Trials

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by Caryl Moll

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that this past year certainly really does feel like a trial.  This is why I was so touched by one of the ‘Bible You Version’ messages last week. And I’m sure they won’t mind me repeating it here today. It comes from the book of James:

James 1:12 NIV

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

I know that we all feel uncomfortable with all the many changes that we have had to implement into our lives over the past year.  Perhaps, like me, you have found a new skill, talent, a friend or simply discovered a new way of doing things. Maybe you’ve created a new source of income for your family. Perhaps you’ve reached for your Bible more often, prayed more or found a new ministry. Or maybe you’ve simply discovered a new way of navigating all the obstacles that the pandemic has presented. Either way, I can bet that it’s challenged your mind to try our new ways of doing things. We’ve all had to think harder too and have had to persevere in this pandemic.

 I’m not discounting the despondency that sometimes goes along with such large-scale and ongoing change and illness, but in the grand scheme of things these challenges can serve to make us stronger.

The message of James really made me think…

 Although change doesn’t sit nicely with most of us, it certainly grows us. If we recognise it as exactly that – a trial – it becomes easier to deal with. We have learned that the ‘status quo’ of the difficulty probably won’t last. We will overcome. Trials are temporary. We can see them as a challenge – like training for a marathon.

So, this is the simple message for today…

Hang in there. You are blessed in this trial. Keep your focus on Jesus. Let’s all persevere together and look forward to the crown of life at the end.

 

With love, in Christ

Caryl

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There’s Joy in Giving

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by Calven Celliers

I was recently touched by a testimony that I read, by Hollywood legend, the late Katharine Hepburn, who shared the following account in her book Everything Good in the World –

“Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus.

“Finally, there was only one other family between us and the ticket counter. This family made a big impression on me. There were eight children, all probably under the age of 12. The way they were dressed, you could tell they didn’t have a lot of money, but their clothes were neat and clean.

“The children were well-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, animals, and all the acts they would be seeing that night. By their excitement you could sense they had never been to the circus before. It would be a highlight of their lives. The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be.

“The ticket lady asked the man how many tickets he wanted? He proudly responded, “I’d like to buy eight children’s tickets and two adult tickets, so I can take my family to the circus.” The ticket lady stated the price. The man’s wife let go of his hand, her head dropped, the man’s lip began to quiver. Then he leaned a little closer and asked, “How much did you say?” The ticket lady again stated the price. The man didn’t have enough money. How was he supposed to turn and tell his eight kids that he didn’t have enough money to take them to the circus?

“Seeing what was going on, my dad reached into his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill, and then dropped it on the ground. My father bent down, picked up the $20 bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, sir, this fell out of your pocket.” The man understood what was going on. He wasn’t begging for a handout but certainly appreciated the help in a desperate situation. He looked straight into my dad’s eyes, took my dad’s hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the $20 bill, and with his lip quivering and a tear streaming down his cheek, he replied, “Thank you, sir. This really means a lot to me and my family.”

“My father and I went back to our car and drove home. The $20 that my dad gave away is what we were going to buy our own tickets with. Although we didn’t get to see the circus that night, we both felt a joy inside us that was far greater than seeing the circus could ever provide. That day I learned the value to give.

“The importance of giving, blessing others, can never be over emphasized because there’s always joy in giving.”

Isn’t that just such a lovely, inspiring testimony? In closing, here’s a thought to reemphasise the point of what Miss Hepburn shared. In Acts 20, we read the apostle Paul’s closing address to the elders at Ephesus where he says, 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Even secular researchers have found that these words of Christ, “it’s better to give than to receive”, bears absolute truth: giving to others puts a bigger smile on your face than doing stuff for yourself. Some even conclude that this is the ‘path to happiness’.

It would certainly seem that in the Kingdom economy we’re rewarded not by what we get, but by what we give away. Living by the Kingdom economy is a major part of being a disciple.  We are blessed to be a blessing. So, count your blessings, and flip your blessings by blessing others and let the Lord do His work through you.

 

Yours in Christ,

Calven

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Crown Him With Many Crowns

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Guest Post

by John Doyle

Throughout history, crowns have been the primary image for authority and honour. I remember as a 5 year old looking at the pictures of Queen Elizabeth being Crowned Queen of England in June 1953 and thinking as a child *Wow I would love to have a Crown like that*. After I had given my life to the Lord, I recall reading scripture and finding out that there is a crown awaiting me and His Church in Glory.
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. (1 Peter 5: 1-4)
 
What an amazing promise to those who willingly serve the Lord!
 
So how do we willingly serve Him? It begins by CROWNING the King of Kings and Lord of Lords of our lives in ways that will transform and impact our lives. Crowns in the New Testament can symbolize the spiritual authority and power vested in us because of the gift of Salvation given to us by our Lord and Savior.
 
When we will willingly serve Him as described in the passage of scripture written by the disciple Peter above, there are wonderful ways that we can bring Honour and Majesty to our Mighty King if we apply the CROWN principals found in Gods Word:
 
It begins by:
 
1. Confessing Him as Lord and Savior of our Lives – Romans 10:9 “and if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved.”
Confession simple means to own up to what you know and believe. If there is sin – Confess it to the Lord and He will Forgive. If you have Faith, confess it to others and Gods name will be glorified.
 
2. Rejoice in the Lord – Psalm 33:1 “Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous; befitting is the Praise of the upright”
Even in the difficult times we are all going through with the Lockdown we can still Rejoice in the Lord knowing that He has it all in His control and in His time He will make all things Beautiful -Read: Ecclesiastes 3:11.
 
3. Open your Heart and Mind – Please read Psalm 23: 1-6. A Psalm of David – We know that The Lord is our Shepherd and when we open up our Hearts and Minds to our Shepherd He will sometimes make us “Lie Down” He will “Lead us in the paths of righteousness” He “Restores” so lets always have open hearts and minds to His leading and His promise is “He will never leave us or forsake us”
 
4. Worship the King of Kings – Psalm 86:12 “I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and will glorify your name forever”
Its a wonderful thing to gather together at Church as Gods people and Worship the Lord, but worship begins in our hearts and minds and reflects in our speech and our actions. When we are thankful to the Lord whatever we maybe going through we are saying to this world “This world is not my home I’m just passing through” and we are going to glorify the name of the Lord “Forever”.
 
5. Never give up on your Faith in Christ – 1 Corinthians 9:25 – “and everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things, they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we do it for the imperishable Crown”
Its a journey of Faith and its never ending until we leave this earth, so we are encouraged by His Word to never give up on this journey despite the trials and tribulations that may come our way, especially in these days we are living.
 
We have one of the greatest Promises from the Lord that when we Faithfully wear these Crowns of Confession, Rejoicing, Open heart and Mind, Worship irrespective of circumstance and choose to Never give up.
 
The Promise is: 2 Timothy 4: 8-10 “Finally there is laid up for me the CROWN of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not to me only, but also to All who have Loved His appearing”.
 
What a day that will be when our Jesus we shall see and He comes from glory and provides for us with the CROWN of righteousness.
 
Final question – Do you Love the appearing of the Lord Jesus? The reward is a wonderful Crown given to us by the Lord Himself.
 
Time to sing with me:
Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon the throne,
Hark, how the heavenly anthem drowns, all music but its own,
Awake my soul and sing, of Him Who died for thee,
And hail Him as Thy matchless King through all eternity.
 
In the Love of the Lord Jesus,
John and Barbara.
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In His Arms

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by Graham Mol

Last week I took the kids to our local library. A few days before they had been with Candice to register a library card and start taking out books, something they’ve be waiting to do and now could do because of the re-opening of libraries under the latest loosening of lockdown restrictions. Now, mere days later they wanted to go back for new books having already devoured the first lot (metaphorically of course!)

As we walked into the foyer of the Weltevreden Park public library I was transported back years and years ago to when I was about my son’s current age and my sister and I would go with my mom or dad to get books out from this self-same library. One of the first things that struck me was just how much smaller it all looked!

This makes sense, since everything is bigger in comparison when you are a small child. I’m sure you too have had this experience when you’ve come across places of your childhood, where so much is as you remember it, it just seems… smaller.

I have found the same to be true with the problems we face in life. At the time they seem gigantic, insurmountable, all-consuming and immovable. Yet when looking back, they don’t seem quite so big and scary. If only we could see the problems of today with the eyes of tomorrow. What comfort and courage we could have in the face of such problems, knowing that they can be beaten. That they’re not as tough as we think.

Of course, this is impossible, for us. But God’s perspective is different. He has already seen the end from the beginning. He knows the solution even before the problem arises. And, importantly, he knows how you’ll weather the storm and overcome the odds, before you even have a clue.

We may not have the gift of hindsight going into the problem, but we do have the gift of His strong love and presence. We can trust that He is able and will carry us through.

When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
    your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
19 When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy. (Psalm 94:18-19)

1Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear. (Isaiah 59:1)

You see, when our God is big, our problems seem small in comparison.

 

God Bless

Graham

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