Accidents Happen

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by Calven Celliers

This past week I was involved in a bumper bashing. Thankfully no one was injured , but my vehicle definitely came off second best.  No doubt, every one of us have had our fair share of accidents in life. If not in a car, then perhaps we’ve injured ourselves, or at some point we’ve fallen down. Ironically, falling down is part of growing up.

As far as the record of history and the record of God’s Word goes, we as believers do not have any promise that we will escape suffering. In fact, in the Gospel of John Jesus made it quite clear that 33In this world you will have trouble.” (John16:33NIV)

As I contemplated this issue, I found myself reading an online article ‘The Reality of  Accidents’ in which the author made the following four observations regarding the events of life and the categories they fall into.

  1. EVENTS WHICH GOD PLANS – These events have to happen because they are a part of God’s purpose, and they are predestined. They cannot not happen.

 

  1. EVENTS WHICH GOD PREVENTS – These are things that would have happened if God had not stepped into history and by His providence prevented.

 

  1. EVENTS WHICH GOD PROHIBITS – These are all the things that God forbids. These things do take place, however, because God has given man the freedom of choice. God does not will these events, nor does He prevent them.

 

  1. EVENTS WHICH GOD PERMITS – These are events which God has not planned, but neither has He prohibited, or prevented them. This is where we put accidents. Accidents are events which God did not plan to happen, nor did man choose to happen. They happen because of mistaken judgments, carelessness, and unawareness of the consequences of what is being done. 

 

No matter how you look at it, the reality of life on this side of eternity is that there isn’t a human being alive on this planet who isn’t acquainted with troubles. The great comfort for all who believe, however, is found in Jesus follow up statement, 33In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33NIV)

Jesus doesn’t want us to be under any false illusion that life in this fallen world will be full of ease and comfort. Life is tough, accidents happen. The Bible, far from dodging this fact, acknowledges it and embraces it. Jesus himself guaranteed it. And instead of promising to eliminate trouble from our lives, Jesus instead promises to give peace and comfort in the midst of trouble. The finished work of Christ removes the teeth from suffering. By entering into our world and suffering alongside us, Jesus offers certain hope that transcends the temporal sorrow and suffering this world throws at us.  

17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17 & 18NIV)

There is much to be gained if we take these words to heart. They help us to remain faithful in our walk with the Lord, if our focus is more on the eternal than the temporary troubles of the present. Then we can more easily endure through whatever comes our way.

Keep on keeping on my friends.

 

God bless,

Calven

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It Began in the Garden

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by John Doyle

“Call unto me and I will answer there and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.” Jeremiah 33:3

It all began in a garden, a luxurious garden abounding with magnificent plants, trees, and flowers. The garden of Eden. Imagine being there and smelling the fragrances of the orchids, roses, and gardenias. Brilliantly colored leaves and blossoms surround you.

Wondeful fruits and vegetables are your nourishment, always ripe and ready to eat, washed by the tumbling waterfall. Sweet birdsong mingles with the golden warmth from the Heavenly Father’s love. Absent of any diseases, destruction, and Covid. No disappointments, this garden was the place of perfection. Paradise, a place our hearts still long for and desire.

This first garden, the dwelling place of God, is one reason gardening speaks so deeply to my heart. I love being outdoors in an open space with the warm glow of sunshine. The sound of the birds, the fresh smell of soil and compost , the beauty of colorful flowers, and the promise of growth that comes from feeding and watering and it all brings me a great joy.

My garden is certainly not the Paradise of Heaven, but it is the special place I meet with my Heavenly Father, and sit on our daughter Kimmies memorial bench and have a precious quiet time with the Lord.

In the Love of the Lord Jesus
John and Barbara

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Gentle Rain

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by Graham Mol

I love the sound of gentle rain. As I sit here typing up this blog post now that our load shedding block has passed (thanks Eskom!) I am delighted by the sound of rain falling. This kind of weather brings happy memories of my journey with the Lord. The drizzle reminds me of sitting on the porch of the mess hall at Heron Ridge where we were on a Church Family Camp. While the drizzle fell we each found a space to sit quietly to do our morning devotion before gathering inside to share in breakfast.

I also associate this kind of weather with the time I was in our Church youth group, meeting at our youth leader’s house for weekly fellowship. It must have been a rainy month and as a result when I think of this weather I think of the time we shared in God’s word, growing in wisdom and stature ourselves as we laughed, prayed and cried together.

There is a worship song that goes: “Mercy is falling, is falling, is falling. Mercy it falls as the sweet spring rain” The life giving rain that falls is often a reminder of God’s grace and provision. In the Old Testament we read of times that God brought drought as judgement against the wickedness of His people. The return of the rain would then signify His forgiveness and mercy.

In the book of Deuteronomy there is a song of Moses that begins this way:

Listen, you heavens, and I will speak;
    hear, you earth, the words of my mouth.
Let my teaching fall like rain
    and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
    like abundant rain on tender plants. (Deuteronomy 32:1-2)

God’s word is like the fresh rain that brings nourishment and life to us. Whether we receive this word through our own devotional reading of the Bible, or through the community of others as we teach, love and support one another, it soaks into our souls bringing refreshment and newness of life.

 

God Bless

Graham

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Peace of Mind

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by Calven Celliers

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4: 6 & 7NIV)

 Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are centred in anything short of God and His will for us.” (Billy Graham)

At its worst, anxiety is a crippling disease, taking over our minds and plunging our thoughts into darkness. But God wants so much more for us than to walk through life full of fear, worry and anxiety. But our instruction to not be anxious doesn’t just stop there. The apostle Paul goes on to tell believers exactly what the solution is and what we should focus on – 8Finally, 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.” (Philippians 4:8NIV)

The first step to an anxiety-free mind is to fix your thoughts on Jesus – “5 …take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5NIV) –  and to gain control over what you think about yourself and life. In the Gospel of John, Jesus makes this awesome promise – 36 …if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36NIV)   

Many people seek peace of mind, and yet it eludes them because they seek to fabricate something that only God, the God of peace, can give us through His one and only Son, the Prince of Peace, and the abiding presence of His Holy Spirit, who produces peace within us.

We must, however, work with the Holy Spirit, by thinking about what we allow into our minds. Guard your mind from garbage! The old computer cliché, GIGO – Garbage in/Garbage out — holds a lot of truth. If you put bad data into a computer, you will get bad results out. If you put mental garbage into your mind, you will get garbage out in your life. 

As long as we live in a fearful, stressful, fallen world, negative thoughts will come our way. We have the option of either stamping out those thoughts or nurturing them. The apostle Paul not only tells us what to think about, but he implicitly teaches that we can control what we think about. When a negative thought comes, we as Christians, who have the mind of Christ, have the ability to push it out of our mind and replace it with godly thoughts. This takes practice, but with persistence, it gets easier. The good news is, negative thoughts can be replaced with positive ones, and the more that godly substitution takes place, the more peace and joy we can experience.

Christians must think about what they’re thinking about and not allow their minds to have free rein. In our spiritual warfare, we’ve been given the helmet of salvation to guard our minds.

God bless,

Calven

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