Striving for Infancy

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by Caryl Moll

The African Rock Pigeon chicks fledged a few days ago: fully feathered and perfect for flight.  It’s only their colouring that’s different from their parents. They have been nurtured for over a month now by dedicated parents. They are beautifully formed and fully capable for life above the rooftops.

Yet, as I sit and watch their antics, I can only feel sorry for those poor parents.  Sounds of loud, persistent, baby chirping can be heard from the branches near me as the fledglings pester their providers. It’s nagging, uncomfortable and somewhat irritating as my empathy falls to the adults. Somehow these young birds still feel its ok to pretend they are still babies. They fly at an adult with their wings splayed – almost knocking the poor bird over – until he/she relents and regurgitates all their seed for them.

It’s not lost on me that we are talking about fully capable young birds that have seed laid out for them only a few meters away. Yet they prefer to beg and steal from the adults – fully convinced that this is ok.

“Help me! Help me!” they seem to be shouting. “I can’t do it! I can’t!”

Do they want to be babies forever?

“Go on. Get it yourself I’m tempted to call out. “God’s given you wings….FLY!”

Dear reader, I imagine that this may sound familiar? Take a look at the passage below and see if you agree with me.

With love, in Christ

Caryl

—xXx—

Hebrews 5:11-14

Warning Against Falling Away

11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

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Thirst

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by Graham Mol

Right now it is crazy hot here in Joburg. For the past week or so we have been experiencing a heat wave, with only the briefest rains bringing some blessed cool relief. As a result I find myself drinking a whole lot more water than I normally do. There’s nothing quite like quenching your thirst with some cool and clear water running from the tap (yes I’m one of those people!)

As I think of my increased thirstiness in this hot weather, I am reminded of a verse from one of King David’s psalms:

You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1 NIV)

David compares his soul’s longing for God to the thirst one experiences in in the dry wasteland, devoid of moisture. When you find yourself in that situation there is nothing else that you want more than to quench your thirst, nothing is more valuable to you than the cool, clear liquid of life. A man dying of thirst has no desire for gold or for power and recognition. He just wants water. He just wants to not be thirsty anymore.

Whether we realise it or not our soul thirsts for the Lord. There is a longing deep inside us that can only be fulfilled by Him. A relationship with Christ is the living water (a Hebrew term for flowing, fresh water) that we desperately need to be truly alive. Some seek to appease this longing with other things, the pleasures and rewards that the world offers us. And they can distract us from the longing within us… for a time. But if we are truly honest with ourselves, we’re thirsty.

When we understand that God is the only one that can quench our soul-thirst, we will seek Him with all our hearts. We will long for Him with our whole being. And the wonderful thing is that when we do so we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13) and we will no longer be thirsty – not because we won’t need water but because we will always be able to find our refreshment through the abiding presence of His Holy Spirit in our hearts, (John 7:38).

 

God Bless

Graham

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Yet I Will Rejoice in the Lord…

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by Caryl Moll

I spent a large part of my childhood growing up on a small farm in the Limpopo valley. They were wonderful years despite my parents struggling financially. Some of our harvest – tomatoes, peanuts, milk and cream – was sent to the market, but mostly it went to supporting our household and the workers on the farm. At one point in the farm’s early history, it was vibrant and flourishing. Crops were bountiful and were supported by a perennial stream which came off the mountain. We had a prominent waterfall which could be seen some kilometres away. It was the focal point in our landscape.

Sadly at one point, the Department of Forestry planted Bluegum/Saligna trees on top of the mountain (off our property). The effects of their long tap roots were devastating at the time – practically removing all of the farm’s water supply. My Father was fervent in maintaining the farm and set about drilling boreholes to support the land. But this wasn’t enough…

Before our eyes, the beautiful landscapes of lush produce and green vegetation disappeared. The fields turned into waste-land and the bush started taking over. The once flourishing tomato fields were left to our memories.  Nothing was working, so my father had to seek alternative employment in the nearby town. He left his beloved land during the day to provide for us all. We could all feel his sadness.

Luckily, however, we remained on the farm. Mostly we’d live off the small vegetable garden and the orchard. Occasionally we’d slaughter one of the cattle for meat (another story). Water was very scarce and we weren’t wealthy at all. But God’s provision was always there. My parents worked hard to support their three children. There were always ‘leftovers’ from the harvest and these were handed to friends in the village too. Everyone always shared.

But there was one most significant memory which I’ll keep forever…

Every day, when my Dad returned home after work, he’d shrug off his shoes and socks, put on his ‘farm clothes’ and go to sit under the Louquat tree on our front lawn. There he’d enjoy a special mug of ‘farm coffee’, made with creamy milk from his few cows.

Although the coffee was steaming hot, he’d wait for it to cool while putting the small sprinkler on the lawn. Then he’d sit down on the old garden chair and turn towards his beverage. As the coffee cooled, a thin film of cream would congeal on its surface. My father would turn his attention to it and carefully dispense a spoon of sugar in a small heap on top so that the film of cream. Slowly the film would delicately wrap itself around the sugar – in a small parcel. He concentrated hard as he carefully collected it up with his teaspoon.  The expression on my Dad’s face as he brought the spoon to his mouth was one of sheer pleasure. He’d break into a wide smile and visibly relax into his garden chair as he savoured the sweet treat.

As Dad quietly sipped his coffee, he’d look towards the mountains which surrounded our homestead. The shadows of the trees from the dipping sun were lengthening and there were feral goats on the rocks. I watched his expression closely as he entered God’s rest…

“Isn’t this absolutely beautiful…?” my father sighed. “We are so blessed to live in this paradise. Do you hear the guinea fowl, Caryl? Look at the fire-finches visiting the bird-bath. Isn’t this beautiful?”

We’d sit there quietly and relish the sounds of the evening. A cool breeze would descend off the mountain – we could hear the rustling of the bushes. My mother too would join us. As the sun set, stars would emerge. We could see the Milky Way dotted across the sky and sometimes the moon rise too. The smell of the African potato bush would fill our nostrils as it settled into the valley. It was a special privilege to take in our Eden….slowly and gratefully.

I think this was one of my most significant lessons from Dad – how to enjoy God’s provision. Dad instilled a love of the landscape. His gratitude was palpable, despite the hardships we faced. He always expressed his love for God’s Creation and the small space we were privileged to occupy in this world.  Despite the drought and the dried up crops, my Dad transferred his love for God’s gifts to us. This never wavered…and I am eternally grateful.

—xXx—

Habakkuk 3:17-18

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

 

With love, in Christ,

Caryl

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The Importance of Discipleship

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by Luke Kincaid

Discipleship is essential to genuine spiritual growth. I have been reminded of this truth over the past week while interacting with some of our youth and as we cover the topic of discipleship on Saturday afternoons. Sitting down with fellow children of God while discussing and growing in our faith is an essential element of being a disciple. It is clear that the early church placed much importance on discipleship:

46 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. – Acts 2:46-47

 “Everyday”… that is the most challenging word for me in this short text. It is so important that we spend time with fellow disciples as much as possible as we are way stronger together than when we are apart and I have been encouraged to experience this first hand.

I love these words from Jeff Vanderstelt:

“Once we start to realize that discipleship is an everyday, all-of-life process for our own lives, we’re halfway to understanding God’s call. The other half of that call is seen most clearly in the great commission, where God calls his people— all his people—to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). Part of our own discipleship is “paying it forward”: seeing God not only work in us, for our own discipleship, but also seeing him work through us, for others’ discipleship. In fact, the Apostle Paul tells us that a primary way we grow into maturity in Christ is through “speaking the truth in love” to and with each other (Eph 4:16). God didn’t design discipleship to primarily happen alone.” 

So I challenge all of us this week, even in the midst of our current chaos, to look for opportunities to spend time with fellow children of God and benefit from discipling one another.

 

Much Love,

Luke

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