Tag Archives: strength

Quiet and Peace

We are now in Nottingham Rd in a caravan park called Glenschillen. It is an oasis of tranquility. We have a site overlooking the dam.

   The Bible says, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.“‘ (Isaiah 31:15 NIV)

On Wednesday, soon after we arrived, we wandered down to the common area, where there are tables and chairs, a pool table and various other amenities for general use. We came across three elderly gentlemen who were having their weekly Bible study and discussion. My husband mentioned that we are members of the Gideons.

Yesterday the oldest of the three, David, who happens to be a co-owner of this place, sought us out. We had a long chat with him. He told us of some miracles in his life and how God has always been faithful, even though he’s had many struggles in his life, including the death of his first wife after three months of marriage.

David is ninety-five and he ended our chat with these words, “The waters are calm, my compass is true. I trust my Captain and I know where my ship is heading.”

I believe the Lord arranged this meeting to bless us and as an illustration a life based on quietness and trust.

My Prayer

Thank You, Lord for this place of quiet and rest. Being here is almost like a retreat. Thank you for enabling us to meet Your servant, David. Please continue to bless him and his family.

Gifts and Talents

I read Joshua 3 and 4 today, where Joshua, under God’s guidance, led the Israelites through the Jordan River. The priests carried the ark of the covenant into the river which was in flood. As soon as their feet touched the edge, water from upstream stopped flowing and piled up in a heap a great distance away.

The priests stopped in the middle, still holding the ark, while all the people crossed over in their tribes. Chosen men, one from each tribe, collected twelve stones from the river bed and carried them on their shoulders until they reached Gilgal.

Imagine the strength required of the priests to hold the ark, which was overlaid with gold, for a number of hours while standing still. Imagine the strength required of the twelve men to carry heavy rocks on a long hike. They were presumably chosen for their strength.

Strength is a gift from God, as is leadership, athletic ability, intelligence, entrepreneurial skill, artistic or musical talent, or any other God-given talent.

Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay

Jesus said, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” (John15:5b NIV) The World lauds and rewards human achievement, but none of it is possible without God’s gifting.

My eighty-nine-year-old mother always says, “Use it or lose it,” usually talking about her brain and how she does crossword puzzles to exercise it.

As Jesus illustrated in the parable of the talents, (Matthew 25:14-30,) it is true of all God-given abilities and talents. If a man gifted with unusual strength goes to the gym and exercises regularly, his strength grows. A musician, dancer or actor practices regularly to become better in their field. Those gifted with intelligence study to make the best of their abilities. If they don’t, they are like the servant who buried his talent in the ground and the master took it away from him.

Use it or lose it.

My Prayer

Father God, You are the giver of all gifts and talents and You distribute them as You will. May I neither envy those more talented than myself, nor neglect to exercise or use the gifts You have given me. Amen.

Milk and Honey

This post is part of the Saturday Streams of Consciousness challenge. Today’s challenge is to write about the last thing I put in my fridge. Since I am currently enjoying frothy cappuccino, the last thing I put back in my fridge was milk. I can’t think of milk without thinking of milk and honey and the land God promised to the Israelites.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

God promised to lead them to a Land of Milk and Honey. However, once they were almost at the Promised Land, close enough, indeed, to send spies to scout out the land, they had a crisis of faith. Although two of the twelve spies brought back proof of the productivity of the land and urged the people to immediately take possession, the other eight talked fear into them. The people are like giants, they reported, we are like grasshoppers in their eyes and we appeared the same to ourselves. They forgot about God. They forgot about the promise.

They relied, instead, on democracy. “Let’s vote on it,” they said. “After all, the majority of the people can’t be wrong, can they?”

We know what happened as a result of their worldly thinking. God said, in essence, “All right, have it your way. You could have done this the easy way by trusting Me but you have chosen to do it the hard way by trusting yourselves. Maybe the next generation will do better. none of you will see the promised land except Joshua and Caleb, who were willing to trust me.”

The Israelites spent another 38 years in the Wildeness in God’s training camp. Their own resources were totally inadequate. They had to rely on Him. Nevertheless none of that generation got to see the Promised land, except Joshua and Caleb.

How often don’t we rely on popular opinion rather than God’s word? On my own I am not courageous enough to go against the thinking of the masses. After all, the majority has to be right, doesn’t it? The story of Joshua shows us that kind of thinking is a lie. God’s truth is true, no matter how many people don’t believe it. He will keep His promises, no matter how many people don’t trust Him. We need to make our own decisions, not be swayed by others.

God said to Joshua as He says to me, “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” (Josh 1:5-7 (NIV)

My Prayer

Father God, You know that I am neither strong nor courageous. Yet my life is hidden in Christ. He has enough strength and courage to work out this fruit in me. Help me to trust You and Your word rather than social media and popular opinion. Amen.

I Can Do All Things.

Philippians 4:13 is a favourite verse of many Christians, me included.

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (NLT)

However this verse is often used out of context. Paul is thanking the Philippian church for their gift. He says,

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil.4:11-15 NIV)

The “All things” we like to refer to is actually the ability to be content in any circumstance. I need this strength at this time. After last night’s address by the president I felt depressed because it looks like a long time before life in South Africa is going to get any better, and I don’t think we’ll ever be able to go back to how things used to be.

Can I be content if we don’t go to the South Coast in our motor-home in July as we have planned and booked? Can I brave the worst of the winter in Jo’burg doing the same old lockdown nothing?

Can I be content if we don’t fly to Port Elizabeth at the end of August for my mother’s birthday?

Can I be content if we don’t get to go to New Zealand in December to visit our children and grandchildren.

When my plans are arbitrarily foiled and cancelled can I be content?

This is what we are all called to do – keep going for the long haul, keep trusting God in all circumstances and be content in the process. This is when we need all the strength that Christ can give us so we can say, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Love Sonnet

This month’s challenge for my writers’ circle is to write a love sonnet after the style of Shakespeare. This is my attempt.

SONNET 1. The Rising Sun

The rising sun in all its radi’nt light

Is but a shadow set besides thy face.

The panoply of stars, all blazing bright,

Is merely trim thy glorious robe to grace.

 

When all the birds on earth with song rejoice

And waters roar and thunders clap with glee,

Combin’d they’re just the echo of thy voice,

My ear is dull ‘till thou addresseth me.

 

Thy touch upon my skin is dearer, far,

Than first sweet sunbeams after days of rain.

In thy embrace my heart glows like a star,

And gathers strength to conquer every pain.

 

When hearts forget to pump, or eyes to see,

This truth remains. Thou died for love of me.