Thursday, 12 December 2013

Like A Tree

Read a wonderful passage in the Bible this morning from Jeremiah 17:

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is in the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit." ~ Jeremiah 17:7-8

Isn't this amazing? If we trust the Lord, He can and will help us weather any storm, and not only weather it, but He will help us to continue to trust Him and to bear fruit through it. If we trust Him, we needn't fear when trials and storms of life come, for He is with us!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Edna and Ellis: A Response to Suffering

 Hi all,

I read this excerpt in a book I've been reading lately, By Searching by Isobel Kuhn. While I have yet to finish this book I have found it so far a really edifying and helpful autobiography to read, so I highly recommend that if you ever have a chance, you get ahold of a copy and read it! This particular story of one missionary girl and her spouse really helped me to see how to respond to suffering.

"Edna met Ellis when he was on his first furlough, and found him her ideal. He was a young man of deep devotion and consecration, and together they went to China to the South Gate section of Nanking city.

The next year they went for their vacation to beautiful Kuling, a famous mountain resort, where there is a pool and good swimming, also many lovely walks.

One morning they had decided on a swim - both were expert swimmers. As they left their tent they heard a cry from the pool. Ellis immediately ran and dived in to the rescue- a young missionary had caught a cramp and gone down. He was successful and saved her life, but he himself disappeared. Then Edna dived in to search for Ellis. As time dragged on and she could not find him, one can imagine the terror and anguish of her feelings. Theirs had been an ideal and wonderful union. Diving, searching, she did not notice that her body was being bruised and battered against rocks. Ellis - that was all she thought of. Finally, she saw his body washed up behind a little waterfall. Again she dived, reached him, dragged his body with her and got it to shore. But life had gone.

Exhausted she sank on a tree stump and covered her face with her hands. 

A few minutes later she happened to look up and saw some Chinese...standing terrified with the dead man before them. Quickly she approached them and explained that the body on the ground was not her Ellis - that he was safe with God; and she preached Christ to them.

Edna's own body had taken such a severe beating that she was sent to the hospital and later advised to take a short furlough. Ellis's insurance money was enough to bring her to the Firs for the summer,and the Conference Council had asked her to lead the young people's meetings. We never knew what it was costing her to set aside her daily heart-break and be our cherry, radiant Bible teacher. Years later Mrs Whipple told me how she would go to the Council and tell them she could not continue, but they would promise to pray for her, and back she would come to us." ~ By Searching by Isobel Kuhn, p.37-38

This made me ask myself, how do I respond to trials in my life, and most, if not all, are nothing compared to what Edna had to go through! Do I become wrapped up in self-pity, or do I see even the trials as a means of talking to others about the Lord and demonstrating that He can give me a joy and peace that is beyond comprehension? This highlighted to me yet again how important it is that we be asking the Lord to use us through our trials to point others to Him, and that we do not know what impact our lives may be having upon others. This was a real challenge to me! I pray that were I faced with such an ordeal, the Lord would enable me to look to Him first and foremost!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Some Thoughts on Trials and Anxiety...

Hi all!

Just thought I'd share some thoughts on trials and anxiety. They're only my own little ponderings, so be prepared to test everything by scripture dear readers!

You see, I am slowly learning that trials take different shapes in people's lives. That should be obvious, but somehow it is so easy to think that "trials" must be the bigger issues in life...a sudden tragic death, cancer, divorce and so on and to think that if our trials seem somehow lesser than these that God isn't that concerned about it, and so we shouldn't complain, as people have it much worse than us. On the flip side, if you are going through extremely difficult times it is easy to become wrapped up in self-pity and to think that everyone else has it much easier than you, when in reality we all go through trials of varying degrees. True, some people may experience trials on a greater magnitute, and the significance of their pain cannot be ignored, but even in the seemingly smaller trials (e.g. a desired relationship that never comes to fruition, the long absence in seeing a family member, an unexpected hiccup in your plans...even missing a bus!) ALL are important to God, are part of His plan, and as such we should bring them before Him. We shouldn't neglect to pray about them even though they may to us pale in significance when compared to what others may go through. What do you think? Maybe you have yet to face any major life crisis, but you never know what trials await you around the corner, so why not be prepared now, by cultivating a life of prayer for all of life's concerns rather than being anxious. I say this to myself as much as anyone!!!
"Nothing is too big and nothing is too little to spread before the Lord". ~ A.W. Pink
Here is a neat clip on anxiety by A.W. Pink that I thought I'd share:

This really highlights our need for prayer in times of trouble.

He also brings up some interesting suggestions as to how to counteract anxiety in our lives:

1. By begging the Holy Spirit to grant us a deeper conviction as to its enormity.
2. By making it a subject of special and earnest prayer that we may be delivered from it.
3. By watching it's beginning and as soon as we detect it, lifting up our heart to God and asking Him for deliverence from it.
4. By frequently meditating upon God's goodness, power and sufficency.

What do you think? Do you find doing these things help? Certianly I have lately been realising the value of number four for the first time, it is invaluable how much reading good Christian literature about the goodness and soverignty of God can help you!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Comfort Zone on "Why is there Evil?"

Saw these really good videos on YouTube. They really provided food for thought. The first one reminded me of one of my favourite ever quotes by R.C. Sproul: "Why do bad things happen to good people? That only happened once and He volunteered." And the second one really helped me to see yet again how we should reallly be seeing the problem of evil as being within us and not just simply external things or "big" evil events like murder and rape - in God's eyes, covetness and lying are evil too. I'd love your thoughts on what these two videos brought up!

Also, apologies for the lack of posting here lately, I don't have an excuse but if you have been going through a hard time lately and would like some spiritual encouragement on a slightly more regular basis, I try to update the Facebook page for this blog frequently, so you can go there (click here).

God bless!