Tag Archives: scripture

When God Does Nothing

We’ve been having a cold snap at the moment. (After all, it is winter.) Days are quite pleasant, around 15 degrees C but nights tend to be much colder, at about 4 degrees. We’ve had our gas fire on some evenings and we’ve put our fluffy blanket on the bed.

On Fridays I often take my grandson to Cubs. He was ready in his uniform when I came to collect him at 4.50pm last Friday. In the car he told me with pride how he had been made a sixer (a leader of a small group) the previous week.

I dropped him outside the Scout hall grounds and watched as he ran to sign in, sanitise and have his temperature checked. It was only then that I realised that he hadn’t brought his jacket. The evening was going to cool down and, although I knew they would probably be playing some active run-around games, I thought he would probably get cold. I determined to quickly drive home and fetch his jacket but on the way home I had second thoughts.

How embarrassing might it be for this new little leader to have his Granny interrupt his Cub meeting by bringing him a jacket? If he got cold, he might remember next time to bring something warm to wear. He might learn to take more responsibility for himself.

So I did nothing. It wasn’t easy. I worried. I couldn’t wait for him to get home so I could find out how he had coped.

“How was Cubs?” I asked.

“Great! I got to do the flag.” His face lit up with excitement.

Nobody talked about cold.

Sometimes God does nothing. We wonder why He is not helping us in a difficult situation. Is it possible He trusts us to cope using the skills He has gifted to us? Is there some area of growth He knows we need? Sometimes a little bit of discomfort can teach us things we might not easily learn otherwise.

When Lazarus got sick and his sisters sent an urgent message to Jesus, He did nothing for two days. At first glance this seems very unfeeling. Lazarus died and both Mary and Martha pointed out to Jesus that if He had been there, their brother would not have died. Jesus had a greater plan. Mary and Martha got such a faith boost when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. (John 11: 1-44)

Jesus had just fed five thousand men, plus women and children. “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side… Later that night, he was there alone and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.” (Matthew 14 :22, 23b,24.)

Jesus knew about the storm. He knew the disciples would battle but He sent them out into the storm anyway. Again, Jesus had a greater plan. If the disciples had not had to face the storm, they would not have witnessed Jesus walk on the water and Peter would never had stepped out of the boat to walk on the water towards his Lord. How much their faith grew in that one night!

When God does nothing we usually don’t understand. Our best action is to trust. Trust in the love of God. Trust in His wisdom and overall plan for our lives. It is not easy. But God know exactly what He is doing.

My Prayer

Father God, I don’t understand when You don’t answer my prayers the way I think I need. Please teach me to trust You in every circumstance of my life – even when things are uncomfortable for me. Help me to grow in the areas where You are stretching me and to learn the things You are trying to teach me. Amen.

Spiritual Diet

Most of us know what we should eat. We’ve been told we need lots of vegetables, fruit, and enough protein. There are different schools of thought about amounts of fats and carbohydrates but we all have an idea of what is healthy.

Funny how it’s so much nicer to eat things that we know are unhealthy. A carrot doesn’t remotely have the appeal of a chocolate, or cream scone or lemon meringue pie.

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

There is a balanced diet for our spiritual growth too. Our pastor told us about it in church on Sunday. It is in 1 Timothy where Paul is warning Timothy about false doctrines that were prevalent in the church at the time.

If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.” (1Tim 4:6-7)

There also appears to be spiritual junk food. Paul talks about godless myths and old wives tales. I think fake news and over-forwarded social media posts can fall into this category. However, just as junk food has more appeal than healthy food, our natural sinful state is to be drawn more to spiritual junk food. We need God’s help to be able to maintain a balanced spiritual diet.

My Prayer

Father God, thank you for the wonderful array of food that you have created for us. Please help me to be wise in selecting physical food and to remember to nourish my spirit with the truths of the faith and good teaching. May I have discernment to be able to identify and avoid godless myths and old wives tales. Amen.

Dust Collects Everywhere

This post is part of Streams of Consciousness Saturday. The prompt for today is “collect.”

Our neighbours are doing alterations – breaking down walls and eventually building new ones.

Anybody who has ever been involved in any kind of renovation or building will know that the dust collects everywhere. We can see it creeping over the wall.

Sin is like dust. Sometimes it’s easy to spot and we can avoid the area. At other times it is subtle and hardly noticeable until a shaft of sunlight reveals the dust that has collected on a surface. If we ask Jesus to shine the light of His Holy Spirt on our lives, we will see things that we hadn’t noticed, not blatant actions but tiny attitudes of mind, a grumbling spirt, a covetous thought or regarding our time/money/life as our own.

When Jesus washed the disciples feet, Peter objected. When Jesus explained that unless Peter allowed Jesus to wash him, he had no part of his Lord, Peter replied, “Not just my feet, but my hands and head as well.”

Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean.” (John13:9-10a NIV)

The roads in those days were dirt roads. Nobody could walk along them in sandaled feet without collecting a lot of dust on their feet – even if they had bathed and put on clean clothes for a special celebration like Passover.

We come to Jesus once in repentance and He forgives our sin, based on His atoning death. That is like the bath; but every day we collect the dust of sin on our souls and it is necessary to ask for forgiveness. That is like having our feet washed.

I am certainly not going to dust my house every day just because the neighbours are building but I will try to get my soul dusted every day.

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, as You did to the disciples, please wash my feet and show me those little dust sins that collect in my heart. Amen.

Sunshine

We moved into our cottage almost ten years ago. We added on some rooms and enlarged some. The renovations were planned by an architect. Although we have a large French window and a smaller window facing north, our lounge always seemed dark. We have a magnificent paperbark tree outside which gives beautiful shade in summer and we always thought that was the reason our house seemed dark. We had two sky lights put in and that helped a bit. However the lounge light stayed on during the day while I was home.

The house next door had five tall conifers growing against our north boundary wall. When the house was sold, I made a point of informing our new neighbours that I would love the trees cut down and we would pay half. Well, they had other things to attend to and repair and I didn’t want to nag them but I talked to the Lord about them. I even talked to the trees! (I remembered what Jesus had said about mountains throwing themselves into the sea.)

While we were away last week, the trees got taken out. The neighbours are doing some renovations and building on to make room for their parents to stay with them.

The difference is amazing. Sun streams into the lounge almost all day. We no longer need the light on in the daytime. I am just wallowing in the sunshine.

John said about Jesus, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5NIV)

Sometimes we miss out on the light of God in our lives through circumstances that are beyond our control. They are the things that cast shadows on the abundant life that Christ promised. They are like those five trees, seemingly invincible. They could be an early family tragedy, an unhappy childhood, a disability we were born with, or even poverty. We are totally powerless to remove them. They are not in our garden.

God is not powerless. We can do what we can to improve the light in our lives but then we need to call on Him to take away the trees. It won’t be easy and it won’t be immediate. But our God is faithful.

Jesus promised, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” May we not become so used to living in the shadow that we miss out on the Light of Life.

My Prayer

Lord, please open my eyes to the things with which I have been living, that are casting shadows over my life. May they be rooted up and cast aside. May the Light of Your Life and Your Love bathe me every day. Amen.

Fingers

I fell in church last week and damaged the ring finger of my left hand. i didn’t think it was broken. As soon as I got home I applied a cold compress then later I immobilized it by bandaging it to my middle finger.

“Lucky it’s not your right hand,” everybody says. And they are right. I would be much worse off if it were my right hand. But it’s only my left, the less important one. Moreover, it’s not like it’s an important finger either. A ring finger is only good for putting rings on, after all. Don’t you hate it when you get labelled and categorized by that label?

That’s another thing. Wearing a ring on a damaged finger is a problem. It took me ten minutes or more to give a thought to the fact that my finger might swell and I should get my ring off. It was too late. My finger did swell and the purple moved down but I made sure every day that my ring could swivel.

This whole experience has given me a different view of my fingers. They work together, like a well-oiled machine. Inactivate one gear or cog and the machine no longer functions correctly. Just try eating while holding your fork with a thumb and index finger! It seems to me that the ring finger is more useful than the middle finger although our hand can’t function well without all our finger supporting and helping each other. Some people have to, but it requires a lot of time and therapy relearning, practicing and strengthening.

The Bible says, “God has put the body together, giving greater honor to those parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it… Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Cor 12:24b-27 NIV)

No matter how insignificant and unimportant we may feel, we are all part of Christ’s body and if we hurt, the whole body suffers. God is constantly aware of every one of us and we can trust Him to take care of us.

This post is part of Streams of Consciousness Saturday. The word for today is “different.”

Wisdom

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you with my loving eye upon you.” (Psalm 32:8 NIV)

Wisdom is knowing how to live well. God promises to help us find wisdom.

Wisdom is not the same as knowledge. It has been said, “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.”

Image by silviarita from Pixabay

This post is part of One-Liner-Wednesday.

I am an Arms Dealer

Image by Alexander Lesnitsky from Pixabay

My husband and I belong to the Gideons.

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.

My Prayer

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.

Image by azboomer from Pixabay

Casting All Your Cares on Him

Image by pucho from Pixabay

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.

My Prayer

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.

Boasting

This post is part of JusJoJan. The word of the day is “trigger.” It reminds me of the song from “Annie get your Gun.”

“I’m quick on the trigger, with targets not much bigger than a pinpoint
I’m number one, but my score with a feller
Is lower than a celler, oh you can’t get a man with a gun
When I’m with a pistol, I sparkle like a crystal
Yes, I shine like the morning sun.”

Don’t we all like to boast about our achievements and our abilities? Sometimes boasting is a way of hiding our insecurities and boosting our fragile self-confidence.

St Paul said,

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” (Phillipians 3:4-7a NIV)

By the world’s standards of his time, he had every reason to boast. He came from one of the best families. He studied under the great Gamaliel and could write in Greek and Hebrew; so his education was from the top bracket. He studied the law and kept it. Yet he regarded these recommendations as garbage compared to finding Christ and the righteousness that comes from God through Him.

I am very quick to insert myself into a conversation with words like, “I think,” or “I prayed,” as if my thoughts or prayers are in some way noteworthy or superior to other people’s thoughts or prayers. It’s easy to tell other people what we have done for God (in the guise of asking for prayer, of course) rather than telling them what God has done for us.

Let us all follow Paul’s example. “Therefore, as it is written, ‘Let the the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'” (1 Cor 1:31 NIV)

My Prayer

Lord, forgive me when I try to impress other people rather than trying to please you. Please put a guard on my tongues so that boastful words don’t pop out. Amen.

Tent Dresses

When I was a teenager, tent dresses were in fashion.

Angelique from Pinterest

I hated them. My mother, wanting her daughter to be in fashion, made me one for a party I had been invited to. It was of shiny pink satin with silver embossing and had three silver buttons. I felt overdressed. The other girls also wore tent dresses, but they were made of cotton. I never wore that dress again.

Perhaps there was some psychology in tent dresses. They certainly served to hide a frumpy figure. Thinking back, it was, of course, the age of free love and what better way to mask a budding teenage pregnancy than with clothes that made a tent around your body?

Now I am older. Much older. My figure has bloomed to ample curves and plenty of padding. Recently I went shopping for another summer dress. I must have tried on close to twenty. When I finally came home with the only one that looked reasonable on me, I noticed it was a tent dress.

I have changed my mind about tent dresses. I’m allowed to. My assertiveness training coach said so. It’s one of my rights.

I think we all have opinions seen through coloured glasses influenced by the world around us, our experiences, what our church teaches and what our friends think. We see the world through eyes slanted by social media posts and what google thinks we would be interested in as news.

Paul says, “When I was a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror, then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:11-12 NIV)

My Prayer

Lord, give me the grace to realise that I do not know all Truth and the humility to admit when I have changed my mind.

This post is part of JusJoJan