The Gideons International is an Association of Christian business and professional men and their wives dedicated to telling people about Jesus through associating together for service, sharing personal testimony, and by providing Bibles and New Testaments.
While we are often recognized for our work with hotels, we also place and distribute Scriptures in strategic locations so they are available to those who want them, as well as to those who may not know they need them.
The first school term is the time to distribute testaments to the Grade 8’s at all the schools in our area. Because of the Covid restrictions, instead of visiting schools, addressing the learners and handing out testaments individually to those who are willing to accept them, my husband has to drop boxes of testaments at the schools for them to distribute.
In the same way, the ladies used to visit clinics and doctors’ rooms and hand out testaments to the medical staff. We can’t do that anymore. Recently I left a box of testaments at the security station of the Windsor clinic.
Paul refers to the Word of God as The Sword of the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:17)
The Bible says “…the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)
It occurred to me that we are arms dealers. We put swords in the hands of teenagers, we arm nurses, doctors, policemen, even prisoners. How outrageous! How daring! How dangerous! If opposition comes, it is not that surprising. However, in South Africa, most people we come across are happy to receive their weapon. They value the Word of God and treasure it.
On Sunday we joined Dare to Love at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg. It is the largest hospital in South Africa. We distributed over a thousand gift packs containing a Gideon’s testament, a pen, biscuits, chocolates and other goodies. When those ran out, we distributed packs containing the goodies and a Gospel of John booklet. This was meant as a gesture of appreciation to the heroes who serve on the front line.
It was an exciting morning. We are honoured to be allowed to do this work.
Father, thank you for the Bible, the Sword of the Spirit. Teach me to handle it aright. You know that many of the Gideon members are getting old and even dying. Please send new, younger members to help us with this work of distributing Your Word. Amen.
We had a few very wet weeks recently, with rain falling almost every day. An area of my garden consists of clay soil and it doesn’t drain very well. As a result, it has been muddy for weeks. I bought some more stepping stones to supplement the ones that have sunken into the ground and it is now possible for me to walk from our front path to the gazebo without getting muddy shoes if I watch where I place my feet.
Proverbs 4:23, 26, 27 read, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. …Give careful thought to the paths of your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.“
It is easy enough to stay on the path if we are mindful, if we are watching each step. If we are sincere about living God’s way, we know what to avoid, places we shouldn’t frequent in the same way we avoid certain areas because of security concerns.
However, we are not always mindful. Recently my 87-year old mother had a fall in the bathroom. It was unexpected and she had no sense of danger. She was just not mindful, possibly stumbling about half awake in the early hours of the morning.
In the same way, if we are unmindful of God walking with us, if we shuffle along following our own desires and inclinations, we might very well stumble and fall.
My mother only ripped the skin of her arm, but it could have been much worse and a spiritual fall can be tragic.
Father God, please keep me mindful of You and Your commands that I might not stray from the path You have set before me. Amen.
Jesus says, “Come unto me, all who are burdened and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Peter reinforces this idea when he exhorts us, “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
Nevertheless, we find it very difficult to give our burdens to Jesus without taking them up again and worrying about them ourselves. It is as if we want to be God, sorting out our problems ourselves.
It reminds me of my youngest grandchild. She loves to help wherever she can. Sometimes she insists on carrying heavy six-packs of milk. “Let me help you with that,” we’ll say as it is obvious she is struggling.
“I can manage,” she’ll say, struggling up the garden path with two heavy six-packs in her arms. She wants to be independent. She wants to be thought of as a big girl.
Don’t we do exactly the same with Jesus?
“Give Me your burden,” He’ll say. “It’s weighing you down. It’s slowing you down. It’s robbing you of abundant life.”
“No thanks,” we say, “I can manage,” and we continue to worry, trying to show that we are like God, we can fix things.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, that You are willing and able to shoulder my burdens. Please give me the grace and the humility to surrender them to You. Amen.
These are lines from Michael W Smith’s song, “Christ be All Around Me.”
I thought about those lines today. Everywhere I go, Christ goes with me. He encloses me. So when I sat in Mugg and Bean this morning, drinking bottomless coffee and fighting to try to get onto their internet to write this blog, Christ was with me. When I fetched my granddaughter from Brownies, Jesus was there too, smiling at the sight of happy little girls. When I prayed with my best friend and prayer partner, Jesus was there, as He promised, in our midst. (Matt 18:20)
He is closer than breathing, He’s privy to my thoughts and He abides in my heart. Unfortunately, a lot of the time I tend to forget that Jesus is right next to me. If I remembered more often, I would stress less, think of others more and revel in the wonderful life He has given me.
Lord Jesus, please be the air I breathe and may I constantly be aware of Your presence. Amen.
God always answers our prayers, but He does not always give us what we want.
Rick Warren explains it thus:
“When the request is not right, God says, ‘No.’ When the timing is not right, God says, ‘Slow.’ When you are not right, God says, ‘Grow.’ But when the request is right, and the timing is right and you are right, God says, ‘Go!'”