AFTER I had attended our Easter Sunday Resurrection service in the morning!
I had more faith and trust in God than the very deteriorating Medical system that seems to be the order of the day.
True to my word, I contacted the Cardiologist’s office first thing on Monday morning and true to my observations, it has taken 3 days of begging, pleading and hounding before I was given the courtesy of a call-back! Finally I was “heard” and it was discovered that an adjustment to my AFIB medication was necessary.
I am so very thankful that God does not follow the same rules that today’s Medical Fraternity follows.
HE ANSWERS HIS CHILDREN THE MOMENT THEY CALL!
My experience reminded me of the scripture verse I quoted at the beginning of this Nugget. I love the comforting knowledge, that God is beside us during the darkest hours and even gives us “songs in the night”!

Allow me to encourage you today.
Do you have sleepless nights, tossing on the hot pillow and watching for the first glint of dawn?
Instead of allowing your circumstances to rob you of your peace, fix your thoughts on the Lord of the storm, and believe that He can fill those lonely, dreary hours with song.

Is yours the night of bereavement?
During these hard nights of grief, God draws near, and assures the broken-hearted that He needed your departed or soon to be departed loved one! He lovingly shows that He has called “the eager, earnest spirit of your loved one, to stand with the bright throng of His children who are, liberated, radiant, active, and free from pain and the tangles of this life! As this realization floods your heart and mind, there will enter your dark night, the sweet, comforting strains of the beginning of a song.

Is yours the night of discouragement and fancied or actual failure?
No one understands you, your friends reproach you; your whole world seems to be crumbling under you?
Allow the God who “walks the dark hills” to draw nigh and He will give you a song—a song of hope, the song which is harmonious with the strong, deep music of His providence. Listen to the gentle notes of the heavenly song that the Lord will fill your heart and give you comfort and strength, in the night hours!

I love this quote by William Taylor that flows with the thought of this nugget: “The strength of the vessel can be demonstrated only by the hurricane, and the power of the Gospel can be fully shown only when the Christian is subjected to some fiery trial. If God would make manifest the fact that ‘He gives songs in the night,’ He must first make it night.”

So dear friends – do not fear the dark path you might be walking today, as the Lord of all comfort will lift you on the wings of a song in the night.
Hold on to this acronym of the word TRUST that came to me in the “wee hours of the morning”, last night!

T RIALS
R ECEED
U NDER
S OVEREIGN
T RANQUILITY

The Silent Lamb

THE SILENT LAMB

Matthew 27:13-14 (NKJV) “Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.

Follow in the footsteps of Jesus as he walked the dusty roads touching and changing the lives of those who reached out to Him.
One thing will stand out; when it came to Jesus speaking to the listening crowds He was not limited for words to free them from their bondage.
Yet when He was being falsely accused, He would not say a single word in defense of Himself.

Do you remember what the officers said about Jesus when the Pharisees commanded them to seize Him and bring Him to them?
John 7:45-46 (NKJV) “Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?” The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” …………..may I add, never was there a man silent like Jesus was, when facing His accusers.

Was this singular silence the manifestation of His perfect self-sacrifice?
Did it show that He would not utter a word to stop the agony of hanging on a Cross because He had dedicated Himself as an offering for us?
He had so entirely surrendered Himself that He would not interfere on His own behalf, even to the minutest degree. He was bound, beaten and nailed to the Cross, an un-struggling, uncomplaining victim of man’s barbaric act of scorn.

Don’t you think that patient silence is many times the best reply to an opposing world?
Calm endurance answers some questions infinitely more conclusively than the loftiest eloquence.
The best apologists for Christianity in the early days were its martyrs.
The anvil breaks a host of hammers by quietly bearing their blows.
Did not the silent Lamb of God furnish us with an ultimate example of wisdom?

The great Bible teacher Charles Spurgeon when meditating on the events that unfolded on Good Friday made this statement:
“Where every word was occasion for new blasphemy, it was the line of duty to afford no fuel for the flame of sin. The ambiguous and the false, the unworthy and mean, will quickly overthrow and confute themselves, and therefore the true can afford to be quiet, and finds silence to be its wisdom.”

Jesus, by His silence, furnished a remarkable fulfillment of prophecy. A long defense of Himself would have been contrary to Isaiah’s prediction when he penned these words:

Isaiah 53:7 (NKJV) “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.”

By His silence Jesus conclusively proved Himself to be the true Lamb of God.
As I close this Nugget let us consider: WHO IS THIS SILENT LAMB.

WHO IS THIS LAMB?
He is the origin of God’s creation. He flung the stars into space and with the power of His Hand He carved the vast chasm of the Grand Canyon and rugged, craggy mountain peaks.
No a blade of grass grows without His touch and not a sparrow falls without His knowledge.
He hears His children’s weakest cry and bottles their tears.
He is the Fourth man that walked in the midst of the fiery furnace bringing deliverance to the three Hebrew children.
With the power of His voice, He rebuked the screeching winds and angry waves and peace reigned supreme in the storm.
Death lost its icy grip when He called Lazarus from the tomb.
He is the good Shepard of the sheep, who leads us beside still waters and speaks peace to our troubles souls.
See Him in Revelation with eyes like a flame, coming to execute judgement on this earth.

WHO IS THIS LAMB?
He is the all controlling, all consuming Christ.
He is our Lord of Lords and soon coming King!

Rejoice my friends, in the power of the Silent Lamb, FOR THE LIGHT OF RESURRECTION SUNDAY IS ON THE HORIZON.

Circle of Enduring Love

Our family on furlough from Africa in 1956

THE CIRCLE OF ENDURING LOVE

In my journey of the many paths I have walked in my life, the Book of Psalms has ministered to me over and over again, through every circumstance imaginable.
Looking back over the events of my life I find I can relate to the situations described by the writers of this book.
In my times of heartache, testing and triumphs I find myself constantly returning to the familiar pages of these poetic hymns and draw renewed strength from the written words.

Psalm 150 is the final Psalm in the Book.
Have you noticed that the last Psalm begins differently than the first Psalm?

The first Psalm opens with MAN being blessed BY God, but the last Psalm opens with man BLESSING God.
Psalm 1 says, “Blessed is the man.” The last Psalm says, “Praise ye the Lord.”
Between Psalm 1 and 150 a whole lot of things have happened………….
Come…….. Walk with me and hear the voice of the Psalmist drifting down through the faded corridors of time and dusty roads of life.

I hear echoes of pain in the fields from exploited individuals comforting themselves in the words of the Psalmist saying……. “Fret not thyself because of evildoers……”(Psalm 37:1).
They had run into some crooked folk, difficult dilemmas, and trying situations. Then as they assimilate the comforting words of Psalm 37, the sting of their mistreatment fades as the morning mist with the triumphal final verse which shouts; … “And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him.” Psalm 37:40

Then heart wrenching sounds of weeping rush over me; leading me to read, “Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
This tells me that the Psalmist had run into tough times and that his eyes had focused upon the calendar of time; he was counting the hours at night looking forward to the morning. The pain that was causing such sorrow would be replaced by the healing balm of God’s morning filled with the sunshine of His love.

I hear a voice calling from a distant mountain peak and read the words, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)
Obviously the writer had run into something he couldn’t get out of. He couldn’t think his way out, pay his way out, or trick his way out. He found the answer to his dilemma though, in the One who was the creator of the rugged mountain in his way. He proclaimed his trust in the God of all creation knowing his cries would not go unheeded!

I listened again and this time heard a lament where the Psalmist seemed to say that at one time he had been isolated from the house of God……. Because I heard him say, “I was glad when they said unto me let us go to the house of the Lord.” (Psalm122:1) He does not explain the reason for this separation -it could have been a result of his own poor choices; or a misunderstanding; or a cooling of his fervor for God but he keenly felt the loss of fellowship. The result was when the invitation came he joyfully went to the sanctuary to praise God.

And so from Psalm 1 to 150, the Psalmist had run into a whole gambit of situations. He had experienced intense sorrow, sadness, suffering, deception and even sin. He had been in TOUGH situations, but this Psalm (Psalm 150) says that in spite of what the weary pilgrim has gone through………
The circle of God’s ever sustaining love had brought him through every event, every situation, and every tragedy that he had journey through and with a voice of exaltation he exclaims His joyous praise to his Divine companion!

IT IS TIME TO PRAISE THE LORD! GOD WILL BRING US THROUGH!
PRAISE YE THE LORD!

Being A Lefty In A Right-handed World

(Our little Buddy viewing an up-side-down world! )

BEING A LEFTY IN A RIGHT- HANDED WORLD

‘As thy days, so shall thy strength be.’ (Deuteronomy 33:25, KJV)

I met with my Orthopedic Surgeon’s PA today, to have my cast removed and check on the progress of the healing of my left elbow and arm. The news is good and I am doing a “cart-wheels of joy”!
The surgeon had to debride a lot of tissue around my Median nerve that was being compromised by the ligament band, loosen the band and remove the “goose-egg size” lump. He was amazed though, to discover there was absolutely no sign of the longitudinal split in the tendon, that was very evident on the MRI!!! To God be the glory great things He has done.

It should come as no surprise to those of my readers, who are left-handed, that I counted the hours; right down to the last minute, when this cast came off!
Life takes on a whole new meaning when suddenly something that you have totally depended on for as long as you remember, no longer can be used!
Confusion, frustration, inability to do routine simple tasks and worst of all, for this highly independent gal, was having to be dependent on the help of others. This emotional roller-coastal ride has been a part of my world for the past 8 days!
Talk about a mind blowing learning curve, trying to use my right hand and arm!
It can be compared to living in an up-side-down, back-to-front world!
Added to that I discovered some illuminating characteristics of my DNA!
As I promised, are you ready to see what it is like to be a “lefty” (not my political bias, by the way), in a right handed-world?

Try answering the phone using you right-hand, only to discover your arm is not long enough to reach your left ear, when you only use your left ear when you talk on the phone?
Added to that, talking on the phone while holding it up to your right ear, just jumbles your hearing pattern…..or so it has been in “Norma’s world”!

Next challenge…… eating exclusively with a very uncooperative right hand! More food fell off my fork than reached my mouth.
So I resorted to my “little Buddy’s example” of using a spoon with a fist grip, shoveling in my tasty fare as fast as possible; hoping enough would reach my mouth and stave off starvation!

Dressing myself, exclusively right-handed, would certainly win me top prize on “America’s Funniest Videos”!

I challenge my readers to attempt to get into bed using only one hand while your dominant arm had to be held up above heart level. Results…..? ‘Face plant big time’, over and over in “Norma’s world”.
In moments of my total stubborn rebellion, my “loving?????” husband threatened to ‘duct tape me’ to my recliner!
My theme song became…… “Please, release me let me go……..”
Yes, my antics of trying to learn to use my right-hand was the source of much laughter to Glyn and my sister-in-law, Debbie Wilson, who came to help us.

I learnt that my DNA not only possesses a highly independent streak, but also a stubborn will that does not take kindly to being challenged with restrictions. Plus a bull-dog determination to overcome the obstacles life had dealt me!
Thankfully the Lord used this time to teach me some eternal lessons.

We all have times when we are suddenly faced with an issue that we feared we might never be able to handle……..perhaps unemployment, or severe illness, or bereavement, or tragedy.
I am here to assure you that it is possible to find miraculous grace and strength from God for each day.
Thus enabling us not to be just ‘dragging ourselves through’, but experiencing a special sense of His promised presence and help.
Whenever we tap into God’s daily help, we are experiencing the truth of today’s text: that, as the NIV translation puts it……. ‘your strength will equal your days’.
What a wonderful promise of God this is!
He will provide strength for each day and for whatever is needed in that day.
This means we don’t have to sit and worry whether we will have enough strength for tomorrow or for next year or for ten years’ time.

God promises us sufficient resources—Himself!—for each day as it comes.
May I remind you about how God works: He doesn’t give us strength BEFORE we need it; but exactly WHEN we need it.

Most of us prefer to have a spiritual stockpile of resources ‘in case of need’; but it doesn’t work like that! If it did, it would rob us of having to walk by faith and having to trust God day by day.
Being a child of God does not guarantee us immunity from life’s pressures, trials and sufferings. Such things are simply part of living in a sin-ridden world.

I am here to encourage you that it is at such times, when something earth-shattering happens, when the bottom falls out of our world, that we need God’s strength and call out to Him for help; His promises will be there—enough strength for each day and to equal our days!

My friends, whatever you are facing, God’s grace and strength is also here for you today.

‘It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.’ (2 Samuel 22:33)

 

 

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

 

 

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!