Our Time is in His Hands

  • Post comments:0 Comments

by Calven Celliers

At the Men’s DNA Group that I attend on a Thursday evening, the guys always enjoy a time of worship together, after a quick cup of coffee and a catch up that is, and then we delve into the Word and fellowship over a study of some sort. Last night as part of our worship we sang a new song called Here Now (Madness). One of the first lines of the lyrics grabbed my attention – Time runs its race within Your hand…

As I listened to the song, I was reminded of a quote by Aiden Tozer who said, “The man of true faith may live in the absolute assurance that his steps are ordered by the Lord. For him, misfortune is outside the bounds of possibility. He cannot be torn from this earth one hour ahead of the time which God has appointed, and he cannot be detained on earth one moment after God is done with him here.”

Our time is in God’s hands! In Psalm 31 King Davis declares, 14 But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in your hands…” (Psalm 31:14 & 15NIV) David acknowledges that our lives belong fully and finally to God. We receive each day as a gift from the Lord, to serve Him and to serve others in His name through all we do. If you think about it, King David’s words stand in remarkable contrast to what we have heard for most of our lives. We’ve been told to make the most of our time, to make sure we aren’t missing out, and to make sure we aren’t wasting our lives. There is an incredible weight that is placed upon our shoulders when we feel that our success or significance is entirely up to us. The reality, however, is that our steps are ordered by the Lord.

In Psalm 31 David cries out to the Lord because of his enemies; they are surrounding him on every side and are seeking his life. He is despised by everyone around him, and we can sympathize with his loneliness and despair. But more than David laments his trouble, he rejoices that God is on his side. He repeatedly calls God his refuge, fortress, hiding place, and strength. David had nowhere to turn in his sorrow but to the Lord, and there he found joy, peace, hope, and rest.

As Christ followers, how are we meant to respond in moments of pain and trial?

We must learn to live in the tension of real pain and real provision. We are never meant to ignore our trials or challenges. The call of Christ isn’t to simply put on a happy face and pretend everything is okay. The space we must learn to occupy is one where we are open and honest before the Lord about our hurts and disappointments, yet at the very same time fully trusting that He is with us and moving among us.

How are our times in God’s hand today? What do we learn from this passage of Scripture for our individual lives?

David says, “I trust in You, O Lord”. In fact, you’ll find that the word “trust” is used at least four times throughout this Psalm. This is the most vital lesson we learn from this passage: simple, unreserved trust in Someone far greater than anything we can physically see or touch. As His child, my life could not be in better hands. 

As humans, we tend to become impatient with God’s plan and want what we want when we want it right now. But God is longsuffering with us – so much more than we deserve – and gently reminds us to imitate His patience; to be still and know that He is God in the midst of our trials.

And lastly, David’s close relationship with God is evident: “I trust in You…You are my God.” For us to have true trust and patience in God’s timing, we must cultivate a personal relationship with Him.

What an amazing life the life of faith is. Our heavenly Father not only holds the entire world in His hands, but also my life and yours. May we always trust in Him, wait on Him, and develop our relationship with Him, as our time runs its race within His hand.

 

God bless,

Calven

Continue Reading Our Time is in His Hands

Non-Negotiable

  • Post comments:1 Comment

Guest Post

by Dave Griffiths

Every year Christians pause to remember an event that changed history. Whether you call it Easter or Resurrection Sunday, it’s a day of rejoicing.  An amazing account of the Lord Jesus’ victory over the grave.

Ever since the empty tomb was discovered, when Jesus Christ physically rose from the dead.  This is the central tenet of Christianity.

Why do Christians believe  Jesus literally and bodily rose from the grave? The answer to this crucial question is found by scrutinizing the first hand testimony of those who experienced the event as recorded in the New Testament.

Mary Magdalene was the  first to tell Jesus’ disciples of the empty tomb she has discovered earlier in the morning. “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him” ( Jhn.20:13). While she was there, she came face-to-face with Jesus, but failed to recognize Him, yet as soon as He spoke, she immediately recognized Him.

She heard His voice.

She saw His face.

She touched His glorified body.        He was Alive!

Later that day, He appeared to people who were walking home from Jerusalem. He decided not to reveal Himself until He reminded them of the witness of Moses and the prophets. As they walked, they listened to Him as He expounded to them the Scriptures, the things concerning Himself. (Luke24:27) The risen Jesus was alive and walking with them. After accepting an invitation to stay at their home, Jesus joined them for the evening meal. He took bread, blessed it, and broke it and gave it to them. Then, their eyes were opened and they knew Him.

He was later seen by 10 disciples, and, although the doors were locked, He suddenly appeared in the room with them. (Jhn. 20:19)  He showed them the scars on His hands, feet, and side.

Eight days later, He appeared again and challenged Thomas to feel His wounds, verifying He was alive.

The next time His disciples saw Him, they were in Galilee where Jesus cooked them breakfast from fish they had caught. When the apostle Paul recounted the events surrounding the resurrection, he reminded his readers, “He (Jesus) was seen by over 500 brethren at once”.

The resurrection was not an ethereal or spiritual event. Jesus rose physically and bodily from the dead, and the facts are available for the world to see:

He was crucified in Jerusalem.

He was placed in a tomb in Jerusalem that was guarded by the Roman military.

Three days later, the tomb was empty.

He appeared in His resurrected body to the disciples and large groups of people in the environs of Jerusalem numerous times for 40 day after His resurrection. (Acts 1:3).

The disciples began proclaiming His resurrection in Jerusalem.

After the apostle Peter preached in Jerusalem, 3000 believed in the resurrection. The number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem and the evidence showing Jesus rose from the dead was so compelling, they were convinced, and they believed.

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is a non-negotiable foundational tenet of Christianity.  The historical record is available for investigation. The evidence provided in eyewitness testimonies, documents the facts.

Paul’s letter to the Corinthians tells it like it is ;-

If Christ has not been raised, then your faith is a delusion and you are still lost in your sins. (1 Cor. 15:17).  The apostle John’s account concludes with a statement, “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, is the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (Jhn. 20:31).

 

Dave

Continue Reading Non-Negotiable

They Know His Voice

  • Post comments:3 Comments

by Graham Mol

Our litter of puppies are now nearly six weeks old and are still growing by the day. At the four week mark I introduced them to solid food – some pellets softened by soaking in water and formula. The puppies enthusiastically took to this new source of food and as a result I became a very important person in their lives. My VIP status is not quite as high as that of their mom, but I’m definitely up there as a provider of tasty food. With this new status come some perks, one of them being that when I call by whistling all eight of them come running.

Although it may not be for everyone, I’m loving the sight of this little pack of dogs as they come running and tumbling out the door and feeling their soft fur coats brush up against my legs as they crowd around me. I don’t even have to have their food bowls in my hands for them heed my call.

I’m reminded of Jesus’ words recorded in John chapter 10:

“Truly I tell you, anyone who doesn’t enter the sheep pen by the gate but climbs in some other way is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away from him, because they don’t know the voice of strangers.” Jesus gave them this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.

The sheep of a shepherd’s flock know and follow his voice when he calls them. Why? Because they know that he will lead them to pasture, that he will provide for them and care for them. They trust him. Jesus speaks of Himself as the Good Shepherd, one who will go to any length to protect and care for his flock, even willing to lay down his life for them. In others words, Jesus is someone we can trust in. He will not lead us astray.

The question then remains is that will you heed His call? Do you recognise His voice? The author of Hebrews notes:

Long ago God spoke to our ancestors by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son… (Hebrews 1:1-2a)

The Bible is often called the “Word” of God. In it we find the recorded word of God and the very words that Jesus spoke. As we read and meditate on Scripture we start to become familiar with God’s voice. We begin to know the Word Himself, Jesus. And so we start to recognise His voice so that we may follow Him wherever He may call us.

 

God Bless

Graham

Continue Reading They Know His Voice

The Joy of Birds

  • Post comments:2 Comments

by Caryl Moll

Today I’d like to tell you about a little quirk of mine that has become quite central to my life during the many months of lockdown.

Some of you will know that I absolutely LOVE birds – all of them!  For the past couple of years, whenever I hear or see any bird, I am stopped in my tracks. They have become a constant reminder of the presence of God’s Holy Spirit.  Please don’t get me wrong, I DON’T think birds are a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. They are merely constant reminders that “GOD IS NEAR”; that “HE CARES FOR US ALL”, and that that there are always lessons to learn about life.

There have been odd occasions, during church services, when I’ve become distracted by the “twittering from the sanctuary’s rafters”. I’ve stifled giggles when the Mynahs have almost over-powered the sermon.  Sometimes the gaggles of the guinea fowl – from the open plot next to the church – have led to my distraction. At these times, I resolve to meditate and revert into silent prayer;

“Thank you Lord for filling this place with your presence… Thank you especially for the birds you have created and the meaning they bring to my life. Thank you for reminding me that you are always with me.”

At home, in the early mornings, we are often woken by the sweet melodies of the Karoo thrushes outside our bedroom window. Sometimes we lie in and watch the smaller finches through the glass. They love to dust themselves off in the leaves of the Lemon-scented- Verbena bush. It’s a rustic effort to rid themselves of mites – ingenious!  

The bird feeder in my garden has become a strong source of “entertainment” over lockdown. We actively encourage birds to visit us during this time and we learn a lot from them too. Every morning they receive a tray of delectable offerings. Some birds wait in the branches above my head while I put the food out for them.  Some call when I am late with their breakfast.

There are so many Biblical texts about birds – from the Creation account, to the various symbolism and analogies in the various books of the Bible. (Just do a search and you will see how significant God views the birds.) He even reminds us that we have so much to learn from them. Yes, one of my favourite passages is:

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:25)

From the dullish LBJ’s (Little Brown jobs) to the elaborate Turacos and the very common Hadedah Ibises, I am innately drawn to them. I marvel at their ability to fly and to adapt to whatever environment they find themselves in.  Survival is uppermost for them as they make the most of life. Some migratory birds fly up to 5000km across continents to follow the seasons. Some penguins swim up to 1000km. They all have an internal clock which humans battle to understand. Some birds are predatory, others clean up the landscape, some are simply seed-eaters and others are cultivated for our own food.

So let’s lift our eyes, away from our cellphones and computer, and begin to take in all the amazing aspects of our God’s creation. Perhaps you’ll notice something you’ve never seen before. And perhaps it will become the lesson you need to learn today.  

With love, in Christ

Caryl

Continue Reading The Joy of Birds