The Next Step

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by Graham Mol

I’m currently reading through a series of novels by one of my favourite authors and the following quote from the one book  has stuck with me:

“The most important step a man can take. It’s not the first one, is it? It’s the next one. Always the next step, Dalinar.”

― Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer

The most important step a person can take is always the next one.  I love the wisdom contained in this statement. No matter where you are on your journey, whether it began days or years ago, whether it has been going well or not, whether you have been successful or made mistakes, the next step still remains the most important one. We find in this concept the Biblically extolled virtue of perseverance.

We see the importance of perseverance spoken of in Scripture. Jesus (and Paul) said that we should be persistent in prayer (Luke 18:1-8; Romans 12:12), our Lord told us to keep seeking, asking and knocking (Matthew 7:7-8). We are encouraged by the author of Hebrews to run this race of life with perseverance/endurance (Hebrews 12:1). We should not grow weary in doing good for we will reap the harvest in the end (Galatians 6:9), and those who endure to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13). Those who remain steadfast under trial will receive the crown of life (James 1:12).

There is joy and challenge in seeing the next step as the most important one. The joy of knowing that no matter what has come before or befallen us, we always have a “next step”. The challenge is for us not to stop where we are, to not give up or in, and step out once again, in faith, in our journey with the Lord.

Finally I wish to share a portion of Proverbs that captures the essence of the importance of the next step. May these words of wisdom resonate with you as you head into the rest of this week.

25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
    fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
    and be steadfast in all your ways.
(Proverbs 4:25-26)

God Bless

Graham

Continue ReadingThe Next Step

Hallelujah

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by Graham Mol

“Hallelujah!”

It’s a word that we’ve sung countless times in our worship songs. A word that has become familiar through its frequent use. But do we know what “Hallelujah” actually means?

The term is actually a joining of two Hebrew words: hallelu  and Yah. Two put it simply hallelu is a form of hallal (praise, glory, boast) that basically means “you (all) praise” and Yah is a shortening of the LORD (YHWH). Often this is written in our Bible translations as “Praise the LORD!”

We find this phrase in many places in the Bible and once such place is in Psalm 146:

Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, my soul.

I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
    the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

10 The Lord reigns forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the Lord.

In this psalm “Hallelujah!” is both a shout of praise and affirmation but also a declaration of devotion to the Lord amidst the other things of life that compete for our allegiance.

While others look to a particular person, organisation or charismatic leader to save them from their troubles, when we cry out “Hallelujah” we recognise that our hope is in the Lord our God.

We are reminded of all that He has done: the beauties of His grand creation, His loving care for even the least, the freedom He brings, how He opens our eyes and lifts us up, how He defends the weak from the wicked.

Hope and trust in the Lord is never misplaced. He has not, and will never let us down. He is Sovereign God over all nations for all generations.

So I’d like to encourage you to speak or sing it out. Whether from your lips, or in your heart.

Hallejuah!

Praise the Lord!

 

God Bless

Graham

Continue ReadingHallelujah

Pray for Our Nation

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by Graham Mol

It’s almost too much to take in, almost surreal. As I sit here at my computer looking at the images and videos of the violent protests and looting, as I see the destruction. It feels like I am in a different nation, even on a different planet. I am grateful that we have not experienced the looting in our area… yet. I could stop reading the news articles, stop looking at the photos and videos, but even then I see the WhatsApp’s and social media posts of friends, family and the community. There is no getting away from what is happening and I don’t think we should bury our heads in the sand anyway. If you are able to, I encourage you to look at the photos, watch the videos, watch and weep, look and pray. Allow the reality of the situation to motivate you to plead before God for our nation.

We cannot, we must not be apathetic. Yes there are the humorous posts and jokes – humour is often how we as people try to deal with things that are shocking, painful and unpleasant. But let us not settle for mere coping mechanisms. Let our hearts break over the suffering, over the violence and anger, over the hardening of people’s hearts.

“I am broken by the brokenness of my dear people,” (Jeremiah 8:21 CSB)

Let us bring our tears before the Lord. Let us weep as Jesus wept. Let us mourn for He will comfort us (Matthew 5:4). We need to feel, we need to struggle with what we see so that it will not be forgotten. There is much pain and brokenness in our nation. Times like these are a stark reminder of that fact. Let us therefore not brush past, trying to forget and move on with our lives.

Rather let this change us. Let this make us pray all the more and allow those prayers to shape us into agents of righteousness. May we be motivated to be the light of the world we are called to be. We may not have the power to stop the riots. We may not have the resources to alleviate the desperate poverty. But we can make a difference, and more than we think because we have the Lord “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us,” (Ephesians 3:20).

Let us take a stand for we know that the enemy is not flesh and blood. It’s not the people that we see looting and breaking and burning. No, our fight is “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms,” (Ephesians 6:12). We fight against the evil that has gripped men’s hearts, we fight against the greed and selfishness. We fight against the lies.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power,” (Ephesians 6:10 CSB).

Weep but don’t tremble. Mourn but do not fear. We are not alone in this fight. God is with us, He is our strength and salvation. He has overcome and the gates of hell cannot prevail against His kingdom.

Be resolute prayer warriors. Pray for SA.

God Bless

Graham

Continue ReadingPray for Our Nation

Still Waters

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by Graham Mol

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
     He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
     He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.
(Psalm 23:1-3)

We as a family have had the wonderful privilege of going away on holiday for a much needed break. On Monday morning I was able to take the above picture from the patio of the place we stayed at overnight. It was about half and hour before sunrise and the water of the dam was as still as could be. I watched in delight as some sparrows flew over the water, briefly diving down and skimming the water as they snatched a drink. One or two ducks glided past with subdued quacks. I was struck by how incredibly peaceful the scene was. A deep calming breath before the sun rose and that day began in earnest.

God’s beautiful creation is often punctuated by these peaceful moments. There is still the busyness of living as animals scuffle around for food and birds soar through the air, making melodies. But there are also those quiet moments, times of rest in between. How essential these are especially in a world today that never can seem to switch off for a moment.

I think of David’s words in Psalm 23 as he speaks of being led by still waters, having his soul quietly restored. Now I know that much of his meaning is metaphoric, but there is certainly merit in drawing peace and calm from the beauty and tranquility of one’s surroundings. God truly speaks to us through His magnificent creation.

I’d like to encourage you to find that secret, quiet place even if in your own garden or be it in your car as you drive to work and on the journey have opportunity to take in the scenery as you drive past. Find those still moments and allow the Lord to speak through them and be restored from the soul weariness that so often affects us during these trying times.

God Bless

Graham

Continue ReadingStill Waters