Tag Archives: faith

X rays and Conditions

When I was in my early forties, my mother’s doctor suggested that I go for a bone scan to see if I had osteoporosis like she did. What a ridiculous idea! I was still young. I couldn’t possibly have an old peoples’ disease! Nevertheless the scan showed that I had, indeed, suffered from loss of bone density. I have a condition that I didn’t know I had and would have staunchly denied while I laughed.

person holding x ray film

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My daughter also has a condition. A different condition. Last week she took her three children to check if they had inherited it. They had.

We probably all have conditions. Or syndromes. Or illnesses. Or weaknesses. Many of them we inherited. Although they are many and varied, we all suffer from one hereditary condition. We will refuse to believe that we have this condition although it is usually obvious in others. The global expert will tell us we have this condition but because we don’t think we have it, we might not accept his opinion.

This condition is called Human Nature. God calls it SIN. We inherited it. It is in our DNA. None of us in immune. “All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned – every one- to his own way.” (Isiah 53:6a ESV)

Those of us who go to church and maybe read our bibles think we are immune. We are not. God’s X ray of our heart will reveal it. I was reminded again of my condition this morning. I had slept very badly and, twenty minutes before my alarm was due to go off, I was woken by my husband’s footsteps. He asked if I wanted coffee then of after seven. I felt grumpy and irritable. had not slept well. My sleep had been interrupted.  needed my sleep. A couple of minutes later when I did wake up, he brought me cappuccino and a rusk. He could not have coffee with me because he had to leave to do a Gideon Bible placement at a school. Later I found his coffee cup with a spoon of coffee powder.

burst

I had not thought of him, had I? Only of me, me, me. This is a symptom of my condition. Total self focus.

Fortunately, God has provided a therapy for this condition we all suffer from (or ignore.) Isiah goes on to say in verse 6b, “And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Jesus had paid the consequences for our condition and, if we are willing, will give us a transfusion of divine nature that will slowly change us to the image of Jesus if we submit to his regime. That does not mean that our human nature disappears. It is still alive and kicking and only with God’s help can we tame it to some degree. I long for the day when my first waking thought can be Good morning , Lord rather than Good Lord, it’s morning.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that you died for me. By your Spirit, please transform me into your image. I submit myself to Your authority. Amen.

Bunnies don’t purr

My grandchildren have got baby bunnies in the garden as well as kittens in the house. Bunnies are very soft and cuddly and the kids enjoy holding them and snuggling them.

baby bunny 2

However, my grandchildren spend longer cuddling the kittens. Both kittens are also soft and cuddly but they purr when they are picked up and cuddled. There is something very special about a cat’s purr. It warms the cockles of my heart. It tells me the cat is happy and is enjoying being with me. (I also cuddle the kittens whenever I get the chance.)

Psalm 9 says, “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all Your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in You,” (ESV)

I think the kittens are exulting in being cuddled. They make their pleasure known. I am sure that our Father loves to hear our thanks and our happiness in him, just as I enjoy a cat purring.

As grandparents we always try to choose presents that our grandchildren will like. We don’t always get it right. I know of a number of neglected dolls that I thought my granddaughter would love. Last Christmas we gave our grandson a Cat Boy Watch. Just before he went to bed that night he came downstairs just to tell us, “Granny and Grampa, I love my watch.” It made us feel wonderful. We felt like good grandparents who know how to give good gifts.

I am sure God loves to hear our thanks and appreciation for all His wonderful gifts to us. I am sure he revels in our happiness. Maybe we should purr a little more often.

Worry, worry, worry, worry

“Why worry, worry, worry, worry, when you can pray,” ended the old Sunday school song.

Paul put it more maturely, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7 NIV.)

Notice what Paul does not say. He does not say all your requests will be granted. Rather, he says you will have peace. Is peace the opposite of anxiety?

Jesus also had something to say about anxiety and worry. In Matthew 6:31-33 he says, “So do not worry, saying, ‘what shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ for the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Seeking God’s kingdom is no light thing. It means putting yourself under God’s kingship, letting Him reign in your life. As I have discovered from my attempts to be a servant, it is not easy and it does not come naturally.  Jesus emphasizes that God is our Father and he knows what we need.

When I was a little girl, sometimes on a journey home at night in our little car, one of my parents would say, “I think we are lost.” Being lost is a terrifying thing for a child, yet my brother and I didn’t worry. We knew Mom and Dad would find the way. We just went to sleep in the car. I think that is how our Father would like us to trust Him. Sure, bumps come along in life and sometimes we seem lost. But our Father has enough power, wisdom and love to get us home safely. So let’s not worry, worry, worry, worry when we can pray.

sleeping girl

Christian Servanthood re-enforced

The year started with many subtle and not so subtle confirmations of the servant theme God was talking to me about. The most astounding of these happened soon after we arrived home from New Zealand. My youngest South African grandchild (5) had been shown a science experiment at school and given a little packet to reproduce it at home. It involved lifting up an ice cube with a piece of string. Naturally, her brother and sister wanted to do it too so I got four side plates for us to do our experiment on. It involved wetting the string, placing it on the ice cube and covering it with salt. Our first experiment didn’t work, I suspect because my freezer was not yet up and running and the only ice cubes we could find in my daughters house were very small and half melted by the time we had assembled everything. The children then decided they were hungry and wanted to make car sandwiches which has become almost a tradition when they visit Granny. This required another three side plates.

By the time I thought of making cheese sandwiches for my husband and myself for supper, there were only two side plates left in the cupboard. The very bottom one I had never seen before. It had the covenant prayer of John Wesley printed on it.

davOne would have to be very obtuse not to get the message.

I found out later that when my son had vacated the bachelor pad prior to going to Russia on a teaching contract, he had brought some crockery to my husband who had integrated it into our general supply. It seems like we had never come to the end of the pile of side plates in eighteen months and I had never come across this memento plate before. God moves in mysterious ways. I wonder what this year is going to hold. I can almost guarantee I am going to grow.

P.S We did get the science experiment to work the following day when we had decent ice cubes.

Christian Servanthood

During December and early January my husband and I were in New Zealand to visit our son and his family and to explore.

While exploring, we visited church’s where we were at. As Christmas drew near, I was struck by Mary’s response to the Angel Gabriel.

“I am the Lord’s servant,” she said.

While I was still mulling over this, we attended the Hamilton Central Baptist Church where a missionary working in Papua New Guinea, Grant Dixon, told us what it meant to be a servant.

I was so struck by what he said that it has become the foundation of the start to my New Year. The following is a summary.

  1. As a servant, I am not the master. Jesus is.
  2. Serving is what servants do.
  3. Servants are under authority and cannot abuse the trust of the master.
  4. As I serve God, I serve others and as I serve others, I serve God.
  5. Servants don’t choose what they do. they can only choose the attitude in which they do it.
  6. Serving and giving don’t come naturally. We have to choose to do it.
  7. Serving often entails hard work, long term application, even suffering.

As part of the message Grant read the covenant prayer by John Wesley.

servant

I was particularly struck by point number five. Servants don’t choose what they do.

My husband has been a Gideon for over thirty-five years but I have always regarded it as his passion and calling, not mine. Although I totally believe in the handing out of bibles leading to the salvation of many, there are things about he organisation that I don’t like. A woman can not join the Gideons. If her husband is a Gideon, she may join the Auxiliary which is composed of wives of Gideons. She may not speak in church or to a Gideon meeting, but only to Auxiliary gatherings. As a qualified local preacher of the Methodist Church, a silver level Toastmaster and a woman of the twenty-first century, I found this very old-fashioned. Moreover, in South Africa, the Gideons are strongly dominated by Afrikaans Christians. Trainings and zone meetings are conducted in Afrikaans and although I understand the language, I don’t feel comfortable in those situations.

Last year the president of our Auxiliary begged me to come onto the Cabinet as vice president and, perhaps foolishly, I said I would pray about it. Some three days later in my quiet time the following verse jumped out of the page in my face, “I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness.” (Col 1:25) Just to make sure, three days later, I read the following in my quiet time, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” (2 Tim 3:16). I think I’d have to be very obtuse not to get the message. so I became vice president more from obedience than any passion.

Now I have been reminded that a servant does not choose what she does, just the attitude in which she does it. Moreover the covenant prayer says, “Rank me with whom you will.” That includes Afrikaans people belonging to an old fashioned organisation.

So 2019 will be the year of learning to be a servant. It won’t come easy as it goes against all my inclinations but I know that Christ will strengthen me even in my attitude. May my attitude be gratitude.

Coffee with Wings June #3

This is part of the Coffee with Wings Challenge.

Every Monday think of a bible verse or inspirational quote  that has been meaningful to you in the last week or which you’d like to take into the new week with you.

coffee take away

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. (Romans 5:1 NIV)