Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sheltering--South Africa Style



“…While in Africa, I found out some things. One of them being we are blessed with “things”. And another being that “things” don’t make people happy….”                                  ~Scott Clemens




“Oh, my God is enough – He’s proved it o'er and  o'er – He’s never known to fail – His power still prevails! Down through the tests of time – God’s people always find – Whatever life may bring – God is enough!” That beautiful chorus was met with harmonious voices lifted in song at the beginning of a small South African group of believers during home prayer meeting.

Should I sing those same words here in America?  Do I need to sing those same words? Can I sing those words? I believe the answer is a resounding “YES!”

May I dare say that it is difficult for me to sing those words with conviction here in the USA because I have it “easy.”  Now I would not wish to bring trials/testing upon myself, but upon seeing how blessed I am where I live right now, I want God to continually keep my focus on Him – everything was His to begin with, and He has entrusted us to enjoy many blessings while living here –

  • My home is cozy and structurally sound as opposed to some we saw in Africa.
  • We have it easy -- with nice churches and comfy pews. These children (in photo) sit on a "tarp pew" for their special service every Saturday.
  • Our financial situations may be declining in America, but we are blessed with an abundance of food.  Limited supplies are replenished to provide meat for these families (US visitors hunting photo).

Perhaps God proves to us His power in ways different from those living in a poorer country --  BUT, He is God there. He is God here. He is all they need and all we need. He will not fail and will never run out of power to keep us in the good times and bad.

Our mission trip to South Africa was phenomenal. 10 days, 17,000 miles, 17 hours of flight time (each way) and hours spent traveling place to places to view God’s beauty. This group consisted of my husband and me, his father, his brother and sister along with their spouses and a high school student from our Christian Day School. It was packed with amazing sightseeing of numerous animals – most just feet away. We helped spruce up a school/church campground and were privileged to go hunting to supply meat for the six African pastors connected to the conference. (Yes, yours truly shot her first animal from the back of a [non-moving] truck in the open fields of South Africa!)

This video clip will give you a little journaling of our time spent in South Africa.  You'll want your sound on.


                        

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Balanced Eating

The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian. ~A.W. Tozer

Have you ever looked back over a period of time and wonder where the days have gone?  My past two weeks have been like that.  I've been finishing up a challenging writing project, struggling through an annoying cold that is just tenacious in its grip, while preparing for a speaking engagement.  Nothing big and exciting, just life's busyness.  


I've missed all my readers though, and missed checking up on your blogs.  I didn't realize how much nourishment I receive from you.  Isn't it interesting how through the seasons of our lives, God blesses us with spiritual food from a myriad of places?  


I'm picky about what I eat when I'm physically hungry.  I love fruit, steak and cookies.  But, I eat--and enjoy--more than those three categories.  The same thing is true with what I feed my soul on.  I love to read you who are writing authentically.  I also enjoy hearing my pastor share the food God gives him for his sheep.  But when I'm starved I reach for the Word and oh, does it ever satisfy--just like a thick slice of prime rib (with horseradish, of course).  It's how God shelters me--sharing the Word that has fed so many before me.


I have my favorites list of Bible books (Leviticus not included).  I also have favorite verses.  But to live on them exclusively wouldn't give me the balanced diet I need.  Melanie brought a couple homemade peanut butter cookies to me this week, but to ensure balance I had to eat more than those two cookies for lunch--even though I enjoyed them more than the boring ham salad sandwich.


There are times I need to read Leviticus and remember the sacrifices the Priests were instructed to make. I become blessed knowing Jesus made the final sacrifice for me.  I can get bogged down in purification rules, but when I come to Leviticus 26 and read, "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt...I have broken loose the heavy load from your back and made you to walk straight," an overwhelming joy reaches my heart as I'm reminded that God took my load and I no longer bear the weight of sin.  
It might be encouraging to read Psalms--verses like, "You are my strong tower.  The righteous run to it and are saved," or "The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer." These are the peanut butter cookies of Scripture. But sometimes the Levitical ham sandwich is needed for a balanced diet.  A. W. Tozer said, "The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian."


I heard a beautiful song and stirring message this morning on the cross of Christ.  As soon as I post this I'll visit some of your blog homes.  But I won't neglect the love letters from God -- all sixty six.  And I'll listen closely to hear what God has for me and my life.  


Sing them over again to me
Wonderful words of life.
Sweetly echo the Master's call
Wonderful words of life.

Words so freely give,
Sanctify forever
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
Wonderful words of life.
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