The New Harvest Christian Fellowship

Pastors’ Blog

Remembering the Good

by Graham Mol

On Sunday 24 May, a few minutes before we started the live stream of the Sunday service my wife told me to smile as she took a picture (which you can see included this blog post). After she took the picture I asked her why she had done that to which she simply replied, “For the memories.” I remember being so touched by that. I really appreciated what she had done. As it turned out, this was the last time I preached from my lounge as the lockdown level restrictions on churches would change the following month and we’d be back streaming the services from NHCF again. This part of the adventure, the figuring out how to set this all up and having Candice step in as my “technical team” has ended now but I will always treasure those memories. Never in my life would I have ever thought I’d preach from my own living room!

It seems odd to say that I have memories to treasure from this difficult time we as a nation are facing. I’m not saying that it’s all good, in fact so much of it is really bad, upsetting and traumatic. The pandemic and the lockdown it necessitated have been heavy burdens to bear and I know that many have struggled far more than I could even imagine. Yet in the midst of all the sadness, fear and turmoil, we all have special moments to treasure. The “silver lining” in the dark clouds that is so often spoken about. It is good that we treasure these small blessings. Maybe for you it has been the extra time you’ve spent with your family or the opportunity to really dive deeply into God’s word, enjoying His presence even in the solitude. Maybe you’ve found a new sense of peace in having to slow down, only now acknowledging the frantic, unsustainable pace that was ruling your life.

In Philippians 4:8 Paul has this to say:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

It is good for us to remember the positive things. To keep hold and treasure those special moments. To look for and appreciate the blessings amidst the storm, the little glowing lights in the gloom. When we humans remember the past, we tend to dwell on the good things and forget the bad. That is why the “old days” always seem to be the “good old days”. While we should heed the wisdom of the Teacher in Eccelsiastes as he says, “Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions,” (7:10); it is not necessarily a bad thing that we tend to remember the good rather than the bad. The good things, the treasured moments, can be a wonderful reminder of God’s faithfulness, goodness and kindness to us. The fact that we don’t remember the bad as much means that those things no longer hold sway over us, bringing us down. So I encourage you to think of the good and to give thanks to God for small mercies, silver linings and hidden blessings amidst the difficulties we face.

Lastly, I’d like to give a “shout out” to Caryl who, by sharing her reflections from her rooftop this morning, inspired me to write about this topic. I can recommend you go check out her video (LINK).

 

God Bless

Graham

Mourn with Those Who Mourn

by Calven Celliers

It is with a heavy heart that I write today’s blog post. Very dear friends of mine in Sydney, Australia tragically lost their beautiful daughter in a car accident 5 weeks ago. I have been trying to be present to them in the midst of their grief, and to support them as best I can from afar. But right now I am feeling so completely frustrated at my seeming inability to take away their pain and suffering and it has once again highlighted for me the reality of how in such situations, we stand the risk of saying and doing the wrong things, all because we don’t actually know what to say or do. We sometimes believe it is our job to fix people’s problems by giving them pat answers to painful experiences, or by trying to get them to overcome their pain. And because this is so real to me right now, I thought I might jot down some things that I’ve learnt (and said or done) along the way.

The reality of life on this side of eternity is that there is only one thing that you and I can be absolutely certain of, and that is the fact that we are all going to die. We’re part of what they call a dissolving world. Death is part of life, and as such we all have to face up to it and deal with it at various intersections along the way.

Wise King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 3,

1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens … a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1 & 4NIV).

The apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Church at Rome, 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15NIV)

I hope the following suggestions might help you to know what to do (or not do) and what to say (or not say) when supporting others who are going through times of personal tragedy. This is not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination, and I know that not all of these suggestions will apply to every person and every situation. But in my own experience these sorts of things are commonly mentioned as being helpful (or unhelpful) for those people who face tragedy, grief, and pain.

Don’t intentionally blame God when tragedy strikes. It’s not helpful to tell people that God is responsible for taking their child, their husband, or their parent. We say things like, “This is all in God’s perfect plan. God has something better in store for you. His ways are higher than our ways. It was her time. God needed him more than you do.” When talking with people in their pain, make sure that not a single cliché comes out of your mouth.

Along with blaming God, sometimes we utter things that unintentionally come across as if we’re blaming the person who is hurting. The classic example of this is in the book of Job where Job’s four friends tell Job that the only reason bad things are happening to him is because God is punishing him for some sin. But just because someone is experiencing pain in their life, this does not automatically mean that their pain is a direct consequence of sin. And, even if it is, and we know it, and they know it, it is still not helpful, loving, or kind to point their sin out to them in the midst of their tragedy. If someone is dying from lung cancer, they don’t need to reminded that it is because they smoked two packs of cigarettes every day for 30 years.

Another thing to avoid is to compare horror stories. When facing the pain of others, we are often tempted to talk about our own painful experiences and how we got through them. This is rarely helpful. When a person is facing great pain, they don’t want to hear about your own pain. This is their pain; not yours. No two tragedies are identical, and so it is not helpful to bring up your pain to others who are experiencing pain, even if the tragedies are similar, don’t try to compare.

I totally get that we want to fix things, to help, to relieve the pain, to dull the ache, to take care of the problem. But in times of great personal tragedy, we can realistically do none of these things.

Once we realize we cannot help, we give up trying, and this liberates us to do the things that we can do in these situations, things that are loving and kind. What sorts of things?

Be present. One of the best things you can do when someone is facing great personal tragedy is just to be in the same room with them. Not talking, not trying to fix things, not trying to cheer them up or give them a theology lesson, but simply and only to sit there with them. There is great comfort in having people around you in times of tragedy and sadness.

If someone has experienced the loss of a family member, we often think that they don’t want us to talk about them. But in my experience, it seems that many people want exactly the opposite. Not talking about a person makes it seem that along with the person’s physical death, their memory has died as well. But when memories are all we have of a loved one, we want to remember them, and we want others to remember them too. We want to laugh at the funny things they said and did, remember the stories that made them unique, and point out their contributions to joy and happiness in this world. Of course, we need to be sensitive and take our cues on this from those in mourning. Our first task is just to be present. Only bring up memories when the grieving family members indicate that they want to talk about their departed loved one. 

In closing, when a person or family is going through personal loss, they don’t want to think about things that show the passing of time and that life is going on around them. Things like cooking meals, cleaning the house, and mowing the lawn are often good things to do for families and individuals in their season of pain. These acts of service are not, however, substitutes for being present with the person. Remember, people always come before programs. If we are not present with them, but busy ourselves with actions, our actions may be interpreted as wanting to distance ourselves from their pain.

I know that this post is a tad longer than usual, but there’s just so much one can say on this topic. I trust that what I’ve shared will in some way help you when next you’re called to mourn with those who mourn.

 

This blog post is dedicated to the beautiful memory of

Kyra Donna Sutherland

1994/09/23 – 2020/05/24

 

God bless,

Calven

God Takes Pleasure in His People

by Luke Kincaid

Last week while reading through a devotion on Psalm 149 I came across a much needed reminder contained in verse 4 which reads as follows:

 4 For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.

Ross Lester is one of my heroes in the faith and I identify and agree with his following notes on this Psalm which say:

“I sometimes feel like God just barely tolerates me. On good days, when I can remember that Christ’s righteousness is gifted to me, I can still think that is a begrudging exchange – like God the Father has to love me because of Jesus, but he doesn’t really like me. In my experience as a pastor, I have learned that I am not the only one who feels this way. People really struggle to imagine that God enjoys us.”

This is such a dangerous lie to allow to infiltrate our thought life as it will then negatively affect our relationship with God. The truth is that God takes pleasure in His people. If you are a child of God, God is currently taking pleasure in you in this very moment – what a truth!

So regardless of where you are in life right now know that if you are a disciple of Jesus, this is how God feels about you. There is nothing you can do to make Him love you any more or any less because God looks at you, a genuine disciple, He sees His perfect Son – Jesus:

26 …for through faith you are all sons of God in Christ Jesus. 27 For those of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ. – Galatians 3:26-27

 

Much love,

Luke

God’s Constancy in our Uncertainty

by Graham Mol

Have you ever experienced an earthquake? I’ve encountered a few minor tremors in my lifetime but nothing that would classify as a full-blown earthquake. In reading of the experience of those who have lived through quakes on the higher end of the Richter scale, one of the comments that is often made is how terrifying it is when something that you know to be solid and dependable, the ground itself, is now shaking and unstable and dangerous. You don’t know where to run.

If you think about it, we build our lives, quite literally, on the solidity and dependability of the ground on which we stand. We walk confidently, not cautiously, because we know that the ground will not disappear or move under our feet. We build homes of brick and mortar on ground that we know will support it. All of that comes tumbling down when the earth undergoes upheaval.

For many around the world, the earth is shaking. We’ve experienced great upheaval in our lives and even as we seem to be settling into a “new normal” there is a great deal of uncertainty. Our nation is entering into the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic right now, just as many of us are tiring of the strict regulations and practices that have been put in place to reduce the risk and spread of the virus. There is a tension in the air, before the anticipated storm. This is uneasy ground upon which we tread. Where are we to turn in the midst of such uncertainty?

The author of Hebrews writes the following beautiful words as he quotes from Psalm 102:25-27:

“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands;
11 they will perish, but you remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment,
12 like a robe you will roll them up,
    like a garment they will be changed.
But you are the same,
    and your years will have no end.”   (Hebrews 1:10-12 ESV)

In such times of uncertainty we can find comfort and assurance in the constancy of God. He is more solid and dependable than the earth on which we stand. He is the originator of all creation and He will endure when it all fades away. Through all the changes, the twists and turns of history, He remains the same. Not only is the Lord unchanging and enduring but so too is His word and therefore His promises to us (Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 24:35).

I find comfort in this. I find a firm foundation in a time of shifting sand. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, if the virus will spread exponentially, if those I love will be harmed by its dreadful touch. I don’t know what will happen to our precious nation. But I do know that God is good, that He loves us and has compassion on us. I do know that He alone holds the future. There is no changing with Him, no turning away. I can bet my life on Him, as He already gave His life for me.

When I am afraid,
    I put my trust in You.
In God, whose word I praise,
    in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
    What can flesh do to me?    (Psalm 56:3-4 ESV)

 

God Bless

Graham

Glory

Guest Post

by Dave Griffiths

A lot of people are asking, why is the world the way it is? What’s going on here? What on earth is God doing?  Of course, most of these people have never considered God before, but now, there is this terrible international crises, Corona, that is killing thousands daily across the world.

At times like these, one can be tempted to doubt the love of God, when actually, an assurance of how much God does love us is what we need to carry us through this time.

Whenever we are tempted to doubt God’s love, we should read John 17, slowly, listen to God talking to God, and thank Him for including us in the story of His glory. The glory of God is the display of His excellence. Jesus not only prayed for Himself, but also for His apostles and then for those of us who would believe in Him.

The story of glory will go on forever. One day, we will personally beheld the glory of our Saviour, see the display of His excellence, and join the heavenly community of the family of God.

 

Love to all God’s people at New Harvest.

Dave

John 17: Jesus’ Prayer

 

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Guilty of the Good You Didn’t Do

by Calven Celliers

Once a week I drop my boys off at our local tennis club for coaching. As I dropped them off one afternoon I noticed some graffiti on the wall of an electrical substation at the Recreation Center next door. Not only did it grab my attention, it got me thinking. In fact I took the photograph below with my phone when I went to fetch them, so that I would remember it for a sermon or a devotion or … a blog post one day. Little did I know at the time that it was in fact a famous quote by Voltaire, a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, and sadly his criticism of Christianity. So what did Monsieur Voltaire have to say?

Now, regardless of what Voltaire might have initially been thinking when he first penned these words, let me share with you some related thoughts on the topic. You were saved to make a contribution. God designed you to make a difference with your life. In his letter to the Church at Ephesus the apostle Paul makes this statement:

10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10NIV)

At first, what we read here might disconcert us. Hasn’t Paul gone to great lengths to emphasize that our salvation is not by works? Why is he now saying that we have been created in Christ to do good works? Yes, our salvation does come by grace received through faith. We do not earn our salvation through anything we do, but this clearly doesn’t mean that good works don’t matter or are unrelated to salvation. In fact, this passage makes it abundantly clear, salvation and good works are closely connected. Whilst good works don’t earn salvation, they do follow salvation. To put it differently, we are not saved by good works, but for good works.

Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t just immediately take us to heaven the moment we accept His grace? Why does He leave us in a fallen world?  My suspicion is that salvation is not simply a ticket to heaven after death. Rather, salvation means being brought from death to life by the love and grace of God, through the saving work of Christ on the cross. And when we are saved into new life, we begin that life in the here and now, on this earth, in an altogether different way. At least that’s God’s plan for us. God prepared what He wants each one of us to do once we’ve surrendered to His lordship. He has a unique plan for each of us, as His ambassadors who serve Him in this world. This includes certain spiritual gifts and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives to lead us to works that contribute to His restoration of the world; works that build up rather than break down, works that make our lives meaningful, and bring us a sense of fulfillment and purpose.

James, the younger brother of Christ, put it like this:

26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” (James 2:26NIV)

By implication, faith without works is dead because it reveals a heart that has not been transformed by God. What saves us is the Holy Spirit’s regeneration of our hearts, and that regeneration will invariably be seen in a life of faith featuring ongoing obedience to God.

The Bible tells us in no uncertain terms that there will come a day when each and every one of us will give a personal account to God. Think about the implications of that. One day God will consider how much time and energy we spent on ourselves, furthering our own agenda, in relation to how much time we invested in serving Him and His purpose for our lives. At that point, all our excuses for self-centeredness will sound hollow. In God’s Kingdom, you have a place, a purpose, a role, and a function to fulfill. May we never be found guilty for not fulfilling the good works God prepared in advance for us to do.

 

God bless you as you seek His will for your life,

Calven

Perseverance

by Graham Mol

I was thinking about how we as Christians are to be shining lights in this world. Our vision at New Harvest for this year is: “Shine! A broken world in darkness waits for the light of Christ in you,” based on Matthew 5:14. As I thought of the many different ways we can shine for Jesus, the virtue of perseverance came to mind.

In Philippians  2:14-16a the apostle Paul says the following:

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life.

It takes perseverance to “do everything without grumbling and arguing.” I’m sure we all have days where we got out on the wrong side of the bed, we all have our “off” days. So it’s not always possible to do everything without moaning or getting irritable, we’re human after all. Yet for a believer this should be the exception and not the norm. For someone who has placed their hope in Christ and finds their joy in the Lord, tough times and difficult circumstances won’t keep us down.

This is one of the things that makes Christians stand out from the world, the fact that even though we face many of the same struggles and obstacles everyone else experiences, we keep going. Somehow we remain standing, somehow we still have joy in our hearts, somehow our hope is undiminished. Somehow we persevere.

The Bible speaks a great deal about perseverance but one of the most beautiful and inspiring passages be found in Isaiah chapter 40:

30 Youths may become faint and weary,
and young men stumble and fall,
31 but those who trust in the Lord
will renew their strength;
they will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not become weary,
they will walk and not faint.

“Those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength.” This is how we can keep on loving, keep on sharing, keep on caring and praying and praising even when we go into day how-ever-much of lockdown (day 90 today!) Our perseverance is and will be a witness to God’s power and glory. When people look at us somehow persevering, we can then point them to Christ who is our strength.

I want to encourage you to persevere. Find your strength in your relationship with the Lord, allow the Holy Spirit to refresh and renew you, and shine!

“Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in,” (Galatians 6:9 AMP)

 

God Bless

Graham

Burn the Ships

On February 19, 1519, the Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés set sail for Mexico with an entourage of 11 ships, 13 horses, 110 sailors, and 553 soldiers … what Cortés is reported to have done after landing is an epic tale of mythic proportions. He issued an order that turned his mission into an all-or-nothing proposition:  Burn The Ships! As his crew watched their fleet of ships burn and sink, they came to terms with the fact that retreat was not an option.

There are moments in life when we need to burn the ships to our past. We do this by making a defining decision that will eliminate the possibility of sailing back to the old world we left behind. We read in 1 Kings 19 that this is exactly what Elisha did when Elijah approached him as he was plowing his fields with 12 yoke of oxen –

21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.” (1 Kings 19:21NLT)

Elisha said good-bye to his old life once and for all by throwing a party for his friends. He turned his plowing equipment into kindling and braai’d his oxen. It was no doubt the most meaningful and memorable night of his life up until that point because it symbolized the last day of his old life and the first day of his new life. By burning his plowing equipment Elisha couldn’t go back to his old way of life because he destroyed the time machine that would take him there. It was the end of Elisha the farmer and the beginning of Elisha the prophet.

What does this Scriptural account mean in your life as a believer?  The apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Colossians,

For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3NLT)

Similarly in his letter to the Church at Ephesus he wrote,

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4: 22 – 24NLT)

In order to begin a new chapter, you must end an old chapter.

While I obviously can’t generalise, I think that one of the fundamental problems with a lot of believers is that they, or dare I say we, want God to do something new while they keep on doing the same old thing. But, change is a two-sided coin. Out with the old is one side, in with the new is the other side. Albert Einstein said that insanity can be defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. In other words we’d be nothing short of insane to think that we as believers are going to experience the fullness of the new life we have been promised in Christ, if we continue living in such a way as to feed the worldly desires of our flesh.

Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew,

25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” (Matthew 16:25NLT)

To die to self is to set aside what we want in this moment and focus instead on loving God with everything we’ve got. When we trust in God as our Lord and Saviour, the message of the Gospel changes us as a person, through the work of the Holy Spirit. If we trust in God and don’t see both inward and outward changes in our lives, we aren’t truly living out what we believe in. When we die to our “old self” with all the sin, and desires of the world, we are called to leave it behind and not look back. We cannot think that we can be Christians and still dabble in the ways of the world.

So in closing I want you to seriously consider today what ships do you need to burn in order to destroy the time machine that will keep you from retreating to your former way of life, habits, and behaviours?

 

May God’s blessings surround you today; trust Him and walk in His way.
May His presence within, guard and keep you from sin.
Know His joy, know His peace, know His love.

Calven

Staying Teachable

by Graham Mol

None of us set out to be a know-it-all. In fact, none of us would ever classify ourselves as someone who knows everything. And yet, that is not always how we act. This is especially so in areas that we’ve had a lot of experience in, areas that may have become “old news” “that same old thing” and “ordinary”. We think we’ve seen or heard it all. We’ve made our mistakes and learn from them but then still make the mistake of thinking we have no more mistakes to make. Pride is a very subtle thing that can creep into our lives. This can happen in our spiritual life too. We get used to the way we do things, the way we pray, the way we worship, the way we serve the Lord. We’d never say our way is the best way, but when others share an insight or make a suggestion that challenges the way we’ve being doing things, how open are we to changing? How willing are we to learn from others? How teachable are we really?

Proverbs 15:12 (GNT) has this to say:

“Conceited people do not like to be corrected; they never ask for advice from those who are wiser.”

And Proverbs 13:18 (NLT) says:

“If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honoured.”

It takes humility to realise that we don’t know it all. To realise that the more we learn it should open our eyes to how much we don’t know. This is wisdom, to learn and grow in knowledge but still remain humble.

“Wisdom, from God’s perspective, lies in knowing how to take advice without being either defensive or condescending. Wisdom is evident when we humble ourselves to learn even from those who admittedly know less than we do and are perhaps not as experienced,” (Dave Kraft,True Leaders are Teachable“)

God has so much that He wants to teach us, about Himself and life. There is so much that we have to learn, and even in eternity we’ll never stop learning. So let us not allow that subtle pride enter, where we start to act like we know it all and resist the lessons of others when they threaten the way we’ve always done things. Let us be humble. Let us be teachable, and always keep learning.

 

God Bless

Graham

New Every Morning – My Rooftop Tale

Guest Post

by Caryl Moll

As the world folded in on us in mid-March, I wondered how I would cope. It was all so sudden: a world pandemic resulting in a national lockdown. Effectively, we had all been ordered into isolation as this novel virus took hold of our planet.

In a flash, we were socially transformed: “No hugging! No physical contact! Quarantine! Masks! Sanitizing! No Church! …” As expected, fear, uncertainty and confusion prevailed. Everyone was scared as hopelessness descended. It was all overwhelming.

How could I hold onto my Lord in this environment? Why was this happening? What was expected of me personally? How was I to be a disciple of Christ with this happening?

It may sound crazy, but it was during those first few days of lockdown that I started exploring the ROOFTOP of our home. I suddenly discovered the “sunrise” … And God’s creation – things that had always been there but somehow went unnoticed. It was an incredibly beautiful experience.

Nowadays, I rise when it’s still dark. The warmth of my bed no longer calls. I prepare my flask, grab my bible, climb the ladder and head for the “sky”. The rooftop has become one of my many sanctuaries at home (and yes, it is safe!) I have, inadvertently, discovered a new world – God’s world – and a new lens through which to observe it.

I cannot begin to tell you how beautiful the sunrises are. Each one has been magically different. I find myself holding my breath as I wait for the dawn – listening to all the sounds and taking in the world’s ambience as we change seasons. I watch as birds fly across and herald in the new day. Small, intimate flocks soar upwards towards the early rays. They warm their wings and practically celebrate their ability to fly. (Shouldn’t we all?) The colours of the dawn are glorious – a heavenly palette – as God brushes over the skies. Everything is new and ready. The chill of the breeze is tangible too and the foliage almost dances as those first rays hit the earth.

I’m not advocating for everyone to climb on their roof, but I’m rather encouraging readers to search for their own personal, private space with God. For me, these are magical moments – celebrating our Great Creator! I am in awe. Every day, as that golden sun peeps over the horizon, I realise more and more how much God is in control – TOTALLY in control! I also begin to understand how much he loves me and provides for me. Each morning I am reminded:

“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22,23)

God uses all situations to His glory. In my case, I have discovered that I can, indeed, share these sunrises. Yes, I manage to “live-stream” them to my friends on Facebook. God has made a way. I know that the videos have uplifted a few folk in their isolation and I am so thankful for this. We can all find unique ways to touch others

I would like to take this moment to ask you to join me by doing the following things:

Together, let’s resolve to set our daily FOUNDATION firmly in Christ. Let’s adopt a mantle of GRATITUDE as we begin each day.  Let’s OBSERVE God’s creation and LEARN from it. Let’s reach for the GOOD, be CREATIVE and do something KIND for someone else. But, most of all, let’s understand fully that…

GOD LOVES US ALL DEEPLY!”

 

With love, in Christ

 Caryl